The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

 Stef Penney’s debut The Tenderness Of Wolves was, as I may have remarked just once or twice or perhaps 20 times before, sublime. The Invisible Ones, her second novel, is not. A private eye story set (not in New York or L.A.) largely in Hampshire and Surrey sees Ray Lovell hired to search for Rose, who has…

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

 What does one really want from a novel? There’s nothing wrong with a good plot: Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels set great store by their intricate criss-crossings and silky lines which bind and I cherish those. William Boyd is a very fine novelist: I am looking forward to reading his 007 effort Solo. I really enjoyed Any Human Heart and his Nat Tate spoof.…

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne / The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

 Clive James once suggested that Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, writes with an ‘exulted stupidity’. It is a beautiful phrase. Jules Verne writes, I think, with a sort of ‘exulted simplicity’. Motivation and characterisation don’t really come into it as far as he’s concerned: he just wants to keep his episodic, fantastic narratives barrelling…