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review 2017-08-27 12:14
A work of originality and brilliance
he - Simon Slater,Hodder & Stoughton UK,John Connolly

When I first heard that John Connolly had written a fictional account of the life of Stan Laurel, based on the latter's  correspondence, I was very intrigued to acquire and read the book. I have the greatest admiration for JC but am more familiar with his creation the anti hero and very troubled detective Charlie Parker the series now having reached book No. 15, each one written with a flair and brilliance that has seen Connolly acclaimed both in Europe and the US, and rightly so. "He" a book giving the reader a glimpse into the amazing and often troubled life of a man who achieved fame and adulation in the early days of the "talkies" ...Stan Laurel. The he in the book is of course "him", the author never uses his stage name simply because Stan Laurel did not really exist and the true essence of the man is somewhere between Arthur Jefferson, his birth name, and his stage name. In order to construct and present Stan Laurel's story Connolly has utilized the massive correspondence that Laurel wrote in his lifetime, a correspondence that although give little if any insight into the true mind and workings of this comic genius, nevertheless presented the author with a blueprint for him to construct, mould and shape the life of Laurel and his undoubted love and respect for his comic partner Oliver "babe" Hardy.

 

This is a wonderful story a warm and affectionate analysis of a man whose existence was never dull, often sad (his son Stan Robert Laurel died at only 9 days old) his liberal attitude to alcohol and his many affairs including in total 4 wives. His only daughter Lois, a product of his first marriage, was born in 1927 and who recently died in July 2017. Reading "He" was akin to a walk through the old Hollywood from the popular birth of silent movies to the often painful upheaval that became the world of the talkies. Laurel and Hardy not only accepted this change but so much of their success happened after the talkie transition including such memorable classics as Way out West, and A chump at Oxford all under the guidance of renowned American Film Producer Hal Roach. "He" is centred around the Oceana apts  in Santa Monica California where Laurel lived until his death, with his fourth wife Ida, and from this base SL reminisces on the events good and bad that shaped his life.

 

From reading the press release before the actual book launch John Connolly states that the idea behind this novel was born in 1999.( In the meantime we the reader have been enthralled by the adventures of former policeman Charlie Parker seeking some form of redemption following the murder of his wife and daughter). It is to the author's credit that "he" has been nurtured, developed, researched and planned as the final product is a work of such originality and imagination. It made me feel that I was eavesdropping into a time and place no longer with us and a world where I became privy to the conversations, the genius, the intellect, and the brilliance of the great Stan Laurel. Many thanks to the publisher Hodder and Stoughton for a gratis copy in return for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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text 2017-08-01 22:30
July 2017 Round Up!
Bone White - Ronald Malfi
A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly
The Necromancer's House - Christopher Buehlman
Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton,Kevin Lucia,John Little,Brian James Freeman,Robert R. McCammon
Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni,Gary Gianni
The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford
For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska,Steve Upham,Charles Black,Reggie Oliver,Reggie Oliver
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough
Zomcats! - Amanda Horan,Graeme Parker,Jack Strange
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

In July I read 19 books!

 

Graphic Novels:

 

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, House of Cards

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, The Prisoner

American Vampire, Volume 6

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

Total: 4

 

Audio Books:

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough 

Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

The Necromancer's House by Christopher Buehlman

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi

Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman 

 

Total: 6

 

ARCS:

 

Dark Screams: Volume Seven edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar

Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 by various authors

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax

Bone White by Ronald Malfi

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

 

Total: 7

 

Random Books 

 

Zomcats! by Jack Strange

For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska 

 

Total: 2

 

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

Running Count: 5

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

 

Running Count: 28 CHALLENGE MET! WHOOHOO! 

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review 2017-07-17 15:56
A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly
A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly

 

This time around Charlie Parker is hired to look into the disappearance of Jaycob Eklund. Jaycob is a P.I. that has mysteriously vanished while investigating the history of a group named The Brethren. Louis and Angel get involved and the Collector and his aging father do as well. What FUN!

 

FBI Agent Edgar Ross is the man who hires Charlie and I still don't trust him or his motives. He won't even tell Charlie why he's searching for Eklund. I'm not sure where Mr. Connolly is going with this relationship, but I have a bad feeling about it, for sure.

 

Louis and Angel trade insults as always, but in this book their love became a little more real to me. You'll see why if you read it. (You SHOULD read it!)

 

Also playing a part in this volume are Rachel and Sam, Charlie's ex-girlfriend and (living) daughter, respectively. Rachel, understandably, is still angry and upset after what happened to Sam in the last book and is now taking legal steps regarding Sam's custody. Trusty Moxie, Charlie's lawyer, is on the case. Unfortunately, Rachel doesn't ask Sam how she feels about all this, but Sam makes her feelings known-in a way that is uniquely her own.

 

I loved this book! I believe I am seeing the beginning of the end, off in the distance, and that makes me sad. However, I am hoping that perhaps the series will continue in some other form, I

am hoping for an entire new series featuring Sam and her insane capabilities.

(spoiler show)

But if I don't get I will still be happy, because I believe that the Charlie Parker books have become the best ongoing series out there, bar none. They are consistently interesting, well written and just plain fun-and considering how dark some of them are, that's quite a feat!

 

I love Charlie, Louis and Angel and I love YOU, John Connolly! I can't wait to see what happens next! I highly recommend A Game of Ghosts to fans of the series, and to new fans, (but I strongly suggest you read them in order.)

 

*Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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text 2017-07-12 22:30
Reading progress update: I've read 34% and...
A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly

and I'm getting a very bad feeling regarding one of my favorite characters in this series.

 

That's not gonna happen, right? John Connolly wouldn't do that, would he?

 

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text 2017-03-28 06:49
Reading progress update: I've listened 41 out of 421 minutes.
The Gates (Audio) - Jonathan Cake,John Connolly

This has been keeping me company on the drive to work and has caused outright snickering a few times. It is totally charming. It feels a little like Harry Potter in the descriptions of people, but with these charmingly rambly footnotes regarding history, religion, and astronomy, all done with this very tongue-in-cheek tone.

 

I can't wait to see what happens next. 

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