Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

Alistair Maclean died in 1987, but what a legacy he left behind.

Alistair MacLean wrote the novel, Where Eagles Dare, at the same time as he wrote the screenplay. The 1968 film was shot on location in Bavaria and Austria. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced this classic film with stars such as Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. Both the book and the film were a major success.

Out of interest, the title comes from Act I, Scene III in William Shakespeare’s play Richard III: ‘The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch’.

The plot has various twists and turns. During the winter of 1943 to 44 U.S. Army Brigadier General George Carnaby is captured by the Germans. He is said to be a chief planner for the Western Front. The Germans take him to Schloß Adler to be interrogated. The castle can only be accessed by cable car or by helicopter.

A British Major, John Smith and a U.S. Army Ranger Lieutenant, Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood) are instructed on their mission by Colonel Turner and Admiral Rolland of Britain’s MI6. They are to be parachuted into Germany disguised as German troops with a team of commandos. Their mission – to rescue Carnaby before he can be interrogated.  They are dropped by a captured German Ju-52 transport plane. Smith secretly contacts agents Mary Ellison and Heidi Schmidt. The other commandoes do not know of their existence. Heidi gets Mary a job as a secretary at the castle.

Two of the commandoes are killed in suspicious circumstances, though Smith decides to continue the operation. He works closely with Shaffer and informs London of what is happening.

The commandos surrender to the Germans and Smith and Schaffer are separated from the enlisted men. Smith and Schaffer quickly kill the Germans who are guarding them and then get their escape route ready. They ride on top of the cable car and then climb up a rope, lowered by Mary, into the castle.

Carnaby is being interrogated by General Rosemeyer and Standartenführer Kramer. When the three captured enlisted men arrive, they identify themselves as German double agents.

The plot then gets quite tricky to follow. But it is worth staying with it as it is ingenious.

Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean is a fantastic read and the film is a classic and one to watch over and over again. He is a great author in the style of Desmond Bagley and Hammond Innes.

Buy Where Eagles Dare from one of the worlds greatest authors and you will not be sorry.

The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm by John Grisham

 

The Firm, by John Grisham, is a cleverly plotted work of legal fiction written by John Grisham and published in 1991. It was immensely successful and was then, in 1993, made into a film with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tom Cruise, and Gene Hackman. The Firm also spawned a television series in 2012.

This was Grisham’s second work, following A Time To Kill which was published in 1989. After The Firm’s success his first book then came to prominence and was also hugely successful, being made into a film. The film A Time To Kill starred Matthew McConaughey, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Donald Sutherland and Patrick McGoohan.

The name of the main character, Mitchell “Mitch” McDeere, must be ingrained into the minds of all lawyers and prospective lawyers in North America and beyond and especially to tax specialists.

The novel has terrific pace and great character development as it races through its cerebral path and cat and mouse chase.

John Grisham is one of the heavyweights in the written fictional word and rightly so.

McDeeres graduated with a top degree in accountancy and then went on to graduate, third in his class, from Harvard Law School. He had two brothers, one died in Vietnam and one is in prison, a fact he would rather keep quiet.

He is married to a school teacher, Abby.

Mitch gets a superb financial offer from a law firm in Memphis, Bendini, Lambert and Locke, a small tax law firm based in Memphis. After joining he is under great pressure to study and pass the bar exam. Mitch is assigned to the maverick partner, Avery Tolar.

Shortly before McDeere starts, Marty Kozinski and Joe Hodge, two of the lawyers in the firm are killed in the Caymans Islands, in a scuba diving accident. Mitch goes to the funerals and then finds out that three other lawyers who worked for the firm also died. His suspicions are aroused and he contacts a fiend of his brother, Eddie Lomax. Lomax is a private investigator and he agrees to start working the case.

Suspicious, he hires a private investigator, Eddie Lomax, an ex-cellmate of his brother Ray, to investigate the deaths of the attorneys.

Lomax is killed, but not before he warns McDeere to be careful. He had found out that the other three lawyers had also died suspiciously.

McDeere is targeted by an FBI agent, Wayne Tarrance. He finds out that the FBI are watching the firm.

McDeere goes to Washington, D.C. on a business trip where he is informed by the FBI that the firm is a front. It looks after the financial affairs of the Chicago Morolto crime family.

McDeere’s work has been honest thus far, but the lawyers are gradually enmeshed in the criminal side of the firm including tax fraud and money laundering operation.

The lawyers, once drawn in cannot leave, if they try to then they are killed.

Mitch finds out that Kozinski and Hodge were in contact with the FBI when they were murdered.

The firm’s security chief, DeVasher, becomes suspicious that he is getting involved with the FBI.

McDeere agrees to assist the FBI in return for 2 million dollars and his brother, Ray’s release from prison. Tammy Hemphill, Lomax’s secretary, helps McDeere to copy thousands of incriminating documents at great personal risk.

A leak in the FBI leaves McDeere exposed and he escapes stealing 10 million, as he does so, from one of the firm’s Grand Cayman bank accounts.

The FBI indicts many of the present and former members of Bendini, Lambert and Locke. They also indict a large group of suspected members of the Morolto family. The charges range from money laundering to, the not so sexy, mail fraud.

Mitch, Abby and Ray then live a contented life in the Caymans, living off the money.

John Grisham is an American attorney, politician and novelist specialising in legal thrillers. In an interview on the Charlie Rose show in 2016, Grisham said that his favorite author is John le Carré. The New York Times said of the book, ‘Mr. Grisham, a criminal defense attorney, writes with such relish about the firm’s devious legal practices that his novel might be taken as a how-to manual for ambitious tax-law students.’

John Grisham is one of my favourite authors and The Firm, one of my top picks for a holiday read.

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

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy is the most recent offering from David Ignatius.

Ignatius is a novelist and a journalist from the USA.  He studied at Harvard University and King’s College, Cambridge in the UK. He has been given many awards including, the Urbino World Press Award from the Italians, a lifetime achievement award from the International Committee for Foreign Journalism and the Legion of Honour from the French.

David Ignatius is a best-selling author of such works as Body of Lies, The Bank of Fear and The Director. The Quantum Spy is a story of worldwide espionage, betrayal and high-tech.

In a world where technology races ahead exponentially, the threat of a super-fast quantum computer is ever more real.

CIA officer Harris Chang tracks a Chinese informant who may put the American’s top-secret research laboratories at risk.

The development of the quantum computer would put China or America in overall control for decades to come.

Ignatius has written a spellbinding thriller with action racing across the world, from North America and on to Mexico and Singapore.

This is a cyber thriller which may well foretell the future for us all. Well worth the read!

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

After readying Gorky Park, I couldn’t wait to read the next in the Arkady Renko series, Polar Star.

Arkady Renko had made many enemies. He had been the top investigator in Moscow, but now, his party membership removed, he was forced to work in Siberia, where so many others had perished.

He was detailed to toil on a Soviet factory ship which fished the deathly cold waters between Siberia and Alaska, the Bering Sea.

No longer the great criminal man, but now a second-class seaman with a dark past.

Following an enigmatic death of a crew member, the captain gives Renko the chance of a kind of redemption. The woman’s dead body had been hauled in among the fish taken up by the net. The matter is puzzling but has the feel of murder rather than misadventure.

Renko faces desperate odds and an almost unsolvable crime with implications which go beyond the borders of Mother Russia.

Polar Star is another superb novel by Martin Cruz Smith.

 

‘Impossible to put down . . . a book of heart-stopping suspense and intricate plotting, but also a meticulously researched, ambitious literary work of great distinction.’   The Detroit News

‘Polar Star is not merely the work of our best writer of suspense, but one of our best writers, period’    New York Times

‘Splendid … . the reader will be kept guessing to the end’ Evening Standard

‘Stunning.’   The New York Times Book Review

‘Martin Cruz Smith writes the most inventive thrillers of anyone in the first rank of thriller writers.’   The Washington Post Book World

‘Gripping . . . absorbing.’   The Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Cruz Smith’s ability is to tell both a thriller and a novel at once, without losing either strand. There are whispers of Conrad and Graham Greene in this novel’   Sydney Morning Herald

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park, the novel by Martin Cruz Smith which introduced us all to the delights of the that most enigmatic of Russians, Arkady Renko.

Gorky Park takes its name from the amusement park of the same name in Moscow. Three corpses, their faces and fingertips missing, are found buried in the snows of the park. The body parts had been removed to hide their identities.

Renko, a chief investigator for the Militsiya, is tasked with solving the case.

Renko falls foul of the authorities as he relentlessly exposes the charlatans within the Russian hierarchy, regardless of the power they may have over him.

The story unfolds in a surprising manner, with many plot twists.

Martin Cruz Smith is a wonderful writer, who really catches the mood and the flavour of Mother Russia and who keeps the reader endlessly guessing.  Gorky Park is a must read.

Kolymsky Heights Paperback by Lionel Davidson

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

Hidden deep in the never-ending darkness and solitude of Russia’s Siberia lies, Kolymsky Heights. Ultra-secret and hidden from the world.

Here in the wilderness the Russians have a top-secret research station where scientists, once there, cannot leave.

However, one scientist risks all in an effort to get a message to someone who can uncover Kolymsky Heights true purpose. His coded messages are meant for the one man who can help.

A superb piece of story-telling, by Lionel Davidson, at the highest level which has garnered praise from many quarters including:

‘Sensationally good. Cleverly conceived and brilliantly executed. One of the great thrillers of the last century.’ Charles Cumming

‘Hugely thrilling, brilliantly written, perfect for the beach. Like all the best holidays, I didn’t want this book to end.’ Anthony Horowitz, Telegraph

Lionel Davidson was a fantastic writer and Kolymsky Heights is a true tribute to a man of immense talents. Truly un-put-downable….

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

The novel Along Came a Spider written by James Patterson is a great introduction to this prolific and hugely successful writers work.

This book by Patterson introduced us all to Alex Cross and the series which followed. A great thriller which is well plotted and the Alex Cross books have dominated the detective novel lists for years.

Washington, D.C. Alex Cross, the renowned Washington D.C. forensic psychologist and homicide investigator, is tasked with looking in to the violent murder of two black prostitutes and a child in the projects.

Cross is furious when he is removed from the case to investigate a kidnapping of two white children at an expensive private school. He feels that there is a sense that the colour determines which case is the more important. The kidnapper is Gary Soneji, the school maths teacher.

The evil Soneji, buries Maggie Rose Dunne and Michael Goldberg alive, in a coffin made for the task, at a remote farmhouse.

Alex Cross and the FBI make a detailed search of Soneji’s apartment. They find a wealth of information about kidnappings and master criminals. In particular it appears that Soneji has a more than passing obsession with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932.

Soanji clearly has a warped desire to become infamous.

Cross hooks up with Jezzie Flanagan, the first female supervisor of the Secret Service and the head of the Secret Service investigative team, in a secret liaison which complicates matters.

During the investigation Roger Graham, an FBI agent, is killed by Soneji who disguises himself as a reporter.

A missing little girl named Maggie Rose . . . a family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. . . . the thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher . . . a psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him – even after he’s been captured.

The police, FBI and the Secret Service are pitted against a true adversary in the guise of the violent psychopath, Soanji.

I don’t want to ruin the plot for you in this cleverly plotted and intricate game of cat and mouse where the stakes are the very highest.

Other authors have spoken very highly of James Pattersons work:

“An incredibly suspenseful read with a one-of-a-kind killer who is as terrifying as he is intriguing. One of the best thrillers of the year.”
Clive Cussler

“The best thriller I’ve come across in many a year. It deserves to be this season’s NO.1 best-seller.
Nelson  DeMille

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson is a superb read.