Thursday, 28 October 2010

'DEAD LIKE YOU' - Peter James

On Monday 1st November a new online book-group is starting - no, not just focussing on one book and 'doing' it to death - this group aims to give contributors the chance to 'promote' some of their favourites reads and authors, encourage others to try them out.

To kick off this new venture, here’s my first review. Feel free to comment here and/or visit the site, and check out the other ‘reads!

DEAD LIKE YOU by Peter James

This is the sixth title in a series by Peter James, following the central character of Detective Superintendant Roy Grace. Located in and around Brighton, the earlier books set the scene with a regular ‘supporting cast’ of fellow officers, of both lower and senior ranks – some of which Grace relies on; others he tolerates!

Along with the rest of Peter James’ books, Dead Like You has a kernel of truth being based on a real life occurrence. Here, the villain, known as the Shoe Man, attacked women and stole their shoes as trophies. The book covers two time frames – a ‘cold case’ several years previously, in 1997 when the Shoe Man was at the height of his campaign, and the present day when it appears he may have returned – or is it a copycat? The storyline covers two possible suspects and I oscillated between the two as being the guilty party right up until the final scenes where I was convinced I knew which one was the perpetrator – but there’s a twist at the end!

Counterpoint to this, runs the story of Grace’s missing wife, Sandy. In the first book of the series, Dead Simple, we are told that Sandy has been declared ‘missing’ some time earlier, leaving Grace in a sort of ‘limbo’ situation. By book six, he has developed a relationship with Cleo, a Home Office pathologist. With the imminent arrival of parenthood Grace is ready to settle down and re-marry, having started the process to have Sandy declared legally dead. Dead Like You fills in some of the relationship story of Grace and Sandy, as the flashbacks to the 'cold case' of the Shoe Man return to a time when they were happy together, even if she was not always supportive of his career!

If you like police procedural novels, you will love this book! Peter James has built up a strong relationship with former and currently serving police officers, coroners and pathologists, thus helping to give authenticity to his work. Yet he writes with an added vulnerability to Grace’s character as the Detective Superintendant bends the rules, or at least blurs the lines he’s prepared to overstep, in order to solve the case.

The paperback edition of Dead Like You was released in the UK on 14th October this year and is currently at No.1 on the Sunday Times book list for the second week running.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


OK. Call me an old softy, but I do love a good show!

For many years "Miss Saigon" was way up there on a pedestal but sadly it's no longer touring the UK (Please Mr Mackintosh, bring it back, huh? Pretty-please?)

Now, after a weekend trip to the West End I think I shall declare "Love Never Dies" a justifiable contender for 1st place on my list of top shows!

Having seen Phantom and it's new sequel back-to-back earlier in the year, R and I went to see Love Never Dies again - and I think there's a real danger of us two becoming LND-groupies!

For a flavour of the magificence, watch Ramin Karimloo (Phantom) belting this out:

....such a wonderful show and amazing special effects!

And, in these days of economic hardship (we were in the fairly-high-up-but-not-quite-in-'the gods' cheap-ish seats!) - at the end of the performance the star of the show interrupted the curtain-call to give his personal thanks to the audience for spending their hard-earned cash in supporting 'live' theatre.

(....and, cheekily, persuaded us part with more of it, as members of the cast held a collection on behalf of the 'Acting For Others' charity, which supports former artistes and their dependents in need)

Monday, 18 October 2010


In 24 days time, Grant McKenzie's new book, 'No Cry For Help' is released in the UK.

So, if you're not familiar with his work, that gives you just over three weeks to catch up with him and read his first book, 'Switch'! :-)

Last year I picked up this book, while I was sorting through the newly accquired books (one of the few perks of working for the library service) and read the blurb.

Well, that was it - hooked!

I literally couldn't put it down (I kept sneaking off the library floor to read a couple of pages - but don't tell my boss, will you?) and it was a real rollercoster-ride of a novel!

'Sam White believes his family are dead, killed in a house fire, and his world falls apart - then someone contacts him to say they're alive, but to stay that way he has to perform a few simple tasks - including murder.....!'

So, I've been eagerly awaiting a follow-up from this cracking author (and jolly nice bloke, too! :-) ) - not long to wait, now!

Do yourself a favour and get a copy of 'Switch' - a thrill-a-minute, white-knuckle ride!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Spread a bit of cheer!

Writing is hard - first you have to have an idea - then you have to couch it in terms that others will enjoy! And that's just the beginning, never mind completing the work and getting it published!

As well as yours truly, a few people I know are in need of some TLC and encouragement in this department - YOU probably know others, too! So why not drop by and give them a (metaphorical) hug and whisper words of encouragement to their flagging enthusiasm.

Come on, everyone needs someone cheering them on.....

.....just don't expect me to jump up and down waving pompoms, tho'! ;-p

(and by way of amusement - I came across this.... ;-)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

NaNoWriMo - the month of madness!

OK. I gave in to pressure and signed up for NaNoWriMo once again! I've mothballed the current WIP in order to give myself breathing space - now I just need inspiration to kick-start my imagination!

My 'partner in crime' (R) has also signed up - so we will have to keep gaoding each other during the inevitable 'writers block' moments. ;-)

I'll be registered under my previous nom-de-plume: 'Library Maid' so, if any of you budding writers fancy the challenge, why not head over there and check out the website? (and give me a buzz when you arrive ;-) )

What have you got to lose?

(....the words 'sleep' and 'sanity' come to mind......;-p)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Be careful what you wish for.....!

I used to joke that I could do with a nice sprained ankle or something - just enough to make it impossible for me to go to work (or do housework!) and not impair my appetite so I could still enjoy my food, that way I could lie back and get stuck into the TBR pile guilt-free! ;-)

Well, I sort of got my wish - this gammy knee is getting no better and it now seems I may have damaged ligaments. But, the Doc didn't seem to think it warranted a sick note so I've had to hobble into work for the last couple of days, while waiting to see what the hospital has to say about possible physio.

The mini-Matterhorn of books in the TBR pile just glares defiantly at me - I have a couple of titles on the go at the moment but can't seem to settle to read at all....typical!

And the knitting yarn I bought home from America is whispering seductively at me....but it's hard to knit/crochet AND hold a book at the same time (now I see the point of a Kindle, as I could just prop it up in front of me...!)

As for the appetite - no problems there at all. However, having returned from 'across the pond' and realising my clothes are a wee bit tighter (too much good food!!) I'm having to get back to eating simply and sensibly (how boring is that?)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

(Sort of) Normal Service Is Resumed

Ho, hum - back to good old 'Blighty', complete with rain and grey skies :-(

Farewell to the beautiful New England colours and glorious scenery.....and 'hello' to wet and windy Warwickshire. It will take some getting used to but at least I have very pleasant memories of a wonderful stay with K and O (will have to go on a diet after all the wonderful food O produced! ;-) )

This jaunt had a sort of literary feel to it: visited Louisa May Alcott's house in Concord (R loves 'Little Women') and the House of Seven Gables (another R favourite, imortalised by Nathaniel Hawthorne) plus, had to check out that Matt Hilton had got a real flavour of Maine in his latest book, 'Cut and Run'! (just about spot-on I'd say!

Like home, this holiday involved both books and beer - from home-brew to local ales - and a drink in 'Cheers!' in Boston ;-p

Until the rest of the photos get sorted out (my camera jammed the first day there >:-( ) you'll have to make do with this piccie taken on my phone at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

...and we're already planning a return visit, this time taking in Prince Edward Island (books, again - 'Anne of Green Gables' - another R favourite! The things you do to indulge your kids, eh? ;-) )