Cheet

Night is my favourite time of day.

Chick-lit times coming-of-age times thriller. One of these things is slightly different from the others. Anna Davis almost completely manages to link them together without dropping a ball.

Kathryn likes variety. Or as she puts it: why eat pastrami every day when you can go to several different restaurants. This results in five relationships; one woman, four men. None of them know about each other and Kathryn fits her name and life to every person. When she’s not around them, her life is vacant, it’s just her job as cab driver.
When she meets another man, things start to trip up. She doesn’t want a sixth relationship, but he’s thorough. Two of her boyfriends are making a mess of their lives and the new man seems to be related to their problems. Kathryn can’t keep the balls in the air any more and – both literally and figuratively – crashes.

Kathryn realizes that this can’t go on. That there are too many ways in which she’s pulled and that you can’t save yourself if you’re too busy focusing on others. She tries to change her way of life, but not before discovering boyfriend number six isn’t quite who he said he was. She met her match.

Cheet is a quick read, cheeky but never superficial. Great for one of those long winter nights, for example.

Cheet, Anna Davis, Sceptre 2001

Mortal Engines

It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried out bed of the old North Sea.

I loved this. I want the TV series, without even having read the following book. This is how awesome (YA) fantasy can be.

Mortal Engines shows the reader a world a couple of hundred years into the future. A lot of the world has been run over by water and the remaining parts are pretty much lifeless. Cities have to hunt down towns and villages for sustainment: wood, iron and so on are fuel for the ovens that make the city move (because not moving is a risk, even if you’re the biggest around), inhabitants are ‘adopted’ and put to work.

Tom is just a lowly assistant, but he hopes to one day become someone, to contribute to the city of London. Just like his hero, Thaddeus Valentine. When Valentine turns out to have some bad sides and Tom is dropped into the wasteland of the earth’s surface, the heroic part of the unlikely hero story starts.

Tom discovers that the city authority has been keeping information from its people, that not all activists are terrorists and sometimes there is just no easy way out. Philip Reeve manages to build a fascinating yet terrifying world, add some Messages without being preachy and top it off with loads of fun.

Mortal Engines – The Hungry City Chronicles, Philip Reeve, HarperCollins 2001

Swordfish

99 min.

 

I can remember the three selling points for this film: Halle Berry’s breasts, John Travolta’s speech about Hollywood and the “Incredibly Smart Plot”. One of these things didn’t live up to expectation.

WarnerBros
WarnerBros

Swordfish is an entertaining film, if you can get past the badly acted parts (just showing that an Oscar doesn’t always necessary comes with great acting all the time). And the crooked plot about Travolta’s character revenging every terroristic act until the terrorists understand that they’re not allowed to touch The United States. It won’t be the first and definitely not the last action film to have a bizarre plot, after all.

Travolta seems to be the only one having fun with playing his character. Jackman is enjoyable as an criminal ex-hacker with a soft spot for his daughter, but doesn’t get really believable in anything he does. Halle Berry’s addition to the film is softly put unbalanced.

It’s very possible that time made the shine of this film shinier and it never was seen as Smart and Progressive and Amazing. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you go in expecting little.

Swordfish, WarnerBros 2001

The Bad Fire

On a hot Monday night in early Summer Jackie Mallon went on a leisurely pub crawl.

The Bad Fire is een what the hell happened in plaats van een rechtdoorzee whodunnit. Natuurlijk komt aan het einde wel uit wat er waarom is gebeurd en wie er achter zat, maar auteur Campbell Armstrong doet eerst zijn best om een wereld en haar karakters op te zetten.

Het verhaal is simpel: verloren zoon komt terug naar zijn moederland (vanuit Amerika naar Schotland) voor de begrafenis van zijn vader. Die blijkt echter vermoord. Niet lang daarna beginnen andere doden te vallen en is er onwillende politie die weigert connecties te zien. Gelukkig is de zoon een agent en kan hij het hele stinkende zaakje zelf oplossen.

Ik haalde TBF uit de bibliotheek omdat ik dacht dat het van een andere auteur was. En Campbell Armstrong had vrij veel gemeen met Kelly Armstrong (naast de kaften) in schrijfstijl, wereldschepping en oog voor (goor) detail. In gestaag tempo wordt de knoop van de moord ontrafeld, ondertussen heel Glasgow in map brengend (een detective met reisgids-elementen, dat was ik nog niet eerder tegen gekomen).

Het is een verhaal dat je bent vergeten zodra je het boek uit hebt, maar dat is natuurlijk niet erg. Als diepgravende detectives met karakter iets voor jou zijn: rap naar de bibliotheek.

The Bad Fire, Campbell Armstrong, HarperCollins 2001