RogerBW's Blog

Mr Standfast, John Buchan 28 August 2017

1919 thriller, third of Buchan's books about Richard Hannay; wartime thud-and-blunder. Hannay has to go undercover among the pacifists and conscientious objectors to root out a German agent.

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Hide My Eyes, Margery Allingham 05 August 2017

1958 classic English detective fiction; sixteenth of Allingham's novels of Albert Campion. Several crimes seem to be vaguely related to a shabby-respectable area in west London, but how can it all be put together? US vtt Tether's End and Ten Were Missing.

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Airs Above the Ground, Mary Stewart 25 June 2017

1965 mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Vanessa March, married two years, had a fight with her husband Lewis just before he left on a business trip to Stockholm. But then he shows up on a newsreel about a circus fire in Austria… with his arm round a blonde.

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Chance season 1 08 May 2017 - 2 comments

2016 noir thriller, 10 episodes. A forensic neuropsychiatrist finds himself getting in way, way over his head.

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The Guns of Navarone, Alistair MacLean 29 March 2017

1957 thriller/war story. The island of Navarone, off the Turkish coast, contains a set of naval guns in a rock fortress that can't be effectively bombed, surrounded by a massive occupation force. Two sabotage missions have failed, one by boat, one by parachute. It's time for the third.

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HMS Ulysses, Alistair MacLean 25 March 2017

1955 thriller/war story, MacLean's first novel. Ulysses, a heavily-modified Dido-class cruiser, has been worked nearly to death on the Arctic convoys, but in spite of that, and of an arguable mutiny among the men, she's sent out for one more run.

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This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart 16 March 2017

1964 mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. After the play that was to be her Big Break closed in disgrace, Lucy Waring goes to visit her married sister in Corfu. But why would anyone shoot at the dolphin that comes into their bay?

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The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan 17 February 2017

1915 thriller; first of Buchan's books about Richard Hannay. Bored in London, Hannay invites his worried neighbour into his flat, and soon finds both the authorities and a cunning group of terrorists against him.

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Boku dake ga Inai Machi 03 December 2016

2016 seinen manga adaptation, 12 episodes: AniDB, vtt "Erased" and "The Town Without Me". Fujinuma Satoru sometimes slips back in time to just before a life-threatening accident, which lets him try to correct it. When his mother is murdered, he finds himself thrown back to eighteen years earlier, when he was in elementary school and someone was killing his classmates.

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Enter the Saint, Leslie Charteris 14 November 2016

1930 thriller, second of the Saint series. In three loosely-linked novellas, the Saint takes on a succession of criminals.

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Greenmantle, John Buchan 17 October 2016

1916 thriller; second of Buchan's books about Richard Hannay. Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot are convalescing from wounds received at the Battle of Loos when word comes from Sir Walter Bullivant of the Foreign Office: the Germans have some kind of trump-card with which they're planning to set the Moslem world on fire.

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Spider Light, Sarah Rayne 29 September 2016 - 3 comments

2006 psychological thriller. After a highly public series of tragic incidents, Antonia Weston goes to Cheshire to stay in a cottage near a small market town, hoping for anonymity and peace. But she soon experiences a series of events which seem to be echoing the past she's trying to forget.

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The Moon-Spinners, Mary Stewart 21 September 2016

1962; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Nicola Ferris, on holiday from her job at the British Embassy in Athens, has been looking forward to getting away from it all in an obscure corner of Crete. But a day of random wandering brings her into contact with two men, one of them badly injured.

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The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart 29 June 2016

1961; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Mary Grey has no particular prospects, but she's a dead ringer for Annabel Winslow, the heir to the small farm of Whitescar, who's been missing for eight years. Con Winslow, who's been running the place as Annabel's grandfather gradually declines, sees a chance to pull a Brat Farrar, produce the "missing heir", and get the place whether or not it's willed to him. But Mary has her own plans.

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Half a Crown, Jo Walton 23 April 2016

2008 alternate-history suspense/thriller, last in the "Small Change" trilogy. In the fascist Britain of 1960, former Inspector Carmichael still runs the Watch, the secret police charged with rounding up Jews, Communists, and other undesirables; his adopted niece, Elvira, is looking forward to her début.

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Ha'penny, Jo Walton 06 April 2016

2007 alternate-history suspense/thriller, second in the "Small Change" trilogy. Eight years after the "peace with honour" of 1941, as Mark Normanby's new government is cracking down on Jewish communist terrorists, a bomb goes off in a Hampstead suburb. Inspector Carmichael, compromised but useful to his political masters, investigates.

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My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart 29 March 2016

1959; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Camilla Haven, on holiday in Athens, is lamenting that nothing ever happens to her. Then a stranger brings her "the car for Delphi", for "Monsieur Simon", for which someone has apparently already paid the deposit, and tells her that it's a matter of life and death…

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Gravity, Tess Gerritsen 20 October 2015

1999 thriller. On board the International Space Station, a microbiological experiment has gone wrong. Dr Emma Watson tries to keep the rest of the crew, and herself, alive in an increasingly challenging environment. (Nothing to do with the 2013 film of the same name.)

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Nine Coaches Waiting, Mary Stewart 02 October 2015

1958; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Linda Martin gets a job as governess to the young Comte de Valmy, at his château in the French Alps. But why did her employer seem so keen that she not be able to speak any French?

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Flesh Wounds, Chris Brookmyre 27 August 2015

2013 thriller, third in Brookmyre's Glasgow crime series. Jasmine Sharp's protector, the vanished and reappeared gang enforcer Glen Fallan, is arrested for the murder of his old enemy Stevie Fullerton; DS Catherine McLeod is happy to see Fallan put away, but wants to do this by the book, and there are disturbing inconsistencies.

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The Cutout, Francine Mathews 17 June 2015

2001 espionage thriller. Caroline Carmichael, CIA intelligence analyst, thought she'd lost her husband in a plane bombing. Until he showed up in a photo of the people who had just kidnapped the Vice-President of the USA during a terrorist attack in Berlin.

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Thunder on the Right, Mary Stewart 18 May 2015

1957; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. Jennifer Silver goes to the Pyrenées to visit her widowed cousin, who's staying in a convent and thinking about taking orders. But when she arrives, she finds her cousin has suddenly died and been buried. Or has she?

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Fox Five, Zoe Sharp 12 May 2015

2011 thriller: five short stories about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and current private bodyguard.

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Wildfire at Midnight, Mary Stewart 14 February 2015

1956; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense. In 1953, the fashion model Gianetta Drury has over-worked herself, and leaves London just before the Coronation to spend some time in a remote hotel on Skye. But it's not the peaceful retreat she'd hoped for.

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Personal, Lee Child 31 January 2015

2014; 19th book of Jack Reacher. Some bad man has had a long range shot at the chief man of France, but few men are good enough to have a go, and Jack put one of them in clink some years back. So some spies bring him on board to help catch the bad man, and be bait.

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Fifth Victim, Zoe Sharp 24 January 2015

Ninth thriller in the series about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and current private bodyguard. Children of the super-rich are being kidnapped in the Hamptons, and Charlie is hired by the mother of one of the potential victims. But it's all more complex than it looks.

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Terminator Genisys Trailer 11 December 2014 - 7 comments

Some people may review the new Star Wars trailer. I find this one more interesting.

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Whistleblower, Tess Gerritsen 01 December 2014

1992; romantic suspense. Catherine Weaver is a makeup artist for low-budget films who's driving to visit her pregnant friend on a rainy night, when she hits Victor Holland who's just stumbled onto the road having been shot. Then things start moving.

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Meet the Tiger, Leslie Charteris 20 November 2014

In a small village by the Devon coast, a very strange fellow has moved into the old pill-box on the cliff. Excitement ensues.

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USS Seawolf, Patrick Robinson 16 November 2014 - 2 comments

In an attempt to get details of the latest Chinese missile submarine, an American attack boat is sent in to shadow her. Spoilers.

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Fourth Day, Zoe Sharp 27 October 2014

Eighth thriller in the series about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and current private bodyguard. A man's son joined a cult, and later got killed; he went in to find out what had been so tempting, and decided to stay. Now Charlie's on the team that's getting him out. But it's all rather more complicated than it looks…

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Madam, Will You Talk?, Mary Stewart 23 October 2014

1954; mystery/thriller or romantic suspense; first published novel by Mary Stewart. Charity Selborne is on holiday in Provence, and meets young David Shelley and his stepmother Loraine Bristol. Somewhere in the background is David's father, recently acquitted of the grisly murder of his best friend, and believed by many to be mad…

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Third Strike, Zoe Sharp 15 October 2014

Seventh thriller in the series about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and current private bodyguard. Charlie's estranged father turns up unexpectedly in the USA, and seems to be bent on professional self-destruction under the eyes of the media. Why?

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Choosers of the Slain, James H. Cobb 06 October 2014 - 4 comments

Naval technothriller. Argentine troops invade key locations in Antarctica, and the only force in a position to do anything about it is a new US Navy destroyer.

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The Most Dangerous Game 04 October 2014

1932, dir. Ernest B. Schoedsack, Joel McCrea, Fay Wray: IMDb / allmovie. Also known as The Hounds of Zaroff for its British release.

A famous hunter is shipwrecked, then makes it to the shore of a supposedly deserted island. But his host has plans for him.

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The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell 03 October 2014

Short story. An expert hunter, washed overboard from his ship, makes it to an island where his host explains how he makes hunting a real challenge: his prey is human beings.

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The Three Hostages, John Buchan 27 September 2014

Fourth of Buchan's books about Richard Hannay; 1920s thud-and-blunder.

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Second Shot, Zoe Sharp 18 September 2014

Sixth thriller in the series about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and currently private bodyguard. Charlie guards a woman whose ex-boyfriend is causing trouble after a lottery win, but it soon becomes more complicated than that.

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HMS Unseen, Patrick Robinson 02 September 2014 - 2 comments

Airliners over the Atlantic are being shot down by submarine-launched missiles. How can this be stopped? Spoilers.

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Kilo Class, Patrick Robinson 17 August 2014

In the mid 2000s, China tries to buy seven Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia. The Americans aim to prevent this. Meanwhile, something odd is going on at Kerguelen Island.

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Nimitz Class, Patrick Robinson 04 August 2014 - 1 comment

In a now-alternate 2002, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier suddenly disappears at sea, apparently in a nuclear accident. What happened?

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The House of the Four Winds, John Buchan 01 August 2014

Third of the "Dickson McCunn" novels: superior thud and blunder. The affairs of Evallonia, the mitteleuropan country that provided motivations in Castle Gay, are now in the foreground, as forces gather round the potential restoration of its monarchy.

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Waterborne 25 July 2014

2005, dir. Ben Rekhi, Christopher Masterson, Ajay Naidu: IMDb / allmovie

After a presumed terrorist attack pollutes the water supply of Los Angeles, three groups of people do their best to keep going as society collapses.

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The Lego Movie 18 June 2014 - 1 comment

2014, dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks: IMDb / allmovie

In a world where… one man must… and it's all made of Lego.

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Trinity's Child, William Prochnau 15 June 2014 - 2 comments

The USSR launches a limited nuclear strike against the USA. Things get worse.

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RED 2 14 June 2014 - 2 comments

2013, dir. Dean Parisot, Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker: IMDb / allmovie

Frank Moses, former CIA special operator, is still retired, and trying to be domestic; but once again the past just won't leave him alone.

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The Hostile Shore, Douglas Reeman 08 June 2014

Twenty years after the Second World War, a crippled veteran travels to the Pacific to try to find out what happened to his family during the evacuation of Singapore.

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Haywire 07 June 2014

2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh, Gina Carano, Michael Angarano: IMDb / allmovie

An agent betrayed and framed by her boss sets about taking him down.

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Dive in the Sun, Douglas Reeman 16 May 2014

Late in the Second World War, the crew of a midget submarine gets into trouble off the Italian coast.

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Castle Gay, John Buchan 19 April 2014

Second of the Dickson McCunn novels, though he has only a minor part in most of it. Two of the former Gorbals Die-Hards, Dougie and (no longer Wee) Jaikie, go off on a walking holiday, and get involved with a kidnapped press baron and two separate lots of Sinister Foreigners.

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Exit Plan, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson 14 April 2014 - 2 comments

Jerry Mitchell, aboard an Ohio SSGN, goes on a mission to extract two Iranians with knowledge of the nuclear weapons programme from that country. Mild spoilers will follow.

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High Water, Douglas Reeman 02 April 2014 - 2 comments

In the 1950s, retired MTB commander Philip Vivian gets into trouble while struggling to run a small yacht charter business.

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Cold Choices, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson 30 March 2014

Some time after the events of Dangerous Ground, Jerry Mitchell heads north again in USS Seawolf. Mild spoilers will follow.

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Twister 29 March 2014

1996, dir. Jan de Bont, Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton: IMDb / allmovie

A team of atmospheric scientists chases tornadoes. Action ensues.

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Dangerous Ground, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson 24 March 2014

A Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Memphis, goes on an intelligence-gathering mission off Novaya Zemlya.

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SSN, Tom Clancy 21 March 2014 - 4 comments

In 1997, an Improved Los Angeles-class attack submarine, USS Cheyenne, joins the war against China.

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The Last Ship, William Brinkley 18 March 2014 - 3 comments

After the total nuclear war, the captain of a missile destroyer leads his crew through the irradiated world and towards a new life.

I am going to talk about plot details, so if you care about not knowing that sort of thing you probably shouldn't read this review.

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John Macnab, John Buchan 03 March 2014

Three men find themselves successful, but un-challenged, and bored with their lives. They decide to take on a challenge: they will poach from well-defended estates in Scotland, and warn the owners that they're coming, by sending letters over the name "John Macnab".

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