Tag Archives: book review

Double-barrelled review: the wounded and the slain/ the vengeful virgin (Hard Case Crime)

So, I’m back on a bender with Hard Case Crime books. Haven’t heard of them? Well, they’re the guys who breathe new life into a lot of old classic pulp and noir novels, with a facelift to boot, so they look like this…


Not bad, eh? But isn’t it dangerous to judge a book by its cover?

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Farscape-01 Dymond Dark Side-Tor

Tie-in novels generally will only appeal to fans of the franchise they relate to and this book is no different. If a living spaceship called Moya means nothing to you, then best look elsewhere (or better still, go grab yourself a complete Farscape box set to watch then come right back!).

For the initiated, DARK SIDE OF THE SUN is a Season 2 based Farscape tie-in novel. We follow our favourite ragtag crew as they seek out a cure for an ailing Moya. Trader, Jansz, has that cure but is the price he offers our heroes too high?

DSotS is a mixed bag: beautifully written in some places but overwritten and bloated in others. It’s like two writers were involved and one of them I like, the other not so much. The characters are all quite well represented, even if some, like D’Argo and Zhann, are seriously underused. There’s a definite quirkiness to the story, a la the TV series and, in general, this book will do the job just fine if you’re craving a little more Moya in your life.

In short: DSotS is a good read, albeit at times overwritten. Some great ideas and, in its finer moments, perfectly captures the mood of the TV show.


7974864 The BLURB:

The Eternity Ring is a tale of a twelve year boy who grows up under the influence of a man he fleetingly met only once – but why should a meeting that hardly even happened influence every single day of an entire life? Maybe all you have to do is live long enough to find out.



One of my favourite reads from school was CIDRE WITH ROSIE by Laurie Lee, a vivacious memoir of a young boy’s life. I was an incredibly imaginative lad, for better and for worse, and Lee’s magical account of  his War era childhood, and the characters that punctuated such, very much resonated with me.  Sion Smith’s THE ETERNITY RING has a lot in common with Lee’s memoir both in terms of tone and style.


The story follows its narrator, an average boy who becomes obsessed by crows after witnessing something quite fantastical, involving the birds, down by the lake close to where he lives. We follow the boy through to manhood and eventually old age, the birds never far from view. And just like with CIDRE, the seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary when seen through the narrator’s eyes.

There’s a magical sway to this story, the crows taking on an almost shamanic quality after our protagonist has them tattooed onto his skin. The events that transpire thereafter could be interpreted as supernatural. And yet despite this fact, with an accessible writing style, and working class protagonist, Smith succeeds in keeping the story quite grounded.

I read THE ETERNITY RING in one sitting. It’s an enigmatic and engaging book that you’ll find hard-pushed to put down once you start. There’s a dark fairy tale quality about the novella that I really enjoyed. And just like all good fairy tales, its resolution proves both satisfying and mystifying all at once.

THE ETERNITY RING is available now through all good e-retailers.