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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Book Notices | Safe House by Chris Ewan / The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton / The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Chris Ewan, Safe House

  Amazon  

Chris Ewan's Safe House tells the story of a plumber/motorcycle racer who gets caught up in a much-bigger-than-he-is conspiracy. There are multiple strands to it, and it's all a bit confusing, though the ends get tied up by the end of the book. I'd have a hard time summarizing the plot, though, were there a gun to my head. Quite readable, and with an interesting setting--the Isle of Man--though I wouldn't say there is a much of a sense of place in the book. Ewan, by the way, is the author of the Good Thief's Guide books, the first of which I reviewed in my March 2013 post.

Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success

  Amazon  

The main take-away from Kevin Dutton's exploration of psychopaths is that many of the qualities they exhibit--ruthlessness, lack of anxiety, mental toughness, focus--are beneficial to society under certain circumstances and in the right doses. Psychopaths, that is, aren't just great serial killers, they also make killer spies and surgeons and special forces troops. The book often goes into more detail about specifics than I found interesting, and the names of various researchers certainly didn't stick. So, only intermittently interesting to me. The second take-away is that one should never, ever hitchhike.

Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

  Amazon  

Like everybody else, I purchased a copy of The Cuckoo's Calling when the news broke that it had in fact been written by J.K. Rowling. I probably would not have picked it up otherwise. The cover is off-putting, and I've seen the book described as noir, which holds no appeal for me. From what I understand of the definition of "noir," however, The Cuckoo's Calling isn't it. Which is a good thing. I'm very glad I picked up this book after all. The book introduces one-legged private eye Cormoran Strike. He's a good character, but better yet--what makes the book so good, in my opinion--is Strike's relationship with his new office temp, Robin. There's something charming and, in my reading experience at least, unusual about their interaction. In the end I was left wanting more, and I'm happy that Rowling intends this to be the first in a series.

Apparently linguistics experts compared the prose in this book with sections from Rowling's The Casual Vacancy and with books from other crime writers, and stylistic similarities suggested that Rowling was indeed the author of The Cuckoo's Calling. But had I not known as much I'm quite sure it would never have occurred to me that the book was written by Rowling. I would, however, have found it unusually good for a book allegedly written by a first-time author and former military man.

In short, I loved the book, and I'm delighted that Rowling continues to surprise. I'lll be pre-ordering the next installment in the series as soon as it's announced.

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