Thursday, 9 January 2014

Sex or Love - Would Either of These Drive You to Kill?

City of Angels #4 in the Mortal Instruments Series : Cassandra Clare

Wow!  What a book!  I am sure I often review books as being page turners or that I couldn't put them down - well this book is a turbo-charged version of that!  Obviously I would recommend that you read the books in order, as they follow on quite closely from one another and the characters develop skills & abilities,  fall in/out of love, or  get wounded/ killed,   so the sequence IS important.  This book was as good as all the others - the character who gets the most attention in this particular storyline is Simon - a teenager who has (quite accidentally) become a vampire, Simon is still adjusting to the enormity of this change of circumstance.  He is an unusual vampire in that he is a 'Daywalker' i.e. sunlight does not burn him and this seems to make him powerful and desirable as an ally to other vampires - and there is definitely a power struggle going on within their heirarchy.

The love between Jace & Clary is still not plain sailing - she is always doubting that he can possibly love someone as ordinary as her (does this ring a bell Twilight fans?) and he is convinced that his love for her is dangerous to her health/safety (more parallels with Twilight  & Beautiful Creatures) and dark forces seem to be circling around this golden couple trying to throw obstacles in the way of their love (aint that always the way?!)

We meet some new characters - a kick-ass new werewolf,  a very ancient, cunning vampire and the mother of all demons ... but I don't want to spoil the impact of the story.  If you are reading this series you wont want to miss this book, if you love reading other-worldly books that are well crafted and thoughtfully written, I cannot imagine that this series will disappoint.  I have already got #5 lined up, and later I can go back and read the prequels (The Infernal Devices) - starting with Clockwork Angel.  Already on my Kindle (Tick! Happy days!)

Death by Hollywood : Steven Bochco

This book reads like a film - it is wonderful the way you see it in your head as you read, and perhaps this is because Steven Bochco writes for television - a 10-time Emmy winner for his work on Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue.  He writes with knowledge of the industry (who panders to who, whose egos need massaging, where the glitterati eat out - he knows it all).

The plotline follows a screenwriter who has hit a wall, is unable to write and his marriage is struggling, until one evening he is watching through his telescope and sees a murder committed (yeah, shades of Rear Window).  He decides this is his new writing material, but to get authenticity he insinuates himself in with the murderer and the detective to get information from all angles, and this is really where his good idea goes bad, because he gives himself away.

Again I don't want to be a 'spoiler' so I wont elaborate further on the plot or the characters, but I will say how interesting it is every time the story 'digresses' - it frequently wanders off into sub-plots, a lot like Ronnie Corbett telling one of his rambling jokes from the comfy chair.  At first you think "Tsk! get back to the action!" but if you kick back and relax you will always enjoy getting to the destination via the scenic route, and sometimes the side story will have a direct influence on the way the main plot pans out.  The other speciality of this book is the way the author has his finger on the pulse of his character's motivations, not only why would a wife start an affair? but why wouldn't her husband confront her about it? why simple honesty makes a sexy, self assured woman-of-the-world drop her barriers ... it's like visiting a shrink without having to bare your soul or pay a penny!  What's not to enjoy about that?

I highly recommend this book - for once I am speaking directly to the male audience - it not being one of my usual selections: chick lit, rom com or young adult storylines, and anyone who enjoys a good detective novel will  surely want this in their library.

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