Perfect reading for this time of year.

Book Review – The Gods of Guilt

9781743317532I can distinctly remember reading John Grisham as a teenager and really getting into the legal thriller but as his books began to resemble movie pitches rather than novels and as I began to discover more authors and other books I drifted away. When I got back into crime fiction I wasn’t after clearly defined genre and I gravitated to the darker side of crime where right and wrong are hard to define. The legal thriller generally is all about right and wrong. It is either about someone innocent trying to clear their name or a guilty person being brought to justice. They can often throw up some interesting moral dilemmas but at the end of the day the law manges to right all wrongs. Which as we all know is total bs.

I started ready the Mickey Haller series because I wanted to try Michael Connelly but didn’t want to commit to his extensive backlist. So when he began this series a few years back with The Lincoln Lawyer I found my way in. While the series isn’t as black as I usually take my crime it is nice and grey. Mickey Haller is one leg up from ambulance chaser. He’s a defence attorney who works out of his town car. He knows the law isn’t perfect and uses that to his advantage whenever he can. He also knows he’s an asshole and isn’t shy about who he defends. He gets manipulated about as much as his manipulates others and you can debate if justice was actually served at the end of each book.

What I love most about the books is the tactics of a trial. The to and fro between the defence and the prosecutor plus the permutations thrown up by an individual judge. Haller must navigate a minefield while on a tightrope and it makes for compelling reading. In the last book Connelly even switches things around by having Haller work for the District  Attorney.

The other thing I like about the books is Haller himself. He is not self-righteous (although he is extremely cocky) and his personal life is a complete disaster.

In the latest book Haller must defend a pimp accused of killing one of his escorts. Haller has a stale in the case as he knew the victim and knows there is more to this case than the police allege. Haller soon enters a high stakes game involving a Mexican drug cartel and corruption. As Haller’s case comes to head you are right in the thick of it and I found myself cursing and admonishing Haller for some of his decisions.

Perfect reading for this time of year.

Buy the book here…

Interview with Author Tony Park Pt 2

Tony Park is an author, adventurer and reader of digital books, so I thought I’d interview him to get his unique point of view on the experience. Tony’s currently hooning around somewhere in Africa in his Land Rover, writing his next book and doing the occasional safari, but he was kind enough to take some time out to talk to The Smell of Books. This is Part 2 of the interview. You can read Part 1 here.

Does anything about the experience of reading ebooks annoy you?

There are a couple of things I’d like to see Amazon change on the Kindle. Firstly, I think there should be a ‘blurb’, the back cover summary of what the book’s about, up front when you start the book. Also, there seems to be little easily accessible information about a book, other than reviews by readers, when you actually buy the book online or via wireless. Having said that, I’ve actually found it quite fun to start a new book and not know the first thing about the plot.

Secondly, the Kindle expresses your progress through the book as a percentage of the total book, at the bottom of the page. Honestly, I’d rather know I’m up to page 221 of 663, rather than be told I’m at 33 per cent.

How long have you been reading digitally now? What positives about the experience stand out that you think digital sceptics might not have thought about?

We’ve had our Kindles for about two years now. I’ve found that two of the best things about Kindle that the sceptics probably haven’t thought about are swimming and drinking.

If you’ve just come out of the pool or walked out of the sea and you’re dripping wet and/or covered in sand, you can prop your Kindle a little way away and just reach out with one (dry) finger and turn the pages. You don’t end up with a book whose pages are caked in sand and swollen around the edges from water damage, and you don’t lose your page if the wind picks up.

Same goes for drinking (and eating). It’s a lot easier to turn the pages with a single finger while eating chips and drinking beer than it is to do all that and keep a book balanced on your tummy.

Oh, and another good thing is that you can have several readers on the one Amazon account. This means that both Nicola and I can be reading the same book at the same time, which avoids the fights we’d have over who’s going to read a paper book first.

As an author, do you worry about piracy in a world of easily downloadable books (and devices to read them on)?

Yes, that does concern me. However, it’s a bit like someone telling me that they’ve read one of my books that they borrowed from a friend, or bought at a second hand shop. There’s no money in either of those cases for me, but as an author who’s still relatively new on the scene and hoping to build up my readership I’m just happy that that book is being passed around, so I can get some more exposure. If I was at the other end of the authorly spectrum – selling millions of copies like Wilbur Smith, then I’d probably have too much money to be worried about piracy.

What are you reading now?

Michael Connelly’s The Reversal, on my Kindle, of course. I just finished Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants on Kindle and if I’d had that as a paper book I would have needed to buy a trailer for my Land Rover to transport it.

That’s it, folks, thanks for reading. While you’re waiting for Amazon to ask for Tony’s endorsement of the Kindle (“It’s a lot easier to turn the pages with a single finger while eating chips and drinking beer”), you can read a sample chapter of The Delta here, and if you like it – buy it. His backlist is here. You can visit Tony on the web here.

BOOKS ALIVE

Books Alive, an Australian Government initiative, aims to encourage all Australians to turn off their screens and get reading.

In choosing to purchase one of its “50 Books You Can’t Put Down”, you are eligible to receive a FREE book – either a dazzling collection of brand-new short stories by ten of Australia’s best writers, or Grug Learns to Read, a new title in the classic Australian series.

50 Books You Can’t Put Down

The Book of Rapture by Nikki Gemmell
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
The Rip by Robert Drewe
Dead Man Running by Ross Coulthart & Duncan McNab
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
Shatter by Michael Robotham
How to Break Your Own Heart by Maggie Alderson
Dear Fatty by Dawn French
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Parky: My Autobiography by Michael Parkinson
The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Through a Glass Darkly by Caroline Jones
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement by Virginia Lloyd
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Night My Bum Dropped by Gretel Killeen
To Love, Honour and Betray by Kathy Lette
The True Story of Butterfish by Nick Earls
Occy by Mark Occhilupo & Tim Baker
True Colours by Adam Gilchrist
A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
Australian Tragic by Jack Marx
Pacific Fury by Peter Thompson
1788 by David Hill
My God! It’s a Woman by Nancy Bird
The People’s Train by Tom Keneally
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Wanting by Richard Flanagan
Dark Country by Bronwyn Parry
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Eagle Day by Robert Muchamore
Robot Riot! by Andy Griffiths
Somebody’s Crying by Maureen McCarthy
Pearlie in the Park by Wendy Harmer
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Nixie’s Song by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury