Thursday, 29 May 2014

Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution by Chris Longmuir

We have had Dundee Crime Writer, Chris LongMuir on the blog a couple of times previously when I have interviewed her and reviewed some of her novels. If you would like to take a look then these are Interview with Chris Longmuir - Crime WriterBook Launch - Missing Believed DeadThe Death Game

Today I bring you her latest book, where she provides a fascinating and unique insight into crime writing. 

There are many books out there which cover the different sub genres within the world of crime writing. This is the first one however, which looks at the contribution of the independent, or indie, author to the genre. Chris Longmuir sets the tone of the book by firstly giving a brief explanation of ebooks and ebook readers. It then goes on to talk about the world of ebooks and Indie writers. This is a fascinating, and insightful discussion and certainly gave me a lot of ideas as a writer. However, tis is just a small part of the book.

The main focus of the book is for the reader and talks about crime writing in general and then the sub genres within this. It gives an over view o the genre, it's history and then discusses different authors, and books, within this. Being an absolutely passionate reader of crime fiction, in all it's genres, I loved this section. It left me wanting to read more from the particular authors and I will be downloading some of their books.

This is an excellent book for any author, or reader, of crime fiction. It is well researched and yet written in an approachable style. It is one I would highly recommend. Buy it now, you will not regret it.


That brings us to the end of another day on Bookahaolic. I am sure all my crime loving friends will enjoy this book. See you all again soon and keep reading.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Dimwit's Dictionary by Robert Hartwell Fiske

Today's post is for all my fellow writers who also read this blog. The Tagline for the book is More than 5000 overused words and phrases and alternatives to them. This in a nutshell is what the book does. But please do not be fooled into thinking this book is simple or would not be useful. It is a pure nugget amongst many books for writers. 

The book is divided into two parts:

Part 1 - gives examples of the hackneyed phrases which have slipped into everyday English. It then goes on to explain why these are tired and outdated. It then goes on to talk about the different forms of English - uneducated, everyday and elegant - and how these can be improved. 

Part 2 - The bulk of the book is given over to this. This is where the 5000 words and phrases come in. These are provided in alphabetical order for easy reference. It is a simple matter to look up a phrase and the suggestions for words which could replace it. I am going to open up the book at random and give an example:

Feeling his oats - This is classed as a moribund metaphor. Suggested replacements - exuberant, frisky, lively peppy, vigorous, vivacious

The appendix at the end gives the top 20 Dimwiticism's (overused phrases) in the presses of the world. This is a real eye opener (that's not classed as a dimwiticism in the book: and is also a bit of fun.

So all in all an excellent resource for any writer. I have provided the links to the kindle version, however, I feel that it would be better in paperback. I have bought the paperback version. 


I am sure all my writer friends will find this book useful. I certainly have. I look forward to seeing you all back on bookaholic soon. Until then keep reading, and keep writing. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Death Game: By Chris Longmuir

We're staying with historical crime this week on bookaholic, but moving from Egypt to my homeland of Scotland. In fact we are in my home city of Dundee. 

I have previously read the books in Chris Longmuir's Dundee Murder series and enjoyed them immensely. This series is as good as, if not better than, the last. I love the premise of going back to early 20th Century Dundee, and writing about the first female policewoman in Dundee. The character, Kirsty Campbell is based on this woman. This character is excellent - feisty, single minded and yet vulnerable. This sums up the women of Dundee in my Grandmother and Great Grandmother's time. Chris Longmuir sets the scene well and her evocative writing brings the Dundee of the time to life. There were still some aspects of this life going strong in my childhood. Now before you all think I'm about 100 years old, Dundee was just slow to change in some areas. Having been in several jute mills, and having listened to my grandmother's tales of her life as a weaver, I can assure you that the descriptions are spot on.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with the book, but my grandmother was one of the best weavers in Dundee. She was able to run three looms at once, which is no mean feat, and as far as I know she was the only weaver to do this. As the weavers were paid per piece, it meant my grandmother earned a fairly decent wage. I couldn't help but reminisce here. The book brought up so many memories.

The plot is well written and kept me intrigued and reading. In fact I read this whole book in one sitting, over the course of a day. Before you think this is a short read, it is not. I am just an incredibly fast reader and I was so absorbed in the book I could not put it down. This is the sign of a well written book. I know Chris is now writing the second book in the series, and I, for one, cannot wait until it comes out.


That's it for another day. What will I pull out of the bag next time. Well, that remains to be seen. Keep tuned to find out and keep reading.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters

I realise that I have been somewhat remiss in the blog department recently. This has been because I have been so busy with different things that I haven't had much time to read. Yes, I realise that this is a difficult concept to grasp, but it is none-the-less true. Today I have remedied that and spent much of the day reading. 

Todays book takes us back to Egypt in 1903, with another cracking Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery.  Previously on the blog I have reviewed another of Elizabeth Peters books, The Last Camel Died at Noon in which there was a plethora of rather recalcitrant camels. In contrast, this book is riddled with cats. Now, please don't get the impression that this is a book about cats, as it is not, but they do feature rather heavily. For lovers of these books I have to forewarn you that the cat Bastet has been escorted by Styx to the other side. Never fear, there is a replacement who is just as full of character.

So preliminaries over, what about the book. Amelia Peabody is an aristocratic Englishwoman who is married to an archeologist. She herself is not only an archeologist, but an amateur sleuth. Wherever, she goes she always manages to trip over a dead body. In this book she, her husband, and a large cast of family members discover a new tomb. Funnily enough there is a body inside. This leads to another jolly good jape, full of murder, intrigue and mysterious characters. All the characters are well represented and, of course, given the time and place, exotic. I could picture them perfectly. In many ways the characters are caricatures and larger than life, yet somehow realistic. A difficult trick to pull of but Elizabeth Peter's manages it.

The plot is excellent with a number of red herrings and side turns. This kept me reading, and turning just one more page. The sign of a good murder mystery. This is top notch book which I can highly recommend. 


That's us for another day on bookaholic. I have another book waiting in the wings to read. This is a bit nearer home as it is set in Dundee but I am looking forward to reading it. I will see you all soon with another review. Until then. Keep reading. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Blood Rites by S.J. Rozan

As I have been knee deep in murder and mystery in my writing life, I am continuing the theme with todays book review. This book is full of enough thrills and chills to keep the most ardent of crime and thriller reader happy.

The book takes place in Hong Kong, which as everyone knows is now part of China.  Having lived in Hong Kong for 2 years I was excited to read this book. I have not read anything by this author before but I am now definitely going to have to change that. Rozan brings Hong Kong and the way of life to vividid reality. I could picture every scent, sound and smell. This is not just because I know the area, but because Rozan has an evocative style of writing which paints a very realistic picture.

The characters are superb, particularly the main ones. Bill Smith and Lydia Chin resonated with me as characters and I finished the book wanting to know more about them. This read is  a whistle stop ride and I found that I wanted to keep on reading? The twists and turns are numerous and occasionally a little perplexing but this really added to the tension. The writer is deft at bringing all the strands together. At the end I found myself thinking where can I buy another book by this author. The suspense had me feeling like I was on a knife edge.


Buy this, it is worth every penny of the cover price. I can assure you that you want regret it.

That's us for another day on Bookaholic. I look forward to seeing you all again soon and bringing you another fabulous book. Until then, keep reading.