Saturday, 29 August 2020

Supertide by Steven F Freeman

 

How silly am I? Reading a book about monster tsunamis while house hunting for a place on the south coast of NSW. An area that recently suffered enormous floods – from rain, thankfully, not a tsunami.

Supertide is the story of a tsunami that hits the east coast of the USA, but it is also about two graduate students who attempt to predict future earthquakes likely to cause the next natural disaster. The use of modern technology developed by their professor, but the theories contrast with established methods and not all the experts agree with their predictions. Will they prove their theories before the lager tsunamis hit and be able to warn people living within 100 miles (or more) of the coastline.?

At first I thought the beginning was a bit slow especially having read many of Steve Freeman books that are full of action. However, that gradual build up parallels the tension as development of the tsunamis and the rescue attempts occur.

It is brilliantly written. 

 

While following the work of the scientists, every now and then the story switches to people deciding on whether to stay or flee or those caught up in the disaster. It’s like watching an action movie – going from one character’s experience to the next with suspense building every page.

I don’t know how accurate the scientific side of this story is and I don’t care. As the author says in his end note his goal was to entertain rather than inform and he has taken creative liberties with tectonic theory. However, it is obvious he has still undertaken considerable research.

The characters feel real. I particularly like the main character Macy who battled on with her work while experiencing her own heartaches.

There is an obvious understanding about the nature of people and how they act during a crisis – either experiencing the dangers or taking advantage of the situation for their own ends. But, there are also examples on how people are willing to help complete strangers in an emergency. It is and an excellent study of human nature.

In the final chapters I was pleased to read a tribute to those who survive disasters and those who do rescue and relief work.

Great reading escapism. My rating 5*


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Friday, 14 August 2020

Who Cries for Them by Nathan Veerasamy

 Who Cries for Them is the story of a group of homeless men who are frequenters of the Welcome Centre in Ilford east of London.

They come from varying background and struggle with a range of issues. The one thing they have in common is the unknown man responsible for their deaths. As we get to know the individuals we realise there is a link to the time of communist rule in eastern Europe.

Are the men genuine targets from a time of spies and espionage or is someone using their deaths for personal gain?

An intriguing short read that will have the reader guessing.

This work is fictional but inspired by the lives of the homeless in Ilford and marks the author’s tenth year of volunteering at the Centre.

Royalties from Who Cries for Them  are donated to the Welcome Centre, a charity for the homeless endorsed by the Queen and praised by Boris Johnson etc.

My rating 4*

Friday, 31 July 2020

The Blonde Brunette by TR Robinson

TR Robinson continues her series of short stories featuring her beautiful but naïve character Tara.

Tara is offered a new position on a cruise ship, one that will ease her need to work three jobs. She manages to put on board admirers in their place but on a visit to purchase traditionally crafted items while in port she becomes the target of a more dangerous situation than her fellowship crew could ever cause.

Once again, Robinson has delivered an engrossing short read in her Bitches series.

My rating 4*






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Tuesday, 28 July 2020

A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans


The picture on the book's cover is one Jans took of the first meeting between Romeo and Jans’ blond lab Dakotah, with whom the wolf established a close relationship. He also includes a few beautiful pictures of Romeo that he took over the years of their interactions.
Living in a country where the Dingo (the most maligned of all native animals) is the apex predator and where habituation and familiarisation (caused by humans) has resulted in problems, particularly in tourist destinations such as Fraser Island and Uluru, I was keen to read Romeo’s story.

As surprising as it may seem this is a true story spanning several years.

Romeo was a lone wolf living on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska and exhibited unusual behaviour for a non-domesticated animal demonstrating he was a sentient being with a need for company.

Walking their dogs on the frozen lake in the winter of 1993, Jans and his wife were one of the first people to see the lone black wolf. He appeared young and healthy. To their surprise all the wolf wanted was to interact with their dogs in a playful encounter.

Over the next six years Romeo became a part of the landscape interreacting with many other residents and their dogs at his instigation and even initiated the games.

It is important to note no-one tried to domesticate or tame Romeo. No-one even habituated him by feeding him or providing any shelter. He came and went of his own accord.

But some residents were not happy with the situation believing he was dangerous or simply just shouldn’t be allowed to exist on their territory.

Although Romeo developed many friendships and others, who developed strong bonds with the wolf, also others feature in the story.

Nick Jans had been a hunter a one time and a wilderness guide but is now a professional wildlife photographer and author with a respect and love for his natural surrounds.

Jans not only tells the story of Romeo, he also introduces facts about wolves throughout the book giving insight into how we, as humans, need to learn about and respect all wild animals.

It is a beautiful, yet heart-rending story told honestly and without prejudice but the emotions of the author and his love and respect for Romeo are still clear.

Romeo’s demise came at the hands of two particularly heartless and wicked hunters – the type that kills for sick fun. They enjoyed taunting those who loved the wolf and bragged about both their plans and the final deed. Fortunately, this part of the story is not dragged out unnecessarily.

Readers should be warned Romeo’s demise is upsetting for any animal lover and cause for anger at the simpleminded and ignorant men who brought it about. The red tape and attitude of the lawmakers is equally enraging.

Today a memorial to Romeo stands in Juneau as a reminder of the life of this incredible animal. 

It reads:

ROMEO
2003-2009
THE SPIRIT OF JUNEAU'S FRIENDLY BLACK WOLF LIVES ON IN THIS WILD PLACE. 


After reading the book, you will never forget this magnificent wolf called Romeo.

Playful Romeo


My rating 5*

 




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