The Reapers, by John Connolly, Hodder Stoughton, 14.99 hardback).
THIS is Paradise Lost for the modern era.
At the centre of the action are hitmen Louis and Angel, whose evil work is interrupted when they get on the wrong end of a contract.
They are forced to call in old favours as the noose tightens around their necks and this draws innocent garage mechanic Willie Brew into the drama. He owes them for saving his flagging business and feels duty-bound to help them.
Little does he realise that they are locked in a battle between two powerful families, who are using all the dark forces at their disposal to carry on their unceasing battle which no-one can win.
With characters like Gabriel, a shadowy establishment figure who runs the hit-men and Milton, who represents the government intelligence services, it's not difficult to draw the parallel with the epic poem.
Connolly can be a little wordy, but this is excellent stuff.****
And the Train Goes . . . by William Bee Walker Books, 5.99).
A WONDERFULLY illustrated book with vibrant red and green pictures and some great repetitive phrases which make it a perfect read-aloud book.
You join the many eclectic and eccentric passengers as you journey down the carriages of a train and listen to the various noises they all make.
There are ladies off to the races, children on a school trip, business men going to the city, and chickens off to market - all making sounds that come together to make a soothing, clickety-clack rhythm.
Simple text, lovely vintage pictues and a great addition to your bookshelf.*****
Tara Caiinn Beep Beep/Choo Choo by Horacek Walker Books, 4.99 each).
THESE board books have bold illustrations and playful-sounding words, and the die-cut pages are fun and add character.
Choo Choo is an old-fashioned train ride with the passengers passing a town and woods, then going over a bridge and into a tunnel, and back into the sunshine and arriving at the seaside.
Beep Beep is about a noisy car journey to Granny's House with lovely, catchy sounds.