I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be around the blog for a few weeks (until early August). I won’t have regular access to the internet, and as I know that we all worry when one of our regulars disappears from the blogging universe, especially in these troubled times, I wanted to make sure you had advance warning.
If the Gods of communication smile on me, I might be able to programme the odd review-post, or even read some of yours, but don’t worry if you don’t see me appear anywhere for a while. I’ll be busy with other things, but don’t worry, whatever else I do, I’ll be reading, so there will be plenty of reviews coming up when I’m back online.
Have as much fun as possible, stay as safe as possible, and keep smiling, reading, blogging, and be as happy as you can. I look forward to seeing you back soon!
Oh, don’t worry if you can’t leave comments, as I decided to close them when I signed off my blog. ♥
Deadlines on the Front Line: Travels with a Veteran War Correspondent by Paul Moorcraft.
The author of this gritty memoir has lived life to the full and fortunately has the ability to recall his experiences in a graphic and entertaining manner.
As a war correspondent and paramilitary policeman, Moorcraft was a magnet for drama and action. His descriptions of sometimes tragic and often hilarious escapades in war torn countries literally from A (Afghanistan) to Z (Zimbabwe) are self-effacingly entertaining. His light-hearted approach disguises a thoroughly perceptive and analytical mind. The reader will never be bored while accompanying Moorcraft reporting on wars in over thirty combat zones in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. This is his book of hazardous travels to strange, often little-known places meeting even stranger people who were often all too keen to lock him up or try and kill him.
Deadlines on the Frontline is a delightful and invigorating read which offers an intelligent insight into the turbulent world of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Professor Paul Moorcraft is a prolific author and war correspondent who served in the Rhodesian/Zimbabwean Police and worked closely with the British armed forces for many years. His book The Rhodesian War (Pen and Sword 2008) has been a huge success. He lives in the Surrey Hills, near Guildford.
Paul Moorcraft’s book ‘The Jihadist Threat’ was one of six military titles shortlisted for the British Army Military Book of the Year 2016.
Thanks to Rosie Croft from Pen & Sword for sending me an early hardback copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.
I have become interested in the world of the press and reporters of recent, and when I read the information about this book, I had to check it out.
This book is part memoir/part chronicle of Moorcraft’s life as a war correspondent, but it is not only about that, as he does talk in detail about periods of his life dedicated to teaching (for example in Australia and New Zealand) and also about a variety of other projects he took on, like creating documentaries of all kinds, mostly following his instincts and his interests. If he was living in a particular country, and he heard about something going on in a neighbouring one, he’d always manage to find a reason to be there. He knew how to sell his ideas and how to get news agencies and broadcasters interested, for good reason, as he is an engaging and knowledgeable reporter, with a knack for meeting all kinds of people and getting into difficult places. Some of the stories of his trips to meet fighters, guerrilla leaders, and his stays at dangerous places at particularly risky times make for scary reading, as it’s impossible not to think what we would have felt like in that situation. I don’t think many of us would have dared to try some of the stunts he pulls, and it is easy to see why he wonders about the nature of courage in his conclusion. Courage might take many forms, but there is little doubt that what he and many of his colleagues did, and do still, takes courage and something we might call a true vocation or “calling”. And yes, perhaps some form of “madness”.
I’ve read a review that says the author has covered all countries almost from A to Z (and yes, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and many in between, all around Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, some which no longer exist as well) and that is true. He writes well, extremely well, and he is far from politically correct or careful when it comes to stating his opinions, that are deeply personal and do not ever purport to be neutral or even fair. Some of his views will be unpopular with some readers (I must admit I do not share his point of view on many subjects), but he narrates his own experiences candidly, he does not take himself too seriously, being as critical of himself as he is of the rest of the people who make an appearance in this book, and he humbly acknowledges that his opinion might be biased and one-sided. Although his adventures reminded me of James Bond at times (a character I must confess I’ve never been fond of), he shows empathy and a deep concern for those in a position of weakness and powerlessness, suffering due to the poor decisions of those who are supposed to protect them. He is self-deprecating at times, and there are plenty of jokes and humour, very British humour (or Welsh, although he acknowledges that for someone who deeply loves Wales, he has spent most of his life away) in the book. There are also many photographs, maps, a timeline, and great observations of places, countries, and ways of life that, in some cases, have totally disappeared (his early chapters on Africa and South-Africa I found particularly illuminating in this respect).
I recommend this book to people interested in how being a war correspondent and a reporter has changed over the recent years, to those who want to read a personal account of what it was like to live in some of the most conflict-ridden areas in the world from the early 1970s until recently, and to people interested in life as a university professor in different countries over the years. The author has written many other books, fiction and non-fiction, and if readers enjoy his writing, there’s plenty more to explore.
As an example of his style, I’ll leave you with his closing reflections:
I still plan a few more comebacks, just like the guy who grew up in the same Pontypridd street where my mother’s family lived: Tom Jones. I have accepted that instead of always wondering why I inevitably sat next to the nutter on the bus, train or plane, I realize that people often thought I was the nutter. I spent my working life at places such as Sandhurst or Staff College assuming I was the only sane man in the lunatic asylum. I finally realized that they couldn’t all be wrong.
Thanks to Rosie and to the author, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share if you enjoy it and to always keep reading and smiling!
First, sorry to all of you who’ve been trying to comment on my blog and finding bizarre requests or those who have been notified of posts or pages that don’t appear. I’ve been trying to catch up on the new Data Protection Regulations and exploring different possible plugins to try and facilitate the process, with less than stellar results (sorry again). I have no idea how things will work out but I think it might take a while for me to find a solution, so don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me.
In case you want to comment but you can’t here, please, feel free to e-mail me: email@example.com (and don’t be worried, it’s not WordPress trying to drive me mad. I’m doing it myself).
If you want to check some information about the data protection act in the European Union and how it might affect blogging, you can check here.
As an apology, I thought I’d share a bit of the next book I hope to publish after the summer sometime. It will be the fourth book in the Escaping Psychiatry series (although it is number three, as one is a prequel) and it will be called Deadly Quotes. It was going to be a collaboration with another author, including some characters from one of his own series, but that didn’t work out, so I’ve made some changes. I am not sure the series will go in this direction, but I grew fond of the book, so… The Spanish version has been corrected and the English version will be in the next few weeks. The cover artist is working on the definite cover, but I’ll share my Canva attempts (don’t forget to check this fabulous website here), the description and a little sample from the beginning. If you’re interested and would like an early copy (it won’t be ready until July at the earliest) do let me know.
(Ah, and the images come from Unsplash.com and are copyright free).
Thanks for your patience and your help.
Deadly Quotes. Escaping Psychiatry 3 by Olga Núñez Miret
Death by natural causes. That was the official explanation. Until they found the quote.
Killing isn’t as difficult as people think. In fact it can be quite easy.
Was it a novel the dead man had been writing? Was it an eerie suicide note? Was it murder?
Mary Miller and Leah Deakin, friends and doctors, are not sure there is a case worth investigating but are intrigued. Could a serial killer behind bars have orchestrated another killing spree? Can the clues be found in his own autobiography?
The third book in the Escaping Psychiatry series sees Mary, psychiatrist, survivor of attempted rape and murder, and amateur crime investigator by default, team up with Leah Deakin, an FBI pathologist, in a case that pitches them against a man who loves to play mortal games. Will they be able to stop him? And at what price?
If you enjoy reading gripping psychological thrillers, feel oddly attracted to ultraintelligent and twisted baddies, and can’t get enough of challenging mysteries, you can’t miss this novel.
Discover Mary Miller’s new adventure, and if you’re new to the Escaping Psychiatry series, you can read the prequel Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings, in e-book format, FREE.
Here is my sample:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a murderer will go back to the scene of the crime. Of course, as is the case with any wisdom that has become general knowledge, it must be taken with a pinch of salt, although… (King, T. To Live Killing)
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” One of those sentences that have been attributed to many people through history and through the years. Personally, I prefer Oscar Wilde’s version. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” I’ve always had a weakness for Wilde. Don’t you start thinking now that I share his taste on the opposite sex, or rather, the same sex. But his style… not sartorial, but his behaviour, the way he showed off and he treated others, his genius, his art… And yes, like him I also think that I’ve dedicated my genius to my life, and only my talent to my art.
I’m conscious that not many people see it that way and they don’t believe murder is a talent, something one should cultivate or feel proud about, but I do. For me it wasn’t an impulse, something I did in a moment of insanity, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, overburdened by my emotions or provoked to the limit of my resistance. No, no, not at all. It was a conscious and premeditated decision.
I know there are many who follow family tradition; they start working in their parents’ business when they’re young, or perhaps they end up there, not quite so young, even if they don’t want to. Some try many different things without being able to find their calling, something they’ve been born to do, however hard they try. Others seek advice from counsellors, guides, gurus or coaches, asking them to help them find their true talent. I don’t imagine any of them would ever advice anybody to go into a life of crime or murder, even if they have the ability and the skill for it. I suspect that’s something one discovers alone, be it with desperation, disillusionment or trepidation.
In my case, I realised when I was quite young that I was interested in death. And that I had a certain talent (with time I’ve become modest) to accelerate its arrival. Once I overcame my initial surprise (after all, I come from a normal family and didn’t have, at the time, any criminal connections) I devoted myself fully to it. It’s true that practice makes perfect. And, although I shouldn’t say that, I achieved a certain level of mastery. That’s why, now that due to my sad personal circumstances I can’t carry on practising, I thought that a book, a cross between memoir and manual, could be of interest, not only to those who study people like me, but also to those who might be considering serial murders as a possible career.
Even though, as all artists, I’m against plagiarism and piracy; as I say at the beginning, imitation is a completely different matter. So, if you find here something useful that you might be able to use in your future endeavours, don’t hesitate. Of course, a token of recognition and appreciation will be always welcome.
Mary read the e-mail Leah had sent her to the encrypted account the FBI had set for her.
As you and Elliott have been encouraging me to get into other aspects of investigations, apart from the post-mortem reports, when this case dropped on my lap and I started to make enquiries, I thought about you. Read the information I send you and I’ll phone you tomorrow.
Summary of the post-mortem report:
Steve Burton, male, 45 years old, estate agent by profession, divorced with two sons, with no criminal history, was found collapsed in front of his computer in Sparta, Georgia. They thought he’d had a heart attack and had died of natural causes.
One of the policemen noticed what was written on the computer screen. It seems it was a new document, and they didn’t find any copy of it on Burton’s computer, and the only thing written there, in Times New Roman 36, was: Killing isn’t as difficult as people think. In fact it can be quite easy.
At first, they thought that it might have been a story he was writing, but they could find no evidence that he did any writing. Neither in his computer, nor in his online browsing history, or even in the type of things he read, that weren’t many. It seems that he was interested in football, police-procedural TV series, and little else. That made them suspect that perhaps his death was not natural and that the quote might have been written by the murderer.
I know that apart from being a writer you are also an avid reader. I don’t know if you will think the same, but I thought the statement in question sounded like a quotation. And even more, it sounded familiar to me. So, after thinking about it and it going round and round in my head and the computer, I finally found where it came from. I’m sure you’ll remember Taylor King. A serial killer that terrorised the country a decade ago. You probably remember he was caught and he’s still locked-up, but after plenty of controversy and disputes to and fro, they decided to publish his memoirs, To Live Killing. It’s a quote from that book.
Taylor is in a high-secure psychiatric unit, so it couldn’t have been him, but it may have been a copycat.
I asked them to do more tests, as they didn’t know what had killed Burton. I suggested they look for injection marks, and told them to send the blood samples to some specialized toxicology labs to make sure they had not used a rare poison or some new drug. As you can see from the pictures I attach, there is no evidence that he resisted.
Today they called me to tell me that they had found a needle mark in Burton’s body. In the popliteal fossa, the area behind the knee. And, luckily, a more sophisticated lab managed to find traces of a new sleeping pill, very fast acting, in his blood. It’s called Somnodem. They were tiny traces, but it’s very likely that he was asleep when he was murdered, and that explains why he didn’t resist.
But there are too many things that don’t fit in that made me think this is not just a simple murder, if there ever is such a thing. Although they had only asked me to check the post-mortem, I’ve had an idea. I’ll call you to see what you think.
Thanks and speak to you soon.
Mary smiled. She had met Leah, a Forensic Pathologist working for the FBI, when they had asked her to become a consultant for the FBI after she survived the attack of a rapist and serial killer, and Leah was in charge of the induction course for the newbies. Mary immediately liked her, although it was evident that she did not enjoy talking in public, even if it was to a small group of people. She was good at teaching, but it bothered her that people were forever asking her about one of her teammates, who seemed to be very well-known in the FBI and had a reputation for being both a weirdo and a genius, Elliott Best. Because Mary was not an FBI insider and did not know the said Elliott, she focused on the topic they were studying and they ended up talking after the course ended, and had kept in touch. Leah had confessed that she was seeing Elliott but they hadn’t told anybody, to avoid interference in their privacy. And now, after much discussion of investigations and cases, in the abstract, it seemed that finally there was something more tangible to work on, perhaps together.
Thanks for your patience and thanks for reading, liking, sharing, and reviewing and remember to keep smiling!
I know you’re going to be busy today, but although I’m not a very Xmassy person, I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and to hope you can spend it doing whatever makes you happy.
As you know, I have been teaching English Composition at the UoPeople, and as it is a tuition-free university it makes use of freely available content, and we do read lots of great stories throughout the course. As I know many of my followers are readers and writers, I thought I would leave you with a couple of the stories we read during the course that you might particularly enjoy. You can also listen to them (and narrated by their authors!), so you have no excuse (and no, they are not very long).
The first one, Salt, is by Sherman Alexie, a writer I became aware of years back and I was very pleased to see one of his stories included. Ah, and if you’ve never watched Smoke Signals, I recommend it too. (I have no idea why the title appears in Spanish in IMDB. I promise you it’s not my doing! The content is in English, though).
I imagine most of you have heard of or read Neil Gaiman. I must confess that although I had read articles and blog posts, I had not read any of his stories. But I thoroughly enjoyed A Study in Emerald (and Sherlock Holmes lovers with a sense of humour will love it too) and I have now several of his books waiting on my kindle.
Os he hablado con anterioridad de la Cooperativa de Autores Independientes, Ediciones Proust un proyecto en el que un grupo de autores nos hemos unido para aportar servicios, facilitar la creación y la distribución de libros de calidad, y ayudar a que la obra de autores independientes se difunda y esté al alcance de todos los lectores. Uno de los eventos organizados en colaboración con la Asociación Internacional de Escritores Independientes es Literania 2017.
Este evento, gratuito para los lectores, contara con escritores firmando libros y hablando directamente con los lectores, una serie de charlas de invitados de lujo, eventos para niños, música, cultura grastronómica, una maratón de lectura con premios, blogueros literarios también estarán presentes y mucho más. Aquí podéis comprobar los detalles:
Y aquí algunos de los invitados (Manuel Salgado, Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, Enrique Laso, Toti Martínez de Lezea):
Aún quedan espacios para autores (incluyendo autores que no puedan estar presentes pero que quieran enviar sus libros), y seguimos aceptando sponsores y empresas y/o individuales interesados en #Apadrinarunlibro.
Aquí podéis descargar el dossier con información sobre el festival. Y para poneros en contacto, podéis hacerlo por e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org o por teléfono: 683273513
Como siempre gracias por leer, y si conocéis a alguien que pueda estar interesado en participar o hacerse sponsor del evento, ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid y haced CLIC!
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