Tag Archives: crime

Review Wednesday-Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton

I finished reading  this book today just in time for its publication and, I must say, it’s a great read.

The story revolves around Mags whose brother had fallen from a bannister and is in a coma. Very quickly the questions around ‘the fall’ come rushing in. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Or was it just a terrible accident? Mags is determined to find out what happened to Abe and her first port of call is his fiancée Jody who was with him moments before the fall.

Nothing in this book is what it seems, however and as we read from several viewpoints the mystery deepens.

After a pull-you-in start Tattletale was a little difficult to settle in to. The viewpoints chop and change and there are also flashbacks which made me backtrack a couple of times to establish who was who. But ultimately I was hooked and ready for the ride. None of the characters are wholly likeable but I think that is because, like Mags, I was suspicious of all of them and their motives. The converted church which is the main setting for the book and where Abe lived is a great, atmospheric location.

If anything, for me, the ending was a little drawn out with the author, perhaps too eager to tie up every loose end but as she had created a very convoluted plot better that than to leave questions unanswered.

With more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing, Tattletale is a good story and a satisfying read.

*Many thanks go to Orion Publishing Group, Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book*

Review Wednesday – Salisbury Square by Geoff Le Pard

img_1997Set in London, Salisbury Square is a story that nevertheless unfolds a million miles away from the city many visitors know; The London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, cruising on the Thames… this is a different London.

Jerzy Komaza is also a visitor but he is Polish, he speaks no English and he’s on the run. After all the years of abuse, Jerzy finally had enough of the way his sister suffered at the hands of their father, back on their Polish Farm, and he killed him.

Now Jerzy has fled with a promise of work if only he can meet up with his cousin Jan in Salisbury Square. Immediately things begin to go wrong, Jan is nowhere to be seen and, when he sees she is in trouble, Jerzy goes to the aid of a young drug addict, Suzie. He is drawn into a new life of workgangs and drugs and acts of violence.

The story is told from several viewpoints and the cast of important characters is quite large. They take a little getting to know but soon the links between them begin to become obvious, their lives entwined in ways even they are not aware of. Told in short chapters the pace quickens towards an end that is surprising, original and somewhat inevitable.

Salisbury Square is a story of lives gone wrong and the far reaching effects on family and friends. It’s about people who care and people who don’t.

A gritty, interesting and, at times, poignant read that left me with lots to think about and to be thankful for.

* Many thanks go to the author who provided a copy of this book with no obligation to review*

 

Review Wednesday – Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

img_1988Ragdoll has already been getting some seriously good attention from reviewers in advance of publication and it’s not difficult to see why. The blurb is sensational. A killer who stitches together the parts of his victims to make a puppet-like corpse dubbed The Ragdoll by the press. Not only that, he has more murders planned and releases a list and the dates when he will  kill these latest victims.

The rush is on to hunt down the killer and save those intended to die next.

Detective Wlliam Fawkes (Wolf) is on the case in many more ways than one. He has a history that is interwoven with this new crime and even those closest to him are not sure what that is.

The story is complex with twists, some of them truly horrible, as are the ongoing crimes committed during the final race to catch the killer.

Several reviewers have commented that this was originally a rejected screenplay but surely, after the book, it will finally make the screen in one form or another. The characters are larger than life, the killings are larger than life and the final scene is something straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Highly recommended – cast Iron stomach required!

*Many thanks to Orion Publishing Group and Netgalley for an Advanced Review Copy of this book

 

Review Wednesday -The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

img_1983This is the second book in Robert Bryndza’s Erika Foster crime novels series and, if anything, I think the author had upped his game. I loved this story, a quick and exhilarating read.

Erika is on the trail of a serial killer and via an internet chat room we, the reader, are soon introduced to Duke and Night Owl, persons of undoubted interest as far as this case is concerned, though the police are unaware of their existence at that time. Most readers will put two and two togther and realise the identity of the killer even before the author reveals the truth but it is meant to be that way. We know more than Erika and her team and can only hope that she can pull the pieces of the puzzle togther before more people die.

Erika is in trouble with her superiors again, always having a little too much to say but no one can deny she is fiercely loyal to her friends and to her job. Getting suspended from work She is out on her own again and, because of the strong story line I didn’t mind, but I think it will be a bit of a stretch if it keeps happening.

Erika’s backstory (the death of her husband) is nicely continued without the need to throw her headlong into new relationships, which is refreshing.

I will definitely be back for more.

Review Wednesday – The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler

img_1982The question at the heart of The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler is ‘Do we ever really know anyone, even our nearest and dearest? The answer, clearly, is no. We can’t ever know for sure what goes on in someone else’s mind but also they can never know what goes through ours and so there is a vast capacity for misconception.
The story is split into parts that go beyond viewpoint. We meet The Wife, the Colleague, The Mother etc and at first I thought each was connected to the Lyndford Strangler who is terrorising the local area  but no, each person had a separate story to tell and the links back to the crime  were sometimes direct, sometimes tenuous. This was the whole point, to keep the reader guessing and to contemplate the real identity of the killer through the eyes of ordinary people who feared him.

It took me a little while to get to know the characters of each part of the story but once I did I wanted to know how each little scenario would play out. This is a really original and clever modus operandi for a crime mystery. We peek into the lives of different groups and I was invested in every one. I loved the way the author played on the worries, fears and the shortcomings of the characters, (some of them quite sinister), making the story multi-layered.

The narrative is straightforward and fluid and the dialogue spot on.

Very enjoyable.

Wednesday Review – Cast Iron by Peter May

img_1969*Many thanks go to Quercus books and Netgalley for an advanced review copy of this book*

The ‘Cast Iron’ of the title refers to the term often used for an alibi when it is deemed to be beyond question. But can an alibi ever be considered so, until the case is solved?

Enzo Macleaod, forensic expert, has been involved in a bet to unravel the details of a series of cold cases that have thus far baffled investigators. The sixth case is the mystery of what happened to young Lucie Martin, who goes missing from her home one evening, her remains discovered some years later, after a long, hot summer, in the bottom of a dried up lake. The modus operandi indicates the work of a killer already behind bars but he denies involvement.

In the course of the investigation to try to identify Lucie’s killer, Enzo soon realises that there is more than one person who would prefer that  the truth never come out. His life is in danger and his family are at risk.

In the past couple of years I have read and reviewed several books by Peter May. I thought I knew his style but found this book, set in France, a little different and, to be honest, a little difficult, at first. Enzo’s complex family life had probably developed over the previous books and so, coming new to the series I found myself backtracking at first to keep the threads of his convoluted relationships clear in my mind. However, the story is a good one, well worth the effort and the investigation a solid standalone that requires no previous knowledge.

For me at least, endings are so often a bit of a let-down even after a very enjoyable rest-of-the-book, so I would also say bravo to Peter May for bringing the elements together in an ending that did not rely on sheer luck or a happy coincidence or a massive and unbelievable hunch. The twist that brings the main characters together in the crucial scene did not disappoint and left a very satisfying aftertaste to an enjoyable read.

 

 

Review -The Tales of Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah

img_1945These two short stories came to me as a freebie from Audible. Max Carrados is that most unlikely of people, a blind detective. Written in the early 1900’s this author was apparently a popular rival to Conan Doyle.

The stories presented are both about crimes involving coins, they are cleverly written (perhaps a little too clever) but rather uninteresting. I preferred the first story that introduces the detective.

The saving grace for me was the narrator, the great Stephen Fry, whose skill brought light and colour and humour to the stories.

Note – the cover displayed is one for a larger collection of eleven stories. The sample collection of two seems to be unavailable at the moment.