Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday extracts: It's still snowing!

April Snow

by Caroline Spencer

The green was creeping o'er the brown,
The skies dropt bluebirds yesterday;
Again today the snow is down,
And spring a thousand miles away.

Full text here.

Yeah - I know it's still March. But it won't be on Monday.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book review: The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro

Night by Michelangelo Buonarroti

The Sculptor isn't the best book ever written, but it's certainly among the best I've read recently. It's quite a chilling tale.

Someone is recreating the works of Michelangelo, only they're using real bodies, rather than marble. The first statue, Bacchus, turns up in a wealthy banker's garden and features the corpses of a well-known football player and an unknown teenage boy. At least - half of a boy. Because the man who calls himself The Sculptor has created a satyr from the top half of the teen's body and the back end of a goat. Frighteningly, the work is dedicated to art historian Dr Catherine Hildebrant, who is called in to help the FBI's behavioural analysis unit interpret the killer's motives.

Right from the start author Gregory Funaro allows us into The Sculptor's mind, so we can compare his thought processes to the conclusions being reached by the 'pretty art historian' and FBI special agent Sam Markham.

We also get a rapid development of the inevitable relationship between the agent and the 'pretty art historian'. Rather than leaving the association to provide a neat, happy ending to the last chapter, Funaro allows the pair to become close at the start. It means the reader is never sure that a happy ending is actually on the cards.

I won't be so mean as to spoil the end. Just remember, it's a chilling read. It's also an excellent, fast-paced novel with an unusual back story behind the Sculptor's behaviour. There's a bit of pop psychology, but nothing too trite, and there are a few blind alleys to be lost in before the book reaches its violent crescendo.

In fact my only real complaint is Funaro's insistence on (and presumably an editor's failure to spot) the repeated use of the phrase 'pretty art historian'. Unless you're a stickler for that kind of thing like I am, you probably won't notice.

And I guarantee you'll track down a photo of the sculpture of Bacchus before you reach Chapter Three.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Do you know where your towel is?

Today would have been Douglas Adams's 61st birthday. He died at the shockingly young age of 49, from an undiagnosed heart problem.

It also means that he was shockingly young - just 26 - when he wrote the brilliant radio series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which spawned the later books, TV series and film.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Thursday Extracts: Smile

Sunny smile

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Words by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, to a tune by Charlie Chaplin

If you'd like to listen to is sung by the great Nat King Cole click here