Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

I recently read this book and it was really good. Rather than write a review I thought I would reblog the excellent review which led my to the book in the first place. Thanks to jml297 and I recommend the blog as well.


A cursory browse of book reviews about the debut novel by Jane Harper, The Dry, indicated that this was a well-written crime novel set in a fictional town in rural Victoria with a strong sense of place and characterisation. It is all this and more.

Aaron Falk, a Federal Police investigator, returns to his home town of Kiewarra to attend the funeral of his best mate from childhood, Luke Hadler. But the funeral service isn’t just for Luke; it is also for his wife and young son. And according to the police, Luke is responsible for their deaths. Falk’s return to the town to attend the funeral is ensured when he receives a cryptic note from Luke’s father, referring to a secret relating to the reason why Falk and his father were forced to leave the town decades before.

This is a book about secrets, big and small, in a town where everyone…

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The Fellowship Of The Bling

I’ve discovered a way of becoming a successful author, and that is simply to give your book a title that is very similar to another very successful book. You see I thought I had bought this book:

But I had actually bought this book:

Some time ago I got one of those Amazon emails offering books at sale prices and thought: “I’ve heard of that, probably worth a go.” So I paid my 99p, downloaded to my kindle where it sat for some considerable time among all the other bargain books I haven’t got around to reading.

Then my wife read The Girl On The Train and said how good it was. She then watched the film on the plane and remarked how she didn’t like it compared to the book. All this prompted me to start reading it myself. It was only when I was about a quarter of the way through and we started to talk about it that I realised I was reading a completely different book!

I have to admit at this point that this may have coloured my view slightly, in that I felt a little bit conned. Having said that I did read it to the end and actually quite enjoyed it, in a light holiday read kind of way. All in all it left me a little conflicted so I looked up the reviews on Amazon:

So you can see that although it’s not The Girl On The Train it is pretty successful, in fact it’s sold a lot of copies, although how many were bought by people who thought they were buying something else is impossible to know.

Note:Spoiler alert

If I was to review Girl On A Train it probably wouldn’t be a good one. I know I said I quite enjoyed it, but on reflection it is a load of old tosh to be honest. It starts off pretty well with our heroine, Anne, investigating the suspicious death of a girl, Elly, that she happened to sit next to on a train. Turns out that Elly has left all sorts of clues that Anne tracks down in a kind of low budget Dan Brown Angels and Demons style but set in Brixton rather than Rome. Her motivation for this is that she doesn’t believe Elly committed suicide, and she knows about such things because her (Anne’s) husband killed himself 2 years previously because he was gay (!). It soon appears that the whole thing might be related to the abduction of Elly’s 2 year old nephew also 2 years previously. The problem is that it starts out a bit far fetched and then just gets more and more unbelievable. I’m pretty good at suspending disbelief but this had me going “Oh come on!” by the end. It also had a completely unnessessary section in the middle where the story up was retold from the point of view of Elly up to the point where she died. This added nothing to the book and felt to me like the author had just stuck it in to make the book longer. Also one of the characters does one thing that is completely out of character, the act simply does not fit with the way they are portrayed. The character is question, Lewis, comes in as a nice guy, a policeman who takes Anne for rides on his motorbike and gets her heart all a flutter. He looks after his drug addicted sister and is acting as stand in parent for his tear away 9 year old niece. Then it turns out he was Anne’s gay husband’s secret lover (what!) who raped Elly (!) because Elly found out he was gay and that was his way of shutting her up.

I didn’t get that bit either.

It turns out that Elly didn’t commit suicide, she was attacked by the niece with a stun gun that she bought off the internet and that made Elly fall in front of the train, and the gay husband didn’t commit suicide either, he just had an argument with Lewis, dramatically climbed onto a bridge in a kind of ‘if you don’t love me I’ll kill myself’ moment, and then fell off by accident.

So there you go. I’m now going to write The Fellowship Of The Bling so that loads of people buy it by accident and I make a pile of cash. I’ve already got the start.

“One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to…Hey don’t gimme that one ring crap! Nobody wears just one ring! I want at least ten! And a gold chain!”


I need a little help!

To all you marvellous people in blogosphere, I’m asking for a little help.

It’s just over 4 weeks until The Path Of The Sword is released on Amazon (looking at 15th May) and it would be wonderful if you could do something to help get the word out.

Here’s what you can do and any of these would be a great help.

  1. Like this post.
  2. Tell people.
  3. Share this post via reblog, Twitter, Facebook etc.
  4. Go on my Twitter @someidiottalk and retweet the pinned post.
  5. Blog about it – I can arrange an interview with the author, or even one of the characters.
  6. Download a free copy by clicking here:

Free Review Copy

Read it and give me some feedback or even then review it on your blog.

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of The Sword.

It is a readable fantasy adventure with a hint of the celtic about it and people who have read it so far thought it was great. It’s also not very long so won’t take too long to read!

(That sounds like a great advertising slogan doesn’t it: Get my book, it’s short!)


Anything you can do is much appreciated.



(PS. Yes I have changed the cover again. Just can’t stop tweaking.)

Simple doesn’t mean easy.


I’m coming to the conclusion that whatever it is you’re trying to do, the way to be successful can usually be reduced to a set of simple steps.

This should come as no surprise. Throw a metaphorical rock at the Internet and you will hit dozens of articles telling you how to do stuff. Want to lose weight? Follow these steps. Want to play the guitar? Watch this video. Want to write a book? Buy this book.

The problems come when people actually try to do these things, because simple is not the same as easy. Losing weight is a simple biological process, take in fewer calories than you use, and then do it the next day, and the next,  but for some people that is a very difficult thing to do. If it wasn’t then Weight Watchers and all the other companies who make money out of people wanting to be thinner would be out of business.

Playing the guitar is a simple process, you hold the strings down with one hand and twang them with the other. Whether it sounds good is another matter, to sound good you have to practise, for a long time, like several years.

Writing a book is simple. Put one word after another about 50,000 times. Hoorah! You’ve got a book. Anybody want to read it?

Part of the problem is that these simple steps are usually written down or demonstrated by people who are actually very good at what they do. They’ve been through the process, they’ve sweated and toiled, they’ve put in their 10,000 hours.

(Not totally sure about the whole 10,000 hours theory btw. In Outliers, Malcom Gladwell suggests that this is how long you need to practise in order to become expert in a particular field. This is based on evidence from what experts have done. The bit that’s missing here is that I’m not sure how hard he looked for people who had put in their 10,000 hours and were still crap.)

Either way, you go to an expert and ask them “How do you do that?” and they will then try to summarise what they do, usually in a set of simple steps. And to them, it makes complete sense, that is what they do as they see it. But then give someone else those steps and it doesn’t work.

You see there is no magic ingredient, no magic button, no golden ticket. You’ve got to put the time in, do the work, make the mistakes, feel like giving up and then keep going anyway.

At this point you could just watch Kung Fu Panda rather than reading this post, it’s longer but will make you laugh more.

The point is this. If you keep going long enough you will get to the point where you can outline your success in a series of simple steps. Steps that will seem deceptively easy but that you know are simply the signposts on a long and difficult journey.

The Path Of The Sword by Martin Swinford will be published in May. For a limited time you can download a free review copy here






Free Review Copy – Get it now!


For a limited time only you can get a free review copy of The Path Of The Sword by clicking:

Free Review Copy

The book is a fantasy novella set in alternative Dark Age where boys train as warriors and the world of the spirit is never far away. As the first in the series it introduces Luan, the hero who is taking his first steps on The Path Of The Sword.

This offer is only available for a short period of time so if you fancy a readable fantasy adventure with a hint of the celtic about it then my advice is give it a go.

But of course I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Seriously, I would love it if you read the book and wrote a review.


(PS. Yes I have changed the cover, and yes I have done it AFTER the cover reveal which is daft, and yes I do have a graphic designer friend who said “Ooh, I like that, now just give me a moment…)

Meet Martin Swinford


Some time ago I asked Martin to write a few words I could use for an Author Bio, but he’s been very elusive on the subject. “Sorry old stick, I just haven’t got around it.” is his usual response. In the end I gave up and wrote something myself, not exactly a biography but it gives you a glimpse.
Deep in the heart of Lincolnshire, in a dusty attic room at the very top of a crumbling mansion, Martin Swinford crouches over his keyboard and waits. He waits for the words. The words that he knows are there. The words that will flood his mind if he waits long enough. The words that will slip elusively from his grasp as he stretches to catch them.

Later, he thinks, he shall go down, and stroll the long gallery under the watchful gaze of his ancestors. Perhaps he will sit in the library, absorbing the collective knowledge of the mildew blackened books. Perhaps he will have a drink, anticipated by the melodious clink of ice on glass as Crevice shuffles along the servant’s passage. Perhaps even a cigar, one of the rare local specials, hand rolled on the expansive thighs of the village bar-maid.

He extends a finger and taps out a single word: “Perhaps.”

The Path Of The Sword by Martin Swinford will be released in May.