Southern Seas, Los Mares del Sur by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, los mare del sur

Los Mares del Sur bu spanish thriller writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

Los Mares del Sur, Southern Sea, by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán is a beautifully crafted novel  which is dripping in atmosphere and Spanish feeling.

Spanish detective Pepe Carvalho and former communist investigates the murder of an influential businessman, Stuart Pedrell, who disappeared a year earlier only to turn up dead on a Barcelona construction site. He had been brutally stabbed to death.

Pedrell’s wife hired the shrewd and tenacious detective to find out who did it. On his path the reader is given a taste of Spanish cuisine and literature.

While trying to unmask the killer, Carvalho must deal with former anti-Franco left wingers.

A lovely read by an interesting author on a rainy day in the damper parts of the world. It makes you want to live in Spain and to study Spanish.  After reading it I don’t understand why Spanish people would leave Spain.

After a few months in London a Spanish friend of mine has been living  in Cambridge, in the UK for several years now and loves it. She did a course to learn British Council English and is very happy here now. For me – I prefer the Spanish sun, wine and food….and of course the people!

Los Mares del Sur, Mar del Sur, de Manuel Vázquez Montalbán es una novela bellamente elaborada que gotea en la atmósfera y el sentimiento español.

El detective español Pepe Carvalho y el ex comunista investigan el asesinato de un influyente hombre de negocios, Stuart Pedrell, que desapareció un año antes solo para aparecer muerto en un sitio de construcción en Barcelona. Había sido brutalmente apuñalado hasta la muerte.

La esposa de Pedrell contrató al detective astuto y tenaz para averiguar quién lo hizo. En su camino, el lector recibe una muestra de la cocina y la literatura española.

Al tratar de desenmascarar al asesino, Carvalho debe lidiar con los ex izquierdistas anti franquistas.

Una hermosa lectura de un autor interesante en un día lluvioso en las partes más húmedas del mundo. Te hace querer vivir en España y estudiar español. Después de leerlo, no entiendo por qué los españoles abandonarían España.

Después de unos meses en Londres, un amigo mío español ha estado viviendo en Cambridge, en el Reino Unido, durante varios años y le encanta. Hizo un curso para aprender inglés del British Council y está muy feliz aquí ahora. Para mí, prefiero el sol español, el vino y la comida … ¡y por supuesto la gente!

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming

On her majestys secret service by ian fleming

On her majestys secret service by ian fleming

Who could talk of a spy novel or thriller without mentioning one of the best writers in the genres, Ian Fleming.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming is one of the most famous of his works.

James Bond, United Kingdom secret agent with a licence to kill, had been involved in hunting down the SPECTRE organisation and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the boss. They had hijacked nuclear devices in order to blackmail the governments of the West. Bond had a disagreement with the British Secret Service in the running of the matter and he writes a letter of resignation to M, the head of the service.

Bond saves a beautiful Contessa by paying the gambling debt she cannot fulfil but they are captured by criminals. Her father is Marc-Ange Draco, the boss of the Unione Corse crime organisation.

Draco tells Bond that Blofeld is in Switzerland after which Bond returns to England to filter fact from fiction. The College of Arms in London discovers that Blofeld has taken on the persona of Comte Balthazar de Bleuville to mask his identity.

Bond pretends to be a member of the College of Arms, Sir Hilary Bray. He visits Blofeld face him and to ascertain his right to the title, finding that Blofeld has undergone surgery to cover up his identity.

Blofeld has been brainwashing women into carrying biological warfare agents to destroy the agricultural economy of the British Isles. Bond escapes by ski from Piz Gloria, as he believes he has been uncovered.  He is chased and kills some of his pursuers. Exhausted he reaches the local town where he is helped by the Contessa.

Draco’s Union Corse help Bond to attack Blofeld’s clinic. The clinic is destroyed and Blofeld escapes. Flying to Germany Bond marries the Contessa. They drive away on holiday only to be machine gunned by Blofelds team. Bonds new wife dies.

James Bond, otherwise known as 007, is probably the most famous spy to have worked on behalf of the Queen and the Union Jack flag.

A classic spy novel from one of the worlds finest writers. I am looking forward to the next film with Daniel Craig, No Time to Die. The Queen’s best agent and a real Made in England hero!.

The Mask by Dean Koontz

The Mask by Dean Koontz

The Mask by Dean Koontz

The Mask by Dean Koontz is completely out of the norm for me. I’ve never been one for scary books or movies. Watching Boris Karloff in the film The Mummy as a child, really did finish me off! Actually, if you ever want to see a true classic, way ahead of its time, then I can thoroughly recommend it for a fright night! But given the  current Covid-19 virus obsession with ppe such as gloves and face masks, I thought that I would give it  a go.

Also, I really enjoyed The Eyes of Darkness, again by Dean Koontz, which is eerily close to and some would say foretells the current Wuhan virus pandemic.

An enigmatic teenager with no family or discernible past suddenly appears amid busy traffic right in front of Carol’s car. She seems to have no memories.

Paul and Carol, feel an intense connection to the girl who they call Jane. They had no daughter and she filled an empty void in their lives.

But all is not as it seems!

Horrifying sounds in the night-time, gripping fear and a blood covered face in a mirror add to a terrible sense of dread and a sense of being haunted by something or someone!

Who was this girl, was she a victim in need of their protection or was there something darker in the terrible chain of events!

As I said, this scary genre is not for me, but for those wanting something to make the hairs stand up on the back of their necks then Dean Koontz is a writer par excellence and The Mask is well worth the read! Especially in this surreal time of people who buy and are wearing protective face coverings, face masks, gloves and even in one case a plastic bin on their head- but frankly – who could blame them! In this time of empty cities and scared people, it seems so very like a Hollywood virus film, but one we would rather not all be starring in!

For me however, I’ll stick to Koontz’s other works within the genres I prefer or I will try a Tom Clancy or a Lee Child novel for a change of scenery. Happy reading!

The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz The Eyes of Darkness

Dean Koontz The Eyes of Darkness

Dean Koontz is a highly prolific and readable American author who has used many other names to write under. In fact he wrote this thriller novel in 1981 under the name Leigh Nichols. He has sold over 450 million copies of his works and was ranked in the top ten for highest paid world authors.

A camping trip in the mountains turns into a nightmare for one mothers son who is called Danny. Despite having gone on similar trips many times before, on the final occasion and with no explanation everyone dies. Finally the mother accepts the inevitable, that her son is gone.

However, she soon begins to receive threatening and cryptic messages about her son. They say that Danny is in fact, not dead. With the help of, Elliot Stryker, the mothers friend – she starts to try to unravel the mystery around her sons apparent death.

Many have said that there are striking resemblances in the book The Eyes of Darkness with the current world pandemic of Corona virus which began in Wuhan, China. This has led to renewed interest in, what is, a very well written and insightful thriller novel from the early 1980’s by Dean Koontz.

The Guns of Navarone novel by Alistair MacLean

The Guns of Navarone by Alistair Maclean

The Guns of Navarone by Alistair Maclean

I’ve just re-read the Guns of Navarone novel by Alistair MacLean.

Alistair MacLean wrote his classic adventure novel, novel The Guns of Navarone,in 1957.

The book was also made into a wonderful film, which I have watched many times. You’ve probably seen the film already, but the book is well worth the read.

A crack team of allied soldiers are tasked with destroying an impregnable German fortress on the Greek island of island of Navarone in the Aegean Sea.

The two powerful guns in the fortress have to be destroyed to protect Allied naval ships, from being sunk.

On the nearby island of Kheros 2,000 British soldiers are cut off. The motley crew who are assembled to destroy the guns are all experts in their wartime fields.

Tensions between the team and their pursuit by the Germans add to the intrigue. The tension is further heightened by the time pressure which is brought to bear on the team

The book, The Guns of Navarone, by writer Alistair MacLean, is a superb novel by a master of his craft.

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

Flight of the Intruder is a fantastic novel from the great Stephen Coonts. Written by Coonts in 1986 it spring-boarded his career into being a top selling writer.

The story details United States Navy flyers of the A-6 Intruder. Not the most glamorous of planes but a real workhorse that has the look of a bulldog. It’s a two-man, aircraft carrier-based strike aircraft used heavily during the Vietnam War. Jake ‘Cool Hand’ Grafton, is a naval aviator and the main character and also a real man’s man. He also appears in later books also.

The novel was also made into a movie starring Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe.

Flight of the Intruder is a great read and a super film from one of America’s top thriller writers – Stephen Coonts.

Flight of the Intruder es una novela fantástica del gran Stephen Coonts. Escrito por Coonts en 1986, su carrera se convirtió en el escritor más vendido.

La historia detalla los folletos de la Armada de los Estados Unidos del A-6 Intruder. No es el avión más glamoroso, sino un verdadero caballo de batalla que tiene el aspecto de un bulldog. Es un avión de ataque de dos hombres, basado en portaaviones, que se utiliza mucho durante la Guerra de Vietnam. Jake ‘Cool Hand’ Grafton, es un aviador naval y el personaje principal y también un verdadero hombre de hombre. También aparece en libros posteriores también.

La novela también se convirtió en una película protagonizada por Danny Glover y Willem Dafoe.

Flight of the Intruder es una gran lectura y una súper película de uno de los mejores escritores de suspenso de Estados Unidos: Stephen Coonts.

Cazar al Capricornio by Francisco Castillo Arenas

Cazar al Capricornio

Cazar al Capricornio

 

Cazar al Capricornio by Francisco Castillo Arenas

General Franco’s closest confident, Carrero Blanco, is murdered by ETA. The killing is a major shock to the state, giving them a real belt.

Then in 2005 a gang of thieves break into the safe of a private company. The theft sends shockwaves through the powers of state. One of it’s greatest secrets is in jeopardy after the theft.
Antonio Alba, a member of the CNI is sent to discretely retrieve the contents. Time is not on his side as the sand slips through the hourglass. He is told that the thieves stole, the Capricorn project. His masters tell him that it is just details of the Spanish attempt to be a space power. Alba is suspicious after seeing how several agencies of foreign intelligence have begun a ruthless hunt for what has become known as, ‘the Windsor secret’. What he has been told is not matching the reality of Cazar.

The thief, who is a former Kosovar Albanian guerrilla from the UÇK, becomes curious to find out what he had been ordered to steal and to cut through the lies. Checking what he is stolen he is shocked to find that it is worth much more than he was paid to do the burglary. Can he give his pursuers the slip. As matters take shape a deadly triangle of intrigue and death play out.

Cazar al Capricornio, por Francisco Castillo Arenas, el más cercano confidente del General Franco, Carrero Blanco, es asesinado por ETA. El asesinato es un gran golpe para el estado, dándoles un cinturón real.

Luego, en 2005, una banda de ladrones irrumpe en la caja fuerte de una empresa privada. El robo envía ondas de choque a través de los poderes del estado. Uno de sus mayores secretos está en peligro después del robo. Antonio Alba, un miembro de la CNI, es enviado para recuperar discretamente el contenido. El tiempo no está de su lado mientras la arena se desliza a través del reloj de arena. Le dicen que los ladrones robaron, el proyecto Capricornio. Sus amos le dicen que son solo detalles del intento español de ser una potencia espacial. Alba sospecha después de ver cómo varias agencias de inteligencia extranjera han iniciado una búsqueda despiadada de lo que se conoce como “el secreto de Windsor”. Lo que le han dicho es que no coincide con la realidad de Cazar.

El ladrón, que es un ex guerrillero albanés de Kosovo de la UÇK, siente curiosidad por saber qué le habían ordenado robar y cómo deshacerse de las mentiras. Al comprobar lo que le han robado, se sorprende al descubrir que vale mucho más de lo que le pagaron por el robo. ¿Puede él dar a sus perseguidores el resbalón? Mientras los asuntos toman forma, se forma un triángulo mortal de intriga y muerte.

El Cazar al Capricornio de Francisco Castillo Arenas es un sillón sin costuras, un paseo en montaña rusa, suave como la seda, ¡que te mantendrá en tu ropa interior!

Cazar al Capricornio by Francisco Castillo Arenas is a seamless, seat of the pants, rollercoaster ride, smooth as silk, that will have you hanging on to your lingerie!

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

The Hunt for Red October was the first techno-thriller novel by Tom Clancy. It was published in 1984 by the Naval Institute Press and the U.S. President, at the time, Ronald Reagan said of it, that he had enjoyed reading the book. I’m not surprised, it’s a real page-turner.

It’s a clever plot, with a lot of detail. Russian Naval Captain Marko Ramius, who is of Lithuanian descent, is at sea with his nuclear submarine. The sub is called Red October, hence the books name, and it is bristling with state-of-the-art ballistic missiles. The submarine utilises a silent propulsion system called the caterpillar drive. This means that audio detection by passive sonar is near impossible – this is deeply concerning for the Americans.

He appears to have gone rogue.

We first see a name, Jack Ryan, which we all know now. Jack Ryan works for the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst. Jack has a theory.  He believes that Ramius is intent on defecting to the United States.

Ramius kills the boats political officer, Ivan Putin, in case he tried to prevent him from defecting. He lies to the crew telling them that they are going to Cuba, but by this time the Russians are in hot pursuit having been notified of his plans by Ramius. The letter arrived after he had set sail.

The Russians pretend that they are on a search and rescue mission, but they will sink Red October if they have to.

As the Red October passes by Iceland whilst making its escape it comes close to the USS Dallas, a Los Angeles-class submarine. The American crew hear an unusual sound, the caterpillar drive, but they don’t initially think that it is as a submarine.

The Americans suspect the motives of the Russians and crews are on alert.

On the Dallas submarine the crew analyse the sonar tape again. They realise that what they heard was the new propulsion system of the Red October.

Jack Ryan then begins to work his magic.

Tom Clancy wrote many fantastic books in his career, but The Hunt for Red October has always been my personal favourite of his.

Buy the book or Audio of The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy from Amazon
.

Or buy the DVD from AMAZON

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

American writer Dashiell Hammett wrote the classic novel The Maltese Falcon.

It was originally serialized, like many of Charles Dickens’ works, in the Black Mask magazine in 1929 to 30. The book was made into the classic film of the same name with actors Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Sydney Greenstreet and incredible Peter Lorre.

Sam Spade is the main character and practises as a private detective, in partnership with Miles Archer, in San Francisco.

A glamorous beauty, Miss Wonderly, hires them to follow a man called Floyd Thursby, who she says has run away with her sister. Archer sets off to follow Thursby, but winds up dead that night. He’d been shot. Next Thursby gets himself killed and the police suspect Spade.

Miss Wonderly is unmasked. She is actually called Brigid O’Shaughnessy. It transpires that she is  on the hunt for a very valuable black statue of a falcon. She is not the only one. A shady Greek called Joel Cairo and Casper Gutman are also after the falcon. Gutman has in his service, one Wilmer Cook, a young, volatile, gun-totting thug. O’Shaughnessy will not spill the beans to Spade, though she is desperate for his help.

I can’t tell you the rest as it would spoil such a wonderful plot.

It is a story which is full of mystery, intrigue and thrills set off with a touch of the exotic.

Dashiell Hammett wrote this best seller novel, The Maltese Falcon, while living at 891 Post Street in downtown San Francisco. He is one of the worlds finest writers of detective novels and his work endures.