Category Archives: Series Reviews

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)

REVIEW: The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel (The Vinyl Detective #2)

Series: The Vinyl Detective

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: fun mystery, alternative mystery subjects, fast paced thriller, humorous writing

Quick Review: Polished, fast-paced and a ton of fun, this is a fantastic read that is easy to get lost in.

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His first adventure consisted of the search for a rare record; his second the search for a lost child. Specifically the child of Valerian, lead singer of a great rock band of the 1960s, who hanged herself in mysterious circumstances after the boy’s abduction.

Along the way, the Vinyl Detective finds himself marked for death, at the wrong end of a shotgun, and unknowingly dosed with LSD as a prelude to being burned alive. And then there’s the grave robbing…

Continue reading REVIEW: The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel (The Vinyl Detective #2)

REVIEW: The Age of Olympus by Gavin Scott (Duncan Forrester #2)

Series: Duncan Forrester

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: detailed historical setting, post-WWII espionage, whodunnit mystery, archaeologist adventurers, romance subplot, multiple murders

Quick Review: Even better than the first outing, this book fuses Christie-style whodunnit with the archaeology of Indiana Jones for a suspenseful adventure in Greece.

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Duncan Forrester has travelled to Greece, intent on recovering the ancient Cretan stone he discovered during the war, while part of an SOE mission to kidnap a German commander. But during a visit to Athens he witnesses the poisoning of a Greek poet, who it appears may have not been the intended target. 

The man Forrester believes to have been marked for death is a general, who has been approached to lead ELAS, the military arm of the Greek communists. With Greece on the brink of civil war, and more attempts made on the general’s life – not to mention an enemy from his own past on his heels – Forrester knows that the country’s future depends on the fate of one man…

Continue reading REVIEW: The Age of Olympus by Gavin Scott (Duncan Forrester #2)

REVIEW: A Presence of Absence by Sara Surgey and Emma Vestrheim (Odense Series #1)

Series: Odense Series

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: thriller, gritty detective story, British crime, Nordic noir, damaged detective, personal detective story

Quick Review: A combination of noir and thriller, this has the soul of a great detective story.

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British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants.

When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

Continue reading REVIEW: A Presence of Absence by Sara Surgey and Emma Vestrheim (Odense Series #1)