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Books Review

The Magic Goes Away

It’s been tough to be a reader during lockdown. The struggle is real. I downloaded four Inspector Montalbano books, but then really didn’t enjoy with the first one I tackled – A Nest of Vipers – not in the mood for Andrea Camilleri’s style (or that of his translator). The other three remain unread. I […]

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Books entertainment music Podcasts

New Light on the Beatles Equation

Rolling Stone magazine has a list of the Top Ten Beatles Books. You may not be surprised to learn that there isn’t a single book written by a woman in the list. Still, boys love lists, don’t they? And the alphabetising, train-spotting tendency is dominant in rock criticism. Mark Lewisohn has taken it to such […]

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bastards Books entertainment film movies Review

Set texts for the lockdown

I noticed, early in the lockdown, how certain film topics seemed to be creeping up the lists of recommendations on the platforms. There was Outbreak, something called Pandemic (bit on the nose), 93 Days, The Forgotten Plague, and, of course, Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh film with the stellar cast that had completely passed me by. […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Lockdown by Peter May

I’m not against a bit of opportunistic book marketing. Lockdown feels like ‘Instant Karma’ but for books. I bet it wasn’t always called that, but right now it feels as if it has been ripped from the headlines. Published at the beginning of this month, this novel dates from 2005, when, according to its author, […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

My first problem with Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear is that although I read and enjoyed it, I just had to look up the title before I could review it. My second problem is that it has a subtitle: A White Space Novel. As an SF reader of long standing, this gives me the heebs, […]

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Books entertainment Review Television

Bosch – Season 6 review

“My lane? Has no lines.” I note that I failed in my duty to review Season 5 of this excellent police procedural from Amazon Prime. I think that’s probably because I didn’t enjoy it as much as seasons 1–4. Season 5 felt as if it was playing its Greatest Hits a bit, with (yet) another […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Writing

The Wake Knot by R.F. McMinn – sample chapter

Arrival Barns, granaries, stables, workshops, stranger’s hall, fit for the boundless hospitality of Crowland Chris Marsh saw a faded blue P for parking and pulled in to the empty car park. He stepped out of the air conditioned car and was suspended in the unspeakable heat. The tarmac sizzled and the air shimmered. The cooling […]

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Books entertainment Review Television

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly – review

The 6th and penultimate season of Bosch coming soon to Amazon Prime, and I was intrigued to see that one of the novels the season will be based on is Dark Sacred Night, which was the previous Ballard and Bosch novel, published in 2018. This makes me wonder whether Renée Ballard, Connelly’s most recently created […]

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Books entertainment music Review

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown

Ah, the index. What would we do without it? First of all, I have to say, there are too many people involved with the Beatles with similar names. I can sort out Brian and Clive Epstein, sure, but Alistair Taylor and Derek Taylor? It’s not so long ago that I read Peter Brown’s (terrible) book […]

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Books entertainment Review

Tim Powers: Forced Perspectives — review

This new Tim Powers, a sequel to 2018’s Alternate Routes, couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. We’re back in L.A., but no longer fleeing from the ghosts of the highway. Instead, we’re dealing with heiroglyphs and a supernatural cult that wants to raise a god – and needs Vickery and Castine (who have […]