Category Archives: Series Reviews

REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities by James Lovegrove (Cthulhu Casebooks #2)

Series: Cthulhu Casebooks

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: Holmes and Watson, supernatural elements, action, alternate POV, US and UK locations, Victorian mystery

Quick Review: A surprisingly fascinating and gripping read, deftly uniting the worlds of Holmes and Lovecraft; well worth a look for Holmes fans.

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It is the spring of 1895, and more than a decade of combating eldritch entities has cost Dr John Watson his beloved wife Mary, and nearly broken the health of Sherlock Holmes. Yet the companions do not hesitate when they are called to the infamous Bedlam lunatic asylum, where they find an inmate speaking in R’lyehian, the language of the Old Ones. Moreover, the man is horribly scarred and has no memory of who he is.

The detectives discover that the inmate was once a scientist, a student of Miskatonic University, and one of two survivors of a doomed voyage down the Miskatonic River to capture the semi-mythical shoggoth. Yet how has he ended up in London, without his wits? And when the man is taken from Bedlam by forces beyond normal mortal comprehension, it becomes clear that there is far more to the case than one disturbed Bostonian. It is only by learning what truly happened on that fateful New England voyage that Holmes and Watson will uncover the truth, and learn who is behind the Miskatonic monstrosity…

Continue reading REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities by James Lovegrove (Cthulhu Casebooks #2)

REVIEW: Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy (Charlie Walden #1)

Series: Charlie Walden
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: dry humour, legal battles, various crimes, mini-mysteries, British mysteries, cozy mysteries
Quick Review: A charming and delightful introduction to Judge Charlie Walden, with a series of wryly clever, light-hearted and brilliant little puzzles.
Release Date: November 23, 2017
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When Charlie Walden took on the job of Resident Judge of the Bermondsey Crown Court, he was hoping for a quiet life. But he soon finds himself struggling to keep the peace between three feisty fellow judges who have very different views about how to do their job, and about how Charlie should do his. And as if that’s not enough, there’s the endless battle against the ‘Grey Smoothies’, the humourless grey-suited civil servants who seem determined to drown Charlie in paperwork and strip the court of its last vestiges of civilization. No hope of a quiet life then for Charlie, and there are times when his real job – trying the challenging criminal cases that come before him – actually seems like light relief.

Continue reading REVIEW: Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy (Charlie Walden #1)

REVIEW: Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson (Dark Iceland #5)

Series: Dark Iceland (Ari Thor)

Book Number: 5

Read this book for: classic whodunnit, Nordic noir, Christmas mystery, cold case, family secrets

Quick Review: Another must-read instalment in the Dark Iceland series; a contained, tense, and clever mystery with the dark atmospheric touch this series is known for.

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Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík.  Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. 

Continue reading REVIEW: Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson (Dark Iceland #5)

REVIEW: The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Getty & Khattak #2)

Series: Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: history connections, prose and poetry well written, terrorist plot, Canadian setting, thriller, murder mystery

Quick Review: A superb follow-up to the first novel in the series, perfectly balancing lyrical prose with intense thriller pacing for a brilliantly-handled, must-read novel.

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Detective Esa Khattak heads up Canada’s Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is still under scrutiny for his last case, so he’s surprised when INSET, Canada’s national security team, calls him in on another politically sensitive issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year’s Day but their undercover informant, Mohsin Dar, has been murdered. Khattak used to know Mohsin, and he can’t let this murder slide, so he sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the unsuspecting mosque which houses the terrorist cell. As Rachel tentatively reaches out into the unfamiliar world of Islam, and begins developing relationships with the people of the mosque and the terrorist cell within it, the potential reasons for Mohsin’s murder only seem to multiply, from the political and ideological to the intensely personal. Continue reading REVIEW: The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Getty & Khattak #2)

REVIEW: The Child by Fiona Barton (Kate Waters #2)

Series: Kate Waters

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: psychological thriller, disturbing domestic situations, female protagonists, unreliable narrators

Quick Review: A worthy follow-up to THE WIDOW; a twisting, fascinating and compelling read that keeps you guessing and second-guessing to the end.

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As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Continue reading REVIEW: The Child by Fiona Barton (Kate Waters #2)

REVIEW: Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen (Varg Veum #6)

Series: Varg Veum

Book Number: 6 (English translations) / 21 (Norwegian originals)

Read this book for: dark crimes, complicated plots, fragmented narrative, fast paced, private detective

Quick Review: A twisting, complicated plot that shows both the freshness of unique ideas and the experience of a fantastic crime writer – a page-turning, must-read thriller.

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Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet.

Continue reading REVIEW: Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen (Varg Veum #6)

REVIEW: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (Roy & Castells #1)

Series: Roy & Castells

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: historical ties, serial killer, behavioural profilers, European mystery, gruesome murders

Quick Review: Dark, complex, and chilling, the deep background and history woven into this novel makes it a surprising and excellent read.

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Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Continue reading REVIEW: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (Roy & Castells #1)