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Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

Die Again by Tess Gerritson

Bad Blood by Casey Kelleher

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

Hope to Die by James Patterson

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 forgotten-voices-by-jane-a-adams

Tediously Slow With Shallow Characterisation

Review of Forgotten Voices by Jane A. Adams

Ellen Tailor, recently widowed, is found by her young children when they return from school -- shot at close range by someone using a double barrelled shotgun.

DI "Mac" MacGregor together with DI Kendall and the support of the local police are left with very few clues as to why this very popular woman has been so savagely murdered. They quickly discover that her mother-in-law despised her, but would she go to the lengths of murder to get rid of her to claim the farm and become the children's legal guardian?

Also on their radar is William Trent, a man not generally liked, who will stoop to any lengths to gain possession of private and confidential papers that the local community have loaned to the committee wanting to set up a memorial of the town's participation during the war years. He is discovered murdered shortly after the opening day of the exhibition. Are the two murders linked? If so, what is the link?

Can Rina Martin, home after filming in her latest series together with her mismatched house guests, help solve the murders?

It was obvious from the beginning who stood the most to gain from these murders. Rina Martin's bizarre involvement with one of the detectives and her motley crew of guests were more of an irritant than an added benefit to the story.

Not one character stood out and all were drawn in a one dimensional manner, which made reading the story hard going.

Sorry Jane A Adams, the stories you've written so far featuring Rina Martin might have a huge following, but I for one will not be looking for the next book in the series.

– Treebeard

 

Star Rating: Two Stars

2-Star Rating

 the-exile-by-mark-oldfield

Spanish brutality and political upheaval—and there’s a charming anti-hero

Review of The Exile by Mark Oldfield

Comandante Guzman is a nasty man and heads up the Brigada Especial. He thinks nothing of taking a life in the most brutal way. Man, woman, child. It’s irrelevant to him. He has a job to do but his prime objective is to look after number 1.

The story is set in Spain in the ’30s, ’50s and the early 21st century. Guzman is the main character and the person who draws all the threads together throughout the story. He has been sent to the Basque region with all the issues related to the struggle for independence which this suggests. As such the topic is current and bang up to date. Guzman of course wants to be recalled to Madrid and so is motivated to succeed by whatever means.

Essentially the narrative is about whether his sins will ultimately find him out. In 2010 forensic investigator Ana Maria Galindez is on his case but the more she uncovers the more she realises that their lives are inextricably linked.

The story is very well written but not without its irritations. It’s difficult to get into the story and hopping around the decades doesn’t help the flow of the storyline. Additionally the author insists on dropping Spanish words into the text which neither add anything to the atmosphere nor help the understanding, especially if the reader doesn’t speak the language. However the anti-hero is strangely likeable as he sticks rigidly to his principles.

The twist at the end suggests that a sequel will follow shortly and it’s eagerly anticipated.

-- mr zorg

 

Star Rating: Four Stars

4-Star Rating

 little-girls-by-ronald-malfi

Slow and Sinister, Creepy and Ghostly

Review of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

This ghostly story unfolds after Laurie Genarro’s father commits suicide at his rather old and creepy house. Laurie returns to her childhood home with her family and becomes intrigued with the belvedere room from which her father met his untimely death. The atmosphere in the house builds a sense of creepiness throughout the book.

Susan, the ten year old daughter, meets a neighbour who reminds Laurie of a young neighbour, Sadie, who tormented her during her childhood. Sadie died at the house and the sinister story unfolds slowly, building up to the climatic ending.

I have only given this three stars as I felt I was left with unanswered questions and the overall feeling at the end did not work so well for me.

-- Elphaba

 

Star Rating: Three Stars

3-Star Rating

 jack-of-spades-by-joyce-carol-oates

Macabre and Dramatic – But Disappointing

Review of Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates

This book is written through the eyes of a successful author, Andrew Rush, who has a huge secret. We find out he is also the author of very graphic macabre books and is known as ‘Jack of Spades.’ No one is aware, not even his wife and family, that he has this dark side in which he lets his alter ego, ‘Jack of Spades’ run riot with his deep, dark thoughts.

Throughout the book we follow Rush as he is challenged for plagiarism which sends his life into complete chaos, making his alter ego, ‘Jack of Spades’ become increasingly mad.

I found this book hard to pick up as the content wasn’t intriguing enough for me to want to know more. Unfortunately, it just didn’t inspire my interest and at the end of the book I just felt disappointed.

-- Elphaba

 

Star Rating: Two Stars

2-Star Rating

 the-tears-of-angels-by-caro-ramsay

Horrific Murders With a Tarot Link

Review of The Tears of Angels by Caro Ramsay

An engrossing read from the start with an elderly woman’s burnt body and a man’s body which is found tortured in a nearby field. A tarot card links the two deaths.

This gory book is set in Glasgow and the case is investigated by Anderson and Costello. They discover horrific murders and try to find out who is responsible for these.

You do have to concentrate as it flits from one time to another, but it is definitely worth your undying commitment to read on.

Highly recommended.

-- Elphaba

 

Star Rating: Four Stars

4-Star Rating

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AngelaMarsons

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