Playing Truant

Playing Truant has five members of a mortgage foreclosure team attending a conference when one of them decides he doesn’t want to go into the meeting. It’s his hometown and three other members of the team join him in visiting some old haunts, whilst the team leader remains. The team finally return and the reaction is not what they expected.

The book takes place over a short period of time. It aims to focus on a real life situation and achieves this, not relying on over the top action or exaggerated situations. Whilst a strength of the book, it also leaves you wanting something else to happen.

Rating (out of 5): ***

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Foggy’s Blog

Morton Astley Fogarty (Foggy) is blogging about his life. He lives at home, works in an insurance call centre and is involved in an amateur dramatic production of Grease. However, in all aspects, he’s out of his depth. Despite being out of his depth, he’s blissfully unaware and looks for the best in everyone and everything. This results in plenty of mis-understandings, the highlight being when Foggy is called in for a disciplinary meeting at work. Foggy is a lovable character and it’s a short, amusing book.

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 – Utter Folly

Olly invites his friend James to his house in the country. But then Olly gets arrested and can’t make the weekend, although he does ask James to pick up a package for him. James could never have been prepared for what he encounters, with Olly’s family best described as being eccentric. James could also not have been prepared for the situations he finds himself in and is also unaware of what’s in the package he’s asked to collect.

Utter Folly is a comedy set in the English countryside. James is pretty hapless, but a lovable character who is well out of his comfort zone and little match for the formidable characters he encounters. An easy read and funny throughout.

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

Book review: Get Lenin

Get Lenin is set in World War II. Eva Molenaar is working for the British Secret Services, with the book detailing how she was recruited for them. It is learned that the German hierarchy are planning to steal the corpse of Lenin from the Russians to force them out of the war. Molenaar finds herself in with key German plotters and looks to prevent the corpse being stolen.

The first half of the book focuses on Molenaar’s history and how she was recruited for the British Secret Services. It also gives an overview of some of her earlier missions. The second half focuses on the German plot and Molenaar’s attempts to stop the theft. The pace quickens as the German plot develops and there is well-described action as the Germans look to succeed, whilst the Russian and British look to prevent a successful theft.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: The Watchman

Alex Temple is on a mission in Sierra Leone to rescue journalists being held hostage. No sooner is the mission complete than he gets recalled to Britain for a top secret mission. MI5 have lost contact with an SAS trained mole and agents linked with him are being killed in a brutal manner. Temple’s task is simple – eliminate the mole, known as Watchman. Temple has to go up against someone as well-trained as he is and who is on a mission. But why is Watchman murdering his former handlers?

The novel starts at a quick pace with action straight away, before the main plot starts. Temple is shown to be an excellent soldier, but he is not perfect as he discovers with his first encounter with Watchman. The plot moves along at an excellent pace throughout and Temple discovers why Watchman is murdering his former handlers, leaving him with a moral decision to make. A good, enjoyable thriller.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: The Kremlin Device

An SAS group under the leadership of Geordie Sharp is sent to Russia to help train Russian special forces in their conflict with organised crime. Before leaving, they are informed that they have an additional mission – to plant two nuclear devices in Russia. Orders are not to get involved in any mission undertaken by the Russians, but Sharp helps plan an operation. The first device is to be planted close to the Kremlin and is achieved relatively easily. The second device is to be planted next to the base that they are at, but the vehicle containing the weapon gets ambushed and hijacked when bringing the device back from the embassy in Moscow. Sharp then has to track down the device along with the two men taken with it.

There is plenty of action, starting with the raid by Russian special forces and culminating in tracking down the stolen nuclear bomb. The action is well-described and fast-paced. The situation the SAS team find themselves in deteriorates quickly and plans have to be adjusted at short-notice. This helps add pace to the story, with challenges appearing all the time.

Rating (out of 5): ****