Abrupt Physics CvrWhat are the physics of dying? Your heart stopping, old age, stroke, cancer. A tragic accident – being burned, murdered….The list is endless. But does the physics relate just to the first person or is it also to do with how death affects those around us and related to us.  I had cause to dwell on this last week when at two thirty in the morning I witnessed two dogs savage a cat in our neighbours front garden. I think I’m still suffering a mild case of PTSD, normally if you yell at a dog rummaging through your bins it will run off… but as much as I screamed and yelled at these two animals from the bedroom window, they were possessed of an age old need to kill and I was powerless to prevent it and one wonders what were the physics behind their need to attack this cat. So to this month’s book. If you were presented with a book titled The Abrupt Physics of Dying, what would your first impressions be? Is it a self help guide to dealing with grief or a medical text book? Would you think it was a thriller? This is the title of Paul E. Hardisty’s debut novel – The Abrupt Physics of Dying.

Published by Orenda Books (www.orendabooks.co.uk), in December 2014 as an eBook and as a paperback in March 2015, its set in Yemen. Claymore Straker is an engineer for Petro-Tex, an oil company who have a number drilling operations in the country. One day he and his driver are kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. They tell Clay their children are being poisoned by something in the water supply which they believe is originating from Petro-tex’s operations. They force Clay to prove to his bosses that the mysterious illness afflicting their families is their fault otherwise his driver and friend Abdulkader will be killed. Clay discovers there is something in the water but when he tries to convince his bosses, samples get lost. He witnesses the company’s head of security murdering an innocent tribal leader and his elders. All the while the political situation in Yemen starts to crumble and the country nears the precipice of civil war. To try and stop the poisoning and prove to the world that Petro-Tex are involved the cover up of an environmental disaster, he must go on the run from his bosses, the government and other shadowy individuals. Along the way he enlists the help of a French Journalist Rania LaTour. Will Clay and Rania get out of Yemen alive , while saving the innocents?

The first thing that occurred to me when I was reading the opening chapters was, Claymore Straker is trying to be Jack Reacher, or at least a half decent copy. The only differences between Paul and Lee is about seventeen books, eighteen if you include Reacher’s latest adventure “Make Me” which is published in September [rubs hands gleefully]. As well as a couple of million in Child’s bank balance, while Claymore has a passport and owns a company. But this isn’t a bad thing, because Lee can only write so fast and in trying to feed the veracious appetite of his fans, it helps to have another author who can sustain the Reacherites and Reacherettes while his films and books are being produced.

Yehemen wadi

The book is a big read at four hundred and forty pages, and makes it an ideal sun lounger or long haul companion. While I did feel it dragged in parts, the story is gritty, action packed and topical. Paul’s background as a Hydrologist and engineer comes out in the scientific detail and his experiences from working in various parts of the world including Yemen flow off the page and you can feel the desert heat and the sand swirl around you.


Paul E. Hardisty

This is Paul’s first work of fiction, in the past he’s written a number of educational books including “The Economics of Groundwater Protection and Remediation” (2004) as well as co written numerous other scholarly papers and reports. Canadian by birth, he has worked all over the world in the area of hydrology and environmental science. His life reads like a fictional character. He worked on oil rigs in Texas, searched for gold in the Arctic, befriended PKK rebels in turkey, rehabilitated wells in Africa and survived a bomb blast in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in 1993. He’s a visiting professor at Imperial College London and director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. Not to mention a sailor, private pilot and outdoorsman, who lives in Australia. Harrison Ford and Bear Grylls can all now leave the building.

Another thing that makes this book standout as a great read is the use of Arabic throughout the whole story. Other books will have a minor sprinkling of the local dialect throughout just to give you a taste. In Hardisty’s book you are immersed in the language and Yemeni culture on every page, just when you think you might need a translator, he neatly stitches the translation into the sentence so that after a while you never even notice.

So if you’re looking for a great read to fill the gap between the next Reacher installment in September and your two weeks in the sun. Pack this in your travel bag, dig out your desert boots, water canteen and factor 50 and prepare to be wowed by a new kid on the block. Then when you’re finished, prepare for the next Claymore Straker novel in 2016 courtesy of the first chapter of “Evolution of Fear” at the back of the book.



The_Affair cvrI met a friend the other day for lunch in the centre of Dublin, we’ve known each other for about ten years as a result of  meeting through a mutual friend. Over that time the three of us have got together once a year for a week or so, where we have a laugh and a bit of an adventure .

As I was waiting to meet him, I started to wonder what’s best way to greet a friend like this, one that you see occasionally, that you know more about then he knows about you . Also as well as that I was wondering what I’d ask him to write on the inside of his latest book.

Do I run up to him and say “Lee!!!!!!! I’m your biggest fan…” No, that would make me look like a whimsically starry-eyed school girl.

Should I shake his hand and say, “Mr Child I love your work, I think Jack’s great..” No, I’m a forty year old man, who doesn’t run down the street with a tatty autograph book attempting to score pseudo points among his fellow groupies, by trying bag the biggest celebrity autograph they can get within touching distance of.

I’ve often watched the black and white footage of the days of beatle mania and wondered why all those girls got themselves into such a state of  hysteria. Do we live in a different era? No, people still swoon and go mad over pop stars of today, such as Jacko, Rihanna, the X Factor contestants…. But not to the extent as back then.

Why? Deep down they’re human beings just like us, most of these people don’t see anything out of the ordinary about what they do, they know they have a talent and just love doing what they do. Whether it’s singing, writing or acting.


For my lunch meeting with Lee Child, the creator of the Jack Reacher novels, things were rather more sedate. The biggest worry on the two girls behind me in the queue, wasn’t a fear of wetting themselves or losing consciousness on meeting him. But would they make it back in time to work after lunch.

Other fears in the queue were the dreadful news that Tom Cruise has stupidly lined himself up to play the  6′ 5 ex military policeman in the film adaptation of One Shot, the ninth book in the series. Which is supposedly in production. Word is Cruise’s production company bought the rights and thus he gets to play the lead…. It’s akin to Jason Statham playing Tom Thumb. One contributor on the Reacher Facebook page suggested that if the casting of Cruise went ahead the rest of the cast would have to be played by midgets.

Meeting an author in the flesh is a bit like meeting a radio presenter you’ve never seen before, you’ve read his words or have heard them through your voice. so you can be a little let down by the person who meets you. They say radio presenters have a face for radio,  in the case of Lee Child he has the good looks  of a tv presenter – ironic as in a former life he worked in television and bares a striking resemblance to a younger  Roger Moore.

Then it came time for me to approach Lee, I walked up to him and politely said “love the books and keep up the good work“. I then asked him to write a birthday dedication to my partner in a copy of his first book Killing Floor. She’s about to become another one of many women who lust after the  fictional military giant. While I was queuing out in the street a chap in front of me pointed out  that the demographics of the people ahead and behind us was typically young to middle age men, but as we progressed into the shop I saw that ratio change to become a healthy fifty fifty if not sixty forty in favour of the women.

The reason Lee Child was in Dublin this week was to sign copies of his latest Reacher book, The Affair. This is the fifteenth book in the series and is set six months before the first book killing Floor. Reacher is still in the Military and is dispatched  undercover to a small two horse town in Mississippi called Carter Crossing where a woman has been murdered, the reason they’ve sent Reacher is there’s a large army base just up road and the fear is the murderer maybe a soldier.

On arriving in Carter Crossing, Reacher discovers this isn’t the only murder to befall the town and sets out with the help of the stunning local sheriff and ex marine Elizabeth Deveraux to  unravel the connection with this and the other murders, while trying to overcome resistance from inside the base and the pentagon, that will set him on a collision course with his masters and explains the reasons behind Jack’s future as a drifter.

This is a another fantastic read from one of the worlds best thriller writers, and an inspiring way to give his previous books a complete and  thrilling back story. The coffee drinking hard man, who shares his taste for black coffee with Child is on top no nonsense form mixed as ever with a bond like ability to get down and dirty with the leading lady in every book to date.

As for making it back in time to the office after lunch. I did and thetom cruise birthday dedication went down a treat, I look forward to hooking up with my two literary friends again next year. As for going to see Tom Cruise as Reacher, I may join the other die hard fans and stay away, unless as I stated on the Reacher facebook page Statham  or someone else of equal stature is cast as the replacement to Cruise.

(First published http://www.murphysview.blogspot.com  2011)



Gne Tmrrw CvrThere’s something we all do on a regular basis, sometimes subconsciously, sometimes deliberately. What? We’ve people watched; you don’t need a specific place. You can watch passers-by from a coffee shop or office window, in a car at traffic lights – by staring at the person in the car behind in the rear-view mirror. You sit there wondering where they’re from or going to, whether they’re singing to themselves or talking to someone on a hands-free. Okay so if you can lip read you know what they’re saying, game over. But for most it’s a fun if slightly voyeuristic game of wondering what their job is or are they married, single, etc.

In the opening chapter of Lee Child’s latest book “Gone Tomorrow”, his hero Jack Reacher is playing the same game. It’s two in the morning on a subway train beneath New York. He’s not doing it to pass the time though; he’s mentally running down a twelve-point list (eleven for women) devised by the Israeli’s, to spot suicide bombers. Of the five others in the carriage one woman is meeting ten of the criteria. So, Reacher being an ex-military police officer has a dilemma. Does he approach her? What if he’s wrong, what if it’s fatigue clouding his judgement? He follows his gut and confronts her, but it goes badly and she pulls a gun and shoots herself.

After that, what seems like a late night suicide on a subway train has the interest of the Fed’s and a mysterious group of well-dressed heavies with fake business cards and a Senator with a military background, Reacher can’t walk away. Especially as he believes he’s responsible for the woman’s suicide. It all leads to a thrilling up to date story with a dramatic climax.


This is Child’s eleventh novel featuring his light travelling, drifter Jack Reacher. He lives off his army pension and carries just his fold up toothbrush, ATM card and an expired passport as well as the clothes he stands up in. I know a few Celtic Tiger Cubs who now lead the same lifestyle. But unlike Jack who also doesn’t own a mobile and just barely knows how to use one, they dream of the days when they won’t have to take public transport.

This is a rock solid thriller that should have a warning on it like I saw on a t-shirt a while ago, it said in large bold lettering “Bomb Squad, if you see me running towards you, keep up!!!” 

Lee Child’s last offering; “Nothing To Lose“, was below par mainly due to a lame plot. In this he’s delivered a tour de force that will again weld him to the top of the bestseller lists far beyond tomorrow.

(Previously published on http://www.murphysview.blogspot.com in 2009)