Wolf Pack by Will Dean. Another Moodyson story.

Book Review

Title. Wolf Pack

Author. Will Dean

Publisher. Point Blank

Tuva Moodyson is a one off and Will Dean has created a character that excites the imagination. I just love her.

Wolf Pack is the fifth in the Tuva Moodyson series set in rural Sweden where there are strange characters in abundance. If you want different then this book follows on from the others and you should read them all. The genre could be ‘crime’ but these stories have their own slant.

Tuva is a journalist working for the Gavrik Posten in the imaginary town of Gavrik. Her area takes in the hill town of Visberg and between the two places anything can happen.She is determined and nothing is unfathomable to her. She has taken risks and does so here. You may not be comfortable with this one!

It is about people who live independently and who are confident in their ability to survive. They are ‘preppers’ and farmers who have created substantial defences to keep out the unwanted. Will Dean indicates their resourcefulness, talent, intelligence and thoroughness in keeping the outside world out. That is until a twenty year old women goes missing.

It is not only about her but the characters and events that precede the disappearance. Mr Dean is great on giving us characters that are full and overly rounded!

Then someone is killed and it all changes.

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WRITING READING MORE WRITING AND READING AND BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS

It’s all about a desire or a need to read and to write too. I do not understand or even want to contemplate what people can do with their thinking time when they don’t read other than creating tangible items. For me the intangible creates more of an interest although I love the feel of polished wood.

Recently I have read The Ink Black Heart and although over one thousand pages long I did not want it to end. Solely, because I had not idea what could replace this immense read. That’s rubbish, of course, because there are many excellent storytellers and stories as close as the tips of my fingers. Vaseem Khan with his Malabar House stories filled the void. All reviewed and commented upon.

I may be considered weird while I read the above named books but I have had Black and British by David Olusoga on the go for a little while. I dip in and out of it and it is full of facts. Absolutely absorbing and a history that should be known and not forgotten. I love history and with his book little and often suits me well. It’s a thick paperback that has to be held open and the print could be larger.

Lucy Worsley’s Agatha Christie has absorbed me too. An historian writing about the ‘Queen of Crime’ makes an excellent read. It is another book high on content and detail. I am halfway through it and like ‘Black and British’ I will put it down for a while I examine the small pile of books that Michelle brought back from England. (We know how to avoid postal charges!). There is some serious stuff there with ‘The Folklore of Herefordshire’ by Helen Mary Leather and Alfred Watkin’s Herefordshire – in his own words. This is for research before I next visit my native county where we will explore and I hope to come up with something poetical.

If there was not enough fiction in our folklore then there will be fiction aplenty with these four books. Michael Connelly had to be included because Michelle is a fan and she has read them all. It’s a hardback copy with a signature to go with the others. For me, I have not read one although I have met him at Harrogate. It is simple, I have the screen image of Harry Bosch, (and other characters too) from the series that have been produced and that is all I need. They have created some great drama.

We are both a fan of The Skelfs by Doug Johnstone and now the fourth, ‘Black Hearts’ is here to be read. Ian Rankin has published ‘A Heart Full of Headstones’ and the enticing cover has to be removed to see the image on the hard cover. It’s impressive and melds into the title! I will be reading it but only after the next Tuva Moodyson, ‘Wolf Pack’, by Will Dean. As the cover says ‘if you haven’t met Tuva Moodyson yet, you really should’ proclaims The Times. It is the fifth in the series and although Mr Dean goes ‘off piste a lot’ they are all great reads. I can assure you there will be extraordinary characters in those Swedish swampy forests.

Poetically I have not been as prolific as I would want to be but I have produced three in the past few weeks. Autumnal was inspired by Autumn Voices and my love of the environment. Tree Lined by a news item and the illegal war in the Ukraine. I am on the reserve list for Contextual 13 and may have the opportunity to read one or even both. I will rehearse just in case!

Now that I have put my thoughts into an order I must studiously go through a wildlife collection of poetry I have been compiling. That is essential now. Also something for San Miguel Writers & The Rump of Stanza Mar Menor at the end of the month and what about a story?

WILL YOU BE FOLLOWING THE WORLD CUP IN QATAR?

The Football World Cup is due to commence this coming week. So much has been said and both decisions made by international sporting bodies has been criticized. Moscow, Russia for The Olympics and Qatar for football. This tournament disrupts the usual seasons arrangements as there is now a one month break before our Premiership begins again. I could say that playing in November is because the temperatures are too high in summer in Qatar. Or is it because of money? Add into that power and influence. How could it be a correct decision?

I will follow the tournament and comment.

THIS IS FROM AVAAZ

More than 6,500 modern day slaves are reported to have died since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Hundreds of thousands more still toil for as little as a dollar an hour. FIFA stands to make billions of dollars, but refuses to compensate workers or their families fairly. Advocates and athletes around the world are already pressuring FIFA and our voice could make a difference. So sign now to demand that FIFA pay these workers and their families what they are owed!

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM NOT ONLY ON ARMISTICE DAY

I wrote this years ago. I was able to blend in memories, news items and my childhood visions of Herefordshire’s country lanes. My first visit on Armistice Day was in 1963 and I view it each year. With the continuing atrocities in Ukraine we are reminded again of loss, of waste in war. I have written four poems on the conflict initiated by Putin. There are many killers out there!

Eleven

Eyes take it in and

feed the mind

greens, in lines, and hues

of them with depth

and shadow

Eyes at work

on the hedgerows

flailed, smashed hedgerows

give cover for grasses

and hemlock, tall and

showing deathly white

there among those waving heads

delicate petals, plainly red

looking past, the sides merge

with the road as it bends

blending green with green —

much as thoughts do

No sound is heard

eyes see no detail

just the canvas of it all

The smudge of muddy soil and

water mixed like dough

robbed, stark trees blunt

reminders in a no-man’s land

consuming mud, hide sinew

fragments of bone, broken belt

with the stench of wasted lives

Now brick and concrete

hide the earth— another

place for man to hide.

Remember —we will —as flag

draped coffins slowly pass

for tomorrow —think of the earth —

stay within its touch.

Remember life skills.

See the man as he strolls by

with his dog —his lapel weeping red.

THE LOST MAN OF BOMBAY – THE THIRD IN MALABAR HOUSE SERIES

Book Review

Title The Lost Man of Bombay

Malabar House Book Three

Author Vaseem Khan

Publisher Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Characters drive a story. Persis Wadia, her book-keeper dad, Archie Blackfinch a forensic scientist and the ‘still imperial’ senior police officers create interest and conflict. There are others as well as the criminals waiting to be uncovered.

Persis, seduced and loved, or so she thought and then deserted stirred into her a pugnacious ability to prove herself against the world. Stubbornness seems to be her mantra in both work and life. In this book she is still refusing to yield herself to loving and to be loved. We will have to be patient to see what will happen.

Important facets in this series are historical knowledge of Bombay and the essence of the pasts elucidated through the people and characters. Add to that the emotions, prejudices and discrimination the story shows us. It’s all in there for the reader to navigate their own way through.

But what is it about? An Englishman is found in a cave not far from the Tibet border. His face smashed in. It’s Persis task to establish who he is and then another foreigner suffers blunt force trauma and his wife has her throat cut. Is there a clue there? Then would you believe it a priest is bludgeoned to death. Add into this the lack of appetite by the hierarchy to deny any connection between all the deaths. Then a colleague makes an arrest for the deaths of the murdered couple and extracts a confession. It all becomes very messy until Persis takes risks and eventually reaches a conclusion. She has been foolish and gone off on her own tangent but that is her isn’t it? She is saved by Archie and then by the arrogant incompetent fellow detective she loathes. It’s like a bad story with a hated colleague coming good. She really will have to re-arrange some of her assumptions about people and herself.

We may know more when the fourth book in the Malabar House Series becomes available.

The Dying Day Second Story in Malabar House Series by Vaseem Khan

Book Review

Title The Dying Day – Malabar House Book Two

Author Vaseem Khan

Publisher Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Malabar House was built for anything else except to house detectives. They have been sent there because they have been discredited either real or imagined. They have been shoved into their basement offices and allocated contentious cases in the hope that they fail.

The Dying Day is the second story in the series with number three, The Lost Man, waiting to be read. Persis Wadia is the daughter of the bookshop owner Sam and gained family displeasure by becoming India’s first female police inspector. Not a job for a woman many said, but she persisted with stubbornness, perception and gained expertise and fame with her ability to detect and to solve issues.

You cannot miss any of these books as the jackets are alluring in their bright colours and contain clues as to what her next case is about. ‘A priceless manuscript’, ‘a missing scholar’ and a ‘trail of clues’ is heralded on the jacket. It is another one set in Bombay of 1950s India. There is so much going on with the scars hardly likely to have healed after the violence during partition. A new India is being born and now the country has the first woman police inspector who graduated first in her course. Politically volatile and with a mix of races and religions including the Catholic Church there are opportunities for dissent and intrigue.

The story is simple with a white scholar researching an important manuscript, a priceless artifact we are told, that belongs to another nation. Other scholars dip their fingers into the plot as well. One man dies leaving clues to be followed by Persis. Constantly she is inflicted with distrust, because she is female, and with rudeness and hindrance too. She prevails.

The author Vaseem Khan works with crime scientists at University College London and he writes with style using some uncommon words. I liked that. It is an easy read that is enjoyable. He raises the lid on social conditions and prejudice. It always need to be said.

SOULLESS – NEVER

Barley Books (that I follow) recently showed a photograph of a stonewall and a brown hen being cuddled. Later there was death and someone could say ‘only a hen’ but not me. Another comment was ‘no one should die unmourned’. I think not a thing or animal should die unloved. Everything has a value and everything has a life and all should be cherished.

I frequently remind myself of William Carlos Williams and his so short poem The Red Wheelbarrow with the evocative opening line ‘so much depends upon’ and a reference to white chickens. It is so simple a verse that has engendered much thought. Here it is.

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens

I will explain the relevance to me of chickens. They represent tokens, images and visual thoughts, to me of – peace. They set my mind to a place of calm. I love them.

Back in the summer I wrote this short verse after reading a comment that gamebirds are soulless. Obviously I don’t agree.

useless souls

soulless to him

in his world of killing

means-to-an-end for his mindset

birds raised from one day old

to become living-moving-

feathered-carcasses with “no mind”

targets for a few and protected

by another few from natural predators

raised only just to be killed

considered to have no soul

and here for a pleasure

John Edwards (C) July 2020

J K ROWLING POSING AS ROBERT GALBRAITH!

Book Review

Title The Ink Black Heart – A Strike Novel

Author Robert Galbraith

Publisher Sphere

This is the sixth Strike Novel created by J.K. Rowling under the name of Robert Galbraith. It is an immense and absorbing read from the first page to that last one. Would you believe all of one thousand and twelve pages. Yes, its that bloody long but worth it.

It is about many things. An online game or maybe a cartoon or about being a less-abled human being and if I include all the numerous interactions between individuals all of which helps to maintain some normality in an otherwise abnormal world. I liked that and the detail it contained. Once one starts to get an idea of the “fandom” and is engrossed in the ‘Buzz Feed’ you are not in your own space. You are, or should be, in theirs. I found the opening enthralling and even though I was tempted to be put off by 22 pages of twitter feeds – which I almost was – I read on. I got easily to grips with it and soon enjoyed the conversations. So much detail and interesting ‘handles’ with on-line names.

You will not get a spoiler from me but people do die and the characters she creates are full on.

They can be right in your face. The main story revolves around Edie Ledwell the creator of it all and, what happens to her. The author describes the characters so well that I could smell them and there really is no ‘ism’ she does not include. From a male point of view it is not that kind to the gender but it is balanced out with behaviour not becoming of well educated ladies! She writes liberally with the use of expletives and it all fits in with the search for the truth and in conversations on line and in person.

What about the end. Galbraith fans will be asking what about Strike and Robin who are best mates. The question running though it all is ‘did they get at’? Just get to the end to find out.

Finally what a courageous piece of writing to include the unpleasant and mention disabilities often. It is excellent and well suited for this day.

FINALLY – A GOODBYE

On Tuesday morning’s BBC Breakfast Rob Burrow was there and everything said about his family was inspirational and loving. He can still smile and joke even with MND. That was followed by The Rickshaw Challenge promoting the need for properly dealing with bereavement for children. All great stuff where the need for conversation and honesty was stated. And now. After I recovered the poem below from an archive, I decided to blog and the above is one reason why.

The second reason is this. 18th October is a significant day and month for me. On one date I heard my paternal grandfather dying when I eight years old. Being that age I quickly recovered and played on. Later in 1986 my wife was killed when she became unseated on her horse, hit the ground hard and that was it. I was not able to say ‘a goodbye’. Years later I found these words.

Journey

I sat with a beer

the sun shining across the road

with a story being written

inside by ear

real people to me

not actors not strangers

imagined ones, yes,

and there was the answer

the story was writing to me

taking a route time laden

It’s not as though

I could have held your hand

to feel life shrink away

it wasn’t like that

we were apart

now I can say

‘goodbye’

(but it’s tough)

John Edwards (C) 30th October 2019.

THE INK BLACK HEART BY ROBERT GALBRAITH

A PRELUDE TO THE BOOK REVIEW OF THE INK BLACK HEART BY ROBERT GALBRAITH POSING AS J K ROWLING.

Wanting something to read I read Lucy Foley’s short story based on Miss Marple. Then I started to consider Ann Cleeve’s ‘The Rising Tide’ and decided for the moment it was a too sombre a read although it was set on Lindisfarne and I like it up there.

The Ink Black Heart by ‘Robert GaIbraith I know is a daytime read because its so bloody heavy with over 1000 pages but I gave it go. The Prologue made me laugh out loud and from that moment on I was hooked. Then, without prior knowledge, I was confronted with 22 pages in Chapter 5 with a Twitter feed or as they say ‘Buzz Feed’. I skimmed it and read on. I was aware of its possible importance and I could always go back to it. I am enjoying it and I just love her two main character Strike and the gorgeous Robin. There are now several others working in the agency and it’s all doing well.

I have been told it does not work that well on a platform. That’s too bad I like the real thing! If you have yet to pick this lengthy novel up then the ‘Buzz Feed’ is important and I did get the hang of it before swearing at all.

26th September

THE INK BLACK HEART

I’ve read on. I’ve think I’ve cracked the Buzz Feed and even enjoying it. Just because it’s in our modern world we should embrace it! I am enjoying this read but I ask is there anyone out there that is ‘observation savvy’ and there’s a lot of watching going on.

28th September

THE INK BLACK HEART.I am enjoying this ‘paper-chase’ on Buzz Feed. It’s a guessing game as to who is doing what. Who is ‘anomie’ and why? Away from that we have romantic issues introduced. Will they – won’t they. Read on.

5th October

THE INK BLACK HEART I’ve got used to Buzz Feed and arms are getting stronger! Ch. 45 & P.426. There are stories within and asides too. Intrigued by it all. Sexual relations seem to be a problem.

13th October

I am over halfway through this mammoth read and although I need to know who is who and who as done what I really don’t want it to end. Ch. 66 and they are in Highgate Cemetery but why there and who is not what she seems. I read on.