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by Michelle Medhat on
Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business is a superb sequel providing an illuminating background to Colin Bailey, and what happened after he left with his boss turned lover Sue Owens for the Gambia at the end of The Final Straw. Unfinished Business and The Final Straw have later been combined to become Conception: The Birth of the Phoenix. As maternal matters go, this was free of any labour pains. Although pain was certainly the aim as anti-hero Colin Bailey initiated his meticulous maelstrom of revenge and righteousness upon the uncaring, and moreover, unsuspecting world. The Colin Bailey seen in Unfinished Business has transformed. Far from the shy, confused and lonely young man in The Final Straw, here we see a man who has known a woman’s real love (not just the imitation love of convenience displayed by his former wife Karen), but has had that love wrenched from him, and during that moment of separation, a part of Bailey ripped apart too. Such divesting created the impetus to fuel Bailey’s future actions. Bailey, a man with nothing to hold him down, capable of righting injustice, delivering his unique counter-argument to criminals with sharp lawyers. Taking in the Mr Tayler's words that weave his creation, it would appear that Bailey is a cold blooded killer; a man who murders by any means, but this characterisation is too straightforward to capture what has really been crafted. Bailey is actually a metaphysical representation of our darkest moments; the moments when we desire retribution for wrongs that are done to us, but unlike Bailey we do not have the ‘special skill set’ to deploy such reprisals. By tapping into this almost primal urge: to eradicate the evil that exists amongst us, Mr Tayler has embedded subconsciously a connection that makes this book so engrossing. It is why we root for the anti-hero, and why we don't want to see Bailey captured by DCI Hounsell.

Throughout the book there is a position advanced that the law – in its many forms - is an ineffectual and lumbering beast weighed down by the bulk of its own bureaucracy, and those that try to enforce it are stifled to act & become disenchanted and cynical to the effectiveness of it all. Bailey uses this weakness against them, and also applies this belief to vindicate his executions. He believes, somewhat in error, that the police have not the capability to think like him, and it is this presumption that leads to a hair raising chase and a terrifying denouement for all players.

The characters of DCI Hounsell and his sidekick Zara Wheeler are a formidable team, but they start off wary of each other and eventually enter into a rather prickly partnership. I enjoyed watching Zara morph into a woman who was unafraid to live a little and who was confident to be her own, a times rather quirky, self. Had Zara not been on the team it is doubtful whether Hounsell would have reached the same conclusions. Bailey based his planning on the capabilities of Hounsell and others of his ilk, and didn't factor in someone like Zara having intelligence to match his. A grave miscalculation, borne from Bailey's own hubris that cost him dearly in the end.

Unfinished Business is a tour de force story, dark but humorous, told in a 'nod and a wink' style that fascinates and captivates, and keeps you reading. The ending provides a pitch perfect entrée into the shadowy world of the Olympus Project and the emergence of new incarnation of Bailey as The Phoenix. Highly recommended! A book not to miss on your reading list.

by Michelle Medhat on
The Final Straw

Story-telling at its finest!
From the first line 'Colin Bailey was invisible' it is clear that this book will be a journey of regret, revenge and a litany of deep longing for a life that had been denied. Although Mr Tayler writes his prose with a conversational knowing wink, and scenes play out as if one's watching a high end drama, there is a constant inner pain that threads through, giving a touching, engrossing realism, which in less experienced hands, would have descended into predictable cliché. This is storytelling at its finest!
In the character of Colin Bailey a fascinating creature has been sculpted out of the written word. Each page carves away the person that Bailey eventually becomes. Although seemingly devoid of emotion, Bailey is not your archetypal sociopath killer. He's complex, has a brilliant scheming mind and at times he's contradictory. The trust he places in a certain friendship shows a desperate need to be recognised, to be wanted. Bailey has the ability to love and is not as cold as his future actions dictate him to be, but it's just that no one has showed him how to. The ambivalence displayed by his mother to his existence defined a path to her own destiny, and her own predilections only hastened the decision that was made. For Bailey, this was the eponymous Final Straw.
With no friends, and clearly preferring to be a loner, Bailey uses hard rock gigs as a proxy for social interaction. A practice that leads him to tragedy, as he eventually loses the one person that warms his heart, and helps him know the true meaning of 'to love someone'. The perpetrator evades Bailey's wrath, and is incarcerated in jail but it's obvious that a bull's eye is on the miscreant's back and Bailey will soon be firing.
Despite the ingenious killing spree - that almost goes on beneath the noses of the local beat, with the exception of DI Phil Hounsell - Bailey is a principled man with standards; he's hardworking, sharp and meticulous in his planning and execution of 'tasks'. A very striking aspect that I found throughout the story, was the instrument of time appears in a non-threatening context, with Bailey not being commanded or intimidated by its function, choosing instead to use it to his advantage, with time itself becoming his ally. People forget over time, little things remembered once appear insignificant against new encounters, new experiences, and this gives rise to opportunity for a man like Bailey to succeed.
As a writer, Mr Tayler’s style captures you, and although rooting for the killer isn’t the usual stance to take, Bailey is the perfect antihero, and you want him to get away with those murders, you want him to avenge for the life that was taken from him in so many ways. The Final Straw is an absorbing read, pulsing with an undercurrent of righteousness, and as a reader, you will be hooked, so much so you’ll be devouring the sequel Unfinished Business before you even recognise it. That’s the power of Bailey’s invisibility!

by Jean Gill on
It's Not Rocket Science

I didn’t want to read this book but I’m glad I did. It took me 30 minutes to read and taught me many things about twitter that I didn’t know, and that will save me time in how I now use twitter. It also taught me how I could use a free app. to revolutionise how I use twitter and to do exactly what the title says, ‘Get 100K targeted followers’. If a reader is prepared to follow these instructions, I’m sure they would work.

Ted Tayler is honest and principled. He makes his aims clear and if you want to connect with like-minded people and hope to further your business, he shows how these two aims can drive your twitter connections. He also points out that ‘driving your business’ cannot be the only aim or you won’t succeed. He tells you clearly how to identify and block the shark accounts that infest twitter seas.

So why didn’t I want to read this book? Because I could have spent that half hour reading something enjoyable rather than useful. Because Ted Tayler thinks spending 40 minutes per day on twitter is fine – it is too much for me. However friendly the author’s tone, he is giving me inside knowledge of how to analyse twitter statistics and maximize efficiency. I worked in education for many years; I understand statistiscs, analysis, targets and efficiency but I don’t want them any more. Many people do, and they will find this book helpful.

It has helped me greatly in clarifying how I want to incorporate twitter into my contacts with like-minded people. But do I want actually want contact with 100K people? No. This book has helped me realise what is involved so thank you, Ted Tayler.

by Jeremy Crostyn on
It's Not Rocket Science

Smart, Funny, and Helpful

Twitter is that monster out there that no one is really sure how to use. Except maybe the author, Mr. Tayler. He uses his expertise on the social media platform to help us gain real followers, get real interactions, and most of all, become visible. He shares not only his successes but his failures so we don't make the same mistake too. If you wish to navigate the twitters phere better, this book is a pretty darn handy road map.

by Gisela Hausmann on
It's Not Rocket Science

If you are a tweepi subscriber you should buy this book

This book has a major flaw and it is its title. Somehow the title implies that the reader gets to learn substantial information about how to use twitter effectively; after all, getting 100K followers is no small feat. Everybody who has twiddle-tweeted on Twitter knows that.
The problem is that author Ted Tayler describes only one way how to go about reaching the 100K subscribers - his way (which isn't meant negatively in any way) - via using Tweepi.

If you are already a subscriber of Tweepi I would urge you to buy this book and study it, twice. I am under the impression that the book describes the process well.

My problem is that I used to be a Tweepi subscriber (in 2013) and I made bad experiences. Though I followed Tweepi's plan, Twitter did not like what I was doing. Thank God I was able to get back on Twitter again but ever since I vowed I'd never have anything to do with any of these services. Also: (full disclosure) Tweepi reimbursed me in full after I cancelled on grounds of what happened. No harsh feelings there.

Going back to the beginning - this book's title needs to be "Twitter: It's Not Rocket Science - when using Tweepi" (or something like that). If the book had a similar title I'd give it 5 stars.

by Michelle Medhat on

A captivating read – storytelling at its best!

Conception is two earlier books Unfinished Business and The Final Straw combined to give the full backstory as to how Colin Bailey became The Phoenix. As maternal matters go, this was free of any labour pains. Although pain was certainly the aim as anti-hero Colin Bailey initiated his meticulous maelstrom of revenge and righteousness upon the uncaring, and moreover, unsuspecting world. From the first line 'Colin Bailey was invisible' it is clear that this book will be a journey of regret, revenge and a litany of deep longing for a life that had been denied. Although Mr Tayler writes his prose with a conversational knowing wink, and scenes play out as if one's watching a high end drama, there is a constant inner pain that threads through, giving a touching, engrossing realism, which in less experienced hands, would have descended into predictable cliché. This is storytelling at its finest!

It is interesting to see, when both books are read back to back, that a clear change in tone has come through. The Final Straw has Bailey as a loner; a shy and confused young man. Unfinished Business shows the transformation, and demonstrates what the love of a good woman has done for him. Accomplished, confident and cool. This is the tone of the second book. There is also certain arrogance that becomes Bailey’s downfall in the final scenes.

The partnership of Phil Hounsell and Zara Wheeler fondly named ‘Cat and Mouse’, was fascinating to read, and it is hoped that Bailey’s nemesis won’t be too far behind in The Phoenix series of books. Throughout Unfinished Business there is some reluctance from Hounsell, in wanting to catch Bailey, and this can be partly attributed to the similar attitude Hounsell and Bailey share for ‘taking out the trash’ on the streets of the UK. However, Hounsell cannot countenance Bailey’s dispatch of his parents with quite the same dispassionate regard, and Bailey is thus his quarry.

As one goes through the book, it becomes apparent for all Bailey’s intricate planning and his great intelligence, his lack of emotional connectivity leaves him open to make mistakes. The hostage taking is perhaps a step too far. He believes himself to untouchable, and doesn’t factor in people with similar intelligence on his tail. A miscalculation that results in a heart-pounding ending, and one for me, establishes Mr Tayler as a master craftsman in the written word.

I really enjoyed Conception. It is one of those reads that engrosses and captivates. I would highly recommend Mr Tayler’s exciting opus into the mind, motivation and life of a disturbed but incredibly likable young man, and I look forward to reading about the shadowy world of the Olympus Project and their role in Bailey’s new life.

by Jackie Parry on
It's Not Rocket Science

Recommended- clear, concise

I’d been learning a lot about twitter before reading this book and I thought I had a good handle on it. This book taught me so much more. The great thing is, I read fast, very fast and I need information to be written in a clear, concise, no-nonsense way, so I can absorb it and understand it immediately – Taylor does this. It’s not dressed up, just told how it is – and it’s easy to follow. Perfect. You don't have to wade through pages trying to get to the answer. If you want to get a handle on Twitter quickly and easily, here’s your answer.

by Geoff Nelder on
It's Not Rocket Science

How to win in 140

I thought I knew everything I needed to know about using twitter both to exchange amusing and interesting news with friends and to promote my books butbutbut I was WRONG. This book I had the privilege to preview blew my misconceptions away. It is part history, debunking some practices and highlighting what works. If you want twitter to help sell your books, paintings, tickets for a show or your cupcakes this book should be read first.

by Benedict Martin on

Entertaining read

Conception is a collection of two books, and there is a definite contrast between the novels. The first novel is an introduction to a character who is most definitely disturbed, yet at times appears normal. Colin Bailey, as he is known in The Final Straw, is a young man trying to find his way in life. His father abandoned him at a young age, while his mother barely acknowledges him, so it's understandable that he would be saddled with some issues.

But then something terrible happens, and the formerly awkward Colin Bailey is transformed into a vigilante. This is the Colin Owens we meet in Unfinished Business. Now he's a stone cold killer, with the experience and resources to carry out his brand of justice with frightening efficiency.

And then there's DI Phil Hounsell. He appears in both books, but it's in Unfinished Business that he truly comes to life, chasing leads across England in attempt to bring Colin to justice. Hounsell and Owens are true enemies, and it's fascinating watching Colin trying to stay one step ahead of the law.

Conception is a fun, at times disturbing, look into the evolving mind of a killer who is convinced his path is a righteous one.

by Helen Lloyd on
Gold, Silver, and Bombs

Another fast paced page-turner
I was kindly given a free copy of this for an honest review, so here goes. This is the second book in this series I have read with the character Phoenix. This first I read from start to finish in less than a day. The second instalment also proved to be just as compelling to read. Definitely worth a download and here's to the third in the series.

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