Little Black Lies Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies   Sharon Bolton

1994 in the Falkland Islands and children are going missing. 3 so far and the community are split. Is there a serial offender on the Islands or are they simply having accidents in the baron wilderness of the islands and not been found.

Catrin is a mother who lost her 2 boys in a car crash two years ago. Her friend Rachel was looking after them when the accident happened. Again the islanders are split, some take Rachel’s side but many blame her for the deaths. Catrin more than anybody else, and she is plotting revenge.

The latest boy to disappear may be hampering Catrin’s plans, from the start of the book the reader is told she is on a tight schedule to kill somebody, it quickly becomes clear its Rachel.

Catrin has separated from her husband who has moved on since his son’s death. An ex-squaddie Calum, haunted by the events of the Falklands war 12 years earlier is now living on the island and is in love with Catrin, but she ignores it.

Calum is adamant that there is a killer on the island but the more he delves the worse it looks for Catrin.

She has a plan to kill Rachel and the sudden interest she is gaining from the locals is making her task difficult.

The missing boy is found but one of Rachel’s children goes missing. Is it the work of a serial offender, or is it Catrin’s revenge.

This story is told from the viewpoint of a grieving parent and a retired squaddie wit PTSD. It revolves around a closed community spread over a huge area. The description of the landscape, along with an appreciation of the life of a Falkland Islander, adds to the darkness of the souls of the main character.

Passenger 19 Ward Larsen

Passenger 19       Ward Larsen

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s, whilst sailing around the world working for Shell Tankers, my favourite genre of book was the suspense novel. I loved authors like Hammond Innes, Frederick Forsythe, Wilbur Smith, and the early Nelson Demille books such as Rivers of Babylon and Cathedral.

It has seemed to me that there are not so many books written in this vane anymore, the modern Authors who attempt this type of work always go over the top with implausible scenarios, and I had fallen out with the genre.

Until now.

Last week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Passenger 19 by Ward Larsen. I will admit I had never heard of Ward Larsen before, maybe it’s a geographical thing and his books are just not high profile in the UK yet, but now I know about him I will be reading his other books.

Passenger 19 is an adventure book, a suspense novel and a fantastic read.

Air Crash Investigator Jammer Davis is enjoying semi-retirement when his Boss comes to see him with bad news. An aircraft has crashed in Columbia. Jammers daughter, Jen, is listed amongst the passengers.

Jammer is assigned to the case and from the start appears to be having too much help from the American Authorities. When he arrives at the scene of the crash he is informed all on board are dead, but that there are 2 bodies missing. One of the missing people is Jen.

What made the plane crash? Is the first question Jammer needs to answer, but his biggest question where is Jen and is she still alive?

Ward Larsen picked a good country to set the story in. He uses the topography brilliantly allowing him to have an isolated inaccessible crash site, but best of all he can use the corrupt infrastructure to add danger to the investigation in a who-can-be-trusted plot line.

The clever US political angel adds to the weight of the book.

The story rushes through the jungle at a fast pace that never slows or gets dull.

Best of all it’s a credible tale. There are no stretches of the imagination; at no time does the reader need to suspend reality.

I’ve been looking for this book for years. Not specifically this book, but one of this genre. I have spent hours in book shops browsing shelves looking at books by Innes and alike and wishing for some modern Author to pick up the baton, sit at their laptop, and write a good suspense adventure novel. Well Ward Larson has.

Thank you Ward, I’m looking forward to reading your others.

Where They Found Her Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her   Kimberly McCreight

I have to say I usually like a complex plot that challenges me as a reader, but on this occasion it was too complex for me.

The story begins with the discovery of the body of a small child on a University Complex.

Molly Sanderson, an ex lawyer who is in therapy following a still birth, and who is now working on the local newspaper as the arts and designs correspondent is despatched to cover the story, because all the other staff have personal issues they are dealing with.

The story evolves to introduce different people; all of who seem to be interrelated throughout and all have personal issues and problems that also all seem to be interwoven into the plot.

As the story progresses random transcripts of therapy interviews with Molly and her psychiatrist appear and although relevant in the end just add to the confusion of the story.

As Molly post her reports online the story starts to include readers comments, which may eventually prove relevant, as may the social media posts, which are included into the book.

For me what could have been a good story has been overly confused. The plot jumps around and too many characters have too much going on.

Death at Whitewater Church Andrea Carter

Death at Whitewater Church     Andrea Carter

Set in rural Ireland this story follows Ben (Benedicta) O’Keefe, a Lawyer practicing in the small town of Glendara.

The story starts with Ben and a local Surveyor acting for a local businessman who is selling a disused church for development. Whilst looking around the church they discover a crypt, and inside the crypt a skeletonised body. Not only is the body too recent to be there legitimately but it also appears that whoever it is, was locked in and left to die.

Rumours begin that the body is that of a man who has been missing since the morning of his wedding day.

Missing for nearly seven years is the body that of local man Danny Devitt.

Although O’Keefe has been living in the village nearly as long as Devitt has been missing she is unaware of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Glendara is a typical Celtic rural village, family histories interweave, and everybody knows everybody else’s business As the local Lawyer, and member of the local dramatics group, O’Keefe comes into contact with various characters, all of who seem to have an insight into the mystery but nobody has a definitive answer.

To help with identifying the body the local Garda enlist the help of a Forensic Anthropologist, a face from O’Keefe’s past who brings back memories O’Keefe would rather be left forgotten.

O’Keefe deals with the past whilst working on the present day crime in a semi-professional manner.

A series of break-ins in the town may be related to the body in the crypt but how. During her research O’Keefe becomes aware of a terrorist incident in which a ship was sunk just outside the local docks. The sinking of the ship was attributed to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Is this also related to the body in the crypt?

The last few pages reveal the answers, and they’re not easy to anticipate.

This debut novel is a really good read. From start to finish it kept me enthralled.

The story is set at a pace that makes it easy to read but very hard to put down.

The characters are all fascinating without being overpowering.

The description of the settings makes Glendara feel real, yet it is a place made up by the Author Andrea Carter.

Set in the winter the isolation of the area seems more sinister, perfect for the plot.

I can only hope this is the first book of many from Andrea Carter.

The Girl Who Broke The Rules Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Broke The Rules   Marnie Riches

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George McKenzie is back, the story picks up four years on from the end of The Girl That Wouldn’t Die and from the first page I knew it would be an excellent sequel.

The story is again set in the seedy underworld of prostitution and pornography and takes place in Holland and the UK.

George has returned home and is working to make ends meet as she researches for her PHD. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen is still working in the serious crime department in Amsterdam.

As George interviews a convicted violent sex offender in prison in the UK the dismembered bodies of sex workers start to be discovered in Amsterdam. Van der Bergen has not forgotten George since she left, in fact far from it, and the discoveries are an ideal opportunity to become involved with her again.

Van der Bergen is suffering his own demons and his ill health is not helped by his hypochondria. He needs to have George in his life not just to help him with the crimes that are taking place but also to get his life together.

George’s personal life is also a mess; her PhD mentor is over bearing in her control, her family is a dysfunctional group who skate along the edges of legality, and she is in a failing relationship with her boyfriend who still lives in Holland.

As the bodies pile up and George begins to work with Van der Bergen they find themselves conflicted with van der Bergen’s superior officer and a detective on his team. Who is making the right decisions George and Paul, or his boss and the detective?

The book rattles along a fast pace and every time I thought I had a handle on who was the culprit, and why they were doing it, I realised I hadn’t.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die was the Winner of a coveted Dead Good Reader Award (2015) – The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location.

It has to be the first of many that will be won for what I hope is a long series.

The locations are well described but in more than a panoramic way. Riches manages to capture the atmosphere of the scene. From an empty strip club to a rural train track, from a pot café to a morgue each scene is perfectly realistic and perfect for the story.

I cannot wait for the next installment.