Showing posts from 2016

Hot off the press

Released today by Mulholland Books for £7.99, the intruiging and clever psychological thriller ‘Lie with Me’ by Sabine Durrant. Escape the winter cold by following the hero or, better still, anti-hero Paul Morris to a Greek Island where he hopes to recapture some of the promise his life once held. Some of us, the older and wiser ones perhaps, will know by now, that nothing ever turns out as we hope for, and soon the protagonist is stuck in the middle of a horrific nightmare.  The author Sabine Durrant, formerly of the Guardian and the Sunday Times, has written, among other novels, two further psychological thrillers.

Plan Ahead! Some exciting reads for the New Year, Part 1

Fellside by M.R. Carey

Published by Orbit in 2016 this mysterious thriller with a strong female protagonist, Jess Moulson, is partially set in a maximum security prison for women on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. Did she commit the murder that put her into Fellside? Will she ever get out? The author M.C. Carey is an established novelist (eg. ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’, soon to be a film) and screenwriter. He has written for DC and Marvel (including runs on X Men and Fantastic Four).

Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell

From the USA and published by Headline in 2016, this is the 12th Kathy Mallory novel. This suspenseful novel features Mallory, a formidable NYPD detective, a dead nun, a disappeared blind child, and a massacre on the mayor’s lawn. The author Carol O’Connell has appeared on US bestseller lists and has been shortlisted for the Edgar Awards and the Barry and Dilys Awards.

Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta

Another suspenseful and action-packed thriller from the USA: From balmy …

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

I love ‘Cosy Euro Crime’, it’s the best of both worlds - it takes me to places I love to visit in the company of some real characters and it leaves me feeling good as opposed to either emotionally raw or just numb after reading some gruesome Scandi-Crime. Not that there isn’t a place for brutal, realistic crime set in the cold icy North. However, writing this review in the North of England during December, an escape, even a virtual one, to a hot Mediterranean island is just the ticket.
Auntie Poldi, the narrator’s German aunt, retires to Sicily to drink herself to death while enjoying a great sea view. Having said that, she’s much too energetic to pop her clogs just yet, and so entertains herself by investigating the murder of her young handyman and by falling head over heels in lust with the detective officially assigned to the case. Does Auntie Poldi manage to sober up long enough to solve the crime and seduce the detective?

The German novelist Mario Giordano, son of Italian immigr…

The Plague Road by L.C. Tyler

If you had to hide a body, which location would you choose? Can you think of anywhere your corpse  would never be discovered?  In his latest John Grey historical mystery, author L.C. Tyler came up with a cracker – a plague pit.
We are all familiar with the Plague of 1348 which wiped out between half and a third of the population of Europe. However, we are often less familiar with the deadly plagues which revisited various areas of Europe at different points in time, for example in London in 1657 when this book was set.
For those of you who have not come across the protagonist John Grey, he’s a lawyer and kind-of fixer who has successfully navigated the changing murky political waters from Parliament and the Great Protector through to the restoration of the monarchy. And what is even more amazing is that despite changing allegiance with the turn of fortune, he hasn’t lost the reputation of being a man of integrity. Loyal first to Cromwell and now to King Charles, he helps fix problem…

Box sets and crime series should come with a warning

Warning – you could neglect your real friends with all their messy problems because your new screen friends attempt to take over your life. You will get to know and love all the characters and start living vicariously through them. Give in, in the end it’s much easier than hanging out with real people. In the last review I mentioned two violent fast-paced thrillers, today I’d like to point out two crime series with a gentler approach, but just as engaging. Private Eyes (in the UK shown on Universal Channel) is a Canadian series about Angie Everett, a feisty and delectable PI (played by Cindy Sampson) and charming ex professional ice hockey player Matt Shade (Jason Priestley), who becomes her new partner in the PI business. Set in Toronto this series makes me homesick in the nicest possible way. A second series has been commissioned and I’m already looking forward to it.
The other series, the police procedural ‘Rosewood’, is set in a warmer place, Miami. The crime drama centres on Dr…

And oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all...

What better way to spend a rainy Saturday than curled up on the couch watching episode after episode of your favourite TV crime drama series? Back in the day when I only got one episode a week on TV it used to annoy me silly that I had to wait a whole week for the next instalment. Now I can gorge myself silly. I might complain about the younger generation not having any patience for delayed gratification, but kettle and pot spring to mind. And oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all, bring me a box set for Christmas!
So what is out there now to replace old North American favourites like Rizzoli & Isles, Elementary, Castle, King and Maxwell, Murdoch Mysteries …? Well, I’d like to introduce you to four series I now like to watch. Two in this review and two next time.
‘Blindspot’ premiered in 2015 and is shown in the UK on Sky Living. This thriller is now in its 2nd season.  A beautiful tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander) who has lost her memory, appears mysteriously in New York.…

Elemental: Victorian brothel madam and sleuth

Who better than a brother keeper to access both Victorian worlds: the seedy underbelly of society and the hypocritical community leaders who both use and abuse the poor? Sherlock Holmes in this case is the attractive and confident Jean Brash, who survived the gutter and childhood abuse to rise to the position of madam of a classier than usual establishment, The Just Land. This brothel lends its name to the title of this murder mystery written by David Ashton, ‘Mistress of the Just Land’. Another important player in this game is Inspector James McLevy (from the BBC Radio 4 series) who sets out to investigate who is murdering upstanding members of Edinburgh society. Unsurprisingly, he begins his search for information at the obvious place: the best brothel in town. A familiar face at The Just Land, does he suspect Jean of involvement? How could he possibly know that a corpse was found in the brothel basement strapped to a Berkley Horse, an apparatus of chastisement (S & M to the mo…

Roman Road Trip, Book Review of Earthly Gods

The Middle East – dangerous now, dangerous then. The author Nick Brown takes us on an action packed road trip through lawless parts of Asia Minor in the 3rd Century C.E. We follow his protagonist Cassius Corbulo, imperial agent, as he tries to solve two mysteries in challenging circumstances: to locate his kidnapped bodyguard and friend Indavara and to help a nomadic chieftain to find his missing daughter and her friends. An added challenge is that Cassius Corbulo has abandoned his duties, gone rogue so to say, to go on this hunt. Will the army track him down and bring him to heel?   Acting outside the law, he and his Christian servant Simo come up against some very troublesome and ruthless characters in their quest and more than once they have to use subterfuge or violence to get out of a tight spot. I enjoy reading murder mysteries set in Ancient Rome because they offer up a rich variety of people from all walks of Roman life in a completely different and cosmopolitan world and yet…

Quick Book Review : Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton (August 2016)

Hot on the heels of the Agatha Raisin season on Sky starring Ashley Jenson, we have the newest in the Agatha Raisin series, Pushing Up the Daisies where Agatha is employed by a belligerent lord’s son to discover who murdered his obnoxious father.

What's on on the Big and Small screens!

For this I've selected a couple of big screen recent releases and two New to TV releases.  As you'd expect the phenomenally successful  Girl On The Train and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back have to be my cinema choices.  My TV choices were very much harder to select with the wealth of crime fiction offerings available in the comfort of our own homes.  In the end, I narrowed it down to the UK's The Fall and the USA's Secrets and Lies.

Jack Reacher :Never Go Back
This was a totally enjoyable action film.  Tom Cruise's  portrayal of Jack Reacher was believable, aided in part by Cruise's more mature appearance.  I think Cruise lent a welcome emotional aspect to Reacher's character, which, I find, the books omit.  Apart from the fantastic action scenes the highlight for me was author, Lee Child's, cameo role as a custom's official in the airport. 
The storyline was enjoyable- corruption in the upper echelons of the army with the risk of a miscarriage of justic…

Book Review: All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Waller

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Waller (July 14th 2016) A young girl, Jenny Kramer, is brutally raped in a small Connecticut town.The town desperately want the perpetrator to be a stranger, the girl’s mother wants her to forget what happens and allows a controversial memory drug to be used on the daughter.When this causes complications the girl is referred to a psychiatrist to help her retrieve her memories in order to deal with the PTSD connected to her rape.

Another Sookie Stackhouse? Book Review

As an old True Blood fan, I was quite excited when I discovered that Charlaine Harris had written a second supernatural/crime series with another interesting protagonist, Harper Connolly. Unlike Sookie, the mind reading small town waitress, Harper can find dead bodies. And once she touches them, she can figure out how they died. You would think this is a useful skill to have in a crime book and that she’d be pretty popular with the crime fighting brigade. But as some of us know, people on the whole don’t like those who are different and feel threatened by those with special talents. We’re a pretty closed-minded lot and people in the Ozarks, Arkansas, where ‘Grave Sight’ takes place, are no different.   Harper travels all over the States as a sort of corpse finding consultant, accompanied by her step brother and manager Tolliver. Having grown up together in the same dysfunctional family, they understand each other like no outsider ever could. They look out for each other and protect e…

The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer, Book Review

Seeing as the American Presidential Election has been dominating the news pretty much everywhere, I thought that a review of a Crime Thriller involving the US president would be timely. From the outset, the early days of George Washington, the Americans have succeeded in creating a myth of power and influence surrounding the presidency. They knew, whether consciously or instinctively, that if they were to build a nation with a leader who would be followed, someone with enough gravitas to compensate for the loss of a king, then they would have to create a powerful aura around the position. Brad Meltzer cleverly brings out the tension between the idealised office of the president and the failings of the individual who holds the position
.  In ‘The President’s Shadow’ there are sinister forces at work who want to destroy Warren, the president in question. Are these forces out to destroy the position or the man? And who better to protect the president than a secret society, The Culper Ri…

Blog Tour. Kathy Reichs - The Bone Collection - four excellent short stories that show Kathy Reichs is at the top of her game


Blog tour: Doug Johnstone's Crash Land, set against the harsh Orkney landscape

Having reviewed  the fantastic The Jump by Doug Johnstone last year and interviewed the man himself, I was really looking forward to Crash Land do when a review copy landed on my doorstep I was only to eager to start reading.

Book review - A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward. Definitely deadly in Derbyshire!