Reviews Published

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Having Sex With Mark Billingham

(For those of you who remember a similar topic, I invite you to re-read my post "Mark Billingham: Crime fiction is better than sex".)

I've been on a Mark Billingham binge, catching up on the books I once considered too dark, like LIFELESS and FROM THE DEAD. Alas, that was before Dexter and Tess Gerritsen desensitised me enough to look past the violence straight into the brilliant writing beneath.

'Cause Mark's writing is brilliant. Truly. His sense of timing always impeccable, his dialogue super-smart, the cadence of the language so beautiful on the ear it makes you want to get to know the author up close and personal (ok, for some women, big biceps do it, but I'm more of a words girl).

So no mystery, really, as to why I've been reading Mark's books while wondering what it would be like to have sex with him. Purely academically, you understand. If Mark, like most authors out there, puts a lot of himself into him main character, then the question really becomes, what would it be like to have sex with Tom Thorne.

Thorne is a miserable guy. Forever torn by grief and guilt, bottling his emotions, heaps more interested in the current crime investigation than a porn flick. He's certainly a challenge, a tiger begging to be tamed, a project. Does he have Mark's sense of humour, though? I could overlook the beer breath and the curry sweat, in exchange for that perfect throw-away phrase delivered with that perfect Mark timing....

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Surgeon and The Apprentice

By now you all know I'm a great fan of Tess Gerritsen's medical thrillers. What you probably don't realise is that this month was the first time I read the earliest two books in the Rizzoli/Isles series, The Surgeon and The Apprentice.

Yes, I was chicken. Yes, I was put off by the Jack-The-Ripper comparisons and the idea of surgery performed on awake victims. But you know what? The greatest fear is the fear itself. Once I've read the books, they weren't quite as awful as I'd imagined, which only goes to show that there's no horror house as bad as the inside of your own over-active mind.

Having read the later books first, I have the foresight of knowing how Jane's character develops into a more confident cop and woman. It's a treat to read the series in this order.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vanda Symon - The Crime Queen of Otago

If I hadn't gone to the Writers' Festival in Wellington last Sunday, I still wouldn't have known about Vanda Symon and her books. How is that possible, I ask you? I read crime, particularly who-dun-its written by female authors (not a sexist choice on my part, it's just that I tend to prefer Christie to Chandler). I stay abreast of the new voices in murder mysteries. I live in New Zealand. So why? Why, why, why?

Howcome I know about Lee Child and Harlan Coben, who don't live anywhere near? Or Mark Billingham, or Minette Walters? Why does my local PaperPlus stock Scandinavian crime writers and not New Zealand ones? Why do I open the paper to see Jo NesbΓΈ and not Vanda Symon? (Ok, at least the 25 February issue of NZ Listener carried an article on Paul Thomas, but you get my drift.)

I'm hoping to interview Vanda on this blog very shortly, so for now here's a short review of her debut novel, OVERKILL (she's written several since).

OVERKILL is set in a small New Zealand community, of the type where "a river runs through it". It's a perfect little who-dun-it, with a lovable, kick-ass heroine and an only-in-New-Zealand kind of plot. I'm a sucker for those! And because of the setting alone, I know OVERKILL will be popular in Europe when it finally hits the shelves. Poland, Russia and Germany in particular have a fascination with the Southern Hemisphere, so here's to many translations for Vanda and to many more New Zealand sales.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Harlan Coben's Shelter

I confess I wasn't sure I wanted to read a Coben aimed at Young Adults. Not yet, at any rate. Not while my own small adults are too young to read it. Alas, having experienced Harlan Coben withdrawal symptoms, I succumbed and read Shelter. I don't regret it. It's essentially a normal Coben minus all the violence.

Loved it!

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Dr. Libby Weaver's written a fascinating book about all the biological factors governing the female body and its ability (or inability) to lose weight. ACCIDENTALLY OVERWEIGHT busts many of the current myths about fat storage, such as counting calories (not all calories are created equal and not all people process them equally) and exercise (sometimes exercise can be a bad thing - really).

Says the author: "Whether consciously or subconsciously, many people are frustrated by how they feel about their body, or its appearance, and this frustration can take up their headspace and influence their moods. By exploring the physical mechanisms of your biochemistry and the emotional forces driving your life, you will begin to understand what has governed the growing and shrinking of your body up until now."

You can read the book in one sitting, but you'll probably end up skimming through all the important medical stuff. I took it a chapter at a time, each chapter dealing with one piece of the weight battle puzzle. Written for women, most of the wisdom in this book (apart from the sex hormone chapter) can be applied to men.

The advice is simple:
  • slow down
  • cut caffeine
  • sleep more
  • breathe deeply
  • chew
  • figure out what supplement your body lacks (iodine, hormones)
  • be kind to yourself.
My kind of book. I need it on my shelf just to remind me.