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Archive for November 6th, 2018

Inhuman Resources

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Inhuman Resources by Pierre Lemaitre

Alain Delambre is a fifty-seven-year-old former HR executive, drained by four years of hopeless unemployment. The only job offers he gets are for low-level, demoralizing positions. He has reached rock bottom and can see no way out.
So when a major company finally invites him in for an interview, Alain is ready to do anything–borrow money, shame his wife and his daughters, and even participate in the ultimate recruitment test: a role-playing game that involves taking hostages.

Alain vows to commit body and soul in this struggle to regain his dignity. But if he had realized that the odds were stacked against him from the beginning, he never would have tried to land the position. Now, his fury is limitless. And what began as a role-playing game could quickly become a bloodbath.

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Praise

When Alain Delambre lost his job four years ago, he lost everything. Now he’s breaking all the rules for one last shot at the life he thinks he deserves.
“a pulsating serio-comic thriller” The Sunday Times

“A really excellent suspense novelist.” Stephen King

Pierre Lemaitre

Author’s Bio

Pierre Lemaitre (born 19 April 1951 in Paris) is a Prix Goncourt-winning French author and a screenwriter, internationally renowned for the crime novels featuring the fictional character Commandant Camille Verhœven.

His first novel to be translated into English, Alex, is a translation of the French book of the same title, it won the CWA International Dagger for best crime novel of 2013.

In November 2013, he was awarded the Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize, for Au revoir là-haut, an epic about World War I. The translation of another of his French novels, Camille won the CWA International Dagger in 2015.

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My Review

4 stars

Alain Delambra is 57 years old and was a former HR executive that has lost his job. He has been working odd jobs in the last four years to barely make ends meet. But then he is given the opportunity to work at his idea job and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get this job. Even if this means an odd hostage role-playing game. But things quickly go wrong and Alain is going to do whatever it takes to win.

I couldn’t help but feel bad for Alain, to have this career and then to be fired late in life then not being able to find anything else besides menial jobs. I understood where he can from and his drive to get this job. But things go wrong quickly and Alain just doesn’t seem to see it, he is that focused on getting the job. He neglects his wife, hits his son in law, essential robs his daughter, and so much more.

This is different from the other stories from Pierre Lemaitre. It has lots of surprises as you follow Alain in his crazy fervor for a job. Mind you there are a couple places that the story seems to slow and gets a little unbelievable. But it is still a wild ride as you come crashing to the conclusion. It’s definitely a good read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Quercus for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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The Red Ribbon

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The Red Ribbon (An Irregular Spy Thriller – 2) by HB Lyle

In 1910 London, Captain Vernon Kell’s fledgling secret intelligence service faces being shut down before it has even begun its job of saving the British Empire from German and Russian spies.
Harassed by politicians like the ambitious Winston Churchill, bullied by Special Branch, undermined by his colleague’s ill-advised foreign ventures, and alarmed at his wife’s involvement with militant suffragettes, Kell is making no progress in tracking high-profile leaks from the government. To make matters worse, his best (and only) agent, Wiggins, would rather be working cases of his own.

Wiggins grew up on the streets of London, one of the urchins trained in surveillance by Sherlock Holmes and known as the Baker Street Irregulars. He has promised to avenge the death of his best friend, and to track down a missing girl from the East End.

But when his search takes him to an embassy in Belgravia–an embassy that’s actually a high-class brothel presided over by the fearsome “Big T,” one of his fellow Irregulars–Wiggins is drawn into a conspiracy that will test both his personal and professional resolve.

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Praise for The Irregular

“An inventive espionage thriller set before World War I…A twist-filled adventure that proves far from elementary.”

—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

“A thrilling story of espionage, murder, and the creation of the Secret Service.”

—Charles Cumming, author of A Divided Spy

“I think H.B. Lyle is probably our most talented historical mystery writer today. An author who writes like a veteran but instead brings a fresh new perspective.”

—Andrew Gulli, Strand Magazine

“H.B. Lyle has found the golden thread between Holmes and Bond in a thriller that engages on every page.”

—Giles Foden, author, The Last King of Scotland

“A flavorsome smorgasbord that features not only Holmes but also Winston Churchill, this is irresistible stuff.”

—Barry Forshaw, The Guardian

“Just when it seems that Sherlock Holmes-inspired books are old hat, along comes this thrill ride of espionage, conspiracy, murder, and yes, even romance, set in 1909 London. Both fans of Sherlock Holmes and spy novels will enjoy this debut by a former screenwriter peppered with historical figures like Winston Churchill, especially when the ending hints of more adventures for the first British double-O agent ever.”

—Barbara Clark-Green, Library Journal

“Lyle offers a skillful blend of fact and fiction, from Holmes and Watson to Churchill and the real-life leaders of the agencies that became MI5 and MI6. A compelling series debut and a natural read-alike for Robert Goddard’s Max Maxted series and David Downing’s Jack McColl series.”

Booklist

“Fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories will remember young Wiggins as the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars . . . Though Lyle’s debut novel is certainly an homage, it’s not a flat-footed imitation but a crisp, stylish spinoff.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“An entertaining blend of history and fiction . . . Lyle’s descriptions of 1909 London are vivid. One can almost smell the coal smoke and the raw sewage. The Irregular is a compelling book, one to add to one’s  reading list.”

New York Journal of Books

“A fine first entry in what promises to be a great new series. Wiggins is a captivating hero, and Lyle draws his Edwardian backstreets in convincing color. The game is most definitely afoot.”

—Mick Herron, author of the Slough House series

“A good deal of excitement and some enjoyable riffing on both the history of espionage and the Conan Doyle canon, with cameos of everybody from Winston Churchill to Mr. Holmes himself . . . The book is a treat.”

       Sunday Express

“Impressive period detail and sharp dialogue add charm to the strong plot.”

       Daily Mail

“It is hard to generate something new in such an avalanche of well-worn tropes, but H.B. Lyle has managed to do that quite cleverly in The Irregular.”

—Crime Time

“A fast-moving, hugely enjoyable story with interesting characters and authentic background . . . It is the first of a series, and I look forward to the sequels.”

—Historical Novel Society

Author’s Bio

H.B. Lyle lives in South London with his partner and their twin daughters. After a career in feature film development, he took an MA in creative writing—and then a PhD—at the University of East Anglia, an experience that led to the creation of The Irregular, his first novel. He also writes screenplays and teaches undergraduates.

My Review

5 Stars

Captain Vernon Kell is still fighting to keep a secret intelligence service from being blended into the Special Branch of London’s police. Kell is assigned to find a mole that has been leaking secrets to Germany. But he is sent after those deemed enemies of the state, the lower classes and suffragettes. It doesn’t help that his only agent, Wiggins is distracted and hunting Peter the Painter, the one that killed his best friend. He is convinced to look into the disappearance of a girl, Millie, from the Olifa Embassy.

I liked the Irregulars for the mix of history and the world of Sherlock Holmes. Kell is doing his best to keep things going but it’s hard when he is expected to find a mole. It doesn’t help that his wife is a suffragette and he is starting to worry that she is seeing another man. Unfortunately she in worse trouble with some people that want to do more than just protest.

Wiggins is focused on the man that killed his best friend but does agree to look into the disappearance of Millie. This leads him to the Embassy of Olifa which is really a brothel. It doesn’t help when two men are sent to Germany to be spies and need to be rescued by Kell and Wiggins.

This is a great sequel to The Irregulars. Things have gone to hell for the country and Kell is threatened to lose his little department. Wiggins was trained by the great Sherlock Holmes and has a hard time with this group although he is the best, if only, person Kell has. I love this series and can’t wait for more books in it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Quercus for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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