If you like a human crime story this is for you. I’m definitely giving it 5.
Cathedral of Lies by John Pye
The action starts in Exeter Crown Court in 1986 during a multimillion pound drugs trial. The blast from a powerful handgun brings a halt to proceedings as the defendant makes his escape taking his barrister with him as hostage.
Three days and two hundred miles away a mutilated and burnt corpse is found in a Staffordshire beauty spot – there seems to be no connection between the two but diligent and lengthy police work alongside pathology establish a link. Detective inspector Doug Taylor is a determined man – the body found in Staffordshire belonged to an Exeter man and didn’t the defendant in the drugs trail originate from Staffordshire? And then the barrister from Exeter is found dead in a burnt-out jaguar on Cannock Chase.
The two police forces work together and uncover rape, murder and corruption at a high level.
Matters become all the more curious when a bizarre secret held by a cathedral and a church appear central to the affair – it is a secret surrounded by lies, a secret which stretches back decades and one which the main players will go to any lengths to obtain and regardless of who they are prepared to hurt or kill in the process.
If you like a well-written, fast-paced crime thriller that has more twists and turns than the Corkscrew at Alton Towers then you’ll love this book.
I can’t wait to start the second book in the Doug Taylor series.
Ed. Alex O’Neill with Rachel Shipp & M.M. Dixon
The Persolus Race is an interesting concept in that it is an anthology of collected science fiction stories written by different people from different countries but all embracing the same theme which is “Are we alone?”
The stories explore the concept of “Rare Earth” and why complex life is likely to be rare in the universe.
The stories have a common setting in that the human race has been around for a very long time; time enough to realise that intelligent life is so rare that it is confined to humankind.
So, no aliens? Not quite. Humankind has evolved in different ways; science has made sure of that. Cybernetics have enhanced human existence and not always to our advantage. (The Snake in Eden.) Meddling in genetics has had severe consequences for those caught up in it. (Oisettio.)
The concepts explored are thought provoking. Teleportation always works in the films but have you ever considered the science? Not so much fun in this story. (The Man in the Mountain.)
The science may have moved on in this fictional future and other planets explored but humankind still has to battle with wear and tear, worn out machinery and the need to survive.
As a collection the book reminds me of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, and I applaud everyone involved for getting together so diverse a group in the midst of the pandemic and publishing such a well thought out anthology.
I have deliberately not included spoilers. If you want to know more then buy the book. If you, like me, enjoy old-school science fiction you won’t regret it.