Wednesday 25 July 2018

Joel Hames

Another book featuring a favourite character! What's not to like?

No One Will Hear link

My review -

Sam Williams is a character I’m growing to like more with each book he features in. He has been bequeathed the task of compiling the life story of his ex-boss, the woman who sacked him and who has been murdered. He has to work with an old enemy, and the woman’s daughter. This seems to be a wild goose chase with obstructive police, smarmy bigwigs and a mentally fragile woman. He discovers there have been more murders and then Sam’s girlfriend starts to behave out of character. The story can stand alone, I think, but more will fall into place for the reader who has read Dead North first. There’s so much happening here and it’s all important to the plot. I love the intricacy of these stories. A Sam Williams story is always a guaranteed good read.

Stephen Booth

New to me but this series is long! I have some catching up to do.

Black Dog. Cooper and Fry Book 1

My review -

Stephen Booth writes a mean crime book! His two DCs, Cooper and Fry, each have a complicated background. When a young girl is murdered they soon discover that most of the people they meet in the course of their investigations have an equally complex life. It makes for a great puzzle. I absolutely love the ending.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Mark L Fowler

The second in the Tyler and Mills series but also a great stand-alone story.

Blue Murder link

My review -

The story begins with the callous murder of a young man, and DCI Tyler and DS Mills have the task of discovering who killed him. He used to be in a band which is about to get its big break, but he left to start his university studies. He wrote one of the songs that his erstwhile best friend is claiming authorship of. There’s a tangled web between the young men involved, and two sisters who at various times have been the girlfriends of some of them. These lives and intrigues weave together to make a real knot, and it’s a job and three quarters for Tyler and Mills to untangle it.

Mark Fowler had given all these characters a reason to mistrust one another, in some cases even to hate each other. Yet is it enough to murder someone? Someone who wasn’t even in the band any longer? The more questions they ask the tighter the knot becomes. I found this intriguing and at times very exciting as the detectives, whose banter has now become more relaxed, work their way through conflicting evidence. Is anyone telling the truth? A very good read indeed.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Shalini Boland

Another great lesson in cranking up the tension!

The Silent Sister link

My review -

It begins with a sinister little note. Not quite a threat, but unsettling. Lizzy’s life takes a downturn when the notes become more frequent, until eventually she finds herself in physical danger. Shalini Boland’s great strength is in the escalation of paranoia. Not only her character, but her reader, suspects everyone! The writing is always fluent and engaging. This book was a delight to read and the ending is superb! 

Sunday 15 July 2018

Jim Webster

Mr Webster is a spinner of yarns and I can soak these up like a sponge! Two novellas here, A Measured Response and A Licence to Print Money.

A Measured Response link

My  review -

Benor the cartographer is offered a job away from home with unusually generous pay. It all has to be done on the quiet, too. Something’s up. Benor has a murder to solve. I thought he had, but there’s more to come. This story is a murder mystery and a comedy of manners, set in a world of fantasy. If you like a genre mashup, this is brilliant. The characters and their relationships and banter would make it worth reading even if it didn’t have a plot – but it does. Another winner for me.

And now to the second -

A Licence to Print Money link

My review -

Someone has tried to cheat Benor and his young ‘apprentice’ Mutt. They set out, with a little help, to redress the balance. Another in this series of Port Naain novellas that had me smiling. They are not belly-laugh stories but full of wry, clever and thoughtful humour. Often, it’s the way he tells them. I’m always up for more of these stories.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

David M Kelly

I've read and loved some of David's longer books but his short stories are new to me. I enjoyed the anthology, Dead Reckoning and Other Stories, so much I bought a separate one, Three Lives of Mary, to read straight after.

Dead Reckoning and Other Stories link

My review -

The title story is excellent! A rich and arrogant man thinks he can buy his comfortable place in the afterlife. Other stories included the mutual effect of an old man and the puppy he adopts, a scientist named Murphy (Murphy’s Law) and his first contact experience, a time machine failure, another first contact story (which made me groan!) and a couple of flash fiction offerings. All were very good, totally different and made for an outstanding collection of short stories.

Three Lives of Mary link

My review - 

Mary, a human woman, faced with growing old, opted, with her husband, for a cybernetic life. For many years, she as a robot and he as an enhanced space ship, have scouted for planets suitable for human habitation. This short story packs a big philosophical punch. What is it to be human? I really enjoyed getting my head around this – and around what happened to Mary and her husband later. A very interesting quick read.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Ruth Hogan

I'm a bit late to this party, judging by the number of reviews, but I loved this story.

The Keeper of Lost Things link

My review -

My book club choice. I may never have come across this and what a treat I’d have missed. There are two parallel stories going on here, someone who lost a precious item and another who found it and kept it safe. Without giving too much away, Laura inherits the mantle of the original Keeper, with the brief to try to reunite items with those who lost them. Sunshine, a neighbour’s daughter, is a wonderful character and helps in unexpected ways. I found this a very enjoyable read, with characters to love and hate along the way.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Stuart Ayris

Bolivian Rhapsody is a true story. That's what makes it so good!

Bolivian Rhapsody link

My review -

This is the true telling of a fifty day working stay in the Bolivian Jungle. Parque Ambue Ari (New Day in the local language) is a place for wild animals which have been damaged in some way by mankind. Some have been made into pets in unsuitable conditions. They can never be rehabilitated but Ambue Ari gives them the best experience they can have. The author worked as a volunteer there in 2017.

His amazement at being so close to the animals is palpable. His unique writing style bounces along and picks up the joy, the fear and the wonder. I feared, knowing the animals were given names, that it might become anthropomorphic, but Stuart emphasises the otherness, the alien qualities in the creatures he works for. You can’t be their friend and expect them to care about you, or miss you in your absence. They are themselves in all their wildness and Parque Ambue Ari helps them to stay that way. An amazing and uplifting book.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Shervin Jamali

Another quick but in-depth story by this author.

Remember link

My review -

This novella is the kind of book I love - comparable to nothing else, with a basic premise that makes you think. I found it sad – but only in places. It was very funny – but only in places. It’s a story of enduring love and the matching of souls and in parts it’s tough and violent so there’s nothing soppy about this. It’s about hard lives lived well. If you’re looking for something different, look no further. A very interesting read which I enjoyed a great deal.