Some Unholy War by Terence Strong, paperback from library, July 2011, 512p.
Some Unholy War is the first Terence Strong book that I have read, and it was a good solid action novel. Although it had a somewhat slow start, the middle and ending where filled with action and suspense. I think that this novel would have been improved if the beginning 200 pages were condensed into 100. It was possible, and I know the author was trying to build characters, but it seemed over done.
I was expecting a military romp – the blurb and cover set it up to be based around a soldier fighting a war, but instead it concerned drugs and street crime, which was interesting. Some of the settings in Some Unholy War were very vivid, and struck a cord. Also, this book explores the issue of homelessness, and in particular how Veterans often end up on the streets. Certainly not a topic to be taken lightly, but interestingly handled in this novel.
Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride (Ash Henderson, #1), Kindle edition, January 2012, 515p.
I’ve read and really enjoyed Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series and decided to give his Ash Henderson series a try. I was expecting a dark, Scottish wit-filled crime romp, and that is what I received. However, I found Birthdays for the Dead took the darkness too far. The idea of the plot was intriguing and different- a police detective’s daughter is kidnapped, tortured and killed but he keeps her death a secret from everyone so he doesn’t get taken off the case. He is also a corrupt character, and this just seemed too far from the realms of possibility. Plus, the psychologist character seemed to be a caricature of a mental health professional.
The plot hurled forward, but became increasingly unbelievable. I think the problem was there are multiple surreal and impossible storylines all vying for your attention. I am willing and able to suspend belief if it was one or two unbelievable events, but it was constant through this whole novel. Still enjoyable, and I will read the second book in this series, considering I already have a copy sitting on the book shelves.
One Hit by Jack Coughlin (Sniper, #8), Paperback from library, August 2015, 305p.
The Sniper series is one of my favourite military fiction series, and I was so excited to get my hands on this book. However, it is not readily available in Australia, and so I usually have to wait for awhile until the book can come from the library. This time the publication seemed rushed – not the actual story (which wasn’t perfect either) but the blurb didn’t match the story at all, and was poorly printed and edited. These things bug me.
The story itself was enjoyable, but the author had skipped forward in time quite a bit from the previous book, and I didn’t like all the choices he made for the characters. My favourite character from this series, Coastie, didn’t feature much at all in this book. It annoys me when these authors write such amazing, interesting and dynamic female characters and then just leave them on the wayside. To be honest, I’d be more interested in reading about Coastie managing international mayhem than Kyle Swanson. But no… we return once again to read about this cookie cutter character saving the world, again. I will pick up the next book in this series, but I will also hunt around for books in the same genre but with a female protagonist.