REVIEW: The Fire Maker by Peter May (China Thrillers #1)

Series: The China Thrillers

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: Chinese thriller, cultural differences, love story, career police officers, high-stakes thriller

Quick Review: Packed with detail about investigations and culture in Beijing, this is a well-paced thriller with an enticingly uncommon backdrop.

*** Continue reading →

REVIEW: Mary Russell’s War by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell #14. 5)

Series: Mary Russell

Book Number: Short Story Collection; Not Chronological

Read this book for: more back story on Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes pastiche, period mysteries, WWI historical fiction

Quick Review: A lovely collection for Russell fans, including some previously released and some brand new stories.


Laurie R. King illuminates the hidden corners of her beloved Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series in this dynamic short story collection.

In nine previously published short stories and one brand new, never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery—available together for the first time—Laurie R. King blends her long-running brand of crime fiction with historical treats and narrative sleight of hand. At the heart of the collection is a prequel novella that begins with England’s declaration of war in 1914. As told in Mary Russell’s teenage diaries, the whip-smart girl investigates familial mysteries, tracks German spies through San Francisco, and generally delights with her extraordinary mind—until an unimaginable tragedy strikes.

Here too is the case of a professor killed by a swarm of bees; Mrs. Hudson’s investigation of a string of disappearing household items—and a lifelong secret; a revealing anecdote about a character integral to The God of the Hive; the story of Mary’s beloved Uncle Jake and a monumental hand of cards; and a series of postcards in which Mary searches for her missing husband, Sherlock Holmes.

Last but not least, fans will be especially thrilled by Mary’s account of her decision, at age ninety-two, to publish her memoirs—and how she concluded that Ms. King should be the one to introduce her voice to the world. Continue reading →

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.

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.


NOTE: SPOILERS for THE FATHER contained in this post. Do NOT read if you have not read THE FATHER!

Continue reading →

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: 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.

Continue reading →

REVIEW: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (Obama/Biden #1)

Series: Obama/Biden

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: satire, political satire, humour, noir, buddy detectives, amateur detectives

Quick Review: Ridiculous, over the top fun that reads as a tongue-in-cheek love letter to Obama and Biden, this novel actually has relatively good noir mystery chops.


Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic. Continue reading →