The Crew

Eddie Collins, our favourite CSI is ‘lumbered’ with an Attachment, a woman currently working in personnel who has aspirations to becoming a member of CSI. Eddie as you can imagine, is less than pleased to have to take this woman around during his late shift; number seven in a row. 

Eddie as we know, is grumpy, impatient, foul mouthed and sarcastic. He has no inclination to listen to this woman complaining about a recent love who just walked away, but for some reason allows her to continue complaining.

When they are sent to the scene of an armed post office robbery Eddie quickly steps into working mode, ignoring the complaints and finds plenty of evidence to show her.

Because of her intelligent questions, he settles into work pointing out pieces of interest to her.

So far, so good.  Then the whole scene turns to custard.  Shannon, the Attachment is not quite what she seems, and Eddie finds himself in a situation that is out of his control.

As usual, the author Andrew Barrett, has written a story that draws one in.  This is a novella, but Barrett has packed it full of action and interesting new characters, and an interesting plot – I recommend that one should read it in one sitting and then go back to read it again. 

I really love the irascible Eddie and recommend this short story and all the other Barrett Books. And thanks to the author for providing this book in exchange for a review.

Full Metal Jack

I am a fortunate member of Diane Capri’s ARC and so get to read her books before publication.
This is book number 13 in her series The Hunt for Jack Reacher.
This time, we see the diminutive Kim Otto working without her long-time partner Carlos Gaspar who has retired because of his failing leg and his inability to physically keep up. However, they still consider themselves partners and Gaspar assists Otto on the side, using his considerable computer skills.
This time, Otto is sent to Carter’s Crossing a small, dying town in Mississippi. Reacher was last known to be in the town in 1997 following the death of a woman and now another woman is dead. An apparent suicide having been hit by a train.
We are reintroduced to Elizabeth Deveraux now the Mayor of Cooper’s Crossing but who was the Chief of Police in 1997. Lee Child’s fans will recall this strong woman from The Affair, covering Reacher’s last job for the US Army. And the Affair is the sourcebook for Full Metal Jack.
We follow one of the characters through his nefarious activities, causing death and destruction and it is not until close to the end of the book that we find out who he is. I never suspected him.
The story opens with an illegal dog fight during which this character arranges the death of his long-time antagonist, Hana Pak. Pak is a North Korean diplomat in New York for only two days. His death makes headline news across the country and around the world.
In her ongoing search for Reacher, Otto is sent by the Boss, to Cooper’s Crossing. Does the Boss really expect Reacher to turn up there?
Having met the Sheriff at the scene of a horrendous motor accident which could have been avoided and which could perhaps be determined as another suicide, Otto continues into town.
The town has thrived somewhat because Kelham Army Base had been positioned there and that meant constant coming and going of soldiers to the town, the bars, etc. But now Kelham was to close in 48 hours and only a skeleton staff was still on base.
The train that apparently killed the woman comes through town at midnight every night. The sounds and the vibrations are impossible to miss as are the sinkholes caused by this thundering beast. The question then arises how the woman just lay there and waited for the monster to run over her.
It is fairly quickly determined that this no suicide but was murder. The woman had her throat cut in a particular way that seems to point to an Army Ranger being responsible and Kelham has plenty of those.
The Army has sent its own investigator to Kelham, Major Eugene “Hulk” Hammer and they also have an undercover officer in town, Major Lincoln Price. But he isn’t undercover for long and introduces himself to Otto.
Pretty soon the bodies begin to pile up in this little out of the way town, and still there’s no sign of Reacher.
In typical Capri style, we are led along the path, feeling both sorry for Otto who is working blind, and amazed at her abilities. She works well with the other law enforcement officers but makes several enemies in a local family when she responds to an overture from one cousin leaving him on the floor, shamed in front of his kin.
This books charges along apace. The characters are well defined, and all are believable. Ms Capri obviously knows her subjects several of whom we, as readers have also come to know.
To find out whether Reacher does appear and ‘whodunit’ get your hands on a copy of this book when it comes out in a few days.
Thanks to Ms Capri for the opportunity to read the advance copy. I strongly recommend it and if you haven’t yet read the other books in the series and as Lee Child says “Make some coffee. You’ll read all night”.

The Likeness

Put aside your thought processes and common sense and enjoy this book as in fact, the plot of the story is really rather ludicrous.

Cassie Maddox has left the Murder squad after a harrowing case and now finds herself comfortably/uncomfortably in Domestic Violence.  Unexpectedly,  she is called to a murder scene where the victim is her exact double.  Added to that, the victim has assumed the fake identity set up for Cassie when she was working undercover some years previously.

The plot while interesting, asks the reader to believe the unbelievable. The detectives keep the fact that the girl is murdered, secret. They tell her friends with whom she lives, that she is in a coma and cannot be visited. Then, Cassie agrees to assume the identity of the dead girl in an attempt to find the murderer. She moves into the house Lexie shares with four other students and we are immediately swept into their almost reclusive world.

The story is perhaps rather slow in places, but with Ms French’s use of words and scene setting, I was able to suspend my disbelief  and simply enjoy the story.

The atmosphere she creates is also impressive. Her characters seem to be real; they are well thought out and believable, even if the premise is not. Cassie, while the lead character, does not outshine the others. She is flawed, at times confused and totally believable.  And the house is as much a main character as the people inhabiting it. The attachment Cassie forms to this house as well as her attachment to the people living there is believable and I understood her reluctance to leave.

In all a. good, if long book – mine went to almost 700 pages. At times Ms French gets bogged down in the minutiae, but with a few  page turns, I got back into the story.

I hadn’t read the first book in the series before reading this one.   I shall now rectify that.

 

Lilac Girls

This is a historical novel set in the time leading up to, during and following World War 2. It is set around the lives of three women, two of whom were real-life characters and the third is based on memories and tales told by survivors of Ravensbruck, the all-female concentration camp in Northern Germany.

We are introduced to Caroline Ferriday a New York socialite and sometime actor. She is horrified at the plight of the millions of displaced persons following the war, the orphaned children particularly those in France , and the horrors suffered by prisoners in the concentration camps. She makes it her life’s work to help the female prisoners once she learns of their suffering.

Dr Herta Oberhauser is initially introduced as a caring doctor but eventually succumbs to life as the only female doctor in the concentration camp and quickly enters into a regime of torturous medical experimentation on the women.  Apparently, the experiments were deemed necessary to find better ways of treating and curing, some of the disease and distress encountered by the German soldiers.


Kasia Kuzmerick …a Polish political prisoner,  the one fictional female character, is taken to Ravensbruck with her sister and mother. Her mother, a nurse, who assisted Dr Oberhausr (although not in the experimentation) suddenly disappears and her daughters do not know where she is.

This is an emotional, truly, heart-breaking story.  The two sisters are among those women who undergo the experiments and become known as the Rabbits* because they have to hop around the camp following the experimentation on their legs.

We have heard before of the  friendships that develop through trying, difficult and absolutely unimaginable  times, and once again see how these times and experiences brought the women prisoners closer and then in turn brought them closer to Caroline.

The pain and hardships suffered by the Polish prisoners are hard to read and I was amazed at the way they fought together in the face of adversity, Note here, none of these words adequately portray just what they endured. 

I listened to this story and was unable to turn it off.  I objected that at times that was necessary, sleep, eat etc, but necessary also to take a step back from the atrocities performed against these prisoners.

I enjoyed hearing Ms Hall’s comments at the end of the book; what compelled her to write the story; her intense and extensive research of the subject and I commend her on writing this book and her efforts in bringing to light the harsh realities of the time and the incomprehensible suffering that took place.

I strongly recommend this book to all and look forward to reading Ms Hall’s next book – Lost Roses – but this first novel is a hard act to follow.

* The incredible story of the Lapins, the Rabbits is a fact and 35 of them – nearly half – went to the USA in 1958 as part of a philanthropic program to help with their post-war well-being, both physical and mental.

Danger in Plain Sight

This is the first book in a new series by author Burt Weissbourd. 

Callie James has a successful French restaurant in Seattle.  She has worked very hard to achieve a great life for her and her son, until one day, her ex-husband arrives after 14 years of silence and her world goes crashing down around her.  Daniel, the ex is a world-famous journalist who has stumbled on to a story about money laundering on a worldwide scale, that drags he, Callie and her son into dangerous areas.  Daniel needs a safe place to stay, but  Callie refuses to help him until he is run down outside her restaurant.  She changes her mind and Callie is drawn into a world of thugs, murder and threats. 

This book with its twisted plot is well worth reading.  It is full of suspense, surprises and danger. The story is well planned; there are twists and turns aplenty and the characters are very well-developed.  I recommend this book to avid readers of suspense books. 

Thanks to Book Sirens for the opportunity to read this book.  I really couldn’t put it down. 

 

 

 

 

Callie James has a successful French restaurant in Seattle.  She has worked very hard to achieve a great life for her and her son.  And one day, her ex-husband arrives after 14 years of silence and her world goes crashing down around her.  Daniel is a world-famous journalist who has stumbled on to a story about money laundering on a worldwide scale, that drags he, Callie and her son into dangerous areas.  Daniel needs a safe place to stay, but  Callie refuses to help him until he is run down outside her restaurant.  Callie is drawn into a world of thugs, murder and threats. 

This book with its twisted plot is well worth reading.  It is full of suspense, surprises and danger. The characters are very well-developed since they are dynamic and complex. There are lots of turns and twists in the story that made me feel that I was immersed inside the book. I could not put it down easily. Doubtless, this is a must-read suspense book. I thoroughly recommend it to avid readers.

 

The Loop

Nicholas Holloway is an author new to me and I thank Book Sirens for the opportunity to read and review this book.

The story is set in the background of the Sierra Nevada mountains, An area well known to the author as this is where he lives.

We are introduced to Gallagher (Gal) Finch a wannabe author. He spends his time when not drinking, taking drugs, romancing women or redoing the family home, writing his novel. But the writing it isn’t going well.

His life takes a complete turn for the worse when he finds a woman with whom he had sex last night, dead in a pool of blood, on his bed, and it’s his knife sticking out of her. To the rescue comes his loving sister and together they dispose of the body. But that’s only the beginning of his problems.

Life moves on and Gal decides to rewrite his novel using what he knows, ie the recent events in his own life, and finds he suddenly no longer has writer’s block.

But as life moves on, it becomes more dangerous for Gal and his family. Intrigue, secrets and murder abound and soon the dead bodies mount up,

By the way, this family is totally disjointed. Gal has little to do with his brothers; his father is in jail for the murder of his wife and the only real friend he has is his sister.

The book totally reeled me in. The several plots running adjacent to the main character and his problems, kept me up reading well into the night. Who knew there could be so many truly desperate and willing to do anything, people around. The separate plots move seamlessly right up to the final and totally shocking ending. Who really is the killer?

I thoroughly recommend this book if you’re looking for a well plotted, well thought out story. Just remember when you turn out your light, it is fiction.

PIECES OF HER

 

Laura Cooper has spent her whole life in a quiet seaside town.  She is a speech therapist, a pillar of the community and it is here she has raised her daughter Andrea.

Andrea is unsure of herself.  She never completed college and she has barely been engaged in any personal relationships. She has returned home from New York to nurse her mother through her breast cancer treatment.

On her 31st birthday, Andrea and her mother are having lunch in a diner when chaos erupts.  A shooter enters and kills a mother and daughter before their eyes while sighting Andrea for his next victim.

With a mother’s instinct, Laura puts herself in front of the young man telling him to kill her instead.  What follows next is captured on a mobile phone and video footage goes viral showing a composed Laura killing the shooter with his knife whilst suffering serious injuries herself.

What follows that is a series of horrifying events that hint at Laura’s past, bringing plenty of danger to the present. Initially, Andrea heeds her mother’s instruction to move far away and to have no contact ever with either her or her father.

There are two timelines here as Andrea tries to make sense of what she has seen and what she thought she knew about her mother and is thrust down a very dark path.  We are taken back to the eighties and discover a whole new Laura and her involvement in a group of anarchists.  Andrea’s foray into the past brings danger with it and alone, Andy has to manage to survive it. We see Andy change from a woman who has always reacted to events as they occur, to an independent woman forced to handle this strange new world.

This is a book that is unlike any of the others I have read by Karin Slaughter.  I particularly enjoyed the character of Andrea as she grew into this new, independent woman and recommend this book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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