Books: Stuart Woods “Lucid Intervals”

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.

books: Stuart MacBride “Dark Blood”

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.

bookIn 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.

movie: Arbitrage

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!

movieRichard 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!