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.

Uneasy in New Orleans Carol Carson

Uneasy in New Orleans Carol Carson

Fin Jones lives with her Aunt Gert in New Orleans. During the day she works as a tour guide, during the evening she attends cookery school, and during the night she takes covert photographs for a Private Investigator.

Fin has two sisters the youngest of which is a sexually charged 17 years old who moves to New Orleans to stay with her sister during the summer break.

Fins older sister had a boyfriend, Jack Boyle, who is now a Detective in the New Orleans Police Department; and he has a brother, Tom, who is the PI that Fin works for at night.

Confused? Don’t be these characters all weave into a nice, if not frustrating story.

One day Fin is giving one of her tours when she see’s a body hanging over a balcony. Quickly getting rid of her tour group she returns to the building where she saw it. The body’s still there, but when she gets up to the balcony to take a look she is knocked unconscious, when she comes around the body is gone.

So begins a story that links infidelity, a woman that is one of the most improbable FBI 10 most wanted that could be imagined, Fins personal life.

Is this a serious book? No. It is written firmly tongue-in-cheek, or that’s how I read it.

Its one of those feel good books. Inevitable comparisons with a modern day Nancy Drew will be drawn. It’s the type of book I would recommend to and elderly lady friend as easily as I would a young man.

I admit that at times I found it frustrating as the story drifted from the main plot to parts of Fins personal life, but when I finished it I wanted to read more. I wanted to know what comes next for all of the main characters. That has to be a good thing.cover71543-small

All This Will Be Lost Brian Payton

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All This Will Be Lost     Brian Payton

 

A few weeks ago I asked Sophie Orme at Pan MacMillan if she had any books that I could review. She asked if I wanted to stick to my usual genre, Police Procedural, Spy, anything legal, and I said no I’ll give anything a go.

That’s how I started of reading my first book with a tag line of “Sweeping epic romance, war-torn drama” on the front page.

All This Will Be Lost by Brian Payton starts off like many good adventure books with 2 people parachuting into enemy held territory after their plane has been shot down. The territory in question this time is the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, and the enemy is the occupying Japanese Army of the Second World War.

The two are an unlikely pair, a young aviator from the USAF, and one of the books protagonists John Easley, a journalist.

The second protagonist is John’s wife Helen.

The story alternates between the two characters, Johns struggle to survive behind enemy lines, and Helens search for her husband who she refuses to believe is dead.

This book kept me reading well into the night, and I picked it up to finish it as soon as I woke up.

It’s not what I expected. There is no mushy love. The love is the love between a woman and the husband she is scared to admit she might have lost; the same love that drives the husband to survive.

There is another relationship in the book, the one that builds between John and the airman he survived with. The battle between the two initially to establish who is the leader becomes an almost brotherly reliance on each other for survival.

There are twists and turns along the way that caught me by surprise. I am not sure whether that’s usual in genre but this story is bought alive by the fact that nothing can be taken fro granted.

It’s not a long book at about 327 pages but it packs all of those pages with a very enjoyable tale.

I try to learn something from all books. With the internet it is easy to research something you read in a book. This little book introduced me to a part of the Second World War that I had never heard of. I have now, and I feel sorry about my ignorance of it before.

Thank you Brian Payton.

Thank you for a good story

Thank you for opening my eyes to a new genre

Thank you for expanding my knowledge.

Every Night I Dream Of Hell Malcolm Mackay

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Every Night I Dream of Hell Malcolm Mackay

I love books by this Author. Malcolm Mackay writes from the other side of the law to most. The main protagonists in his books are criminals, they are not people you want to like, but somehow you still end up routing for them.

The book is set in Glasgow amongst an underworld that has recently been disorganised by one of the leaders being imprisoned.

The main character, Nate Logan, is an enforcer for the gang, a violent man with his own rules and values.

The core of the story is an attempted take over of the city’s underworld and the leadership of the gang Logan works for. In a world where nobody can be taken at face value Logan finds himself trying to work out who the enemy is.

Just to confuse matters the mother of his child appears to be trying to reenter his life; and at the same time a Detective Inspector, who is looking into the gang crimes, also makes an approach in an attempt to work with Logan to keep the violence which is erupting to a minimum. Between these two, his young apprentice, and his bosses his loyalties are tested to the limit

The book is a page turner. I’ve used the words morals before but McKay’s books test them like no other.

There is no good guy in this story, just bad ones. The tale is full of twists and turns. Who would you trust in the underworld of one of Britain’s most gang ridden city’s. In this book even their rule book and code of honour is ripped up.

If you want an easy read this is not for you. I read it on two long train journey’s and found that the time had flown by but the most read pages were the 5 at the front, the list of characters with a brief over view of who they are. This is not a criticism, in fact I think more authors should do the same, but without those pages I would have struggled to keep up with who was who, and where their allegiances were.

I don’t use a star ratting or anything like that. I rate a book by who I would recommend it to.

In this case I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to any of my friends.

Everybody Lies A.D Garrett

Everyone Lies A. D. Garrett

Well I seem to have spent most of 2014 discovering new British authors writing some great crime novels, and it seems that I have left one of the best till last. Amazon suggestions came up trumps when they directed me towards Everyone Lies by A. D. Garrett

This police procedural novel is set in Manchester and the story is based around murders in the sex and drugs industries. If you like gritty, true to life, realistic stories, this is for you. If you don’t like reading about the violence that surrounds the subject then it’s probably best you don’t read this book, but you will be missing out.

From the beginning it is obvious that violence is going to be central to the theme in this book. In some books it’s there for the shock factor, in this one it’s inherent to the tale being told and is used as a tool to describe the viciousness of life within inner city drugs and prostitution trade.

The two main characters DCI Kate Simms and Forensic Practitioner, turned lecturer, Nick Fennimore come together to investigate a spike in drug related deaths and soon uncover a link to the violent deaths of two young prostitutes.

As the investigation progresses and the bodies mount up political, and hierarchical, pressures are put on to DCI  Simms. Her relationship with her colleagues is strained and she increasingly relies on the help of Fennimore. Whilst the story is told it becomes obvious that the two have history and that they have both suffered professionally, and in Fennimore’s case personally, during a previous investigation. Although rules are broken the story remains believable.

The forensics in this book are second to none I have read in a work of fiction, and it came as no surprise to find out that A D Garrett is the pen name of a writing duo; Margaret Murphy a prolific writer of crime novels; and Proffessor Dave Barclay, a Forensic Practitioner/ Lecturer who I cannot help but wonder if the character of Nick Fennimore was at least partially based on.

There are places in the book where it is tough reading not just because of the violence but because of the science. Fennimore is a great believer in applying Bayesian Statistical Analysis, and uses it to build his initial hypothesis, which is great as long as you understand it. Thankfully I do.

Margaret Murphy has a section on her web site where she discusses the use of graphic violence in her novels. I agree with everything she said in the article, and this book is a perfect example of her reasoning. The violence is there. Is it graphic, in my opinion yes but not shocking. She describes violent actions which people would rather not accept are happening, they are. Without those passages in this book it would have been just another crime novel.

So we have a collaboration between a no-holds-barred novelist, with an up to date Forensic Practitioner. What’s not to like.

The second book in the series is already on my Kindle and hopefully it won’t be the lasteveryone-lies-200px