Monthly Archives: December 2015

review of Dancing with Mortality by Mark McKay

DancingWithMortality

★★★★☆

reviewed by Cy Wyss

Dancing with Mortality is the story of Harry and Michael. When we first meet Harry, he is a grad student in Dublin, a linguist with a specialty in the Irish language. He is a part-time translator for the British intelligence service (SIS). On the opposing side there is Michael, an IRA man and the only survivor of a special ops raid during a gunrunning mission. Harry and Michael meet twice, both times fleetingly, during the first half of Dancing with Mortality. Once is simply two ships passing in the night; the second time, Harry is gunning for Michael. During the second half, their relationship is quite different.

I liked Dancing with Mortality. The pace is slow but steady and we get to see into Harry’s life in England as well as Dublin. The only problem I had with the book is that the actual action (gunfights, murders) takes place offstage and we only hear about it. This is a relatively minor complaint. The prose is eminently readable, no-nonsense and to-the-point. The characters are well drawn, even relatively minor ones. The settings and descriptions are good, some are even great, such as the descriptions of winter above the arctic circle. All in all, a good read.

review of The Writing’s On the Wall by Philip Mordue

WritingsOnTheWall

★★★★☆

reviewed by Cy Wyss

There comes a point in any good book where the characters start to have a life of their own in my imagination and they become like friends, so I’m concerned what happens to them and where they’re going. For the Writing’s on the Wall, this point happened for me at about 40%. I wanted Detective Sergeant Victor Trimm to win and find the serial killer terrorizing his town. Trimm is a conflicted cop with a sad past and a drinking problem. His partner, DC Elizabeth Briggs is a long-suffering lady cop often tasked with covering for Trimm. Aside from the serial killer, Trimm and Briggs have organized crime (drug dealers) to wrangle as well as a kidnapped child. All the cases were interesting and I was happy to see Trimm’s solutions.

I liked the Writing’s on the Wall. The editing is impeccable and the writing is unembellished and to the point. The characters did seem to come alive, including Trimm’s obnoxious supervisor, Cash. You’ll find a good solid story here, with most of the characteristics that should be there: stolid yet colorful characters, a plot with the usual amount of twists and turns to make it interesting, and well-drawn settings. There was nothing particularly unique about this offering, but it was still a fun read and made for reasonable entertainment.