Monday, 24 February 2014

Off The KUF Volume 3

Off the KUF 3 is a collection of 6 novellas by some of my favourite authors

Adventure on the Scotch Express by Cecilia Peartree
This was a nice mystery set on the Scotch Express set amongst the suffrage movement and involving a little bit of cross dressing.
I enjoyed the gentleness of this story.  Even the ruffians weren't too rough.

Bernard and the Bibble by Carl Ashmore
This is a children's story about Bernard meeting a Bibble and going into his world.  It was a little young for me, but an enjoyable story, nonetheless.

The Rocks Below by Nigel Bird
I'd not read any Nigel Bird stories previously and was very impressed with this one.  It seems to start as a collection of short stories, then I noticed they were set in the same area and then I realised they were all part of the same story as the people met up.  It was very well written and very enjoyable.  I think this might have been my favourite of the collection.

Maureen and the Big One by Jonathan Hill
This is the third of the Maureen "adventures".  Maureen has a bit more heart in this one compared to her previous outings.  I enjoyed it knowing her past, but I believe the story is good as a stand-alone and you don't really need to have any past story to enjoy it.

Copy by David Wailing
I've read all the stories in the Auto series by David Wailing, and this is one of my favourites.  It is quite an intense thriller and as all the Auto stories, the story just ramps up and up and up.  

The Devine Legacy by Jennifer Hanning
This is quite a sweet tale of an older lady getting an unexpected inheritance and setting out to retrace the steps of her first romance.

So a mixture of stories, with nothing in common except I enjoyed them all.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Undertaker's Cabinet by David Haynes

This story is a little different to the author's recently released books in that it is mostly set in the present.  Bobby Moreton's family undertaker business is going down the pan and he's fed up and wants out.  But there's history and it wants to rear its ugly head.

Part of the story is set where the first Moreton is setting up the business.  The chapters switch back and fore giving hints of what happened and why the new undertaker is in town and wants Moreton for himself.

The story starts off not too creepy.  There are quite a few descriptions of what undertakers do behind closed doors and it probably wasn't a good idea for me to read those over lunch.  The story ramps up and up and since you know you are reading a David Haynes horror book, you certainly aren't disappointed. 

This author has a way with words and the language of the time and is a delight to read in a dastardly way.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A Tasteful Crime by Cecilia Peartree

This is the seventh episode of the wonderful Pitkirtly series.  I can't believe it's up to number 7 and Cecilia's stories are still fresh.  By now most of the core characters are just so familiar, you know what they are thinking and feeling.

This episode's murder mystery happens when a TV cookery show comes to town.  And we find out Christopher has an ex-wife!!!!  I don't know if I'm like Amaryllis and a little bit jealous. 

Again, as with all the other stories, this is a most delightful and delicious read.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kamikaze Kangaroos! by Tony James Slater

Tony's back and this time he has kangaroos to contend with.  And falling in luuuurrve.  I'm not sure what's more scary for him.

This book does exactly what it says on the cover.  It's the tale of Tony, his sister Gill and Gill's best friend, Roo.  Roo is Australian, so Gill goes to stay with her and Tony tags along.  Problem is, Tony is 3 months late, so there's a bit of a rush for them to get some agricultural work done so they can extend their visas.  

Rusty the van is the 4th character in this book and I'm sure he'll be a popular one. I manged to track down some photos of him on facebook and he was even brighter than I imagined.

I think Tony's books should be read in the right order as I feel this one was more "for the fans".  There's less madcap animal antics, and a whole lot more of Tony "the man".  I did think at times the book was a bit long, although there was nothing I'd not want to read, nor did I want it to end.  The good thing about Tony is that he always has a story and so you know it won't end.

This book is Tony's time in Australia, from picking fruit, to laying paving slabs via setting up exhibition halls.  From living in and by the side of Rusty, to dorms to bedsits.  From walking the Bibbulmun trail (100km!!!) to just travelling because they wanted to. Armed with just a few clothes, unsuitable boots and trail mix, this is the life you think you might want to live if you just up sticks and go. At times I felt jealous of them, most of the time I was happy with my warm soft bed and large choice of food.

I feel I know Tony and Gill and Roo more than I should.  As I said, this is much more personal story of the trio.  Tony has a magic way of writing that is very readable and he is not afraid of telling the truth.  This was another very very enjoyable read.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

This starts off as what seems to be a run of the mill 70s Glasgow police procedural.  It is John's first week in CID, where the other officers make Gene Hunt look like a by the book type of policeman.  A lad has been murdered on the street by a gang of yobs and the cops think it's an easy case.

Whilst the language in the scenes at the police station is the worst you can read, this story moves away from there.  The basis of the story is a boy's death, but the heart of the story is John's developing relationship with the boy's father, Francis.  In fact the story spans decades and becomes gentler as it goes on and John's career develops.

When I first looked at this book I wasn't sure I fancied it, but I was recommended it and as I read more and more, I didn't want to put it down.  The relationship between John and Francis as Francis teaches John to be an expert craftsman was very heartwarming.  I really enjoyed this story, it had heart in a cruel world and was well told.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Infested by Mark Faulkner

I started reading this without paying attention to the blurb as I like this author and will read whatever he writes.  The title is Infested and he writes horror.  That was all the information I had.

The story starts off quite slow and meandering as the storyteller relates his canoe trip.  I did think this went on a bit, but that just lulled me into a false sense of security as when the action started, bam, there was no stopping it.  I was practically reading this behind a cushion.  If it was a film, I'd be peeking through my fingers.

I thought this was a great little story, set in an idyllic English countryside that you just don't want to visit any more.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow by Andrew Fish

Erasmus, a physics and history teacher, has designed himself a time machine.  He goes back in time to meet Robin Hood just because he can. But history back then is not the same as the stories nowadays.

This is a crackingly good romp.  Robin Hood is a bit of a twonk and it is Maid Marian who wears the trousers.  Erasmus keeps getting into trouble as he tries to find out the truth about Robin and undo the changes he's probably made to history.

This book has some gentle humour to it and is a nice easy entertaining read.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Beyond Belief by Helen Smith

Beyond belief is the second outing for Emily Castles.  This time she is invited to attend a conference of psychics and the like and report on it in a scientific matter.

This is a cosy mystery with some over the top characters and unlikely murders.  

I enjoyed this story but it wasn't unputdownable as I put it down and read a few books in between, although I did get back into it and then didn't put it back down until I finished it.

I like this type of story, gently comedic, with murders that aren't bloody or full of gore.  I didn't quite get why Emily was there or what she was doing or even what was in her report, but that wasn't important, she was the voice bringing things together.

This was an enjoyable gentle read.