Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama


Paperback:  To find your missing daughter.  To hold her in alive in your arms.  Mikami, the reluctant head of police PR, doubted there was anything a parent would not put themselves through in order to achieve such a goal.

The nightmare no parent could endure.

The case no detective could solve.

The twist no reader could predict.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper.  They would never learn his identity.  They would never see their daughter again.

For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.

For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case.  He could never imagine what he would uncover.  He would never have looked if he had known what he would find. 

Six Four (2016) won the Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the 2016 CWA International Dagger.  A Japanese crime phenomenon and an early hit in 2016, Six Four sold over a million copies in just six days in Japan and topped Japan's prestigious annual mystery polls.  It became an instant bestseller upon publication in the UK.

About the author:  Born in 1957, Hideo Yokoyama worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter with a regional newspaper north of Tokyo, before becoming one of Japan's most acclaimed fiction writers.  His exhaustive and relentless work ethic is known to mirror the intense and obsessive behaviour of his characters;  and in January 2003 he was hospitalized following a heart attack brought about by working constantly for seventy-two hours.  Six Four is his sixth novel, and his first to be published in the English language.

About the translator:  Jonathan Lloyd-Davies studied Japanese at Durham and Chinese at Oxford; he currently works as a translator of Japanese fiction.  His translations include Edge by Koji Suzuki, with co-translator Camellia Nieh, the Demon Hunters trilogy by Baku Yumemakura, Gray Men by Tomotake Ishikawa, and Nan-Core by Mahokaru Numata.  His translation of Edge received the Shirley Jackson award for best novel.  Originally from Wales, he now resides in Tokyo.

Rating:  5/5

Lighting A Candle This Christmas


The Art Of Ignoring


Unassuming Manner Of Life


Happiness No 2612


Benefits Of Movement And Stillness


Support Your Libraries


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Gift Books This Christmas


Is There A Bookstore Near You?


You Know Where To Find Me


Hyggeligt Winter


Winter Ecstasy


Christmas Homecoming


Make The World A Better Place


Mary And Martha


Socks And Books This Christmas


Words For A Weekend In Early Winter


Two Days Before Christmas


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Christmas Message


The Force by Don Winslow


Hardback:  "Cops are just people," she said irrelevantly.  "They start out that way, I've heard." - Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler

Good cop or bad cop?  We are all corrupt.  Just in our own ways.

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He is "the King of Manhattan North," a, highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of "Da Force.:  Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns.  Every day and every night for the eighteen years he has spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps.  He has done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean - including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty:  he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city's history.  Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

Based on years of research inside the NYPD, this is the great cop novel of our time and a book only Don Winslow could write:  a haunting and heartbreaking story of greed and violence, inequality and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve.

The Force (2017) is a searing portrait of a city and a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at the edge of its abyss.  The Force is a masterpiece of urban living full of shocking and surprising twists, leavened by flashes of dark humour, a morally complex and utterly riveting dissection of modern American society and the controversial issues confronting and dividing us today.

About the author:  New York Times bestselling author  Don Winslow has written twenty novels, including The Force, The Kings of Cool, Savages, The Winter of Frankie Machine and the highly acclaimed epics The Power of the Dog and The Cartel.

The son of a sailor and a librarian, Winslow grew up with a love of books and storytelling in a small coastal Rhode Island town.  He left at age seventeen to study journalism at the University of Nebraska, where he earned a degree in African Studies.  While in college, he travelled to southern Africa, sparking a lifelong involvement with that continent.

Winslow’s travels took him to California, Idaho and Montana before he moved to New York City to become a writer, making his living as a movie theater manager and later a private investigator in Times Square – ‘before Mickey Mouse took it over’.  He left to get a master’s degree in Military History and intended to go into the Foreign Service but instead joined a friend’s photographic safari firm in Kenya.  He led trips there as well as hiking expeditions in southwestern China, and later directed Shakespeare productions during summers in Oxford, England.

While bouncing back and forth between Asia, Africa, Europe and America, Winslow wrote his first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, which was nominated for an Edgar Award.  With a wife and young son, Winslow went back to investigative work, mostly in California, where he and his family lived in hotels for almost three years as he worked cases and became a trial consultant.  A film and publishing deal for his novel The Death and Life of Bobby Z allowed Winslow to be full-time writer and settle in his beloved California, the setting for many of his books.  Branching into television and film, Winslow, with his friend Shane Salerno, wrote a television series, UC/Undercover, and the two collaborated on the screenplay of his novel, Savages.

His novels have attracted the attention of filmmakers and actors such as Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Twentieth Century Fox has optioned his next novel about a NYPD cop as well as The Cartel and The Power of the Dog.  Earlier books Savages and The Death and Life of Bobby Z were made into films, too.

In addition to his novels, Winslow has published numerous short stories in anthologies and magazines such as Esquire, the LA Times Magazine and Playboy. His columns have appeared in the Huffington Post, CNN Online, and other outlets.

Winslow is the recipient of the Raymond Chandler Award (Italy), the LA Times Book Prize, the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger (UK), The RBA Literary Prize (Spain) and many other prestigious awards.

He lives in California with his wife of thirty-one years.

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas Gifts


Five Days Before Christmas


Two Kinds Of Truth (Harry Bosch Series) by Michael Connelly



Hardback:  Harry Bosch searches for the truth in a new thriller.

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the under-funded San Fernando police and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered.  Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him and seems to have new evidence to prove it.  Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues are not keen to protect his reputation.  He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire.  Along the way, Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth:  the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

Two Kinds Of Truth (2017) is available now in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.  The audiobook is read by Titus Welliver.  It is the twenty-second instalment in the excellent immaculately-written Harry Bosch series set in Los Angeles.

About the author:  A former police reporter for the Los Angeles TimesMichael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch thrillers.  The TV tie-in series - Bosch - is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime and is now in its third season.  He is also the author of several bestsellers, including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, which was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 200, and has been President of the Mystery Writers of America.  His books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards.  He spends his time in California and Florida.

Rating:  5/5

The Imitation Of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (translated by Rev William Benham)


Paperback:  The Imitation of Christ (1905) (Latin:  De Imitatione Christi) by Thomas à Kempis is a Christian devotional book.

It was first composed in Latin ca 1418-1427.  It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member.  The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic.

Its popularity was immediate, and it was printed 745 times before 1650.  Apart from the Bible, no book has been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ. 

The text is divided into four books, which provide detailed spiritual instructions:

- Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life

- Directives for the Interior Life

- On Interior Consolation

- On the Blessed Sacrament.

The approach taken in the Imitation is characterized by its emphasis on the interior life and withdrawal from the world, as opposed to an active imitation of Christ by other friars.  The book places a high level of emphasis on the devotion to the Eucharist as key element of spiritual life.

About the translator:  In 1857, William Benham was ordained deacon and priest in 1858.  He was appointed divinity tutor and lecturer in English literature at St Mark's, Chelsea, still under Coleridge.  He remained there until in 1865, he became editorial secretary to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.  At the same time, he engaged in Sunday ministerial work as curate of St Lawrence Jewry, under Benjamin Morgan Cowie.  From 1866 to 1871, he was also professor of modern history at Queen's College, Harley Street, in succession to Maurice.

Benham's preaching attracted the attention of Archbishop Charles Longley, who made him in 1867 first vicar of his local parish of Addington, where the archbishop resided.  Longley was in poor health:  Benham acted as his private secretary during the period of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867, and was with him at his death in 1868.  Longley's successor Archibald Campbell Tait gave him the Lambeth degree of BD, made him one of the six preachers of Canterbury and in 1872, gave him the vicarage of Margate.