Terror’s Reach

Nothing last week I’m afraid. A bit of a domestic, doctor called. (Not for me some will be sorry to hear) Always on a bloody Sunday isn’t it? Still managed to cook a wild pigeon (You’d be wild too, if you were stuck into a hot oven and basted with your own juices) and four of five veg. This week it’s a simple pousin (My spell check doesn’t recognise the word, so I might well have spelled it wrong. Baby chicken I mean) poached in white wine with swede, carrot and onion, plus mashed potato and sprouts (frozen. But Marco Pierre White said they’re best).

It’s Marathon day again so the Isle of Doggies (Woof, woof) is closed down. Nothing new there then, as the Jubilee line is closed every weekend, and the DLR too. East London. What a trip! The weather forecast was hot and humid, and in fact it’s pissing down. I don’t know how weather forecasters can take the money and keep a straight face.

A while back I said I was reading the new John Connolly. I’ve reviewed that for the Independent On Sunday, so I won’t say any more here, and also Terror’s Reach by Tom Bale (Preface-June-H/B £12.99). A bit of a disappointment that one, though I managed to finish it, which is saying something. The plot idea is interesting, but hardly new: Take an isolated community, cut it off from the world, then plunder it. There’s dozens of films and books that use the idea. Westerns, crime, science fiction. Ed McBain did a great one. So did Robert B. Parker. Even the wonderful Dame Agatha with Ten Little… Oops, got to call it And Then There Was One these days. I was reading it under my desk during English many years ago, and Mr Bamford confiscated it and didn’t give it back until the end of term. Bastard! These days I imagine anyone reading anything in English class would get a medal. These days of course it’s harder now, with the new technology, and mobile communication to isolate anyone, especially in England. But of course “NO SIGNAL’ is always useful. Terror’s Reach is a small island off the South Coast inhabited by mostly rich people. A gang invades the place, closes it down, and that’s that. Except for Joe Clayton, an undercover cop who lost everything when a job went wrong. Career, family, and he had to change his name and take a job as a bodyguard.

I’ll admit there’s a few neat twists, as Joe moves around the island, trying hard to protect everyone, and keep out of the bad guy’s clutches, but ends up captured, then freed again. Trouble was I didn’t really care about the characters, and that matters. As one editor once said about one of my books “There’s a good little novel trying to get out of this big novel” Still rankles, but then I think his taste ran to more gentle fare, if you get my drift. Same with this one. Lurking inside the book is a better one.

Right, what else? I’m reading the new Mark Billingham due out in August, From The Dead. Looking good so far. And just arrived the latest Peter Robinson – Bad Boy also August. More on those later, but it looks like a good summer crime fans.

As I’ve got a few things coming out over the next few weeks I’ve overdosed on vinyl. Voidoids on the marvellous Fruits De Mer label, plus stacks more new stuff and reissues, and a whole bundle of old records from the Jive Dive and Sam Hobden. More on those next week.

Oh well, back to the kitchen, and it’s stopped raining

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