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Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

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Bad Blood by Casey Kelleher

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 blind-justice-by-ethan-cross

Blind Detective Vows to Avenge Murdered Friends

Review of Blind Justice by Ethan Cross

Deacon Munroe, Special Agent for the Defence Criminal Investigative Service, or DCIS, is involved in what is basically a case for Naval Criminal Investigative Services, or NCIS. On his way to meet his old friend General George Easton, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, he arrives at a gruesome murder scene. On the surface, it appears that General Easton murdered his wife and then shot himself. Immediately, Munroe is sceptical, and when told that Easton shot himself with his right hand, begins to harbour serious doubts concerning the situation, particularly regarding the fact that Easton was left-handed.

Deacon Munroe is an active agent who lost his sight in the 9/11 terrorist outrage, and is guided through everything by his childhood friend Gerald Dixon, who is not only his right-hand man, but literally, his eyes. When they find a flash drive hidden in a clock at the scene, they know that things are not as they seem. As the book progresses, Munroe and his friends find themselves in grave peril as they look for answers to the many questions posed by Easton’s death.

So commences a super thriller which has plenty of thrills and spills but also a liberal sprinkling of heart and soul. We are taken into the world of Deacon Munroe who, because of his blindness, has to work harder with his other senses and brain to overcome this affliction. Ethan Cross has clearly got great empathy for people with sight problems, and this comes over extremely well in his book.

A well-written and cleverly-constructed novel, where the main contestants are big and bold. Thoroughly recommended.

– Sméagol

 

Star Rating: Four Stars

4-Star Rating

 the-readers-of-broken-wheel-by-katarina-bivald

The Love of Books Runs Through this Delightful Story like a Leitmotiv

Review of The Readers of Broken Wheel by Katarina Bivald

Amy Harris, passionate about books and reading, lives in Broken Wheel, and one wonders if she has any idea of the effect Sara’s arrival would have on the few remaining inhabitants of this small, slowly-dying town in the middle of the corn belt of Iowa. Or of the affect they would have on her. Sara is 20-something, shy and unassertive, and has lived her whole life in a small town in Sweden. She shares Amy’s passion for everything to do with books.

In 2009 a friendship-by-mail developed between Sara and Amy, deepening over time as the focus of their letters changes from books and authors to the little town and Amy’s love for and connection with the people who live there – Andy, the owner of the bar, and his handsome lover Carl, Grace the rebel, Jen the busybody, Caroline the watchdog of righteousness, poor broken-hearted alcoholic George, the African-American John, and handsome Tom.

When the bookshop in which Sara had spent her whole working life closes down, she accepts Amy’s invitation to visit her. This would be her first journey away from home. Arriving in Broken Wheel on a two month tourist visa, and when Amy is not there to meet her, she is devastated to hear that Amy died a few days before and that today was the day of her funeral. She had not been quite on the level with Sara and had not told her that she was dying of cancer.

Feeling totally alone and at a loss in a small town in a foreign country, her only point of contact gone, knowing nobody (except from what Amy had written in her letters), and with a return ticket dated two months ahead, Sara is overwhelmed when the town wraps its collective arms around her. Interspersed with Amy’s letters to Sara, the story relates the events of these two months. You, the reader, become more and more familiar with the very interesting cast of characters living in the town, and you become more and more involved in the day to day affairs of Broken Wheel as seen from both Sara’s perspective and from that of the inhabitants.

Amy’s presence can be felt at every turn, and the love of books runs through this delightful story like a leitmotiv. The change in Sara is remarkable, from the shy girl trying to hide behind the pages of a book, to her amazement at the discovery of Amy’s collection of books, and in her efforts to get everyone involved in reading. Books are the stars at every turn, and they lead to her new-found self-confidence and sense of direction. The change in the town and its inhabitants is no less extraordinary.

Read it! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

-Gail

 

Star Rating: Four Stars

4-Star Rating

 green-hell-by-ken-bruen

Jack Taylor is Out to Nail a Professor

Review of Green Hell by Ken Bruen

Jack Taylor has returned to his old ways. In the last outing we saw him turn his life around only to be drawn back into the crime and corruption of Galway’s underworld. This time, aided by a young American student, who is determined to write Taylor’s biography, and the mysterious Goth, Emerald, Jack is on a vigilante mission to rid the world of a violent and predatory university professor, well-protected by his peers.

For fans of Ken Bruen I’m sure Green Hell will be considered a treasure in the Jack Taylor crown: it’s full of the bleak scenery, black humour, extreme violence and contemporary asides we know and expect from him. In a diversion from the norm this novel has a considerable portion written from a perspective other than Taylor’s. I found this refreshing, but it wasn’t enough to detract from Jack’s bleak sense of self-destruction for me. I find the language jarring and the content depressing. The frequent pop culture references, although engaging to some, simply irritate me.

I am not a Ken Bruen fan, and I never will be, but I can appreciate the poetry of his prose and the ironic gems of humour he injects into the most awful situations. This is a short novel, if it’s your cup of tea (or shot of Jameson in Jack’s case) you’ll be through it in one sitting. For me, that was a blessed relief!

~Anouk

 

Star Rating: Three Stars

3-Star Rating

 her-final-breath-by-robert-dugoni

Woman Cop in Hot Pursuit of a Killer of Girls

Review of Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni

This book is a sequel to Her Sister’s Grave, published in 2014. Detective Tracey Crosswhite is lead detective in the Seattle Violent Crimes Unit in charge of the case where a young girl is found hog-tied with a rope to ensure she causes her own death when she finally cannot hold up her legs.

Crosswhite is just starting to get into the case when her boss Captain Johnny Nolasco decides she and her dedicated team are not making any progress and hands the case over to the FBI. She is obviously furious, but distraction comes when her sister's body (missing for 20 years) is discovered and she returns to Cedar Grove where she and her long time friend and now boyfriend, Dan O'Leary, a lawyer must work out if the original suspect convicted of the crime is the real killer (See Her Sister’s Grave).

Once the case of her sister's murder is settled she returns to Seattle only to discover that more young women are dying in exactly the same method as that used on the case she was removed from. Tracey once again gets Dan to help her as she feels that a case which her Captain Johnny Nolasco had worked on years previously -- with all the same tell-tale signs, may have meant that the wrong man was convicted.

I'm very pleased that I read both books as one. It gave me a far better insight into the reasons why she was so determined to catch the killer against her boss's orders.

Robert Dugoni has created a feisty, determined young detective in Tracey Crosswhite. Considering the loss she suffered with her sister's murder, she's still a well-rounded and likeable character and the team, with the exception of her boss, are also very well drawn and likeable.

Another interesting aspect in the books was using Dan O'Leary's skills as a lawyer to help solve the cases.

My recommendation would be to read both books. There are aspects in the first that relate to this book and will give you a better insight.

I look forward to reading more books by this gifted author.

– Treebeard.

 

Star Rating: Four Stars

4-Star Rating

 clandestine-by-j-robert-janes

Skulduggery in France in World War II

Review of Clandestineby J Robert Janes

This is the latest in a long series featuring the uncomfortable pairing of the French Surete’s Jen-Louis St Cyr, with the Gestapo’s Hermann Kohler. As detectives they have learned to develop a good working relationship and a mutual respect, together with an unlikely friendship. Kohler is not typical Gestapo, and is longing for the war to end, and for his own survival; he is also married to a Dutch widow, and shares his favours between her and a young French girl.

They are called on to investigate the hijacking of a Banque Nationale de Credit et Commercial armoured van, and the murders of the crew. They soon discover that this is not just any murder -- a pair of women’s shoes suggest that there was a girl there and they conjecture that she may have removed her shoes to flee from the scene. In addition, the hijackers have left behind a fortune in large denomination bank notes, and more puzzling, foodstuffs such as cheese, truffles, sausage, together with bottles of champagne, all of which are in short supply in occupied France. Initially suspicion falls on the Resistance who are active in the area.

This is an intriguing novel, relying heavily on the characters of the two detectives and their interactions with each other, as well as with the Gestapo elite who are keeping a more than casual eye on the investigation.

This book is well-written and Janes throws in plenty of twists and turns, but I found it switched between the thoughts of the characters with no clear sense of who was thinking now. It wasn’t really for me, perhaps because it is part of a long series; I felt excluded, like a stranger at a party where everyone else knows each other.

I am sure that for Janes’s followers this will be a welcome return of St Cyr and Kohler.

– Pashtpaws

 

Star Rating: Three Stars

3-Star Rating

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AngelaMarsons

Everything Burns by Vincent Zandri

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A Wanted Man

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