The Ghost and The Bounty Hunter -Adam Courtenay

The Ghost and the Bounty Hunter: William Buckley, John Batman and the Theft of Kulin CountryThe Ghost and the Bounty Hunter: William Buckley, John Batman and the Theft of Kulin Country by Adam Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this volume. It’s an interesting story about an escaped convict William Buckley who eluded the authorities for a long time. The author Adam Courtenay who is the son of Bryce Courtenay.
The book encompasses British social history, early colonial history as well as Aboriginal history in and around Melbourne between 1800 and early 1830s.There is some insights into the troubled time in Tasmania with land grabs, relations with aboriginal people.
William Buckley was a convict who was sentenced to transportation landing in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He wound up in what was an early attempt to colonise the area around Port Phillip Bay. He managed with others to escape custody and elude the authorities for many years. Living amongst the local Aboriginal people, he did overtime gain an understanding their language and customs.
William Buckley’s story has been reconstructed from two accounts. One is form a minister of religion and the other a journalist. According to the author the journalist account is somewhat sensationalised probably to appeal to popular audiences at the time. There are holes in Buckley’s story in part due to him being illiterate and not very articulate. He does come across as being sympathetic to the plight of aboriginal people. He was caught between the colonisers and the aboriginal people with whom he had lived.
It an easy book to read and provides some insight into the early colonial days form both sides. What is most interesting is the aboriginal side of the story that is often miss-told or not told at all.

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Shatter the Bones Logan McCrae #7

Shatter The Bones (Logan McRae, #7)Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the seventh in the Logan McCrae series. This time the crime is an abduction and involves a reality TV show. One of the contestants and her child are abducted. As is the case with this genre our hero Logan, “Laz” McRae is always in some sort of bother with his superiors. Stuart McBride’s writing is fast paced and laced with humour much of it dark.
The main cast does change much form book to book but this shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent to picking up any in the series. There is enough reference within the book to get a sense of the characters and their relationships. The longsuffering Logan is rewarded for his hard work in this tale. McBride manages a not so subtle dig at external experts that come in to solve. This is a feature of modern organizations. They turn up unannounced and tell you the bleeding obvious. It does end up with some amusing results.
There is quite a good surprise twist at the end that I won’t attempt to spoil here. Thankfully, there are more books to come in this series

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The Beat Goes On

I am not that active on this blog but I do try to get at least one post out for each WordPress update This has been more pertinent with the evolution of the Gutenberg interface. I say the beat goes on as I always have ideas for post but never seem to get around to putting the ideas down in words. This blog now primarily features book reviews of what I read and short stories on our travels. I do maintain another blog that suffers from a similar level of neglect sentimental about wood

Photo by Ewa Gillen on Unsplash

Despite the covid-19 pandemic we have been quite lucky here in Australia. Because of our isolation we have been able to restrict entry into the country and limited the impact of new infections. Our federation of states has meant that we have been able to restrict movements across the commonwealth.

We enjoy living in a very large country with a mostly low population density so we have been able to travel within our own states and across state borders restrictions permitting. In South Australia where I live we have only had four deaths from covid-19 which is quite remarkable. In an unintended consequence of the pandemic the influenza rate is down on the five year average.

So as the title says the beat goes on. unemployment seems to have remained rather resilient and optimism is returning. Oh and I have managed at least one post for WordPress 5.7

Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride Logan McRae #6

Dark Blood (Logan McRae, #6)Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cannot believe that I have made it to the end of the sixth instalment. This story has more threads than a Persian rug. It starts with a high profile sex offender who gets parole and lands in Aberdeen. Logan or Laz to his friends ends up as part of the squad that has to keep him safe. There are some of the usual suspects notably DI Steele Logan’s boss. I do find Stuart McBride’s descriptions of DI Steele endlessly amusing, as are his descriptions of other ne’er-do-wells. The crimes are often grim and require some humour along the way. An honourable mention must go to DS Biohazard Bob.
The tangle of intersecting and weaving story lines makes for an enjoyable read. McRae’s ageing Fiat is also quite a character in the story. I imagine a red car held together with duct tape. Professional standards are never far away in Logan McRae’s world and this story does not disappoint in that regard. It is good to see the slow but inevitable passing of peripheral but regular characters as you would find in any workplace with lots of staff.
Dark Blood keeps giving up its twisted secrets right to the end. Must be time for number 7.

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Back in After Two Weeks

Well I have been locked out of the site for nearly two weeks. Thankfully my helpful admin was able to get into the gubbins in the backend of the site. Not quite sure what happened but the working theory is that Jetpack in one of its updates may have knocked the site out.. I’m not really sure but it was a hassle. I didn’t even get a am email so I could log in via safe mode. At its worse I was also locked me out of another site that I have. I discovered this when I decided to try and write a post from my mobile phone.

I still can’t access this site from my Android mobile phone. I can do most WordPress things form the phone except write and upload posts. Might just waiting for passwords to sync across the interwebs. So not much to write about other than trying to write a post and publish it. I also added a nice picture of an Almond torte that I made complete with buttercream icing.

Croatian Style Almond Torte

A post from the phone

I’m writing this post from my phone. The first time that I have used the block editor from a mobile device. Seems to work ok it’s up to version eight oknow. However I was not able to upload a photo. I have tried this more than once.

Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride

Blind Eye Book Cover

Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The fifth instalment in the series. Our hero Logan McRae or Laz to those who try to taunt him is up to his neck in trouble again. This is a particularly gruesome series of murders and attacks. Indeed some of the victims actually survive the attacks. The clue is in the title. Our fearless detective sergeant finds himself in Poland of all places.

As in previous instalments Logan is at the beck and call of more than one detective inspector none more so than DI Steel. MacBride’s descriptions of her makes you wonder if he had anyone in mind when he created the character. Anyone would be horrified if they thought it was them. Logan gets drawn into DI Steel’s personal issues with quite a twist. This is of course a subplot as is Logan’s love life which has its own peculiarities.

The main theme or crime is quite good. Indeed, it is a good yarn and this one was longer than its predecessors. I have tried to avoid going into the main plot for fear of spoiling it. These novels are not an advertisement for Aberdeen. This is the fifth that I have read in order and you could be forgiven for thinking Aberdeen is the serial killer capital of the world.

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Cold Granite Logan McRae #1

Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride

Book Cover - Cold GraniteThis is the first in the Logan McRae series. I’m not sure how I picked up on this probably a recommendation from somewhere. Anyway, Stuart MacBride has created a great character in Logan McRae. The book is really accessible I just fell into reading quite a bit during the first sitting. This is always a good sign for me. Our hero is the reluctant Logan McRae and we drop straight into his world. There is a back story he’s just returned to work after sustaining a very serious injury in the line of duty. In fact, so serious was the injury that he is referred to as Lazarus. He’s surrounded by a coterie of characters.

He is supposed to be on light duties on this return to work but of course falls right into the thick of things. Investigating child murders in a cold and bleak winter in Aberdeen. The way that MacBride paints Aberdeen its hardly inviting. There is also a good amount of humour in the book. At one point the locals who are struggling along the footpath in the rain are described as “looking murderous and inbred”.

In the end Logan McRae does get his man, a good and enjoyable yarn with lots of red herrings.

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Ratcatcher (Matthew Hawkwood #1) by James McGee


Ratcatcher by James McGee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ratchatcher is is the first in a series of novels featuring Matthew Hawkwood as the main character written by James McGee. Based on the Bow Street runners before the advent of more formalised police investigations. Certainly, an atmospheric novel and quite the page turner. Our hero Matthew Hawkwood is part detective and part action hero. Lots of murders and shadowy deals.

I did think that the book was getting into fantasy land but the notes at the end of the book put some context to the goings. I like historical fiction so long as it doesn’t stray too far from what’s plausible. The early 19th century isn’t a period of history that I’m overly familiar with so I was thankful for the notes at the end.

This was holiday read that I picked up quite cheaply and was an enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading another one in the future.

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