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Stephen Volk, ‘Whitstable’ (2013)

After the rich fare of The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, Stephen Volk’s Whitstable is a much simpler dish – but no less powerful for that. It is a much smaller, more intimate story, about an old man, a boy and his family. And whilst it does contain moments of fear and horror, they are totally believable, and … Continue reading

John Llewellyn Probert, ‘The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine’ (2012)

Books come in different types. There are books which you admire for their language. There are books that leave you breathless with the truth they tell about the human condition. And there are books like The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine which are all story – written to thrill and excite and entertain the hell out of … Continue reading

Holiday reading – ‘Whitstable’ and ‘The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine’

Madame WAYRF and I are off for a rare weekend away, sans the kids. This is to celebrate a significant birthday, as well as our 10th wedding anniversary (do take a moment to say ‘ahhhh’, if you’d like), and it’s fair to say that we can’t wait. It’ll be a great chance to relax, swim in … Continue reading

Nicolas Freeling, ‘The Back of the North Wind’ (1983)

Nicolas Freeling was perhaps best known for his series of novels featuring Dutch policeman Piet Van der Valk, which were televised in the 1970s (and revived in the 1990s) with Barry Foster in the title role. Born in Britain, Freeling spent much of his adult life working in mainland Europe; it was whilst working as … Continue reading

Iain Banks: Two Beautiful Days in June

I’m deeply saddened by the news of Iain Banks’ death, partly because his novels have been part of my life for the last 20 years – I read many of them during my late teens and early twenties, when I was leaving school and trying to piece together an adult identity for myself. It was a … Continue reading

On the heft of a book

You can love a book for all sorts of reasons. It might be the way in which the plot takes you by surprise, or pushes you along, so that (for a short time at least) the book fills your consciousness, and is the only thing that really exists. Maybe it’s the way language is used, with … Continue reading