Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the tag “Lee Child”

Book review: The Devil’s Country by Harry Hunsicker

The Devil's CountryThe Devil’s Country by Harry Hunsicker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Has there ever been a religious cult started for something other than allowing the leaders to have sex with the congregation?

Arlo Baines is wandering the state of Texas in an effort to forget the murder of his family. The former Texas Ranger sees a couple of guys up to no good, and starts making trouble in the neighbourhood. He gets in one little fight and has the local sheriff and a religious cult wanting to see him leave (for Bel Air).

It was refreshing to dive into a different take on the itinerant vigilante genre. Obviously there are similarities between any of the novels in this genre, the most prominent being Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series (of which I’m a fan). But Harry Hunsicker has brought a more haunted and reluctant hero to the page, one who feels a little more vulnerable, but no less unstoppable.

This is a fast-moving novel which hits all the right beats. While it doesn’t stray from the itinerant vigilante genre path, nor offer up any surprising twists, The Devil’s Country was an enjoyable read. Recommended for any fans of Lee Child, Matt Hilton, Zoe Sharp, et al.

NB: I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

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Book review: Make Me by Lee Child

Make Me (Jack Reacher, #20)Make Me by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Does Reacher leave enough people alive to have criminals warning one another on the Deep Web about not messing with him?

Jack Reacher decided to catch a train to a small town for a change and by walking around as per usual he managed to piss off the local criminals. This will end well for the criminals.

Lee Child is a master of not wasting words. If there is exposition then it is important to the plot. Make Me is no exception. The twist for this thriller is revealed in little details throughout the story. It comes through as no less shocking.

While I have grown a little tired of the formula for the Reacher novels, they still remain entertaining reads.

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Book Review: Personal by Lee Child

Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)Personal by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jack Reacher fought a little person in 61 Hours, so definitely time he fought a giant in Personal. Oh, and some other stuff happens… like beating up a giant!

Lee Child’s continued adventures of Sherlock Homeless – Jack Reacher – have reached (boom tish) their nineteenth installment. Reacher is manipulated into searching for a former army sniper he had put away 16 years ago, a sniper who has taken a shot at the French President and is threatening to shoot some other world leaders at the G8 summit. This is the first Reacher novel that isn’t set in the US, seeing him travel to Paris and London, for his manhunt. Of course, it is never as simple as a manhunt, especially when the sniper bears a 16 year old grudge.

What I love about picking up a Lee Child novel is starting the novel and finding I’m already 50 pages into the action before I realise it. Lee effortlessly steers you through the story and keeps you entertained. He makes you appreciate just how good an author he is compared to his contemporaries. It was also refreshing to have Reacher leave behind his small town problem solving in favour of an international, high stakes, manhunt. Not that this stops Reacher beating up people and solving problems: wouldn’t be a Reacher novel without that.

Hard to find fault with the latest Reacher adventure. The only criticism would be that it feels like a “standard” Reacher adventure, despite the break in location tradition. My own observation is that since 61 Hours Lee’s writing has become taut and that he skilfully plays with the reader, making him my favourite author.

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Misleading packaging: why reviews matter

FarCry

There is nothing worse than picking up a book, movie, whatever, expecting to be entertained based on the cover. The above example is the movie Far Cry, starring Til Schweiger, in what looks like a cool action flick. The description even makes you look past the fact that this is a video game adaptation, promising a slick action-eer:

An ex-special forces soldier turned boatman is hired by a journalist to investigate a top-secret military base on a nearby island.

The problem with this packaging is that this is a film by Uwe Boll. Til Schweiger is a fantastic actor and a major box office draw card, especially in his home country of Germany. He was also the driver behind one of my favourite films of all time, Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Yet not even Til can save us from the worst director of all time.

One of the things that amazes me about Uwe Boll is not so much the fact that he is still making films (petition to stop him making films) but the fact that he is able to attract the money and star power to his movies. You would think that actors would be keen to avoid working with Uwe so that they don’t sign a career death note. But Til, Ron Perlman, Burt Reynolds, Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Eric Roberts, Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff, Claire Forlani, Leelee Sobieski, John ‘Gimli’ Rys-Davies, and Ben Kingsley (although, Kingsley may be an Oscar winner, but he has appeared in some truly awful films), have all lined up to appear in a Uwe Boll production. Why!?! Rys-Davis has implied that the money is good and Uwe is easy to work for. No mention of exactly how good Uwe is to work with; I’m going to assume running hot and cold hookers and blow.

This speaks to the underlying problem with picking good entertainment. We can be easily mislead with a cool blurb, impressive trailer, a spot at the front of the store, a stand that tackles you to the ground and forces you to buy the movie/book. It is why movie stars are paid big money, because they have a brand that audiences recognise, and that can guarantee box office sales. In publishing you have name brand authors like James Patterson occupying the front of the store because they are reliable bestsellers. And Lee Child was recently shown to have the strongest brand in publishing, with fans following him from book to book more than any other author, because of his reliably entertaining books. Uwe Boll is the opposite of this brand of success and reliability.

Essentially media consumers like us are less likely to try a new author, or watch a film by a new director, or one that stars actors we haven’t heard of, because of the Uwe Boll’s of this world. We want our entertainment to be entertaining – I know, not much to ask really – and we hate being mislead by slick tricks. We see a cool poster or cover, we see a big name actor attached, or read a cool blurb, only to be sorely disappointed. So instead of trying something new, we stick with what we know and trust.

I guess that is why I promote books I’ve read and liked on this site. That is why we need people to review books, movies, TV shows and music. That is why we need to find people with similar tastes to make recommendations to us. If we can’t stop Uwe Boll making films, at least we can tell people about the films that are worth watching.

Tyson Adams’ 2013 Book Awards: The Awesomes

This is the third year of The Awesomes™, the award I give to books that had me staying up late to finish them, the books that had me rapt until the end, and sometimes past the end. I’ve read a few books this year (+70) so here are my favourites of 2013 and this year’s Awesome™.

As you will have noticed, my reviews of books are more about my impressions of the book and talking about how much I liked the book, rather than a recap of the plot, etc. My reasoning behind this is simple, I want to say “read this book” to people rather than fall into my bad habit of spoiling the ending, or being a bitch about books I didn’t enjoy. My list is based upon what I have read this year, so obviously some great books have missed out due to lack of reading hours in the year (blame the rugrat). Also my read list does include some books that were published prior to 2013. There were also some categories that were sadly under-represented, whilst others had some very intense competition. Also, the fact that I finished a book shows that it was worth reading. I have my reading rules that stop me wasting valuable reading time on books I’m not enjoying. This means that any books on my read list are entertaining (well, unless I was particularly disgusted with the crappiness of the book in question).

Awesome™ of 2013
Luther: The Calling – Neil Cross
Killer Instinct – Zoe Sharp
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Never Go Back – Lee Child
Without Fail – Lee Child
Altar of Eden – James Rollins
The Secret of Excalibur – Andy McDermott

Zero at the Bone – David Whish-Wilson

Awesome Literary Fiction
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Mystery & Thriller
Killer Instinct – Zoe Sharp
Without Fail – Lee Child
Altar of Eden – James Rollins
The Secret of Excalibur – Andy McDermott

Never Go Back – Lee Child

Awesome Crime
Luther: The Calling – Neil Cross
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Zero at the Bone – David Whish-Wilson

Awesome Fantasy
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Paranormal Fantasy
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Science Fiction
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Horror

The Strain trilogy – Guillmero Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

NB: cheating here as it was only 4 stars, but deserves the nod as the TV series is now in development and looks like they might have a winner.

Awesome Romance
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Humor
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Nonfiction

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

Awesome Graphic Novels & Comics
Midnighter – Garth Ennis
Batman: The Black Mirror – Scott Snyder

Luthur Strode – Justin Jordan

Awesome Indie
No 5 star indies this year, although several 4 star and a few non-mentionables.

Awesome Poetry
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Shorts/E-zines
I’m putting this category in just so that I can pimp:

Thrills, Kills and Chaos

Still Awesomes
I re-read – well in some cases I listened to the audiobook – several books this year. They deserve a mention for still being awesome. Sometimes books are better on their second outing, sometimes they are worse, sometimes you wonder why you didn’t throw the book out the first time (I’m looking at you Holden Caulfield).

Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams (better than I remember)
Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul – Douglas Adams (similar to how I remember)
Life, the Universe, and Everything – Douglas Adams (similar)
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk (slightly better)
Game Keeper – Guy Ritchie and Andy Diggle (better)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. I hope that I have a chance to read more fantastic books from these authors again in 2014 and that everyone else does too.

Mini-me Jack Reacher sequel announced

According to a reliable source – well, a book blog for a bookstore I like – there is a sequel in the works for Jack Reacher.

That’s right, Tom Cruise will be reprising his role as Jack Reacher. It is unclear whether he’ll wear stilts in this adaptation of Never Go Back, the most recent Reacher adventure. For a reminder of the first Reacher film:

It seems odd to me for Cruise et al. to leap so far forward in the series, the previous movie being based upon the Lee Child novel One Shot. I’d have said there are some fantastic novels in between that would make fantastic movies, even with a half-sized Reacher.

The first movie was kinda average. The story was faithfully adapted, with the changes making sense, Cruise brought his star power, but I don’t have any kind words for his co-stars, who were generally flat and lifeless. So the “sequel” really needs to be better cast….. Maybe fill the cast with good child actors to get the star’s proportions right.

Either way, I’ll watch it.

Top 40 books of all time chosen by Lee Child

Easter is here for another year. I like to celebrate this time of year with bacon (for peace) and chocolate eggs and bunnies. Actually, interesting fact, the reason we celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies is because they were fertility and sex symbols of the goddess Ishtar (pronounced Easter). In honour of the event, we clearly need the chocolate eggs and bunnies to keep us fuelled up for the fertility long weekend. In some of the spare hours, it might be worth reading a good book.

So, have you read any of Lee’s favourite books and will you be reading any of them this long chocolate fueled sex weekend?

1 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“The greatest legal thriller ever written.”

2 Revolution in the Head by Ian MacDonald
“If you were there, you can’t remember – so read this.”

3 Roots by Alex Haley
“A tragic story we should all know.”

4 Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
“If you read only 10 novels in your life, make this one.”

5 Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
“Started a brief but glorious period of dissent in the United States.”

6 The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
“The best what-if sci-fi ever.”

7 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
“An elegant saga and a double love story.”

8 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
“A novel that described and defined an era.”

9 Nice Work by David Lodge
“Social realism from a recent but almost forgotten era.”

10 Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
“Iconic, for a reason.”

11 Ragtime by EL Doctorow
“What great novels used to be – and could be again.”

12 The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
“The best of the US golden age of crime writing.”

13 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
“The finest writing EVER.”

14 The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
“How we used to live, think and write.”

15 Churchill by Roy Jenkins
“The best one-volume biography ever.”

16 The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill
“Guys my age grew up on stuff like this.”

17 Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
“A Californian writing about Russia in a Scandinavian way.”

18 Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon
“My current favourite writer’s debut – excellent.”

19 Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
“There’s a reason she became so popular – and this is it.”

20 Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
“An amazing debut with an early ‘reveal’ that will shock you.”

21 The Glittering Prizes by Frederic Raphael
“A time, a place – how we used to live, who we used to be.”

22 Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
“The first in an amazing new series.”

23 The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
“The unfairly neglected jewel in le Carré’s crown.”

24 City of Thieves by David Benioff
“Powerful, entrancing, tough, wonderfully imagined.”

25 Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers
“The best of ‘golden age’ mystery fiction.”

26 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
“An example of King’s genius – he can make a story out of the simplest premise.”

27 A Place of Execution by Val McDermid
“Everything plus that vital x-factor that makes you cross when you have to stop.”

28 The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn
“A heartbreaking work of personal history that reads like a thriller.”

29 Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy
“The best from the man who dominated the genre for a decade.”

30 The Golden Rendezvous by Alistair MacLean
“His first dozen books are all great – why not start here?”

31 The Female Eunoch by Germaine Greer
“That rare thing – a book that changed the world.”

32 Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
“I read this 7 years ago and wanted him for president right then.”

33 The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
“A huge multi-generational crime saga – a book of the decade.”

34 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
“ ‘Book Zero’ in terms of recent thriller evolution.”

35 Green River Rising by Tim Willocks
“Maybe the best-ever prison novel – terrific suspense.”

36 The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
“Much more than it seems – a masterclass in narrative drive.”

37 Brilliant Orange by David Winner
“My favourite sport explains one of my favourite cultures.”

38 Night Sky by Clare Francis
“The multitalented Ms Francis unleashes terrific suspense and a great ‘OMG’ moment.”

39 On the Beach by Nevil Shute
“The best of 1950s style – with 1950s concerns.”

40 The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
“A big meaty epic, sprawling and inclusive – like novels use to be.”

Book Review: First Drop by Zoe Sharp

First Drop (Charlie Fox Thriller, #4)First Drop by Zoë Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a new dad, there are a few sentiments expressed by Charlie Fox – the hero – about kids that feel spot on. There is nothing more annoying than a baby interrupting you reading a good book, especially during the final 50 pages! The annoying kid Charlie was protecting rang a little too true for me.

Zoe has certainly got all the right thriller ingredients. But she has also managed to mix them together into a great blend that is interesting and exciting. From go to arrhythmia, there is no let up, with Charlie trying to stay alive and figure out who isn’t trying to kill her. If I had one quibble, it was with a chance encounter that was rather important to the plot, I would have preferred it to be done a little different. But then again, I forgive this in Lee Child, Zoe is no less a writer, so it is an easily overlooked point.

If you haven’t read any of the Charlie Fox thrillers, do so soon.

NB: This review was written whilst trying to calm a baby who hadn’t slept all day and was having the grumps.

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Random comments

I appreciate all of my friends/readers here, especially those who take the time to comment. My site statistics tell me that I average roughly 2 comments per post, which is a 4% conversation rate. My own posting on other’s blogs wouldn’t be that high, so I’m fine with that figure, I’m just happy people enjoy my posts.

The point of this post is to highlight my own experiences with some of the more interesting comments this blog receives. The site statistics tell me that I average roughly 640 spam comments per month. PER MONTH! Obviously some of those spam comments may be legitimate comments, if you have fallen prey of my spam filter please email me, but most are rubbish promoting some shoe-viagra-porn-dating-retail site or other. The ones that quote Bible and Quran verses are interesting, but this recent response to my review of Lee Child’s latest novel blew me away.

Lee Child
Dear Sir,
I just finished reading your latest novel, A Wanted Man. Congratulations. Yet another excellent work.
I thought you might find it interesting regarding why I like your stories. These are the reasons:
• I never find a word I do not know the meaning of, and is not part of ordinary speech.
• The story takes place in normal time sequence. No flashbacks.
• A single central character carries the action from the first to the last page.
• I find not one sentence, which is not designed to help tell the story. You never stray.
• I find no forced metaphors that I have to puzzle over to discover their meaning.
• I find no literary actions-verbs that may sound pretty or poetic but make no literal sense.
• None of the characters are wooden.
• All your stories are unique.
• I find no explicit sex included because you can’t think of what should happen next.
• The number of characters is limited.
Keep up the good work.
Jim Cunnungham

Now I am very much a fan of Lee Child’s writing, I have most of his novels on my shelves. I am also working on becoming a published author of crime thrillers, but I don’t think I could be mistaken with Lee Child. For one, I’m not as tall as Lee, he is quite a bit older and he’s English. So addressing this comment to Lee on my blog seems rather random.

After congratulating not-me on a great novel, Jim proceeds to list the things he likes about not-me’s writing. Jim likes not having to use a dictionary, or reading internet addresses or review author names. Jim also doesn’t like flashbacks and appreciates having a single character to follow, clearly much less complicated than having to think whilst reading. I agree with Jim that Lee doesn’t delve into the literary realms with his prose, keeping the story and writing tight. It makes for a much more interesting read; there is nothing worse than wasting your valuable reading time with random stuff that has nothing to do with what you actually want to read. Jim also appreciates the building materials used in creating characters, something I don’t normally consider, but I do like to read things that are unique and stand out. However, I wonder what Jim has against sex scenes, maybe he has been scarred by Fifty Shades of Hype and is just thankful that Reacher doesn’t whip out the ball gag and leather chaps. I’m also guessing that Jim is not a fan of the epic fantasy novels, what with their ensemble of characters, sweeping dynasties of timelines, and elegant prose to describe the entire new world the story takes place in.

All in all, I can’t figure out why this post was flagged as spam.

Book Review: A Wanted Man by Lee Child

A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher, #17)A Wanted Man by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book arrived on my doorstep from the lovely people at Booktopia, just in time for me to read over the weekend. Unfortunately last weekend also coincided with the arrival of my son, damn stork was early, so my reading was interrupted. Normally a Reacher adventure can’t be put down, but my new bub showed that sometimes you have to.

Reviewing Lee’s new novel is hard, my interrupted reading, sleep deprivation and cuddle time has clouded my impression of the book. Reacher still kicked arse, the story was decent and Lee’s characteristic tight plotting was on display.

I’m only giving this 4 stars for now, with the intention of re-reading it sometime after I’ve had a decent nights sleep.

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Book review: Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais

The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole, #1)The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am the reason that author’s of series have to write novels so that they can stand alone. That’s right, I don’t read series in order all that often. I started with Lee Child’s 61 Hours, Michael Connelly’s City of Bones, JK Rowling’s’ Goblet of Fire, Jo Nesbo’s Nemesis and Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow. Long time fans don’t appreciate readers like me.

The first Elvis Cole novel I read was Sunset Express, which I enjoyed immensely. I decided to read the series the right way, so I went out and bought the first three Elvis Cole novels. Robert Crais kicked off this series with Monkey’s Raincoat, which was a shorter crime thriller.

Wit, humour, action, a weeping widow and drug dealers: mix and stir. Crais is definitely an author I’m trying to emulate and enjoy his writing and characters. I’m looking forward to the next two instalments.

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Genre vs Literature


During a discussion the other day my favourite authors and books came up as a topic of conversation. Needless to say I listed off writers like Lee Child, Matthew Reilly, Robert Crais, Matt Hilton, etc. Now these people weren’t exactly literary snobs, but they did respond as if I was supposed to list the authors of classic literature and contemporary literature.

Seriously?

Can we all stop pretending that there is something superior about literary fiction. I’ve seen discussions of social problems in crime fiction, fantastic use of literary techniques in horror, exploration of character and humanity in science fiction; all performed with more skill and insight than I have seen in the literary genre.

How about we go back to judging a book by its cover.

Book Review: One Shot by Lee Child

One Shot (Jack Reacher, #9)One Shot by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is something really great about Lee Child’s novels. There is also something about Jack Reacher that we all just know Tom Cruise is not going to be able to deliver on screen.

The last book I read took me 10 days to read. That is a long time for a thriller. This one took me 2 days to read. Clearly Lee serves up a more engaging and involving story, a novel that I will actually make excuses to stay up and read, rather than check my email and go to bed.

It will be interesting to see how Tom Cruise and Hollywood adapt this story for the big screen. This isn’t the sort of plot that would be easy to adapt unless you left half of it out. Not that I would accuse Hollywood of butchering just about every book to movie project they have every done. Never.

Read this one before Cruise brings his step-ladder and this novel to the big screen in December.

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Jack Reacher One Shot Movie

Jack Reacher – 1:2 scale

As any Lee Child and Jack Reacher fan knows by now, Tom Cruise is bringing the book One Shot to the big screen. What some may not be aware of is that Hollywood has had a few financial issues of late. They’ve had to scale back productions and advertising. Paramount Pictures didn’t want to cut back on advertising or budget for the Reacher film, so they halved the size of the main character – Jack Reacher 6’5″ 220-250lbs, Tom Cruise 5’7″ 147lbs.

The good news is that Reacher has been bumped up the release schedule and will be coming out in cinemas in December. This should be great for Lee Child fans, especially as A Wanted Man, the new Reacher novel, will have been released a month prior.

Lets hope that they film Cruise from some very low angles, because I want to see Reacher kick some ass!

Writing to publish

I always liked the quote from Lee Child: If you have written something and nobody has read it, did you really write it. In the sciences we have a similar saying, that if you haven’t published your research then it was never really done. Let’s all make sure that someone reads the stories we write, to make sure we share our brilliance.

Men don’t cry

Real men hide their feelings. Why?
Because it’s none of your fuckin’ business!
Men do not cry. Men do not pout. Men jack you in the fuckin’ jaw and say…
Thanks for comin’ out.

Being a man is largely frowned upon in our society these days. Yet, in the movies, books, even some TV shows, real men are revered. Clint Eastwood made a career out of being a man. Lee Child created Jack Reacher, a man for men and women. Even Hollywood is catching on now and having their boyish stars grow some stubble to look more like men, although Ryan Reynolds can pull off the boyish look as long as he wants.

Things you won’t hear a real man say:
Yes I would like to watch a romantic comedy.
Twilight is a terrific film series based on some fantastic novels.
I have no idea what this sport is about.
I will stop and ask for directions.
So we went back to her place and hugged.

Tyson Adams’ 2011 Book Awards: The Awesomes

I’ve read a few books this year (+140) and have decided that I needed to talk about my favourites of 2011.  I also thought it fair to award my favourite reads of the year an Awesome.

As you will have noticed, my reviews of books are more about my impressions of the book and talking about how much I liked the book, rather than a recap of the plot, etc. My reasoning behind this is simple, I want to say “read this book” to people rather than fall into my bad habit of spoiling the ending.

My list is based upon what I have read this year, so obviously some great books (Snuff) have missed out due to lack of reading hours in the year. Also my read list does include some books that were published prior to 2011. There were some categories that were sadly under-represented and some that had some very intense competition.

Also, the fact that I finished a book shows that it was worth reading. I have my reading rules that stop me wasting valuable reading time on books I’m not enjoying. This means that any books on my read list are entertaining (well, unless I was particularly disgusted with the crappiness of the book in question).

Awesome of 2011

10 hours of non-stop reading fun, 12 if you count meal and toilet breaks. I could not put this book down, it had me enthralled with Reilly’s fast paced thrills and explosions. This books defines The Awesomes.
Also, I would like to extend my condolences to Matthew and his friends and family on the loss of his wife Natalie.

Awesome Literary Fiction
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.
Awesome Mystery & Thriller
This is one of two heavily over-represented categories in this year’s Awesomes. 
Awesome Crime

Blood Work – Michael Connelly
13 Hours – Deon Meyer (technically I started it in 2011, but only finished it this year)



Awesome Fantasy
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.
Awesome Paranormal Fantasy
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.
Awesome Science Fiction

Peace Army – Steven L Hawk



Awesome Horror

Dead Man Series – Lee Goldberg, Will Rabkin, et al.



Awesome Romance
There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.
Awesome Humor
Right What You No – Tyson Adams’ blog
I’m allowed to be self-congratulatory. Plus I didn’t read any funny books this year.
Awesome Nonfiction
This is an oxymoron, so it is invalidated as a category. Having said that I did read several nonfiction books this year, mostly on climate change. I should make mention of On Writing by Steven King, which really had me agreeing with Steven’s insights.
Awesome Graphic Novels & Comics

The Boys – Garth Ennis

This is the second over-represented category on my list. 


Awesome Indie

Awesome Poetry
Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Book Review: The Affair by Lee Child

The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16)The Affair by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was a little perturbed when I found out this year’s Reacher novel would be a prequel to the series. Since Killing Floor, Lee Child has evolved Reacher into a one man wrecking ball for truth, justice and hot women. Reacher has essentially become Superman without the need for external underwear and the ability to actually have a broken nose. This doesn’t exactly mesh with the Reacher before his adventures in Killing Floor.

This aside, Lee has served up another fantastic Reacher tale. The mystery unfolds, the intertwining clues and events are right there for you to pick up on and only implicitly used later – something I like about Lee’s writing. Reacher makes good use of the local train and his characteristic walking everywhere is in no short supply. In short, this is another fine Reacher novel.

Despite having pre-ordered this book it didn’t arrive until quite a while after its release date, something that has annoyed me for several books now (Matt Hilton’s Dead Men’s Harvest arrived late, Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves still hasn’t arrived). It was worth the wait though, as 50 pages in I was reminded why I had pre-ordered The Affair in the first place. I’d hazard a guess and say that next year’s releases by my favourite authors are more likely to be received on their release date, straight onto my Kindle, just as soon as Amazon starts selling the new Kindle Touch outside of the US (bastards!).

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Why E-books Will Win

A few books from our favourite book store – Busselton Books.

I love books. I’m not one of those e-book fans that has denied his love of old fashioned books – I recently sat down to read a good scroll. But lets face it, we live in an electronic age.

Just because we have great new toys technologies doesn’t mean we should be burning books like its 1933. There has to be a point, an advantage, in changing from paper to electronic books. Quite simply, this picture explains why.

NB: Picture explains nothing.

This is the photo of my latest book acquisition and my cute little dog-pie, Fox. I have pre-ordered 3 books in the last month, in order to receive them as they are released here in Australia. Matt’s Dead Men’s Harvest arrived in the post recently, several weeks after release, Fox was very possessive and wants to read it first. The approximate delivery dates for Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves and Lee Child’s The Affair are at least a week after their release.

Simply, I have to wait for my paper. I have to sit out in the pouring rain, waiting for the mail-non-gender-specific-person to bring my books. My imitation vampire skin (non-sparkly) will be burnt by our harsh Aussie sun waiting. I don’t want to wait, I want my books now.

I live on the corner of Middle and Nowhere, so my online book stores are actually closer than my physical stores. But still I wait. Given how popular book stores are at the moment with receivership’s I’m sure many of you will also be losing your physical stores too. You too will wait.

E-books just won.

Actors you don’t want in your book adaptation

In a previous post I raised the fact that Tom Cruise would be bringing Jack Reacher to the big screen. Now fans of the Lee Child books will be familiar with the 6’5″ Jack Reacher and the general differences he has from Tom Cruise, the most noticeable being that Reacher isn’t crazy. Of course Lee Child isn’t particularly worried because “the movie isn’t for the fans of the book, it is for movie goers.”

This all got me to thinking, I could really do with a nap. When I woke up I was thinking, “which actors would I hate to see playing the lead role in a book adaptation?” I present my list, do you have any others?

11) Nicolas Cage
Vampire's Kiss

Cage wasn’t always a horrible actor, he has an Oscar to prove it. But after he started buying castles and octopuses, his work got weirder and weirder, just watch The Wicker Man. He seems determined do his unique combination of drug-fueled mania and totally inappropriate character choices in most every movie.
Update: Conan O’Brian has got in on the joke.

10) David Caruso
David Caruso

David Caruso will be forever remembered as Lt. Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami. It isn’t because of his superb acting, no, rather it is his stunning array of bizarre tics and horrible one-liners he crams into 42 minutes of television every week. Caine is just pure corniness, and Caruso’s just getting worse. Whether he’s doing it on purpose or he’s just given up, this is some spectacularly horrible acting.

9) Jean-Claude Van Damme

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I have seen Van Damme act just the once, playing himself, in JCVD. The rest of the time he is in films because he can kick high and do the splits. In fairness most of his movie roles have only required him to kick high and do the splits, but bringing a book to life takes a bit more than that. In JCVD’s favour is the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, having had guest star roles taking the piss out of himself on various TV shows.

8) Hugh Grant

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We have a TV channel in Australia called SBS. They show movies from around the world, rather than just Hollywood. They have a great advert that sums up Hugh Grant. They show the same bumbling, um er, insipid, um er, acting he does in every, um er, that is to say, role. I am simply baffled by his popularity. He is a weak, dull, uninteresting man.

7) Ben Affleck

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Lets face it, any book adaptation that stars Ben Affleck will be fraught with budgetary over-runs due to acting class costs, hair product and dead hooker disposal. 

6) Steven Seagal

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He’s played one role – the wise, astute, noble, ass kicker, who only resorts to violence when necessary – for his entire career (except in Machete). He also founded the Steven Segal School of Acting, which prides itself on producing one facial expression for every occasion. As Sean Connery will attest, you shouldn’t try to piss Steven off by suggesting he learn to act.

5) Orlando Bloom

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Orlando “one look” Bloom has managed to make a career out of the same facial expression. “Orcs are killing everyone” is the same as his “I’m in love with you Elizabeth Swan” look. He and Kirsten Stewart clearly went to the Steven Segal School of Acting. The only reason he brings characters to life is that he has a heartbeat and can walk, as proven by his work on the LOTR book adaptations.

Update: Orlando Bloom has apparently had the same look since he was a child.

4) Paul Walker

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I actually like Paul Walker, he comes across as a friendly, cool guy. Pity that is all he brings to a role. He does have the ability to do many things that Orlando Bloom can’t, but it is still hard to take him seriously in anything dramatic. Maybe it would be cool to hire him for the book adaptation just to hang out with him, but that’s the stalker in me talking.

3) Hayden Christensen

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He ruined Star Wars with JarJar Binks, enough said. 

2) Tom Cruise

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I’ve mentioned before that Tom Cruise has a habit of shouting instead of acting. I’ve also mentioned before that Tom has appeared in a number of good films, but he wasn’t the reason they were good. I’ve also mentioned that Tom will be doing his best to ruin Jack Reacher for Lee Child fans. Short nut-case closed.

1) Keanu Reeves

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Is this really a surprise? Did anyone watch The Day The Earth Stood Still and not think a block of wood could have contributed a better acting performance? Actually, aside from Bill & Ted, do you think there is any role he has ever had that couldn’t be improved upon by replacing Keanu with a block of wood? It was a tough decision picking the right photo for this one – on the one hand I had a photo of paint drying, and on the other hand I had a photo of Keanu. While the paint photo was a lot more interesting, I thought I ought to go with this one.

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