REVIEW: A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander (Sage Westfield #2)

REVIEW: A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander (Sage Westfield #2)

Series: Sage Westfield

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: historical mystery, contemporary mystery, cold case, police procedural, multiple storylines, UK mystery

Quick Review: A deftly constructed novel that offers a nuanced blend between historical and contemporary mystery stories.

***

Archaeologist Sage Westfield has her first forensics case: investigating the murder of a teenage girl. Hidden by holly leaves, the girl’s body has been discovered on the grounds of a stately home, where another teenage girl went missing twenty years ago – but her body was never found. The police suspect the reclusive owner, Alistair Chorleigh, who was questioned but never charged. But when Sage investigates a nearby burial mound – and uncovers rumours of an ancient curse – she discovers the story of another mysterious disappearance over a hundred years ago. Sage will need both her modern forensics skills and her archaeological knowledge to unearth the devastating truth. Continue reading “REVIEW: A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander (Sage Westfield #2)”

REVIEW: The Brief by Simon Michael (Charles Holborne #1)

REVIEW: The Brief by Simon Michael (Charles Holborne #1)

Series: Charles Holborne

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: legal thriller, 60s London, semi-historical, this time it’s personal, wrongfully accused, amateur detective, corrupt cops

Quick Review: Vivid atmosphere, a great story and a wade range of people, places and parts of society; THE BRIEF is an extremely fascinating dual thriller.

***

1960s London – gang wars, corrupt police, vice and pornography – ex-boxer, Charles Holborne, has plenty of opportunities to build his reputation with the criminal classes as a barrister who delivers. But Holborne, an East End boy made good, is not all he seems, and his past is snapping at his heels. When his philandering wife has her throat slashed, Holborne finds himself on the wrong side of the law and on the run, back in the only place he thought he’d be safe, the East End. But now he’s got caught in the middle of a turf war between the Kray twins and the Yardies. Can Holborne stay one step ahead of the police and the real murderer, discover the truth and escape the hangman?

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Brief by Simon Michael (Charles Holborne #1)”

REVIEW: The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay (Anderson & Costello #9)

REVIEW: The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay (Anderson & Costello #9)

Series: Anderson & Costello

Book Number: 9

Read this book for: police procedural, Scottish mystery, female detective, this time its personal, multiple investigations, child abduction, kidnapping thriller

Quick Review: A twisting kaleidoscope of related investigations; a must-read for fans of the series!

***

DI Costello faces a disturbing child abduction case; a six-week-old has been stolen and replaced with another baby. The swap took cold and meticulous planning, so Costello treads the seedy, Glaswegian backstreets for answers. She’s convinced that more than one young life is at stake.

Promoted into the Cold Case Unit, Colin Anderson reviews the unsolved rape of a young mother, whose attacker is still out there. Each case pulls Anderson and Costello in the same direction and, as their paths keep crossing, they begin to suspect their separate cases are dangerously entwined. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay (Anderson & Costello #9)”

REVIEW: The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett (Fethering Mysteries #18)

REVIEW: The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett (Fethering Mysteries #18)

Series: Fethering Mysteries

Book Number: 18

Read this book for: cozy mystery, UK mystery, whodunnit, contemporary mystery, amateur detectives, female detectives

Quick Review: An extremely cozy English mystery with all the trimmings, including a fun little puzzle, but with the freshness of a contemporary setting.

***

Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along. Although they haven’t met for twenty years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn’t changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn’t been suspecting however was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death.

More worrying, from Jude’s point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole not just to solve the murder but to prevent herself from being arrested for committing it. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett (Fethering Mysteries #18)”

REVIEW: Black Wolf by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #2)

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.

***

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.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Black Wolf by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #2)”

REVIEW: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh (Marquess House #1)

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!

***

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?

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh (Marquess House #1)”

REVIEW: Brotherhood by David Beckler (Mason & Stirling #1)

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.

***

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…?

Continue reading “REVIEW: Brotherhood by David Beckler (Mason & Stirling #1)”

REVIEW: Motherland by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #1)

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: Motherland by GD Abson (Natalya Ivanova #1)”

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

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 Pink Diamond (Allmen Detective #2)”

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

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!

***

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