Downbelow Station

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As I write up comments on books I’ve read in the last little while but left lying around my desk instead of blogging and filing, I find this book sitting there taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, I was quite excited when I bought it. However, Its Cherryh at her worst — wordy and kind of goes nowhere. There’s an interesting idea here, but the book needs to be half its current length. I got half way through and gave up. A disappointment.

Downbelow Station Book Cover Downbelow Station
C. J. Cherryh
Fiction
DAW
1981
439

The station at Pell's Star, traditionally neutral, holds the key to victory in a struggle between the decaying stellar empire of Earth and the rebel forces of the colonies, in a twentieth anniversary edition, complete with a special introduction by the author, of the classic science fiction novel. Reissue.

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Killing Floor

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I’d seen the Reacher movie (it was ok, but not amazing), but was trapped in an airport with a book too close to the end for comfort. So I bought the first Jack Reacher novel. I’m impressed to be honest — its well written, readable, and not trying to be Tom Clancy. Where Clancy would get lost in the blow by blow details of how military hardware works, this story is instead about how the main character feels and where their intuition is up to at that point. Sure, he explains that the shot gun pointed at his is dangerous, but doesn’t get too lost in the detail.

I enjoyed this book, and its a well written mystery tale. I’ll read more from this series I am sure.

Killing Floor Book Cover Killing Floor
Lee Child
Georgia
Random House
2010
525

Killing Floor is the first book in the internationally popular series about Jack Reacher, hero of the blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise. It presents Reacher for the first time, as the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode: a righter of wrongs, the perfect action hero. Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles down a country road into Margrave, Georgia. An arbitrary decision he's about to regret. Reacher is the only stranger in town on the day they have had their first homicide in thirty years.The cops arrest Reacher and the police chief turns eyewitness to place him at the scene. As nasty secrets leak out, and the body count mounts, one thing is for sure. They picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

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Monty: His Part in My Victory

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This is the third book in Spike Milligan’s war memoirs (volume 1; volume 2). Combat has now died down in Africa, and no one is ready to be shipped to a new field of combat yet. The troops are therefore getting bored. Suddenly the establishment recalls that Milligan can play the trumpet and the band reforms. Most of this book is spent being shuffled between army staging areas, and performing music. Regardless of little “happening”, still an engaging read.

Monty: His Part in My Victory
The War -- And Peace -- Memoirs
Spike Milligan
Non-fiction

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Rommel? Gunner Who?

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At the end of the previous Spike Milligan war memoir, Spike and his comrades had just been packed up into a ship to start travelling to Africa to engage the Nazis. This book picks up straight from there are follows them from first arrival in Africa to their first experiences of combat. Spike fought in the Battle of Longstop Hill, where his artillery unit played a part in victory. Along the way Spike loses his first close friend to enemy fire.

Spike has an amazing talent for taking a tough subject and making it interesting and light hearted. Its not disrespectful, but shows that there were moments of levity in difficult times. Much like the previous book this one was very readable and I enjoyed it.

"Rommel?" "Gunner Who?" Book Cover "Rommel?" "Gunner Who?"
The War -- And Peace -- Memoirs
Spike Milligan
Authors, English
Penguin UK
2012
208

'Keep talking, Milligan. I think I can get you out on Mental Grounds.''That's how I got in, sir.''Didn't we all.' The second volume of Spike Milligan's legendary recollections of life as a gunner in World War Two sees our hero into battle in North Africa - eventually. First, there is important preparation to be done: extensive periods of loitering ('We had been standing by vehicles for an hour and nothing had happened, but it happened frequently'), psychological toughening ('If a man dies when you hang him, keep hanging him until he gets used to it') and living dangerously ('no underwear!'). At last the battle for Tunis is upon them . . .

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