Forester, C. S. Lord Hornblower.

Boston: Little, Brown, 1946.

It’s 1813 and Captain Horatio Hornblower has finally recuperated from the cholera that laid him low at the end of his tenure as commodore in the Baltic. He’s been enjoying the time at home in Smallbridge with his wife and son, but he’s also getting restless. Then the First Lord comes to his rescue by sending him off to deal with the mutinous crew of a brig in the harbor of Le Havre, the result of a tyrannical and viciously cruel commanding officer.

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Bell, Walter George. London Rediscoveries and Some Others.

London: John Lane, 1929.

Bell, a newspaperman by trade, was also a noted antiquarian and author of London’s local history in the early part of the 20th century, and I discovered his two previous books some years ago: Unknown London (1919) and More About Unknown London (1921) – both also reviewed art this site. I was completely fascinated by his guided tour of Roman, medieval, and later historical locations in the City, many of which would not survive the Blitz, not to mention the redevelopment boom of the 1950s.

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Hill, Reginald. An Advancement of Learning.

Woodstock VT: Countryman Press, 1985.

First published in 1975, this is the second in the police procedural series featuring “Fat Andy” Dalziel and Peter Pascoe of the CID somewhere in darkest Yorkshire. Pascoe is a recently promoted Detective Sergeant here, though he advances to DCI as the series progresses

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Published in: on 22 October 2015 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mina, Denise. Deception.

NY: Little, Brown, 2003.

Mina has done a couple of pretty good mystery/thriller series but this is a one-off and I don’t think it’s entirely successful. Dr. Lachlan Harriot is a Glasgow physician whose life has just fallen apart. He’s fully qualified but has never actually had a practice (he apparently has psychological problems dealing with strangers), leaving that instead to his wife, Susie, a psychiatrist working at a prison.

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Published in: on 20 October 2015 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Millar, Mark. Superman: Red Son.

NY: DC Comics, 2003.

I enjoy reading graphic novels, but not usually the classic superhero comics. Just not my thing. This is a special case, though, an alternate history approach to one of the icons of American popular culture:

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Gischler, Victor. The Deputy.

Madison, WI: Tyrus Books, 2010.

There’s been a whole clutch recently of new young authors of gritty, noir thrillers and Gischler is one of the best. This is his fifth novel of that type (he’s done a couple of zombie/vampire yarns, too, which simply aren’t my thing) and it’s great fun — in a rather bloody sort of way.

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Lovesey, Peter. Stagestruck.

NY: Soho Press, 2011.

This is the 11th outing for Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of Bath CID and in certain ways, it’s one of the best yet. The background to the story this time is the city’s 200-year-old Theater Royal, in which Lovesey obviously has a personal interest.

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Published in: on 10 October 2015 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Scalzi, John. Lock In.

NY: Tor, 2014.

From the marketing hype I had seen, I was almost expecting a Crichton-type medical/biological holocaust thriller, which aren’t my thing at all — but it’s Scalzi, so I gave it a shot. I should have known better. Scalzi is one of the most original and inventive SF authors around these days, and he’s a far better writer than Crichton ever was. The result is a high tech romp that will keep you involved to the very end.

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Moran, Joe. Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime.

London: Profile Books, 2007.

Fifty years ago, as an undergrad student picking up some necessary sociology credits, I took a seminar in the “anthropology of everyday life,” which turned out to be a fascinating introduction to ethnography and its methods. As part of this, we were told to record every mundane event and action in which we participated on a given day and then to analyze the results.

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Published in: on 4 October 2015 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Kent, Alexander. To Glory We Steer.

NY: Putnam, 1968.

By internal chronology, this book ended up being the fifth in the lengthy series featuring Richard Bolitho of the Royal Navy, but it was actually the first one written, so this is where the author (who was really Douglas Reeman) first delineated the major continuing characters. Kent/Reeman was already well known for his World War II naval thrillers, but this was his first venture into earlier history and he nailed it from the outset. (more…)

Published in: on 1 October 2015 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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