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Reviews
Books & Film
Dreamscapes
Original Fiction
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Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories
Dreamscapes Two
More Original Fiction
Lifestyle 2011
Politics & Living

 


 
reviews
REVIEW ARCHIVES 2

* Review Archives 1
The International Writers Magazine: Review Archives 2009-2012
2010-2012
The Toaster Project, Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance From Scratch by Thomas Thwaites,  
Charlie Dickinson review
a personal odyssey into consumer goods about us, represented by one modern convenience—the electric toaster
The London Book Fair 2012
Sam North

China and Digital signal the big changes
The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor
Review by Charlie Dickinson
a compulsively readable thriller ...with sensitive characterization
Wasp–Waisted by David Barrie
Sam North review

The setting Paris - the cop Frank Guerin   catching a case of a beautiful dead fashion model photographed by the killer in very expensive lingerie
Ghost Lights by Lydia Millet
Review by John M Edwards
Her wickedly perverse sense of humor is as deliciously burlesque as Dorothy Parker riffing at the Algonquin Roundtable.
Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates
Sam North
review
2nd Outing for Sergeant Gunnhildur in this riveting Icelandic murder investigation. A terrific read rich in every detail.
The End of Money by David Wolman,
Charlie Dickinson
When I first heard of David Wolman's The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society, I was skeptical. Dismissed it as a geek fantasy I might expect from a Wired Contributing Editor (which Wolman is). If people have faith in anything, it's the green stuff.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Sam Hawksmoor
I think I must be a sucker for snow stories – even though I detest the cold.  There is something strangely alluring about life in the Alaskan wilderness, about people who strive to make something out of nothing, literally carve an existence out of the harsh land with its long winters and short summers filled with mosquitoes and savage wild animals. 
Beauty Plus Pity by Kevin Chong,
Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, 2011, 256 pp.,
A Charlie Dickinson review
The narrator, Malcolm Kwan, a twenty-something Canadian-Chinese slacker, works in a used record store in Vancouver, BC. His parents wanted him to make something of himself.
The Mental Defective League
Dan Schneider review
One of the keys to Cochran’s success is that his book is utterly without pretense, something that Salinger’s book chokes on, from its lead character through its situations’ preciousness to its hordes of addled devotees’ wan and off-base interpretations.
On Editing a Novel
Sam Hawksmoor
I approached my own edit with alacrity, but not without some professional interest

Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects, 2nd by Dmitry Orlov,
New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, 2011,
Charlie Dickinson
Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov is a welcome addition to "doomer" literature about societal collapse.
IQ84 by Haruki Murakami
Books 1 & 2

I
t is always a pleasure to read a new Murakami novel and for once the hype over this new one is justified.  Having recently seen Norwegian Wood (the movie) I was reminded of the pleasure of reading his work and how he weaves so many simple inconsequential things into a complex and often fraught but always satisfying read.
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick DeWitt.
Ecco, Harper/Collins, New York.
Charlie Dickinson review
I read THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt expecting a literary treat: Here’s one of six 2011 novels short-listed for the Man Booker Prize
Trackers by Deon Meyer
Sam North review
Complex spy/action thriller set in crime infested South Africa that grips you completely
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
translated from the Russian by George Bird,
Melville House Publishing, 2011, 232 pp.
Charlie Dickinson
Death and the Penquin by Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov recalls the classic Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West. Both novels are rich with black humor about writers working for cynical newspaper editors and publishing under pseudonyms.
Things We Didn’t See Coming
by Steven Amsterdam
Publisher - Vintage
ISBN 9780099547044
Sam North review
a wonderful examination of a crack in time, haunting, passive, yet compelling.
The Life of Edgar Sawtelle
by David Wroblewski
Sam Hawksmoor review
an emotional roller coaster and well deserved of its worldwide success
Ship Breaker
by Paolo Bacigalupi (YA Fiction)
'A brilliant thrilling insight into
America's Post-Oil Future'
Sam Hawksmoor
B1137-NH3
The Fantastical Ascent Of Jason Sanford
Dan Schneider essay

While I think Sanford is a high quality writer, even more so than his quality being of the essence and cogence here, this essay will descry why Sanford is an Important writer
Carte Blanche
By Jeffery Deaver

Daniel Cann
The problem facing every author tackling James Bond is they will always be compared to creator Ian Fleming’s version.  
The Identity Factor
By James Houston Turner
Dan Cann
This thriller comes from an author with a past as colourful as the characters and events he creates.
Ford County Stories
By John Grisham
(Pub May 2011)
Daniel Cann
What John Grisham attempts with ‘Ford County Stories’ is to take the reader into the world of the rural small town of Clanton, Mississippi in America’s Deep South.
The Rational Optimist
Nick Lewandowski

The sky is not falling. Climate change will not destroy human civilization. Our fossil fuels will last long enough for us to develop alternatives and contrary to popular opinion the world will be a better, cleaner and safer place a hundred years from now.
On Failure
Michael Hoffman

I am a failure. I am not boasting. I speak seriously and soberly, based on a modicum of self-knowledge painfully acquired.

Lake Charles by Ed Lynskey
ISBN-13: 978-1434430465
Wildside Press (June 2011)

Sam North review
What Carl Hiaasen did for Florida, Ed Lynskey has done for Tennessee in his funny and slick Appalachian noir thriller.

The Makioka Sisters
Dan Schneider

Junichiro Tanizaki’s 1948 novel, The Makioka Sisters, or Sasameyuki, whose Japanese title is Light Snow), is often referred to as the greatest of last century’s novels from Japan

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze
Nick Lewandowski review
Adam Tooze’s mammoth dissection of Nazi Germany’s economy, The Wages of Destruction, is not for the faint of heart.

The Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith
Sam Hawksmoor

I admit I am a long serving fan of Renko, a cop in constant threat of dismissal, his brilliant record of solving crimes worthless in a country were corruption is the norm and no one actually wants crimes solved.

Eastern Approaches: Shaken, Not Stirred
John M Edwards

Was Scottish Adventurer Sir Fitzroy Maclean the real-life prototype of  James Bond?

Frozen Out by Quentin Bates
Robinson Publishing (27 Jan 2011)
Sam North review

This is the first in a brilliant new detective series set in Iceland and featuring police sergeant Gunnhildur of Hvalvik’s small police force.  A body found washed up on a beach at her fishing village sparks a nationwide investigation that grows in proportions and national importance.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
by Charles Yu
Sam North review

This a novel about the perfect time you will never have with the perfect girl you will never meet, in a life never lived in a time that never happened and a dog called Ed

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
Callie Wallace

Usually averse to military sagas, and certainly not expecting to be captivated by Pat Tillman’s story, I nonetheless decided to give this book a chance. After all, Krakauer’s other books are full of remarkable storytelling and compelling characters.  

Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh
Paul Valentine review

Let me get one thing straight. I adore Kristin Hersh, even knowing that she would hate that.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Sam North review

Anyone who ever saw ‘Igby Goes Down’ or read Donna Tart's 'Secret History' would relish more of the same.
Quentin Coldwater has discontent and preppy New York down to a tee and although being miserable is every teenagers right of passage, being excessively bright with it only heightens the disillusionment.  Mix in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ and you have the right perspective to enter the world of ‘The Magicians’.
Warrior Odyssey by Antonio Graceffo
David Calleja review

If you are going to set your sights on achieving a goal, approach the tasks with passion and ferocity. New York-born Antonio Graceffo’s sixth book, Warrior Odyssey, does just that,

The Wind-up Girl
Paolo Bacigalupi
Sam North
review
Brilliant insight into our terrifying future after a population crash. Stunning and vivid biogenetic noir.

I Have Waited and You Have Come by Martine McDonagh
Now available as an
e-book from Myriad Editions July 2010
ePub ISBN 9780956251596
A bleak take on a post-apocalyptic England; flooded, introspective, obessive and retreating into primitive eco-living. Dark literary lanscapes await you.

Apathy for the Devil by Nick Kent
Jordan Drury

his commitment to narration is utterly compelling, with convincing yarns concerning his hand in the creation of the Sex Pistols

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Walt Bertelsen

Burning the Ugliness: It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see

The Immoralist, by Andre Gide
Dan Schneider review

One of the hallmarks of great art is that it not only defines its time, but transcends it, as well. In reading over the Dover Thrift Edition of Andre Gide’s 1902 novella, The Immoralist (L’Immoraliste), this fact came home pointedly.
Anonymous (2011)
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave & David Thewlis
Paul Valentine review
As expected, a worthy number of the great and the good, albeit not wholly intelligent men of letters, have responded to this film with ‘tags’ ranging from ‘utterly outrageous’, to ‘preposterous’. More fool them.
Tin TIn
The Adventures of Tin-Tin

The Secret of the Unicorn
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig
'a slick, machine polished rollercoaster of a movie'
Drive
DRIVE

Rob Myers
Deliberate but pulsating, Drive is both as lean and as powerful as the machines it showcases. Like the cinematic icons of yesteryear, Ryan Gosling’s driver keeps his head down and his mouth closed
Warrior
Rob Myers

Theoretically, Warrior is the type of film that audiences should flock to in droves. It is a sports drama (Mixed Martial Arts, in this case) with familial conflict at its center and the notion of overcoming all odds at its heart.
Blue Valentine
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Dan Schneider
Blue Valentine is a film designed to stir debate, but not in the usual silly political nor emotional sort of way. Its debate is of a deeper and more profound measure, and that is it asks which of the two main characters profiled in the film is in the wrong?
C America
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Daniel Cann
The final big summer superhero film has hit our screens and it looks as if they have saved the best till last.
Super 8
Super 8            
Director/Writer J.J. Abrams
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths

Must have been the perfect pitch session.
‘Stand by Me with Aliens’. There, you have it.  Sign the cheque, make the movie, form an orderly queue.
Jackie Mason
Dean Borok - an appreciation
Why is it that Oprah Winfrey has got billions of dollars, millions of adoring admirers and her own television network, while Jackie Mason can only claim a handful of Staten Island garbage collectors as his fan base
The Quiet Duel
Director:Akira Kurosawa
Dan Schneider
Great artists have a way to make even their lesser works interesting, if not great. Such is the case with the 1949 black and white film, The Quiet Duel
Sobre Las Olas and Latin Film
Dean Borok review
Of all the world’s language groups, the most fascinating and sophisticated film output derives from the Spanish-speaking countries of Europe and Latin America, with their diverse and unique historical experiences and cultural points of view
I Vitelloni
Dan Schneider
Sometimes, after achieving a certain level, an artist makes a slight regression before hitting the heights of greatness. Such an arc is apparent to me after having watched Federico Fellini’s 1953, black and white Neo-Realist film,
I Vitelloni

StreetDance 3D
Sam Faulkner review
an enjoyable and crowd-pleasing portrait of some very talented entertainers
The Cove - Shallow Water, Deep Secret
Director: Louie Psihoyos,
Shivani Shah
If the people of Taiji in Japan are culpable, the world stands accomplice to the horrific massacre of one of the most intelligent animals on Planet Earth
Robin Hood (2010)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Russell Crowe
Daniel Cann review
This is unlike most other adaptations ... I found this refreshing rather than sacrilegious
Iron Man 2
Directed by Jon Favreau
Daniel Cann review

At times it does play like a Republican’s wet dream
Kick Ass
Daniel Cann review
This film takes a well-established genre and turns it completely on its head.
Shutter Island - Directed by Martin Scorsese
Sam Faulkner review
Highly atmospheric thriller scores Leonardo another hit
Green Zone
Daniel Cann review

‘Bourne series’ Director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon team up again this time in War film/ political thriller ‘Green Zone.
The Crazies - Directed by Breck Eisner
A Sam Faulkner review
Refreshing remake scrapes all the right nerves
Youth in Revolt
Directed by Miquel Arteta - starring Michael Cera
Sam Faulkner review
a fresh, fun, and most importantly funny 90 minutes.
Avatar - Written and Directed by James Cameron
A triumph of spectacle and technology - a wonderful 'extra-human' drama
Sherlock Holmes Directed by Guy Ritchie
Daniel Cann review
Thrilling and faithful adaptation captues new audience for Doyle
Sherlock Holmes Directed by Guy Ritchie
Richard Crawley review

Robert Downey Jnr pulls it off
The Wolfman (2010)
Directed by Joe Johnston
Daniel Cann review

Disappointing remake of werewolf classic
In the Loop - Directed by A Ianucci
A Dan Crossen review

Raw real politics with a sharp bite
Generation Kill
Creators: David Simon, Ed Burns & Evan Wright
Dan Crossen review

Iraq war and the role of US soldiers based there brought in sharp brutal focus
Damages - Seasons 1-3
Dan Crossen

High tension legal drama on the cutting edge of white collar crime


ART & OPINION
The Rise of Popular Culture in Musicals – Theatre’s saviour or Theatre’s downfall? - Rebecca Felgate
During the latter half of the 20th century London’s West End theatre business was booming. With musicals like Cats, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon drawing in audiences for decades, the new musical was being celebrated across countless stages in Theatre Land.
Didactic Science through Art
Andres Botero

The Mexican muralist Diego Rivera
(1886-1957); his artistic production can be understood as being a giant classroom for all the public in which science played a fundamental rol
l
Life, Literature and the Europeans
Allen Gibson

It is a wet and dreary Sunday morning. Cool rain trickling down, birds chirping, green everywhere. The May long weekend – a bank holiday, as the English would say. And I find myself in a very unusual position, reading European literature
The Nemesis that also faced Sylvia Plath
Abigail George

This is how I remember Helen Maartens. The Magi with their camels and the Owl House; their tethers tug like flame at my heartstrings and I wonder about her wounds, her coy magical healing, did she ever prepare a delicious, warm cake for her friend, that social worker that Fugard spoke so highly of
Della says OMG! By Keris Stainton
Joanna Maclean review

Good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don’t have time. Frank and funny teen diary novel

Sphinx By T.S. Learner
Review by Daniel Cann
Alexandria, Egypt in 1977, on a dive to an old shipwreck archaeologist Isabella Warnock discovers an ancient artifact: an astrarium. This mysterious device is rumoured to have shaped the destinies of pharaohs and kings and even used by Moses at one time.
Harri Stojka
Marianne de Nazareth

Legend has it that gypsies are born musicians. Harri Stojka awed Bangalore’s music aficionado’s with his effortless musical genius
How to Land a Spot in the Best American Travel Anthology
John M Edwards

Sloane Crosley can be congratulated for reintroducing us to authors not usually associated with travel magazines
In Praise of 'Vegan is Love'
James Campion
Author Ruby Roth's Alternative Literature for Kids
My wife is a vegan and we are raising our daughter vegan. I am not a vegan nor am I a vegetarian. I am, for those familiar with this space, nothing. I could scarcely call myself human, really. I traded in my integrity for a moped and a six pack of Genesee Cream Ale in 1981
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2009
Man on Wire
Dan Bond Review
Petit's belief is as infectious as it is inspirational
9 - Directed by Shane Acker
Sam North review
This is simply the most amazing, wonderful, visually stunning and thrilling movie of the year... sadly you will probably have missed it.
How Long is a Piece of String
Horizon BBC TV
Laurie o'Neil review
Confused? You will be...
Flash Forward
Reviewed by Dan Bond
As one of only a handful of people to escape the endless screenings of Lost in recent years, I feel I may have conveniently positioned myself with a slight advantage when it comes to Flash Forward
The Soloist (2009)
Directed by Joe Wright
Daniel Cann
This tells the true story of how journalist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr) met and befriended the homeless but exceptionally gifted musician Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx)
District 9- Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Jack Clarkson Review

Insects Rule!
Batman: Arkham Asylum 2009
Rocksteady Studios. Eidos.
Jack Clarkson review

Carl almost jumped out of his skin when he heard the scream. Loud, shrill and cut short before he could hear exactly where it came from. He almost wondered whether he had really heard it or if it had simply occurred inside his head.
Woody Being Woody
James Campion on Whatever Works
Allen has continued to present a freshly consistent string of darkly funny, thought-provoking satires on the human condition and modern society at large.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Director McG - starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood
Daniel Cann
I am a fan of the original and learning that this one was to be directed by ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’s’ McG as well as a star turn from Helena Bonham Carter (What? Merchant Ivory meets ‘The Terminator’) I had my misgivings.
Star Trek (2009)
Dan Cann
I held my breath waiting for lots of exposition and a plodding story but was pleasantly surprised when the film unrolling before me became a fast-paced, action-packed, adrenalin rush
Let the Right One In
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Aby Davis review
Something spooky has come over me, in recent months I have found myself cautiously peering into the genre of horror and being pleasantly thrilled with the results.
Gran Torino
Directed and Starring Clint Eastwood
Michael Webb v Josef Fiser reviews
The story of hard man turned good has been done over and again. Yet Gran Torino manages to give this well worn story a new vitality.
Notorious (2009)
Ruby C Harrison
Okay, so its 5.45 on a slightly gray, miserable Wednesday. But it is also Orange Wednesday, and I’m off to the cinema with the lads.
Watchmen
Directed by Zack Snyder.
Jack Clarkson
If you’ve read the book, go watch the movie, you owe it to yourself, and frankly, they deserve the price of admission!
In Bruges
Directed by Martin McDonaugh
Is there any more perfect British Christmas movie than 'In Bruges' Winner for Golden Globes & BAFTA
Twilight
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, from the novel by Stephanie Meyer
Aby Davis review
Boy meets Girl, Boy wants to drink girl’s blood, Boy dates girl despite wanting to drink her blood, evil vampire tries to kill Girl and Boy gets to drink some of Girl’s blood in the end
Slumdog Millionaire
Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, and Irrfan Khan

Winner of 4 Golden Globes & 7 Bafta's, 8 Oscars
Jo Green
The vibrant sound of fun-loving India blasted through the speakers and there was no escaping its force. The twists and turns of Asia’s largest slum open up before me as a handful of young rascals run from an inevitably fatter, slower official. This is Mumbai.
SKINS- Season Two
Producer Brian Elsey -Channel 4
Ruby C Harrison
Maybe I should be the first to say it. Put it out there and stop waiting for one more episode like an abandoned first date still filled with a puny and unfounded bit of hope that things will go well. So here we go; the new skins is utter crap.
West Beirut
Hiten Samtani
10 years after its release, West Beirut still intriques
The Wrestler
Darren Aronofsky’s Mission in Mainstream Transition
Dean Betts
Aronofsky’s latest film, The Wrestler, completes his evolution from art-house moviemaker to mainstream money-maker
CSI MIAMI - Sink or Swim
Karen Hall
There are two reasons why I am sold on this detective programme,one is the presence of no-nonsense, tough talking David Caruso as the boss of the outfit Horatio Caine.
The Jeremy Kyle Show
Richard Crawley
Jeremy Kyle is the undisputed King of morning television and reigns supreme over his dominion with a well rehearsed confidence
Scrubs – Season 8
Produced by ABC Studios
Gareth M Bryant
The hit US comedy is back for its final (or at least Zach Braff’s final) fling, but does season 8 compare to the brilliance that is seasons 1-7?
Qi
John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, Stephen Fry
Dan Bond

Qi doesn't fall in to the category of a social or political satire, or even a topical quiz show, instead it relies solely on the intelligence and rapport of three guests
A Silly Gigolo, by Sheena McKay, the third in a group of short stories entitled, ‘A Glimpse of Stocking.’
‘Afternoon Reading.’ BBC Radio 4, 3:30pm Thursday 22nd October 2009

Laurie O’Neil

Dickens Confidential:
The Deal by Rob Kingsman
RADIO 4: Tue 20th October 2009
Karen Hall

This was a hugely enjoyable radio drama that brightened a dull, boring Tuesday afternoon.
Idiot Colony
At the New Theatre Royal
Director: Andrew Lawson
Nina Aumaitre at the New Theatre Royal
This is the true story of three women, incarcerated for life in a Midlands asylum during the 1940’s.
The Day The Planes Came
Written by Caroline & David Stafford, Directed by Marc Beeby BBC Radio 4 – UK
Reviewed by Dan Bond
Although, on face value, Sarah's story presents a somewhat believable plot, The Day The Planes Came fails badly in the aspects considered most important to a radio drama
This Means War: Sex and the City & the Assault on Modern Man
- Kennedy Heather
Being that I inhabit the western hemisphere and am either (a) a female or (b) a gay man, one of my central leisure pursuits is, of course watching Sex and the City. The show is definite in its demographic; this is part of its appeal. You wouldn’t invite your dentist bra shopping and by the same token you don’t expect your straight male pals to cosy up for a full-on SATC sesh. Such are the unspoken codes of civil society.
The Beverely Birch Interview
Aby Davis

Finding myself sitting in front of a woman with 43 books in her name and the power to make and break young writers dreams is rather humbling

_________________________________________________

More Book Reviews here from 2010
The Marcus Sedgwick interview
Callum Graham

'My First Memory is being pushed through a graveyard by my Nanny'.
Marcus Sedgwick talks about life, death and his new book Revolver to Callum Graham
The Clay Dreaming – Ed Hillyer
Publisher: Myriad Editions (8 April 2010)
Dr Dave Allen Review
This is an intriguing novel that centres upon the unexpected meeting in London in 1868 of a young woman, Sarah Larkin, and Bripumyarrinin, known as ‘King Cole’ a native Australian who came to England as a member of the touring Aborigine team.
The Late Great Bruce Chatwin:The Great Pretender
John M Edwards

Obsessed with nomads, he became one himself, ditching two successful careers, as Sotheby’s art expert and Sunday Times columnist, to roam the exotic edges of the literary wilderness.
Why are George Orwell's Essays's So Good?
James Morford

Orwell often lived the lives of those he wrote about, be they soldiers, miners, or the down and out waiting to die in hospitals for the poor.
The Rapture by Liz Jensen
Paul Valentine review

Liz Jensen must know that her story isn’t even a little far fetched, it is far fetched to the point of hilarity
First Rule by Robert Crais
Janette Carr review

Mayhem and murder in tough blood-soaked thriller
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Dan Schneider review

a good novel, in the Gothic tradition, and a very good read
Tropic of Capricorn by Simon Reeve
Daniel Cann

Exposing the harsh truths of life in the southern hemisphere
Fit to Print – Misrepresenting the Middle East by Joris Luyendijk, translated by Michele Hutchison
David Calleja

This should be on the reading list of anybody who wants to understand why news is filtered
I Am Ozzy
Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres
Daniel Cann review

Lively tale of a rock survivor
The Passport by Herta Muller
Paul Valentine Review

Strange surreal window on a post war Romania
The Second Woman - A Denton Mystery by Kenneth Cameron
Karen Murray Gow review
Ingredients for a recipe are just that. Kenneth Cameron has worked them together to create, as the editor suggested, a guaranteed success
The Prophecy by Gill James
Amanda Donovan review

The central theme of the book is the Babel Prophecy
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Karren Murray Gow review

Beautifully written and intelligently structured
Skins: The Novel by Ali Cronin
Kelsey Churcher review
Pay heed to the 18+ label on the cover
Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor
Kilong Ung
A David Calleja
review
Remarkable story of Cambodian survivor who escaped to Portland, Oregon
The Spider Truces by Tom Connolly
Nina Aumaitre

A beautifully written first novel about life and shingle beaches
Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco
Paul Valentine review

The most infuriating aspect of the novel though, is the writing
It's not what you think by Chris Evans
Daniel Cann review

Evans talks frankly about his colleagues, his relationships and his ambitions.
Mean Tide by Sam North
A Paul Valentine review

A boy's adventure in a modern Dickensian setting
City-Pick Dublin
edited by Heather Reyes,
Chris Mills

This is the latest publication in a new series of literary city travel guides. It is a wide ranging guide divided into themed sections including excerpts from fiction, memoir and travel writing.
The Curse of the Toads by Rebecca Lisle
Jade Harrison

The Curse of the Toads is the story of a boy who has just lost everything in the world that he holds dear and the confusion and loneliness that followed.
Daughters of Eve & other new short stories from Nigeria
Kangsen Feka Wakai review
A collection with a realistic streak with occasional dots of the fantastic
Sometimes it Takes a Death: Mother to Mother
by Sindiwe Magona

Tichaona Chinyel
u review
Drawing from the 1993 killing of Amy Biehl in apartheid-era South Africa, Mother to Mother, a novel by Sindiwe Magona, shares with us a different perspective.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Nick Lewandowski review

Here is a murder mystery set in a society where murder does not officially exist. Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 takes place in the Soviet Union in 1953, beginning in the final weeks of the Stalin era. A child’s mutilated body is found near a set of train tracks. The State calls it an accident, the child’s family insists it was murder.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Sam Hawksmoor review

In Delirium we live in a future United States where love is a disease in need of a cure – which sounds a lot like the Taliban took over and may yet happen of course. 
Published: 03/02/2011
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 9780340980910
The Fixer by Steve Bunce
Dan Cann review
After reading ‘The Fixer’ we may, in Bunce, have finally found a writer who can do the sport justice.

2009
Blood Meridian of The Evening Redness in the West
by Cormac McCarthy
Shakil Rabbi
McCathy’s novel recreates the borderlands between America and Mexico deftly and beautifully
Thin Blue Smoke by Doug Worgul. 
Pan Macmillan New Writing, 2009
Ryan Sirmons review
This is a recovering America which has, over time and ‘thin blue smoke’, overcome much of the religious and racial strife which characterised it fifty years ago
Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway
Diana Betherwick review
Gallows Lane then is a rare thing – a crime novel that you want to read more than once.
Generation A by Douglas Coupland
Sam North Review

A return to form from the master of trival lives. The Bees are dead - the future is foreclosed and everyone is calm on Solon
Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn
Gill Haigh review

Acts of Violence is set in a ‘cesspool of a city’ somewhere in America in 1964.  Kat Marino has just finished her shift as the night manager of a sports bar.  In a clipped, cinematic style Ryan Jahn leads us through every harrowing detail of the next two hours of Kat’s life
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale
Chris Mills review

Victorian Murder Mystery investigated
The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn
Mia Palmer review

The Ivy Chronicles is, in most respects, the typical story of a put upon, newly single mother who reinvents herself
Sapphire by Katie Price
Richard Crawley

If you picked up Sapphire hoping to witness a reclaiming of the written word for the common woman then I am afraid you will be sadly disappointed.
In Pursuit of Elegance
by Matthew E. May,
Charles Dickinson review
Matthew May has taken on the task of unpacking what makes for elegance (Why is that enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa so beguiling?). But of course, elegance is far more than the arts.
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Change of Heart’ is Jodi Picoult’s second novel to debut at number one on the highly prestigious New York Times bestseller list, and deservedly so.
Glasshopper
Isobel Ashdown
Glasshopper is masterful ... easily readable in a short time, the plot never too tight for comfort
Sir Alan Sugar - Biography by Charlie Burden
Published by John Blake Publishing 2009
Dan Cann
In the last few years British television has been saturated with reality shows. One in particular has received much attention and commentary not so much because of its contestants, but because of one man, Sir Alan Sugar
Time To Eat The Dog? - The real guide to sustainable living by Robert and Brenda Vale,
Charlie Dickinson review
If everyone on Earth shared equally the lifestyle enjoyed in North America, then five planet Earths would be needed. Obviously, an unattainable proposition.
The Stories Of J.F. Powers
Dan Schneider review

Every so often there is an artist that has a great reputation, yet a small cult following, that turns out to truly be a great artist. Then, there are all the other times that one recognizes that the repute for greatness is merely the mistaken dementia of the cultic ideologues
Little Daughter - A Memoir of Survival in Burma and the West by Zoya Phan with Damien Lewis
David Calleja review
One survivor from the Burmese junta’s war against its own people shows that courage is displayed in multiple forms. Zoya Phan’s account is a double-edged sword, reflecting fear and hope in the same breath.
Beautiful Children by Charles Bock
Victor Manley review
There was hope in the first thirty-two pages. Hope bolstered by false praise, and yet it falls, rather spectacularly.
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Sam North review
The stress and tension it arouses in just reading it is unbearable. An astonishing grippiing Swedish Crime novel
American Hunger by Richard Wright
Jessica Schneider
Imagine reading a great classic novel like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and then reading "a follow up story" about Francie Nolan in later years. How can a writer expect to have a successful follow up of what already is a great work?
The Texas Stories Of Nelson Algren
Dan Schneider
Reading The Texas Stories Of Nelson Algren, a 1995 book from The University Of Texas Press, and edited and introduced by Bettina Drew, was an odd experience because a) the quality of the tales was very hit and miss and b) the book was not really a book, at all
The Collected Stories Of Carson McCullers
Dan Schneider
In reading The Collected Stories Of Carson McCullers I was expecting good, and possibly great, things. After all, her first published novel, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is a near great novel.
David Leavitt’s Collected Stories
Dan Schnieder
if the word hack had not already existed, it would have to have been invented for a writer like Leavitt.
Apples by Richard Milward
Ruby C Harrison
You’ve got to hand it to Richard Milward, nineteen year old author of ‘Apples;’ if I’d had my first novel published before leaving my teens I’d be well chuffed. But as for the novel itself, I can’t quite make my mind up.
Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction
by Susan Cheever,
Charlie Dickinson
This latest memoir DESIRE is yet another addition to the literature of personal disaster, exploring the dark corner of human experience that is sexual addiction.
2666 by Roberto Bolano
Publisher: Picador (16 Jan 2009)
Victor Manley
My perseverance was sure to hold out, my patience was boundless, and yet despite my goodwill, I was horrified to find myself flagging. What could be the possible reason for this?
Knife by R J Anderson
Orchard Books; (Jan 2009);
Sam North
What an extraordinary tale ‘Knife’ is - this is a different take on Faeries at the bottom of the garden
Dead Air by Iain Banks
Callum Graham
Iain Banks is not necessarily the obvious choice to pick as a writer who embodies the spirit of our times. However, after reading his novel Dead Air I found him to be a prime candidate.
The Whore's Child And Other Stories, by Richard Russo
Dan Schneider
Perhaps the best way to judge a short story writer is to look at how he ends his tales
Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls)
at the Sugar Club in Dublin 16.02.09
Aurelie Montfrond
The Sugar Club may be one of the only place I enjoy going to in Dublin
On Reading The Gambler
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Matt Alison
Preparation to read The Gambler by Dostoyevsky started in January on a cold Sunday afternoon in Manhattan.
Aung San Suu Kyi: The Voice of Hope by Alan Clements
Ebury Press
Reviewed by David Calleja
The political, social and economic tragedy that exists in present day Burma is a permanent stain on humanity. Burma is a prison within a prison.
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
The Mayflower Theatre Southampton
A Jen Ames Review
The best part of the tour of Joseph and his multicoloured overcoat (as my Grandad announced it was called in the bar beforehand,) was the end.
The Mad Mad Mad Mad World of "Weird Pulp Fiction"
John M Edwards
Is H.P. Lovecraft scarier than E.A. Poe? Hell yeah, says paparazzo-of-the-paranormal John M. Edwards, who beats up the dead horse deeming it a tie—and drives out to mist- and myth-shrouded Providence, RI, to prove why...
The Commuter Times
Laurie O’Neil
My first impression of this slim, girly pink, one third of A4 pocket sized booklet with a front cover title of, ‘THE COMMUTER TIMES.COM.’ followed by an italicised subtitle of ‘your ticket to a better journey,’ would probably be the same as yours. This is not a serious publication; this is Private Eye meets Viz.
The Man Who Would Not Die By Stephen Olvey
Daniel Cann

Long before Jack Osbourne became an adrenalin junkie and Evel Knievel decided to jump over buses for a living there was ‘Lucky’ Herschel McKee.
Conversations from the neighbourhood ice cream shop
by Denny Stockdale
Karen Hall review

There is much to recommend in this book. The language is easily formal, uncritical and stimulating
Clough’s War by Don Shaw
Review by Daniel Cann
What is really a small town affair is turned into something akin to a detective thriller as both sides plot and manipulate against each other trying to dictate events.
Emil and the Detectives Dramatisation by Katie Hims of the comic children's detective novel by Erich Kaestner.
Directed by Jessica Dromgoole. Broadcast on: BBC Radio 4, 2:30pm Saturday 17th October 2009
Mia Palmer review
In this delightful play we follow country boy Emil Tischbein, as he journeys up from Neustadt to Berlin in Germany for the first time.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo explored
Tom Harris

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is Larsson¹s social portrait of a corrupt, modern Sweden. He uses the unconventional characters of the novel to explore this using the themes of abuse, control and revenge.
Don't You Want Me? by India Knight
Review by Daisy Seely

India Knight is a great 'chick-lit' writer of our time
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Jessica Schnieder

This is my first experience reading Shusaku Endo, and given his lofty reputation and the fact that he is non-American and thus has not had his mind chiseled by cookie-cutter MFA programs
The Herring Seller’s Apprentice
by L C Tyler

Claire Holland review
'an assured and beautifully written debut, told with humour and an impressive lightness of touch'
Red Clay, Blue Cadillac by Michael Malone
Dan Schneider review

Malone, in a sense, is a very generic Southern writer. All the standbys are in his work- murder, lust, drinking, red necks, etc.
Homicide: A year on the killing Streets
by David Simon
Richard Crawley review

a raw, visceral curbstomp of a book
Ross Kemp in Afghanistan
Daniel Cann review

Kemp has morphed from a soap star and actor into a serious and acclaimed investigative journalist and television presenter
And Another Thing… By Eoin Colfer
Daniel Cann review

Pan galactic gargle blasters, towels and offbeat humour abound in this worthy and welcome new addition to the series.
John Reynolds: The Autobiography
By John Reynolds with Jason McClean

A very ‘what you see is what you get’ type of character emerges
Force of Nature by Robin-Knox Johnston with Kate Laven
Daniel Cann

RKJ is not an ordinary person as I found out as the pages turned.
The Savage Detectives by Robert Bolano
Mathew Clews

The question of the source of literary authenticity, a modern literary argument, is central to the work of Bolaño:  Does a writer have to have had lived through his experiences to write about them or should his imagination be entitled to free reign?

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Nick Lewandowski

Vampires have finally gotten their teeth back. Rows upon rows of them, in fact. The Passage is the first novel in author Justin Cronin’s planned post-apocalyptic vampire trilogy

The Descendants
Director: Alexander Payne
Sam Hawksmoor review
Wife in a coma after a boating accident - Matt King (Clooney) a lawyer and landowner in Hawaii is faced with having to look after and understand his kids for the first time in his life.
Sherlock Holmes
A Game of Shadows
Dir: Guy Ritchie
Writers Kieran & Michele Mulroney
Starring Robert Downey Jnr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, 
Sam North review
Purists look away now - the second outing of Robert Downey Jnr as the Victorian sleuth Sherlock Holmes is a LOT of fun.  It’s an action packed thriller with cross dressing and very big guns.
Moonrise
Moonrise Kingdom

Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman
Sam Hawksmoor review

In what must be Wes Anderson’s most complete and coherent movie yet, Moonrise Kingdom arrives and is like a perfect summer picnic
Theatre: The Defiant Capitalist Returns
James Campion
In Praise of "Death of a Salesman" at the Barrymore Theater - In the guise of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the mid-twentieth century victim of urbanization, progress, and the delusions of facile success as image, Willy Loman emerges as the defiant lion of the twenty-first century
The Terror Of Tiny Town

Dan Schneider
The Terror Of Tiny Town is a 1938 dwarf B film (Black and white) that is often spoken of in the same terms as two other films with dwarves in them- Tod Browning’s 1931 film, Freaks, and Werner Herzog’s 1970 film Even Dwarfs Started Small  




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