Archive for crime

Book review – The Body In The Library by Simon Brett

Posted in Books, Netgalley, review with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Black Thorn [Publication date 16.06.19]

In the sleepy, English village of Fethering, an author event at the local library ends in murder and it’s up to amateur sleuths Carole and Jude to solve the case.

Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder

A bestselling author with a soaring ego and wandering hands has come to town, but he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to slap Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence she will have to dust off her detective skills, recruit her prim and proper friend (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole, and together they must find the real culprit.

Simon Brett I first came across in my teens via the Mystery & Thriller Guild, one of the many book clubs run by Book Club Associates (anyone remember them?!). I enjoyed the Charles Paris mysteries, a series of books (in striking yellow covers) based on an actor and how he always seemed to be involved in theatrical based murders.

Fast forward a fair few years and Simon Brett is still writing witty and enjoyable crime novels. ‘The Body In The Library’ is the first of the Jude and Carole amateur sleuth books I have read (this is number 18, as Simon Brett is a tad prolific!). It is a gentle send up of the Golden Age of Crime writers and books, what publishers now refer to as ‘cosy crime’. However, Simon Brett cunningly adds in plenty of plot twists and a whole host of possible murderers. He also finds time to promote the cause of libraries (although the victim is bumped off outside a library, perhaps not the greatest advert for them) and gives insight of an author’s life, both from a successful one and at the other end, the self-published author who is bitter about any other writers success.

An enjoyable read. Perfect escapism into an updated Golden Age of Crime writing.

Book review: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Posted in Authors, Books, crime writers with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Publication date 27.06.19]

The blurb…

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

This is the second book by Claire Douglas that I have read and she is now on my ‘must read’ authors list. The story is told from various characters’ viewpoints and the story also switches from present day to the past, however it is not too difficult for the reader to keep up with it all!

I particularly like the reporter Jess’s character as she faces some tough choices when reporting on the case as she is personally and emotionally involved.

If you enjoyed TV dramas such as ‘Broadchurch’ I would heartily recommend this book as each of the main characters have a skeleton or two in their closets and these impact on the story as the book progresses.

Highly recommended.

Book review – Cold As The Grave by James Oswald

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

The ninth book in the Inspector McLean series and you don’t have to read them in order, although like any long running crime series the author will refer back to events in the past covered in previous books.

The opening sees the discovery of a mummified body hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. The plot unfolds from here to include a mysterious circus, human trafficking, a 60’s rock star and a djinn.

James Oswald is similar to John Connolly in that both add in supernatural elements to their books and they work well, also like Stephen King’s excellent Mercedes man trilogy.

Although used a lot in book reviews, ‘Cold As The Grave’ is a proper page turner as you want to keep on reading to see what happens next, such are the twists and turns in the plot. Highly recommended and James Oswald joins my select list of ‘must read’ crime writers.

Book review – A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2019 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake
Harper Collins [Pub Date 04 Mar 2019]

It’s a thin line between love and murder…

A tense new thriller, perfect for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Cara Hunter and Lisa Jewell

A murder that shocks a city… 
Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.
  
A case full of secrets and lies…
Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.
 
An investigation that could prove deadly…
As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed one woman. Will he kill another?

Second book featuring crime reporter Harper McClain, this time she is investigating the murder of a law student and the events that unfold afterwards, including plenty of references to the first novel.

Different view as it is not a standard police procedural novel, instead it focues on a murder from the press viewpoint and Harper McClain soon becomes entangled in the case in a dangerous way. Fast paced, with minimal description, Christi Daugherty has written an enjoyable thriller. Good enough to have the reader looking forward to the next McClain novel.

Book review – The Katharine Code by Jorn Lier Horst

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Published 9 august 2018]

The latest novel featuring Chief Inspector William Wisting (there are other Wisting books already published although this is a stand-alone one), who has a case he has never managed to solve, that of Katharina Haugen who went missing twenty-four years ago. All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper – the Katharina code.

Marketed as one for fans of Inspector Wallander, Jorn Lier Horst is similar to Henning Maknkell in that he builds the atmosphere slowly to a riveting finale. The plotting is good, moving along at a steady pace and nothing outlandish in the events that unfurl. Wisting’s character one you can empathise with and it will come as no surprise that this book/series is lined up for a TV adaptation.

Highly recommended for lovers of Scandinavian based crime and anyone after a well written crime novel.

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.

pk

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.