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.
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →
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.
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.
Continue reading →
Series: Cormoran Strike
Book Number: 3
Read this book for: contemporary noir, hard-bitten PI, London mysteries, serial killer, this time it’s personal
Quick Review: Another brilliant instalment in one of the most exciting contemporary noir PI series currently being published; a must-read that is hard to put down.
A message with gruesome content. A brutal series of murders. And a killer who knows too much. A ‘Sunday Times’ and ‘New York Times’ Bestseller.
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them… Continue reading →
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 →
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 →