My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

1st To Die notes; Prologue & Chapters 1 to 2

cover for 1st To Die


Quite a forceful introduction, despite it’s shortness.

The idea that Inspector Lindsay Boxer is on an emotional knife-edge, life on the balance ready to teeter into oblivion coupled with her description of a logical detective while still retaining a level of empathy her male counterpoints lack, makes the character approachable for me. I can immediately identify with her, and already have an empathy for her predicament. I have yet to know who David or Melanie Brandt is but their mention, even in passing, is of violence and death. Murder is the name of the game and the author does not fail to bring the topic directly to reader
I have a feeling (a hope) there will be no pulling of punches in this book. Continue reading

The Gates notes; chapters 1 to 2

The Gates

Chapter 1; In Which the Universe Forms, Which Seems Like a Very Good Place to Start
From the first chapter, it feels like it was written by a young boy rather than John Connolly, a grown man. This in itself is amazing since Mr. Connolly has a reputation for books of a crime & thriller genre and to successfully tap into his inner child is no small feat.
As for my impressions, I have a borderline geeky love of science & any theories concerning the natural world & all universal aspects intrigue me, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed the first chapter. The explanation of the Big Bang theory is written not from the point of view of a physics professor or teacher, but through the understanding of a child, or from a writer of the old Beano or Whizzer & Chips comics (the Dandy being too juvenile obviously, and I apologise to non-British readers of these notes. The “Beano” etc… are British comics with tongue-in-cheek playground humour). Continue reading

Once Bitten Twice Shy notes; chapter 2

Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Chapter 2
Miss Parks gifts have only recently developed/manifested. The only one mentioned though is her ability to sense-smell the presence of vampires. Little wonder that Vayl requested being partnered with her. He must think it interesting because he wishes Jaz to develop it.
Handy though it sounds, it would be better if Jaz could actually pinpoint the location of the vamp she can sense-smell. What other abilities might she possess? Might they all be focused on vampires, like some of the Dhampire myths, or could she branch out into other spheres of the supernatural. Is the price of the accompanying blackouts too high? Continue reading

World War Z notes; Goodbyes chapters 1, 2 & 3

World War Z
Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 8, Goodbyes; Chapter 1, “the Whacko”.

Whatever the Whacko’s real name may be (or whomever he is based upon) he isn’t a Whacko as you might think.
This goodbye is merely a case in point.
For America the war is over, at least on paper, and Whacko believes that people have a right to try and reclaim their lives. It’s just the American way, he reckons, but I think it’s more than that. In order to rebuild a way of life you have to start in the home. In the same way that charity starts in the home, lives need to be rebuilt. Children need to be taught & loved. All the while, maintaining constant vigilance over the ever-present threat.

Of course volunteers came forward, they had a choice.
If America hadn’t declared the war over, perhaps more people would have been disgruntled & reluctant to help or join the UN multinational force.
Choice is powerful thing, take it away & people lose hope, worse, they lose their humanity & compassion.
Yep, methinks the Whacko knew what he was doing, knew it was time to celebrate a victory.
It was a long time coming. Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Total War chapter 2

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 7, Total War; Chapter 2, Todd Wainio.

Todd’s experiences at Yonkers & the many encounters with ghouls since that day, had helped him with his re-training.
That re-training wasn’t just about the new weaponry, but also the new tactics. For him and his superiors.
Seems there had been many lessons learned since the fiasco at Yonkers. No chances were going to be taken now that their President had mobilised the reclaiming of America.
The first battle against Zack, in a town called “Hope” no less, proved to be immensely successful.
From the weapons used to great effect, to the specialised team replenishing the clips, the “Sandlers”. Everyone had a role to play, even the brass keeping watch using their periscope tower, and they all performed like a well-oiled machine.
Todd recalls how a member of the Knock Out teams tapped him on the shoulder, declaring Todd’s need for a fiver. A rest break.
Everything had been taken into account it seems.
Battle tactics had changed dramatically too, even the type of round used against the enemy had been taken into consideration, and which proved to be extremely effective. If a bit creepy.

Ultimately, their victory against the undead in this initial contact, was clear in the amount of ghouls despatched without a single casualty among the ranks.

We were totally walled in, all sides were piled at least twenty feet high and over a hundred feet deep. I’m not sure how many we killed that day, stats always vary depending on who you get it from. The dozer-blade Humvees had to push a path through the corpse ring just to let us get out.

I’ll just bet they were feeling ecstatic regardless of their battle weariness, nothing a good well deserved rest couldn’t put right. Thanks again to lessons learned, Todd’s superiors made sure everyone was well rested.
Amazing how a kick in the teeth (Yonkers) can change someone’s attitude (Hope).

World War Z notes; Around The World And Above chapter 2

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 6, Around The World And Above; Chapter 2, Barati Palshigar.

Barati is an interpreter, both pre & post war. His post war vocation being the worst experience of his career but the most essential.

His duty aboard the UNS Ural is of translating & relaying important information to any & all survivors who might still have an operating radio capable of receiving the transmissions from this “Radio Free Earth”, as the survivors have nicknamed it.

I can’t imagine having to continually sift & then translate the mass amount of useful information from the various practical & scientific sources. He mentions not getting much sleep, and it’s little wonder. Barati’s is a most vital job, providing a lifeline to those misinformed, under-informed or worse. Those with no information at all.
Knowledge is power, I’ve believed this for the better part of my life. The Ural’s occupants are providing this knowledge to masses of survivors who have been continually let down by their respective governments, they say that ignorance is bliss, I don’t think I will ever truly believe that. When a zombie is pounding down the door trying to eat you, I’m pretty sure you’d want the right kind of knowledge to protect & defend yourself & those around you.

Ignorance was the real enemy, and cold, hard facts were the weapons.

Even though Barati & his colleague Mr. Verma had no idea what the hell they were talking about, transmitting terms they’d never heard before or understanding what they related to, it seems they performed their duty admirably & with little complaint. As he points out, they may have been working ridiculously long shifts but at least they were safe from the infected. The Ural, being a command ship in the former Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapter 2

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part5, Home Front USA; Chapter 2, “the Whacko”.

Whacko? That may be some people’s opinion of this man, but he seems fairly sensible to me. Just very passionate, which can sometimes come across as being a bit mental. For some odd reason.

I do wonder why the new president’s former boss was under sedation, maybe he or she couldn’t handle all the zombie problems. I’ve mentioned before that the very idea of a world war against the undead is a logistical nightmare, an unimaginable chaos.

Greed, fear, stupidity, and hate. I saw it before the war, I see it today. My boss was a great man. We were damn lucky to have him.

This new president is cool and thoughtful, Whacko reckons they made a good team. Light & heat indeed.
It seems the combination was put to good use, there were some awful decisions to make and only a few of us would take the higher moral ground.
Their solutions to the crime, extremists and other human living enemies are inspired and many in today’s society would agree to bringing some of these tactics back. There’s nothing like shaming a criminal, and giving him or her a taste of the fear they inflict on others.
I even agree that it may work better than any prison, certainly in this zombie infested world it makes sense.
I do pity those that have been abandoned, those communities to the West of the Rocky Line. Obviously the new regime tried to support them with experienced soldiers and supply shipments, but that can’t have made the residents of these places feel secure or cared for as is a governments duty.
All of this is done at great personal cost to the new president, I wonder if he ever found out the fate of his relatives in Jamaica. I’ll bet it weighed heavily on his mind and caused a sleepless night or two. Instead he focused solely on bringing America back from the brink.

I don’t know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.