Reader Reviews

The Martin Cole Novels The Blackpool Novels Fracking The UK

The Martin Cole Novels

Cole In The Country

Great light-hearted read which I couldn't put down. If you've ever lived in a small country town you will find many of the scenes and characters familiar. Well-written and highly entertaining from start to end. Also, a bargain at the e-read price!

When I was a young bloke, escaping from London (work, grime, pressure) was an 'in' thing to do, and Alan Toothill nicely captures the feeling of settling into a rural existence, with all of its quirky novelty. When I did it, I wasn't on the run from a relationship, like Martin Cole, but his attitude towards his ex, and hers towards him, are perfectly believable. In fact all of the characters and relationships are believable, while being often out of context and unexpected, as such things are in real life. It's quite compulsive reading as well, and blessedly free of fashionable psychological agonizing or attitudinizing. Martin is a self-confessed MCP, which adds a nice touch of irony to the book. All in all, definitely recommended.

Comment on this review -
Self-confessed MCP? I dispute that. I am a New Man. OK, I haven't made it all the way there yet, but I'm trying. Just because when I look at an attractive woman my gaze occasionally falls below neck line.... Martin Cole

A fun tale, full of interesting characters and surprise events. Relaxed but lively prose together with a well-judged level of plot complexity makes for a very satisfying read. I look forward to reading more in the series.

I enjoyed the book very much and read it over a couple of days whilst on holiday. Not too taxing but very engaging. I have read lots of crime books over the years and this sits well amongst them. I think I could get to like Martin Cole and fully intend to read the other books in the series.

Martin Cole is a more or less unreconstructed male, often foolish and sometimes annoying, but funny , and it's a good story. The West Country setting is great. A really good read - fast paced, full of humour, and well written.

Racy entertainment which hurries you through the book at a heady speed. By turn dramatic and whimsical, it's an engaging yarn embroidered with fine observations and badinage.The sexual pleasantries were perhaps less successful but this is a minor quibble and a personal one. In short Cole in the Country develops into an enjoyable and distracting page-turner.

Is it comedy or is it a mystery ? I say the best of a blend of both. Easily a five-star read. So much so that one might expect that a movie or TV script with well-known actors had preceded the book. Very much looking forward to reading more!
Bill R

Cole And The Cat Woman

I enjoyed this light and entertaining book. The narration style is easy and witty. The character down to earth. The story simple and flows well.
Dr Rash

Cole And The Cactus Thief

Very entertaining, lighthearted read; even if you're not a mystery buff. I've never been to the UK so I can't comment on the veracity of the setting but the characters and their dialogue all appear genuinely unique and believable - not to mention funny. And to my mind a bit in the vein of Hitchcock's humor and with a sprinkling of Marple thrown in. I especially enjoyed the repartee between the middle-aged-recently-divorced Cole, his young assistant and the various other female characters including his ex. This may be the best of the series so far but are several re-appearing characters and references to earlier episodes so it's advisable to read the series in order beginning with 'Cole In The Country'. Well-done.
Bill R

Not being quite used yet to reading on an electronic device I just finished my first novel on kindle. Three days of excellent reading. You have to like England and Englishmen (that may prove harder than it seems for French) but then it becomes lots of fun. A dapper detective who copes with all these different problems at the same time, keeping his calm in all circumstances. I look forward to reading the other volumes. One tip: for the international public I would leave out the fish and ships.

The Blackpool Novels

Marton Mere

If you like gritty crime fiction, I can really recommend this. It's lively, wry and very entertaining, with a plot that's not over-complicated (which suits me), and a great variety of characters. The background setting of Blackpool fits the story perfectly, but don't expect candy floss and donkey rides.

I loved the word play the best. I think it takes a lot of talent to write a good suspense novel, and then to take it up a notch with wit and sarcasm is fantabulous!! I liked this book for all that and more. The plot is simple to follow and the dialogs are to die for. If you enjoy intelligent and humor as sides to your suspense, then you will love this book!
Dr Rash

Here's the seamier side of the seaside, explored with virtuoso cynicism. Grady's been around the block a few times but his hard-bitten character almost meets his match in the murky depths.

Payback Call

Authors frequently turn to their past to inspire and fuel their early works and it seems that Nick Poulton has close associations with the location of this high-paced thriller.
Blackpool is a town that has changed. A bawdy but vibrant resort in the '50s and '60s (Les Dawson a once-time resident perhaps best embodies its taste and character), it drew vast numbers of working class families to its serried rows of B&Bs. Then, having prospered, the town underwent a seachange as cheap air travel and cheaper accommodation lured its visitors to the sun drenched but even gaudier resorts of the Costas. The package holidays of Blackpool were replaced by the packaged holidays of Benidorm.
Blackpool lost both its wealth and its innocence. Today the centre of the town is tacky and there's a pervading sense of despair. It is into this fading urban landscape that Nick Poulton sets his roman noir.
Escaping from unpromising or more accurately foreshortening career prospects in Blackpool, Steve Latham has spent the last twenty years in London. There, a chance encounter with a former Blackpool acquaintance brings him back to the town of his birth. The scene is set, the drama unfolds and the seedy underbelly of the town is revealed. Blackpool is now a far cry from scenes depicted in the saucy postcards of Donald McGill, from the kiss-me-quick hats and the handkerchiefs with twisted corners which served as sun shields for balding middle-aged men.
Drugs are rife, beatings commonplace as Latham finds himself embroiled in the quest for a missing person and his own buried past.

Fracking The UK

"A balanced and clear assessment of the state of fracking in the UK."
Fracking (Shale Gas Extraction by Hydraulic Fracturing) is a subject which is grabbing more and more media attention by the day. It is surrounded by complicated scientific, environmental and emotional arguments.
In "Fracking the UK" Alan Tootill pulls together the history of the subject, analyses the current situation and looks at possible future developments with a sure-footed style which encourages you to persevere when the subject matter gets challenging. If you are new to the subject and are looking for a primer this book is a must-read. For those who are already knowledgeable you will find a wealth of relevant material with the arguments laid out in a logical and clear fashion. I am full of respect for the depth of the author's research and his clear analysis of a very complicated subject.
If you read just one book on fracking this year make it this one!

"Essential Insights"
As Cuadrilla and its cohorts launch their campaign to persuade the public that shale gas is the answer to the UK's economic woes, the citizens of our country might care to look behind the PR smokescreen. Alan Tootill's thorough, forensic investigation of the onshore drilling industry provides just the analysis the situation calls for. With extraordinary tenacity and attention to detail - historical, technical, scientific, financial and political - Tootill fills the gaps in our knowledge. He notably compiles evidence from the North-American experience of fracking to counter the assurances of those who have an interest in suggesting that it has been largely trouble-free. He unpicks the tissues of half-truths and misrepresentation aimed at making us believe that fracking is our `get out of jail free' card for a lower-carbon future.
He shows that plans for fracking in the UK (covering a wide number of sites, extending to Scotland and Wales) are weak in respect of science and financing, and dangerous by virtue of inadequate regulation (the experience of off-shore drilling, frequently invoked to shore up the credibility of the companies involved, does not translate to onshore exploration). He catalogues the unexamined assumptions and unproven assertions underpinning speculative proposals for exploiting coal bed methane - the `twin sister of shale gas' - and underground coal gasification. This clear-eyed, research-based appraisal denounces the flimsy nature of such plans, while illuminating the sinister web of disinformation that gives them traction nonetheless in the highest reaches of political decision-making. Here is a comprehensive and timely study which should become essential reading.
Henry Becque

"Excellent - get up to speed on one of the biggest threats facing this country"
Fracking is an issue that has the potential to cause serious adverse consequences at just about every scale from the molecular to the global - and yet few people understand what it is about.
Alan Tootil has turned his eloquent literary style (he is a established novellist) to helping explain the issues, particularly in the UK context. As such it is a book that everyone should read in order to understand why so many people with no history of activism have become such committed 'Fractivists' - fighting the menace that fracking poses to our water supplies, our land and property values, our farmland, our air quality, our rural landscapes, our health and the fight against global warming.
Drawing on wide-ranging sources and resisteing the tempation to be sensationalist, this is a well written and accessible read about what can be a complex and easily misunderstood topic.
It deserves to be in every library in the country and read by every decison maker - local and central government - across the land.

Andy Chyba

"Great Read"
Excellent book and very detail on the subject Fracking the Uk.
Would highly recommend this book.
Best book for Fracking and up to date information intact the latest information.

"So helpful in our campaign to fight against the fracking threat"
Alan kindly donated this book to our cause to try and prevent Cuadrilla taking over and destroying the countryside around our little village. It is very easy to read for non-scientists (like me!) and well-laid out and extremely well referenced. Invaluable! Thanks Alan!
Nancy Balcombe

"A Great Job Done Here"
I have never met Alan Tootill but I think that he deserves a medal for writing this book. If you have ever been on holiday to Northumberland, The Peak District National Park or the North Yorks Moors National Park or The Forest of Bowland AONB or any AONB on the south coast of England you should read this book and see what the government has in store for these precious areas of Britain.

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