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 “REVIEW: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (Obama/Biden #1)”
Series: Sherlock Holmes by James Lovegrove
Book Number: 5
Read this book for: Sherlock Holmes, Victorian mystery, literature crossover, globe-trotting story
Quick Review: A fun Holmes adventure that feels a lot like Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals, with lots of twists and turns and featuring another ‘fictional’ character.
It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes. The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. Upon investigating, the companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic… Continue reading “REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust by James Lovegrove (Lovegrove Holmes #5)”
Series: Thea Paris
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: action thriller, kidnap/hostage negotiations, spy thriller, secret organizations, fast pace
Quick Review: A page-turner that moves at breakneck speed with all the visuals of an action thriller movie, this a perfect light vacation read.
International kidnap expert Thea Paris is escorting two former child soldiers on a plane from an orphanage in Kanzi, Africa, to adoptive parents in London when the Boeing Business Jet is hijacked. As the plane screams toward an unknown destination somewhere in the remote Libyan desert, Thea has to figure out a way to take back control on the jet without endangering the lives of the passengers aboard–especially the two young boys in her care.
Behind the skyjacking is a former nemesis, a sophisticated Sicilian mobster who wants something, or someone, on that plane–possibly even Thea herself. When the dust settles on a tense negotiation, Thea finds herself at the beck and call of a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing to crush his rivals, even if it means forcing her to break international law. Thea, Rif, and the rest of the Quantum team soon find themselves doing the mafioso’s bidding while racing against the clock to discover his true motives.
Revealing a deadly conspiracy that connects the dark postwar legacy of World War II to the present, this case will bring all parties to an explosive conclusion that will decide the fate of millions across Europe and the Middle East.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Skyjack by KJ Howe (Thea Paris #2)”
Series: Janet Moodie
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: legal procedural, death row appeal, realistic process, prison stories
Quick Review: A highly realistic legal procedural that is refreshingly honest about the way the system works, and without the extra filler that you often find in legal thrillers. A must read.
Howard Henley is not a killer. That seems obvious to lawyer Janet Moodie when she’s called in to work his appeal. Her new client was convicted of arranging the shooting of a drug dealer, but the man who pulled the trigger has always said Henley had nothing to do with it. So why is Henley the one on death row?
Janet’s new case takes her from the desperate world of prison gangs, where men are murdered as an initiation rite, to the courtroom, where a mental illness might mean the difference between life and death. Can she convince a judge of her client’s innocence before it’s too late? Continue reading “REVIEW: Madman Walking by LF Robertson (Janet Moodie #2)”
Series: Oslo Detectives
Book Number: 6
Read this book for: multiple protagonists/investigators, Nordic noir, now it’s personal, detectives with personal issues, whodunnit
Quick Review: Fast-paced, action-packed and full of twists and turns, this Nordic noir read has all the punch of a hit TV show.
When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.
Continue reading “REVIEW: The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl (Oslo Detectives #6)”
Series: Roy & Castells
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: historical connection, international mystery, serial killer, multiple investigative threads, female detective/protagonists
Quick Review: A fascinating mix of history, tense threads of multiple stories, and solid detective work; a great read.
Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (Castells & Roy #2)”
Series: Robert Finley
Book Number: 3
Read this book for: spy thriller, police thriller, this time it’s personal, long story arc, politics and intrigue, department vs. department
Quick Review: Taut, twisting, and superbly constructed, this instalment is a must-read for any thriller fan who loves a complex plot that will keep you guessing.
Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settle into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Ton Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.
Continue reading “REVIEW: End Game by Matt Johnson (Robert Finlay #3)”
Series: Chastity Riley
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: modern noir, lawyer as investigator, woman investigator, multi-angle investigation
Quick Review: Dark, bleak and rough around the edges; a perfectly gritty modern noir novel.
After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…
Continue reading “REVIEW: Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (Chastity Riley #1)”
Series: Six Stories / Scott King
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: supernatural elements, unique formatting device, unreliable narrator, reader as detective, UK mysteries, horror reads
Quick Review: An intense, unforgettable, and gripping journey into the harrowing motives behind a gruesome act. Impossible to put down; absolutely brilliant.
One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the northwest of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.
King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five key witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as diminished as her legal team made out.
As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…
Continue reading “REVIEW: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (Six Stories #2)”
Series: Cthulhu Casebooks
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: Holmes and Watson, supernatural elements, action, alternate POV, US and UK locations, Victorian mystery
Quick Review: A surprisingly fascinating and gripping read, deftly uniting the worlds of Holmes and Lovecraft; well worth a look for Holmes fans.
It is the spring of 1895, and more than a decade of combating eldritch entities has cost Dr John Watson his beloved wife Mary, and nearly broken the health of Sherlock Holmes. Yet the companions do not hesitate when they are called to the infamous Bedlam lunatic asylum, where they find an inmate speaking in R’lyehian, the language of the Old Ones. Moreover, the man is horribly scarred and has no memory of who he is.
The detectives discover that the inmate was once a scientist, a student of Miskatonic University, and one of two survivors of a doomed voyage down the Miskatonic River to capture the semi-mythical shoggoth. Yet how has he ended up in London, without his wits? And when the man is taken from Bedlam by forces beyond normal mortal comprehension, it becomes clear that there is far more to the case than one disturbed Bostonian. It is only by learning what truly happened on that fateful New England voyage that Holmes and Watson will uncover the truth, and learn who is behind the Miskatonic monstrosity…
Continue reading “REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities by James Lovegrove (Cthulhu Casebooks #2)”