Tuesday, 12 June 2018

How Did I Get Here?

How Did I Get Here? is a book that could be an exciting fictional tale, but it isn't. It is, instead, an exciting factual tale.

In it, computer, internet and cyber security expert Tony McDowell writes a riveting story of how he did get to where he is in his life.

He did not have a very auspicious start in life, his family didn't have much money and was beset with problems in their back-to-back house in the Midlands city of Birmingham.

He was brought up with a series of hopes and promises, all of which were smashed like a bag of lightbulbs being dropped.

Rather than being crushed down by these setbacks, only child Tony decided that he was going to succeed in spite of every setback.

He took the decision to leave school early on the strength of a job offer to enter the then extremely new field of computing, right at the beginning in the mid-1960s.

He became a computer programmer and absorbed the complex computer languages that the behemoth devices of those days required to keep them running.

He took up a very good job offer in South Africa, but found himself troubled by life under the apartheid regime.

However, success in his chosen field meant that he could return home to the UK and to fulfil the dream of running his own business.

His efforts paid off handsomely and his business grew to the point that, unless he actually wanted to, he need never work again.

However, his life was to take a different turn when, after a chance meeting, he was introduced to the world of IT security and the use of hacking for benign and altruistic purposes. 

He launched a new business and pretty quickly it grew to the point that received so much attention that it soon garnered an offer to buy the business.

It's a fascinating and extremely well-written book and at £11.99 it is a very good read. Am I biased because I was born only five miles away in another suburb of Birmingham? I don't think so. To find out, you'll have to buy the book (it's published by Matador) for yourself!

Untangling the Webs

Untangling the Webs is a relationship novel with a difference, because author Joy Pearson has brought her readers a novel that is not only about relationships, but also a thriller, too.

It tells the stories of women and the men in their lives. There are Alison,  who is an interior designer, who is single, Julia, a married beautician, Phoebe, a widow who is nor without funds, plus Trudie, a stress counsellor, who is also a widow.

They work through a number of issues that impinge on their lives in a number of ways. Poor behaviour, deceit, cheating, shocks and stakers.

This novel starts with betrayal (the giveaway were a pair of pink angora mittens in a place where no pink angora mittens had any right to be) and quickly slipped into risky, dangerous and drunken behaviour to the aural backdrop of Pink Floyd.

It careens through hearts being dented, if not outright broken, mistakes, some seriously stupid stuff  and shows how you really can't keep a good person down, no matter how hard you try!

The women in this novel are there for each other and it works very well on several levels.

Joy Pearson is an exceptionally gifted writer who brings the lives of her characters to vivid life as they try to find some joy and happiness, again.

Will they succeed? You'll have to read the novel to learn that, but Joy Pearson has the knack to make you care enough to keep turning the pages.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.