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BOOKS: BEST OF THE REST...

INCOMPETENCE by Rob Grant (Gollancz, pounds 9.99)

Ever had that dream where everything's conspiring to stop you dead in your tracks? Thwarted by booking agents who can't book and informants who've forgotten their information, that's how it is for Europol detective Harry Salt. As he solves the mysteries of the Paris poisoning and his colleague's untimely death, this feels like crime fantasy Fawlty Towers-style. But Grant's wacky ideas add up to a tall tale about the EU threatening the US's superpower status. Go figure.LOOK OUT FOR...Absolute Friends by John le Carre (Hodder, pounds 18.99): Celebrated spymaster le Carre tackles treachery and betrayal in this novel spanning 50 years of warfare and terrorism... Split Second by David Baldacci (Simon & Schuster, pounds 16.99): Two secret agents bond over their failure to prevent the deaths of important men in their care... Phoenix by John Connor (Orion, pounds 9.99): West Yorkshire detective constable Karen Sharpe confronts her traumatic past to get to the bottom of some particularly grisly murders.A GIRL COULD STAND UP by Leslie Marshall (Doubleday, pounds 12.99)

When six-year-old Elray sees her parents die in a freak accident, she's left with a Harry Potter-esque scar and two unusual carers. The shrink might not approve, but life with Aunt Ajax and Uncle Harwood is about to become infinitely more interesting. Reality and imagination blur as Elray learns life's lessons from secret friends and co-adventurers. But this coming-of-age tour mistakes quirkiness for quality. More mystifying than magical.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 12, 2003
Words:251
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