#Havana62: To the brink of nuclear war

October 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The world watches. Waits. The world is aware that it is days, possibly even only hours away from nuclear war. The only way of staying informed is through the newspapers and news reports on the television and radio. But what if the Cuban Missile Crisis had happened 50 years later? The story would dominate round the clock news; it would also be trending across social media. Enter #Havana62

#Havana62 imagines the Cuban Missile Crisis from fictional Twitter accounts from the protagonists, imagining their perspective on the situation as it develops. Accounts often tend to look at one perspective, or examine one side first and then the other; #Havana62 looks at both sides at the same time through the imaginary tweets as the crisis is examined day-by-day. There is also background to the crisis from earlier in the year and short profiles at the start of each day of either those involved or the weapons involved.

It’s a different and interesting take on the Cuban Missile Crisis and I thoroughly enjoyed and strongly recommend the book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Advertisements

The Liquidator

British Special Security are tired of embarrassing situations; it inevitably leads to embarrassing questions. It’s decided that action is needed to avoid situations in the future. Mostyn, the second-in-command is entrusted with ensuring that problems are removed before they become a problem and he believes he knows just the man – Boysie Oakes. When Oakes heads off for a weekend away with Mostyn’s secretary, he soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that would result in a situation beyond embarrassing. Can Oakes save the day?

The Liquidator is the first in the Boysie Oakes series and gives the back story as to how Oakes became a secret agent. It also shows what type of character Oakes is and he’s not the standard secret agent/assassin material.

A gentle comedy combined with a thriller, it’s different to what I’ve read before and was an enjoyable read.

Rating (out of 5): ****

D-Boys

An American system has been hacked into and Mike Brown, a computer expert, joins a SWAT team on a regulation mission to apprehend the culprits. Moments later, he’s the only man left standing. They’ve stumbled upon something bigger and Brown is soon assigned to the D-Boys, an elite unit that is unknown outside of those who need to know. Brown joins them on missions around the world, but it seems as though an online game is the key. Terrorists are able to communicate in secret and practice against targets. Power cuts in America are followed by chemical attacks. When it appears as though things can’t get any worse, it is discovered that in the game missions have been undertaken against a nuclear weapon storage facility. This was only a rehearsal and in real life, the facility is stormed and there’s a nuclear weapon on the loose with the West Coast of America the target…

D-Boys is an excellent thriller that moves along at a fast pace throughout. With the online game as well, it can almost be described as a thriller within a thriller. The action is frequent throughout and takes place at a frenetic pace. It’s well worth a read.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Complete Dregs Of History

We’ve all heard of Henry VIII. And Elizabeth I. And William Shakespeare. And countless others who have made an impact on history. But what about the everyday person? Or someone who has had an impact for a strange reason? Enter ‘The complete dregs of history’

Numerous characters are introduced in chronological order, with a summary of what they did and why they are included. Fripley’s characters are all entertaining and the book was easy to read and enjoyable. The characters can be a bit hit and miss, but none are worth skipping. A book to return to and pick a character at random.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Six Months in 1945

The end of the Second World War is the subject of Six Months in 1945. Instead of focusing on the military defeats of Germany and Japan, the focus is on the changing relationship between the Big Three as they move from allies to enemies. The book starts with the Yalta conference and how the interpretation of the agreements reached affects events and the relationships through to the Potsdam conference and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan.

As well as events and the agreements, Dodds also looks at the change in personnel amongst the Big Three leaders and the impact that this has as 1945 progresses. The main change is in the American presidency, with Churchill’s replacement coming at the end of the period focused on.

An interesting read that looks to chart how the wartime alliance led to the Cold War.

Rating (out of 5): ****

The Pirates! In an adventure with Moby Dick

The Pirate Captain decides that their ship has seen better days (with the mast constantly collapsing, he’s probably right). The Pirates buy a new ship from Cutlass Liz. She’s famed for dealing with non-payers brutally. Which could be a major problem as the Pirates don’t have the 6000 doubloons the new ship costs. The Pirate Captain has a number of ideas to raise the necessary money, but they don’t work out and keep on bumping into a character called Ahab, who lost his leg to a whale and wants revenge. The reward to anyone who catches the whale? 6000 doubloons. The Pirates look to find the whale, claim the reward and pay for their ship.

An easy read and fun story. The pirates are named according to distinguishing features that they possess and the Pirate Captain is a lovable character, but often seems out of his depth. I recommend this to everyone.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: White Gold

White Gold sees a scientist murdered after a tour of Europe in which he has been giving lectures about White Gold, a potential new source of power. Dan Taylor, an old friend, soon contacts the ex-wife of the scientist and they investigate the murder, believing there to be more behind it.

The pace is quick throughout, with events taking place across the globe. It is described as a suspense story on Amazon, but I would disagree with that; I didn’t feel that much suspense was built up due to the rapid pace of events throughout. Also, Taylor is often very lucky, which prevents suspense being built up (but does keep the pace moving). The book felt quite formulaic (murder, investigation, travel around the world in a race against time, action ending), although there was a nice link back to earlier in the story at the action ending. There was nothing that was wrong with the book, but I didn’t feel that there was anything to make it stand out from the crowd.

Rating (out of 5): ***