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benhunt
Madrid, Spain
Hack turned flack living in Madrid with three kids hoping one day to be able to read Arturo Perez Reverte in his native Spanish...
Interests: wine, cooking, family, historical fiction, rugby, crime fiction, us civil war, biography, cricket, american football
Recent Activity
Thanks, Ashim. Much appreciated.
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All parents who read to their children, particularly at bedtime, will have been pleaded with again and again to read, 'just one more' or often, 'again, please'. My first experience of this was with my daughter Tilly aged two or... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2015 at Material Witness
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Do you remember the hot, searing flame of childhood friendships? The sense of belonging, of fierce loyalty, of intense, emotional engagement? Do you remember the petty and painful feuds, the corrosive jealousies? And the fear of loss, or perhaps even the pain of it? Maybe you remember long days in the sun, messing about by the river or the scrapes you got into, the lies you told, the games you won? They're almost certainly inside you somewhere and, however old you are, probably close enough to rise to the surface if you stir them up. Mine came willingly and easily, stirred up by this quite wonderful gift of a novel from Italy written by an author that nobody seems to know very much about but who clearly knows a great deal about people. My Beautiful Friend is the first book in the so-called Neapolitan trilogy from the mysterious Elena Ferrante, translated into English by Ann Goldstein. At its heart is the story of the fluid, passionate, dangerous, transcendant and traumatic friendship of narrator Elena and her neighbour Lila. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Material Witness
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Peter James has become one of Britain's most successful crime writers. The 10 previous novels featuring Brighton detective Roy Grace have sold more than 15 million copies and been translated into dozens of languages. As the 11th novel in the series is published, You Are Dead, Peter spoke to Material Witness about Grace, his home city of Brighton and some of the issues facing the modern police force. Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Material Witness
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I've enjoyed all the Dublin murder squad books I've read to this point, but none more so than The Secret Place, which is revelatory in its brilliance. French is a consummate story-teller, a brilliant technician of structure and a stylish writer, particularly of dialogue. But it's the people she does best, the people that elevates this book so far above even great. This is a truly special crime novel. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Material Witness
Long indeed!! I really like the way John is renewing the series. Good stuff ahead I'm sure.
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Twitter has its moments. It can be a dark and disturbing place at times, but a place where armchair heroes, hiding behind their laptops and shrouded by the anonymity of internet pour bile on those who dare to be different... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2015 at Material Witness
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If Chris Carter us looking for a writing partner to help with the imminent (and long overdue) revival of The X Files, he could do worse than call Noah Hawley. Hawley, who last year successfully brought Fargo to the small... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2015 at Material Witness
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Charlie Parker is back for the 13th installment of this brilliant crime series. When these books arrive, and I find myself looking forward to the new Connolly as perhaps the highlight of my fiction year, I want the world to go away. I want a comfy chair, a warm fire, a glass of whisky and the time to savour it all. Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2015 at Material Witness
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This is Grisham on the territory he does best: providing a voice for the poor, the dispossessed and the disenfranchised. Gray Mountain is an angry, snarling, magnificent polemic against the - frankly - evil practices of the coal companies and is a worthy addition to a body of work that has already taken on racism and the death penalty. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2015 at Material Witness
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The best crime fiction often stems from dark secrets screaming out of the past to bring chaos to the present and destroy futures. The Whites comes from that tradition. It is a good read, and for those who particularly enjoy fiction set in New York City, it is essential reading. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2015 at Material Witness
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This is my first brush with Denise Mina, and it won't be the last, even if her stark, naked description of a tough and uncompromising world isn't always easy to digest. But the intelligence and power of the writing and story-telling make it a worthy investment. The End of the Wasp Season is one of the very best books I've read in recent years, and I commend it to the house. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at Material Witness
She has that "second book" problem, now!! With expectations sky high... But I'm sure she'll deliver...
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Thanks for the comment! I'm confident the book will repay your investment!
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It's early days in 2015, but The Girl on the Train might yet prove the thriller of the year. It's a beautifully crafted novel with convincing and weIl-drawn characters that keeps you guessing from first to breathless last. I demolished it in less than a day, and you'll want to do the same. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Material Witness
Is that right? Wow - so after four years we finally get there! I had the ring tone on a phone years ago, but it's long since lost... Thanks for the info!
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I came late to Foyle's War. The wartime-detective-turned-spy series had already completed seven seasons by the time I watched my first episode in August 2013. By the end of the month I had binge-watched all 22 episodes I could find.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Material Witness
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About halfway through The Taxidermist's Daughter, Kate Mosse's first novel since the concusion of her imperious Languedoc trilogy, I considered giving up and starting something else. After a very promising, not to say chilling, opening, the narrative had stagnated, I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2015 at Material Witness
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It's a new year, out with the old and in with, er, the old. This year's reading list features a number of books I already own but haven't gotten around to reading yet. The list also includes new books from Kate Atkinson and SJ Watson - the author of Before I Go To Sleep. But the list is far from complete. Can you help fill it out? Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2015 at Material Witness
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During 2014 I read the fewest number of books I've read since I began recording them on this blog. Thirty-six is a very poor return over 52 weeks, particularly given the fact that I read about 8 of those during... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at Material Witness
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It's not been a vintage year in terms of volume of books read - less than 40! - and I had some odd passages in the year - almost the entire autumn - when I simply couldn't settle into a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Material Witness
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Pop Goes the Weasel is a thrilling, occasionally gruesome, page-turner that gets into the nasty side of Southampton and the nastier side of the human condition. I'm glad I stuck with the series and I'll be back for the next outing. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at Material Witness
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CJ Sansom's Shardlake books have become highlights of each of the six years he has delivered them since Dissolution a decade ago. The sixth in the Tudor mystery series, Lamentation, is no exception, a riveting ride through the dangerous waters of the court of the dying Henry VIII. Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2014 at Material Witness
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My Wasps journey started, like so many others, in Sudbury about 20 years ago when I started attending matches with a mate, sadly gone now, whose family were like Wasps royalty - former captains and chairmen and the like. It... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Material Witness
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Most long-running and successful crime series have a moment at which they come of age. I'm not exactly sure at what point in the exhilarating fourth book of James Oswald's Tony McLean series this came about, but by the end... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Material Witness