Thank You For Being My Shelf…

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Didsbury Library, Manchester

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Night Time Cool for Cats (one more other kind of book review).

Cool. Wicked. Mad – no, “madferit!” And that’s just the copper at the centre of Jamie Paradise’s debut novel Night Time Cool, recently published by Unbound.  Imagine Regan from the Sweeney with absolutely no moral compass, not even the one he definitely wouldn’t have had in the Wayfinder shoes he’d never have been seen dead in, not even at primary school.

Frederick Street is a monster(Monster!Monster!) However, he has style, panache and… brio. Much like the prose in Jamie’s book.  At first, I confess, I felt as linguistically out of my depth as I did watching the first episode of The Wire – but you know what? By the time I got to Chapter 3 it was fine, I was bowled along by the sheer energy of it.

This is a pacy book, but one to be read carefully, for the plot concerns the twisted plots that all the main characters, from Frederick’s DJ son to (my favourite) Wade Long ,the porn star blackmailer, are hatching against each other.

I found reading Jamie’s writing the closest thing to reading a graphic novel that any book without pictures can be. That is a compliment, be in no doubt.

Very Night Time Cool for Cats. Read it.

Bone Lines (Yet one more "kind of" book review)

My abode is finally fixed. For how long? Who can say? For the time being, I am officially a resident of West Didsbury, I’ll just have to try to fit in to the BoHo atmosphere, I guess.

Readers of this blog will be aware of an undertaking to achieve a littIe more gender balance in my reading (and on my bookshelves) which I made back in December of last year . I have posted reviews of books by modern authors, whilst working through George Eliot’s canon at the same time. I reckon Mary Anne has enough readers anyway. My book choice has in no way been a quota-filling box-ticking exercise as I have only reviewed books that have taken my eye. Bone Lines (out later this month) is no exception in that respect.

This debut novel by Stephanie Bretherton is another Unbound publication, the publisher which continues to take a risk on the more unusual suspects, when selecting their authors and projects. Bone Lines deals both with a scientist investigating some prehistoric remains in the present day and the story of the person who left those remains behind. Stephanie creates two believable and well-rounded heroines in separate and entirely convincing worlds. They are both strong and complex women of their time and this reader was thoroughly engaged by them. No regrets at all about picking up Ms Bretherton’s novel with its intriguing premise.

Some may feel the device of Eloise’s letters to Darwin a little contrived, but in fact it works well in explaining and exploring some of the difficult ethical, scientific and philosophical concepts touched on by this book.

Without banging the reader over the head with polemic, this novel explains beautifully some of the compromises, dilemmas and injustices encountered by women in the scientific (and let’s face it, almost any other) field.

Perhaps I’ve made Bone Fields sound a little dry: I assure you it’s anything but. Give it a try, it really is a book less ordinary and I for one am looking forward to the sequel.