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.

A new short + Die Hard review

For those of you who have been enjoying my writing, I have just put up a new short story, you can either find it here under the short story tab or on wattpad –


When a man and a bee fight, no-one is safe, least of all a bystander

DIE HARD starstarstarstar

New York cop John McClane travels to LA to visit his wife and arrives in time for the skyscraper she works in to be taken over by terrorists. When the police outside fail to help it’s up to McClane to take on the terrorists from within the building, a difficult task since he’s both out-manned and outgunned.

This is considered a classic action movie from the 80’s for a reason. Bruce Willis plays John McClane to perfection; he’s no Rambo, no highly trained solder, he’s just a cop doing everything he can to save his wife, and the other hostages. Every run-in he has with the terrorists leaves him more bruised and bloody, and you have to wonder why he doesn’t find a quiet corner to hide in before he gets himself killed.

The supporting cast, especially Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, leader of the terrorists, is great and the action barely lets up. When it does it’s usually for the sake of some barbed conversation between McClane and either the terrorists or the cops.

die-hardI’ve watched this movie a number of times over the years and still enjoy it, thanks for the performances of the two leads and the fact that the special effects look as good now as they did when the film was new – no dated CGI or other effects here.

If you like action and good characters, and somehow haven’t seen this movie, or its sequels yet, check it out.

Patriot Games

Patriot Games

Tom Clancy


On holiday in London, Ja518cfc9bzhlck Ryan, historian, teacher and former marine, gets in the way of a terrorist attack. When the terrorist he captured escapes custody and his family is attacked Ryan joins the CIA, where he uses his intelligence and his ability as an analyst to track down the terrorists, who are planning a fresh attack on the target Ryan saved.

Despite being thirty years old, Patriot Games never feels dated as it follows Jack Ryan’s efforts to do the right thing while protecting his family. Jack Ryan is a well realised character with a conscience and flaws, all of which make him as realistic as any to be found within the pages of a book; contrasting him are the terrorists, who have a deadly goal and are prepared to kill anyone that gets in their way to achieve it – they are not rabid, indiscriminate killers, though, they’re intelligent and they have a plan.

While there’s no doubt who we’re supposed to root for, Tom Clancy has done a good job of showing that terrorists are not all mindless, suicidal bombers, which makes them all the more frightening. He also shows the work done quietly, out of the spotlight, by the security services who fight such men and woman on a daily business.

In this age of increased terrorist activity, Patriot Games gives an important insight into the war being fought to protect us all.