IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 24 Tuesday, 27 October 2009 London Lite GOOD grief, not another autobiography by a comedian. In fact, no, this isnt Dara O Briains thinly disguised greatest hits in book form (unlike recent efforts from Frankie Boyle and Jack Dee). Hes far too clever to churn out something so predictable. To me, Wicklow man O Briain appears out of place on Mock The Week, a showcase for some of the dullest comics on TV; he seems much more at home on QI with his intelligence and curiosity. In Tickling The English, O Briain takes his 2008 UK tour as a foundation for an outsiders view of his adoptive country (his wife and child are English; he lives in London). Its been done before, but he doesnt use broad brush strokes. Yes, we moan too much (he has no time for those who rubbish our NHS and demonise our young or our cultural life, and has robust statistics and anecdotes to back up his view) and we tend to overestimate our position in the world (about fifth, he reckons) but otherwise were a disparate bunch who resist national stereotypes and who should be more thankful for our lot. Its all done in a breezy, erudite fashion which makes this that rare thing: a book by a comic thats entertaining, fresh and worth reading. PAUL CONNOLLY D IE-HARD Martina Cole fans will not be disappointed with her latest novel, Hard Girls. It has all the tough, gritty and addictive components that are synonymous with her East End-set, bestselling books. From loveable gangster rogues to heart-warming, likeable prostitutes, to odious bent police and, of course, some kick-ass strong women you wouldnt want to mess with, this crime thriller has them in spades. Straying slightly from her usual dodgy, wheeler-dealer skulduggery, Hard Girls follows a criminal investigation into the impossibly graphic, gruesome and dis- turbing killings of local prostitutes. Cole geeks will be pleased to welcome back popular character DCI Kate Burrows. Anyone who enjoyed the authors 1993 novel The Ladykiller will be familiar with the hard-but-fair filth, who also liked to brush (romanti- cally) with the wrong side of the law. Kate is back to help the equally tough and dedicated leading detective, Annie Carr, track down the killer. Of course, if Kates back then surely the smoother-than-silk but smoulder- ingly dangerous Patrick Kelly is too? Yes (thanks, Cole), and although Pats officially gone straight and retired as a gangland boss, squeaky clean he aint. Sure enough, after discovering that hes somehow up to his neck in dead brasses, love doesnt run smoothly for the unlikely pair. With enough dodgy characters and iffy situations to arouse suspicion everywhere, the meticulous and methodical killer is frustratingly impossible to catch. However, Kate is still at the top of her game and, with her trusted team, she works to bring justice to the streets. Packed full of suspense and twists, Hard Girls keeps you questioning whodunnit right to the end. The entertaining characters and straight-down-the-line dialogue that helped catapult Coles previous 15 books, make it impossible to put down. It delivers everything fans would expect, with as much brute force, stomach- churning detail and tough talk as you could hope for. And if you are new to her books, it will no doubt have you running to the library to catch up. REVIEWSBOOKS Darashowswhatafunnylotof moanerstheEnglishcanbe... PSYCHOLOGY What The Dog Saw ByMalcolmGladwell(AllenLane,20) IN THESE essays, pop sociologist Gladwell -- the man behind the bestselling books The Tipping Point and Blink -- dissects subjects ranging from breast cancer to job interviews, homelessness and Enrons crash. He has divided a selection of his articles from The New Yorker into three sections. The first deals with what he calls minor geniuses: the man who invented the Pill; the TV dog- trainer Cesar Millan, who uses pack mentality to calm animals. The second is about flawed ways of thinking. The third focuses on how we make predictions about people: will they make a good employee? Are they intelligent? He examines why every company in Silicon Valley was once desperate to hire the same college graduate. Gladwell points out the blindingly obvious truths that stare us in the face. He shows us the world through the eyes of others; in the title essay, he even shows us the world through the eyes of a dog. He has been voted one of the 100 most influential people in the US and his investigations are clear-signed and thought- provoking. Whether you agree with him or not, he can certainly start a discussion. BRIAN ELLIS MARIAN KEYESS publishers have missed a trick by releasing her latest book -- easily her best so far -- in hardback without a removable cover. How are literary snobs going to enjoy their guiltiest pleasure in public now? While you can feel your brain cells start to disappear a few pages in, this is alarmingly addictive. It follows the boyfriend-swapping antics of the inhabitants of 66 Star Street in Dublin -- music PR Katie, taxi driver Lydia, mystic hotline worker Jemima and unhappily married couple Maeve and Matt. Over 600-plus pages there is an attempted suicide, a death, a rape and a lot of sex (but no scenes that would make your granny blush) and, by the time all the characters have obtained their happily ever after, youll have been persuaded to read Keyess entire back catalogue -- well, the books with removable jackets, at least. LAUREN PAXMAN NOT For Tourists beat rival guides hands down with the sort of tips your mates would give. This one takes on the daunting task of squeezing the delights of London into a pocket-sized book. Handy pointers are given with warm affection: Covent Garden is a big set from a crap film, Shepherds Bush infamous for shoot- outs at Nandos and in Marylebone you should visit Claridges to tell Gordon Ramsay to f*** off. Ironically, perfect for tourists, but also for any Londoners not too up themselves to enjoy their own city. STEPHEN MARR NFT London 2010 ByNotForTourists (NotForTouristsInc,9.99) Newpaperbacks TRAVEL Tickling The English ByDaraOBriain(Penguin,18.99) WHAT a treat. An astute writer haunts the art world and reports it in great detail -- the artists and the bulls**tters, the millionaires, the hangers-on. You learn a lot. For instance: an auctioneer can spot a bidder before their hand goes up; red paintings sell better than brown ones and Nicholas Serota sets his watch 10 minutes fast. The action happens before the recession, but theres a handy afterword, too. WILLIAM LEITH Seven Days In The Art World BySarahThornton (Granta,8.99) THIS 700-- page brick of a book tells the life story of Warren Buffett, possibly the best maker of money in history. Born in 1930, he grew up in Depression- era Nebraska. He had two beautiful sisters but was shy and awkward himself. As a boy, he was fixated by the idea that, given time, money snowballs. Then he made tens of billions of dollars. His secret? He studied the stock market all day, every day, for decades. So when he invested, he knew what he was doing. Simple. WL The Snowball ByAliceSchroeder (Bloomsbury,10.99) THE BIG READ Hard Girls ByMartinaCole(Headline,18.99) REBECCA BOYCE CHICK-LIT The Brightest Star In The Sky ByMarianKeyes(Penguin,18.99) Gritty city: Martina Cole has penned another tough crime thriller Worth reading: O Briain Killer twist for East End girls index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html