REVIEW: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

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Read this book for: non-fiction, true crime, multiple storylines, US-based story, victim-focussed narrative, serial killer

Quick Review: A true-crime narrative about five victims of the ‘Gilgo Beach Killer’ – women who were killed and hidden in Long Island – their personal histories and their families’ still ongoing search for justice, written from a refreshingly different perspective.


Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island, and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. A triumph of reporting, a riveting narrative, and “a lashing critique of how society and the police let five young women down” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), LOST GIRLS is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.

Continue reading REVIEW: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

REVIEW: A Good Month For Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad by Del Quentin Wilber

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Read this book for: non-fiction, true crime, gritty detective stories, multiple storylines, police procedural, US-based story

Quick Review: Dark, gritty and incredibly real, this true-crime novel resists the urge to glamourize the detective’s life and presents an intense and compelling picture of murder investigations.


After gaining unparalleled access to the homicide unit in Prince George’s County, which borders the nation’s capital, bestselling author Del Quentin Wilber begins shadowing the talented, often quirky detectives who get the call when a body falls. After a quiet couple of months, all hell breaks loose: suddenly every detective in the squad is scrambling to solve one shooting and stabbing after another. Meanwhile, the entire unit is obsessed with a stone-cold ‘red ball’, a high-profile case involving a seventeen-year-old honour student attacked by a gunman who kicked down the door to her house and shot her in her bed. This is the inside story of how a team of detectives carry out their almost impossible job. Murder is the police investigator’s ultimate crucible: to solve a killing, a detective must speak for the dead. More than any recent book, A GOOD MONTH FOR MURDER shows what it takes to succeed when the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher.

Continue reading REVIEW: A Good Month For Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad by Del Quentin Wilber

REVIEW: Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel by Thomas H. Cook

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Read this book for: travel writing, memoir, non-fiction, hauntingly beautiful prose, chilling events, terrible historical events

Quick Review: A beautifully written and poignant memoir that will make you want to pack your bags and visit, Cook uses the sites of some of the darkest chapters of human history to shed light on the good parts of humanity.


Thomas Cook has always been drawn to dark places, for the powerful emotions they evoke and for what we can learn from them. These lessons are often unexpected and sometimes profoundly intimate, but they are never straightforward. With his wife and daughter, Cook travels across the globe in search of darkness – from Lourdes to Ghana, from San Francisco to Verdun, from the monumental, mechanised horror of Auschwitz to the intimate personal grief of a shrine to dead infants in Kamukura, Japan. Along the way he reflects on what these sites may teach us, not only about human history, but about our own personal histories. During the course of a lifetime of traveling to some of earth’s most tragic shores, from the leper colony on Molokai to ground zero at Hiroshima, he finds not darkness alone, but a light that can illuminate the darkness within each of us.

Continue reading REVIEW: Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel by Thomas H. Cook

REVIEW: A Presence of Absence by Sara Surgey and Emma Vestrheim (Odense Series #1)

Series: Odense Series

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: thriller, gritty detective story, British crime, Nordic noir, damaged detective, personal detective story

Quick Review: A combination of noir and thriller, this has the soul of a great detective story.


British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years. The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants.

When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

Continue reading REVIEW: A Presence of Absence by Sara Surgey and Emma Vestrheim (Odense Series #1)

Q&A: Matt Johnson about DEADLY GAME

Author of DEADLY GAME and WICKED GAME, the second and first novels in his Robert Finlay series, Matt Johnson graciously took the time to answer some questions about his writing process and inspiration for this fantastic series. Read on for his fantastic answers!  Continue reading Q&A: Matt Johnson about DEADLY GAME

REVIEW: DEADLY GAME by Matt Johnson (Robert Finlay #2)

Series: Robert Finlay

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: thriller, military and spy thriller, terrorist plots, bombing plots, detectives in trouble, now-it’s-personal story, trust no one

Quick Review: A twisting and multi-layered thriller that will keep surprising you throughout; definitely a great second novel in this series!


Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered. Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all…

Continue reading REVIEW: DEADLY GAME by Matt Johnson (Robert Finlay #2)

Q&A: Matt Wesolowski about SIX STORIES

SIX STORIES by Matt Wesolowski (check out the review here) was a fantastic and innovative novel, and The Crime Review was lucky enough to get a chance to ask some questions about the story and his writing process thanks to Orenda Books. Find out more about how SIX STORIES was created below!  Continue reading Q&A: Matt Wesolowski about SIX STORIES

a mystery lover's exploration of the best reads in the crime genre.

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