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2019 50 Book Challenge

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani
36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk
37. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
38. The White Girl, by Tony Birch
39. The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein
40. The Ballad of Captain Kelly, by Jonathan Wicken
41. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
42. Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe
43. A Keeper, by Graham Norton
44. Saudade, by Suneeta Peres da Costa
45. The Murder Farm, by Andrea Maria Schenkel
46. Gallows Court, by Andrea Martin Edwards
47. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
48. State of the Union, by Nick Hornby
49. Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips, by Matt Okine

50. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin

I've really only kept up with the Rebus series because I am a bit of a completist. I've continually been disappointed ever since Rankin retired the character but couldn't help himself from then resurrecting him. As each book goes by, the pretexts for Rebus getting involved in an investigation become less and less believable.

This entry in the post-retirement era is better than most due to the clever plot that Rankin spins about the cold case murder of a society woman and the recent attack on Darryl Christie, one of the up-and-coming gangsters trying to fill Ger Cafferty's boots. There's a few surprises along the way and an ominous ending.

Credibility is still the problem though. Experienced cops like Clarke and (especially) Fox are just way too comfortable about Rebus waltzing into the middle of a major crime investigation and doing whatever he feels like. This is simply not acceptable as a likely scenario. Rebus also has Fox doing things that are utterly out of character and patently stupid which, again, stretches credibility.

The attraction of Rebus as a character was that he was a cop that managed to occasionally cross the line while not getting too many noises out of joint, and only just managing to keep his career intact along the way. But when that character ceases to be a cop, such behaviour becomes criminal, and it is utterly unbelievable the way his former colleagues just continue to go along with it.

The other thing sorely missing from these recent books is Rankin's splendid evocations of Edinburgh as a place within his plots; these stories could be set almost anywhere. I will keep reading, but not with the relish that I used to.
 

Fueco

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94. Eagles and Angels, by Juli Zeh

Max’s girlfriend kills herself while speaking with on the phone. This novels follows him as he tries to figure out why, as well as whether her drug dealing had anything to do with it.
 

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani
36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk
37. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
38. The White Girl, by Tony Birch
39. The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein
40. The Ballad of Captain Kelly, by Jonathan Wicken
41. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
42. Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe
43. A Keeper, by Graham Norton
44. Saudade, by Suneeta Peres da Costa
45. The Murder Farm, by Andrea Maria Schenkel
46. Gallows Court, by Andrea Martin Edwards
47. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
48. State of the Union, by Nick Hornby
49. Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips, by Matt Okine
50. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin

51. Forbidden Harbour, by Teresa Radice

* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. *

On an island near Siam a Royal Navy ship picks up a lost boy. The boy has no memory of anything other than his first name: Abel. The ship's officer, William Roberts, puts him to use and his sailing skills soon make him very useful.

As they return home to Plymouth, Abel sees a mysterious sight: a Forbidden Harbour that others can't see. An old salt tells him that only those who see it can go there, and only when the harbour calls them.

Roberts introduces Abel to the daughters of his ship's old captain, who has been disgraced as a traitor, thief and murderer. Abel stays with them and gradually starts to find his feet and starts trying to work out who he is and what his past is. He is helped by Rebecca, the madam of the local bordello, who feels a bond with him. As he grows more confident, Abel decides to do whatever he can to help the girls.

Teresa Radice's story is full of mystery and romance. There's action in the naval scenes and some intrigue over a missing prize of gold, as well as the magic of the Forbidden Harbour. The black and white artwork from Stefano Turconi is excellent. He does a great job of representing a wide variety of locations, at sea and at land, in Asia, England and South America. I especially enjoyed his panels showing the action on the various ships, with sailors working the decks and rigging, and fighting in sea battles. Good fun.
 

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani
36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk
37. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
38. The White Girl, by Tony Birch
39. The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein
40. The Ballad of Captain Kelly, by Jonathan Wicken
41. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
42. Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe
43. A Keeper, by Graham Norton
44. Saudade, by Suneeta Peres da Costa
45. The Murder Farm, by Andrea Maria Schenkel
46. Gallows Court, by Andrea Martin Edwards
47. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
48. State of the Union, by Nick Hornby
49. Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips, by Matt Okine
50. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin
51. Forbidden Harbour, by Teresa Radice

52. The Grade Cricketer: Tea and No Sympathy, by Dave Edwards

After getting involved reluctantly in a plot to fix the third grade grand final, The Grade Cricketer decides to chuck in the sport that he has wasted his youth on. At 31, it is time for him to re-invent himself, go to uni and maybe marry. This goes awry immediately when his girlfriend leaves him, he has to move back home with his disapproving parents and he sees no career beckoning other than working in a sports store.

Eventually, like a recovering drug addict, he succumbs to the temptation of playing in a social game. His father chucks him out immediately for reneging on his promise to go straight, and he finds himself in a share house with one of his cricketing mates. Slowly but surely, he finds himself sucked back into the soul-sapping world of rigs, circuits, chops, champs and all the rest of the macho one-upmanship of grade cricket. All the while, his cricket declines to the point where his blood-alcohol content sometimes exceeds his career batting average.

While not as funny as the first book, this is probably a better effort as a novel, with a story arc that develops the main characters and takes them through a gradual awakening to maturity and a life beyond grade cricket. The disturbing macho attitudes of the first book are now laid bare as corrosive obstacles to the enjoyment of a full life and the joy of a sport that The Grade Cricketer once loved.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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40 SIX FOUR by Hideo Yokoyama


A multi layered Japanese police procedural that reads like Dostoyevsky which marries a kidnapping to an unspeakable transgression in a criminal case with and the art of revenge. The novel focus is upon police politics, criminal investigation and their relationship with press in a labyrinthine tale told through the eyes of press director Mikami Yoshinobu.

A study of Japanese cultural life which peals back the layers of individual action and loyalty and the prominence of participation and belonging to a group as the source of the individuals identity.

At times it was something of a slog as it uproots all previous notions of the police procedural genre and others was it akin to binge reading.

Recomended.
 

California Dreamer

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40 SIX FOUR by Hideo Yokoyama


A multi layered Japanese police procedural that reads like Dostoyevsky which marries a kidnapping to an unspeakable transgression in a criminal case with and the art of revenge. The novel focus is upon police politics, criminal investigation and their relationship with press in a labyrinthine tale told through the eyes of press director Mikami Yoshinobu.

A study of Japanese cultural life which peals back the layers of individual action and loyalty and the prominence of participation and belonging to a group as the source of the individuals identity.

At times it was something of a slog as it uproots all previous notions of the police procedural genre and others was it akin to binge reading.

Recomended.
I really enjoyed this, but I did find the police politics and the hierarchies to be observed somewhat confusing. I suspect local readers would cotton on a lot more quickly. Have you read Seventeen?
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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I really enjoyed this, but I did find the police politics and the hierarchies to be observed somewhat confusing. I suspect local readers would cotton on a lot more quickly. Have you read Seventeen?
No this is first of his I’ve read will consider it but have about a half dozen by the bed which I want to get through first.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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I sympathise. No sooner do I finish a book then I find three more in the library that I want to read.
Library I wish. A lot of books I’ve read this year have come from Vinnies,the book table outside the local bookstore, Verso and the odd one via bookdepository. Going through more this year as Mrs GF now has to catch the Tram to work so she is reading more.
 

Fueco

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I sympathise. No sooner do I finish a book then I find three more in the library that I want to read.
I’d go broke if not for the library. I have four books checked out (I’ve read 1.5 of these), and five waiting on hold for me.
 

California Dreamer

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I’d go broke if not for the library. I have four books checked out (I’ve read 1.5 of these), and five waiting on hold for me.
I used to buy books all the time, but broke that habit when I lived in San Diego, opposite the library. We didn't want to think about the cost of transporting four years worth of book collecting back to Oz, so we became library hounds. We also gave them what books we did buy when we left. I still have a spare room chock-a-block with unread books, however.
 

California Dreamer

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Library I wish. A lot of books I’ve read this year have come from Vinnies,the book table outside the local bookstore, Verso and the odd one via bookdepository. Going through more this year as Mrs GF now has to catch the Tram to work so she is reading more.
Aren't you in Canberra? Plenty of libraries there, surely.
 

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