Archives for posts with tag: corruption

Today I bring you another review. A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan, ‘Everyone Burns’. And I could not pass the opportunity to read and comment the second one.  I leave you my five stars review, a link to the book in e-format and paperback and a link to my review of the previous book, just in case you missed it.

Hungry Ghosts, 'Time, Blood and Karma' Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts, ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts (Time, Karma and Blood Series Book 2) by John Dolan. Family secrets, family feuds, betrayals and ghosts.

‘The spirits of the dead are all around us, but it is we, the living, that are the true hungry ghosts.’ I could not agree more with the reflections of David Braddock, the detective-cum-philosopher and therapist who is the protagonist of Hungry Ghosts, the second book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan. I read the first book in the series Everyone Burns and when I reviewed it I mentioned that I thought this would be a five star series but the first book left me wanting more and with too many questions pending. Be reassured, Hungry Ghosts delivers on all the promises of the first and more, and although, of course this being a series everything could not be resolved, the novel answers many of the questions, whilst opening new avenues for inquiry and intriguing plots.

‘Sometimes I come across as superficial. Of this I am aware. However, you may be confident that inside my head I am forever plumbing new shallows, finding novel ways to express the obvious, reheating old jokes.’

David Braddock, one of the most peculiar detectives I’ve met in fiction (and I am aware all famous detectives have quirks and characteristics that make them memorable) is back with a vengeance. Or rather, he is the intended victim of a revenge attempt. Vending the rules, although it appears to be the standard MO in Thailand, does not come without consequences even there. People die, lives are destroyed, and strange alliances are made and broken. Not your standard day at the office.

If Braddock still retains many of the characteristics we’ve come to expect of most males detectives (he has an array of love interests, two of them married, one related to him by first marriage…), we get to see more of his soft/emotional side. His strange relationship with his first wife (now dead), his daughter (away in England), his housekeeper (not his maid, as he insists throughout the whole book. She is clearly much more than a housekeeper, as signaled by the fact that they have never had sex), his mother-in-law, and crucially, his father. Family secrets abound, not only those of the Braddock family, but also of other families. Fathers and sons with troubled relationships are mirrored on both sides of the law (although the lines are very fine and there is no black and white here, rather different shades of grey), and even Braddock’s Zen master, the Old Monk, has sons who are on opposite sides of the law.

The author shows his talent by using a variety of points of view throughout the novel that allow us to understand better the events and the motivations behind the actions of the characters. We share in the murderer’s frame of mind, the Chief of Police of Samui and his wife (and Braddock’s lover), the detective’s sister in law, the gangsters… We might side with Braddock but we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of others and are a step ahead. That is why the twist at the end is even more effective. We should have seen it coming but we were too taken by the action and the story, and rooting for the flawed hero to realise that…

John Dolan treads carefully and manages to recap enough information to allow somebody who has not read the first novel to enjoy and make sense of this one, whilst at the same time not boring somebody who has recently read ‘Everyone Burns’, and just nudging their memory (especially with the unfamiliar names) along.

David Braddock is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives. Although an amateur at both detective work and psychology (or therapeutic interventions), he has a natural flair for both. I couldn’t help but think that he might make an interesting team with Mary, the psychiatrist who gets involved in all sorts of crimes in my stories. It’s a thought.

Hungry Ghosts has gang-warfare, police corruption, revenge, murders and violence, secrets and revelations, honey traps and meddling employees, witty repartees and reflections (‘I need to simplify my life so far as women are concerned. Maybe I should get castrated and have done with it.’), ghosts and padrinos (Thai style). I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next and what will come of the sudden epiphany Braddock experiences in this book. As he observes: ‘We are the artisans of avoidance, the fabricators of falsehoods. We sell ourselves snake-oil and we call it medicine.’ I’m sure there will be more revelations to come and I suspect the author might take us in unsuspected directions. I am getting a ticket for the next trip. Are you?

Links:

e-version:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENZAURQ/

Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0957325622/

Here I leave you a link to my previous post about ‘Everyone Burns’.

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/review-everyone-burns-time-blood-and-karma-book-one-by-john-dolan-counselling-politics-and-detection-in-thailand/

Thanks for reading, and you know the drill, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and don’t forget to CLICK!

Some of you might know, many must suspect, but I love books. More recently, since I started publishing myself I became interested in the work of of ‘indie authors’. Authors who have published independently of publishing companies and in general have a ‘Do it Yourself’ attitude towards the business, being involved in all areas, not only writing the book, but proofreading, editing, formating, designing or choosing covers, and also, marketing and trying to ensure that their books reach an audience. Many of us meet in social media, support each others’ efforts, provide advice for each other, encouragements, suggestions, and we also read some of our fellow authors’ books. Nic Taylor is a member of one such group of authors and so am I. He posted the beginning of his book ‘A Plague of Dissent’ in his Facebook page and asked for comments and we got chatting. He sent me a copy of his book and although due to time constraints it took me a while to get aroudn to reading it, I finally made it and it was worth my while. Now in a new revised and improve edition, with new cover, don’t forget to click on the link and check the book!

Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent

‘Be Scared, Be Very Scared’

Don’t let the title of my review put you off. No, Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent is not a horror book (although I love horror books). At least not a horror genre book. What the title refers to is the slow realisation – whilst reading the novel – that it is not only topical and the socio/historical events described very close to the bone, but the fictional elements are more than plausible. Although one might have a different opinion as to some of the premises (who organises the terrorist attacks and their reasons, for example), the actual details and planning of it sound incredibly convincing and the more horrifying for it.

The author is well versed in British current affairs and he uses them to create a multilayered background to his fictional (? we hope) story. Recent big news items (phone hacking scandal and enquiry, riots, allegations of child pornography, coalition government…) are not only background setting of the novel but become an integral part of the plot, and they are seamlessly woven together to create a complex and realistic tapestry. I live in the UK and must say some of the incidents and situations made me chuckle.

The novel is extremely well plotted and even minor incidents that at first sight might appear insignificant are eventually relevant and their significance revealed. A woman accidentally run over by a car, a man caught up in the riots and injured, a rugby training session…everything falls into place like a well-oiled machine.

We get to know the main characters gradually, and they reveal themselves to be not only likeable, but also true heroes. Adam is a fantastic protagonist, who goes from being maligned by the media; in an attempt at revenge by a jealous husband, to risking his life to save…well, everybody. His brother, Dan, Ron, his friend and special agent, Isobel, his love interest, the few honest detectives and policemen, are all real people you can relate to but make a larger than life cast who can take on any situation. You would want them by your side in a moment of crisis.

‘A Plague’ is cinematic in its style, moving with ease from sweeping takes that quickly provide a general view of the national and international situation and the consequences of the events narrated, to minute takes of details such as weaponry, computer files and medication. The pace accelerates and you become gripped by the events, at once thrilled and worried as to what would happen if it were real. Would there be enough honest members of the police, and concerned citizens (like Adam and friends) to halt such a terrorist ploy?

I don’t want to give away too many of the details of the novel as not to spoil the many surprises, but I won’t hesitate in recommending it to anybody who enjoys well plotted thrillers, conspiracy theory based stories, current affairs (not only British but international), spy novels…In summary, anybody who loves a good book. I was pleased to read that Nic Taylor is planning to follow ‘A Plague’ with at least two more novels. I for one can’t wait.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to click on the links:

To buy in Smashwords, in a variety of formats:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/293433

Or in Amazon if you have a Kindle or a Kindle app (free to download):

http://www.amazon.com/A-Plague-Of-Dissent-ebook/dp/B00BRI7YMQ/

Related articles:

Blog Site of Gabriele R.

Post, news, diary... All the world around me, ALL THE WORDS AROUND YOU

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

%d bloggers like this: