The Third Rule

Third rule

This book was hard to read, not because of the author’s writing, but because it shows how quickly power in the wrong hands, can become so badly used.

In this novel, we are introduced to a Britain, ruled by a government with omnipresent surveillance and a despot with great power in his hands. Who was it that said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

We are introduced to Eddie Collins a CSI, his estranged wife Jilly, his journalist, drinking buddy, Mick Lyndon, Ros Banford a workmate and friend of Eddie, a Secretary of Justice, and his son.

Around this group the author weaves his story.

Eddie and his wife are grieving the loss of their son who is killed by a careless driver and Eddie is sliding rapidly into alcoholism. Mick is helping Eddie along this road.

And at this time, new government policy is introduced – The Third Rule. This sets out clearly that offenders will be given a chance to reform and rehabilitate.  If, after they complete their sentence and are released, they re-offend then they will be given a longer prison sentence, and in the event that they then re-offend, the Third Rule comes into play and they will be put to death. Murderers will be put to death immediately.

When a colleague is shot to death Eddie finds himself the main suspect and is now marked with Rule Three status. We follow Eddie and Mick as they try to unravel the secrets surrounding the deaths, the murders and the machinations of the Secretary of Justice, the man who seemingly holds all the power.

I said it is hard to read, but I recommend this book to all who enjoy a complicated story with an almost hero, and many twists and turns.

I was given an advance copy of the book to read by the author and I choose to make this review and recommendation.

 

 

 

 

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Harbour Street

Harbor Street

I have recently started reading books by Ann Cleeves and having seen several episodes of Vera on television, I decided to see what titles were available at our local library. No room for any more books in my small apartment.

I settled on Harbour Street. In this book, Vera’s offsider Joe Ashworth is on the metro with his daughter, Jessica going home after a school concert.  It’s just before Christmas and the train is, of course, crowded with shoppers, people coming from office parties, and kids with nothing better to do,  going into town.

The train is stopped at a station and the train is cleared of passengers who are told there is a problem on the line; the problem is that an elderly woman has been stabbed while sitting in the train.

Vera and Joe are called on to investigate and we are introduced to Harbour Street where the murdered woman lived. As Vera and her team begin to investigate the life of the murdered woman and the residents in and around Harbour Street,  it becomes clear that nearly everyone connected to the case is hiding something.

There are many secrets in the past in this intriguing book and the murderer is not easy to identify; but as always Vera Stanhope, the quirky DI whose scruffy appearance (note her father’s hat which she wears almost all the time), her age (close to retirement) and her solitary personal life, shines through the book. And the twist at the end was completely unexpected.

Anne ‘s characters are well written and because I knew them from the television series they were absolutely believable. Her descriptions of the fictional town, Mardle and Harbour Street were so vivid that I could picture both very clearly as I was reading.

This is a book I strongly recommend. It is, of course, more detailed than a one or two-hour television episode can be, and I think it better for that.

Watch this space for others in this series and some in the Shetland Series by AnneCleeves

 

 

Glass Houses

Glass houses

The story begins with Inspector Gamache giving evidence in a murder trial from where the story flashes back from today’s trial in Montreal to the previous autumn in the village.  And here we learn that a hooded figure dressed all in black appears on the village green in Trois Pines.  It says and does nothing; it just stands there for several days.  The villagers are at first intrigued but rapidly come to fear this figure as they should.  Soon it is followed by death.

The story continues to flash back and forth which initially I found confusing, but I quickly got into the story, accepting that this is the way Penny chose to tell her tale.

This is another skilfully planned and executed story of Gamache and the inhabitants of Three Pines, with their foibles and some eccentricities.  And into this mix are introduced several others who were newcomers to me,  but that may well be because I haven’t read all of the earlier books in the series.

Gamache, Beauvoir, his son-in-law, Isabel Lacoste and other members of the Surete de Quebec are again called on to solve the crime.  And as always, Penny adds twists and turns to the story that also touches on friendships and how long-standing relationships can be queried when faced with murder.

This is the second book I have read in this series and am totally in awe of the author’s ability to keep one amused and intrigued to the very end.  In fact, I challenge you to name the accused who is on trial for the murder before you reach the end of the book.

I can strongly recommend this book. Buy the book or take off to your library to see if they have a copy as I did, and if you have to wait for one, it will be well worth the wait.

 

Blood of Others

Blood of Others

A grisly site shocks passers-by.  A model in a wedding dress displayed in the window of a fancy wedding dress boutique.  But it’s no model.

This brings together, once again, Walt Sidowski , legendary homicide cop and Tom Reed, award-winning investigative journalist.

The victim is an introverted insurance clerk who is looking for love and friendship.  But this is not the killer’s only prey; others have been killed before her.

We meet Olivia Grant, a shy shop manager who is looking for friendship and maybe love.  During the course of the investigation she meets Ben Wyatt, a cop wrongly accused of causing the shooting of his partner.

As the killer moves freely around the globe, tempting shy young women to meet him, he is searching for the one perfect woman who will forgive him the unforgivable.  And because none of them is that perfect woman, all must die,

As usual, Rick Mofina draws us along with characters who are so believable.  But you must read this book to the bitter end, to get the whole story.  The story behind the killer’s search, Ben and Olivia’s burgeoning romance,  and the final outcome.

 

This is another book I read when in rehab last year following my misadventure.  I think this book was given to me to read and I choose to write this review.

How the light gets in

Light

I was introduced to Louise Penney by Chris at Bridges Burning.

This is book No 9 in the Inspector Gamache series and though most of the reviews on Amazon suggest starting at Book 1 and working your way through the books, I found I could absolutely understand these people and where they all fitted into life in the small village of Three Pines in Quebec.

Inspector Gamache is aware that the Department, through his adversary Fancour, is trying to get him to retire.  His Homicide squad is decimated, all having been transferred leaving only Detective Lacoste of his original team.  The people who have been transferred in in their place prove to be inept, rude to Gamache , and generally quite useless.

We learn that his son-in-law, along with several of Gamache’s team had been injured in a bomb blast in a warehouse in an operation led by the Inspector.  His son-in-law whom we understand was his right-hand man up until that time,  has also transferred out of Homicide blaming Gamache for his injuries.
While he is aware of the plot to get him out of the Surete, Gamache is investigating those at the top of the Police Department whom he feels are manipulating things for their own gain and is keen to find out their plan that he feels sure will be to the country’s disadvantage.  He is determined to put a stop to their manipulations.

Early in the story, we are introduced to Constance, the last surviving quintuplet.  One of five little girls born to poor farmers during the depression who are taken away from their parents and used by the Government as an inspiration tool for the general populace.  Gamache is called to Three Pines when Constance fails to turn up for Christmas as planned and her subsequent murder is given to Gamache and Lacoste to solve.

And through it all, he tries to reconcile with his son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir and bring him back to mental as well as physical health.

The story is fast paced,  well written and will keep you turning the pages until the end.

I loved the book and will certainly look for others in the series.  Thank you, Chris, for the recommendation.

 

The Empty Rocker

Rocker

Casey Quinby had been a police officer but an accident made her leave her chosen profession and take up journalism. The story starts with a hit and run accident but Casey isn’t convinced it was an accident. There is a group of friends, a lawyer, a policeman, 2 court officers and Casey, all intrigued with the case. Casey, the chief investigative reporter for the local paper works on the case interviewing friends of the young girl and eventually finds herself in great danger. This is a good story, let down in parts by bad punctuation. This is the first novel by this author. The plot is well thought out, the characters are believable and this is book I would recommend.

 

 

Dead Lawyer on Aisle 11

dead

Another one from John Ellsworth, but this time with a different lawyer, one Michael Gresham.  Gresham has changed sides from defending to prosecuting.  And he does very well in this different role.

Linda Burrows is a lawyer employed by the US Attorney’s office, a job she is well qualified for.  In fact, her second husband a policeman who was acquainted with Niles Boudreux, the Senior Assistant US Attorney, recommended her for the job.

All goes well.  Linda loves the job and gets on well with her boss, according to her husband, maybe too well. Because of the jealousy and his rage, Linda and her husband, Harry divorce and life goes on for each of them separately.  Linda and Bourdreux begin an affair and he asks her to marry him.  She refuses with a laugh and continues her promiscuous ways and has affairs with several of her co-workers.  When she finds herself pregnant she faces her boss, claiming he is the father.  He reiterates his offer of marriage but again she refuses and demands he pay for an abortion. The alternative is she will sue him for sexual harassment.

Niles decides that he cannot allow that knowing the effect it would have on his career and so plots how to get rid of her and the child.  The result is she is murdered one day when in the local grocery store.

Michael Gresham is tasked with finding the killer and so we move through his attempts with the help of his team, two members of the FBI, 2 members of the Metro PD, an investigator from the US Attorney’s office and Annie his savant adopted daughter.  The team follows all usual procedures interviewing staff members of the grocery store, fellow workers at her office, etc. without much progress.

And then, DNA proves that Gresham is the father of Linda’s unborn child which quickly makes him a suspect.

Michael is charged with murder and determines to solve the case apart from the official enquiry from which he is now barred.  and calls upon his old “standby” right-hand man Marcel to help.  Marcel is a top investigator and unravels a heretofore unknown eyewitness, but what she has to say completely unhinges Michael and his team.

Meantime his brother Arnie, another lawyer, resurfaces but while he cannot legally assist Michael in his defence he does know a good lawyer whom he calls and who agrees to assist.

Twists and turns aplenty in this book, and while I was convinced I knew who the murderer was almost from the start, all is revealed and I was completely after the wrong person.

I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I am posting this review.  I thoroughly recommend the book to my friends.

 

 

 

 

A Young Lawyer’s Story

Young Lawyer

I have been a fan of John Ellsworth for some time and although I had already read this book I was pleased to be given the opportunity by the author, to read and review this, the first book in the Thaddeus Murfee series.

Thaddeus is finishing law school. He is in debt and has only $200 left of his student loan.  He must find a job or face eviction. Then unexpectedly he is approached by a couple of Government agents and offered a job.  The job isn’t advertised and as Thaddeus finds out once he has accepted the job, there is also no job description.

However, he accepts and is immediately offered a starting salary in excess of 6 figures.  He is delighted until he finds that he has been recruited and employed as a spy and the person he is to spy on is his boss, the US District Attorney.   And Thaddeus likes his boss and he particularly likes the boss’s daughter.

We follow Thaddeus through the intrigue, spying with foreign government agents, a boss who is accused of spying, and US government officials who will stop at nothing in their attempts to condemn the US District Attorney as a traitor, a charge that can carry the death penalty.

Thaddeus does not play by their rules and is fired but then comes to the aid of his ex-boss.

A great read and having read it so long ago, I was pleased to reread it.  I strongly recommend this book and those others I have read in this series.

Watch out for their reviews.

Love story with Murders

Love Story
Image from Amazon

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Talking to the Dead, you may have difficulty connecting with the protagonist here.  Detective Fiona Griffiths is an almost recovered sufferer from Cotard’s syndrome where the patient believes herself to be dead and thus has an uncanny affinity for corpses and body parts that is way outside the norm.

Again the scene is set in Cardiff and this time when called to a dead widow’s house by the house clearance team, she finds a human leg in the freezer.

To Griffith’s dismay, probably the most disliked officer is in charge of the case is Rhiannon Watkins, and she soon finds herself at odds with this officer.

The search for the rest of the body to add to the leg it quickly started and soon other parts of the dead woman appear all over Cardiff.  Then very soon another part of a body is found, but it is a different body.  This one is a male and it is not frozen, but fresh.  Now they have two bodies to identify.  Are the two murders connected, and if so how?

Through the hunt for the murderer, murderers we learn more about Fiona who is taking steps to find out more of her beginnings – who is she really? She has no knowledge of herself before the age of 2 when she was found in her adoptive father’s car at 2 years old?

And through it all, the murders, the hunt for herself, she finds herself drawn into the web of money, deceit, obsession and definitely danger.

This is not an easy book to read, but if you are into crime, murders and a totally convincing, but somewhat quirky character and deep visits to her mind, then this might be a book for you.  For me, I’m off to get book 4 in the series.

 

 

 

 

Night School

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In Night Scool Reacher is still in the military.  It’s 1996 and Reacher is awarded a medal for a special mission in the morning and then sent to school that afternoon.  But a school with a difference; for a start, there are only two other members, a CIA analyst, and an FBI agent.

The three are advised that an Iranian spy working for the CIA  has learned that a group of young Saudis are about to make a purchase from an unidentified American.  The only clue they have is a voice message “The American wants 100 million dollars.”  Their job is to find the American, what it is that he is selling and stop him.

Unfortunately, the story gets off to a slow start and the pace isn’t what we now expect from Lee Child in his Reacher novels.  The story is well told but the Reacher we have come to know and love is not apparent in this one.  For me, Reacher post-military is the real Reacher.

If you are a Reacher fan you might like it, but for this fan, it just didn’t make the grade.

 

 

 

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