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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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…?

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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.

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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 →

REVIEW: Allmen and the Pink Diamond (Allmen Detective #2)

Series: Allmen Detective

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: European detectives, luxury settings, gentleman detective, gentleman thief, stolen item recovery, murder investigation

Quick Review: The second novel in the series, and the strongest effort so far, this instalment showcases an early investigation by the agency with an interesting plot, more action, and the continuation of the enjoyable characters from the first book.

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An unimaginably valuable pink diamond has gone missing and a mysterious Russian residing in Switzerland is suspected of having made off with the treasured jewel. But the investigative duo of Johann Friedrich von Allmen and his Guatemalan butler Carlos are on the case. Their search leads from London to Zurich to a grand hotel on the Baltic coast. Amorous adventures and diverting mishaps litter the path through a world of European high culture and luxury, with hard-knuckle forays into global financial markets and high tech moves to manipulate them. Continue reading →

REVIEW: Allmen and the Dragonflies by Martin Suter (Allmen Detective #1)

Series: Allmen Detective

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: European detectives, luxury settings, gentleman detective, gentleman thief, stolen item recover, murder investigation

Quick Review: A quietly wonderful introduction to a promising series; very much an origin story but a more interesting origin than many!

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Johann Friedrich von Allmen, a bon vivant of dandified refinement, has exhausted his family fortune by living in Old World grandeur despite present-day financial constraints. Forced to downscale, Allmen inhabits the garden house of his former Zurich estate, attended by his Guatemalan butler, Carlos. When not reading novels by Balzac and Somerset Maugham, he plays jazz on a Bechstein baby grand. Allmen’s fortunes take a sharp turn when he meets a stunning blonde whose lakeside villa contains five Art Nouveau bowls created by renowned French artist Émile Gallé and decorated with a dragonfly motif. Allmen, pressured to pay off mounting debts, absconds with the priceless bowls and embarks on a high-risk, potentially violent bid to cash them in. Continue reading →

REVIEW: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #4)

Series: Cormoran Strike

Book Number: 4

Read this book for: contemporary noir, hard-bitten PI, London mysteries, serial killer, relationship angst, multiple complex investigations

Quick Review: Another must-read in a series full of them, LETHAL WHITE is the most complex Galbraith offering to date, as well as sporting the most character and relationship development in the series so far.

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When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that.

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