April/May 2003
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  - All of this month's books have extracts available to read online -

This month, fiction masquerading as truth in the American novel.

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by Theodore Roszak

This could be to old Hollywood what "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" is to the Crusades and actually a whole lot more. You'll never look at a black & white movie in the same way again. is a real jewel (quite a long one at that) for the conspiracy theorists. There have been throughout my experience books, which are patently fiction, but which certain.... romantics you could
call them/us, believe are secretly true, and so begins the snowball of rumour - "do these guys know something we don't?" begins to roll. I do
remember it happening with "The Celestine Prophecies" in fact there are still people who want to believe in that book of platitudes.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that if you are this kind of romantic, then this book is for you - or if you are not and you just like to kid yourself a little bit, this book is for you - and even if you are neither of
these, this book is still for you. Very entertaining, very creepy.



"The Black Dahlia"
by James Ellroy

James Ellroy is a very, very clever man he recreates a totally convincing Los Angeles that really conveys the moral wasteland waiting to be rebuilt that is post-war humanity.

Based on some of the facts of the real Black Dahlia murder in the 1040s this fictionalised and characterised account is the most gripping crime novel I have ever read.

Bucky Bleichert is the boxer turned cop who narrates the story and what a story. Bucky and his comrade Lee Blanchard who's relationship is complicated when they fall for the same girl become obsessed with the grisly killing of a beautiful girl. With them the reader is dragged down into a dark twisted maelstrom of vice and crime, attended by bent cops, perverts, racists and the rest. I really did feel like I needed to come up for air, but once Ellroy has you grabbed by the ankles, he doesn't let up until the last gasp. Not for the faint hearted.

Thai restaurant delivery menus.

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay"
by Michael Chabon

Thanks to JT for this Pulitzer prizewinner which really doesn't need any help from me. First class.

"Carter Beats the Devil"
by Glen David Gold


1. "Number Nine Dream"
by David Mitchell

2. "The Wasp Factory"
by Iain Banks

This book was recommended by teenagewildlife.

I love everything about this one. The period, The good guys, the lovely girls, the shitsters even the animals. I laughed then cried, page through page.

The story begins in the golden age of magic ie. the late 19th C., the time of Houdini. The main character is so endearing it's almost unbelievable, but not in the least annoying. The storyline too, is fantastic but not too much to stretch your credulity. You know I hate books which make me feel like a fool; either by pulling too hard on the obvious emotional strings, or being over-sentimental, or just making me think "oh come on, do I look that stupid?" C.B.T.D. does none of these it's a totally satisfying and gratifying read. I managed to spin the last 20 pages out over a couple of days and I still miss it now I've finished it. It's the kind of book that, when you spot other people reading it, will bring a spontaneous smile to your lips.


3. "Cryptonomicon"
by Neal Stephenson

4. "The Master and Margarita"
by Mikhail Bulgakov