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I Swear by God!

My poor suffering partner goes to work every day, next door, in our crowded little office. And spends their day working in Microsoft TEAMS, doing meetings with people who are supposed to be AGILE working in a SCRUM, finding solutions for problems usually caused by someone’s lack of knowledge in any given area. And it drives them crazy.

Out of the 24 people in the team, twenty have daily excuses as to why they haven’t achieved their small part and then, it falls to my partner to pick up the slack, or explain to their bosses further up the food chain, why something hasn’t been done, by X days or weeks. Herding cats would be easier!

Let’s just say they have all but worn out the MUTE button on their fancy headset (bought for their birthday in June) as they push it what seems like, every other minute. This so the others in their online group chat cannot hear my partner, once again, SWEAR!

I have learnt by rote every possible Quebecois swear word known to man, woman, and beast, here in our humble province. And then some. We have been cruising online to find even more colourful words in other languages, in order to save the MUTE button from further abuse. Especially after said partner FORGOT in a moment of utter despair, and swore, LIVE, for all to hear, to much nervous and, dare I say, embarrassed tittering.

So, dear reader, if you know of a nice juicy obscure swear word we can safely use, please add it to our vocabulary by way of the comments form below. We appreciate your input.

Thanks!

 

Busy, Busy Bee, Building …

Well, I haven’t been building a hive or a  nest, but if you’ve wondered where I’ve been these last few days—aside from couch surfing after a nasty fall—I’ve been re-building the BOOK BLURB website. Yes, again.

I’ve decided after much deliberation to put all my book reviews and have all my book-related posts over there, from here on in. I just felt it worked better for me, as well as for anyone interested in reading my reviews (which can get lost here, amid other posts).

So, again, if you want to catch my latest reviews, and book gossip, you can sign up using the subscription form provided, and get an email when I post something new.

Looking forward to seeing some of you over there.

Book Review: Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

Title: RESURRECTION BAY
Author: Emma Viskic
Publisher: Pushkin Press
ISBN: 9781782273622
Genre: Mystery | Suspense

BACK COVER BLURB

Caleb Zelic can’t hear you. But he sees everything.

CALEB ZELIC IS ON THE HUNT FOR HIS FRIEND’S KILLER

His childhood friend has been brutally murdered—fingers broken, throat slit—at his home in Melbourne. Tortured by guilt, Caleb vows to track down the killer. But he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble.

HE NEVER FORGETS A FACE

Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speaks volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail

IT MIGHT JUST SAVE HIS LIFE

Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone—including his murdered friend—is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets…

WHAT I THOUGHT

First of all, let me just begin by saying this debut novel by Aussie author, Emma Viskic, is outstanding. Truly a remarkable novel on just about every level. It’s not long, at just 280 pages, so I read this in one frantic, page-turning day!

Let’s start with the well crafted, well delineated characters. I love Caleb Zelic who narrates the story. He’s such a great down-to-earth character, feisty and oh so different from the usual MC in that he just happens to be deaf. This makes for a wholly unique POV both in the visuals and descriptions, and more, the dialogue.

Choppy and jarring, we see the world how Caleb hears it. With broken sentences that obviously make for a few comic and laugh out loud moments. And, of course, because of this handicap, we feel every ounce of Caleb’s frustration. His determination to not to give in, stubborn to the last. Which inevitably causes clashes with both his work partner, Frankie—who, by the way, is another excellently flawed character—and his ex-wife, Kat. It’s only when we learn why Kat and Caleb spilt that we understand the weight of emotions involved.

This thread of the plot is wonderfully written. The tug and pull between the two characters are at the heart of Caleb’s state of mind. And provide a lot of the backstory to Caleb. And I love Kat as a character too, along with her family, of whom I’m sure, we’ll see a lot more of. I especially want more of Kat’s mother, Maria!

And then there’s Frankie—Caleb’s 57 year-old, ex-cop partner and on the wagon drunk—with an acerbic wit who’s a great counterbalance to Caleb. Throw in a clutch of secondary characters that were so well written, I felt like I knew them. And Viskic has assembled the perfect cast for this taut, tense mystery full of twists and turns I was caught out several times.

The plotting is superb, as we follow Caleb and Frankie trying to figure out why Caleb’s friend, Gary, has been murdered while investigating a fraud case. What on the surface seems straightforward enough, becomes a deadly race against time, as one by one, people close to the case begin turning up dead.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed RESURRECTION BAY and the almost, at times, poetic descriptions Viskic writes:

. . . she was a study in tones: her skin a smooth wash of burnt umber, sienna touches to her hair, the unexpected flash of blue eyes. The genes from all her Koori ancestors distilled to a heady perfection.

There are moments of heart-pounding terror, as seen through Caleb’s eyes, to moments of joy and heartbreak with ex-wife, Kat. And some very funny moments with Frankie, that keep this one light and entertaining, counterbalancing the moments of off-camera violence when the heavies start to slice-and-dice people. And then, there’s an ending I never saw coming, as Viskic throws in a cleverly disguised curve-ball that threw me for a loop.

This is an amazing debut, with believable characters, brisk pacing and plotting that might make your head turn in the wrong direction. Hang on for the ride. Now, I can’t wait to grab a copy of the second in the series, AND FIRE CAME DOWN.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Book Review: Inside Out by Barry Eisler

Title: INSIDE OUT
Author: Barry Eisler
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345505101
Genre: Thriller

BACK COVER BLURB

Torture.
Ghost detainees.
And a massive cover-up that continues even today.

Marooned in a Manila jail after a bar fight fatality, black ops soldier Ben Treven gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Scott Horton, who explains the price of Ben’s release: Find and eliminate Daniel Larison, a rogue operator from Ben’s unit who has stolen ninety-two torture tapes from the CIA and is using them to blackmail the U.S. Government.

But other players are after the tapes, too, and to find Larison, Ben will have to survive CIA hit teams, Blackwater mercenaries, and the long reach of the White House. He’ll also need to find a way to handle Paula Lanier, a smart, sexy FBI agent who has her own reasons for wanting the tapes and is determined to get them before Ben does. With the stakes this high, everyone has an angle—everyone but Ben, who will have to find the right alliance if he wants to stay alive.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Barry Eisler just keeps getting better and better with each book he writes. 

Inside Out is the second Ben Treven story, sadly I haven’t read the previous outing but that didn’t spoil this one in anyway. Thankfully, Eisler doesn’t waste time playing catch up in his opening chapters but writes thought-provoking, stand-alone thrillers that deliver on every level, whether or not they feature characters who’ll become part of a series. 

It’s how Eisler takes you straight into the heart of the story and characters that makes him a captivating writer. He sets the scene, he builds the characters with just the right amount of background detail and shading (no one is paper thin, black and white, or without a hidden agenda or motives) his characters come with their own share of baggage so you know exactly where each one is coming from, from the get-go.

Eisler also delivers the punches, and by god he’ll make you squirm, and smile, and wince, and nod your head knowingly as you read this one. At times wonderfully nuanced, it’s also in your face and brutal, revealing, and all at once, thought provoking. 

Inside Out is a deceptive look into the black abyss of what goes on behind closed doors in the corridors of power and politics that is so close to reality, you wonder if, in fact, he’s writing fiction at all. 

If you love well-researched, well-written and well-plotted thrillers, this one is a must read! 

Thank you Barry, I can’t wait for the next one.

Rating : 8 / 10

The ‘Mighty’ Book Haul

What started on twitter when I stumble across a couple of new writers—Vivien Chen and Suleikha Snyder—and followed them, then became a hunt for their work online, obviously, to buy. And then? I went kind of crazy. I blame it on lockdown, lockup, locked-in, and having a credit card burning a hole in my purse. It wants to be used. It begs to be used.

So I exercised my right to go on a spending spree buying, well, yes, of course, books.

Like I need more to pile up on my coffee table TBR pile.

But there’s no talking sense into me, like any of us with the ‘addiction’.

So what have I ordered? Well, here we go:

  • THE EMPIRE OF GOLD by S.A. Chakraborty
  • BITTER MEDICINE by Sara Paretsky
  • OVERKILL by Vanda Symon
  • WONTON TERROR by Vivien Chen
  • EGG DROP DEAD by Vivien Chen

Then, not only that, there’s the pre-orders for later this year and, also, because I’m like that, next year too! Oh, go on, tell me I’m out of control, and I’ll laugh in your face and tell you, what else am I to spend my hard earned money on?

So what else have I pre-ordered?

  • MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW by Samira Ahmed
  • INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed
  • KILLER KUNG PO by Vivien Chen
  • FATAL FRIED RICE by Vivien Chen
  • THE SURVIVORS by Jane Harper
  • FIFTY, FIFTY by Steve Cavanagh
  • ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY by Karen Osborne
  • ENGINES OF OBLIVION by Karen Osborne
  • THE CONDUCTORS by Nicole Glover
  • DARKNESS FOR LIGHT by Emma Viskic
  • CONTAINMENT by Vanda Symon

Eh, yeah, I know … I don’t want to think about what my next credit card bill will be. Eh, now, distract me with something shiny, or cat and dog photos …