Tag Archives: Murder

Review Wednesday – Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

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.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Review Wednesday – A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

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 *

Review Wednesday – Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

This is the first book in the series about Scottish policeman   DCI Jim Daley and is a great start. I read several reviews prior to purchasing the book that refer to the way the Scottish accents are written phonetically and that it made the story a little more difficult to get into. I listened to the book on Audible and can highly recommend the excellent narrator who brought the characters to life for me.

As for the story, Jim Daley is sent away to the remote Scottish town (fictional) of Kinloch where a body has been found in the water. At first it seems that the case will be straightforward and Jim’s biggest headache is the grumpy local police chief. That’s not his only problem though, simmering in the background is his shaky relationship with his wayward wife who, in the midst of everything decides to pay Jim a visit at Kinloch and whilst trying to deal with this development the case suddenly becomes more complex and nasty.

I was lulled at first by the narrator’s dulcet tones and the descriptions of Scottish life into a kind of cosy mystery feel where the murderer would be the last person anyone expected; the vicar or the librarian but actually this turned out to be quite a red herring in itself. The story becomes very dark with more murder, drugs and smuggling at its heart and though not peppered with violence when it does come it is quite graphic and shocking.

This was a good introduction to Jim Daley, his personal life and I really loved the ending!

 

Review Wednesday – Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Annie grows up in a truly nightmarish situation. Her mother is a serial killer, her young victims brought to the family home where they are murdered. When Annie can stand by no more she takes the most decisive step of her life and goes to the police. This is where the story starts.

Whilst waiting to attend her mother’s trial Annie is protected with a new identity, a foster family and a new name, Millie. But nothing is easy for Millie, her new school, the well-meaning though already dysfunctional family who take her in and her past, never very far from her thoughts.

As the date of the trial draws nears tensions arise, at home, at school, even with the one new friend Annie has made. Her ‘step’- sister, Phoebe is certainly not her friend, making life at school and at home almost intolerable with her name calling and taunts.

The title of the book, Good Me Bad Me, is a tantalising one. Has Annie/Millie told the entire truth about what happened in that house of horrors? Perhaps not. Having shown her strength in going to the police, is she her own person or a chip off the old block?

After reading the book I have concluded a little of each. Surely we are all a product of our upbringing to some extent? When that upbringing is bad an individual may be consumed by that badness and become part of it but many break away, taking with them the scars, perhaps even benefiting from them as a reminder of what they do not wish to be.

At the heart of the story is a young teenager desperately seeking the stability of family life. moral dilemmas and extreme actions scream to be justified but, of course, they can’t be.

The writing style of this addictive read is short and choppy, sometimes effective, sometimes not so for me, but I always wanted to read on and the ending, the way paved throughout the narrative, was expected but surprisingly executed. 

A fast and effective read!

Review Wednesday – A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone

img_1995Andy Boyd is a widower with a young son, his wife having died in childbirth. With full-time work and family responsibilities Andy’s social life has become non-existent. He is accepting of this and it’s his mum and brother who encourage him to ‘get out more.’ When he does and he meets the beautiful Anna he feels that life is giving both him and his boy Pat, another chance.

But Anna is not what she seems and even as early as their wedding night the problem begins to show. It isn’t easy reading about domestic abuse and even more unusual from the male perspective. Though it happens to many people, it is difficult, as an outsider, to understand those (both male and female) who choose to soldier on through an abusive relationship. In Andy’s case the decision to leave is made doubly difficult by the arrival of a new baby.

On top of all this, money has been going missing at the bank where Andy is a manager, his relationship with both his mother and brother are strained because of Anna’s demands and her jealousy of him spending time with them. Andy begins to keep secrets from Anna, to lie and to cover things up to keep her from flying into one of her rages. He suffers indignation for the sake of his wife and boys. And all the while he  must try to discover what has been happening at the bank.

It’s a total nightmare.

A Suitable Lie is harrowing at times and, I think, necessarly a little repetitive as the abuse and soul-searching must go on and on in order for Andy to finally make a decision to change things. His co-worker, Sheila, who has also suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and the ongoing investigation into fraud, as well as Andy’s impossible situation regarding any kind of disclosure to his colleagues make his life intolerable. Finally something has to give but there is a twist in their fate that Andy couldn’t possibly anticipate.

Enjoyable maybe isn’t the word to describe this novel, but it is interesting and insightful. At the end  I could sympathise with the way Andy chooses to explain the events to his two young children, to love and protect them at all costs but I couldn’t fully understand his own feelings. As damaged as Anna was she was also very wrong.

 

 

Review Wednesday – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

img_1987The story begins with the most unlikely of events, a death at a school fundraising night in the small beachside town of Pirriwee. We then go back six months to begin a countdown of happenings and misunderstandings that will eventually lead to that death.

Jane has moved into the community with young son Ziggy who is just about to start nursery school. On the way to the all-important orientation morning Jane meets Madeline and Madeline introduces her to Celeste. It turns out they are all on their way to the orientation meeting. 

This is an upmarket community where the important things in life like money and status are what matter most. The topics of conversation are what someone was wearing, hair-dos, ex husbands, ex wives and school politics. As a single mother Jane is an outsider to this exclusive club but soon finds allies. 

There are lots of little sub-plots. Madeline is having problems with her 14 year old daughter, Celeste is unhappy at home and Jane has a deep, dark secret that is going to shatter them all. There are serious issues covered here in a way that I felt was both sympathetic and realistic.

Throughout the narrative we hear commentary from some of those that were there at the fundraiser-from-hell. Everyone has their own opinion as to who was to blame for the untimely death.

I have to say I didn’t love this book. At times, I didn’t even like it and it was tough to go on to the end, but I did always admire it. The writing is confident, the dialogue spot on and the story cleverly wends its way to a conclusion  that is unexpected but also neatly ties in all the loose ends.

My problem was the characters and their self-centred, self important ways. After a reading session I felt as if I needed a long walk on a deserted beach to appreciate the simple and good things in life and that I should drag these characters along with me, (away from their poor children), kicking and screaming if necessary and say LOOK AROUND YOU. APPRECIATE NATURE. FORGET ABOUT WHO HAS A BLONDE BOB AND WHO HIT WHO IN THE PLAYGROUND.

Lesson learned. This book has great reviews but it just wasn’t a good choice for me.

Review – Killing Jane by Stacy Green

img_1942The story starts with a killing so brutal that the attic where the body is discovered is reminiscent of a Jack The Ripper murder scene. And so it starts…

Called in as lead investigator for the first time is Erin Prince. It soon becomes clear that Erin has a whole bucket full of issues to deal with in her private life, most prominent of them the rich and privileged upbringing she has rejected, choosing not to work in the family firm but to make her own way in life. Even so she is given the nickname Princess by some, including unwanted attention from the media where the handle can be twisted anyway they need it to fit. There are also underlying, but mercifully, less well known reasons for Erin’s insecurities.

I didn’t find Erin very easy to connect with at first, she tends to whine and moan and her attitude is only made worse when compared to the solid and likeable figure of Todd Beckett, her new partner. Todd is a winning character, not afraid to say when he thinks Erin is wrong but sensitive to her lack of experience and willing to protect her public image.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this story, connections are everywhere and more grisly murders follow. The identity of the killer was fairly obvious as the book came to around the half way mark but more exciting for me than the identity was how the author was going to explain so many loose ends and if there could be a plausible link to the murders in Whitechapel so long ago. It could have been a huge letdown.

This for me was the strength of Killing Jane. The author did a very good job of tying up all aspects of quite a large cast of characters, all with something to hide, and what I thought might become a messy or unsatisfactory end was actually quite perfect, if horrific.

Hopefully Erin will move on from the tragedy and trauma of the past and in subsequent books we will see a more affable character. Whilst she has so obviously suffered there was some resolution in this first book; in my opinion, a nice touch.

Final note – what a superb cover; it really stood out for me.

To be published in January 2017

*Many thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book*