Monday, 30 April 2012

Book Review March / April

Here is this the second of my bi-monthly round ups of my reading list.

“Gallimaufry”, “Look Who’s Talking” & “Second Thoughts”
By Colin Baker

Yes, The Colin Baker of the multicoloured Doctor Who coat fame has penned a collection of short stories. Any viewers of Mr Baker's time as The Doctor will recall his Doctor's love of language, which was obviously an injection into the character by the man himself. Colin's two earlier books were collections of his articles as a columnist from the “The Bucks Free Press”, this time we are treated to ten original short stories of mystery, suspense and recompense and three short stories featuring his incarnation of the space and time travelling Time Lord. And a splendid read they are too. It is one of those books that time literally flies by whilst reading.

This month I have also read the two compendiums of Colin Baker’s articles. The first volume ‘Look Who’s Talking’ covers many topics that he has felt compelled to pen comment on over the last fifteen years. Some articles would put the gathered members of ‘Grumpy Old Men’ to shame with their wit and quite frankly just observations on life. These are a timeless read, irrespective of their age, many articles written fifteen years ago are as pertinent today as they were then.

The second collection, “Second Thoughts” contains another delve into the archives of Mr Baker’s output for The Bucks Free Press, again voicing his opinion on a world gone made, a world of call-centres, phone service menus, customer service (or lack thereof) , his life as The Doctor, as writer and school governor.  These books are worth reading for their humour and to convince yourself there is some sanity left in the world.

The Flight of the Budgerigar.  
By John Leeson

This is the autobiography of John Leeson, from the title you would never guess that he provided the voice for that much loved robot dog K9 from BBC’s Doctor Who, past and present. He was also, for a time, that cuddly talking bear Bungle in Rainbow. But this is the story of an actor who tells a tale of a child living in a haunted house to lecturing on wines and playing the fall guy for Jeremy Beadle.  Is this worth reading? As K9 would say, “Affirmative Master.”

Sherlock Holmes -The Breath of God
By Guy Adams

At the turn of the century Sherlock Holmes finds himself in a world where everything could change. A mysterious death in snow covered London starts a case of the macabre and mysterious. Not only is Holmes joined by his ever trustworthy Watson his path is soon to cross other characters from this period of literature, John Silence, the so-called “Psychic Doctor”; supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki; and the real life Aleister Crowley as they investigate the cause of this and other strange events.

Personally I didn’t think the novel needed to draw on so many of the other characters, if you don’t know who they all are I suggest a visit to the ‘Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural’ however even though I was wary of a non Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes I did enjoy it and felt that Holmes and Watson were true to their original characters and the story is again told through the eyes of Watson in much the same way as Watson found himself investigating The Hound of the Baskervilles on behalf of Holmes.

The Shadow Saga - Book One,
Of Saints and Shadows
By Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden the New York Times bestselling author needs no introduction to readers of this genre. I first encountered his books in the Buffy range of books, so when looking for a good read and up came the first novel of The Shadow Saga came my way I just knew I would enjoy it. This is another collection of vampire detective novels, but ‘Of Saints and Shadows’ delivers a mix of Dan Brown’s conspiracy, Anne Rice’s depth of vampire mythology and the detective world of the PI. Should you trust a vampire, some maybe, but certainly not, and should they even trust us and each other.

Personally I can’t wait until I get my hands on the next in the series.

Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural,
All Saints' Eve
By Amelia B. Edwards

Amelia B. Edwards told tales of murder and mystery, and many of these tales were tinged with elements of the supernatural. Although by today’s standards these tales are not scare your pants off, they still provide an enjoyable read and provide sufficient suspense to keep you reading. The ‘Four-fifteen Express’ and ‘Was it an Illusion?’ stood out for me.

For more details:-

Hirst Books, Look Who's Talking By Colin Baker, 978-0-955-71492-4

Hirst Books, Second Thoughts By Colin Baker, 978-0-956-64176-2

Hirst Books, Gallimaufry By Colin Baker  Colin, 978-1-907-95902-3

Pocket Books, The Shadow Saga               
Of Saints and Shadows By Christopher Golden, 978-1-847-39924-3

Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural, 
All Saints' Eve By Amelia B. Edwards,  978-1-840-22094-0

Hirst Books, The Flight of the Budgerigar By John Leeson, 978-1-907-95931-8

Titan Books, Sherlock Holmes -The Breath of God By Guy Adams, 978-0-857-68282-6