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Friday, 30 December 2011

‘Wicked Words’ by J G Goodhind

Published by Severn House,
October 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-84751-302-1

Honey Driver runs a hotel in Bath, and has acquired the role of hotel Crime Liaison Officer which has brought her fortuitously into contact with DI Steve Doherty.  Like many people she has crosses to bear the main one being Gloria Cross, her mother who always looks as if she has stepped out of Vogue, and has a knack of always getting her own way, a continual trial to her daughter.   On the upside Honey’s daughter Lindsey is well adjusted and a computer expert to boot, who can ably run the hotel in Honey’s absence.

C A Wright is a reviewer of hotels for a national newspaper and his goal in life is to trash every small hotel in which he stays. Or to reap financial or sexual rewards for not doing so.  A win win situation if you are a sleaze of the highest order, and old CW can certainly take that accolade. Found dead stuffed into a giant teddy bear is probably not his finest hour but no more than he deserved.  But for DI Steve Doherty, CW is a victim for whom he needs to bring a perpetrator to justice – unfortunately he is soon awash with suspects.

I love this series, so rich in characters. I want to meet with them all – OK particularly DI Steve Doherty! 

As Honey gets drawn into the search for CAWright’s  killer, she gains reluctantly custody of an incontinent dog belonging to a friend of her mother’s. When the dog is kidnapped Honey is both relieved and anxious – the latter only related to her mother’s wrath at the loss of her friends dog.

A good mystery with some great laughs this should be on your ‘not to be missed’ pile. Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes
J G Goodhind was born in Bristol where she worked in a variety of jobs where she fully admits to feeling like a square peg in a round hole. In the eighties she owned and ran a haunted hotel in Bath where she played host to many foreign nationals. That experience and those people she met form the basis of the Honey Driver Mysteries. Previous to writing cosy crime she wrote women’s fiction as Jeannie Johnson and also writes a column for West Country Life. Jean presently lives in Tintern in the beautiful Wye Valley. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

‘V is For Vengeance’ by Sue Grafton

Published by Mantle,
5th January 2012. 
ISBN: 978-0-230-74587-2

PI Kinsey Millhone is shopping in the lingerie department in Santa Teresa, when she sees a woman shop-lifting.  Kinsey informs the saleslady, and she in turn calls security.  When the woman is apprehended and Kinsey later learns that she is being charged, Kinsey is pleased with a job well done, although she had been aware that the woman was not working alone and her accomplice has got away free and clear.

However, when Kinsey learns a few days later that the woman jumped off a bridge she is troubled by such an extreme action for a shoplifting offence.  When she is later contacted by the woman’s fiancĂ© she agrees to do some investigation.

Meanwhile her neighbour 88 year-old Henry, a retired baker is called away to Detroit following a fall by his 99 year-old sister Nell.  In edition to his elder sister Nell, Henry has three brothers Lewis, Charles and William, the latter just a year older than Henry who had relocated to Santa Teresa when he married Rosie who runs a tavern in the locality, serves bad wine and weird Hungarian food.  I admit to enjoying the exploits of Henry’s aged family, being not exactly in the first flush of youth it’s good to hear of octogenarians living full and happy lives.

The story is rich in well-fleshed out characters, a young man borrowing money from a loan shark, a rich woman who discovers her husband is being unfaithful, and Detective Len Priddy who knew Kinsey’s late husband and is no fan of Kinsey’s.  These people initially seem to be unconnected to each other, but as the story progresses these unlikely strands are woven together. 

I was a great fan of this series set in the 1980’s but had somehow missed the last few books, something I must remedy as I so enjoyed this entry in the series, which like all good mysteries has a surprising twist at the end.  Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes

Sue Taylor Grafton born April 24, 1940 is best known as the author of the 'alphabet’ series featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictitional town of Santa Teresa, California. The daughter of novelist C W Grafton, she has said the strongest influence on her novels is the author Ross MacDonald. . Prior to success with this series, she wrote screenplays for television movies.  She lives in Montecito, California and Louisville Kentucky.  She freely admits that Kinsey Millhone is her alter ego.  In 2008 she was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in the genre of crime writing by the Crime Writers association.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

‘A Means of Escape’ by Joanna Price

Published by Aston Bay, November 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-956830-0-8

The discovery of a body on the Glastonbury Tor on a cold November morning has DS Kate Linton investigating ritual and sacrificial killings, as found next to the body are twelve small holes surrounded by candle wax.

Attending the crime scene with her is DI Rob Brown who flaunts his female conquests which irritates Kate, who rather likes him but cannot fathom him.   Also at the scene Kate espies an ex-boyfriend journalist Simon Talbot, who she is at pains to avoid.

A few days later another young woman is reported missing just when Kate learns of two further bodies found at Avebury’s stone circle, where identical holes were also in evidence.  Then a reality TV star disappears. With three dead bodies, an abducted woman and a missing reality TV star, Kate has much to occupy her.

Cleverly plotted this is an intriguing mystery which kept me reading into the early hours. Kate is a most engaging protagonist, feisty and yet vulnerable, her interaction with her immediate boss Rob Brown adds much to the story. Whilst, the solution was satisfactorily tied up, there is a good hook at the end to make me want to keep an eye out for the next book.  Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes
Joanna Price is a copywriter based in Glastonbury.
A Means of Escape is her first book.

Friday, 2 December 2011

‘The Woodcutter’ by Reginald Hill

Read by Jonathan Keeble
Published by Whole Story Audio Books.
ISBN: 978-1-40746-569-2
(15 CD’s – 16.75 Hours playing time)

Wolf Hadda, rich and successful married to his childhood sweetheart, has everything he wants, but an early morning knock on his front door and that life is over.  Arrested and jailed, Wolf, is confused at exactly what has happened. Although he protests his innocence his family and friends desert him. Lashing out at all around him, he eventually makes a dramatic escape from the police station. But running blindly he is hit by a car and is badly injured and left in a coma. After a long period he slowly emerges from his coma.  With no money and no friends, deserted by his wife who it appears is to marry his lawyer, he is sentenced to a prison term and branded as a pedophile, Wolf eventually lapses into silence and settles to serve out his jail sentence. 

Despite many silent session over a seven year period with prison psychiatrists when Alva Ozigbo the new prison psychiatrist begins treating Wolf, he begins to open up to her and she becomes convinced that he is rehabilitated and should be released from prison on parole back to his rundown family home in Cumbria.

It is only at this point that the real story of Wolf emerges as we learn of his early life as the son of a woodcutter, and his rise to become Sir Wolf Hadda.  As we now come to know this man we ask did this man actually commit the crimes of which he was accused of, or was he set-up? More pertinently will Wolf seek out the person or persons that had him convicted of these heinous crimes – will he seek revenge?

This is a fascinating story that really draws one in.  A masterly stand-alone with some delicious twists, and a stunning climax.

Read expertly by Jonathan Keeble this is not to be missed.
Lizzie Hayes

Reginald Hill  was born on 3 April 1936, West Hartlepool, County Durham.  Author of the Dalziel & Pascoe and the Joe Sixsmith series.
Winner in 1995 of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement.

Jonathan Keeble has featured in over 350 radio plays, and is also the voice of Garath Taylor in the BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

Monday, 28 November 2011

‘I Am Half-Sick of Shadows’ by Alan Bradley

Published by Orion,
3rd November 2011. 
ISBN: 978-0-4091-1420-8

It’s a cold winter in the 1950’s, and devotees of this series will know that with the fortunes of the de Luce family being in a dire state, it will be cold indeed in Buckshaw the family seat, which is fast becoming a ruin.  In an effort to stem deterioration and improve the family’s financial situation Colonel de Luce has rented out Buckshaw to a film company - well not in its entirety, the family consisting of the Colonel and his three daughters and his staff will remain in residence, with their rooms off-limits, with a number of rooms being assigned to the film company.   Eleven year-old Flavia de Luce, budding scientist, has big plans for Christmas which she is brewing in her laboratory in the East wing – luckily it’s so cold in the East wing that no one visits and Flavia can experiment to her heart’s delight – although her method of experiment to prove or disprove the existence of Father Christmas is somewhat controversial and may provoke comment.
For Flavia’s two sisters Ophelia (Feely) and Daffy (Daphne), both who Flavia is convinced hate her for some reason she cannot fathom, the arrival of the screens most glamorous star Phyllis Wyvern is a high spot on what was expected to be a dreary Christmas.

With filming, cameras, cables, lights and an impromptu Christmas Eve performance attended by many of the villagers, when a heavy snowfall cuts Buckshaw off from the rest of the world, there is chaos indeed.  As everyone finds a corner and settles to wait out the weather, someone has murder in mind.  With the house cut off Flavia users her powers of observation and deduction to find the killer.  But soon despite the weather Inspector Hewitt is on the case and does not welcome Flavia’s interference.  Undeterred she continues her own investigations which leads her into great danger.

Flavia continues to be an engaging and interesting protagonist. This is a delightful entry in this marvellous series and is highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes

Alan Bradley was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK, where he remained for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994.
In July of 2007 he won the Debut Dagger Award of the (British) Crimewriter’s Association for his novel The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first of a series featuring eleven year old Flavia de Luce.
Alan Bradley lives in Malta, with his wife Shirley and two calculating cats.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

‘Truth Dare Kill’ by Gordon Ferris

 Published by Corvus
6 October 2011.  
ISBN 978-0-85789-492-2 

Danny McRae having survived the war has set himself up as a private investigator. The world is trying to get back to normality, but for Danny, who has no memory of a year of his life, what is normality?  He knows that he was in France on a mission and he knows that he was captured by the Germans, but for the rest…..

His first case is very reminiscence of what we know of the Golden Age, as beautiful elegant, upper-class Kate Graveney hires Danny to investigate the death of her lover – she says she is not certain whether she killed him, or  if it was  the bomb that ravaged the flat in which they were both staying.

Danny set’s out on this his first investigation, but Danny is still subject to black-outs that are a result of his head injury which account for his loss of a year’s memory. As he sets off on a hunt through bomb-ravaged London, he meets Valerie who seems to be on his side, something he dearly needs – someone on his side.  But Valerie is elusive giving no address and just turning up out of the blue and disappearing just as abruptly.
As Danny attempts to establish whether Tony, Kate’s lover died in a bombing, his blackouts raise for him questions, as he reads about a brutal killer stalking London's red light district, and he wonders of just what he could be capable of when out of it.

Gradually, he begins to piece together the events leading up to his arrest in France and as he does so he becomes a threat to someone, someone who cannot risk him recovering his memory. With his handicap of not knowing Danny is stabbing around in the dark and the fact that an Inspector Wilson has it in for him doesn’t help.  

This is an excellent mystery with a wonderful ambiance of the mysteries of the late 1940’s.  It has a truly wonderful surprise ending, and is highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes

Gordon Ferris is an ex-techy in the Ministry of Defence, and ex-partner in one of the Big Four accountancy firms. He writes about the important things in life: conflicted heroes and headstrong women embroiled in tangled tales of life, love and death.  Other books are The Unquiet Heart and the highly acclaimed The Hanging Shed

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

‘The Deadly Touch of the Tigress’ by Ian Hamilton

Published by Sphere,
6 October 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-84744-503-2

Wow! I have been reviewing for fifteen years and I have never started a review with, Wow! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Ava Lee is a forensic accountant - she tracks money owed to people who have advanced money in good faith, but then found that the recipients have reneged on their commitments.

Asked by her elderly Hong Kong based ‘Uncle’ to locate money that should have been paid to Andrew Tan, Ava sets out to track the money and return it to its rightful owner.  But, although she quickly successfully tracks the money, retrieving it is a different matter. Her quest takes her to Guyana, and it’s not a place I would ever want to visit, and if you read this book you won’t want to visit it either. But with some fancy footwork Ava sets up deal, but she is dealing with rogues and very influential rogues at that. Can Ava pull it off?

I was fascinated about the form of martial arts she practised bal mei, not that I was familiar with this form of martial art but interested because it is said to be Taoist, which is close to my heart. It is I think, having done a little Internet research a coincidence that the author Ian Hamilton should have a protagonist who practises a Taoist martial art, that instantly brings to mind J D Salinger’s ‘Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters’ which features on it’s first page a Taoist tale, and that Ian Hamilton wrote a book entitled ‘In Search of J D Salinger’ this is I assume one of those bizarre coincidences.

For whatever reason you pick up this book, don’t put it down unless it is safely in your tote bag and you are taking it home. It is a not to be missed read. I just can’t wait for the next one.
Lizzie Hayes

It was a life-threatening health scare that prompted Ian Hamilton to write his first in the series of captivating Ava Lee novels. Just two days out of hospital and recovering from surgery, Ian sat down at his computer. The name ‘Ava Lee’ came to him and the first chapter was quickly written. A few short weeks later, the first Ava Lee novel was completed. Ian is not a stranger to the literary world. He began his career as a journalist and wrote a non-fiction book in 1968, The Children’s Crusade, which was a Canadian Book-of-the-Month selection. He has written for several magazines and newspapers in Canada and the U.S., including Maclean’s, Boston Magazine, Saturday Night, the Regina Leader-Post, the Calgary Albertan, and the Calgary Herald. He has been a senior executive with the federal government, and as worked internationally as a diplomat and businessman. Although there are 40 years between books, Ian never lost his passion for writing. The years he spent travelling the world on business, spending countless hours on planes and hotels, became important influences on his writing, providing personal insights into the world of business and into the many people, places and cultures Ava Lee encounters. His inspiration for the Ava Lee series did not end when the first book was complete. About half way through writing the first book, an idea for the second book came to Ian and he built it into the plot of the first. He began writing the second book the day after the first book was finished. The same is true for the third and fourth books. Within eight months, all four books were complete. Ian secured a four-book deal from his publisher before the last two books were even read by the publisher. International rights have been sold into the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany and worldwide Spanish and French rights. Ian is currently working on the continuation of the Ava Lee series and has already completed books 5 and 6.
Ian lives in Burlington, Ontario with his wife Lorraine. He has four children and seven grandchildren.

Monday, 3 October 2011

‘Silent Mercy’ By Linda Fairstein

Published by Little Brown,
March 2011. ISBN: 978-1-4087-0241-3

This latest thriller featuring Assistant DA Alex Cooper and NYPD Detective Mike Chapman opens with the discovery of a headless body on the steps of a church in New York. Within days a second body turns up also left at a church, and not just any church, it is clear that the killer is making a particular point

To try and get in the mind of the killer Alex and Mike explore various religious beliefs trying to get a handle on the message being left by the killer.  With Mike being Catholic and Alex of Jewish decent there are many interesting discussions. Tackling a religion is never an easy subject but Linda does it in an interesting and non confrontational way

As with all the books in this acclaimed series Linda’s research is meticulous and we learn much about the history of New York landmarks. In this book we learn of the many churches in the city and in particular the Church of St John the Devine –the largest cathedral in the world.

Mercer Wallace completes the trio of pursuers of justice which take them to a stunning climax on Cape Cod.

A marvellous entry in this excellent series.
Lizzie Hayes

Linda Fairstein, former prosecutor and best-selling crime novelist, is one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children. For three decades, from 1972 until 2002, she served in the office of the New York County District Attorney, where she was Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for twenty-five years. In that position, Ms. Fairstein supervised the investigation and trial of every Manhattan case involving sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and homicides arising out of these crimes. She was the lead attorney and directed all major litigation in these specialties, ranging from the homicide prosecution of Robert Chambers (the “Preppy Murder” case) in 1988 through the trial against the offenders charged with the riot in Central Park following the Puerto Rican Day parade in June, 2000.
Fairstein is an honors graduate of Vassar College (1969) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1972). In 1998, several of Fairstein’s law school classmates established a scholarship fund in her honor at their alma mater. The Fairstein Public Service Scholarship supports law school students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector. Linda Fairstein is married to Justin Feldman. She lives in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.
Earlier books in the series are Final Jeopardy (1996) Likely To Die (1997) Cold Hit (1999) The Deadhouse (2001)  The Bone Vault (2003) The Kills (2004) Entombed (2005) Death Dance (2006) Bad Blood (2007) Killer Heat (2008) Lethal Legacy (2009) Hell Gate (2010)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

‘Above Suspicion’ by The Mulgray Twins

Published by Robert Hale,
October 2010.
ISBN: 978-0-7090-9136-3

Deborah J Smith (DJ)  an undercover investigator for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is currently residing in a B&B following information that a freighter carrying a consignment of drugs was due to arrive in the estuary of the Firth of Forth.  DJ’s instruction is surveillance -which is proving very boring.  What surveillance doesn’t cover is drawing attention to oneself and the local press by finding a dead body. ‘Undercover, not on the cover’ is the message DJ receives from her head of section Gerry Burnside.

Soon DJ and her trusty companion Gorgonzola, DJ’s Persian cat are re-assigned, this time DJ is to infiltrate the home of Sir Thomas Cameron-Blaik the wealthy and respected owner of Sron Dubh distillery on the island of Islay, by posing as a butler to locate the whereabouts of one Louis Moran.

Of course nothing goes to plan, and as ever Gorgonzola has her own agenda, as she puts her exceptional nose to good use.

A good romp with plenty of twists and turns along the way, as DJ attempts to remain alive and undetected long enough to attain her goal. 

An excellent entry in this popular series.
Lizzie Hayes

The Mulgray Twins. Helen and Morna Mulgray born 1939 in Edinburgh, took up writing after they retired from teaching English at two neighbouring Secondary schools in Edinburgh. Other books in the series are
No Suspicious Circumstances (2007)
Under Suspicion (2008) Suspects All (2011)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

‘A Bespoke Murder’ by Edward Marston

Published by Allison & Busby,
26 September 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-0990-8

May 1915 and the Lusitania sailing from New York is in sight of land when she is torpedoed by the Germans.  The story is told by stewardess Irene Bayard who had worked on the Lusitania since her maiden voyage in September 2007.  

The sinking of the Lusitania provokes ferocious revengeful action in her home port of Liverpool.  The shops of anyone with a German name are looted, and even naturalised British citizens are not safe but beaten up at random. Sadly this action is soon seen in other major cities. But in London matters take a sinister turn when a tailor’s shop on Jermyn Street in London is burnt out and the owner killed.  Whilst fleeing from the shop at her father’s insistence Ruth Stein is waylaid by two soldiers and raped.

Assigned to the murder case are Inspector Harvey Mamion and Sergeant Keedy. The former, a family man, the latter a ladies man, but maybe he just needs to meet the right girl.

Whilst the action taken by Mamion and Keedy as they investigate both the murder and the rape, have all the hallmarks of a good detective story, with the satisfying knowledge that the strong arm of the law has a long stretch, much of the strength of the book is in the characters and their lives on the home front during war. Following her recent experience, Irene decides that she will return home to her sister Dorothy in London, and find work there.  Ruth Stein a quiet rather sheltered middle-class girl attempts to deal with the dreadful thing that has happened to her and, along with her family, the death of Jacob Stein. 

Cleverly plotted, well written and invoking the atmosphere of the time, I heartily recommend this book as an excellent read. I am delighted to see that this is the first in a new series and I look forward to the next one.
Lizzie Hayes

Edward Marston was born and brought up in South Wales. He read Modern History at Oxford then lectured in the subject for three years before becoming a full-time freelance writer. His first historical mystery, The Queen's Head, was published in 1988, launching the Nicholas Bracewell series. A former chairman of the Crime Writers Association Edward has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre. Edward lives in the Cotswolds with is wife, author Judith Cutler.  A Bespoke Murder is the first in the Home Front Detective series.

Monday, 19 September 2011

‘The Drop’ by Michael Connelly

Published by Orion 27th October 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-3428-2

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch has been put on DROP – Deferred Retirement Option Plan, and is currently assigned to the Open-Unsolved Unit. The thousands of unsolved cases are slowly being evaluated in the light of forensic developments such as DNA.  A cold hit is when DNA from an old case is matched to the DNA in the nation’s databases and then the case is re-opened.  With his long experience Harry gets the cases that require careful handling, and when a cold case from 1989 gets a DNA hit for the rape and murder of young woman which points to a convicted rapist who was only eight at the time of the killing, the case is immediately assigned to Harry.

Within hours of being assigned his new case Harry gets an urgent call to investigate the death of Councilman Irvin Irving’s son George.  It appears that the Councilman who has considerable clout with the police department has requested that Harry take-over the investigation.  As Irvin Irving and Harry have clashed on many occasions over the last twenty-five years, with Irving seemingly bent of destroying Harry’s career, he is surprised and suspicious of the request, but is unable to get out of it.  Although told to put his cold case on the back burner and to concentrate on the death of George Irving, Harry continues to pursue both cases along with his new partner David Chu.  

As with previous books I was fascinated by the detail of the chase as Harry follows the trail of these two cases that twist and turn like live snakes.  While the cold case leads Harry in pursuit of justice for a brutally murdered young girl, the current case immerses him in politics, corruption and conspiracy.

While juggling with two cases, with the Police Chief and Councilman Irving constantly on his back, Harry is also a single parent caring for his fifteen-year-old daughter, and trying to have a personal life – a tall order.

A compelling entry in this excellent series, I couldn’t put this book down and read into the early hours to finish it.  One of the best books I have read this year, put it in your ‘must read’ list.
Lizzie Hayes

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 21, 1956. After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. His first book The Black Echo, based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Connelly followed up with three more Bosch books, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde, and The Last Coyote, before publishing The Poet in 1996—a thriller with a newspaper reporter as a protagonist. In 1997, he went back to Bosch with Trunk Music, and in 1998 another non-series thriller, Blood Work, was published.  Connelly's next book, Angels Flight, was released in 1999 and was another entry in the Harry Bosch series. The non-series novel Void Moon was released in 2000 and introduced a new character, Cassie Black, a high-stakes Las Vegas thief. His 2001 release, A Darkness More Than Night, united Harry Bosch with Terry McCaleb from Blood Work.  In 2002, Connelly released two novels. The first, the Harry Bosch book City Of Bones. The second release was a stand-alone thriller, Chasing The Dime. Lost Light was published in 2003. It is another in the Harry Bosch series but the first written in first person. Connelly's 2004 novel, The Narrows, is the sequel to The Poet. His 11th Harry Bosch novel, The Closers, was published in May 2005. The Lincoln Lawyer, Connelly's first-ever legal thriller and his 16th novel, was published in October. This book introduced Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney who works out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car.  Echo Park, was released in October 2006. The Overlook, Michael's 18th novel, was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine. This Harry Bosch story was published as a book with additional material in May 2007. Michael's 19th novel, The Brass Verdict, was released in October 2008. It introduces Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller to LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in a fast-paced legal thriller. Michael's 20th novel, The Scarecrow, was first released in May 2009, and reunites reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI Agent Rachel Walling for the first time since The Poet. In the 15th Harry Bosch novel, Nine Dragons, Bosch goes to Hong Kong to find his missing daughter. It is the most personal Bosch story since The Last Coyote.  In October 2010, The Reversal was released. This book has Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch working together on the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. The Fifth Witness, a Mickey Haller novel, was released in April 2011.     Michael lives with his family in Florida.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

‘Cage of Bones’ by Tania Carver

Published by Sphere,
17 September 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4525-8

Employees of a building company inspecting an old house for demolition, discover a feral child in the cellar imprisoned in a cage of human bones.

Detective Inspector Phil Brennan of the Essex Police Major Incident Squad, calls in his partner psychologist Marina Esposito, to try and talk to the child, but the child can barely form words. 

As the CSI and the detectives investigate the cellar it becomes apparent that this is not an isolated incident. They have disturbed a killer who has been operating secretly undetected for many years.

How has this killer operated for so long, where are his victims? And more importantly does he have accomplices that have enabled him to have stayed hidden for so many years?

This is the most action packed thriller that I have read for many a year. The story moves along at a cracking pace. The characters are well fleshed out and each of their lives a story in themselves.  Detective Rose Martin, manipulative and power hungry, who had an affair with DCI Ben Fenwick, and is now is well in with his successor DCI Brian Glass, back on duty after a period of recuperation following her abduction in an earlier case. DS Mickey Philips, who has unexpressed feeling for DC Anni Hepburn -will he ever be able to voice them?  And Faith – what is her story?

It’s not a comfortable book, delving as it does into the depths into which humans can sink. Greed, lust for power, and evil. As Phil Brennan digs around he becomes more and more uncomfortable – but he cannot put his finger on the cause of his discomfort, he only knows something is wrong, but what?  As the hunt for the killer intensifies before he kills again, there are secrets long buried now rising to the surface which will have a profound effect on Brennan, and those around him.

For lovers of a good thriller this is a must.  Atmospheric and plain scary you won’t be able to put it down. 
Lizzie Hayes

Tania Carver is the pseudonym for the husband and writing team Martin Waits and his wife Linda Waits. Martin Waits is the author of the Joe Donovan crime series set in Newcastle.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

‘Rip Tide’ by Stella Rimington

Published by Bloomsbury, July 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-4088-1112-2

Mitchell Berger who has lived in most places in the world, is now living in Athens and co-ordinating aid for the charity UCSO. A call that an aid ship bound for Mombasa had been subject to a hijacking attempt, which had been foiled by a French Navy patrol is on the face of it good news. However this is the third hijacking of an aid ship and Mitchell surmises that it is no chance attack, as like the earlier two hijacking this particular aid ship was carrying unusually expensive cargo.  With a sigh Mitchell telephones the London Headquarters of UCSO and alerts his boss David Blakey to the problem. An ex-MI6 officer David decides to have a chat with an old colleague.

Meanwhile, the problem reaches MI5 Officer Liz Carlyle by a different route as the French Navy who captured the pirates have found that one of the gang has a British passport.  Would Liz like to question the prisoner?  During the decade that Liz Carlyle has been in MI5 things have changed dramatically following 9/11. So a British citizen of Pakistani descent in a gang of Somalis pirates raises a red flag.

As Liz investigates the background of the prisoner Amir Khan, and tries to make sense of the chain that has resulted in Amir being part of a pirate gang, a separate prong of attack is being put in place in Greece.

Whilst the investigation steps up, and Liz and her team try to get a handle on the facts and information that they are uncovering, equally fascinating are the behind the scenes politics and relationships inside MI5 and MI6

On a personal level Liz is currently enjoying a relationship with a French counterpart, but can relationships ever stand still?

An exciting entry in this excellent series, this book is recommended.
Lizzie Hayes

 Dame Stella Rimington joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1968 and during her career she worked in all the main fields of the Service's responsibilities - counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism - and became successively Director of all three branches. She was appointed Director-General of MI5 in 1992. She was the first woman to hold the post and the first Director-General whose name was publicly announced on appointment. She has written her autobiography and five Liz Carlyle novels. She lives in London and Norfolk.
 Earlier books in the series are: At Risk, Secret Asset, Illegal Action, Dead Line and Present Danger