Goodreads Review

Book review: Too Much and Never Enough

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Like everyone else, I was intrigued. I mean, here’s a member of the Trump family, vocally shit-talking her powerful relative. A relative so thin-skinned that any criticism is anathema, and OH LOOK, THE BOOK MIGHT BE BANNED BY THE COURTS… until it wasn’t.

I was in. And oh lord, was it popcorn heaven.

Book review: Get Carter

Get Carter.Get Carter by Ted Lewis.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Well now.

As the saying goes, it’s grim up north. The grimness undoubtedly is multiplied when you’re hired crime muscle normally found in London, and you’re only headed back to your northern home town because your brother has died.

Do I look happy to bloody be here?

Sorry, “died”.

This is how we find Jack Carter: a cool mix of suspicion, grief and nice suits paid for with ill-gotten gains, training it north to find out what the fuck’s gone on with his brother, and – most importantly – who’s to blame. (more…)

Book review: The Gallows Pole

The Gallows Pole.The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

I’m a bit behind in my reviews, but I knew as soon as I finished this novel I’d have to bang one out. It’s ridiculously good – an historical novel rooted in truth that also manages to be a psychogeographical, folk-horror wonder. And features the following threat:

I’ll stitch your scut hole shut and feed you moldy parsnips all day long

How could I not give it a rave-up? (more…)

Book review: Dust 8

Dust 8 OmnibusDust 8 by Osamu Tezuka.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of Tezuka’s works I’ve read. I’ve known about his work since I was very small, thanks to Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion television reruns. But this is the first unquestionably adult text of his I’ve engaged with.

I mean…


Book review: His Bloody Project

His Bloody Project.His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

It seems that this is the kind of book that people either love or fucking hate, at least judging by the reviews floating around online.

I’d had it on my to-read list for quite some time – I remember being interested when it was published, but wanted to give the fanfare a bit of time to die down – and I’m glad I did, as I went in with no real expectations.

Book review: Paranoia Star

Paranoia StarParanoia Star by Suehiro Maruo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ero-guro or Edgelord: The Manga? YOU DECIDE!

That, in essence, covers the realm in which Suehiro Maruo works. His stock-in-trade is beautiful violence and sexualised despair, presented in a manner that borrows from older German and Japanese art.

I mean, not this bit.

He presents abhorrent content in a lovingly-rendered format that would, in the hands of a lesser-skilled artist, be probably considered little more than pornography. (more…)

Book review: Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

It’s strange. There’s not a whole lot I can say about this book, because it seems to be stating what should really be perceived as common sense. I’m aware that, as someone who has worked my adult life in print media, I’m probably more likely to have encountered some of the things mentioned in here, but even with that background I was heartily bummed by the text.

(This is a good thing. I mean, it’s bad news but the way it’s presented and explained is superb.)

Book review: Always Unreliable

Always Unreliable.Always Unreliable by Clive James.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

After Clive James died, I figured it was time for me to read his autobiographical sometimes-fiction Unreliable Memoirs collection. Here, there’s three books under one title, which is bad news for my Goodreads challenge numbers but pretty good in terms of entertaining stories per book.

It can safely be assumed that any writer who gives you a record of his own life is nuts about himself.

It’s a little strange to refer to these works as autobiographical when almost all of James’s work features a certain level of autobiography. His travel writing, his television reviewing, his poetry – all these things feature a level of personal revelation and engagement, because in all his work James presents places and experiences through the lens of himself. (more…)

Book review: Malefice

Malefice.Malefice by Leslie Wilson.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

There’s a lot to be said for a book that lets the reader know – from the outset – that its major character ends up dead, hung as a witch.

That’s how Malefice begins: with Alice Slade dead at 50, her body washed by one of her neglected daughters. But the journey of how we get to this post-rope cleansing is a little more involved.

Book review: The Cipher

The Cipher.The Cipher by Kathe Koja.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So it’s only taken me about thirty years to read any Koja, and Current Me is somewhat annoyed at Past Me. I’ve no idea how I missed this novel on its first publication, as it certainly scratches the itch for the bizarre that Past Me would have been Well Into, what with all the human transformation and grimy locale and vaguely religious groupings shrouded in pisstaking and gore.

“When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade.” Well, life had given me shit, and I was making a compost heap. Or more succinctly, life had given me a Funhole, and I was making a grave.

Past Me is an idiot, plainly, especially given the number of awards The Cipher has won. (The Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Horror Novel seem to be a fairly good indicator of quality, let’s face it.)