- Non Fiction
Reviews by Bill Stilling
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
A classic negro/white story set in the Southern states of the USA
Although I have often seen the film of this book advertised I have never plucked up the courage to go and see it. Having now read the book I would strongly recommend that it should be read first and, perhaps only!
The story is about two young children, Jem (a boy) and ''Scout ''( a younger girl). They live in a small town in one of the Southern states of America where there is a solid divide between the white and black communities.
Life goes on smoothly until a white girl claims to have been raped by a negro. The children's father, Atticus, is appointed to defend the negro and hence becomes shunned and hated by a high percentage of the inhabitants of the town.The kernal of the story is the court case and the characters concerned in it. It is very well done and paints the picture of the people, and their life styles, from poverty to "comfortly off" extremely well.
It is a pleasure to read a book which has an excellent plot, no foul language, sex and minimal violence.
This, apparently, is the first of what has become a series involving Boston-based homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and her partner in crime, Detective Thomas Moore. Three women have been assaulted (two fatally) and in a particularly gruesome fashion. The very attractive surgeon Catherine Cordell is, apparently, being hunted down by the killer. She was once assaulted two years earlier when she lived further south in Savannah, Georgia. It seems that the killer has followed her to Boston and has a uniquely intimate understanding and knowledge of her body and movements. even though she has no recollection of ever having met him.
Not for the faint-hearted, but an excellent read.
This was an ebook which I stumbled across when searching our local e-library. The author is of Chinese/American extraction and certainly brings many new aspects of crime to this story(for me). It is well written and has the proverbial sub-plot to bulk out the story, and the pages.
I have read many crime books, with many varieties of method of murder and disfiguration, but this is a new one on me! The interaction between the main characters is well handled as is the ending. So, if you can withstand some gruesome bits, give it a try.
Billions of dollars a year go to the drug cartels as they spread their drugs across Western society. They cause misery, poverty and death, and slowly their power is spreading. Ex-CIA, Paul Devereux, intellectual, dedicated and ruthless, is given the task to stop the drug barons, whatever it costs. At his disposal, anything he wants - men, resources, money. Up to now, the forces of law and order have played by the rules but that is about to change. Those rules no longer apply...and a dirty war is about to get a whole lot dirtier...
A well written, and plausible, approach to tackling the drug suppliers and dealers.
As expected from Freddy Forsyth, this is a book which is hard to put down. If only the techniques, described in it, could be implemented in real life, the results described in the plot could make a dramatic change to the lifestyles of many people.
Although there is some severe violence, it fits the plot and, as is typical of the author, sex and language are at a mimimum.
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A comparatively bland detective story featuring Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley These two work for the Serious and Organized Crime Agency in a consultancy role and decide to go for a holiday to Bath, where trouble, such as parts of a body in a cupboard of a house which Ingrid wants to buy, awaits them.
A detective story for those with a sensitive mind.
This is, in my opinion, a book which is trying to portray the convential crime plot being solved by conventional means. I cannot, however, reconcile this with the two detectives who are freelance but still work for the CID. Also, a significant portion of the text is concerned with the relationship between them, and his ex partner.
It is quite a good read, however, and only rates a 4 because of the above.
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Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot has been enjoying the quiet life in a peaceful Provençal village. Now, however, he must go to Paris, from where Marseilles Magistrate, Solange Bonnefoy's niece, has been abducted. In his investigation, the trail of violence and corruption leads Jacquot back to Marseilles, where another utterly shocking and unexpected murder steers the investigation in a wholly new direction. Jacquot has to go undercover where he re-unites with a woman who, with her “mystic” powers, had helped him in a previous investigation.
A violent and horrible, (in places), crime book with a hint of mysticism.
This is not a book for those with a sensitive nature. It is set in the French underworld where, taking a life or torturing someone, is an everyday occurance. Some of these are described in considerable detail.
The plot and characterisations are good, and from that viewpoint the book is well worth reading. Not being a fan of fantasy, however, I felt that the mystic content was there to bridge what would otherwise be difficult to do in a convential plot. However, is that not what fantasy is all about?
What attracted me initially to read the book was that it was set in France, which is fairly unusual, seemed to be a fairly convential crime story and could be a new author to add to my collection. Although I felt somewhat mislaid by the description which I read about the book I think I will give the author another chance.
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I'm watching you. I know everywhere you go. When Beth Stephens opens the first mysterious note, she is terrified. Someone seems to be stalking her every footstep, and has pried open the terrible secret she's been hiding for over a decade. All these years, Beth has carefully built her life on a lie, kept to herself, been wary of close relationships and protective of her privacy. Suddenly, she can trust no one, sees danger everywhere, and realises that she has to find the stalker before he closes in on her...
The tale of a woman with an albatross round her neck.
I see, by consulting Amazon, that this is the third book which Jane Hill has had published. The plot, and the final ending, in my opinion, illustrate her lack of experience and literary skills.
The first ninety percent of the book is taken up describing the fears, and the paranoia which has influenced Beth Stephens's life style for over a decade. Not very exciting and full of "should I or should'nt I", and/or "yes I will, no I've changed my mind".
I cannot say that the finale is, in itself, of great excitement, but I will not give it away to spoil someone's reading of the book.
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A girl lies in a hospital room, very close to death because there is a bullet lodged in her brain. She is Lisbeth Salander, computer hacker and investigator. If Salander recovers from her injuries, she is more than likely to be put on trial for three murders -- the authorities regard her as a dangerous individual. But she won't see the inside of a courtroom if her father manages to kill her first!
A superb third book in this trilogy.
I believe that I should start this review with a warning. "Reader", if you have not read the earlier two books, you should do so first, in order to get the full effect of the content of these three books. Personally, I consider this is really a single, very long, book presented as three separate books. To present it in one book would create a larger single outlay, and create a monster pile of paper to be held in the hand/s! An e-book would be acceptable however.
As in the other two books Lisbeth is the main character in this book, although she spends 75% of the book in hospital, where visitors are restricted and any access to the internet is prohibited. But, does this stop her? With help from Blomkfist, whom she is not speaking to, she still manages to influence, attack and outsmart those persons who are trying to either kill her, or have her declared as insane.
Much of the storyline can be classifed as old worms crawling out from under stones, but with effort by Blomkfist and other members of the police and the Secret Service we come to the climax of the storyline. This is in court where she is defending herself, with some help from Blomkfist's sister who is a member of the bar. I found the portrayal of the action in the courtroom ingenious and that style of writing which causes much burning of midnight oil!
Although the above is, indeed, the climax, it is not the end. I do like a book which has a plausible end, where the baddies get their comeuppance, and the good guys live more or less happily ever after.
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In the second book in the Millennium sequence, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Lisbeth's closest ally is the older journalist Mikael Blomqvist, even though she had abruptly ended her emotional relationship with him, and didn't want his help. Mikael is back in his role as a journalist and, is overseeing the project, by members of his staff, to denounce high ranking sex-trafficking individuals. Two of these are murdered, and forensic evidence points the finger at Lisbeth. The rest of the book, with several story lines, opens up the proverbial can of worms, and gives an insight into Lisbeth's early life, and why she is what she is.
A superb sequel to the story of the girl with the dragon tattoo.
A warning to all those dedicated readers who are fond of reading
the last chapter, or even the last page, of a book DO NOT DO IT
WITH THIS ONE.
All too often the first sequel to an outstanding book falls flat. It is
either written in a hurry by the original author or by a "Ghost".
Not in this case. The quality of writing(and translation)
is excellent as are the many plots, subplots and final conclusion.
Because of the absence of "padding" paragraphs, or chapters,
the whole book flows in a continuous text and to uncover details of even the
smallest piece of it, whilst not giving the whole plot away, would
spoil the efforts which the author has put into it.
As I did for the prequel to this book I would highly recommend it. Now I
am waiting for my source to finish reading the third book and I
look forward to both reading it and reviewing it in due course.
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Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist assists Mikael Blomkvist in his investigation.
An excellent book with some novel(not the book) characters and story-lines.
This is a book which received a great deal of publicity when it was launched. Being somewhat of a cynic I took this to mean that it was not selling, hence the publicity and my reluctance to read it.
However, I was recently recommended to read it, by the same source who recommended the Life of Pi, and as the recommendation came with a copy of the book, what else could I do but read it.
I am very glad I did so and I have now also read the second in the series and will be reviewing it in due course.
This is a book with at least three "Independant" story lines. One concentrates on the girl, Lizbeth Salander, one on Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist who publishes derogative information about a global company without fully checking his sources(for which he gets 3 months in Jail). He also takes on a very unusual 12 month contract to trace a young girl who disappeared without trace several decades ago.
I am sure that no one will be surprised to read that these story-lines eventually merge, but in a very believable way.
The quality of writing is excellent, as is the portrayal of the main characters. The story-lines before and after merging are plausible and exciting, as is the whole book. It certainly is significantly different than the average thriller/mystery book and it my opinion well worth reading.
If I have a comment to make it is that perhaps the scale and ease of hacking into computers, and computer networks, is overdone but just take the proverbial pinch of salt and enjoy yourself.
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In a nutshell, this book is the story of a large company which manufactures chemicals and dumps the wastage from the manufacturing process onto derelict land. The chemicals in the waste products make their way into the water supply of the adjacent small town and, as the population of the town use the poisoned water, many of them develop cancer. The story concerns the legal and political efforts to have the judgement against the company overturned.
Not one of the author's better attempts.
I have read, and enjoyed, many of the author's other books. Sadly this one falls far short of his previous efforts. There are too many characters which makes it necessary to rewind on a number of occasions.
The book is over-long and most of it could easily be patched into a thesis on the procedures and machinations involved in the election of local judges in small towns in the USA. Although I could find no evidence to support my view, this book is comparable with other books which I have read, and which have been written by a ghost writer.
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