Showing posts from 2018

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith, Book Review

You could comfortably describe the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series as an accomplished crime novel as in novel. A crime book with substance, a well written novel with a meaty plot and interesting characters. If you write a book of 647 pages, you have room to manoeuvre, to develop sub plots and to give the side-kick her moment in the sun. 
Lethal White is set in London against the background of the 2012 Olympics and the ongoing subtle class war that the English are so good at and enjoy so much. It involves a blackmailed MP and a dark mystery from the past.
A mentally ill man turns up at Strike’s office and, in a state of confusion, relates fragments of strange memories. Most people would have ignored these words as the ravings of an insane person, but instinctively Cormoran Strike knows they are at the heart of a mystery, a mystery he wants to, or needs to, solve.
In the meantime, an MP who is being blackmailed, turns to the agency for assistance. Promoted from administrati…

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino, Guest Review

Do you like surprises? No, I mean real surprises. Like getting a mixed assortment of chocolates and expecting a caramel filling, and eyes closed, taste buds open, you get - cherry liquor – whaat? Your senses rebel – this is not what you were after! But give it a few seconds and let your senses adjust to the surprising taste, hmm…. Hmmmm… I wonder if there is another one of those in the box? But do not worry, your sweet cakes do not contain wasabi paste and the surprising content of this book will leave you longing for more.
Newcomer by Keigo Higashino is a book with just such surprising content – a Tokyo police detective who solves a murder. So far so normal you think. What´s the surprising deal? Apart from the exotic setting in Tokyo´s Nihonbashi neighbourhood, where shop keepers go about their traditional Japanese days and characters savour banana juice, ice coffee, rice crackers and almond jellies…
 This is not only a crime book but also a police detective with a difference. Detectiv…

December Selection, Three Entertaining Holiday Reads

The Promise by Alison Bruce
This sixth DC Gary Goodhew police procedural takes us to the back streets of Cambridge, a town not usually considered to be so dangerous and violent. In the aftermath of a case gone wrong, Goodhew has lost his mojo. He is reluctant to return to work following his injury, until he finds out that Ratty, a homeless man he had befriended, has been beaten to death. More cerebral than your average copper, Goodhew manages to navigate through some complicated and seemingly unrelated incidents. Is he as clear-headed though in understanding his own life and family problems? Look out for lots of mystery!
Published in hardback (£19.99) and ebook in 2016 by Constable.

An Unfinished Murder by Ann Granger
Not many authors get to combine characters from two different series into one book! After a hiatus of several years, the popular Markby and Mitchell combo are back, this time to help Campbell and Carter (Ann Granger’s more recent series). Superintendent Alan Markby is now…

A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody

Fans of this series will be glad to hear that the tenth book, A Snapshot of Murder, which takes our protagonist Kate Shackleton to Brontë country, is now available in paperback. Our sleuthing heroine is visiting the area with fellow members of a photographic club, who in addition to rambling the moors with cameras poised, attend the opening of the Haworth parsonage as a museum to celebrate the famous authors. The Yorkshire Moors in 1928, an atmospheric setting for this entertaining cosy crime book and a perfect place for a murder. 
‘Cosy Crime’ is a subsection of a genre you either love or hate. I happen to greatly enjoy an occasional foray into a type of crime book which pays homage to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. The post WWI setting offers scope for historical research and interesting detail, and the author Frances Brody kindly obliges. It’s all about psychology, understanding what makes individuals tick, what motivates them. And it’s all about subtlety too – no great car c…

Price of Duty by Dale Brown

I’ve come to think that cyber warfare and hacking are the next big problem and here is a bang up-to-date American thriller that deals with my worst nightmares. Price of Duty is actually classified as a military techno-thriller. If you are into technology and warfare then this is definitely the book for you. 
The Russian president Gennadiy Gryzlov has commissioned a secret underground network of bunkers deep in the Ural mountains to host a cyber warfare unit capable of destroying the world as we know it. The United States and its western allies are the target of its deadly focus. The first strike is against Warsaw and sees the records of nearly all bank accounts wiped out. When the financial system implodes, the rest of Europe starts running scared.
The American president is unable to counter this threat and it falls to Brad McLanahan and his Scion team to try and stop this scourge.
This fast-paced action thriller is number 27 of the long-running Brad McLanahan series. I’m not famil…

The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

This slow-burning psychological murder mystery set in South Korea features Yu-jin, a model student and competitive swimmer, who suffers from seizures and black-outs. Written in the first-person narrative this intriguing novel takes us on a journey into a complex mind and an (at least to me) unfamiliar culture. What should Yu-jin do when he wakes up covered in blood and finds the body of his mother downstairs? He can’t remember what happened. If he contacts the police, he will be accused. How can he put together the pieces of the puzzle? Nothing seems to make sense.
His frantic attempts to remember lead to an inspection of his past – and his complicated relationship with his mother and his adopted brother. Flashbacks are interwoven with the present - the reveals are slow coming, but your patience will be rewarded. Rather than amazing twists or thrilling action, The Good Son delivers an intriguing journey into a mind without a soul. Nothing good can come of it.

You-jeong Jeong is cons…

Book review: Target Alex Cross by James Patterson. Can you believe this is the 26th book in the Alex Cross series?

BLURB TARGET: HEAD OF STATE Men and women from across the nation line the streets of Washington D.C. to mourn the unexpected death of the President. Hit by painful memories of the loss of his first wife, Alex Cross is left reeling by this tragedy. TARGET: UNITED STATES CABINET A sniper's bullet strikes another devastating blow to the heart of Washington with the assassination of a prominent Senator. The shock of this attack puts huge pressure on the police to deliver a speedy response, and as Chief of Detectives, Alex's wife Bree Stone is given an ultimatum: solve the case, or lose her job. TARGET: ALEX CROSS The new President calls on Alex Cross to lead an unparalleled FBI investigation to help capture America's most wanted criminal. Alex has a terrible feeling that the assassination is just the beginning of a much larger plan. All too soon this fear springs to life as a terrifying chain of events plunges the government and the entire country into chaos. The stakes have never be…

November Selection, three great reads

Amnesia Nights by Quinton Skinner Published in July 18 in paperback (£8.99) by Fentum Press, this stylish psychological suspense novel explores the boundaries of memory and reality. John Wright thinks he may have killed his fiancée in a fit of rage and escapes into hiding. Three years pass, a time during which he increasingly questions his own grasp on reality. Then he sees her. But is she real? And what impact will her return have on his life? You can’t bury your darkest secrets, they will out in the end. Quinton Skinner, a former critic and magazine editor, is an American author who has written both fiction and non-fiction books and contributed to journals such as the Huffington Post, Variety, Glamour and Literary Hub.
The Polish Detective by Hania Allen Published August 18 in paperback (£8.99) by Constable, this interesting police procedural takes us to Scotland. DS Dania Gorska is seconded from London to Dundee’s specialist crime division to investigate a series of grotesque kill…

The Red Ribbon by H.B. Lyle, Book Review

For those who love historical fiction with a dash of intrigue, conspiracy and mystery thrown in, The Red Ribbon is just the ticket.
Set in 1910, a period when British society was in ferment: workers flirting with Communism, or at least seeking opportunity and change, the suffragettes wanting the vote, Britain’s growing political and economic power struggle with Germany, the establishment desperately clinging onto their power and privilege … Onto this vibrant and fast-changing world a working class man called Wiggins leaves his mark. As a boy, trained by Sherlock Holmes himself in the art of spy craft and investigation,Wiggins had in fact been the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars.
Now, an adult, he is employed as Britain’s first professional spy you could say, as he is the only agent working for Captain Vernon Kell, head of the newly established Secret Intelligence Service. But his indubitable skills are not always appreciated by the establishment. The part where he had to trave…

Fire by L.C. Tyler, Book Review


Book review: Die cold by Graham Smith - Wrap up warm folks - you'll need to!

I'm a crime fiction reader and I LOVE JAKE BOULDER. There, it's out there - judge me if you will. So, my lovely damaged Jake is pushed almost to the end in this one. Battling the weather as well as the terrorists is only half the battle for Jake. He's also got his own internal demons to battle ... and believe me they are so much scarier for him than the terrorists inside the ski resort he's working at or the weather.

Boulder is back.Jake Boulder is working as a bartender, at an exclusive Vermont ski resort on New Year’s Eve, when armed terrorists hold up the lodge and take all the customers and guests hostage. 
Trapped with the other hostages, Boulder watches in horror as the female terrorist leader disfigures a singer to make her point. He wants to fight back, but is unarmed and being held at gunpoint.  Boulder finds a way to escape from the terrorists and searches for a way to raise the alarm. After he discovers the terrorists’ plan to leave no witnesses to their c…

Kill For Me by Tom Wood, Book Review

I have a new guilty pleasure – reading about an amoral killer for hire. I feel guilty for being interested in such a character in the first place, and guilty for feeling intrigued by what makes him tick. This is an action book by any standard, and you might not expect characterisation to be high on the list of attributes. However, in his effective sparse style, the author Tom Wood manages to convey a lot in a few words. We don’t get much backstory about Victor, our anti-hero, only a few hints, dropped like breadcrumbs along the way. ‘He had to be a loner because he was a killer, but he had been a loner long before that.’
Victor is not just your average contract killer, he’s the best. Anytime someone hard-to-get-to needs to be assassinated, a protected politician, banker, weapons dealer, or in this case, a Central American cartel boss, chances are, Victor is your man.
I also feel guilty for enjoying such a violent book. Admittedly, it’s top drawer violence if you know what I mean. Th…

Book Review: Down To The Woods by M.J. Arlidge - the 8th in his DI Helen Grace series.

It seems that recently, I've been reading a lot of these unsettling, edgy thrillers that have a larger than life, ominous, yet enigmatically bogeymanish killer. First there was Luca Veste's The BoneKeeper, then Liam McIlvanney's The Quaker and now we have Arlidge's New Forest scary killer - and I bloody love them!
I love being spooked and a sort of almost inhuman killer gets my adrenalin pumping. I love the edginess - the almost supernatural feel these sort of novels have. The frisson of fear that makes my spine tingle, feeling that we (for of course I'm right there on the detective's shoulder) are up against something more than just human evil - for how could a human be quite so evil - quite so frightening - quite so indestructible.

In this 8th offering in the DI Helen grace series we're taken Down to the Woods where one of the most scary killers is targeting visitors to the New Forest . The fact that Arlidge doesn't shy away from making this characte…

Sting by Sandra Brown, Book Review

Looking for something cool from across the pond? Sting is a stylish thriller with a whole bunch of psycho twist thrown in. Jordie Bennet gets kidnapped by a killer-for-hire, in fact her first introduction to this dangerous man is watching him kill someone standing very close to her, at which point she loses all hope for her own life. According to stats, many women who get kidnapped don’t make it home. 
The author, Sandra Brown, gets up close to both Jordie Bennet, who is living on borrowed time, and the contract killer whose motives are opaque and whose character is impenetrable.
I can see why Brown has so many New York Times bestsellers to her name and has been translated into 34 languages – she writes about passion, with passion. Sometimes it’s a dark scary passion full of violence, at other times it’s a redeeming passion, yet always full of tension and suspense. Let the author take you on a most memorable road trip and see if you can work out how it will conclude.

Published by Ho…

Book Review: Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connolly and its UK Kindle publication day!

Dark Sacred Night is every crime readers dream - Two of Michael Connolly's best characters - and they're both in te same book!. In Dark Sacred Night we see Harry Bosch returning in his 21st offering as the much beleagured detective and this time he's joined by the wonderful Renee Ballard, the surfing cop from the late shift. 

Bosch may be showing signs of his age by now, but Connolly's writing shows no sign of slowing down. I think the combination of Ballard and bosch worked really well. Bosch's experience tempered by Ballard's tough, relentless determination are a powerful mix.

Detective Renée Ballard works the graveyard shift and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old files.
The intruder is none other than legendary LAPD detective Harry Bosch, hunting for leads in an unsolved case that has got under his skin. Ballard escorts him out but - curious to know what he was searching for - soon becomes obsessed by th…