Stephen King


stephen-king-insomnia-coverSince his wife died, Ralph Roberts has been having trouble sleeping. Each night he awakens a little earlier until he’s barely sleeping at all. During his late night vigils and walks, he observes some strange things going on in Derry, Maine. He sees colored ribbons streaming from people’s heads. He witnesses two strange little men wandering the city under cover of night. He begins to suspect that these visions are something more than hallucinations brought about by sleep deprivation. Ralph and his friend, widow Lois Chasse, become enmeshed in events of cosmic significance.

I’m not too sure what to make of this book, it has an interesting plot and some good, likeable characters, but it feels stretched, and takes a long time to get to the central story. I don’t usually mind the length of King novels, they’re well written and have complex plots, which I like, but on this occasion I think the story could have been condensed into two thirds the length, or perhaps even half.

A lot of the scenes, while decently written, and either fun or interesting, don’t seem to advance the story all that much, leaving you, or at least me, wanting to skip ahead until I find the plot again.

Not only that but it’s a little moralistic for my tastes; it seems more interested in suggesting that pro-life campaigners are akin to terrorists. I don’t doubt that there are pro-life campaigners who are prepared to act like Al Qaeda or ISIS or any of a number of other terrorist groups, but that isn’t the case for all.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who love this book as much as they do any other King novel, unfortunately I’m not one of them.

Rain On The Dead

Rain On The Dead

Jack Higgins


When the an attempt to assassinate former US President Jake Cazalet is prevented by the timely arrival of Sean Dillon and Captain Sarah Gideon of the British Security Services, they find themselves in the middle of the latest attempt by Al Qaeda to disrupt the West and cause as much chaos as possible.

The war is being fought around the world, in London, Paris, Ireland and the US in this book alone, and now it involves people from both Sean’s and Sarah’s pasts, on both sides of the conflict.

9780007585885It’s been a while since I last read a book by Jack Higgins, but I remember him being a better writer than this. I’m not sure if the problem is because this is not the first book in the series, I don’t think so, however. There are some reasonable characters in this, and I accept that I’ve jumped into this series well after the beginning so I’ve probably missed a lot of character development, but they still seem to lack any real depth, which is a shame because I like what I see of them here.

The writing lets the book down as well, and it could so easily have been a cracker. The plot is not a bad one, it certainly has potential, but there are so many coincidences and convenient connections between the good guys and the bad that it isn’t long before they become unbelievable.

Further letting things does is the action sequences, which are all over with too quickly to provide any real sense of drama or danger; this is especially true of the ending, which left me feeling more than a little disappointed and cheated.

If you’re after a quick read that doesn’t need much concentration then go for it, otherwise, I’d advise finding something better.