Wednesday, 15 April 2020


by Paul Buchanan

Set in Los Angeles in the sweltering summer of 1962, this classic ‘noir’ detective novel beautifully captures the blistering heat and languorous mood of 1960's LA.  
Private eye, Jimmy Keegan, used to be a hotshot crime reporter, but is now a lonely, middle-aged private eye,  haunted by the recent suicide of Marilyn Monroe and grieving the death of his mother.  When he’s approached by a mysterious man with a lucrative assignment that involves finding a young woman, he turns down the job but is surprised when the same woman turns up on the doorstep of his mother’s Hollywood Hills cottage. Soon events take a bizarre turn when man is killed and Keegan finds himself the prime suspect.
Keegan is a likeable and sympathetic character at a low point in his life. Alone and doomed to a solitary existence, his most meaningful relationship turns out to be the little dog, Nora, that he inherits from his mother. But at heart he’s a good guy who’s had some bad breaks and now regrets the way his life has turned out. Details like this make him come across as more flawed and human than the great Raymond Chandler’s iconic and hardboiled detective, Philip Marlowe. The narrative does lack the dark, sarcastic and often biting tone of Marlowe’s novels but Buchanan manages to capture the lush and decadent romanticism of the city of Angels, the damp, oppressive heat of its summer and the colourful cast of characters that Keegan comes across. Having spent a good deal of time in Los Angeles, Keegan's vivid lyricism frequently transported me back to the decaying grandeur of the City of  Angels, albeit an earlier, simpler version of it.
Plenty of unexpected twists make this novel a real page turner and I predict (and hope) we’ll be reading another Jimmy Keegan case in the foreseeable future.

***** 5/5 stars
Thanks to Legend Press for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 10 April 2020


Since April is National Poetry Month I decided to offer you a selection of poems for your viewing and listening pleasure. I challenge those of you who claim not be be poetry lovers to take a look and listen to this eclectic and spellbinding collection. Some are read by the actual poets and some by actors you may or may not recognize.
Poetry is food for the soul. Poetry has the power to move you emotionally and intellectually. As the great poet T.S Eliot said, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood," so don't worry if you can't grasp the meaning of every phrase, just soak up its beauty!
Hope you'll revel in these lush creations and their celebration of language, imagery and the senses. Just click on the title to go to the video.

Still I Rise by MAYA ANGELOU:Watch a young and playful Maya Angelou present this inspiring poem about personal power.

A Letter to Remind Myself Who I Am by SHANE KOYCZAN
Forget the isolation blues! Brilliant Canadian spoken word poet, Shane Koyczan,  performs this motivating poem that will light a spark inside your heart!

You are Old Father William by LEWIS CARROLL (unknown reader)
The nonsense poems of Lewis Carroll are always so refreshing. Here's a cute animated version of the classic from the Alice stories.

Rhapsody on a Windy Night by T.S ELIOT (read by Jeremy Irons)
Ever wondered whose words inspired the famous Cats song Memories? Listen to this gorgeous work by genius wordsmith and my personal favourite of all poets, T.S Eliot and you'll find out. Read by the wonderful Jeremy Irons. Who can resist that velvet voice?

The Greatest Poem in the English Language by RICHARD BURTON
Speaking of gorgeous voices. Check out this short but incredible piece performed by Richard Burton.

It's a rare treat to listen to the brilliant Canadian writer read one of her poems. Most people don't realize Atwood is a gifted and renowned poet as well as novelist.

Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines by PABLO NERUDA: read by Andy Garcia
Here's something for the romantics among you. A translation of the great Chilean poet's wistful, heartrending piece, read with sexy restraint by Andy Garcia. Break out the Kleenex, you'll need one after listening to this.

Naked by PABLO NERUDA: read by Sting
The first minute and a twelve seconds of this recording is a master class in romantic and erotic imagery, read impeccably by Sting. What follows is a song by Josh Groban which sadly doesn't measure up to the brilliance of the poem.

The Cinnamon Peeler by MICHAEL ONDAATJE
Staying with the sexy poems, here's a treat. Watch incredible Canadian poet and novelist, Michael Ondaatje read this gorgeous poem. Born in Sri Lanka, the poem reflects the lush and sensual imagery of his birthplace.

Looking for something a little more cerebral?

Dark Pines Under Water by GWENDOLYN MACEWAN
The late Canadian icon of modernist poetry reflects on the internal journey of the reader as triggered by the reflected landscape. Some interpretations also claim this is a tribute to Group of Seven landscape artist Tom Thomson, an intrepid explorer who drowned mysteriously on Algonquin Park's Canoe Lake.

Burnt Norton: Part 1 of The Four Quartets by T.S. ELIOT (unknown reader)
Listen to Eliot's haunting reflection on time, beauty, faith, alternate realities and possibilities. Inspired by his time spent at Burnt Norton Manor in Gloucestershire, this beautifully presented masterpiece read by a talented female reader is rich with phrases and images that will revisit you in dreams.


NEW BOOK COMING DECEMBER 2023!! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming new novel from Severn House Publishers (a division of Canon...