Newest Crime Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

Extreme Prey by John Sandford

5star.jpg Crime

Making a long running series evolve organically is a very tricky business; a character that has been around for 26 books, and nearly as many years, is not going to be the same person that started out. Age catches up with us all and many crime writer have come up against the problem of retirement; not their own, but that of their character. Why is a 70 year old still out chasing criminals and shooting things? Lucas Davenport is a character who has always been a maverick, doing what he wants, therefore quitting the police was never going to stop him. Full review...

The Ad Man by Timothy Dickinson

4star.jpg Crime

Tim Collinwood is single and so, working in Morocco as an advertising creative, he's free to enjoy all his host country has to offer: the expense accounts, the opulence and the women. Then it happens. He gets the contract of his life. He just needs to create a PR campaign that will reassure Morocco that French business has her best interests at heart. The truth may be otherwise but creating the façade is what advertising is about. Perhaps Tim should have noticed that there are clues from the beginning as to how shady this job is, including needing to work under an assumed identity. However, the secrecy becomes a side issue as something more important takes Tim's concentration: survival for him and those around him. Full review...

Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator)

3.5star.jpg Crime

Strange things are happening, as they are most wont to do, in rural Iceland. In a very remote fjordside community in the NW a passing visitor has left the legacy of a dangerous African virus, which has claimed two lives. It's becoming national news, to the extent that a TV journalist is in touch for updates. The community only has two policemen, trying to man their station round the clock between them to make sure instant responses are possible. But one of them has also been asked to look into a mysterious cold case from the 1950s, when a lady died from poisoning – and that in a community of only four adults and a baby. – Or was it five and a baby, as a newly-found photograph suggests? Elsewhere, in Reykjavik, a young couple are troubled by an intruder – but that won't have any connection to the other cases, surely? Full review...

What Remains of Me by A L Gaylin

4.5star.jpg Crime

On the hottest night of the year, June 28, 1980 teenager Kelly Lund walked into a wrap party and shot the director, John McFadden dead. Two to the chest, one to the head, dead and centre. She offered no defence, though her attorneys played up her drug use and the heat but she still got 25-to-life. A journalist saw something in her nervous smile on the court steps, part of her defence mechanism others might have argued, called it the Mona Lisa Death Smile and set about building a demon. Full review...

Blood Lines (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

4.5star.jpg Crime

Initially it looked like a robbery gone wrong, or possibly a carjack, only the car was still there and so was the expensive watch and the jewellry. Her wallet hadn't been taken either, but she'd been killed by a single, precise stab to the heart. There was no sign of anger: in fact there seemed to be a complete lack emotion and there was nothing to suggest that the victim had attracted the violence - she was a caring mother and dedicated social worker. D I Kim Stone wasn't alone in thinking that something didn't add up. Then a local drug addict was found with an identical wound. There's nothing to link the two cases other than the wounds and Stone's instincts. Full review...

Lost Girls (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

5star.jpg Crime

Charlotte and Amy were best friends: they seemed to do everything together and the trip to the swimming pool was no different. It was all carefully planned - they were to stay in the building until one of the parents arrived to pick them up. Only, it didn't work out like that: the mother's car was disabled and before the pick up time both parents had received a text message to say that the girls had been abducted. It would get worse too - the next communication would tell them that they would have to bid for the life of their child. The parents who bid the most would get their child back. The other would not return. It sounds unbelievable, but it had happened before. One child was released, but not even the body of the other child had been found. Full review...

Finisterre by Graham Hurley

5star.jpg Crime

The Second World War is almost lost but in a last, desperate roll of the dice the German High command launch Operation Finisterre. In America the apparent suicide of a scientist working on the atom bomb and off the coast of Spain the shipwreck of a German submarine, become catalysts as the plans spiral out of control, leading to a shattering climax. 'Finisterre' is a crime thriller packed with grit, suspense and style. Full review...

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

4star.jpg Crime

Tim Johnson took his baby daughter out one day and in the course of their walk he was attacked and the baby was stolen. But there was a problem: only Tim seemed to believe that there was a baby and the police were convinced that there was an entirely different crime and that Johnson was their only suspect. He went to prison and was largely forgotten about. Full review...

Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas

5star.jpg Crime

Colin McCann, private detective, chronic smoker and dog lover, is charged with solving the mysterious death of the young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy businessman. The key facts of this case apparently hinge on the testimony of Charlie Davis, a ne'er do well dreamer with quick fists and a poet's heart. The only problem is that Charlie Davis has disappeared and appears to be unwilling to disclose his part in these tragic events. After some deliciously violent digging, McCann jets off to Tokyo and here is where the fun really begins… Full review...

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou by Steven Burgauer

3.5star.jpg Crime

A sudden death in New Orleans' red light district, the invention of a more effective US military landing craft with a big future, a crime family with links back to occupied Sicily and two Germans lurking suspiciously in America's southern states. All these are connected and, as World War II hots up across a fortnight in 1942, the links become more obvious as well as more dangerous. Full review...

Death Going Down by Maria Angelica Bosco and Lucy Greaves (translator)

3.5star.jpg Crime

In a strange time, in the years after World War Two, Buenos Aires is a strange city – peopled by her native residents, and many who fled the European theatre of war. And in a building that houses some of the more strange examples of those people on six levels of large apartments, something strange happens – one of them struggles home the worse for drink late one night and finds the lift descend to fetch him to his door, but carrying a blonde woman's corpse. A resident doctor soon turns up too, and the pair kicks into action the police investigation into her presence, which soon seems to point to suicide. This not being in a genre called suicide mystery, however, we know differently – but will certainly have to wait to piece the whole story together. Full review...

The Sleeping Beauty Killer (Under Suspicion 4) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

4star.jpg Crime

Fifteen years ago, Casey Carter went to prison for the murder of her fiancée Hunter Raleigh. The evidence seemed indisputable; her fingerprints were on the gun that killed him and her skin tested positive for gunshot residue. She'd been known to be argumentative and passionate, qualities that earned her the nickname Crazy Casey thanks to a tell-all book by an ex-boyfriend. Even her family seemed to suspect her guilt. But now Casey is out of prison and determined to prove her innocence. Who better to help her than Laurie Moran and the Under Suspicion team? After hearing her case, Laurie promises to give her a fair hearing on her TV show and reinvestigate the circumstances of Hunter's death. Full review...

Mr Churchill's Driver: A Murderer's Story by Colin Farrington

3.5star.jpg Crime

2014: 50 years since William Gilbey's father Herbert was hanged for murder. This anniversary is different from those in the past in that it's given William the impetus to go and find out more about two mystifying parts of his father's history. Firstly the oddity of the murder: why randomly kill two women in the street in daylight? Secondly, when William was a child, Herbert had told him a story about a meeting between Winston Churchill and then Irish Teasoch Eamon De Valera during World War II. There's nothing in the history books so did this actually happen? This is definitely a good time to investigate, especially as William has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for murder himself. Full review...

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

4star.jpg Crime

Any fan of a long running series will dread the book that falls off the cliff. This is the story that just does not make sense, or is so reminiscent of previous outings that it may as well not exist. With 24 titles already written about Lucas Davenport, the Prey series by John Sandford is overdue this, but will Gathering Prey be the moment that the maverick cop Davenport becomes a shadow of his former self? Full review...

The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner

5star.jpg Crime

Before we begin, I must confess. Confess that I am a hardboiled noir addict. Therefore, I approach each grisly tale of murder, private detectives and femme fatales with a sense of wonder but also scepticism. Surely, I think this one can't be as good as the last, it must have flaws, poor characters and lack the necessary grit to be a true hardboiled noir masterpiece? so you can imagine my trepidation when opening the Knife Slipped. I was wrong, wonderfully wrong. This book for me is the essence of the hardboiled noir genre and E.S. Gardner is a marvel. Full review...

Mercy Killing by Lisa Cutts

4star.jpg Crime

Albie Woodville was involved with the local amateur dramatic society and when it was decided that they would stage Annie and involve children from a local school the news was broken that he was a convicted paedophile. A local widow with two young children had started a tentative relationship with him: she terminated the relationship and the amdrams told him that he was no longer a member. It was bad enough, but deserved - then someone else took the law into their own hands and decided that the world would be a better place without Albie Woodville in it. He was brutally murdered. Full review...

Night School by Lee Child

4.5star.jpg Crime

The 21st Jack Reacher novel takes us back in time. Reacher is still an US Army MP. In the morning they gave Reacher a medal, and in the afternoon they sent him back to school. The medal was a Legion of Merit. Not his first, probably not his last, just another bauble to recognise what he'd done for his country and a plea for him not to talk about it. The 'it' in this case was some police work, in the Balkans, and a couple of shootings. Two weeks of his life. Four rounds expended. No big deal. Full review...

Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin

4.5star.jpg Crime

It's forty years since Maria Turquand was murdered. She was beautiful, a bright light and promiscuous - and she was strangled in Edinburgh's Caledonian Hotel on the night that a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there. Her killer was never found: it's been preying on John Rebus' mind and it comes into conversation on the night that Rebus and his lady friend are dining at the Galvin Brasserie at the Cally. It's better than thinking about his health: he's got COPD and there's something on his lung which he calls Hank Marvin. Think about it. Full review...

Shoot by Kieran Crowley

4star.jpg Crime

I make something of a habit of being late to discover good writers, in this case getting to Crowley after he is no longer with us. The result is that what is billed as an F.X. Shepherd mystery with all the optimism of there being more to come has the poignancy of being, if not the last of a short line, certainly one of a few. F.X. Shepherd – he doesn't like his first name and prefers just "Shepherd" is, technically, a columnist. He's been sacked by one New York newspaper and is writing a weekly column for another. I don't know much about journalism, but I'm guessing one column a week doesn't pay much as a rule…which explains why Shepherd's soap-washed-foul-mouthed editor (read the book, you'll see what I mean) expects him to turn in some genuine journalism as well: front page, seat of your pants stuff. Full review...

Hidden Killers (Tennison 2) by Lynda La Plante

4star.jpg Crime

Coming to the end of her probation WPC Jane Tennison knows that she would like to work in CID, only there's some resistance. It's never quite said, but you have a suspicion that it might come down to the fact that she's a woman. But being female has its advantages when a decoy is needed to entrap a man who has been attacking women and Tennison finds herself walking the local park area dressed up like a prostitute and wearing a blue rabbit-skin coat. She is attacked and only just rescued in time, but suffers nothing worse than a cut lip and a fright. It seems as though this is the man who has been attacking women, but is he also responsible for the rape of a young girl? Full review...

Chain of Custody by Anita Nair

4.5star.jpg Crime

After the success of A Cut-like Wound published in the UK in 2014, Chain of Custody sees the return of Inspector Gowda of the Bengarulu (rendered throughout in its anglicised version: Bangalore) police, called in when an affluent lawyer is found dead at his home in a prestigious and well-guarded gated community. However, that is the prologue jumping ahead of the story – as is the current vogue. Full review...

The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent

4star.jpg Crime

When Fran met Nathan everyone assumed she was on the rebound from a lengthy stint at the mercy of Nick The Unsuitable. I imagine falling pregnant within those first few heady months may have added fuel to that particular fire particularly from where Fran's best friend is standing. But when this is followed by a hasty wedding and a move to an isolated farmhouse in the Fens, Fran feels sure that her new role as home-maker and mother, so very different from the London party-girl she used to be, is the right one for her. So when Fran wakes in the middle of the night to find Nathan's side of the bed completely cold, she goes to look for him. Finding him bloodied and very much dead was most definitely not part of the bargain. Full review...

The Storykiller by Humfrey Hunter

3.5star.jpg Crime

The first rule of Super Injunctions is that you don't talk about Super Injunctions. These powerful legalese prevent the likes of you, me and the papers talking about certain stories. The rich, powerful and meaningless use them to stop the type of tittle tattle that fuels a million conversations at work, but what do you do if you are not rich, powerful or meaningless enough to afford a Super Injunction? Perhaps you can hire someone called a Storykiller who specialises in quashing rumours Full review...

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Meet Trudy. Successfully living in a large and valuable London home, she is heavily pregnant, and in between two men – she has swapped the homeowner, poet and publisher John, for someone completely different, namely Claude, a nasty, brutish and short type. Some people cannot work out why on earth she has made that decision, including our narrator. Oh, and he himself, our narrator, is the child she's pregnant with. He is a very alert young thing, with nothing else to do but kick here and there, and practice what you might well call mindfulness, and listen in on Claude and Trudy, as they calmly talk their way to plotting and carrying out murder… Full review...

Beneath the Ashes by Jane Isaac

3.5star.jpg Crime

Nancy Faraday woke up on the kitchen floor of the farmhouse where her boyfriend was living. She'd no memory of what had happened the night before, but she was injured, the house had been broken into and her boyfriend, Evan Baker, was missing.

The police had been called to the farm by the fire brigade. There'd been a fire in one of the farm's barns and when they investigated a badly-burned body was discovered. It's up to DI Will Jackman to discover who's responsible - and before whoever it is who is stalking Nancy makes her their next victim. Full review...

Shot Through the Heart (DI Grace Fisher 2) by Isabelle Grey

4star.jpg Crime

In many ways it was horrific, but quite simple. On Christmas day a man with a rifle shot and killed five people: the first was his ex-wife's new partner, a local policeman, but the other four were simply people who happened to be around. He then went to the local churchyard and turned the gun on himself. Six dead, no perpetrator on the loose and it looks as though all that needs to be done is to give evidence at the inquest, but DI Grace Fisher can't leave it at that. She wants to know where Russell Fewell got the gun and the bullets: she's also not convinced about the honesty of the dead policeman and that's an unpopular attitude to have about a local hero. Full review...

Crush by Frederic Dard and Daniel Seton (translator)

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

In this story of Thelma and Louise, it's Louise we meet first, through her narration. She's a seventeen year old, telling us of a quite awful and smelly satellite town of Paris she lives in, with the sight of factories and stench of food processing plants keeping her company. She lives at home with her mother, complete with hare-lip, and abusive step-father, and is working at one of those factories until she sees a paradise in their midst – the ever-sunny, sexy and sophisticated life of an American NATO worker and his wife. Impulsively, she asks to be their maid – and indeed moves into the couple's large, messy home. But little does she know what lurks in the shadows in that building, behind their gigantic car and their cute porch swing and al-fresco dining – the unhappiness, and even the tragedy… Full review...

Sinner Man by Lawrence Block

4star.jpg Crime

Everybody has to start somewhere, but if you are as prolific a writer as Lawrence Block, you may no longer be able to find the beginning. His first crime publication came and went in the early 60s and fifty years later he did not have a copy as the book had been published under an alias with a different title unknown to him. In 2016 that book has surfaced in the form of Sinner Man and has all the hallmarks of the veteran crime writer's early books; murder, dubious characters and a bit of pulp naughtiness. Full review...

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

5star.jpg General Fiction

Finlay Montgomery, like her grandmother Eloise before her is a very powerful and gifted psychic. Sensitive to the unseen, unheard and unknowable, she spends her days among the dead. Visited, bothered, harassed and sometimes taunted, Finlay does her best to manage the gifts that Mother Nature has sought to bestow. But life is not that simple and studying for your degree is testing with five other visitors in the room who are all trying to get your attention in the loudest and most distracting way possible. Full review...

Pushing Up Daisies (Agatha Raisin) by M C Beaton

4star.jpg Crime

'Allotments' sound as though they should be a haven of peace and tranquility, but it's surprising how often the reverse proves to be the case. The villagers of Carsley are up in arms because Lord Bellington has said that he's going to sell off the allotments for a new housing development. When he turns up dead, poisoned by antifreeze, no one is particularly sorry - and there's no shortage of suspects either. Lord Bellington's son, Damian, employs Agatha Raisin and her detective agency to discover who murdered his father. Full review...