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Friday, 23 March 2018

‘Killer Intent’ by Tony Kent

Published by Elliott & Thompson,
25 January 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78396-326-3

During a ceremony in Trafalgar Square honouring the British heroes of the recent Middle East wars, ex United States President Thompson, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mattewson are shot at close range by McGale, in spite of secret service agent Sam Regis trying to stop him. She is shot and killed by a sharpshooter from a distance as she tries to do so. Her boss, agent Joe Dempsey knocks McGale to the ground.

It is obvious Sam's killer is stationed high up on one of the surrounding buildings. Dempsey is at a loss to understand who it could be as all the sharpshooters place up there to guard the proceedings have been handpicked.

A solicitor, Daniel Lawrence, is appointed McGale's lawyer and on being interviewed, he tells Daniel he blames Mattewson for the loss of his family in Northern Ireland. Mysteriously on the way home, Daniel is forced off the road by another car and has a serious crash.

Dempsey is now given the task of not only finding the killer of Sam Regis, but who is behind Daniel's accident. There also seems to be more than a personal reason why McGale shot the two men, is there someone else behind the shootings?

Together with C.N.N reporter Sarah Truman and a close friend of Daniel's, barrister Michael Devlin, Dempsey is determined to find the truth.  Enquiries reveal facts that lead them to Northern Ireland where they enlist the reluctant help of Michael's brother Liam, a well-known gangster. They uncover corruption that extends to members high up in the British government but how do they prove it? Who is the mysterious “Stanton” giving instructions to someone called Joshua to get rid of anyone making enquiries about the shootings.

Dempsey, Sarah and Michael have many narrow escapes until an exciting conclusion reveals the truth, but not without more casualties.

Whew, what an exciting book full of intrigue and corruption in high places. Written with great verve and insight as to what extreme lengths people with ambition will go to reach their goal.

I see Tony Kent is a barrister, no wonder he writes with such conviction about the criminal mind and how devious people can be. 

Highly recommended. Nnonstop, fast moving action with plenty of shocks and surprises at every turn of the page.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Tony Kent grew up in a close-knit Irish family in London and studied law in Scotland. He is a top-ranking barrister and former champion boxer who brings a wealth of detail and personal insight to this unputdownable thriller. A regular at London's Old Bailey, Tony's case history includes prosecuting and defending many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career, Tony boxed internationally as a heavyweight and won a host of national amateur titles. He is based in London.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

‘A Darker State’ by David Young

Published by Zaffre,
8 February 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-785760709 (PB)

This is the third in this author’s series featuring Karin Muller of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) of the People’s Police (Volkspolizei) of the German Democratic Republic (GDR – East Germany, still under the authoritarian rule of the Communist Party). (More detail as to the East German Communist regime in the 1970s is given in the reviews in Mystery People of the author’s two earlier titles, Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf.) Karin has been away from her duties for some time while she gave birth to her twin babies, Jannika and Johannes. Now she is contacted by her boss, Colonel Reiniger, who tells her that a wonderful new apartment awaits her with enough room not only for her, the twins, and their father, hospital doctor Emil Wollenburg, but also Karin’s newfound grandmother Helga. And Karin is to be promoted to Major with a substantial salary increase. She is to head up a new department within the Kripo, a Serious Crimes Department, which will investigate high-profile crimes across the whole of the GDR. And she will have to liaise with the Ministry for State Security – the Stasi – in particular with Colonel Klaus Jager, a man whose ambivalent attitude Karin finds both mysterious and unnerving. Karin fears that, because her investigations of earlier crimes, although successful, did alarm some within the security services, she is being set up as the fall-guy in the continuing rivalry between the Kripo and the Stasi. She knows that she will be watched all the time. But she also knows that she cannot refuse.

Karin is joined in her new job by two colleagues from her old job, Werner Tilsner, still her deputy but now promoted to Captain, and forensic pathologist Jonas Schmidt. Almost immediately they are presented with the body of a boy, and forensic analysis establishes that he was murdered. His name was Dominick Nadel. He had been a member of a football club but had left after some of the members had guessed that he was gay. (Homosexuality had been decriminalised in East Germany in the 1960s but in practice was viciously repressed.) Then Karin’s team find that their enquiry is coming very close to home: Schmidt’s son Markus has disappeared. And he had links to a motorbike club which Nadel had joined after leaving the football club: it is in fact a cover for a meeting place for gay young men. And from there the trail leads to all sorts of places, even into West Germany where politicians and businessmen are being lured into honey traps by gay young men (known as Romeos). And all this is potentially hazardous for Karin’s family life – not to mention Karin’s own life.
Reviewer: Radmila May

David Young was born near Hull and - after dropping out of a Bristol University science degree - studied Humanities at Bristol Polytechnic. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher's van were followed by a career in journalism with provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and international radio and TV newsrooms. He now writes in his garden shed and in his spare time supports Hull City AFC.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

‘Racing the Devil’ by Charles Todd

Published by William Morrow Reprint edition,
25 January 2018.
ISBN: 978-006238622-9 (PB)

It all begins on the eve of the Battle of the Somme offensive during WWI when a group of officers gathered in a barn to relax before facing the carnage to come.  As they parted, the men agreed to meet in Paris a year after the war’s end and race each other to Nice.  And so, it comes to pass as they come together at the Ritz in 1919.  All but one makes it to southern France. The lone driver, Standish, is forced off a narrow road, crashes, and ends up in the hospital, his car wrecked and he having sustained multiple injuries and the loss of one hand.

A year later, back in England, a rector driving Standish’s auto suffers the same fate, forced off the road and crashing, but less fortunate, since he suffers a broken neck and dies.  In investigating the death, Inspector Rutledge determines this was no accident, but a case of murder.  The question, of course, to be answered: are the two “accidents” related?  As Rutledge plows slowly through his inquiries, further events broaden the investigation until he pieces all the elements together to solve the mystery.

This novel is the 18th in this fine series, one of two (the other features Bess Crawford, who makes a cameo performance in Racing the Devil) by the mother-and-son writing team authors.  Each series takes place in a historical time period, not only presenting the reader with accurate descriptions of the period (for instance, in this novel, automobiles just making their appearance on the scene) but first-class mysteries as well.  Also in this effort are graphic descriptions of the horrors of the trenches in the Great War.
Reviewed by Theodore Feit

Charles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles is divorced.
Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvellous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.
Charles's love of history led him to a study of some of the wars that shape it: the American Civil War, WWI and WWII. Charles had a career as a business consultant. This experience gave him an understanding of going to troubled places where no one was glad to see him arrive. This was excellent training for Rutledge's reception as he tries to find a killer in spite of local resistance.
Caroline has always been a great reader and enjoyed reading aloud, especially poetry that told a story. The Highwayman was one of her early favorites. Her wars are WWI, the Boer War, and the English Civil War, with a sneaking appreciation of the Wars of the Roses as well. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world, gardening, or painting in oils. Her background in international affairs backs up her interest in world events.
Writing together is a challenge, and both enjoy giving the other a hard time. The famous quote is that in revenge, Charles crashes Caroline's computer, and Caroline crashes his parties. Will they survive to write more novels together? Stay tuned! Their father/husband is holding the bets.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.