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.

The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum

The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum

The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum

The Altman Code is Robert Ludlum’s fourth book in the immensely popular Covert One series.

A photographer is cruelly killed on the docks in Shanghai, China. His crime? He took photographs of a cargo ship being loaded. The film is destroyed.

The US navy secretly follow a ship mid-ocean – the ship is Chinese, the cargo – believed to be lethal. Aboard are believed to be enormous quantities of chemicals. Chemicals which could be used to create WMD! Weapons of Mass Destruction!

The US President has no intention of seeing these weapons reach rogue elements in the already volatile Middle East.

The situation is immensely delicate.

After years of wrangling with the Chinese, they are close to agreement over human rights negotiations. The President does not want to jeopardise this, or to create an international incident.

Jon Smith, of Covert One, is deployed to find the evidence to incriminate the Chinese vessel. However, vital evidence is lost and an agent is killed. The options are narrowing.

Jon Smith’s mission is imperative and dangerous. The smoke and mirrors hide deadly secrets going to the heart of the powers governing China.

The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum is a thrilling read, as you might expect.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King. A suprb thriller.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

 

The Sunday Express said that this novel, Mr Mercedes by Stephen King, was’the best thriller of the year’.

Stephen King has written over fifty worldwide best-selling books. Mr Mercedes was the first novel of his to feature the character, Bill Hodges.

Several of Stephen Kings books have been made into films such The Shawshank Redemption.

King was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Mr Mercedes and won the prestigious Edgar Award for best novel for it. Mr Mercedes was also awarded the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014.

Stephen King has also been awarded the National Book Foundation Medal, the National Medal of Arts and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

No doubt, like many police officers Bill Hodges, cannot forget the cases that he couldn’t close. One particularly unpleasant case remains at the forefront of his mind. Early one morning at the opening of a jobs fair, eight people in the line-up of hundreds were killed.

They were killed by a madman who drove a stolen Mercedes into them. The deceased just wanted to improve their lives and the lives of their families on that morning and yet, their lives would cease that fateful day.

The horror of that day and the killer at large haunts Hodges. Then one day the fire is re-ignited in him. He receives a letter from someone claiming to be the killer. He says he will kill again.

Bill Hodges had never liked to see a criminal get away with a crime. He was intent that this killer would not repeat his crime, retirement or no retirement, he was going to get him!

Brady Hartsfield is intent on killing again, taunting Hodges just adds some spice to the event.  This time he is intent on killing many more.

Hodges and his buddies will do everything they can to catch the killer before it is too late.

This is a beautifully crafted novel with three dimensional characters and a fast paced, page turning plot from one of the masters of the craft.

Take the time to read this novel, Mr Mercedes, you will not be disappointed.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King is available at World of Books.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

What’s to say about John Grisham – except SUPERB! Some of my favourite books and films.

The Rooster Bar is another winner and is utterly engrossing.

It’s an ingenious novel relating to a group of third year law students Zola, Mark and Todd who spend much of their spare time in The Rooster Bar where Todd serves drinks.

They realise that they have been conned. They went heavily into debt borrowing money to pay for the courses at a poor law school where the graduates rarely pass the final bar exams and then get low grade jobs when they do.

They find out that the law school is one of a group of them owned by a dodgy hedge fund in New York who also specialise in student loans.

Deciding that they want to get their own back, they realise that there may also be a way to make some cash into the bargain.

The Rooster Club is a great novel by a fabulously inventive writer, John Grisham.

mio

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown.

Dan Brown writes another in the Robert Langdon series following on from Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

It is a novel full of twists and turns which keeps you guessing. Langdon, the well-known Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, is invited to Bilbao in Spain to an event at the Guggenheim Museum. Edmond Kirsch, a former student of Langdon, is to give, what he calls, a major announcement which, ‘will change the face of science forever’ and which will answer two of life’s most enduring questions…’Where did we come from?’ and ‘Where are we going?’

The billionaire is a futurist who puts forth incredible high-tech inventions and who makes spectacular predictions.

The event turns to chaos and Kirsch’s controversial discoveries are at risk of being lost.

Langdon is shocked and is forced to escape Bilbao with Ambra Vidal, the director of the museum who worked with Kirsch to organise the event. In search of a secret password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret, they escape to Barcelona. Two world religious leaders, Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Köves, and Islamic Imam Syed al-Fadl are killed.

Langdon is under constant threat from fanatics and an enemy that will not stop. The Spanish throne is implicated in this race to uncover Kirsch’s incredible discovery.

Dan Brown is a highly inventive writer and Origin is sure to be another success.

The King of Torts by John Grisham

john grisham the king of torts

John Grisham The king of torts

John Grisham’s The King of Torts is, as one might expect,  a legal suspense novel which was published in 2003 and which remained in the top 15 of the New York Times Best Sellers list for more than 20 weeks having been in first place initially.

The novel centres around a lawyer, Clay Carter and what can be, the sordid world of the class action. Mr Carter doesn’t earn much working for the Office of the Public Defender, though he has high aspirations. Reluctantly, he takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. A random murder in Washington, D.C. sees the case of Tequila Watson pass before Mr Carter who reluctantly takes it on. He does not know why he killed Pumpkin, his friend.

However, the case is set to change Mr Carter’s life and fortunes. A shady individual, oddly named Max Pace, alerts Clay to a conspiracy that has been perpetuated by a pharmaceutical company. They have been conducting medical trials on recovering drug addicts. However, worryingly they have not obtained their consent first. Tequila was one of the unlucky ones to be part of a trial and doubly unlucky in that Tarvan, the drug, does not work in 10% of cases. Though it does not work in those few cases it has an unpleasant side effect in that it leads patients to commit random murders.

Max Pace is used by the drug company to make contact with Clay in an effort to keep a lid on their unsavoury practices and to keep victims quiet by paying them off with muchos dineros. Though Clay is concerned with the process he soon turns into a convert when he sees the vast sums of money to be made. Clay’s fortunes don’t come from winning cases but from forcing the pharmaceutical companies to settle out of court at the earliest point. He departs from the Public Defenders Office taking some colleagues and setting up his own firm.

Clay begins his slide into a murky world as Max Pace gives him insider information on other dangerous drugs that he may be able to profit from.  Clay rapidly reaches the dizzy heights among other established tort lawyers in the city. Clay’s meteoric rise, however, comes to the notice of the authorities and he is soon under investigation for such things as insider trading to name but one.

Clay’s luck rapidly changes as he is badly beaten up and hospitalised and as one of his biggest cases loses and his unhappy clients turn on him and begin to sue. Despondent, he eventually flees to England with his girlfriend, Rebecca.

Though I did enjoy the rollercoaster ride of The King of Torts novel by John Grisham it did in parts seem to lose momentum. The plot is good, the characters strong and the novel flows, but it is just not totally convincing. However, that said, it is still a great read while soaking up some rays on a tropical beach.

Buy The King of Torts now on AMAZON