Friday, 20 August 2010

We Are Family - My Dad and I Read...G J Moffat's DAISYCHAIN

First of all, a reminder of what my Dad and I like and dislike...

LIKES: thrillers, spy novels, war stories and books with elves in (the elves can swear their heads off as far as he's concerned). Oh, and maps. He bloody loves maps. If you ever meet him, for goodness' sake don't ask him for directions. Not even to the bathroom.

DISLIKES: romance, books that have too much swearing in (I guess that's my Dad not going to read my next book either, then - I thought it was just my Mum I had to keep away from it). Also doesn't like horror, and books with vampires, pterodactyls and the living dead in them. Also, something called an ungoliant. No, I have no idea either - I think my Dad has been at the sherry too.

PREFERS: Philip Marlowe to Miss Marple, Inspector Morse to Homicide.

LIKES: noir, hard-boiled, capers, PI novels, police procedurals, warped, quirky and funny books.

DISLIKES: cosies - especially those where the protagonist has a heavily featured hobby (I once got a gluten allergy from reading a book where the heroine made bread every three pages), or books where an animal solves the crime. Unless it's a dinosaur (as in Eric Garcia's wonderful series about basil addicted Vincent Rubio).I'm not a big fan of serial killer books (and I'm not talking books that just happen to have a serial killer in (I love books by Steve Mosby, Mark Billingham etc)), I mean books where it's all about the quirks. The more patterns or quirks the killer has, the more blood is spilled and body parts mutilated, the more good writing, character development and a decent plot seem to go out of the window. The ones I don't like are where the author seems to think that making their killer a murderer of blue eyed women with one arm (the women, not the murderer), who drowns his victims in an increasingly violent way in a vat of hot chocolate, while narrating The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner, drawing a picture of a squirrel on the wall and scattering rose petals around the bathroom is all the character development and justification the avid reader needs. A-ha - the serial killer was burned by a scalding mug of hot chocolate as a baby, force-fed him by his mother Rose, a blue-eyed ex-Womens' Royal Navy sailor who lost an arm in a bizarre accident involving a rabid squirrel.

I'm also not big on spy thrillers and medical thrillers. If I see a jacket blurb which mentions the White House, and the words 'explosive' and 'conspiracy' and which has a shadowy picture of someone rappelling down a big building, carrying a large knife dripping blood, or an enormous syringe, then I'm more likely to put it down in a hurry than slap in into my shopping basket with glee. I have the same reaction to 'Knights Templar' and 'Illuminati'. I will pass all of those to my Dad.

I don't like gratuitous anything - but then, one person's gratuitous is another person's prerequisite. My Mum would definitely find most of the books I read have gratuitous sex, violence and swearing. I find the books she likes have gratuitous cats. And butlers. And people being poisoned with rare poison from the Three Kneed Scarlet Guatemalan Tree Frog. And gentility. As for the sex, well, if it fits (oo-er missus) then it's fine. I read a mystery a few years ago where the woman was asleep and the man slid one hand between her thighs and the other into her mouth. And this was supposed to be erotic. I'm sorry, but if anyone slides anything in my mouth while I'm sleeping, then I'm probably going to dream it's a chocolate eclair and chomp down hard. On the other hand, there are plenty of books that do it well, but I'm not going to mention any of them just in case you tell my Mum.

PREFERS: Raymond Chandler to Miss Marple, Homicide to Inspector Morse.

Anyway, enough of that. On to the reviewlets:

FALLOUT - G J Moffat
Published: 2010
Publisher: Hachette Scotland
Setting: Mostly Glasgow
Protagonist: Logan Finch
Series?: 2nd
First lines: "How long is it now that you've been killing for me Carl?"

What Donna Says:
Glasgow lawyer Logan Finch's new sort-of-girlfriend DC Rebecca Irvine has taken off on a road trip to the north of Scotland with her drug-addicted rock star ex-boyfriend, and Logan's friend Alex Cahill and his team have been hired to babysit an actress who has come to Glasgow for a film premiere, and who has been receiving death threats. Things are going to get a tad stressful for Logan, Rebecca, Alex and everyone around them. What follows is a tense and exciting race against the clock for all of them. It was partly the short chapters with their alternating focus, and partly the cliffhanger format, but I found this a very fast and furious read. This is more of a straight thriller type of book, which is not my usual fare, but I really enjoyed it. The characters are interesting and well-developed and I really like the way that Logan - the main character - is kept slightly aside from the action. He's essentially an ordinary man on the street who has to deal with the aftermath and consequences of his friends and loved ones being the people at the heart of the action.

What Donna's Dad Says:
Take one lady policeman, one assassin with three assistants, a group of ex special forces operatives who have set up as personal bodyguards; mix with an airhead actress, an ex-boyfriend turned rock singer, an egocentric millionaire, a current boy friend with a thirteen year old daughter, and what do you have? (Note from Donna - I don't know, Dad, do you have FALLOUT?). The story is creepy, explosive, and totally entertaining. There are one or two surprises, which will come to you as you read the book. The main characters are truly likeable, and can be forgiven their past mistakes. The main assassin is a creepy sort and his assistants appear to be rather inept. This is a story that I enjoyed reading, and is one that I could recommend to my wife, as there is only a little bad language. This is a story that I enjoyed immensely and I will definitely read more by this author. The setting in Glasgow and the Western isles made a refreshing change to the usual one location. I deliberately keep it short as I do not want to give too much of the story away. The author wants to sell books, not have it given away for free. (another note from Donna - those last two sentences are because my Dad's original reviewlet was too short and I asked him for more. As you can see, he gets a tad stroppy sometimes...)


  1. Donna - Thanks - I love the way you lay out what you and your Dad like and don't like. Also, thanks for the mini-review. Interesting to see what you both think of Fallout.

  2. Donna-how did you manage to get two things that my doctor says I can only have in very small quantities into one post. I refer of course to gratuitous sex and chocolate eclairs.
    I love these reviews, and maps...;O)

  3. LOL.

    I´ll quote your father the next time I write one of my far too short reviews. (I really do it to save time, but his excuse sounds much better than mine).

  4. Richard Wilson's Small, Uncorked Bottle of Vintage Merlot21 August 2010 at 14:37

    Thank you for good chuckle i needed that today it has been one of those days heheheehheeheheheheheheh

  5. Margot - you're welcome.

    Norman - your doctor is wrong. For a healthy happy life you need loads of both. And you'll need to make sure you get t Crimefest next year so you and my Dad can discuss maps :o)

    Dorte - he's brilliant at those excuses.

    RWSUBOVM (may I call you Merlot for short?)- you are most welcome. Glad you got a chuckle out of it.