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!

***

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.

***

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.

***

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 →

REVIEW: I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: atmosphere, UK novels, strong setting, character-driven stories, amateur detectives, police investigation

Quick Review: A novel that’s all about character stories and atmosphere; this deeply immersive is impossible to put down.

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WHATEVER HAPPENS

Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, NO MATTER WHAT

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs. Continue reading →

REVIEW: Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlin (Jilly Truitt #1)

Series: Jilly Truitt

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: Canadian mystery, legal thriller, legal procedural, realism, legal investigation, defense lawyer point of view, strong female lead

Quick Review: An excellently satisfying legal procedural with a solid mystery and the weight of reality lent to it by its author — the former Chief Justice of Canada.

***

There’s nothing Jilly Truitt likes more than winning a case, especially against her former mentor, prosecutor Cy Kenge. Jilly has baggage, the residue of a dark time in a series of foster homes, but that’s in the past. Now she’s building her own criminal defense firm and making a name for herself as a tough-as-nails lawyer willing to take risks in the courtroom.

When the affluent and enigmatic Vincent Trussardi is accused of his wife Laura’s murder, Jilly agrees to defend him, despite predictions that the case is a sure loser and warnings from those close to her to stay away from the Trussardi family. Determined to prove everyone wrong, Jilly investigates Laura’s death, hoping to discover a shred of evidence that might give the jury a reasonable doubt. Instead, she is confronted by damning evidence and uncooperative witnesses at every turn. Someone isn’t telling the truth, but who?

With her reputation and Vincent’s life on the line, Jilly tries to unravel the web of secrets surrounding Laura’s murder. As she digs deeper, she uncovers a startling revelation that will change not only the case, but her life forever.

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