REVIEW: After He Died by Michael J Malone

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: Scottish mystery, psychological thriller, emotional characters, female leads, creepy thriller

Quick Review: Slow-paced and set on a refreshingly small scale, this thriller seems to swirl around the main character while she grieves the death of her husband, in an interesting and rare perspective.

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed… When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

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REVIEW: The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: author self-insert, reality/fiction blend, UK mystery, amateur detective, consulting detective, unique format

Quick Review: A unique and well-crafted mystery; a must read, especially for fans of Horowitz’s work!

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One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor – enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own. Continue reading →

REVIEW: Charlesgate Confidential by Scott Von Doviak

Series: N/A; part of the Hard Case Crime releases

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: noir, hard-boiled detective, US mystery, heist story, multiple timeframes, murder

Quick Review: A beautifully plotted, satisfyingly simple heist and murder novel. Highly recommended for noir fans!

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A group of criminals in 1946 pull off the heist of the century, stealing a dozen priceless works of art from a Boston museum. But while the thieves get caught, the art is never found. Forty years later, the last surviving thief gets out of jail and goes hunting for the loot, involving some innocent college students in his dangerous plan – and thirty years after that, in the present day, the former college kids, now all grown up, are drawn back into danger as the still-missing art tempts a deadly new generation of treasure hunters.

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REVIEW: Unnecessary Roughness by Jose Baez

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: true crime, American crime, legal procedural, wrongfully accused, professional athletes, first-person account

Quick Review: A unique perspective on a celebrity trial from a defense lawyer leading the case in question, with plenty of insight into the strategy and mindset of the legal team.

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When renowned defense attorney Jose Baez received a request for representation from Aaron Hernandez, the disgraced Patriots tight-end was already serving a life sentence for murder. Defending him in a second, double-murder trial seemed like a lost cause–but Baez accepted the challenge, and their partnership culminated in a dramatic courtroom victory, a race to contest his first conviction, and ultimately a tragedy, when Aaron took his own life days after his acquittal.

This riveting, closely-observed account of Aaron’s life and final year is the only book based on countless intimate conversations with Aaron, and told from the perspective of a true insider. Written with the support of Hernandez’s fiancée, Unnecessary Roughness takes readers inside the high-profile trial, offering a dramatic retelling of the race to obtain key evidence that would exonerate Hernandez, and later play a critical role in appealing his first conviction.

With revelations about Aaron’s personal life that weren’t shared at trial, and an exploration of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy diagnosis revealed by his autopsy, Jose Baez’s Unnecessary Roughness is a startling courtroom drama and an unexpected portrait of a fallen father, fiancé, and teammate.

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REVIEW: All The Pieces Matter by Jonathan Abrams

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: fans of The Wire (TV Series), interest in TV behind-the-scenes, wanting to learn about how true crime becomes fiction

Quick Review: A worthwhile read for people who love The Wire, this book will take you through the way this series came to be, from the perspectives of a huge number of cast, crew and executives.

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The definitive oral history of the iconic and beloved TV show The Wire, as told by the actors, writers, directors, and others involved in its creation.

Since its final episode aired in 2008, HBO’s acclaimed crime drama The Wire has only become more popular and influential. The issues it tackled, from the failures of the drug war and criminal justice system to systemic bias in law enforcement and other social institutions, have become more urgent and central to the national conversation. The show’s actors, such as Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Michael B. Jordan, have gone on to become major stars. Its creators and writers, including David Simon and Richard Price, have developed dedicated cult followings of their own. Universities use the show to teach everything from film theory to criminal justice to sociology. Politicians and activists reference it when discussing policy. When critics compile lists of the Greatest TV Shows of All Time, The Wire routinely takes the top spot. It is arguably one of the great works of art America has produced in the 20th century.

But while there has been a great deal of critical analysis of the show and its themes, until now there has never been a definitive, behind-the-scenes take on how it came to be made. With unparalleled access to all the key actors and writers involved in its creation, Jonathan Abrams tells the astonishing, compelling, and complete account of The Wire, from its inception and creation through its end and powerful legacy. Continue reading →

REVIEW: The Sons by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #2)

Series: Made In Sweden

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: criminal’s perspective, sympathetic criminals, family matters, based on a true story, heist thriller

Quick Review: A continuation of the story begun in THE FATHER; a deep descent into a dysfunctional family, with a sensitive handling and thriller roots.

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NOTE: SPOILERS for THE FATHER contained in this post. Do NOT read if you have not read THE FATHER!

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REVIEW: The Father by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #1)

Series: Made In Sweden

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: criminal’s perspective, sympathetic criminals, family matters, based on a true story, heist thriller

Quick Review: A cinematic thriller with a complex emotional heart; a must-read for any thriller lover.

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How does a child become a criminal? How does a father lose a son?

The Father is inspired by the extraordinary true story of three brothers who committed ten audacious bank robberies in Sweden over the course of just two years.

None had committed a crime before. All were under twenty-four years old. When their incredible spree had come to an end amid the glare of the international media, all of them would be changed forever as individuals and as a family. This intoxicating, heartbreaking thriller tells the story of how three boys are transformed over the course of their lives from innocent children to the most wanted criminals in Sweden. And of the man who made them that way: their father. Continue reading →