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!

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

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

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.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #4)”

REVIEW: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)

REVIEW: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)

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.

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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 “REVIEW: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #3)”

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

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

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

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.

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

REVIEW: Charlesgate Confidential by Scott Von Doviak

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!

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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: Charlesgate Confidential by Scott Von Doviak”

REVIEW: The Sons by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #2)

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.

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

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Sons by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #2)”

REVIEW: The Father by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #1)

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.

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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: The Father by Anton Svensson (Made In Sweden #1)”

REVIEW: Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlin (Jilly Truitt #1)

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.

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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: Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlin (Jilly Truitt #1)”