Monday 31 August 2015

Eveleigh and Turner

A writing duo who collaborate with fast action and wit. A great combination!

Kill Them Twice

My review - 

Alice (code-named Halo) is ex-military and now works for an organisation for which, in essence, she’s a contract killer. Shard is a man pursuing revenge for the killing of his brothers and comrades-in-arms in the Kosovo liberation army. Alice kills in a vigilante style, executing those who have escaped or evaded justice. He follows her and exacts punishment on her few friends and family. It’s a real cat-and-mouse game with two people who are not afraid to go to extremes.

There are some great characters in this book, although most of them are of dubious morality. The men running a club with eastern European girls held as prisoners to be used as prostitutes, with no rights and no defence, are utterly despicable. The girls, one in particular whom we get to know, are sad and without hope. Both Alice and Shard take her plight to heart and it adds a richness to the book. The story is very fast-paced and the ending is harsh but satisfying. I’ll be very happy to read more by this writing duo.

Thanks to Marble City, the publisher, for a review copy of this book.

Friday 28 August 2015

Bill Todd

Second in this really enjoyable series.

Death Squad

My review - 

The title is the name of a 1970s rock band and after a come-back they die one by one under inexplicable circumstances. You can only believe in so much coincidence. Danny Lancaster Investigates! Danny seems superficially to be a bit of a Jack-the-lad but his charisma and character are such that his friends willingly put themselves in danger to help him. In this case, he finds he’s been invited to investigate a case which then sets him up as the major suspect in a multiple murder. How is he going to get out of this one?

Bill Todd’s stories are always complex and, if you pay attention, they are a gripping read. They move fast, there are many characters and nasty things happen to people. If you’re a devotee of the murder, mystery, detective and/or thriller categories, these books will really hook you.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Lily Rose Graham

This is the second book I've read by the author - the first was a novella and very good.

An Invincible Summer

My review - 

What a lovely book this is. It's coincidentally the second book set in Crete that I've read in the last month though their themes are substantially different. The half Greek girl Ariadne (Ria), after suffering a tragic loss, finds herself relegated to writing obituaries on the paper she works for. She throws it all up to go to Crete, finds a job and realised she's been wasting her life. She hears the story of a local family tragedy and the rebuilding of a ruined vineyard. She's drawn to Tom who's starting over.

This story has several deep themes. There's tragedy and hope reborn. There's family honour and friendships. There's a love of place - the place your family is tied to for generations. There's also the light touch of humour here. Ria's a caring person, a natural journalist (nosy person!) and a good friend. Lily Rose Graham has written a lovely, contemporary romance and I very much enjoyed it.

Friday 7 August 2015

Jim Webster

This is a whodunit sent in a fantasy land. There's nothing magical except Benor's powers of observation!

Flotsam or Jetsam

My review - 

Benor is a cartographer and he's come to Port Naain to produce a handbook. He makes a home with Tallis, a professional poet and his wife Shena. She's a mud-jobber or as we might say, a beachcomber. Some of her combings include bodies. Everything has a price and families will pay for the privilege of burying their dead and, if possible, finding who caused it. Benor is a natural. He's a nosy person and, with the aid of the wonderful Mutt, a ten year-old wise beyond his years, he sorts out the villains from the corpses. This first short story from The Port Naain Intelligencer bodes well for the rest of the series. A really great Whodunit.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Marianne Wheelaghan

This is the second of the 'Scottish lady Detective' series set in fascinating locations.

The Shoeshine Killer

My review - 

Louisa is currently standing in for her boss at a conference on Fiji. She arrives just as a political coup has taken place and can’t get to her hotel. She and a fellow passenger are picked up by two men and offered rooms for the night. One of the two kind souls is found murdered the next day and the other, after being seen speaking to one of the shoeshine boys in the town, is also later found to have been murdered. Louise and a local policewoman become drawn in to trying to solve the case, which puts Louise herself in great danger. All isn’t entirely happy on the love-life front, either. Things get complicated.

This is a story in which the threads of the murder mystery become entangled with Louisa’s personal life. Her OCD makes life very hard for her when she has to share a hotel room. This story is set on a different island from the first book, Food of Ghosts and I somehow felt a greater sense of place in the first. There was much dashing about here, to different hotels, and even for a day, back to Kiribati where she was living. I like the character of Louisa. She’s earnest and hard-working and, situated where she is, she doesn’t have the might of modern forensics at her command. It’s almost as if Marianne Wheelehan has taken a modern girl and given her an Agatha Christie set-up to work with. The relationships she creates are always multi-dimensional too. A great series and very different.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Bill Todd

This is the first in the series - I was introduce to the character in Gargoyle Pixie Dog and got sucked in!

The Wreck of the Margherita

My review -

Danny Lancaster, newly fledged Private Investigator, takes on a number of cases, augmenting his meagre income with a job driving a minicab for a friend. The book introduces us early on to a strong cast of characters and only as the story progresses do we find the connection. He and a couple of mates take advantage of a wreck along the coast, ‘liberating’ a few things which turn out to be hot potatoes. Things soon get deep, dangerous and complex. Danny Lancaster is an engaging character; attractive and enigmatic he is popular with the ladies. We learn about his military service in this first book of the series, and though he's not had an easy life to date, he is determined and has a strong sense of justice.

I was introduced to the character in the recently published collection Gargoyle Pixie Dog and this first Danny Lancaster volume has given me a taste for the complicated, interweaving sub plots employed by the author. I really enjoyed this story, seeing it from different characters' viewpoints. The end of the story brought all the threads together in a very satisfying manner. A really good read.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

David Staniforth

This is the long-awaited second book in the Labyrinth series and I really enjoyed it.

Eye of Dominion

My review - 

I know that all lovers of the first book in this fantasy series, Alloria, will leap on this with delight. It’s been a while coming. However, all the great characters are there. David Staniforth can create the most evil baddies, the most delightful children – while not making them emetic – and the most trustworthy friends and colleagues. Once again we meet Alloria and her brother, who is under the influence of the most repulsive villain of all time, Glebester. I felt sorry for her brother, Yrion, who was tempted by power before he realised the price he would pay. Alloria and Nat become a little closer as they grow up together. And Bane is just big, irrepressible Bane. Got to love him! They travel the Labyrinth and are instrumental in bringing justice where Yrion and Gleberster have wrought evil. Ymarid, her father, at times seems like a feeble old man but we witness his power and above all, his love.

The author is particularly skilled at drawing a fantasy world the reader can almost see, smell and touch. He’s a gifted descriptive writer but doesn’t use it to pad out a floppy plot. The writing lifts and carries a complex stories with all the traditional themes you’d expect in a book of fantasy. A new world, new creatures but above all, compassion and friendship. I love it!