Newest Crime Reviews

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Review of

To Kill a Troubadour (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker

4.5star.jpg Crime

Nobody knows what the truth is any more.

Bruno Courrèges is the police chief for St Denis and much of the Vézère valley and works closely with Commissaire Jean-Jaques Jalipeau (known as 'JJ'), the head of detectives for the départment of the Dordogne. They're not just policemen - they're both deeply committed to the well-being and prosperity of this most beautiful part of France. The discovery of an old, stolen Peugeot, crashed and abandoned in a ditch wouldn't normally have worried them so much had it not been for the strange bullet, with Russian letters stamped on the base, which they found in the car. Oh, and there was a golf ball too, which didn't belong to the owner of the car. A golf bag would be a good place to hide a sniper's weapon. Was there going to be an attempt to kill someone, or were the detectives being pushed in a certain direction? Full Review

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Review of

Blind Justice (DS McAvoy 10) by David Mark

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Acting DI Aector McAvoy hadn't even had time for breakfast when the call came through. A body had been found in the roots of a fallen tree at Brantingham, near Hull. When he gets to the scene, he will find what greets him is even worse than he could have imagined. A young man's corpse is entangled with the roots of a newly-fallen tree – the roots have grown through him – and two silver Roman coins have been nailed through his eyes. It would seem that this was done whilst the man was still alive. McAvoy makes a promise to the victim: I will find answers. You will know justice. But justice always comes at a cost and this time the cost might be to McAvoy's own family. Full Review

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Review of

Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl and Don Bartlett (translator)

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Part of the Oslo Detectives series, this crime story is a mixture of police procedural and thriller. Beginning with the death of a young woman in a carpark, that looks very much like an overdose, it unravels into a far-reaching investigation of murder, fraud, and international pharmaceutical dealings. Our two detectives are Gunnarstranda and Frolich, who end up working separately on the case as Gunnarstranda remains in Norway whilst Frolich is led to Africa as they follow the twists and turns of the investigation. Gunnarstranda and Frolich are tenacious, chasing down the truth in increasingly difficult, frustrating circumstances, trying hard to uncover the truth as they are sure that something much bigger, and much more dangerous, is going on. Full Review

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Review of

Cold Reckoning by Russ Thomas

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DS Adam Tyler never believed that his father committed suicide and for the last sixteen years he's been searching for evidence to prove that he's right. When a frozen body was found in Damflask Reservoir, there was a link back to a cold case from 2002. There didn't immediately seem to be any connection with DI Richard Tyler's death but Adam Tyler senses a link to the case his father was investigating before he died. Above all there's a growing sense that the criminality of Det Supt Stevens is going to be brought out into the open. Perhaps Tyler is going to get the answers he needs? Full Review

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Review of

No Less the Devil by Stuart MacBride

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We're in Oldcastle and Malcolm is in trouble. He's in an abandoned house and he's being threatened by two young people. One is Allegra (we'll soon learn that she's Allegra Dean-Edwards) and Hugo. It seems that Allegra bought Malcolm a new coat to keep him warm (she often does this for homeless people, apparently) but she'd put a tracking device in it so that she and Hugo could find out where he was sleeping. It won't be long before the police realise that Malcolm was one of their own: not many other people are going to have the Oldcastle police crest tattooed on their backs. Full Review

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Review of

Death at Friar's Inn by Rob Keeley

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Nat Webber and Tom Barton were in the finals of the Moots to take place at The Honourable Society of Friar's Inn. For aspiring barristers, moots test the participants' knowledge of several areas of law as well as their advocacy skills: it's a great way of getting invaluable practice and of getting yourself noticed. Tom and Nat are from 'a provincial university' and they're almost looked down on because of this. The other contestants - Becca Decker-Hamilton and Lucia 'Mouse' Dawes have no such disadvantage and Becca has an abundance of confidence. Tom's £30 supermarket suit doesn't make him feel any better. Full Review

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Review of

City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman

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When you drive large vehicles for a living, you're careful and it's not just about the way that you drive. You restrict your alcohol intake and if it's a trip that needs overnight stays you make certain you get your sleep. When you're taking a removals truck through a residential neighbourhood you head off at 5 a.m. when the roads are quieter, even if you have to wait up when you get to where you're going. And it was going well until the men hit something in Westwood Village, an upmarket neighbourhood of Los Angeles. The man was stark naked and couldn't be identified. Full Review

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Review of

The Patient (A DS Cross thriller) by Tim Sullivan

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DS George Cross has an autistic spectrum disorder, quite probably Asperger's Syndrome. He can be rude, difficult and awkward with people, although it's never intentional. It's just that he thinks differently and social niceties simply don't occur to him. There's a reason why he's in Bristol's Major Crime Unit and it's that he has the best conviction rate with cases, ever. His partner is DS Josie Ottey: she regards Cross with affection (not an emotion he would recognise, or welcome being attached to himself) and even attempts to instil some of those missing social niceties into Cross's behaviour. Full Review

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Review of

Unhinged (Volume 3) (Blix and Ramm) by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger

4.5star.jpg Crime

This is the third book in a series of stories featuring Alexander Blix, a police officer, and Emma Ramm, a crime journalist. In this book we find that when one of Blix's colleagues, Kovic, uncovers a connection between several Oslo cases, she tries to contact her superior, Blix. Before she can reach him, however, she is murdered, and Blix's daughter Iselin who shares the same apartment, narrowly escapes being murdered too. We then find ourselves a few days later with Blix and Ramm, who are being interviewed by the National Criminal Investigation Service because Blix has shot and killed someone, and Ramm saw it all happen. What had Kovic discovered? And what did Blix and Ramm uncover that led to Blix killing someone? Full Review

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Review of

Give Unto Others by Donna Leon

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Commissario Guido Brunetti senses that Venice has changed. The pandemia stripped the city of its tourists for nearly two years and a lot of businesses have closed, most never to reopen. There's now a cascade of money as life begins again but even 125,000 deaths have not put an end to greed. The Mafias have liquidity problems: how on earth are they going to launder all the money which is coming their way? Whilst he's thinking about this, Brunetti encounters someone he's seen only occasionally since they were neighbours when he was a child. Elisabetta Foscarini has a problem and she'd like Brunetti's advice. Full Review

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Review of

The Blood Tide (DS Max Craigie) by Neil Lancaster

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Loch Torridon is the back of beyond: there's not even any light pollution which is why it was the perfect place to land illegal deliveries of drugs. Jimmy McLeish thought that he was onto a nice little earner, only to find that Macca, the man he thought he was working with, is dead. His remains would never be found. The delivery is hijacked by Davie and Callum. As the story progresses we'll get to know them quite well. Full Review

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Review of

The Locked Room (Dr Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

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It was some time since her father had remarried but his wife was now keen to do some decorating and Dr Ruth Galloway volunteered to clear out her mother's belongings. She was intrigued by the discovery of a picture of her own house: it was an old photograph, taken in misty conditions and on the back it said 'dawn 1963', some years before Ruth was born. It was before her parents were married. When she returned to Norfolk she was determined to find out what was behind the photograph but Covid intervened and the country was in lockdown. Ruth and Kate are restricted to the cottage with Ruth attempting to home school Kate and continue with her university teaching duties. The good thing was meeting Zoe, the new tenant from next door whom they got to know whilst clapping for carers. Full Review

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Review of

Blood Games (DS Nikki Parekh 4) by Liz Mistry

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It's the third murder in the space of a few weeks and they've all been because of machetes used on teenagers. DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are amongst the first to arrive on the scene at Chellow Dene Reservoir on the outskirts of Bradford. Only, this time, it's going to be different. The body appears to Nikki to be that of her beloved nephew, Haqib, and she has a very public meltdown. It isn't Haqib: there are similarities but the body is clad in designer clothes and comes from an obviously monied background. What it does mean though is that Nikki is going to be on sick leave for some time with anxiety and depression. Full Review

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Review of

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

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It's five years since the stag weekend. Five of them had set out: Tim (the groom) and his four groomsmen, Scot, Miguel (who was usually called Miggy), Neil and Josh. The first night they had plenty of alcohol - too much really - and in the night Scot managed to wander off. The remaining four searched for him in vain and it was decided that Tim, who was experienced in survival techniques, would go for help. When help didn't come the remaining three finally made their way back to town. Scott followed soon after but there was no sign of Tim. Every year, Tim's father, Martin, and the four friends have been back to continue the search although they do now acknowledge that they're looking for 'remains' rather than for Tim. Full Review

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Review of

Something to Hide: An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George

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It's late July and Deborah St James is at a meeting with Dominique Shaw, Undersecretary for the school system, a representative from the NHS, Mr Oh from Barnardos, someone from Orchid House whose name she didn't catch but would later turn out to be Zawadi and Narissa Cameron, a filmmaker. It follows on from the success of Deborah's book London Voices: the meeting is an exploration of the possibility of the idea behind the book being used to highlight an area which is causing concern in some communities. Deborah's uncertain about quite how successful she could be as the problem seems to occur in Nigerian and Somali communities as she relies on getting the trust of the people she speaks to and photographs. Full Review

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Review of

The Lost by Simon Beckett

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The disappearance of Metropolitan police firearms officer, Jonah Colley's young son, Theo, just about finished him, particularly as he blamed himself for what had happened. He'd fallen asleep in the park whilst Theo was playing and when he woke, Theo had gone. It cost him his marriage and his home. Ten years later he's largely come through it and he's out with his team when he gets a phone call from DS Gavin McKinney. Gavin used to be his best friend but it's a long time since they've spoken. He's obviously in some difficulty now - Jonah can hear it in his voice - and he asks Jonah to meet him at Slaughter Quay. There's no one else I can trust, he says. Full Review

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Review of

Bruno's Challenge and Other Dordogne Tales by Martin Walker

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I'm not usually a fan of short stories - I find it all too easy to put the book down between stories and forget to pick it up again - but I am a fan of Martin Walker's Bruno Courreges Mysteries so the temptation to read Bruno's Challenge was hard to resist and I'm rather glad that I didn't even try. For those new to the series, there's an excellent introduction that will tell you all you need to know about who's who and the background to why Bruno is in St Denis. Full Review

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Review of

Buried Lies (Gaby Darin Book 5) by Jenny O'Brien

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Hannah Thomas was having her first night away from her son. Hunter had diabetes and this was controlled by a pump attached to his stomach, so her over-protectiveness was understandable, but her fiance, Ian, was pestering her to get married and she thought it would be a good idea for him to find out what parenting was really like. Her friend, Milly, had arranged to take her boyfriend, Liam, for a night in a posh hotel but then he dumped her and she couldn't get the money back, so Hannah was offered the opportunity to go in his place. She would return home to find Ian dead and five-year-old Hunter missing. Full Review

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Review of

Without a Trace by Jane Bettany

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Life hadn't been easy for Ruth Prendergast: she'd just come through a divorce and right now it was raining hard. All she wanted was to get back to her new home and settle down for a quiet evening. It wasn't going to be though: when she went into her bedroom she found a dead man on her bed with a knife in his chest. She'd no idea who he was. Full Review

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Review of

Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen

3.5star.jpg Crime

Varg Veum is a Norwegian Private Investigator who has just finished a stint in rehab and is now returning to work. However, the quiet job he's supposedly taken on caretaking someone's house quickly turns into a murder investigation, and a mystery around a missing woman. Varg finds himself not only investigating these, but also looking into an old, cold case of an eight year old girl who disappeared one night and was never found. Somehow, these disparate cases appear to be linked, but what is the link, and how can Varg possibly unravel the truth? Full Review

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Review of

Her Majesty the Queen Investigates: A Three Dog Problem by S J Bennett

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It's 2016 and the Queen's Private Secretary, Sir Simon Holcroft has decided that too much good claret and too little exercise is putting a strain on his waistband. Swimming, he decides, is the way to go and he can use the Buckingham Palace pool which is how he came to be there early one morning and discovered the body of Cynthia Harris at the side of the pool. There was broken glass - a crystal tumbler, by the look at it - probably one of the young royals being careless - and it looked as though Mrs Harris had slipped and cut herself so badly that she had bled out. Still, it was a shock for Sir Simon. Full Review

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Review of

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

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I am not a fan of "the Prologue". Most books are the worse for them. In this case I might make an exception. We start with Luca Pittman who is in a hurry. He has to hurry because he has children that he should not have, and when he hurries, when he bundles things into the back of his car and tries to run and then hears sirens behind him, which he should not hear because this is New Zealand and that is not how they do things there, he takes a risk. It ends badly. Full Review

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Review of

Bad Apples by Will Dean

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Tuva Moodyson was driving up a foggy hillside towards Visberg when she discovered an Audi 4x4 parked at the side of the road. Wondering if someone needed help she got out of the car - and heard the screams from deep inside the forest. Determining the direction of a sound isn't easy when you need hearing aids and dampness is causing interference but Tuva made her way to where a woman was holding her coat over the body of a man. He'd been decapitated. He was Arne Gustav Persson, a resident of Visberg. Full Review

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