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review 2020-05-30 18:47
The Terror & White Face
The Terror - Edgar Wallace,Martin Edwards

Ah, this was such a nice surprise...there are two stories in this book The Terror and White Face

I seriously should maybe think about reading book descriptions rather than just be seduced by the pretty covers of books.


Anyway, The Terror was your typical Edgar Wallace thriller focused on madness, crime, and darkest London. To me Wallace didn't write noir as much as a special kind of Gothic crime, including damsels in distress, castles, secret passages, ... oh, and a mad monk.


Yes, the plot is silly, the characters are two-dimensional, and many of the other aspect are utterly ridiculous, but this is just the sort of crime caper one sometimes needs. So, what if it made me laugh out loud that one of the characters suffers from insanity for only exactly 2 hours every day? (Or was it 2 hours of sanity? Does it matter?)


I really liked this one. It reminded me a lot of the German screen adaptations of Wallace's work - they are hilariously, charmingly.....dated but they are great guilty pleasures.


White Face took a different approach to the "typical" Wallace story. Yes, this story is also based on organised crime at it's heart, but this one here seemed to be a lot close some of the stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. There is a great twist, but there are also elements that seems to portray some of the crimes as the characters only choice, so almost ask for sympathy from the reader. 


It was an interesting change from other works by Wallace that I am familiar with and I love that the story was included in this book (edited by Martin Edwards) but the story was also quite long and drawn out, which didn't work well for me.


(Scene from the German screen adaptation of The Terror. Unfortunately, there are not many similarities between the film and the book.)

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text 2020-05-29 21:34
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 304 pages.
The Terror - Edgar Wallace,Martin Edwards

Such is the plight of the mood reader that I've been wondering for the last hour or so which book to pick for tonight. 


I really want to start Timm's Halbschatten but I need something light and easy to switch off from work. I really also want to start A Scream in Soho, but I don't think I want to read that one as a "quick fix". 

So, I found The Terror in the vaults of my audible library, which should be an adequately entertaining story.


Oh, and incidentally, this like the disappointing Murder by Matchlight is also set in black-out London. Maybe the book gods wanted to make up for something?

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review 2020-04-26 17:01
The Devils Detective
The Devil's Detective: A Novel - Simon Kurt Unsworth

by Simon Kurt Unsworth


"Welcome to Hell, sir."


A story set in Hell, where a delegation of Angels have come to help investigate a blue flash, which usually indicates a 'fallen'. Hell is populated by humans and demons, both of whom can be killed, though that doesn't mean they can't be questioned... as long as they still have their soul.


Fool, an 'information man' and his friend and colleague Gordie set out to investigate the cause death of a man and the real cause of the blue flash. Not all deaths are investigated, and in fact violence and death are all too common.


The narrative paints an intriguing landscape of Hell, it's rules and the men, demons and other creatures who populate the place. The sex and violence are not what I would consider overdone, but there is occasional grossness or shock value in context of the story. This is Hell after all, it's not a pleasant place.


The one thing I didn't like about it was that there are no chapters. Once you're sucked into in Hell, you're there to stay!


There is a brilliant quote that says a lot about morality in Hell, and reminds me of gossip networks here on Earth:


"Whether it's true or not doesn't matter, of course, because those humans saw what they have waited for a long time to see, a human challenge a demon and win. Who cares about the truth when they have a story like that, Fool, eh? And stories, like me, they grow, don't they? You, above all, should know that."


Something to think about next time to hear something about somebody, but haven't witnessed it first hand!


The world building in this is as detailed as any good Fantasy novel. The oppressive feeling of Hell comes across well and the social parameters are well defined. I found the main characters likeable and the ending satisfying. It's nice to read something that doesn't blatantly set up for a sequel, although there is room for further adventures.


A good strong 4.5 stars.

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video 2020-03-11 10:27


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text 2020-03-02 01:31
Non-book post: Disco Elysium (game) and different kinds of detectives

I started playing Disco Elysium yesterday. It's a bit like a cross between an RPG, an adventure game, and a visual novel - you have stats, but they're used for interacting with NPCs and problem-solving rather than fighting, and there's a good bit of reading involved (but good voiced dialogue too). According to reviews I've read, the basic setup is the same each time you play, but your detective character's personality can vary drastically based on how you assign his stats (and what thoughts you allow him to internalize, and possibly a few other things).


The character you play is a complete and utter mess of a human being. After three days of drinking, you wake up in a trashed hotel room in only your underwear, with no memory of who you are, why you're there, or what you're supposed to do next. Your first task is to get dressed. Depending on the stats you start off with, it's actually possible to die at this stage of the game. If you can manage to get dressed and leave the hotel room, you'll eventually find your partner and learn that you're supposed to be investigating a murder. You were supposed to remove the body from the crime scene when you first got there several days ago...but then the drinking happened. So your next task is to examine the body and remove it from the tree where it's been hanging.


I have yet to accomplish the body removal task. I've been attempting to play as a Sherlockian sort of detective, very intelligent and perceptive, terrible with people. I've had a grand total of two fairly cool Sherlock moments, but none of those involved body examination or removal, and my very hungover detective has thrown up on the crime scene twice now.


I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing yet (I only just figured out how to internalize thoughts, and I haven't yet had a chance to see what those do to my detective), but it's been an interesting experience so far. I hope the replay value is good. I have a feeling I'm going to fail my first attempt pretty quickly - my detective is due to be kicked out by the hotel manager soon, doesn't remember where he lives, and doesn't have another place to stay lined up.

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