As promised or threatened (take your pick), I have reviewed two items in more depth and will post those soon, possibly tomorrow. I chose three star ones. Four and five star films and books don’t need lengthy critiques, just recommendations, and one and two star things don’t deserve the time I would have to spend.
Films and TV
The Fifth Element***** watched and loved for the umpteenth time.
Ian Hislop’s Fake News: A True Story***** Excellent and timely history of fake news.
A Confession**** Gripping drama series based on a true story of a serial killer and a detective who broke the rules to get evidence. I also watched and enjoyed the one hour programme which followed the series and had interviews with the actual detectives and lawyers involved.
The Post**** Interesting and well-acted film that is effectively a prequel to Deep Throat, since it deals with the newspaper’s fight for freedom of the press which led in turn to Watergate.
La La Land*** Reviewed in more depth in my next post.
Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews***** A well written about an American who meets an Australian when he is jilted and takes what should have been his honeymoon by himself. Nice slow build up of romance between Ethan and Clay.
Ends of the Earth by Keira Andrews*****Exciting romance between Ben and Jason, with a thriller element when Jason’s daughter is abducted.
The Power of Zero and Two Divided by Zero by Jackie Keswick***** Rio, a computer expert for the secret services, rescues Jack, an abandoned teenager with serious problems. In the second book Jack has grown up, entered and then left the army, and seems likely to join Rio in their attempt to protect and serve the people. Beautifully written with well developed characters.
The Wolf and the Pear by Alex Jane***** Gorgeous twisted fairy tale with echoes of all the wolf stories out there. Lev and his wolf have a happy ending, and so does the village once the wicked witch is defeated. I must look out for this author.
Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow**** Entertaining story of Russell and Luke in the Southampton Stories series. Their friends try to steer them together but it all almost ends in failure.
Hard Tail by JL Merrow**** Second in the Southampton Stories series. Set in a bike shop which Tim is looking after for his brother. Matt is the assistant. Again, amusing and heart-warming.
Witch is When it All Began by Adele Abbott**** First of the Witch P.I mysteries. Well written and amusing. The focus is more on witches than detective work and I may well buy the sequel.
The King’s Honour by JL Merrow*** Nice twisted fairy tale based on the dancing princesses but much too short for more than three stars, for me.
Snowflakes over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman*** Boring het romance between a journalist and her landlord.
The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday*** Reviewed in more depth in my next post.
A Village Affair by Julie Houston*** Boring romance between a teacher and a businessman (het). It was meant to be amusing but I merely smiled and then only at some of the school events…
Broadland by David Blake*** Boring then melodramatic police procedural.
Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by Allan Ropper*** Stories about strange neurological disorders and diagnoses. I hoped it would be as good as Oliver Sachs book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, but it wasn’t as well done. Poor structure and too little detail about some cases.
I’ve been reading through the contributions to this years Professionals Big Bang (based on the 70s TV show). Most of the entries require too much knowledge of canon to appreciate but I must recommend Buen Camino, Bodie by Sharon Ray. https://archiveofourown.org/works/20842268
After a life spent together, when Ray dies, Bodie sets out on a pilgrimage – the route to Santiago de Compostela that Ray had wanted to take. The journey through Spain is beautifully evoked and Bodie gradually discovers things about himself, his erstwhile partner and the world in general. A lovely and moving story. I know northern Spain well and was transported there by the descriptions. There is no romance in the story other than reference to the past life, but the whole thing simply throbs with love, not merely between two people but for everyone. It is, I gather, a kind of companion piece to the same author’s My Time. https://archiveofourown.org/works/8878033
This is an account of Ray’s sojourn in prison for an offence he did not commit. There is a similar attention to detail and an ability to get to the heart of a character. Also highly recommended.
The Lewis Frightfest started on 31st October but in fact I read one of the stories earlier since I did the beta and proofreading for it: Prey, by Fictionwriter https://archiveofourown.org/works/21246140 The author evokes a suitably creepy Victorian atmosphere in an Oxford lit by lamplight and the monster is genuinely scary without ever doing any lasting harm. Another member of the same fandom posted a story I read on Halloween evening: Angel in the Meadow by asparagusmama https://archiveofourown.org/works/21260744 The author hadn’t, last time I looked, added it to the Frightfest collection and I’m not sure why. It’s now after Halloween but if you want some short spooky reads for November evenings, try these two!
I’ve also been following the annual October Monster Fest in one of the social media communities I belong to and that got me plenty of ficlets to read plus some recs for longer pieces.