REVIEW: The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

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

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: atmospheric mystery, non-traditional whodunnit, philosophical mystery, meta moments, US mystery, quaint mystery, procedural

Quick Review: A meditation on the nature of mystery and stories, wrapped in a vintage noir feel. A must read for all mystery lovers.

***

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified.

And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…? Continue reading →

REVIEW: Black Wolf by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #2)

Series: Natalya Ivanova

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: crime procedural, Russian mystery, political thriller, police corruption, crime thriller, contemporary mystery

Quick Review: Polished, well-executed, and intense, BLACK WOLF is a must read for those who are interested in a believable political angle to their procedural thrillers.

***

A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning. There are no signs of injury, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker.

Captain Natalya Ivanova’s investigation quickly links the victim to the Decembrists, an anti-Putin dissident group whose acts of civil disobedience have caught the eye of the authorities. And Natalya soon realises she is not the only one interested in the case, as government security services wade in and shut down her investigation almost before it has begun.

Before long, state media are spreading smear stories about the dead woman, and Natalya suspects the authorities have something to hide. When a second rebel activist goes missing, she is forced to go undercover to expose the truth. But the stakes are higher than ever before. Not only could her pursuit of the murderer destroy her career, but her family ties to one of the victims threaten to tear her personal life apart.

Continue reading →

REVIEW: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh (Marquess House #1)

Series: Marquess House Trilogy

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: historical mystery, alternate history, conspiracy thriller, shadowy organizations, big secrets, female leads

Quick Review: A conspiracy thriller that fans of Dan Brown will love, with an intriguing premise and lots of great history retold in an interesting way!

***

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

Continue reading →

REVIEW: Our Kind Of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: suspense, Hitchcock vibes, psychological thriller, domestic thriller, unreliable narrator, stalker

Quick Review: Intense, creepy, and suspenseful in a way that would make Hitchcock proud, this all-too-real thriller is a must-read.

***

Before he met Verity Metcalf, Mike Hayes was fighting his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely, life. V taught him about love and, in return, Mike has dedicated his life to pleasing her. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job; he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.

It doesn’t matter that she says she’s engaged to someone else.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move, he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

Continue reading →

REVIEW: Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: literary fiction, translated fiction, thriller, suspense, whodunnit, Polish fiction, eccentric narrator, female lead character

Quick Review: Beautifully written, intriguingly narrated; a curious, thoughtful, unconventional whodunnit.

***

In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved in the investigation. By no means a conventional crime story, this existential thriller by ‘one of Europe’s major humanist writers’ (Guardian) offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalized people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination – and caused a genuine political uproar in Tokarczuk’s native Poland. Continue reading →

REVIEW: Brotherhood by David Beckler (Mason & Stirling #1)

Series: Mason & Stirling Thrillers

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: fast paced, action thriller, violence, UK thriller, diverse cast, complex plot

Quick Review: A summer blockbuster action film in book form, this packs action on every page around a web-like plot.

***

Manchester, England, 1998

When Byron Mason’s estranged nephew, Philip, rings him out of the blue in desperate need of help, he knows he must put his personal feelings aside to protect his family.

A teenage boy has been murdered, and Philip is one of the suspects.

Worse than that, the dead boy was the nephew of Ritchie McLaughlin – a local thug who Byron has clashed with in the past – and Philip has now gone missing.

Desperate to clear Philip’s name, Byron enlists the help of his old friend Adam Sterling to track down the real killers.

Is Philip in danger? Can Byron and Adam find him before the police do?

Or has Byron’s violent past with McLaughlin come back to haunt him…?

Continue reading →

REVIEW: Motherland by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #1)

Series: Natalya Ivanova

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: Russian setting, female detective, thriller, police procedural, contemporary mystery, kidnapping plot, complex thrillers

Quick Review: Dark, gritty and violent, this is a thriller that borders on noir, with an atmosphere that conveys the complex spirit of modern Russia.

***

The first in a gripping series of crime novels set in the seamier side of St. Petersburg, featuring sharp, yet compromised policewoman, Captain Natalya Ivanova. Student Zena Dahl, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire, has gone missing in St. Petersburg (or Piter as the city is colloquially known) after a night out with a friend. Captain Natalya Ivanova is assigned the case, making a change for Natalya from her usual fare of domestic violence work, but, because of the family’s wealth, there’s pressure for a quick result. As she investigates she discovers that the case is not as straightforward as it may seem. Continue reading →