The Snakehead

The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream by Patrick Radden Keefe My rating: 4 of 5 stars Modus Operandi PRK: pick an interesting subject, research the f out of it, and write a looong book. He saves his opinions and judgements until the end. A wise choice, you don’t …

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Delivery

They sent me to Wellington for training. Two nights in a hotel room with Sky TV and meals paid for. What else could I have wanted? After a good night’s sleep, I reported to the depot. The muscular Norm waved at me from the other end of the aeroplane-hangar space. Norm was staying in the …

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Sexual Fascism

In ‘Civilization and its Discontents,’ Freud tells us that civilisation necessitates the curbing of the natural expression of the libido, and this repression leads to neurosis. The answer is to redirect the libido into work or artistic expression. For author Isham Cook, the state keeps us in fear of our libido as a mechanism of …

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Unwelcome

Unwelcome by Quincy Carroll My rating: 5 of 5 stars In ‘Unwelcome’ we follow Cole Chen through his awkward misadventures in California and Changsha, China. The twenty-three-year-old has come back from his second stint in China and is crashing on his brother’s couch. Our introduction to Cole is through the eyes of his more successful …

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Book covers

8 great self-published/small press books I reviewed in 2021

Links go to my GoodReads reviews. Magical Disinformation: A spy novel set in Colombia. Shades of Graham Greene. Law of the Jungle:  Medical research and revenge in the jungles of Venezuela and Colombia. Crimechurch: Psychos and troubled teens in NZ’s earthquake-hit city. Teacher, We Girls!: The experience of being a woman from New Zealand teaching in …

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Conquerors

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire by Roger Crowley My rating: 4 of 5 stars As Roger Crowley explains in “Conquerors”, in the early 16th century Portugal, a poor country on the periphery of Europe, came to control trade in the Indian Ocean thanks to bravery, cruelty, navigation skills and cannons. They fought …

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White Faced Lies

White Faced Lies by Eric Flanagan My rating: 3 of 5 stars An interesting project. ‘White Faced Lies’ follows the journey of two ‘face jobbers’ in China. Face jobbers are foreigners who get paid to stand around and just look – well foreign – ideally American, white, tall, good-looking, and with blond hair. It is …

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