Jean-Jacques Cornish

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"The low down on African affairs"

Harry Bosch gets a murder book from the widow of a mentor

“The Night Fire,” by Michael Connelly brings Harry Bosch into partnership with Detective Renee Ballard. There is also a link with his lawyer half-brother Mickey Haller. Bosch is given a murder book by the widow of his mentor John Jack Thompson. The investigation into a young ex-con in an apparent drug-related killing has not been pursued by Thompson. He seems to have hidden the details of the detectives work to prevent others from finding anything. Ballard and the retired Bosch take this up in their under-the-radar collaboration. En route, Bosch discovers that a judge’s murder has been incorrectly pinned on

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Contemporary thriller from a writer who has done his homework

“Prooi,” by Deon Meyer It is not hard to see how Meyer has become the most popular writer in Afrikaans. This very contemporary page-turner will thrill his fans in his huistaal and doubtless earn him many more followers in English and the other languages he is translated into. This the second book of Meyer’s that I have read and Afrikaans and by far my favorite. I am sure the Afkrikaanse Taal en Cultuur Vereniging, if they still exist, will have something disparaging to say about the amount of English that appears in the Afrikaans edition. Ma dis die way Vaughn

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Important polemic on the existential threat to democracy

“Revolting,” by Nick Hume A.C. Grayling expounded on the threat to democracy in an eye-opening “Democracy And It’s Crisis” Times  columnist, Editor of Spiked and self-proclaimed leftie Mick Hume goes to the mattresses against those undermining  democracy. And among those he takes on is Grayling, whom he accuses of being among the cleritocracy who believe democracy requires a clear-thinking elite guiding the unwashed, ignorant masses on how to vote. So who is this whippersnapper? asks my friend Quinten who is on first name term with Grayling. This makes Hume’s point exactly. Denegrate and belittle opponents  and those daring to speak

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A discovery both thrilling and exhausting

“A Death In The Family,” by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Ten minutes into this book I was seized with the excitement that I felt when I first read J.D. Sallinger, Richard Brautigan, Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbek. Those were all more than 50 years ago. So how lucky I felt to have made a literary discovery to brighten my autumn years. Knausgaard’s powerful detail stretches beyond the wrenching honesty of his harrowing examination of death. His meticulousness and passionate detail keeps one enthralled and not a little exhausted. It took me weeks to finish this story examining childhood and teenage years

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Harry Hole sweats in out in Bangkok

“Cockroaches,” by Jo Nesbo. The writer with the most enviable CV is becoming a firm favorite. His hero, the Norwegian alcoholic detective Harry Hole, is sent to Bangkok to lend some credibility to the investigation of a potential political landmine. The kingdom’s ambassador to Thailand is found in a hotel room with a collector’s-piece knife in his back. He has kiddie porn in his briefcase and enough gambling debts to make a bookie see red Hole works with homicide inspector Liz Crumley, a victim of alopecia and product of an American Thai mixed marriage. The story has that pains taking

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A cute novella about a hunt for a rare book

“Ajax Penunmbra 1969,” Robin Sloan A cute novella which is the prelude to a series about a 24-hour bookstore in hippie-era San Francisco. It concerns the hero Ajax Penumbra’s search for an extremely rare book. His quest takes him to an open-all-hours bookstore that has a peculiar history. It started out as a ship that was scuppered, complete with stock, and had the foreshore built over it. One has to be a bibliophile to enjoy this and it is gratifying to see  writers and their product make the list of must-read material. Particularly pleasing to see my favourite poet Richard

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