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Monday 31 December 2012

‘Baptism’ by Max Kinnings

Published by Quercus,
19 July 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-78087-181-3

George Wakeham is a driver on the London Underground, happily married with two children but aware that his life is dull. Then, one day, all that changes. A small, ruthless, demented group of Christian fundamentalists of extreme views take George’s wife and children hostage; their plan is to hijack the tube train which George drives, to bring it to a halt in the tunnel between Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road stations, and to coerce the authorities into flooding the tunnel so that all the passengers and the hijackers will drown in a lunatic apocalypse. So Detective Chief Inspector Ed Mallory, the London Metropolitan Police’s chief hostage negotiator whose skills have been enhanced by his blindness, is called in but those skills are tested to the utmost in a tense game of cat-and-mouse between him and the hijackers.

The author is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and his technical skills are clearly evident in this nerve-racking, impeccably researched and violent thriller. The chapters are very short, switching from George to the terrified passengers (who include George’s wife) to the various people involved in the negotiations, with the time line, precise to the minute, at the head of each chapter. This is a masterly technique which ratchets up the suspense to an almost unbearable level. 
Reviewer: Radmila May

Max Kinnings.  Prior to writing full-time, Max worked in the music and entertainment industries for twelve years devising advertising and marketing campaigns for music festivals, tours, comedy shows and West End theatre productions. His first novel, Hitman, was published in 2000. A comedy thriller about a drug-crazed private detective who is hired as a contract killer by an eccentric old woman with paranoid delusions, it was described by The Times as “a highly accomplished, confident first novel”. It was read by Kenneth Cranham on BBC Radio 4. Alongside the British and commonwealth edition, it was also published in the US, Bulgaria and Russia.

Sunday 30 December 2012

‘Elegy for Eddie’ By Jacqueline Winspear

Published by Harper Perennial,
October, 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-4516-5582-7

The Maisie Dobbs series, now with nine entries, has taken her from World War I, where she served as a nurse, to the cusp of the Second World War.  In this novel, there are three themes which can tend to confuse the reader until the author brings them together and makes sense out of what at first appear to be separate subplots.

To start with, a delegation from Lambeth, scene of Maisie’s childhood, visits her to engage her services as an investigator to find out how a young man died in a paper factory.  The other two plot lines, one more personal to her than the other, has Maisie questioning her own motives and standards as well as her relationship with her lover; and the last involving the stealth campaign of Winston Churchill to prepare Great Britain for the possible war with Nazi Germany.

The book is equal to its predecessors in characterization and human interest.  Obviously, it is more political in tone than its forerunners, given the time in which it takes place: the depression era and rise of Adolf Hitler.  While Maisie’s introspections may be overdone, they certainly are in keeping with the character.

Reviewer: Ted Feit

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London's Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.  She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.
A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women's magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

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.

Saturday 29 December 2012

‘Possessed’ by Niki Valentine

Published by Sphere,
25 October, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4538-8

Emma is prodigy from a state school, her life has always been a struggle. She is sent to a prestigious music school, where she is determined to shine. She meets a pair of wealthy, sophisticated twins; Sophie is the outgoing twin, Matilde is the quiet one. They come into Emma’s life like a whirlwind buying champagne and taking her to parties, then they begin to dominate Emma. 

Shy Matilde commits suicide. After this Sophie flourishes. But odd things are happening to Emma, she misses time, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma's mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her.

The book is a good read, if you like psychological thrillers, this one is for you.
Reviewer: Sue Lord

Niki Valentine is an award-winning writer who, under a pseudonym, has been published internationally to huge acclaim. When she isn’t working on her next psychological horror novel, Niki teaches Creative and Professional Writing at Nottingham University.
Niki Valentine

Sue Lord originally studied Fine Art and Art History, her MA is in Creative Writing. She now, revues, teaches, mentors and script doctors. She lives in central London and Cornwall. Her favourite pastime is gardening.

Friday 28 December 2012

‘The Confession’ By Charles Todd

Published by William Morrow Paperbacks,
27th November 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-2500-1529-7

This latest in the long-running Inspector Ian Rutledge series finds him in his office shortly after the end of World War I listening to a man calling himself Wyatt Russell confess to murdering his cousin years before..  The man tells Rutledge he has stomach cancer and just a very short time to live but wanted to “clear his conscience.”
Little did he know that he would be shot in the head and left in the Thames in just a matter of days.  Now the Inspector has more than one murder to solve, and embarks on a quest that takes him to a little fishing village north of London in Essex where he encounters many more mysteries.

Rutledge learns that the man was not who he claimed to be, and that was but the first thing he had to unravel.  Then to discover the meaning of the only clue he had: a gold woman’s locket with the picture of a young girl, found around the man’s neck.  Without the sanction of an official inquiry, the Inspector proceeds to develop the facts, despite the uncooperative and even hostile reception he receives in the village where additional murders and deaths occur.  A novel written by the mother-and-son team writing under the nom de plume Charles Todd, Confession is up to the high level of its
predecessors: the plot is tightly woven, the characters well-drawn and the reader is drawn forward anxiously waiting to find out what comes next.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer Ted 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 that means he can boil more than water. 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 marvelous 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 learned the rich history of Britain, including the legends of King Arthur, William Wallace, and other heroes, as a child. Books on Nelson and by Winston Churchill were always at hand. Their many trips to England gave them the opportunity to spend time in villages and the countryside, where there’s a different viewpoint from that of the large cities. Their travels are at the heart of the series they began ten years ago.
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. He enjoys all things nautical, has an international collection of seashells and has sailed most of his life. Golf is still a hobby that can be both friend and foe. And sports in general are enthusiasms. 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 World War 1, 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, and she’s also a sports fan, an enthusiastic follower of her favorite teams in baseball and pro football. She loves the sea but is a poor sailor—Charles inherited his iron stomach from his father. Still, she has never met a beach she didn’t like.
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?

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.

Thursday 27 December 2012

‘The Murder Quadrille’ by Fidelis Morgan

Published by Lightning. 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-9570743-8-5
A combination of the macabre and the funny makes this a fascinating read. We start with a suburban dinner party which doesn’t go too well for the couple giving it. Their guests are a disparate lot with different areas of expertise and differing levels of intelligence. Over their meal they discuss the local disappearance of a librarian whom they presume has been murdered . Various events get hilariously intertwined in the following days and we follow with fascination the activities and thoughts of the six characters who had been dining.

There is much humour - the dim girlfriend Lisa is particularly amusing when she converses with her hairdresser, as is Martin Beaumont, the host of the dinner party, in his misapprehensions of what is happening. At the same time there is a palpable sense of menace. Because we go from the minds and experiences of one character to another the level of tension stays high as the reader must wait for a later chapter for further resolution of a situation. This is an unusual book very well constructed and extremely readable.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Fidelis Morgan has written other crime books, fiction, non fiction and plays. This book is her first modern mystery. It is also available on Kindle. Her crime fiction series about Countess Ashby de la Zouche in the Restoration period begins with Unnatural Fire.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer

Fidelis Morgan is an English actress and writer. She has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre in repertory in various British cities and in the West End. She has written stage plays based on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela and Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square. Her non-fiction writing includes The Female Wits, the first study of female playwrights of the Restoration stage and biographies
of women from the 17th and 18th centuries including Charlotte Clarke. Her novels include the Countess Ashby de la Zouche series of historical crime mysteries including The Rival Queens.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

‘The Vanishing Point’ by Val McDermid

Read by Antonia Beamish
Published by Whole Story Audio Books,
September 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-47121-338-0
(11 CD’s. 13.75 Hours)

Travelling from Heathrow to the USA Stephanie Harker passing through the airport security checkpoint at O’Hare airport in Chicago is helpless as she watches a man abductfive-year-old Jimmy Higgins. Although his guardian, Stephanie is not Jimmy’s mother, but the son of reality TV star Scarlett Higgins.

The next section of the book is the story of how ghost writer Stephanie Harker became friends with Scarlett, told in flashbacks as Stephanie is interrogated by the FBI Agent assigned to direct the recovery of the missing boy.  As the story progresses several possible lines of enquiry come to light.  Could it be Stephanie’s ex lover Pete, who has been stalking her since they split up determined to get her back.  Or Scarlett’s mother and sister, with whom she has long been estranged?  Or one of Scarlett’s many obsessed fans?

It is an interesting story mirroring in many ways the life of the late Jade Goody, as reported in the press. It is not until one is 90% through the book that the pace picks up.   And although I had guessed the culprits, there is an amazing twist at the end that is so Val McDermid.  Although all the clues are there it was still a surprise, and I loved it.

There is no doubt that Val McDermid is a brilliant writer, and fans of Val’s will love this non-series book.

Antonia Beamish brought much to the story particularly her portrayal of Scarlett.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Val McDermid grew up in Kirkcaldy on the East Coast of Scotland. She read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She worked on national newspapers in Glasgow and Manchester, ending up as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid. Val’s first book Report for Murder  was published in 1984, In 1991 she gave up the day job and has been making my living by writing ever since. She was the Manchester Evening News‘crime reviewer for four years, and still review regularly for various national newspapers. She also writes occasional journalism and broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.

Antonia Beamish After a successful period with a French circus company Antonia Beamish was awarded a scholarship to study drama in America. She stayed in New York and performed off Broadway before touring the with Moliere's Tartuffe before returning to the UK to play the lead role in Educating Rita. Antonia Beamish has won the Best Actress Award at the Calgary International Festival of Horror, and also performs extensively for radio.

Monday 24 December 2012

‘The Salem Witch Society’ by K N Shields

Published by Sphere, in B-format paperback,  
3 January 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4910-2
A murder victim is found late at night, laid out in a way which suggests a ritual killing. As the investigation proceeds, details come to light which begin to reveal a pattern, and the detectives find themselves following a trail and unravelling a puzzle which will lead them to unexpected places, a potentially world-changing discovery and ultimately into mortal danger.
Sounds familiar? Perhaps, but be assured that The Salem Witch Society is most certainly not a re-run of The da Vinci Code.
For one thing, it’s far better written. For another, it’s not a high-octane page-turner to whizz through in a couple of sittings. The publisher describes it as a high-concept thriller, which I found to mean a dense, chewy and ultimately satisfying read, to be taken at a steady pace, the better to appreciate the wealth of historical detail and rich character development as well as the fascinatingly complex plot.

The main setting is Portland, Maine, at the end of the 19th century: not an obvious connection with the Salem witch trials until it emerges that they took place just a few hours away, and almost exactly two hundred years earlier: a detail which proves significant as the detectives investigate one murder, uncover two earlier ones and try to prevent several more, all with overtones of black magic.

The author has clearly done his homework. Not only is a great deal about the dark history of Salem woven into the narrative; Portland itself is a richly drawn background; and the Abenaki Indians, the treatment of the mentally ill in the 19th century and the early  development of modern forensic techniques all have a part to play.

For me any successful crime novel or thriller stands or falls on the characters; they bring the most hackneyed plot to life, and if I want to know more about them and care what happens to them, I’ll keep reading. (Not that this plot is in the least hackneyed; quite the opposite in fact.) Here there are three main protagonists: down-to-earth police detective Archie Lean, who tries hard to balance a stable family life with doing the right thing in the workplace; eccentric, enigmatic and sceptical consulting detective Perceval Grey, half-Abenaki but brought up in the white world; and intelligent, feisty Helen Prescott, a clear-sighted historical researcher who earns the men’s respect from the outset. All are sharply drawn and well-rounded, and so too are the many other individuals they encounter in the course of their labyrinthine adventure.
For a debut, The Salem Witch Society is a very accomplished piece of work; in fact I was surprised to find it was the author’s first novel. K N Shields is one to watch with great interest.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

K N Shields  Kieran Shields grew up in Portland, Maine. He graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Maine School of Law. He continues to reside along the coast of Maine with his wife and two children. This is his first novel.

Sunday 23 December 2012

‘Coorparoo Blues & The Irish Fandango’ by G S Manson

 Published by Dark Passage Books,
11 October 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-891241-32-1

The setting is Brisbane, Australia in 1943 and the hero is PI Jack Munro, World War One veteran and ex-cop who is dedicated to exposing the truth whether the authorities want this or not. This is a hardboiled Sam Spade character walking the mean streets! Brisbane at that time was a major staging post for the war in the Pacific so it had moved from being a sleepy provincial town to being a melting pot for thousands of US troops and the flotsam and jetsam they attracted. Jack Munro produces the plain spoken style of classic pulp fiction.

In deference to English and American reader the author has included a glossary of Australian terms which can be very helpful but also contains some words you do know and some words that you don’t! There are 2 stories here - each at novella length - and different in emphasis. The first really evokes the world of the War in Australia and the second harks back to earlier conflicts casting a long shadow. The author sweeps you along in Jack’s wake and gets you fully involved in the adventures and produces two good mysteries for Jack to solve. All the traditional viewpoints of the denizens of the murky world of the PI can be seen.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer
This is the debut book for G.S. Manson.

G S Manson Ex- meatpacker, actor, bouncer, set-builder, rock journalist, demolition man, passport officer, cattle farmer, porno salesman, roller disco mechanic and debt collector, Greg now divides his time between laying down hypnotic funk grooves as half of indigenous trance act GURIGURU and trying to run an organic pecan farm in Northern NSW. He also has no trouble walking the mean streets of his own mind as a crime writer with a unique and authentic Australian voice.
Jennifer Palmer
Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic.
I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

Saturday 22 December 2012

‘The Queen’s Lady’ by Barbara Kyle

Published by Constable,
18 October 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-78033-559-9

Rather than marry any of her undesirable suitors, Honor Larke, ward of Sir Thomas More, takes a position working as lady in waiting for Queen Catherine of Aragon.  This starts being a pleasure as she is able to use her learning to entertain the queen and turns into a challenge as she begins to intercede in the political machinations between Catherine and her straying husband Henry VIII.  This becomes increasingly dangerous as religious tensions mount between the Catholic Church and the newly establishing protestant movement, threatening to rip the English establishment apart whilst Henry tries to get a divorce from Catherine, to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn.

Honor gets involved not only in the escalating fight between Catherine and Henry, but in more dangerous work of supporting the new church/ protestant movement – support which could get her burned as a heretic.  Despite her connections with influential members of the hierarchy, the danger to Honor escalates as she gets more involved and the stakes increase for her enemies, one of whom has a long term grudge against her, her beliefs and her family.

This book was a complete surprise for me, expecting a crime novel I was confronted by a romantic historic thriller, not my normal reading fare.  However, it was well written, the characters seemed real and had a depth which was unexpected and the historical context was nicely framed.  I started somewhat sceptical and then as the narrative swept me along, I found it difficult to put down.  My only reservation is that Honor Larke seemed a little out of time and more like a twentieth century heroine than one from the sixteenth.  This is perhaps where the charm and the readability lies and it enhances the storyline as it gives fresh perspective to the harsh reality and religious and class struggles under Henry along with the slightly bizarre circumstances of the establishment of the Church of England.

A nicely layered plot, with some interesting twists, colourful characters and an energetic interpretation of Tudor England and some of the famous characters behind the history stories.  Kyle weaves the stories of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, Cromwell and Welsey with her fictional characters with skill and intelligence.  Recommended.
Reviewer: Amanda Brown

Barbara Kyle studied acting in the classical theatre program  (Shakespeare, Shaw, Moliere, Congreve, etc.) at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, planning a “distinguished stage career," and then spent the next twenty years acting mostly on television in made-for-TV movies, series, sit-coms, and soap opera. She says it felt like a natural extension of her acting to create characters for fiction. In 2008 Kensington Books she published her first historical novel, The Queen’s Lady. Since then Barbara has written four further books.

Friday 21 December 2012

‘The Nightmare’ by Lars Kepler

Translated by Laura A. Wideburg
Published by Sarah Crichton Books Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
July, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-374-11533-3

It must be somewhat of a nightmare for an author to sit down and contemplate how to create a follow-up novel to one as successful as The Hypnotist.  But that is exactly what faced the team writing under the nom de plume Lars Kepler.  So they wrote “The Nightmare,” in which they again feature the Finnish-born protagonist, Swedish Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

The novel is not only a fast-paced procedural, but an action-filled suspense story.  The plot centers on the corruption of the system by the extreme profitability of selling arms and ammunition to troubled nations and warring factions.  The story begins when Linna investigates the strange death of the director responsible for allowing Swedish exports of armaments.

A wide assortment of characters is portrayed vividly, with a truly evil mastermind behind the murders, kidnappings and crimes keeping Linna and his police counterparts hopping.  It is a riveting story, with an intensity forcing the reader to continue turning the nearly 500 pages.  Written with passion, it is a book which is highly recommended.

Reviewer: Ted Feit

Lars Kepler is the latest Swedish star on the crime writer horizon. Like the works of Sjöwall/Wahlöö, Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, Kepler’s books are being widely translated and turned over to eager film producers. Kepler’s books have managed to get the attention of two-time Academy Award nominee Lasse Hallström.

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.

Thursday 20 December 2012

‘Time Exposure’ by Lynne Kennedy

Published in the USA,
September 2012.
ISBN: 978-1479331505

When having some work done at her Washington home, digital photographer Maggie Thornhill finds a mummified corpse in her basement. Could this be her ancestor Civil War photographer, Joseph Thornhill, who disappeared just after the end of the Civil War and whose body has never been found?

The story starts in Washington City in July 1861 with the main narrator Joseph Thornhill, a young man who with his friend and mentor Alex Gardner, undercover of taking photographs to record the Civil War becomes a spy for the U.S. Secret Service. In the course of his observations of the war Joseph uncovers a killer.  As he tracks the man he discovers the reason for the killings and realises that he is dealing with arms dealing, profiteering and treason.

Eventually Joseph is wounded and captured by Confederates. Although, he later escapes with proof of his suspicions, can he bring the evil doers to justice?  Through Joseph’s diary and photographs found with the body Maggie links the arms company with one still in business today. But is the body that of Jospeh Thornhill.

Whilst the story of the mystery of Joseph Thornhill is intriguing, the descriptions and history of the American Civil War provides fascinating reading.  Lynne Kennedy has seamlessly blended fact and fiction to produce a modern mystery with its solution set in the past. With some clever twists this tale will keep you guessing to the end.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Lynne Kennedy  was born in Brooklyn, New York. She obtained a Masters Degree in Science from Hofstra University, New York, and moved to San Diego, California in the early 80’s. In San Diego, Lynne worked as a museum director at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California for many years. In this capacity, she developed education programs, exhibitions and film projects on a number of timely science subject areas. She also worked with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab and the San Diego Police Department to develop forensic programs for teachers and students and conduct mystery nights for families. She has worked with experts at various historical museums, such as the Tenement Museum in New York, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Coronado Historical Museum, in Coronado, to create innovative ways of bringing history to life. She began writing mysteries in 1995. History, digital photography and forensic science are personal interests and play significant roles in her novels. Her position in the museum community has also enabled her to network the community of experts needed to assist in her research and add authenticity to her books.  Lynne is married to John Kennedy!

Wednesday 19 December 2012

‘The Sons of Jude’ by Brandt Dodson

Published by Monarch Books, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-85721-205-4

When Detective Frank Campello returns to work at the 28th district following the death of his partner, the new partner assigned to him is Detective Andy Polanski.   Andy Polanski has been re-assigned from the 31st district, having brought allegations against two other police officers Andy Polanski is the most unpopular cop in Chicago.

Before Frank has time to drive home to his district commander Julio Lopez his displeasure at this ture of events, he is called out to the discovery of a body at Navy Pier.   

Journalist Christie Lee has the opposite view of Andy Polanski, Too long aware of uniform cops on the take, Christie thinks that Andy is a hero.

The murder of Trina Martinez at first glance looks to be an ordinary homicide. An unfortunate young girl in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the investigation takes them to places people don’t want them to go.  Soon they are in the vicinity of Alderman Aaron Green, a man with powerful connections.  Whilst Frank Campello is anti Andy Polanski, not liking what he has done, they have one thing in common they are both good cops.  As they find their investigation halted by a wall of silence, they team up with Journalist Christie Lee, but are they enough to stem the corruption in high places?

Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes – and police officers. And two lowly detectives and a journalist look like a lost cause as they come up against the power and mite of people in high office who have a lot to lose.  Then they enlist the support of reporter Christy Lee. As they are undermined and threatened, Campello and Polanski are The Sons of Jude. Can they overcome?

A fast-paced thriller with an moral twist.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis, where he graduated from Ben Davis High School and, later, Indiana Central University (now known as The University of Indianapolis). It was during a creative writing course in college that a professor said, "You're a good writer. With a little effort and work, you could be a very good writer." That comment, and the support offered by a good teacher, set Brandt on a course that would eventually lead to the Colton Parker Mystery Series.  Brandt comes from a long line of police officers, spanning several generations, and was employed by the FBI before leaving to pursue his education. A former United States Naval Reserve officer, Brandt is a board Certified Podiatrist and past President of the Indiana Podiatric Medical Association. He is a recipient of the association's highest honor, "The Theodore H. Clark Award". He currently resides in southwestern Indiana with his wife and two sons

Tuesday 18 December 2012

‘Assassin’ by Duncan Falconer

Published by Sphere,
22 November, 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4411-4

John Stratton, a member of the elite Special Boat Services (SBS) is involved in an operation in Afghanistan, which ends up under the auspices of two Americans not linked with his unit.  Having retrieved a booklet from the site, the Americans take off, literally, leaving Stratton and his colleagues none the wiser. 

Having returned back to London from the exercise, Stratton is contacted by his old boss, Chandos, who believes that he is being hunted by a professional assassin.  When Chandos goes missing, believed killed in Nigeria, Stratton gets drawn in to a plot involving nuclear warheads, the Americans, the Taliban and big business.
This is a fast paced thriller, which makes the most of the politics of the current situation in the middle east and the various players involved.  There is a real feeling of the tensions of being a part of the special elite operations groups like the SBS, who are often involved in activities which have covert outcomes and cannot always be publicised.  This makes it even more difficult to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in political scenarios and this book makes the most of it.  The plot is tight, but not straightforward, the characters larger than life, but believable having met elite forces members, and the speed of the narrative fast paced. Unlike many books of this type, there are even some strong women characters and they do not just populate the bedrooms of the major male characters.  Here it deviates from the norm and is refreshing as a result.

This book was fun to read, not very demanding, but does raise some interesting points about the instability and delicate balance which the various factions have to make in the middle east conflict.  The story takes you from Afghanistan, to London, Nigeria, and New York and does it at breakneck speed.  A nicely edgy thriller, hard to put down once you get into the flow.  The kind of book that holidays and long journeys were made for.
Reviewer: Amanda Brown

Duncan Falconer (A pseudonym) grew up in Battersea, London, spending the first 10 years of his life in a children’s home. A former member of the elite Special Boat Service and 14 Int., N. Ireland's top-secret SAS detachment, he left after more than a decade of operational service and went on to the private security 'circuit'. His SBS exploits were documented in his first book, the bestselling First into Action