Wednesday, 25 March 2015



The traditional husband cheating on wife in this book has a different twist. Many times books have shown the debacle from the wife's point of view, but this author has managed to find a new angle on the scenario. The story starts fairly slowly and I wasn't sure for quite awhile whether this was to be a "family" story, a cozy mystery or morph into a medical murder mystery. Just as I was becoming a restless reader, everything changed! The plot thickened - from the husband's point of view...

Danny is a neurosurgeon and should be smarter than he proves to be, but from here on in, the intrigue deepens...and deepens. Following a family tragedy, Danny is distracted by a pair of eyes staring over the top of a mask in the operating theatre. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive!" Our mums and aunts knew what they were talking about. As Danny struggles with his rapidly changing circumstances, the family's reactions to his predicament show just how much they care about the twit! It is a measure of the author's skill that I felt a little compassion for Danny although I was surprised that he apparently felt no real sorrow or even much guilt for what he'd done to his wife. There was considerable satisfaction in my mind when things went down hill for him! I liked the resilient Sara immensely, but was too engrossed in the twit's problems to worry about her, because she was/is a survivor.

I started reading this book late yesterday afternoon and when I woke up at 3.30am and couldn't go back to sleep, continued to the end. Having had a life-saving operation in 2013, I was fascinated by the descriptions of operations and theatre procedure. I was also amused to see that the author cleverly inserted herself into the action at one stage  :)

Having been highly entertained by this story, I've already started the next one which appears to take up a few weeks after the ending of Bk 1. Will report in again after I've sampled what I am sure will be the delights of Danny's mad life.

ZELLWOOD: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud


The information accompanying this story was quite clear that this is a short story, so those who lambasted the author because this was not a full length book were not paying attention to what they were buying.

A simple story of love and loss, it is beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes. Animals know when their beloved companion dies and anyone who says they don't have souls - for me - is an idiot. Everyone knows that they go to the Rainbow Bridge where they are safe, loved and young again.

Great little story.



Any book with the word "Beethoven" in the title will attract me. Classical music is my passion - I produce and present a weekly classical radio program - so of course I had to read this novella and was highly impressed with Sweeney's use of language to paint a vivid portrait of not only the characters, but of the lives they lived at that time.

The beauty of the face on the cover is a measure of the writing within. Exquisitely presented, this is the story of a woman - perhaps his "immortal beloved" - with whom Beethoven was believed to be deeply in love and to whom he wrote many letters. Although Beethoven fell in love a number of times throughout his life, he was never successful in his pursuits. In spite of his recognised genius, he was considered too lower class for the women to whom he aspired. Beset by illness and court battles over the custody of his nephew, the setting for this novella was the latter part of his life.

Life for women, particularly in the lower classes, in the composer's time was frequently one of slavery. Adela, reduced to relative poverty by her drunken, abusive father's lifestyle, is trapped in the home with him and his predatory assistant. Deprived of her piano and no longer able to enjoy the comforts of the lifestyle to which she was born, her only escape is into the secrets of her mind.

Beethoven, deaf and ailing in health, arrives at an inn to be the subject of an early photograph which necessitates him sitting still for many hours while the image burns into the photographic plate. As crowds gather to leer at the famous composer, Adela and Beethoven get to know each other a circumstance which eventuates in their meeting at a later date.

Sweeney uses a passage in the book to brilliantly sum up the worship of celebrity, painting a picture of society which is re-enacted wherever fans gather to gawk at the famous: " The very notion that he was there made grown men beat each other to the ground and trample each other in an attempt to see him. And the very notion that he was there made grown men forget there's nothing to be gained by seeing somebody who is a stranger to you, who has no place in your life, who has no interest in you and wouldn't care if you never existed. There was nothing to be gained except an opportunity for gross humiliation."(quote from the book).

This summary is familiar to us all, being enacted almost nightly on the television and particularly when theatrical and musical awards are being handed out.

I enjoyed not only the whimsical yet believable account of what may have transpired between Beethoven and a young woman, but also the analysis of the great composer's music.

Highly recommended.

LANE'S END by Australian author, Jill Paterson


Loved this traditional murder mystery! Beautifully written, the characters are a delight, each person's life unfolding without fanfare. Fitzjohn's bossy sister and her intimidated niece to Betts, his sergeant who has a "thing" for Sophie, Grieg, Fitzjohn's nemesis and his belligerent neighbour all play their parts with conviction.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting - Sydney, where I lived for many years - the solid policing and quiet style of the lead character and the lack of erotica - a welcome change!

I shall be reading more of this author's work.

COLD GRANITE by Stuart Macbride


I purchased this book on the recommendation of a member of a forum to which I belong. I was not disappointed!

The character of Logan McRae is realistic and encourages the reader's sympathy for his problems. He has just returned to work after a stabbing attack by a murderer a year previously, and now Logan has to put up with more assaults on his stomach in the course of duty. WPC Jackie Watson, assigned to look after Logan, is a delightful character who excites his interest. Together they endeavour to hunt down the perpetrator of the murders of children before the media - and the hierarchy of the Aberdeen police - fricassee them.

The twists and turns in this novel are classic Scottish policing, well researched and delightfully - if one could call a series of brutal murders and parade of unsavoury characters so - portrayed. The reality of police work, far from being constantly dramatic, is shown as one of slogging through reams of administrative information, door knocking and endless knockbacks.

The opening chapter is grim, alerting the reader to the terrifying prospect of a psychotic killer on the rampage. This does not disappoint, but on the way, McRae and Watson encounter felons of varying degrees. False arrests are rife and the pressure to solve the crime builds inexorably. An unlike ally appears in the form of a flashy, rough reporter who has an informer consistently supplying him with information. Desperate to find out who is revealing secrets, McRae forms an uneasy alliance with Miller. The denouement, when it comes, is obvious upon reflection by the reader.

A brilliant read and highly recommended.

PERFECTION by J.L. Campbell


This story is classic J.L. Campbell, Jamaica's foremost romance writer.

Natasha, young and gorgeous is in a relationship with the unreliable Malik. Time and again, she breaks up with him because of his cheating, but she is lured back into his net. Then she meets Karim, Malik’s cousin. Gorgeous, kind, sexy...perfection! Or so she thinks. The old saying, if it’s too good to be true then it probably is springs to mind. Karim’s hiding a secret which would show former irresponsibility and how his life has changed. Natasha, who is fed up with flaky twits, is disappointed in Karim, but then another secret and a betrayal comes to light!

A terrific and cute story, well written with natural dialogue, this novel is well worth its cost. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next in the Sister series.

Well done indeed!   



Economy of word is the essence of this highly exciting novel! I enjoyed the "Just the facts, Mam" style reminiscent of the old style cop shows, but modern in application.

The hero, Jack, is a complex character who saves a member of the Mafia from an assault and then takes on a job for the Family - just the once, he thinks - but even though he is a sophisticated ex-Marine, he is sucked into a vortex of death unable to find a way out. However, it's a job - no more than cleaning scum off the human pond - and this is shown through the type of people Jack is sent to exterminate. Scoundrels, sadists, murderers of the bodies and of the souls of their victims. There's more to Jack than being a hitman however, and although the reader is not privy to his private thoughts as such, his view of the scum shows a great deal about him. Jack, in fact, needs to be sure that the subject of each hit is unworthy of life.

Seemingly. Jack is unable to love, but just as he is thinking about getting out of the "business" he meets Lauren, herself a victim of the abuse of one of his hits. How Jack saves her and sets up a future for them is intriguing and well written.

This is not the end of Jack and Lauren - far from it - and I am waiting impatiently for the next in the series.

Very well done indeed!