Tuesday 12 January 2010

Book Reviews

Exit Wound
Andy McNab
Bantam Press

Available Now - £18.99 (Hardback), £12.99 (Paperback) - Also available in Audiobook format
Review by Brad Harmer

Andy Mc Nab is one of those “Boys Own for Beige People” authors, like Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and Ed McBain. You know what you’re going to get, and what you get is what you paid for. If his books were movies, they’d have Steven Seagal in them. There are conspiracies, explosions, more technical information on handguns than anyone outside the armed forces really needs to read about, and a good dollop Chuck Norris style whoop-ass.

Exit Wound is no different. A gang of ex-SAS buddies have come up with the perfect, victimless crime. They’ve discovered that three tons of Saddam Hussein's gold lies in an unguarded warehouse in Dubai. But when they're double-crossed and the robbery goes devastatingly wrong, only Nick Stone (McNab’s recurring character) can identify his friends' killer and track him down...

As one harrowing piece of the complex and sinister jigsaw slots into another, Stone's quest for vengeance becomes a journey to the heart of a conspiracy, to which he and the obviously-beautiful Russian investigative journalist with whom he has become ensnared hold the key.

As usual, a combination of military derring-do and some detection with extreme prejudice continues. If it has any real flaws, it’s that the first half seems to take twice as long as necessary to get where it needs to go to, whilst the second half feels somewhat rushed.

With this said, as I mentioned about: you know what you’re going to get, and what you get is what you paid for. It’s generic, action/espionage fare. There’s nothing especially original about it, but if this stuff is your bag, it’s a pretty good example of the genre.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several shootings, stabbings, bludgeoning, beatings and explosions.
Sex/Nudity: None
Swearing: Considering the bulk of the cast consists of terrorists and ex-SAS members, surprisingly little.
Summary: A thoroughly average action/thriller that will entertain the target audience, but is not going to win any new fans. 5/10

Tales of the Dead Man
John Wagner and John Ridgway
Available Now - £9.99
Review by Blake Harmer

In the harsh wastelands of the Cursed Earth, Yassa Povey makes a gruesome discovery; the badly burned body of the dead man. However, when it turns out that the dead man lives, Yassa takes him back to his village to be nursed back to health. Little did Yassa know, that when he did this, something evil followed and it is up to him and "the dead man" to find out the dead man’s past and stop the evil once and for all.

This 2000AD story written by John Wagner is fantastic. It is well told with detailed artwork from John Ridgway, who captures the action set pieces brilliantly. Tales of the Dead Man also has a plot that grips you and keeps you guessing all the way through it. However, what deserves special mention about the dead man is it’s ending which will completely blow you away.

The only downsides to the dead man is that I would have liked a bit more character development for the other characters such as Yassa, seeing as he was one of the central protagonists. Also, it is hard to recommend this to someone who isn’t already a fan of 2000AD, as it has been designed with fans in mind and the ending just wouldn’t have the same impact if you were new to the comic. However, if you love all things 2000AD then this is essential to your collection.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Lots of action scenes and gory bits as you can expect from 2000AD.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Sticking with the Cursed Earth setting all the swear words are fictional, such as "Drokk".
Summary: An excellent story and essential if you are a fan of 2000AD, however, newcomers should read up on some 2000AD before attempting this if they are to truly appreciate how good this story is. 9/10

1 comment:

  1. Ah, yes, I remember reading 'Tales Of The Dead Man' when it originally ran in 2000AD (more years ago than I care to think about, really). It was a great story and, as you say, the ending was superb. The real genius of the story at the time, though, was how well it worked running alongside a (how shall I say this without giving any spoilers away) certain other strip in 2000AD at the time. I doubt that, without that 'interactive' element, the story would have quite as much impact as it did originally.

    Either that, or it makes the twist ending less obvious. Who knows?