Series: Harry Hole
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: dysfunctional detective, romantic subplot, interesting characters, in-your-face action, Scandanavian/Nordic Noir
Quick Review: While unsubtle and taking more after the style of an American TV thriller than it’s Nordic Noir cousins, THE BAT is a quick, readable and diverting thriller that ticks all the boxes of its genre.
Harry Hole is a Norwegian detective out of his element in Australia, investigating the death of a Norwegian national. Although he isn’t really supposed to be involved, he discovers a string of linked murders, and ends up the de facto leader of an investigation into a serial killer whose identity is almost impossible to pin down. Hole has to try to fight his own demons off long enough to catch the murderer, forever changing his own life in the process.
Continue reading REVIEW: The Bat by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole #1)
Book Number: N/A
Read this book for: a unique killer, tight and realistic procedural details, interesting concept, beautiful slice-of-life realism
Quick Review: Absolutely read this book; it’s a non-standard mystery that is a beautifully-rendered, realistic portrait of life as much as an interesting, twisted story.
Lonely police analyst Annabel discovers a decomposing body in the house next door to hers, prompting her to start an investigation of her own into a spike in the number of similar bodies being found in their town. Convinced that there is something sinister in the jump in numbers, she fights to get the police interested before she becomes a victim herself. Continue reading REVIEW: Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes
Series: Jack Caffery
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: extra-creepy serial killers, solid police procedure, detectives with a troubled personal life
Quick Review: Mo Hayder writes a tight, fast-paced page-turner of a thriller, but this one is not a book for everyone – be prepared for a lot of very dark, very shocking topics.
DI Jack Caffery has a home life that is falling apart – he has a girlfriend who he is becoming more disconnected from and an obsession with the neighbour who backs his property. He’s assigned to a case involving five young women that have been brutally murdered and dumped near London’s Millennium Dome, which not only brings back shadows of his past that haunt him, but throws him into a race to stop the next murder before it happens. Continue reading REVIEW: Birdman by Mo Hayder (Jack Caffery #1)
Book Number: N/A
Read this book for: political statement about race and slavery, unsurprising adventure, a simple good-vs-evil read
Quick Review: While the adventure portion of the story is not bad, this book is far better appreciated if you pretend the Mycroft in this book has nothing to do with the Mycroft Holmes of ACD canon.
Young Mycroft Holmes has recently graduated from Cambridge and is in the process of setting up his idyllic life, with a job in the government and a pretty and interesting fiancée. One day, that all comes crashing to a halt, as a series of disappearances of children in their native Trinidad cause his close friend and tobacco seller Cyrus Douglas and his fiancée great concern. Mycroft sets out on a journey across the globe to Trinidad to unravel the mystery of the disappearances, putting his own life and happiness in jeopardy. Continue reading REVIEW: Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse
Book Number: N/A
Read this book for: stand-alone thriller, tense and twisting plot, sharp prose, contemporary near-spy thrillers
Quick Review: An entertaining read; it’s sharp and well-paced with a plotline that (while not being entirely unpredictable) is interesting and cleverly laid out. Take it with you on holiday to lose yourself for a few hours at a time.
Charlotte Alton is a bored London socialite who is struggling to distance herself from her “working” life as Karla, a woman who deals in information (in a not-strictly-legal capacity). She is suddenly pulled back into her old life by a client-turned-accomplice for a seemingly impossible job: an execution of someone inside a new special high-security prison called the Program. Having to abandon many of her usual safeguards, and without so much of the critical information she needs, can she help her accomplice carry out his mission and keep him safe? Can she protect herself at the same time?
Continue reading REVIEW: The Distance by Helen Giltrow
Series: Camille Verhoeven
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: an interesting serial killer (particularly for crime fiction lovers), a different twist on the crime novel format, French fiction
Quick Review: A bit confusing and overblown, but an interesting concept/idea. Would have wished for a slightly better explanation and execution of the idea.
Camille Verhoeven is a clever detective who has risen far and fast despite the large chip on his shoulder because of his height (he’s under 5’ tall). However, he is one of those rare detectives who has become happy in his personal life. He is drawn into the hunt for a murderer with a particularly grisly – and varied – series of past victims, but is he prepared to become the prey? Continue reading REVIEW: Irene by Pierre LeMaitre (Camille Verhoeven #1)
Series: Kurt Wallander
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: realistic police procedure, beautiful prose, strong atmosphere, straightforward plot, minimalist writing, Scandanavian/Nordic Noir
Quick Review: Absolutely read this; it’s dark and chilling and atmospheric, with many appreciable touches of messy reality and has a fairly satisfying finish. A good introduction to Kurt Wallander.
Kurt Wallander is a detective whose personal life is crumbling around him. At the same time, he is dealing with an incredibly vicious double murder of an elderly couple, and freshly-sparked tensions between local refugee camps and Swedish citizens. Wallander is forced to attempt to solve a mystery with almost no leads, while also trying to prevent suspicion about the refugees from escalating into mass violence.
Continue reading REVIEW: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (Kurt Wallander #2)