Wednesday, 31 July 2013

"Defender" by Chris Allen: A Book Review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading Defender just a few days ago. The fact that I have now finished reading it is very significant! I am not a fast reader, not by any stretch of the imagination. That's a fact I always make very clear when asked to review a book. In this instance, I wasn't actually asked to read Defender but I so enjoyed it, how could I not do so?

Those who have read my reviews know hat I say little that's specific about storylines. I have no desire to give away anything of importance to potential readers - and how can I know what they think is important. So I'll stick to my formula!

Defender introduces us to the shadowy Interpol branch: Intrepid. It launches us into the violent, tangled-web world that combines espionage, soldiering and policing. The agents are hard, efficient people dedicated to a cause: the protection of the innocent, whatever the cost, whatever the means. The world has turned hard and harsh. Criminals are just a small part of the tapestry of threat. Terrorists, brutal governments that don't respect their own people let alone international law, arms dealers, drug dealers, business cartels interested in profit at any price, government agencies that cross the line between national interest and criminality. These are the shadows that Intrepid's agents must navigate through, bringing justice, one way or another. And here, in Defender, we meet Alex Morgan, one of Intrepid's best agents, locked in a battle to bring the coldest and most dangerous of criminals to book. A country wrecked to satisfy corporate and personal greed, a rogue with no loyalties except to himself, cravens and the callous. And behind it all, that corporate entity which directs it all. Caught up in it all are the thousands of innocent victims of a nation thrown into savage chaos, bystanders with no part in any of it, and a few brave ones, like Alex Morgan, other Intrepid agents, police forces as dedicated as those of Intrepid, and a young woman, Arena Hall, hurled into this most dangerous of environments.

Death stalks the pages of this book. Sudden, violent death. Can Alex Morgan and his comrades and friends bring justice where it is due? Only time will tell. But the campaign will travel across half the world, until it culminates in stunning climactic action in Sydney. Success and failure are never more than a heartbeat apart.
I had great trouble putting this book aside, for any reason! It's a breathless ride, with very few opportunities to relax. Would I recommend it? Do apples grow on trees? This is one of those books which I will treasure as part of my library! I can only offer my strongest recommendation to anybody who likes to feel their pulse occasionally! Yes, there are moments when you may be made to feel uncomfortable, but know that those passages reflect an ugly reality we are (mostly) protected from. This is a book for adult readers who enjoy the very best writing.

Five stars? I'd double that if I could!

View all my reviews

~ Steve

Friday, 12 July 2013

Well I Never...

Actually, I guess I did! Last night, during the latest episode of Insomnia Central, I sat staring at the latest empty mailing packet which had cared for my latest paperback edition.  In fact, it was the courtesy copy of the second edition of For the Sake of Mercy.  Anyway, that's beside the point.  As I said, I was staring at the empty packet and it kept enticing me with faint whispers.  By about 3 a.m., my resistance hit bottom, and I gave in to  its blandishments.  I picked it up, and it instantly demonstrated, by the waving of its corrugated cardboard sections, what I must do.  There was a part of me which still suggested that the surgery I was about to perform was  ungrateful, but the Tempter was dominant by now.

With more care than you might expect of somebody operating on virtually zero sleep for more than a week, I made a few marks in pen, including using a CD as a template for a curve.  In what can probably be described as a moment of unconventional thinking, I also used my Kobo Mini eReader as a template, to draw the apertures I was being told I needed.  With the judicious use of a pair of ambidextrous scissors (mightily useful when you need to be able to swap hands while cutting!) and a  pruning knife I have had for many years, The gross shaping took place, the cardboard surgery.  A few checks proved that the end panels this produced would be very difficult to fix in place.  A careful piece of more scissor work trimmed the sides off one of the pieces left after excision to create the end panel apertures, and I had two slightly shaped strips which would serve me well.  The application of a gel type glue fixed these strips at each end of the base, forming 'stops' for the end panels.  More of the glue (having done battle with the strings it produced) along the inside edge of each 'stop' strip, and the firm positioning of the flaps, was the final step.  Okay, so I also turned the construction upside down and placed a large heavy book on it, to keep the flaps in the right places until the glue had set, but that hardly counts as a step.

With the glue dry, only one more thing remained to be done.  All right!  Two things.  First, there was the ceremonious placement of my collection of my very own paperback editions of my books upon this carefully crafted 'shelf'.  The second, some hours later, I admit, was the taking of a photograph so that I could share my triumph with a world that will doubtless think me a very sad individual!

It is with (foolish) pride that I give you my Recycled Book Mailer Shelf:

Recycled Book Mailer Shelf by Steve K Smy, 2013

All comments are welcome, even the mockery I probably deserve!