Black Virus by Bobby Adair – book review

Black Virus (Black Rust #0.5)Black Virus by Bobby Adair

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, but if I hadn’t pressed on past the first couple of pages then I might never have known it. The opening scenes were quite slow and flat, almost awkwardly written! But I persisted a bit, and the story quickly picked up speed, incident and excitement. It’s quite odd how different the initial impression was, almost as if the manuscript got into the hands of an editor who decided they were going to ‘improve’ the initial introduction to the book – it actually reads like a different writer.

But most of the book is great. I like the lack of sentimentality, the hard edge and realism of Christian, the adolescent MC. He sees the world as it truly is, both before and after the apocalyptic events that wreck human existence, and he sees human motivations without rose-coloured glasses too. It makes him unnerving to most people, since ‘humankind cannot bear very much reality’. But I like him for it.

There is a fight scene early on that is brilliantly written, concise but with every necessary detail supplied and the choreography of the scene implied without laborious plotting out and the written equivalent of anatomical dolls to diagram the action. (The polar opposite of a fight in a paranormal romance I read recently, which went on for pages and went to ludicrous lengths to describe the movement of every pinkie finger and the emotional responses of the participants.)

And the climax, when it comes, had me putting my hands over my eyes as if I were watching a really good and bloody horror film. Shocking, but brilliant and clever and almost funny, rather like the violence in Fight Club. I don’t normally care for violence in books or films – it has to be this well-done for me to appreciate it.

Recommended, really well done and worth your time.

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Book Review – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have loved this book for years now, but… honestly, what a cad Rochester is. I know it’s not precisely an original observation, but still. Jane deserved better. And only a blinkered Charlotte, with exactly the narrowly circumscribed inculcated nineteenth century notion of a woman’s lot she ascribes to Jane, could possibly think that ending a happy one.

And yet, it’s still one of barely a handful of books in my lifetime that have reduced me to feeling off my head while reading it, light-headed and nutty and unsteady as if I’d had a drink or two. What can you do? A massively annoying permanent classic.

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Review: Still Kicking: A Lainie Lovett Mystery by Judith Arnold

Still Kicking: A Lainie Lovett Mystery (The Lainie Lovett Mysteries Book 1)Still Kicking: A Lainie Lovett Mystery by Judith Arnold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it! For a respectable small-town schoolmarm and widow, Lainie is pretty ruthless and willing to fight her corner and give ’em hell, when necessary. And Lainie + Stavik, her blue-collar rough-n-ready lover, = hot! I’m not much into soccer, but I still liked the rounding her love of the game gave to Lainie’s character – a woman with passions beyond the purely sexual or romantic, a full life and a physical earthiness and strength lent by her enthusiasm for the sport. Lainie’s emotions are realistically represented, and while her DIY detective activities may be less credible, they’re still a lot of fun. (And I can easily believe how smart and brave she is in persisting with them.)

A really great beginning to a series, easily 4 stars.

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