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July 23 Hardback book reviews

Looking for something new to read, well Simon Evans has the answer, as he reviews the latest hardbacks. We'd love to know if you've read any of the books yourself, or have a recommendation of your own. Let us know your thoughts on any of our social media pages: Facebook Instagram Twitter

None_of_This_Is_True_Her_lies_could_kill_you_book_coverNone of this is True, by Lisa Jewell

Two women, ‘birth twins’, born on the same day, within hours of each other, in the same hospital, meet at a posh pub where they are both celebrating their 45th birthday. The two women meet again, apparently by chance, and the darkness at the heart of both their lives soon becomes apparent. It all ends up as a Netflix series, but there are yet more twists in store. This is a compelling thriller from a writer who doesn’t stint on the kind of plot swerves that send shivers down the spine.

Published by Century Price £20 Pages 402 ISBN 9781529195972



Burn It Down, by Maureen Ryan

Do Hollywood stars behave badly? Do bears do their business in the woods? Does the Pope live in the Vatican. It’s so obvious it barely needs stating, but the events of the past decade have cast an even more glaring spotlight on the misbehaviour of Hollywood stars – mostly, but not exclusively, men.

During her 30-year career as an entertainment reporter, most recently as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Maureen Ryan has been better placed than most to observe this than most and it clearly makes her very angry indeed. But, shocking as the revelations in the book are – if not exactly new – regarding the likes of Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Goldbergs) and Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, the sense of outrage may have been even greater had the author not felt the need to insert herself into the narrative quite so often.

It’s entirely understandable, given Ryan alleges she was herself a victim of sexual assault by an un-named television executive, but her excellent journalism should really be allowed to speak for itself.

Published by Mariner Books Price £25 Pages 398 ISBN 9780063269279


Paul_McCartney_1964_Eyes_of_the_storm book cover1964: Eyes of the Storm, by Paul McCartney

The hefty price tag means this book of photographs by the ex-Beatle, accompanying his currently running exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, is only likely to be snapped up by diehards. However, in terms of the glimpse the 275 images give into life in the group as fame descended upon them in 1964 – the year Beatlemania became a global phenomenon – they are priceless.

The images are sometimes blurry and out of focus, but that is part of the charm. We see the group fooling around in parks and hotel rooms, setting up for shows, and running away from the now ever-present hordes of fans, providing a fascinating insight into not just what life must have been like for these four young men whose lives had been suddenly, irretrievably, changed for ever, but also into the undeniable bond that existed between them before the craziness descended.

Published by Allen Lane Price £60 Pages 360 ISBN 9780241619711


Everyone_Here_Is_Lying_book_coverEveryone is Lying, by Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena has been described as the queen of the ‘just one more chapter’ thriller, and having devoured this compelling novel in double-quick time it’s easy to see why.

When glamorous middle-aged Nora brings to an end the affair she has been having with slick medic William she has no way of knowing that this difficult choice will have all manner of unintended consequences, not least the disappearance of a child and the descent of a respectable neighbourhood into fear, suspicion, rumour and recrimination. Plot twists are planted like hand grenades throughout the narrative, set to go off when you least expect them, and the denouement is as surprising as it is shocking.

Published by Bantam Price £18.99 Pages 346 ISBN 9781787635647



Parachute_women_book_coverParachute Women, by Elizabeth Winder

This is the story of four women who, in the, author’s words, “taught a band of middle-class boys to be bad. They opened the doors to subterranean art and alternative lifestyles, turned them on to Russian literature, occult practices, LSD, and high society.” The band in question was the Rolling Stones and the four women were Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Bianca Jagger and Marsha Hunt, all of whom were linked romantically with members of the band (in a couple of cases more than one).

Winder’s contention is that while these women turned the Stones into “rock and roll outlaws” they, in turn, “were devoured, processed, spat out and commodified by the relentlessly male music industry.” But while the four women’s stories are indeed compelling you feel the story is perhaps a little more nuanced than that. It doesn’t help that the author appears to take an ambivalent attitude towards the darker, decadent side of the Sixties that the Stones came to represent. Were not the four women as much products – and victims – of their time as the Stones? This is not really addressed but it’s a fascinating read nonetheless and conjures up the sleazy milieu that seemed to accompany the group at the height of their powers in the Sixties and early Seventies.

Published by Hachette Price £22 Pages 288 ISBN ‎ 9781580059589




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