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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
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How a very talented bookseller helped me find the wonderful Peirene Press, publisher of beautiful award-winning European novellas. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Material Witness
Hi Mar, I sure hope you're right... but the way this one was left nothing is guaranteed.
1 reply
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The best Connolly tales open themselves up like an unwelcome noise downstairs in the dead of night: you know there's nothing down there, but you're scared of it all the same. You don't want to check it out, but you know you have no choice. This book, The Wolf in Winter, the twelfth in the outstanding Charlie Parker series, might just be the perfect supernatural thriller. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Material Witness
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Gripping court room thriller. Check. Dark, psychological drama. Check. Edgy sexual tension. Check. Great writing and characterization. Check. If you're off on holiday this week, here's the book you need... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Material Witness
I don't know to what extent Adrian Mole made it to the US. In one sense it was very British humour and the early books contained a lot of social and political reference that would have been very particular to Britain in the 1980s. I think later books might have "translated" better as some of those themes - the absurdity of celebrity, the mendaciousness of politicians - have become more transatlantic and more accessible, in part because of the internet. I'm sure you probably have similar work from the States.
1 reply
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Adrian Mole was funny, subversive and full of clever, understated social commentary. He had a profound impact on my early reading life and I regard Townsend as a comic genius with a gift for drawing people in all their glorious absurdity. She leaves behind a pithy, witty chronicle of the last three decades and will be much missed. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Material Witness
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John Grisham reputation as the king of the courtroom thriller is richly deserved, but his latest offering, Sycamore Row, is a stinker. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Material Witness
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The Goldfinch is a long, sprawling book that requires a signficant investment of the reader. The narrative traces the journey of one Theo Decker, whose mother is killed in the bombing of an art gallery - an event that he... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Material Witness
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Literary revivals don’t please everyone, but Sebastian Faulks’ ‘homage’ to Wodehouse should charm even the most resistant into submission. Faulks follows the formula closely – this is English country house slapstick featuring a pleasing cast of Drones, the mandatory hiding... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2014 at Material Witness
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Many of the best thrillers are driven by the secrets their protagonists carry deep inside them and the skill of the author in teasing those secrets out. In The Boy That Never Was, Irish authors Karen Gillece and Paul Perry... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2014 at Material Witness
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How my road to a life of crime started with Emily the Goat... The story of a talking goat living in an idyllic 1950s farmyard might seem an unlikely book to feature on a blog specialising in crime fiction. But the route to James Lee Burke, George Pelecanos, Ian Rankin and countless others started with Emily and her friends, with a pacifist bull and with a rhyming, anarchic feline in a hat. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2014 at Material Witness
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One of the biggest changes in the literary world since I started blogging eight years ago is the emergence of the self-publishing and self-publicisng author. New technology and distribution mechanisms have opened the publishing world to all-comers and those with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Material Witness
Thanks. I've not seen the Patrick Ness, but looking at some reviews it looks excellent.
1 reply
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The growing influence the GAFA companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) have in our lives – and the data they hold about us - was always likely to provide fertile literary territory to a creative mind. Dave Eggers doesn’t disappoint, creating... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Material Witness
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A week after finishing Eeny Meeny, MJ Arlidge's debut procedural featuring Southampton detective Helen Grace, I'm still not sure quite what to make of it. At times I was totally gripped and couldn't put the book down as it raced... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at Material Witness
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New design, fresh intent, some new content, revised ratings policy Material Witness has been running now for just shy of eight years, which makes it one of the older crime fiction blogs on the net, although it's a long way... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at Material Witness
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The Hangman's Song, the third book in James Oswald's enjoyable Inspector Tony McLean series, is another very strong offering from a writer who has carved himself a comfortable niche in the supernatural crime corner of the genre. While the supernatural... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2014 at Material Witness
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This fine and atmospheric novel from Peter May, author of the best-selling Lewis trilogy, offers a terrific modern detective story and the oft-forgotten tale of dark moment in Scottish history in one assured and compelling package. Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2014 at Material Witness
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The second part of the adaptation for stage of Hilary Mantel's novels of Tudor politics is a triumph, surely confirming the double bill as theatre event of the year. The RSC has delivered an utterly compelling piece of theatre that will live fresh in the mind for years to come. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at Material Witness
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Crushing all 672 pages of Hilary Mantel's brilliant Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall into a mere 3 hours of stage time must have been the most daunting of tasks for writer Mike Poulton, but he succeeds magnificently, lifted by a colossal performance from Ben Miles as Cromwell. Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at Material Witness
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I lost track of Ted Stratton, Laura Wilson's steady, salt-of-the-earth London detective in about 1944 as he and his City were being subjected to the dying throes of Nazism in the shape of Doodlebug rockets. Between that dramatic second installment... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2013 at Material Witness
Jim, thanks for your kind words. She's definitely got something good going on with this series and personally I think it's only a matter of time before these books find a very broad audience. Cheers.
1 reply
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JK Rowling's first venture into crime fiction, The Cuckoo's Calling - written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith - shows off two of the great hallmarks of her writing: terrific story-telling and great characters. Her one-legged detective, Cormoran Strike, is a worthy addition to the gumshoe fraternity. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2013 at Material Witness
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Lyndsay Faye is one of the most exciting new crime writers around. Her effervescent prose and rich, compelling plots set in 1840s New York make The Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret two of the best books I've read in the last 18 months. She talked to me about her inspirations, her love of New York City and Sherlock Holmes... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2013 at Material Witness
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The one thing an eBook will never be able to do is replace the sheer beauty and joy of books on a shelf. I estimate I have about 800 currently occupying some rather undistinguished but functional bookcases. I love them... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2013 at Material Witness