Kevin Boy to Man – Book Review

Unlike many other writers whom I’ve discovered via blogging and Twitter, the author of this particular book was an unexpected discovery when she asked to join my book review Facebook group. I must admit to having had some initial misgivings when I first started reading this book, but having put them aside, this proved to be one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this past year. Further links to the author and her work can be found at:

.

http://authorspage.wix.com/finklemeyer

.

.

Kevin Boy to Man, by E. Finklemeyer

(Available in eBook formats via Amazon and Smashwords)

kevin2Superficially this book might well be described as a Coming of Age or Rites of Passage story, but to do so would fall far short of doing it justice. The story initially centres around Kevin, a lonely but in many ways very typical teenager or young man, and his desire to engage with the opposite sex, make friends, and find his place in the world. The reader’s first impressions of Kevin are somewhat tainted to say the least, portrayed as he is as a sex starved fantasizing teenage version of a dirty old man, totally devoid of any redeeming characteristics, trolling the internet for mucky pics to further fuel his fantasies and act them out in a way typical of a horny young man or teenage boy in the privacy of his own bedroom. And so too his home and family: a mother who seems over protective and patronising of him, a bed ridden indifferent father, and no real friends to speak of other than his ‘Aunt’ Violet, a woman more than old enough to be his mother with whom he seems to enjoy an unhealthy interest and relationship with, again furthering the reader’s dislike of him; such are his efforts in this and other endeavours that it would be very easy to lose all sympathy whatsoever for him, but as the book progresses so too does the reader’s perception and understanding of him.

The language is colourful and explicit from the start, but in an honest and matter of fact way rather than gratuitous or intended to shock. The same can largely be said of the sex scenes too, and whilst the later do not leave too much to the imagination, they’re more likely to make the reader laugh out loud than become aroused in any way, as is their intention. I wasn’t overly keen on the block paragraph style of presentation, a format which I find better suited to the flash fiction and short story format. I must admit too that I found the first fifteen to twenty per cent of the book hard going, portraying Kevin, his life and his family in as bleak and sordid a way as is possible to imagine, but from this bleakness emerges a story of such joy and comic humour, and at times tragic loss and sadness it was impossible for me not to completely forgive any initial short comings

Out of Kevin’s solitary sordid fantasies and activities, what emerges is the story of a young man who comes to realise there’s a lot more to life than tending to the needs of what’s between his legs; where once he was sad and lonely he eventually finds himself surrounded by the best and truest friends he could ever hope for – as strange, funny, and unlikely a collection of individuals one might ever hope to meet. The adventures Kevin and his new found friends get up to really have to be read to be believed – think old people’s home meets juvenile detention centre with a healthy helping of geek, sex, and eventually love thrown in and you start to get the idea – any comparisons with Tom Sharpe would not be undeserved!

A word of warning though, try to avoid reading in this in public places such as trains or bus – switching between stifling laughter and then trying to hide the fact you’re welling up with tears and a lump in your throat can be quite embarrassing…

For sheer unadulterated joyous and uplifting entertainment, a thoroughly well deserved five star recommendation!

The Tiny Tyrannosaurs – Children’s Book Review

It’s been many years since I had cause to read a children’s book now that my son is a grown man with a son of his own, my adorable little four year old grandson, Patrick. With him in mind I’m now paying more attention to such books, and it is with great pleasure I now present my review of a book I enjoyed many hours of fun and laughter in sharing with him, but first, a little about the author, Penny Luker…

Penny Luker is the author of ‘The Mermaid’ a book of short stories, ‘Nature’s Gold’ a poetry anthology and two other children’s books, among others. She also writes for the e-zine ‘All Things Girl,’ http://www.allthingsgirl.com.

Further links to her writing can be found at:

http://www.pennyluker.wordpress.com
http://www.penspoems.wordpress.com

.

.

The Tiny Tyrannosaurus, by Penny Luker
(Available in eBook and print formats from Amazon)

penny2 A truly delightful collection of bite sized stories that will amuse and delight children in, I would say, the four to ten year old age bracket. The stories span a year in the life of young Isaac, from the day he receives a small tiny talking tyrannosaurus for his birthday. With the promise of one magic wish a day, a touching bond forms between them as they enjoy a variety of little adventures together, until such time for their parting and the magic to end. Each story is gentle, simple, and easy for young children to relate to, yet sufficiently entertaining to hold the attention of the slightly older child, say seven to ten or eleven, reading them on their own.

These stories would make excellent bedtime tales for younger readers, with parents or grandparents maybe explaining any words or ideas that four or five year olds might not immediately get, and perhaps adding their own input, thus making these stories as much fun for those reading them as they are for their audience. Mixed in with the stories, there are morals and snippets of good advice for children, that perhaps they’ll be more likely to take heed of if coming from a magical talking dinosaur than from a grown up.

A lovely little collection of stories, as the giggles and smiles from my own grandson confirmed when I was reading them to him.

Links to further works by Penny Luker:

penny4penny1penny3

Not Like Other People – Book Review

LesleyHayes1This is the second of Lesley Hayes’ books I’ve read,  having already reviewed ‘A Field Beyond Time’.  I first discovered this author’s books by way of Twitter (who says Twitter doesn’t work?), and after some initial chat, emails, and taking a look at her blog I added ‘A Filed Beyond Time’ to my read & review list. This is however the first short story collection of hers that I have read and reviewed.. again, it won’t be the last….

Lesley Hayes has been writing ever since she was a child. Since then she has been published in several woman’s and literary magazines, read her stories on BBC radio, and in 1986 had her first novel, ‘Keeping Secrets,’ published. In addition to that and ‘A Field Beyond Time,’ Lesley Hayes is the author of several more successful and well received novels. Further information and links to her writing can be found at:  

http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk

http://blog.lesleyhayes.co.uk

https://twitter.com/hayes_lesley

 

 

Not Like Other People, By Lesley Hayes

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

LesleyHayes1A truly fascinating and poignant anthology of ten short character driven stories that centre on the lives, loves, and emotions of its characters; just as in real life, not every character here is one we sympathise with, and nor does every story end with a ‘happy ever after’ conclusion – stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, occasionally heart warming, but which never fail to captivate the reader’s full attention.

In addition to the stories, there is an informative preface outlining the author’s approach to writing these tales, and how they differ from writing from that of a novel, giving the reader a real insight into them right from the start.

Although each story is entirely different in its theme, scenarios, and characters, the writing style remains consistent, characterised by crisp sharp sentences and dialogue, with just the right balance of description and dialogue to drive each story forward and keep the reader intrigued and entertained throughout. What was especially impressive about the dialogue was that despite there being ten different stories, and many more characters to contend with, each character still possessed their own unique voice, personality and attributes, and the imagery and descriptive prose of each never fell into any sort of predictable pattern.

Many of the stories don’t follow the usual short story format of a clever plot-line followed by the customary twist in the tale ending, instead concentrating on the subtle interactions between the characters, and whereas many short stories rely on the reader’s imagination to ponder on the ‘before and after’ of the story, here the reader is treated to brief yet fascinating self-contained interludes of the character’s lives, which allow you to really enjoy and immerse yourself ‘in the moment’ so to speak. Yes, each story ends in such a way as to either enlighten or surprise the reader, but the endings are mostly of the more subtle or gentle ‘aha’ moment.

Anyone who likes their reading to challenge their perceptions as well as entertaining them will not be disappointed: Intelligent and well written, highly entertaining and thought provoking, I cannot recommend this anthology more highly!

 

Other Short Story collections by Lesley Hayes:

lesleyhayes2

lesleyhayes3

The Alexandria Project – Book Review

This is an author I came across by way of reading his own excellent review of a book I had previously reviewed, ‘Johnny Nothing’ by Ian Probert.

Andrew Updegrove is a prolific blogger, primarily writing about the self-publishing industry and related topics, providing an excellent resource for any aspiring writer. As well as being a prolific blogger and writer, Andrew Updegrove has a successful background in law, business, and cyber security, making him eminently qualified to write this excellent book.’

 

Further links and contact details for Andrew Updegrove are:

http://updegrove.wordpress.com/

email: andrew.updegrove@gesmer.com

https://twitter.com/Adversego

https://www.facebook.com/frank.adversego

The Alexandria Project, by Andrew Updegrove  

AlexandriaTom Sharpe meets Michael Crichton… What we have here is a real rollercoaster of a thriller, combining home grown and international cyber terrorism, the threat of nuclear war and destruction, and not to mention, some of the funniest and satirical writing it’s been my pleasure to read in a very long time.

It begins with an excellent prologue, detailing the cyber theft of national security files from a highly secure Govt. Dept. thus providing the reader with an early glimpse of the wider picture. What follows is the gripping story of an emerging threat to national and international cyber security, and the frantic efforts of both the CIA, the FBI, and one man in particular, Frank Adversego Jr, a brilliant IT security expert and innovator, to track down and counter the threat and to avert catastrophic consequences that no one could have imagined at the start, culminating in a genuinely nail biting finish.

Interspaced amid the storyline are some fascinating insights into the world of I.T and the net, written in such a way as to be informative and entertaining, yet never requiring the reader to have anything but the most basic understanding of the net to follow and enjoy the story. There are some truly funny and yet very pertinent accounts of the original dot com bubble, venture capital, and the sheer absurdity and madness of the early days of the net and the overnight millionaires it created; mentions of Netscape et al give the explanations real credibility. The author uses these examples to lampoon much of the internet, using such phrases as “spear phishing venture capitalists,” and gives an account of “virtual kittens” that really has to be read to enjoy its sheer absurdity. There are many other examples too of the author’s humour, such as when the principal character, Frank, describes one of his neighbours as looking like the North Korean president… but with hair curlers. One of the funniest satirical examples is when the cyber security breaches are said to be undermining the very foundations of culture and society, namely when the computer systems of American Idol, the Home shopping channel, and Disney World are compromised. Running alongside the cyber investigations, across the ocean, events are rapidly unfolding to instigate a violent change of leadership in North Korea whilst dragging America into a war of literal self-destruction.

There are some very clever twists too, mainly concerning a number of the characters who turn out to be not quite they seem; even Lily, the overweight corgi that Frank has to look after, plays its part in the grand scheme of things!

With just the right balance of dialogue, action, flashback, and explanation, the author develops both the storyline and the characters with equal interest and believability: Frank Adversego, the middle aged I.T expert, whose geeky talents and early promise somehow never reached their full potential, his daughter, the confident and self assured Marla, loyal to her dad, but despairing of his faults at times, and his Boss, Frank Marchand, equally despairing of Frank’s failure at times to live up to his potential, yet ultimately confident in his ability to  do his job, and of course the mysterious retired FBI agent and the enigmatic, wait for it… Yoda!

A funny, satirical, pacey thriller combining the murky world of the cyber terrorist with that of the political machinations of high office, tyrannical military dictatorships, and the threat of nuclear war. A cracking good read that will have you laughing and biting your nails in anticipation in equal measure.

Available from Amazon in eBook format, and from several other outlets in both eBook and print formats.. See the author’s blog for details.

 

A Field Beyond Time – Book Review

This is the first of Lesley Hayes’s novels I’ve read, although it won’t be the last, having already added ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ to my TBR/Review list.  I first discovered this author’s books by way of Twitter (who says Twitter doesn’t work?), and after some initial chat, emails, and taking a look at her blog I added ‘A Filed Beyond Time’ to my read & review list.

Lesley Hayes has been writing ever since she was a child. Since then she has been published in several woman’s and literary magazines, read her stories on BBC radio, and in 1986 had her first novel, ‘Keeping Secrets,’ published. In addition to that and ‘A Field Beyond Time,’ Lesley Hayes is the author of several more successful and well received novels. Further information and links to her writing can be found at:  

http://www.lesleyhayes.co.uk

http://blog.lesleyhayes.co.uk

A Field Beyond Time, By Lesley Hayes

(Available from Amazon in eBook format for Kindle).

field1

This is a book that is as much character driven as it is about plot and storyline, although in this case, the one skilfully reinforces the other. What follows is an enthralling story, spanning more than three decades across as many continents, from the outward respectability of suburban America and academic Oxford, to the drugs and cults of the hippie trail retreats of India.

It starts off with the death of the mother of one of the central characters, Mira, an American artist and photographer. Mira is coming to terms with her mother’s deathbed revelations, and the cold remoteness of their relationship whilst she was alive. The story then switches to Daniel, a psychotherapist living in Oxford in the UK, and his younger wife, Callie. Daniel is troubled by recurring nightmares that relate to his travels as a young man in India, as well as worrying about the growing stagnation of his marriage; Callie too worries about her marriage, her regrets, and about getting older among other things. Secrets abound on all sides, each only knowing their side and part of the wider story.

Initially it feels as though you’re reading two completely different stories in parallel, effortlessly switching between the two, but with little or no clue as to how these seemingly unconnected stories of Mira and the troubled English couple will tie in with one another, and it is quite some time before they suddenly do collide in dramatic and unforeseen circumstances. Throughout this book, the author leaves several hints and clues as to the truth of what’s going on, whilst leaving the characters totally at odds with one another: conflict, deceit, confusion, and misconceptions are in abundance for much of the time, so much so that even with the benefit of insight into all the character’s minds, the reader is still kept guessing almost to the end, just what the overall truth is.

Much of the story is told by way of memories and reflections of the past, but sufficiently grounded in the context of the story so as not to be a ‘stream of consciousness,’ as in say, Mrs Dalloway, though the structure of writing and literary style certainly echoes that of Virginia Wolf’s classic novel; there are several scenes of self-reflection and analysis that cleverly develop character, revealing links between the past and present, giving the reader a real sense of how the characters became the people they are rather than some two dimensional snapshot image taken at a single instant in time. Quite unusually, the author occasionally switches from third to first person narratives for some of the different chapters and characters, but still achieves good and clear transitions and story progression.

Although this is not the sort of book I would normally read, it is without doubt one of the best I’ve read this year; the quality of writing and depth of characterisation, aligned with intelligent and convincing dialogue, and above all, a truly fascinating and intriguing story, kept me interested and entertained throughout. It’s not a book that can easily be skimmed through, demanding instead the reader’s full and undivided attention, but that attention is well rewarded by a remarkable story, and characters that will stay in the reader’s mind long after they’ve finished reading. A literary gem!

 

Links to further works by Lesley Hayes:

 

The Oscar Dossier                  

leslie4

 

Without a Safety Net

leslie3

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Drowned Phoenician Sailor

leslie2

 

Not Like Other People

leslie5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke & Mirrors: and other stories – Book Review

 

FREE on Kindle Today!

Tom Benson’s latest book, and being a huge short story fan, one I had been looking forward to. Regular readers of my blog will already know that I’ve read and reviewed several of Tom’s previous works. Just to reiterate though, Tom Benson is a prolific writer and author of two previous novels and five poetry anthologies. As well as being a very talented writer and author, he is also one of the most helpful bloggers you could ever hope to meet as even a cursory glance at his blog will amply demonstrate.

Further information and links to Tom Benson’s writing can be found at:

http://tombensoncreative.com/

http://www.tom-benson.co.uk/

 

Smoke & Mirrors: and other stories, by Tom Benson

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

 

smoke and mirrorsThoroughly enjoyed this twelve story novella length anthology. There is a great variety of stories in that the reader never feels that sense of repetitiveness that can be quite common in many short story anthologies, with stories here ranging from the classic honey trap, revenge and retribution, tasteful erotica, to that of survival and just a touch of sentimentality. Having said that, there is a running theme of what I would call ‘rough justice’, of evil people getting their just desserts, and things turning out well for the good guys.

Some of the stories conclude with the popular ‘twist in the tale’, and indeed, the twists here are real good ones, whilst others simply end with a satisfying conclusion that really enhances the reader’s enjoyment.

One of the things I most liked about this collection is that the author clearly knows what he’s writing about with regard to military detail in some of the stories, and had clearly done his homework in others, thus giving each story a real sense of authenticity; since these are proper short stories rather than what I would call elongated flash fiction, the author manages not only good story lines, but also strong and well developed characters that complement the action perfectly.

All in all, a great collection of short stories that readers who like their stories well written, authentic, and with a fair bit of grit and impact to them, will enjoy immensely… FREE on Kindle today (25/05/2014)

 

Further links to other books by Tom Benson: animalsTBPanamaTBLoveTB

BeyondTBMMTBChillsTB

humourTB

13 Strange Short Tales – Book Review

This is a great little anthology of stories I discovered via a retweet on Twitter. The author, Charles E Wells, is a prolific writer and author, having written some twelve books. As well as creative writing, Charles Wells has in the past enjoyed a varied career that has included both print and online journalism. Although not a blogger, he does have a very impressive website and portfolio of his writings and background at:

http://www.charleswells.us

 

13 Strange Short Tales, by Charles E. Wells

(Available in both eBook and print formats from Amazon)

 

13 strange talesThis anthology of strange tales is one that effortless blends the genres of science fiction and the paranormal. In many of the stories the author cleverly settles the reader into a world of complete normality, often just before plunging them into another dimension, the afterlife, or some other place in-between. There is good use of authentic dialogue and detail to both drive the stories forward, and to convey character. I would also say that many of the stories here are among some of the cleverest and most original I’ve read in these genres, covering such topics as inter-dimensional travel, heroism, destiny and fate. Some of the stories employ the tried and tested ‘twist in the tale’ style, whilst in others the author allows the conclusion to simply speak for itself, and to set the reader thinking. Although there was a running theme of Sci-Fi and mystery, there was a great variety of settings and scenarios, and no two stories were alike, thus ensuring the reader was kept entertained throughout every tale.

For anyone who remembers watching and enjoying the ‘Twilight Zone’ or ‘Outer Limits,’ these stories will definitely appeal to those fans, as well as to all those who enjoy a sense or originality and mystery in their Sci-Fi. Extremely well written, and for an eBook, well presented and formatted too. Will certainly be reading and reviewing other books by this author in the future. Highly recommended!

 Further links to other books by Charles E. Wells: 

The Whispering Pines series -

book1

book2 book3book4book5book6book7book8book9

 

Hear The Sunshine

HearinglossSee also:   https://twitter.com/Charles_E_Wells

 

His Judas Bride – Book Review

Shehanne Moore is the author of three highly successful and slightly risque historical romance novels, all published by Etopia Press (see link at end).

As well as her creative writing she is also a prolific blogger (see blog link at end), which contains many posts that I’ve enjoyed reading and commenting on.

The book I’ve reviewed here is not her latest, but one that was chosen on account of its loose (un-named) connection to a part of Scotland that I’m a frequent visitor to. Despite being way outside my usual reading tastes, it’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and I shall certainly be reading and reviewing further books by Shehanne Moore in the future, as well as getting to know the author and her writing a little better in a future author interview I hope to post later in the year.

 

 

His Judas Bride, by Shehanne Moore

(Available in eBook format from Amazon Kindle)

 

judasbridepicThis is a book that draws the reader in from the very first page. Set amid the Scottish Glens when rival clans fought among themselves, Lady Kara is betrothed and dispatched by her father to the court of a rival Clan chief. But Lady Kara is not all she seems, and has her own secrets and agenda that she will lie, scheme, and fight for in any way she can to protect and achieve. Far from being the chaste and naive lady of the Edinburgh court the rival chieftain believes her to be, Lady Kara’s past is as dramatic and violent as that of any fighting clansman. Upon her arrival at the court of her intended, what follows is a story filled with intrigue, courage, fighting, sex and seduction, and much more besides, before its final heart-warming conclusion. This is a story and world of savage brutality, and sex that reflects that savagery in a way that perfectly reflects the morals and attitudes of the time, but without ever falling into the trap of being gratuitous or too explicit.

The author adopts a style of dialogue and prose that reflects and compliments the period of its setting, yet not so much as to distract the reader in any way. The action and raunch are never less than brutally authentic, immersing the reader in Lady Kara’s world. In contrast to this, the dialogue is often very witty, and there are some great moments of humour and verbal sparring. Although written in the third person, the reader could almost believe the central characters are each in turn being written in the first person, such is the depth of characterisation the author achieves.

There’s a lot going on in this book, and is definitely one that needs to be read with a keen eye rather than skimmed through, especially if reading this genre or Shehanne Moore for the first time, but the effort is well rewarded with a raw and raunchy cracking good read that will appeal to most if not all fans of this genre.

 

 

Links to other books by Shehanne Moore:

shehanne3

 

shenanne2

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information about Shehanne Moore see:

http://shehannemooreweeblycom.weebly.com/

https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/ShehanneMoore

https://pinterest.com/shehanne

http://etopiapressblog.wordpress.com/?s=shehanne+moore

Ravens Gathering – Book Review

This is Graeme Cumming’s debut novel, and a cracking good one it is too. I first discovered Graeme’s writing and blog site from a comment he left in relation to a self-publishing conference we had both attended back in March of this year. After having read and commented on several of his posts I thought I would read his debut novel too. Again, it’s a little outside my usual range of genre but having read the amazon freebie pages, decided it might be something I would like…

To read more of Graeme Cumming’s writing see his blog at:

http://Graemecumming.net/

 

Ravens Gathering, by Graeme Cumming 

(Available in eBook format from Amazon)

Ravenspic2Although this book sets off at a rather sedate pace, right from the start the reader knows there’s something a bit eerie and weird going on, and that beneath the seemly normal facade of everyday life, something more sinister is lurking just beneath the surface.

Set against the backdrop of Ravens Gathering, a village and small farming community in the north of England, the opening and early chapters set the scene for a gripping story of unanswered questions, family tensions, past suicides, and possibly even murder and the supernatural; the arrival of an apparent stranger to the village turning out to be the unexpected return of a villager’s son after fifteen years without a word of contact raises as many questions as it answers. The author teases the reader with further clues and snippets of information as the book goes on, slowly drawing together the many different strands of the story to a thrilling and unexpected conclusion.

There were a couple of times towards the end of the book when events overtook me somewhat and I thought the pace could have been slowed down just a little. There were a couple of scenes and instances where a little more background research would have added a tad more authenticity, but overall, these minor concerns weren’t enough to spoil my enjoyment in any way, and the author did a good job in using realistic dialogue and the characterisation to drive the story forward.

One of the things I especially liked was that the paranormal and supernatural elements were for the most part, only ever hinted at for much of the time, allowing the reader to really engage with the characters and what was happening rather than having to suspend disbelief right from the offset; by the time anything supernatural or ‘other worldly’ was overtly introduced, the author had already laid the foundations sufficiently well for the reader to accept them as a natural and essential progression of the story. I also liked the way the author tied up some of the loose ends, but still left more than enough scope for a sequel. Despite a few minor issues, an ambitious and well written book, and definitely one that I would recommend. Would I read any sequels? Absolutely yes!

Johnny Nothing – Book Review

This particular review is quite a departure from my usual ones in that it’s of a children’s book.

I chose this particular book for a number of reasons: one, because the author had mentioned on his blog that he would appreciate some reviews of it, but also because I happen to have a four year old grandson who, as the years pass, will be reading progressively more demanding books, and since it’s part of my job to read to him at the moment (it’s in the ‘granddad’ job description title), I’d like to think when he starts choosing and reading his own books, I’ll at least be able to recommend something I think he’ll like, and come the time if he’s anything like me or his dad were, this will definitely be such a book…

Ian Probert is a successful author and journalist, and blogs at:  http://ianprobertbooks.wordpress.com/

Johnny Nothing, by Ian Probert  (available in both eBook and print formats from Amazon)

IanPJohnny nothing is a book that I think any child (boys mainly) in the nine to thirteen age bracket will really enjoy. It pokes lots of fun at grown ups and all the things we take seriously and think are important, and addresses all the topics that parents might squirm in embarrassment at, but which will have children in fits of giggles and laughter.

It’s basically about a young boy from a very poor background with rotten parents,’ who unexpectedly inherits a million pounds, but as in all good stories there’s a catch; if he can return a year later with even as much as one penny more than the million pounds then he inherits ten times that amount. Needless to say, his less than ideal parents prefer the idea of an immediate spending spree, and Johnny being only twelve, is initially powerless to stop them until… and that’s where the story really picks up.

Written in a very conversational style, the reader almost feels like they’re being ‘read to,’ almost to the point that the young reader will almost forget that they’re the one doing the actual job of reading. The characterisation is nothing less than superb; in a way that only a child of a certain age can do (and the author), every character is hugely exaggerated to the point of comic absurdity. There’s lots of potty humour and playground language that young boys will revel in, and a couple of occasions when the author conspires with the reader in a little naughtiness by writing bleep bleep bleep, something that boys will find very funny, thinking that they’re reading something rude (without actually doing so), and a reference to a competition form in which the reader is asked to write swear words to send to the Prime Minister in order to win a prize. There’s also an amusing running theme telling kids not smoke, not to drink, and finally, not to… rob banks, but all done in a way that’s more likely to make them take notice than any number of serious lectures.

The author also very cleverly explains about sub-plots being like little stories inside bigger ones. What was also very clever about the way this book was written, allowing for the fact the attention spans of younger readers will vary quite a lot, there are lots of obvious but very clever word plays that kids will be both distracted and amused by before returning to the main story, as well as some amusing satire such as when a shop assistant has to call Mumbai just to get permission for Johnny to charge his phone, but has to agree to be put a mailing list, and lastly, some great analogies that readers at the upper end of the target age group are likely to pick up on:

“…like journalists who pursue celebrities on their way to the top…

…like celebrities who pursue journalists on their way to the bottom…”

Although a children’s book, the author does touch on some adult themes, i.e. death, abusive parents, greed, gluttony, and a host of other adult vices, but does so in a way that children will accept without being bothered by; there are definite echoes of Roald Dahl here, but not in a way that tries to emulate him. My only rather minor concern would be for readers outside the UK, where some of the topical references are a bit UK specific and might get slightly lost, but other than that, this really is a first class exceedingly funny book that boys, and I suspect some girls too, will absolutely love from beginning to end, stretching and amusing the imagination in a way that will leave them wanting to read more…

 

Further Links to some of Ian Probert’s published works:

German police arrest  computer hackers who have broken into sensitive computer systems in the US.

German police arrest computer hackers who have broken into sensitive computer systems in the US.

 Ian Probert delivers a frank and candid account of one mans addiction to the sport of pugulists.


Ian Probert delivers a frank and candid account of one mans addiction to the sport of pugilists.

Ebola virus which was discovered in a research laboratory near Washington in 1980, which was subsequently covered up.

Ebola virus which was discovered in a research laboratory near Washington in 1980, which was subsequently covered up.

Panorama photographs taken by Ian Probert between 2002 and 2010.

Panorama photographs taken by Ian Probert between 2002 and 2010.

 

    

  

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 667 other followers

%d bloggers like this: