Category Archives: Series Reviews

REVIEW: The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl (Oslo Detectives #6)

Series: Oslo Detectives

Book Number: 6

Read this book for: multiple protagonists/investigators, Nordic noir, now it’s personal, detectives with personal issues, whodunnit

Quick Review: Fast-paced, action-packed and full of twists and turns, this Nordic noir read has all the punch of a hit TV show.

***

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Continue reading REVIEW: The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl (Oslo Detectives #6)

REVIEW: Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (Castells & Roy #2)

Series: Roy & Castells

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: historical connection, international mystery, serial killer, multiple investigative threads, female detective/protagonists

Quick Review: A fascinating mix of history, tense threads of multiple stories, and solid detective work; a great read.

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Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.

Continue reading REVIEW: Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (Castells & Roy #2)

REVIEW: End Game by Matt Johnson (Robert Finlay #3)

Series: Robert Finley

Book Number: 3

Read this book for: spy thriller, police thriller, this time it’s personal, long story arc, politics and intrigue, department vs. department

Quick Review: Taut, twisting, and superbly constructed, this instalment is a must-read for any thriller fan who loves a complex plot that will keep you guessing.

***

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settle into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Ton Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

Continue reading REVIEW: End Game by Matt Johnson (Robert Finlay #3)

REVIEW: Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (Chastity Riley #1)

Series: Chastity Riley

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: modern noir, lawyer as investigator, woman investigator, multi-angle investigation

Quick Review: Dark, bleak and rough around the edges; a perfectly gritty modern noir novel.

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After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…

Continue reading REVIEW: Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (Chastity Riley #1)

REVIEW: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (Six Stories #2)

Series: Six Stories / Scott King

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: supernatural elements, unique formatting device, unreliable narrator, reader as detective, UK mysteries, horror reads

Quick Review: An intense, unforgettable, and gripping journey into the harrowing motives behind a gruesome act. Impossible to put down; absolutely brilliant.

***

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the northwest of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five key witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Continue reading REVIEW: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (Six Stories #2)

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.

***

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
***
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)