Thursday, 25 September 2014

Film: A Walk Among The Tombstones

Liam Neeson takes on the role of Private Detective Matt Scudder in this film adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Block.

A fellow addict asks Scudder to speak to his brother regarding a missing person. Turns out that the client isn’t exactly a law abiding citizen and even though he paid the ransom asked for by his wife’s kidnappers, they killed her anyway.

Despite his initial reluctance Scudder takes on the case and follows a trail that eventually leads to a pair of ruthless murderers.

If you aren’t a fan of Neeson then give this a miss as he is in practically every scene and only briefly disappears from view throughout the entire film. Thankfully I enjoy Neeson’s films (Taken and The Gray are recent stand-outs) and he easily carries the film along on it’s atmospheric journey.

I haven’t read the novel but can guess that this film incorporates elements from several books as we get the character’s history and we meet TJ, a local street kid who I’m guessing is a series regular. Maybe someone can confirm or correct my thinking.

Gritty, violent and completely absorbing, A Walk Among The Tombstones only suffers by not providing more of a story for the villains of the piece. Neeson gives a towering performance as Scudder and hopefully this is the beginning of a franchise as I’d be keen to see more of this character.

Catch it in cinemas now.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Book: The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Stephen Lloyd Jones’ debut novel is a tale of murder, revenge, love and erm Hungarian folklore. The Hozzsu Eletek are a rare breed of people. Blessed / cursed with exceptionally long life they also have the ability to replicate the appearance of any other person. One of their kind is a misguided young man who is eventually outcast and hunted by his own. Desperate and alone Jakab decides to dedicate his long life to tracking down and killing the descendants of those responsible for what he sees as a terrible humiliation and betrayal.

The book jumps between present day, the late seventies and the eighteen hundreds as we follow all the relevant participants in the story. We have a young Jakab, a university lecturer and his daughter Hannah, who along with her family provide the most exciting chapters of the book.

This is quite the epic tale and a bit of a challenge for someone used to regular crime fiction. The challenge was almost too much at times but that was down to the slow pace of some passages, not the quality of the writing, which is superior throughout.

The String Diaries is interesting and entertaining but lacks the tension required to compel the reader to continue with the next chapter, especially when it takes you away from the action.

Give it a try if you fancy something a bit different but be prepared to stretch your imagination.

Ric’s Rating: Dodgy