Tag Archives: paced thriller

The Emerald Cancer – David Hulme

READ                          28 – 29 January 2012

MY RATING              3 / 5

FORMAT                    Kindle

I reviewed this book for and on behalf of the Kindle Book Review.

So, I find myself unusually torn when writing this review.

On the one hand, for a debut novel, the writing of The Emerald Cancer is excellent. It’s a well paced thriller and is just that – a thriller. All too often I find myself reading a thriller only to find it’s more of a detective / crime novel. The writing is unusually skilled and accomplised for a first time novel and shows a lot of promise for excellent future work from Hulme.


The other reviews for this book (on amazon.co.uk) are generally good, with one reviewer (A. Smith) passing comment on the frustrating editing errors in the book (which I concur with) so why have I given The Emerald Cancer three stars?

Well, the book starts of excellently, it’s strong, pacey and you get a real sense that this is going to be a cracking read. But, all too quickly it falls into a raunchy storyline (Patrick’s noticing his stepfather’s reaction to beating his wife and the follow on story). It’s unnecessary and the effect it’s trying to create could easily be created in other ways, in my opinion.


The way that Hulme introduces us to a particular part of a character’s life and then in the following chapters explores the lead up to this incident. This is a really great plot and story telling device. It enables the reader to get underneath the skin of the characters and understand their reactions. But, yet again all too quickly the story delved into unnenessary territory; for example the death of Bridie and the subsequent incestuous relationship between Sinead and her father wasn’t, in my option necessary. Again, the relationship could have been created in a different and far less gratuitous manner than it was.


Now, I realise that I may be coming across as something of a prude, but I’m really not. Where sex scenes and the such are needed or used well, then fine. But I felt that in The Emerald Cancer some of these scenes were just a little bit too gratuitous and used unnecessarily, and for that reason I have given it three stars. It was so graphic in places that I actually skipped the chapter [WARNING PLOT SPOLIER]. The main scene that I skipped being the scenes with Leila and the story of her enslavery and the subsequent murder of her captor, it was unnecessarily graphic. The most disgusting of scenes was the bestiality story with the donkey. I really don’t see what this adds. The story of Leila’s enslavery alone was enough to give her reason for the grisly murder.

I recognise that I am possibly in a minority on this one, but it really did feel like erotic scenes used for the sake of it, serving no real or clear purpose.

That said, if you can live with this sort of thing and want a solid fast paced thriller set against the backdrop of the IRA conflict then this is for you. The story is solid with all loose ends concluded nicely, and leaving the story open for Sinead and Patrick to continue their stories in the future. Just that, for me, some of the scenes were just a little bit too gratuitous on this occasion.


Hulme has an exciting future ahead of him, and I hope to see future (less gratuitous!) books.


To buy The Emerald Cancer see here for the US and here for the UK.


Why not follow David on Twitter – @davidhulme772

1 Comment

Filed under 3 Star, Kindle, Kindle Book review

Emotion (a Sam Brooker thriller) – Rhys Chamberlain

READ     18 – 19 January 2012

MY RATING     3 / 5

FORMAT     Kindle

Reviewed for the Kindle Book Review Team

I was quite excited to start this book; the synopsis made it sound like it would be right up my street; and I wasn’t disappointed.

In Herne Bay a teenage girl is reported missing, her parents slain while sleeping in their beds.

On K’Road, Auckland City’s seedy red light district, an egotistical madman is grooming his latest victim.

At Epsom Girls Grammar School a mixed up teenage girl has not arrived in teacher Jack Henson’s year 12 English class.

At Auckland Central Police headquarters, an alcoholic police Detective is assigned the case.

With the help of an unlikely hero, Detective Sam Brooker must put aside his demons and follow an uncommon and sinister path of bloodshed, and betrayal to find the teen, find the killer and ultimately solve the case.

This is the first novel in this series by New Zealand writer, Rhys Chamberlain, and it has the beginnings of a good lead character. The pace is fast and furious and at times made me wince and feel uncomfortable when The Inn Keeper was talking to Grace – it was exactly what I want and expect from a well described and delivered bad guy.  The story twists and turns with unexpected bad guys and also managed to throw me off the scent with the informer to ‘The Boss’ – I got it wrong.

So, why did I rate this as 3 stars?

Well… a couple of things, I was disappointed that the story doesn’t conclude; seemingly leaving the option open to continue Grace’s kidnap into a second book, but I wonder just how much story is left to develop? I’d be concerned about the Grace kidnap sustaining a full second book.  I’m also not convinced that Sam Brooker is a strong enough character, at the moment, to sustain a full series of books. I’m thinking in terms of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole. Brooker did become stronger at the end, and maybe the final few chapters will act as a catalyst from which Chamberlain can build his character. I’m not sure. As I noted above, the beginnings of a good character are there, and I think Chamberlain needs to explore and develop this further in his next book.

The final, and perhaps most infuriating, reason for giving this a three star rating was the lack of editing and proof-reading I felt this book had undergone. The beginning sections were littered with typing and grammatical errors, for example using the wrong their/there/they’re, referring to a suit as pin-stipped rather than pin-striped, capture used instead of captor, pain of glass rather than pane of glass, cue rather that queue, new rather than knew and the wrong to/too. This slowed down my reading and forced me into reading lines two or three times to check my understanding, and therefore impacting on the flow of the book.

There were also some inconsistencies, for example at around 5% through the book the Inn Keeper tells us he usually watches his victims for three weeks, but this one was quick, just a week. But then a page later he refers to the things he noticed over the three week surveillance. I can’t emphasise enough to budding authors how important I feel good proof-reading is. Had this book been better edited, I’d have been leaning more toward the four star ratings.

That said, this has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic crime/thriller series, and if Chamberlain can get a good proof-reader, he’s on to a winner.  This book is, at the time of writing, 77p on the Amazon UK site, and is well worth the download and I look forward to reading future episodes in the Sam Brooker series and seeing just how this good guy develops.

To read more about the author and Sam Brooker, please see here or follow Rhys on Twitter @nzsportslife.

To purchase this book please visit here for UK or here for US

1 Comment

Filed under 3 Star, Book Review, Kindle, Kindle Book review

A Detailed Man – David Swinson

READ              15 – 16 January 2012

MY RATING      4 / 5

FORMAT     Kindle

This review is for and on behalf of the Kindle Book Review (KBR).

So, this was the first book I was asked to review as part of the KBR and I wasn’t disappointed!

The story is told from the point of view of Ezra Simeon, a seasoned Washington DC investigator. Simeon is sent to the Violent Crimes Unit (homicide) and it is here he picks up the case of an escort girls murder. Essentially the story follows Simeon as he makes links between this and ‘cold’ cases he has seen. The book cleverly explores the relationships between officers and civilians and we see the inner workings of an investigators mind as Simeon works to get to the bottom of the murder.

For a first novel I was really impressed with the writing style; it’s easy to read and is more akin to that of a seasoned writer. As a Brit reading this book, I enjoyed getting a taste of America and life as a US cop. It’s clear that Swinson has a background in this work and his attention to detail and clear explanations is testament to this.

The book isn’t a fast paced thriller, and things don’t happen just for the sake of it. It’s almost set at a day by day pace which works. I felt tired for Simeon as he describes his shift patterns and sleep patterns (or lack of it).

Despite being about a murder (and gruesome treatment of the body), there isn’t the usual gratuitous gore that you might expect. Injuries and case notes are presented in a clinical manner; much as I expect you’d find in a real life crime situation. What you do find is a really considered, well written and well paced book, with all lose ends tied up.

All in all, I found this to be a dark but detailed look at life as a Washington DC Detective and I hope we see more of Ezra Simeon; I feel there is much that could be uncovered with this character, including relationships with colleagues set before this book, and of course how his relationship with Clem develops, if it does.

This book can be downloaded from the US Amazon store here or the UK Amazon store here.

More information about David Swinson can be found on his website, or follow him on twitter @Casejackets

1 Comment

Filed under 4 Star, Kindle, Kindle Book review