April 17, 2013
I read so many Stuart Woods books in the same series (the Stone Barrington character) that it is always difficult to write a review that isn’t just more of the same. There really is a lot to not like about these books and this author but they are very readable, keep you interested and above all have really very good pace – making them good page turners. Whenever I pick up one of these I know where I am – there is no turning back a few pages to remember what is going on, and the characters are easy to like.
On the down side the dialogue is forced and unnatural (especially between the teenage characters in this book), the side characters are one dimensional and don’t seem to do much and if one of the main characters can do ‘X’ they are the best in the world at ‘X’… but I still read these novels and enjoy them.
[spoilers below - and reminders for me]
This book takes over about a year on from the previous book Bel-Air Dead, which reintroduced Stone’s old lover Arrington. Arrington is an old lover of Stone (then again who isn’t) by whom he has a son, Peter – who for complex reasons doesn’t know that Stone is his father. In this book he is 16 (although acting 18) and moves in with Stone as Arrington and Stone get married. Obviously, Peter is a genius, handsome, gets along with everyone, gets into the best schools, meets one girl who happens to be the ideal match for him and they get together…etc. it’s all too perfect and too easy – and yet I still read these novels and will read the next one in the series as soon as I get hold of it.
April 10, 2013
On 5th April (when Lewis was less than 48 hours old) Cousin Jake and his family came to visit. Jake was particularly fascinated with the new baby holding him, checking out his feet and how soft his arms were.
As it got busier and all the adults were chatting, Jake spotted a blue index card the hospital put in Lewis cot. He pulled it out to have a look and pointed out that nothing had been written against “Religion”…
He looked at it for a moment then turned to me and said “Christianity?” like a suggestion of something to think about.
April 4, 2013
9lb2 boy born at 21:56 last night after a long labour. By the time you read this baby Lewis will be one day old. His first day on earth has been eventful around him, but he slept through most of it only being disturbed to eat and be dressed and passed around a bit for people to cuddle and coo’.
Mum is recovering gradually from a labour with a few difficulties but a fantastic result. Dad is a little shell shocked by everything that is going on. Anyway, here’s the photos…
April 2, 2013
Stuart Woods writes in a style that makes it difficult to put down the book, but when you do have to give in the next time you pick it up there is no effort in knowing exactly where you left the plot. Each chapter flows so quickly from one another that he manages to keep the plot moving in chapters that are only five or six pages long.
This time the plot sees Stone Barrington helping out old flame Arrington with a stock problem as someone tries to take over Centurion Studios. Thus the story is set in Bel-Air rather than New York. All of the usual trappings of a Stone Barrington novel are there with women, money, parties, the odd bit of law practiced, killings and explosions. Also, some old story lines are revisited such as the relationship between Arrington and Stone, their son, her late-husband’s film career, etc.
Again, a very enjoyable if not particularly memorable, page turner from Stuart Woods.
March 25, 2013
You can always rely on Stuart Woods for a quick easy read. I started Lucid Intervals thinking that it wouldn’t be too great since I had recently read the next book in series which refers to this plot a fair amount, but it really didn’t matter.
In this plot British intelligence officer Felicity Devonshire returns as does Herbie Fisher, both pushing Stone to his limits but in very different ways. At its core the plot has Stone trying to identify an ex MI6 agent who may or may not now be the owner of a Secuirty firm. On his way, Stone’s life is under threat several times. Meanwhile the bumbling Herbie Fisher has won the lottery but isn’t very good at handling such money… against his better judgment and because of a heavy retainer Stone helps Herbie out.
Along the way in this story Stone learns how to fly a jet…
Another great little book from Stuart Woods.
March 18, 2013
I discovered Stuart MacBride back in 2010, read his first five novels and haven’t gone back to him since then. This is his sixth book in the series involving the character Logan McRae. DS McRae is still in Aberdeen and under the constant abuse of DI Steel and incompetence of DI Beattie. The foul language takes some getting used to or you just have to overlook it, and I did find this novel a lot more difficult to get into. For more or less the first half of the book McRae is in a bad mood and seems just to be going through the motions. I would have expected to get some insight into McRae’s thinking but the author doesn’t give us anything like that. However, as the plot progresses things start to fit into place, sometimes by design but often things just seem to happen.
In this book more than the previous ones, the actual plot hardly matters in comparison to McRae’s battle to simply get through each day moving the various investigations on little by little while trying to avoid the wrath of ID Steel and the Powerpoint of DI Beattie. A good book provided you don’t mind the language, the grim details of crime and a view of police procedure that is more keystone cops than a highly professional organisation.
March 8, 2013
According to the excellent (and free) Collins online dictionary Arbitrage is “the purchase of currencies, securities, or commodities in one market for immediate resale in others in order to profit from unequal prices.” fortunately the movie has nothing to do with that and the worst thing about this film (IMHO) is its title!
Richard Gere plays the part of a successful businessman who is selling his company, we don’t initially know why, this is just the point at which we the audience enter the story. He has grown up children and grandchildren, devoted wife (Susan Sarandon), servants, etc. obviously a family of great wealth. Quickly we discover that he has to sell the company to cover up something, he may loose all the money, he may go to jail. We also find out that he is having an affair and trying to keep everyone in his life happy and all his secrets in place.
That is when things start to go wrong. He crashes a car killing his mistress and walks away from the accident. His daughter, who works for the company, discovers some financial problems and confronts him. An audit is taking place leading up to the sale of the company, but is being delayed by someone for some reason.
Gere just appears to have dealt with one potentially devastating situation when the next one happens, and as viewers we are confused about his motivation – is he a good guy in a bad situation or a bad guy trying not to be found out? Does he keep his daughter in the dark to protect her or to deceive her? By running from his mistresses death is he looking after number one or protecting the investors and employees who will suffer if he is found out and the sale falls through? When someone else is going to go to jail for him will he let it happen or confess?
Gere’s performance is truly exceptional. He is on screen almost all the time being torn between humanity and sucess at all costs. But everyone in the cast is shine, Tim Roth is great as the detective out to discover the truth. Susan Sarandon isn’t on screen too much but when she is you know all about it. Also worth mention is Nate Parker who plays the son of a former associate of Gere’s character who he turns to for help – his performance is really impressive.
This is a very engaging film that makes you care about the characters and really keeps you guessing right to the end credits.
BTW: watched this at the GFT – excellent cinema with no popcorn, hotdogs, noisy clientele, etc. a pleasure!