Legal Tender (Rosato & Associate #2)

In this book the feisty lawyer, Bennie Rosato becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her business partner and former lover and is now on the run from the law.

I was quite disappointed in this book, having read several from this author. The whole story is unbelievable and I don’t think I shall read any future books in this series. It seemed as if it was written in a hurry and certainly not what I expected from her.

Old Cold Bones

Have you met Inspector Walter Darriteau? He is not your usual run-of-the-mill inspectors such as we have come to expect from crime writers.  Darriteau is large, overweight and plods along, but gets there in the end.

The book is set in Chester, a provincial, walled-city in Cheshire in the UK, close to the border with Wales. It is important to know this because this is not crime in a major city like London or Glasgow; but in a smaller, quieter place.

Darriteau and his offsider Karen Greenwood have been successful in solving several cases of late but now Greenwood is on holiday and he is paired with the unknown Olivia Van der Byl.

Initially, we meet Madeleine Moreno, a woman of charm, seemingly unlimited financial resources, and also unknown magical powers. She does also have a penchant for houses with wells in the garden. We learn of her background but not before Corley Crabb a young accountant gets dragged into her net and is later reported missing.

Subsequently, Darriteau hears from his informer that a major ‘bust’ is about to happen, but has no indication of where and when.

And then to round off his workload, a genuine Ming vase was sold recently by a local auction house, but the owner of the auction house and the money raised from the sale, are both missing.

The author goes into very clear detail about the villains and their plots but perhaps for some it is a little too much detail. We are used to face-paced stories with our protagonist/detectives reaching a conclusion fairly soon. What we are probably not so used to is three stories running parallel and in such depth, and a plodding, overweight inspector.

The characters are well-drawn and are believable in their fallibility. It has been said that they are all worthy adversaries for this detective and his crew.

I recommend this book if you like a slower-paced novel. It’s easy and entertaining reading.

If you read and enjoy this book, there are seven earlier novels in the series.

Note –  I was given a copy of the book to read by the author and in return have written this review.

Extraordinary People Now Named

This is the first in Peter May’s Enzo Files. I have listened to two later books in the series. See below for the reviews.

Enzo McLeod is a Scottish forensic expert who has left his wife and daughter in Glasgow to be with his love, Pasquale. Unfortunately, Pasquale died in childbirth leaving him to bring up their daughter Sophie, alone.

During a long dinner with friends, Enzo’s interest was piqued by the unsolved disappearance of

Jacques Gaillard who was last seen ten years ago. No body has been found and the police have no idea if he vanished intentionally or if he had been murdered. Enzo is determined to solve the case using his forensic knowledge and the internet which was in its infancy when the case was first opened.

Following the discovery of a skull found in a metal box in the Catacombs in the vast underground tunnels of Paris.. The skull is identified but it’s the other objects found in the chest that provide the mystery. The objects are all obscure clues that lead Enzo and his friends and colleagues on a trail to solve the mystery.

This is light entertaining reading. I am glad I listened to the other two books before this one as I am not sure I would have believed that this forensic scientist with his limited resources could uncover a murder that the police had been unable to.

The narrator in all the books was Simon Vance. A perfect choice for this series.

So I have given this book only three stars whereas the other two had each gained four.

The narrator of each book in the series is the wonderful Simon Vance: he of the flowing voice and the ability to bring the story to life.

Other books  I have read in this series.

Blowback – No 5 in the series

Cast Iron – No 6. The final in the series

 

 

 

 

This Side of Death

 

I am always excited and grateful to receive a new Eddie Collins book as part of Andrew Barrett’s Exclusive Readers Group. And I am never disappointed: Barrett gets better book by book.

Eddie Collins, a brilliant Crime Scene Investigator, has often been described by readers as a Curmudgeon. Eddie is a loner (I have often included moaner when describing this character) preferring to work alone rather than as a team member. He is arrogant and sarcastic with strong use of colourful language.  He would prefer to be left alone to do what he does best …his job and to live alone, except that his father has moved in. This was to be a temporary arrangement but as so often happens, it has become permanent.

In this remarkable book, we learn of Eddie’s early relationship as a teenager, with Alex Sheridan,  Now, many years later, this mentally sick woman, who feels she has been betrayed by everyone in her life, is concentrating her efforts on destroying Eddie. In her mind, she believes Eddie also betrayed her, although their earlier relationship was fleeting and forgotten, at least by him.

Eddie’s state of mind, never bright, is darker than usual with the introduction of this psychopath into his life. To this is added the complexity of the situation at the office – too few staff members, a new boss., etc. Through all this, I think Eddie can best be compared to a functioning alcoholic, coping on the outside, but only just.

In this book, Barrett delves deeply into the mind and actions of Alex showing some of the horrors of living with mental illness. Eddie too has issues that impact heavily on his life and relationships both personal and professional.

And to it all, Barrett brings his own experiences as. CSI.

This is a read-in-one-sitting book. It will chill you to the bone and to the last page. I certainly couldn’t put it down; and in my opinion, this book moves Andrew Barrett up several steps into the range of world-class authors

 

 

 

 

CAST IRON

 

 

 

This is the final in the Enzo series by Peter May.

If you are not familiar with Enzo McLeod – he is a forensic expert who left his native Glasgow, wife and young daughter to move to France to live with his lover, Pasquale. Unfortunately, Pasquale dies in childbirth leaving Enzo to bring up his daughter alone. He is currently employed at a university in Toulouse.

During an extended dinner with friends, Enzo takes on the challenge of solving an old case where no body has yet been found, although murder is strongly suspected. During his search, he meets journalist Roger Raffin who has written a book on seven unsolved crimes, one of which is the murder of his own wife. Enzo determines to solve all seven murders, with help from his friends and his forensic expertise.

A few years on, Enzo is beginning his investigation into the sixth murder having solved five of the seven: but what started as a bet has become deadly.

20 year old, Lucie Martin disappeared after going for a walk back in 1989. No trace was found until during a heatwave in 2003 her skeleton was revealed in a dried-up lake. It appears that Lucie had some involvement with a notorious serial killer, an obvious suspect, but he has a cast-iron alibi for the time she went missing.

During the investigation in which old ghosts are raised, he puts not only himself but his family and friends in danger too.

The story has twists aplenty and once again, I was completely unprepared when the identity of the murderers is revealed; the murderers of the two last open cases.

This is a book well worth reading. Enzo’s character is well fleshed out and his baggage of an ex-wife, a dead wife, a Scottish daughter, a French daughter and an illegitimate son is seamlessly written into the story.

While this is one of a series it is not necessary to have read the previous novels. It stands alone very well.

 

 

 

BLOWBACK

Have you met Enzo McLeod? He has an Italian mother and a Scottish father – hence the name.

He is a forensic expert who left his wife and young daughter in Scotland to be with his French lover. Unfortunately, Pasquale died giving birth, leaving him to raise their baby daughter, Sophie on his own.

What started as a bet to solve one cold case soon morphs into a much bigger challenge for Enzo. Meeting Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven unsolved murders, one of which murder is that of his own wife, Enzo decides to try to solve all seven.

In this book number 5 in the series and my first introduction to Enzo, we find him investigating the murder of France’s top chef, Marc Frasse. We are treated to descriptions  of the way of life of a top class chef; of top-class food and wines as served in a Michelin 3 star restaurant, together with a bit of a background into the workings of the business and the politics behind the awarding of the stars.

Seven years ago the body of the mercurial chef was found by his brother and his wife in a small hut on the hillside near their restaurant/hotel.  There are no clues and very little to go on. Enzo uses his considerable expertise to get to the bottom of this case and I was quite unprepared for the ending.

The fact that I hadn’t read the earlier novels, had no bearing on the enjoyment of this story. The characters are well rounded and mostly believable. Peter May is an expert at this type of storytelling, taking a grip on the reader from the beginning and holding it right through until the end..

This is a good entry into the complex life of this forensic expert turned solver of murders, Enzo McLeod.  His relationships with both his daughters, Kirsty the eldest and Sophie and the French mother of his illegitimate son, Laurenz, are brought into play during the storytelling.

As an aside, Enzo has a rare genetic condition known as Waardenburg’s Syndrome, and this accounts for his different coloured eyes and the white streak in his hair, none of which seem to detract from his way with the ladies or his professional accomplishments.

I can recommend this book and am going to read the rest of the series, so watch this space for more on Enzo and his murder solving.

 

 

 

 

Lies, Lies, Lies

 

This is the story of Daisy, Simon and their very much-loved daughter, Millie. All goes well for this happy little family until Simon’s drinking gets totally out of control. He loses his job, upsets all of their long-time friends and then he gains some earth-shattering news, and their life goes into freefall.

After a party with many good friends at which Simon is outrageously drunk, a major disaster occurs on the drive home. Simon is arrested and spends three years in jail.

Meantime, an old friend of Daisy’s appears on the scene, making threatening and atrocious demands on Daisy and her daughter.

We learn of Simon’s time in jail through his eyes. We learn of what Daisy is experiencing through hers. It’s an interesting way to tell a story.

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. All the characters were believable, and the scenes are recognisable to most of us. Many of us have that kind of friends and share that kind of activities.

My only negative thought is the way the story wrapped up. It was a quick rush to the end, and we are left with one or two unanswered questions.

But would I recommend this book? Certainly, it’s fast-paced and at no time did I want to quickly turn the pages. I was hooked almost from the beginning.

 

Note – I was given a copy of this book by the publishers Harlequin Trade Publishing in return for joining their book blog tour.

Author Bio:

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Now head over to Goodreads for more reviews of this book.

LIES LIES LIES

Author: Adele Parks

ISBN: 9780778360889

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

 

Buy Links:

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @AdeleParks

Instagram: @adele_parks

Facebook: @OfficialAdeleParks

Goodreads

 

 

 

Book Summary:

 

LIES LIES LIES (MIRA Trade Paperback; August 4, 2020; $17.99) centres on the story of Simon and Daisy Barnes. To the outside world, Simon and Daisy look like they have a perfect life. They have jobs they love, an angelic, talented daughter, a tight group of friends… and they have secrets too. Secrets that will find their way to the light, one way or the other.

Daisy and Simon spent almost a decade hoping for the child that fate cruelly seemed to keep from them. It wasn’t until, with their marriage nearly in shambles and Daisy driven to desperation, little Millie was born. Perfect in every way, healing the Barnes family into a happy unit of three. Ever indulgent Simon hopes for one more miracle, one more baby. But his doctor’s visit shatters the illusion of the family he holds so dear.

Now, Simon has turned to the bottle to deal with his revelation and Daisy is trying to keep both of their secrets from spilling outside of their home. But Daisy’s silence and Simon’s habit begin to build until they set off a catastrophic chain of events that will destroy life as they know it.

SOMEONE’S LISTENING

 

Another new author brought to me by Harlequin Trade Publishing, who provided me with a copy in return for participating in their blog tour.

Faith is a psychiatrist, author and radio show host. She has a husband, a food critic, whom she loves and who loves her; it seems she has it all. But suddenly her world begins to crumble. Following a book launch, there is a car accident, and nobody believes her husband was with her at the time; a teenage client accuses her of sexual molestation; neighbours and colleagues shun her and some eight months after the accident, her husband’s body is found with a gunshot wound. Obviously, Faith becomes the number one suspect in his murder.

Her main area of interest is victims of abuse and how they can gain control of their lives and ultimately leave their abusers.  This is the theme of both the book and the radio show, both of which are titled Someone’s Listening.

In the midst of all this drama and upheaval, Faith begins to receive threatening letters that contain quotations from her book.

We are introduced to some other characters and I was totally wrong-footed when the perpetrator of most of her problems was revealed to be somebody on whom she has been relying.

I found the book interesting and fast-paced in the opening chapters but somewhere in the middle, it fell apart. Then at about the 80% mark, it resumed its fast pace to the end.

At times, I found myself going back over some pages because I got a little lost, so I would class this as a book to read on a rainy winter afternoon when you have nothing else to do.

Note – I was given a copy of this book by the publishers Harlequin Trade Publishing in return for joining their book blog tour.

 

Author Bio: 

 

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime. Someone’s Listening is her first novel.

For a Q & A with Seraphina, giving background to her, her writing style and this novel’s inception –click this link.

And head over to Goodreads for more reviews of this book.

 

Locked In

We talk about being locked-in during the current pandemic, but are you aware there is a medical condition of being locked in?

Medically known as Pseudocoma, “it is a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and awake but have no ability to produce movements (outside of eye movement) or to speak (aphonia). Cognitive function is usually unaffected.” NORD (National Organisation for Rare Disorders

 

 

I first came across this disorder while reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby the editor-in-chief of French Elle and the father of two young children, At the end of 1995, he was the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem and after 20 days in a coma, he awoke and found his body had almost stopped working.  One eye only was still functioning. but it allowed him to see and, by blinking it, made clear that his mind was unimpaired. He was soon able to express himself, dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In this way he was eventually able to compose this book

 

With Bauby we go through his emotions; angry, hopeful, depressed, sad, happy, and also witty and clever. He is determined to live as fully as possible, or as he used to, if only in his mind. He talks of the joy of travelling with his wife, of seeing his children, hearing his Father’s voice on the phone. He imagines tasting delectable dishes as in his past, whilst being fed intravenously.

 

This is a book I strongly recommend to all, showing as it dies, man’s desire and ability to overcome almost anything.   He lived to see the publication of his book but died two days later.

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Vintage Red

Way back in 2011 as a very new blogger, and before this site was created I posted on my other site –

“I have just finished reading the novel Vintage Red by Michael Judge.

The introductory blurb says:  “Racy, blackly comic; laced with wit, both dry and expansive; a wicked ear for dialogue; cuts through to the bone, exposing venality of church and state – just a sample of the praise that greeted the arrival of this impressive first novel.” and “An original new voice and a breathtaking achievement”.

The story tells the story of a property magnate who finds after his wife’s death that she lead a disturbing life that he knew nothing about.  Throughout the book, we read about this other life and also about the husband’s domestic failings, his public amorality and his personal hypocrisy.

We learn how the wife meets a shy school teacher one afternoon and her life changes dramatically.  But because of her upbringing and the Catholic religion, she will not leave her husband even though she has found a man to give her the love and affection withheld from her by her husband.

In many ways, this is a story that has been told so many times already and there are no great surprises in it.

I am not sure that I would recommend it.  At times it dragged and I found the long passages that concentrated on the husband’s shoddy dealings both personally and professionally rather boring.

BUT the point of this blog is to say that this first novel was published when the author was eighty-three years old.  Since then he has had two further novels published to great acclaim.