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Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck



Erik Larson truly is a master storyteller, I was completely captivated by Devil in the White City which I listened to on audiobook and if I had any complaint with it, it would be that Devil couldn’t last the entire 20 hour drive to Maine. With that in mind I finally picked up another one of his other books Thunderstruck.

Thunderstruck is an amazing book that intertwines what seems like two very distinct stories that tie together so perfectly with each one greatly enriching the other. I rarely encounter a nonfiction that truly sucks me and replaces the rest of the world. I only had to put the book down once to walk my dogs, other than that today has just been me and Thunderstruck.

One focus is Dr. Crippen and his wife. They bring us into the sultry world of phony medicine, real poisons and amateur dramatics. Over the years I have heard quite a few references to the Crippen case and never knew the particulars, I don’t want to spoil anything if you don’t know the case yourself. I will say that it involves the birth of forensic sciences and a veteran investigator from the Ripper investigations.

Larson also follows Guglielmo Marconi and his quest to bring about wireless communication. Marconi is a man with next to no formal education but does have strong ties to the Jameson whiskey empire, which is apparently all you need to outfox the leading scientists of the Victorian age.

Ultimately I’ve concluded that I can’t wait to get my hands on Larson’s newest book In the Garden of Beasts. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long, I know there is a copy under the tree for my fiance and she is a quicker reader than I.
I also need to learn how to walk two dogs while continuing to read.

Thunderstruck
by Erik Larson
ISBN-9781400080670
www.eriklarsonbooks.com

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Non-Fiction

 

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The sordid lives of Holmes Devotees: A book review



Sherlock Holmes is certainly making a strong revival these days, Stephen Moffat brought us a fun modernized series on the BBC, Guy Ritchie has been directing the new films and the Conan Doyle estate has just authorized a new mystery. One of my favorites though is The Sherlockian by Graham Moore.

This was the novel that pulled me into the world of Holmes, something that I will forever be in its debt for. When I first read Sherlock in fifth grade I thought the books were fun and the best required reading I had done in a long while, but once the reading assignments stopped so did my interest. That was until the advanced reading copy of The Sherlockian turned up at my little bookshop while I was working there. After I read it, I was pulled in, I read the classic tales and watched as many of the films as I could, and once The Sherlockian was published it became my go-to-gift for ever bibliophile that I knew.

The most intriguing thing about this novel is how it flows through time. We see a failed attempt to assassinate Arthur Conan Doyle which leads the famed author into his own investigation trying to uncover that conspiracy. The other perspective we see is set in the modern-day involving a murder at a convention of Holmes fanatics, and a highly elusive journal of Arthur Conan Doyle. The two tales are woven together splendidly.

One amazing thing I learned was that Arthur Conan Doyle actually become a sort of amateur detective following the fame of his stories.

I will admit that The Sherlockian isn’t high literature, but it is an incredibly fun read and any Holmes or mystery fan should definitely add it to their bookcase.

The Sherlockian
by Graham Moore
ISBN- 978-0446572590
http://www.thesherlockian.com/

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fiction

 

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Conspiracy and Churchill: a Review


I have a lot to thank the BBC for it has led me to a lot of fine television. A few months ago it introduced me to my new favorite show The House Of Cards, a political satire/thriller featuring the most cutthroat of politicians the fictional Francis Urquhart. The show was a based off of a set of novels by Michael Dobbs. Michael was at one point an adviser for Margret Thatcher and after a particularly harsh day he sat down to write and blow off steam which all centered around a message from his main character’s initials F.U. Unfortunately I have not been able to get my hands on The House of Cards novels. I did research the author further and found another book of his Winston’s War.

This book is filled to the brim with conspiracy, treachery, cigars and brandy. You are really brought into the trials of Churchill as he stormed his way through the system and was thrown into political exile for his steadfast belief that Britain had to go to war with Hitler. By no means is this a light read, it is as thick as the man himself and equally as fascinating. If you enjoy politics, conspiracy, the witticisms of Churchill or studying history, you need to read this book.

Michael Dobbs also starts this book with a very lovely disclaimer.
“This is unashamedly a novel, not a work of history. Yet if it inspires its readers to dig more deeply into the events and personalities of that extraordinary time, and to decide for themselves not only what happened but why things happened, then both the truth and Mr. Churchill will have been well served.”

After finishing this book I then went on to read a few WWII nonfiction books, which by Mr. Dobbs standards means the book serves the truth and Mr. Churchill very well indeed.

Winston’s War: A Novel of Conspiracy
by Michael Dobbs
published by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN- 978-1402217746
http://michaeldobbs.com/uk/

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Fiction

 

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Echelon’s review Contest


While searching for interesting blogs out there I came across a very neat little Contest. There is an independent publisher Echelon Press that is trying to raise some reviews for a few of their books. In order to enter you need to contact them and you will receive a free download of one of their e-books for review. If they get 50 new reviews by Christmas Eve they will select one winner to receive a free Kindle Touch.
For more information you can check out their blog at:
http://karensyed.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/wtf-begging-for-book-reviews/
or email them at: echelonpress@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in miscellany

 

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