Book: Nelson DeMille “The Lion”

August 4, 2017

Following the John Corey series finds the former NYPD homicide detective and now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, facing “The Lion” again.

The Lion has returned to America to finish what he started three years previously (Night Fall) and to kill Corey and his partner (now wife) Kate Mayfield.  Well, that’s about it really – the terrorist is doing terrorist stuff and John Corey is doing ‘rogue cop’ stuff.  The story unfolds fast enough and with some twists and turns but again I find DeMille repeats and goes over the key facts just far too many times.


Book: Nelson DeMille “Wild Fire”

July 19, 2017

Fourth Nelson DeMille novel in the John Corey series (following Plumb Island, The Lion’s Game, Night Fall) sees John  and his wife, FBI Agent Kate Mayfield gong under the radar to investigate a missing colleague that takes them to the exclusive Custer Hill Club and a plot to detonate nuclear devices in American cities to trigger a response…

I find DeMille’s style frustrating, he takes a really long time to tell the story that feels as if he has done a lot of background research and can’t resist telling the reader all the irrelevant details.  However, the main character is very funny and engaging.  I’ve seen a review compare the John Corey character to Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H. “hilarious as a fictional character, but you’d probably hate him if you had to deal with him in person.”

So this was an enjoyable read, not as fast paced as it could have been but kept me interested right to the end.


Cycling: Tearfund Drumlanrig Challenge

April 29, 2017

29th April and our 2nd Sportive of the year (following last month’s No Excuses Falkirk ), first of all the stats:

  • Distance: 57 miles
  • Moving time: 4:42
  • Total Time: 5:21
  • Elevation: 3040 ft
  • Average Speed: 12.2 mph
  • Max Speed: 30 mph

 


Cycling: Wattbike No Excuses Falkirk Sportive

April 7, 2017

OK, a new category to blog about.  Last year Ross and I did a ‘sportive’ (well more of a fun-ride) for the first time.  That was the Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh ride.  So far for 2017 we have signed up for three rides, this was the first:

26th March 2017: Wattbike No Excuses Falkirk Sportive

  • Distance: 45 miles
  • Moving time: 3:58
  • Total Time: 5:26
  • Elevation: 2416 ft
  • Average Speed: 11.4 mph
  • Max Speed: 34.4 mph

For somethings called “No Excuses” there were a lot of things that started getting in the way of us doing this.  Firstly it turned out to be Mother’s day, not the most popular day to disappear on your bike for half the day.  It also was the day the clocks changed which didn’t make getting up for 7am any easier.  However, when we got there and got started it was worth it.

The weather was great, bright and sunny, very little wind but a little cold especially first things or when we stopped.  This was our first run out for the year and with little training we deliberately took it easy.  It was also my first serious ride on the Specialized Diverge Sport A1 – my first real road bike since I was a teenager :-0

Unfortunately I had a number of ‘mechanicals’ firstly the front mech wouldn’t change in to the small ring (easier) then the rear derailleur wasn’t correctly limited which threw the chain off the biggest (innermost) cog and into the spokes.  I then tried to avoid the lower breaks so this didn’t happen again but found that the lowest 4 cogs on the rear cassette were all jumping when I put down any power.  The mechanic at the first rest stop was able to sort out the front problem but for the rest of the day I simply avoided my lowest gears and really lost a lot of confidence in the bike.  This was particularly annoying as this was a fairly hilly route and certainly a challenge to our level of cycling.  (PS Got the bike sorted out and all seems fine now, though I’m not sure how it was all knocked out of alignment).

It was a fun day, I kind of wish we were fitter to have had a better go at this ride but certainly a good day.

 

For comparison:  11th Sep 2016: Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh

  • Distance: 45 miles
  • Moving time: 3:25
  • Total Time: 4:17
  • Elevation: 1600 ft
  • Average Speed: 13 mph
  • Max Speed: 30 mph

 


Book: David Millar “Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar”

March 24, 2017

I’m a fan of cycling – it’s the only sport I follow.   However I wasn’t really following it that closely in the days when David Millar was at his prime.  I do know him as a pundit and commentator and when I discovered that his background as a cyclist included being caught for doping, serving a ban then coming back to cycle ‘clean’.  So I decided to read his autobiography.

I’m not however a great fan of autobiographies as a style and struggled to read this taking at least six months on and off to get through it.  This was also partially because I have it as a paperback and tend to read mostly on a phone app now, so I’ve lost the habit of picking up a physical book.

OK so what about the book – it was interesting.  David Millar’s childhood, interest in cycling, etc. was alright but really this book is about the insight into the growing awareness of a naive young cyclist to the fact that doping is happening all around him and the gradual feeling that the only way he can compete with doppers is to join them and the final submission to this temptation.  Framed around his arrest and various legal battles the rise and fall and rise of David Millar is a good read.

David explains very well the isolation of a cyclist even in a team situation and how that personal drive to improve can, when the situation allows it, lead to overwhelming temptation.  In those days of cycling drugs seem to have been so easily obtained and used that it really was widespread.  David’s insight into the situation seem to have been of some use to the fight against drugs in sport in the years since he has served his ban.


Book: Robert Crais “Suspect”

February 5, 2017

One more novel from Robert Crais, this one a stand alone one with no cross over of characters from the other series.

bookLAPD cop Scott James is recovering after being shot and his partner being killed when they stumble into a killing.  He is just coming back on duty and training up as K9 cop, although he is probably still unfit for duty.  He meets Maggie, an ex-marine explosives detection dog who lost her partner (handler and in her view alpha-dog) in an attack where she was also shot.

Neither of them should be back on active duty but they find each other and become ‘pack’.  The story follows Scott’s determination to solve the case where he was shot but also how the dog and man become one unit and accept each other.

Robert Crais, style is often to switch who’s point of view he is writing from and in this story we are frequently in the position of the dog which makes things even more interesting.

I really enjoyed this story, which was sightly different from his other books.  Very well written novel.


Book: Robert Crais “Taken”

January 22, 2017

Another Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novel – and yes I will repeat myself this is a fast paced, page turning thriller.  I like this genre, I like this author and I like these characters.

bookIn this story Elvis is hired to find a missing daughter, but the reader already knows she was caught up in a people smuggling operation and is being held captive with her boyfriend.  As Cole investigates he discovers that not only are there a number of gangs bringing people across the border from Mexico to the US but there are also gangs stealing from those gangs as if the people are simply a commodity to be bargained with or killed.

As Cole gets closer he too is captured which puts Joe on the warpath and he is a character you don’t want on the warpath.  My only niggle with this book is the jumps around in the timeline of the story near the start of the book.  Other than that, another great read from Robert Crais!