First Thoughts

Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics, Jarvis Cocker

Faber and Faber,

£14.99; Kindle, €8.99

Review: Lewis Young

AS you might expect, a broad selection of lyrics from the Pulp frontman’s long and fruitful career make up the bulk of this collection, but the introduction and detailed appendix that bookend it are very nearly worth the cover price alone.

Jarvis Cocker gives an insight into his methods (which mainly consist of using his perceived flaws to his advantage) and gives interesting titbits of information about the inspiration and meaning behind his songs.

The words themselves demonstrate exactly why Cocker is up there with the best lyricists of this generation, and seeing them out of context — although odd at first, then shines an even brighter light on the brilliance of his words.

He’s quick to assert his lyrics are “definitely not poetry”, but reading this collection it’s difficult not to think otherwise.

The House Of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel, Anthony Horowitz

Orion Books

£18.99; Kindle, £9.99

Review: Caroline Davison

WITH the backing of the Conan Doyle estate, Anthony Horowitz has added to the Sherlock Holmes collection with The House Of Silk.

It has everything a Holmes novel should — humour, intrigue and a mind-boggling reveal that is so wonderfully intricate, you feel both awe-inspired and frustrated for missing the clues.

Narrated by Watson after Holmes’s death, the detective’s sidekick explains the story has been sealed in a vault for 100 years to avoid its release rocking society to its core.

The tale begins when an art dealer comes to Holmes, concerned that a man with a flat cap and scar is trying to kill him. However, as the story unravels, it appears this is merely the tip of a conspiratorial iceberg.

Holmes and Watson find themselves drawn into a series of puzzling events, which are all connected by the mysterious phrase, ‘the house of silk’.

Micro, Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Harper Collins

£18.99; Kindle, £8.49

Review: Roddy Brooks

THE untimely death of Michael Crichton in 2008 left his latest work, Micro, unfinished. Richard Preston, a best-selling author who specialises in scientific subjects, was asked to complete the book.

Their joint work has kept up the standard of Crichton’s other novels, combining a fast-paced action adventure set in the rainforest of Hawaii together with a fascinating insight into the world beneath our feet.

When a group of students are shrunk and abandoned in the Micro world, they must use their wits and ingenuity to battle for survival against the worst nature can throw at them.

Crichton and Preston have produced a fine story that is entertaining and educational. Micro is a fitting testament to Crichton, whose ability as a story-teller is going to be sadly missed by fans of science fiction.

The Devil All The Time, Donald Ray Pollock

Harvill Secker,

£12.99; Kindle, £8.54

Review: Ben Major

WITH critically acclaimed short story collection Knockemstiff under his belt, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Bingham Fellowship Donald Ray Pollock releases his debut novel, The Devil All The Time.

Set in the same area of Ohio as his previous publication and starring a cast of equally bizarre and macabre characters, he presents a haunting vision of America from the end of the Second World War to the 1960s.

Two serial killers pick up hitchhikers across America, using them as models to photograph and butcher, while orphan Arvin struggles through life after losing his parents and is sent to live with his grandma, who already cares for Lenora, the estranged daughter of a spider-handling preacher.

Pollock charts the lives of these desperate and diabolical characters until their paths cross years later, employing a gothic narrative and frugal writing style to create an uncompromising vision of American life.

A riveting read with a well-constructed story.

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