Archive for the Books Category

Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Sadly Philip Kerr died earlier this year, so there is more than a tinge of sadness when reading the latest Bernie Gunther novel. The only silver lining is that Kerr wrote one more Bernie Gunther novel, ‘Metropolis’, before his death and this is due to be published next year.

In this novel we find Bernie Gunther under an assumed name and now working in insurance, which on the face of it seems relatively risk free until he is sent to Greece to investigate a shipwreck claim. It is once he is here that his past starts to catch up with him again, as he works with a local insurance claims investigator to unravel the events surrounding the shipwreck which include Nazi gold and a nemesis from his past.

The Bernie Gunther novels are enjoyable as Bernie has a bleak outlook on life and indeed the book is littered with one liners that see Bernie either be sarcastic about himself or others. Very much in the classic Raymond Chandler mode.

Highly recommended and the whole series is worth reading, although they are fine as stand alone reads. It is Kerr’s attention to detail and getting the historical facts and characters in the book, that make these such a rewarding read.

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Book review: Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , , on August 18, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Jospeh (Published 09.08.18)

The book blurb says…
After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic. But then their first guest arrives. Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see. It’s seventeen years since she tore everything apart.

Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life? Is Selena running from something too? Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?

Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it . . .

The trick with is book is it is part thriller, crime and a touch of the supernatural all melded into a highly readable book. You certainly empathise with the main character Kirsty who is helping her husband recover from a breakdown and raising a young family.

The book opens on the day of her seeing her monther with blood  on her hands… The plot then goes back in time before this day and you get various characters coming into play. Although a crime has been committed it is not a police procedural, more an edge of your seat psychological thriller.

Although when reading the book you do wonder how one family could have so many skeletons in the closet, it is all believable. Claire Douglas should certainly be on your reading list.

The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Published 14.06.18]

A new name to me, Howard Linskey sets his novels in the north east and they feature Detective Ian Bradshaw. ‘The Chosen Ones’ starts with the thoughts of a kidnapped girl and the book slowly unveils how she got there and that she was not the first.

Set in the 1990’s, although parts of the book flashback to the early 70’s, Howard Linskey has a deft writing style and soon draws the reader into the book. It is a page turner with plenty of shocks along the way and Ian Bradshaw uses two journalists to help him on the case, which of course brings its own problems as the press and the police are not natural allies.

Very impressive and a book where you keep wanting to read just that little bit pore to see how the story progresses. Howard Linskey is now added to my ‘must read’ list of crime writers.

Book review: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley, News with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Hodder & Stoughton [Publication date 09.08.18]

The blurb on this book certainly tweaks your interest –

“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

The author, poet Claire Askew was the subject of four way bid for this book, part of a two book deal with Hodder, and it is easy to see why as this is one of the best crime debuts I have read in a good while.

Askew tells the story from the three main characters and she delves into each character’s emotions and how they are reacting to events unfolding around them. It is a classic page turner which although you know the outcome and there is no culprit to find, the book raises lots of questions about the shooting and how it affects the victims’ families and that of the shooter in the aftermath. The other key character a member of the press who will try anything to get a story and he is a certainly a character you will love to hate!

Highly recommended read, not just for fans of crime writing but anyone who enjoys a good read that makes you think after reading it.

Book review: THE GUILTY DEAD by P.J. TRACY

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Publication date 23.08.18]

Book number 9 in the Twin Cities series and the blurb on this one says…

“Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.”

It is very fast paced like previous books in the series, although this one sees a little less of the Monkeewrench crew in the story. It starts off as what appears to be a suicide, which quickly escalates into a murder enquiry and then add in a domestic terror plot and it all starts spiralling in terms of action and plot. Perhaps not the best book in the series as some of the plot you could second guess, still enjoyable and one of the better US crime writers currently out there.

The P.J. Tracy series of books are highly readable and perfect for lovers of page turners from the likes of Harlan Coben.

 

 

Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Published 22.02.18]

The blurb certainly grabs your attention –

“Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.”

I have not read ‘Dear Amy’, however having just finished ‘Everything Is Lies’ I will definitely be reading that one. It is not a crime novel, despite the murder that starts the book. The story unfolds as Sophia learns more about her mother and her past in a cult, which was led by a charismatic former singer in a rock band.

Sophia’s mother had been writing her life story and these journals cleverly move the plot along – a book within a book if you will. Shock revelations that impact on the present are contained within and the story does rattle along at a great pace.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, which Helen Callaghan seems to excel at in her writing style. Like Robert Goddard, Helen Callaghan successfully takes events in the past and sees how they affect the present, although to be fair she does it at a faster pace.

Highly recommended being both a classic psychological  thriller ‘page turner’ and one that is always topical, as it touches upon the psychological and emotional effects on people by others.

Book review: The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Publication date 03.05.18]

A stand-alone novel from the bestselling author Conn Iggulden which is based on historical events related in Xenophon’s ‘Anabasis’, otherwise known as ‘The Persian Expedition’, which is available via Penguin Classics. The Persian king Artaxerxes rules an empire stretching from the Aegean to northern India and the first half of this novel covers the attempts by his brother Prince Cyrus to overthrow Artaxerxes. The attempt fails and the Greek mercenaries employed by Cyrus, including Spartans are left stranded in the heart of an enemy’s empire, without support and little  food or water. This sets the scene for the second part of the story where the young soldier and student of Socrates,  Xenophon leads the survivors against the Persian army and their bid to reach the sea and Greek territory.

Plenty of action to be had, although the battles are described briefly and not dwelled upon like say the books of Bernard Cornwell. The descriptions of the time help you immerse yourself into the story, although he does seem to describe the toilet habits a little bit too much!sparta

I won’t give the various subplots away, save to say this is an enjoyable historical novel and Conn Iggulden has the knack for penning a classic page turner. If like me you miss the works of the late, great David Gemmell this novel will be one for your bookshelf.