Robert Bryndza continues with his winning formula in this latest in the Erika Foster series. Last Breath is a breathtaking read, fast and furious as the race is on to find a serial killer who disposes of his victims in the town’s dumpsters.
This is a difficult one to say much about without spoilers but what I can say without giving anything away is that I enjoyed knowing the identity of the killer before the end of the book, seeing the twisted logic and also the costly mistakes. For me, this is a very effective way of story telling when I can see both sides and ultimately observe as the world’s of the killer and police collide.
If anything I think this is my favourite of the series so far. Erika is becoming a little more human after her past tragedy and her relationships within the force continue to develop. I particularly like Moss who is an intelligent and loyal member of the team. Erika is in conflict with her superiors as usual, but then she wouldn’t be Erika without a little bit of her headstrong, the rules don’t apply to me, style.
Set in the London of 1882, March Middleton, whose father has died, arrives to live with Sidney Grice who is to be her guardian. Sidney Grice is the most famous and celebrated private investigator of the era but his success is equally matched by his gruff and unapproachable exterior.
March however is not cowed by this bully of a man. She formerly assisted her father who was an army surgeon at the front and has already had a tough education in matters of life and death. When a distraught woman consults Grice on the matter of her son-in-law, who has been arrested for murder, March jumps in to pay the poor woman’s fee for the investigation but insists she must help with the case. So begins the hunt for a killer.
I did enjoy the mystery in the book which was quite convoluted toward the end, but for me, there were some reservations. Sidney Grice is clever, an astute investigator, but also an abominable man, rude and unfeeling. There were some funny moments, he is a dab-hand at a witty riposte and a few of them made me laugh but all-in-all I found the detective to be too unlikeable and his presence actually overshadowed the story. March is an enjoyable character but, I have to say, I was weary of Grice’s nastiness and peculiarities, even his love of tea, by the end of the book.
The Woodcutter is quite an epic story and not what I was expecting at all.
Wolf Hadda is raised in humble surroundings as a woodcutter’s son but he is destined for success and a visit to the ‘Big House’ on the Cumbrian estate where he lives is the catalyst for his new aspirations.
Wolf achieves everything he sets out for. He becomes a wealthy businessman, marries well and has a beautiful daughter. Then one dreadful morning everything comes to an end with a police raid. Wolf is accused of the most heinous of crimes; he is committed to jail and deserted by family and friends.
Then into the story come Alva, a pyschaitrist who is determined to help Wolf to face his wrongdoing and come to terms with it but his overriding reason to continue living is to find those responsible for his predicament and see that real justice is done.
Wolf is the most likeable of characters even though he can be ruthless when crossed. He has a wealth of down-to-earthiness that made me feel that if he was on your side he would never let you down. As in real life, other characters in the book are drawn to Wolf, despite his reputation, by what they find to be, a very genuine man,
This is a really great story, with a bit of everything thrown in and the treachery of those around him made me root for Wolf all the more.
I have to mention that I listened to this title on Audible and the narration by Jonathan Keeble was outstanding. I felt as if a whole cast of actors were involved in the performance.
Sheesh! Where to start here with this bit-of-everything book? This is my first reading of a Stuart MacBride book, a stand alone that was different and entertaining.
it starts with the discovery of a mummy on a refuse dump. The first assumption is that it has been stolen by pranksters from some local museum. DC Callum MacGregor is given the task of finding out where it came from and returning it safely home. This is not exactly riveting police work but nothing more than he expects after disciplinary proceedings against him.
When more mummies turn up and their origin is discovered to be more sinister (and recent) the real chase is on to find a modern-day serial killer.
This is a real twisty-turny story where so many characters are not what they seem. Amidst the investigation Callum must deal with his own tragic past, lost family members, his present relationship and the disdain of fellow workers and all the time the bodies are piling up.
What made this book really stand out for me though was the gallows humour thrown in amongst some truly gruesome details.
This is a larger-than-life police investigation that was a lot of fun to read and not to be taken too seriously, at least by me!
*Many thanks go to HarperCollins UK, Netgalley and the author for an Advanced Copy of this title *
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*
Set 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*
Ragdoll 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