Book Review – Tears in Tripoli by Paul A Rice

After reading Parallel – The Awakening by Paul A Rice, I really didn’t see how he could top the book. I had my reservations also when I noticed the tagline to Tears in Tripoli “A Jake Collins Novel” thinking “Oh Christ, not another book written and intended as a series.” I always find books written as a trilogy (or whatever) short of pace, character development and any real action; the authors seem to hold back on their initial books to save the really big scenes and reveals for the last act.

I’m glad to say, once more, that Paul has surprised and delighted me with the standard of his writing. This annoyingly talented writer has taken everything that made Parallel great, the dialogue, the pace, great characterisation, really engaging and descriptive action scenes, and most of all a heart at its core, and amped them all for this book. Jake Collins is a hero in every sense of the word. Flawed and weak; strong and determined. A fighter in every sense of the word.

In the past I’ve avoided this genre like the plague, but after following Paul’s work for two books now, I’m a convert. When the writing’s this good, there’s no avoiding genre outside your comfort zone. Paul has plenty left to offer in terms of stories for JC and at the rate this guy’s writing is progressing the next book is shaping up to be something a little bit more special again…

How annoying is that?

Book Review – The Other Side by Terry Tyler

Well.To say that this book was a surprise to me is a massive understatement. In all honesty I almost never read this genre of book and rarely read female authors, (Anne Rice and Herper Lee aside..)a sad state of affairs I know. In this case though, I pulled on my big-boy pants and indulged my feminine side a wee bit for two reasons.

Firstly, I have the odd tweet and FB chat with Terry and she’s braw. Secondly, I liked the Sliding Doors/alternate reality/ mess about with time feel the blurb conveyed (I’m a sucker for stories with what ifs and weird running order.

With The Other Side I got way more than I expected. Well fleshed-out characters who properly developed (in reverse?) as their stories were revealed and interwoven at the skill-full hands of Terry. How she kept this story straight in her head whilst producing it is testament to her creativity, her patience and her logistic talents.

Each character was believable and engaging for me, which I find isn’t always the case for many authors who can barrel through pre-set story markers and forget to realistically describe how their characters change from state A to state B.

Off the back off Terry’s book I’ll be exploring more of her back catalogue and will welcome the new books at my disposal now I’ve broken through the “female authors don’t entertain me” mental block.

Simply; if you like clever, flowing, funny and very human story-telling, in any genre this book will surprise and entertain you as it did me. Give it a go.

Double Dexter – Book Review

This book was a mixed bag for me. I picked it up, read two chapters, gave up. Lather, rinse repeat; for six months.

I think that I had two main problems which initially prevented me from getting into and enjoying Double Dexter.

Firstly, the previous two books in the series had let me down a little. They’d lost something that had been present in the first two and is consistent throughout the TV series. Dark humour? Irreverence? Teeth.

Weirdly-written narratives and histories from the viewpoint of the Dark Passenger just didn’t ring true with the previous books or really interest me. The idea of the Dark passenger as a separate and self-aware entity that can come and go when it takes a wee huff really put me off. If we use Pinocchio as an analogy for Dex becoming more human, then this Dark passenger would be the equivalent of the anti-Jiminy Cricket. Pish

Dex was becoming a little too far-fetched, (good-hearted serial killer, yeah I know), a little too forced with the inclusion also of Dark Passengers for the kids. What next? Some wee granny gets a shite haircut and in a dark fury of failed blue-rinse vengeance develops her own Passenger, going on to hunt poorly-skilled barbers? More pish.

Secondly, the opening chapters were truly awful.

I can’t help but compare the books to the TV show. It’s strange that the TV show writers have managed such character development and good consistent writing, keeping the characters true to themselves but exposing layers each series, forcing constant progression of the characters but not against type. Lindsay fails in this throughout the books and his characters rarely grow or are interesting.

Book-Masouka is a device to move Dex from A to B and in virtual anonymity in the books, as is Book-Batista. This is in stark and shameful contrast to the TV- Masouka who is fantastically twisted and funny and the wonderfully human TV-Angel.

Book-Rita is like some Stepford automaton and far from the ballsy TV Rita, now sadly gone. Book-Deb is a big stereotype in shitkicker boots. All dykey overtures and aggressiveness replacing assertiveness. Mr Lindsay, women can be strong characters without being; 1)Submissive or 2) testosterone transfusions receiving ball-busters.

Perhaps Doakes is his only improvement over TV. TV-Doakes (bloody fantastic) is long gone. Book-Doakes is more malevolent and menacing than ever.

Lindsay did, I’m pleased to say, pick up pace as he got into his stride and rediscovered Dexter’s menace, humour and intensity. It felt like he rediscovered his affection for who Dexter was when first introduced to the world. Essentially Lindsay had stopped giving us preternatural explanations for the Dex’s Passenger and got back to placing Dexter the predator at the heart of a good story.

Whilst I never really felt that Dex was being stretched by his new adversary, I enjoyed seeing Dexter on the hunt, like old times again.

Get past the opening chapters and this book’s a welcome return to form.

Music and Stories

For me, music has been a constant soundtrack to my life. Key events, loved ones, hard times and great times all have a song or album as a soundtrack. Books and movies are no exception.

Little wonder that my own debut novel was so driven and influenced by the music pof the times it’s set in and passes through.

Here are the three songs I chose for each “Act” of the book and why:

In part one I quoted Huey Lewsi and the News “The power of love” :

“Make a bad one good.

Make a wrong one right.

The power of love will keep you home at night.”

Partly because I love the track but mostly because the era that part one of Bobby’s Boy is set in is encapsulated so well in the memories that this song envokes. All the good stuff and all the bad are brought to the fore of my mind’s eye in the openeing 5 seconds of this song. The quote also evokes the love I wanted Tommy to encounter and be changed by

The second act of the book was introduced with the quote


“Oh I would never give up and go home,

 beaten and broken.

 No, I don’t know who I am anymore,

But I’ll keep on chasing those rainbows.”


from “The Only Enemy that Ever Mattered” by the wonderful Hopeless Heroic. At this stage of the book, tommy was departing on the trip of his life, but he was every bit as much running from his past as he ws barrrelling towards his future.

The last song I used was intended to show the wish to start all over again. Tommy’s been fantasising for so long, and he now lives in a world once more he wishes wasn’t real , but is. The video is a perfect fit also.

Coldplay – “The Scientist”

“Nobody said it was easy.

No-one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh, take me back to the start.”

Bobby’s Boy is on FREE PROMO until tomorrow




Nae’body’s Hero – Update

So far writing this book has been a very different experience to writing Bobby’s Boy. It was much easier having just one character’s point of view to convey.

It’s proving a challenge to effectively think like three different people; to enter the minds of my three main characters each of whom are so very different to each other and to me. So far it’s been fun stretching myself and my writing is most definitely improving with the new experience.

In many ways it’s much more fun being more than one person in type.

The main drawback at the moment is that I’m being sucked into the character’s minds a bit too much. I’m getting a bit obsessive and thinking constantly day and night about the story and the people and about moving both forward.

It’s a weird thing entering a fictional character’s mindset, thinking like they do, writing it down and then switching to two other people.

Kind of carrying three other people around in my head at the moment everywhere I go.

Good fun, despite the potential for split personality disorder.

So far I’ve introduced my three main characters and am now beginning to shape their personalities to prepare for and move them to where they meet.