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.

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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

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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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NEED YOU DEAD

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Lorna Belling is stuck in a marriage to a manipulating, control freak.  She meets and falls in love with her dream man.  They make plans to leave their bad spouses and go away together, that is until she discovers from a client that he is not who he purports to be. The name and the background he has given her are totally false. So she arranges to meet him to confront him but things go very wrong for Lorna.

When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to a flat in Brighton where a woman’s body is found, it seems that an accident is the cause of death but when murder is suspected the husband rapidly becomes the chief suspect.  As the case proceeds. Grace realises there may be more than one other possible suspect, one of whom is much more clever and devious than the husband.

As usual with Peter James, we are given an insight into the inner workings of police procedures adding a sense of realism to the story.  To do this he calls upon the experiences of the real policemen with whom he is associated.

We are taken on a merry chase around Brighton and the environs until the real murderer is found and the case turns more sinister.  The twist in the tail is utterly unexpected and takes Grace completely by surprise.

I am a Peter James fan from way back, having read all the earlier 12 novels in the series. This one didn’t disappoint me.

 

 

TALKING TO THE DEAD

Talking to the dead

This is the first book in the series featuring DC Fiona Griffiths.  You may remember that I reviewed the sixth book in the series a few weeks ago – The Deepest Grave.

Here we find Fiona being interviewed by a DCI having applied to the police for a job.

We then jump 4 years and Fiona is now a DC (Detective Constable) albeit a lowly one tasked with following up and completing the information on a policeman turned embezzler.  She finds this job particularly boring and frustrating and wants to be part of an investigation of a real crime.

And when a prostitute and her six-year old daughter are found dead in a Cardiff squat, Fiona feels very close to these two and decides to become involved in finding the murderer.  Her attempts and pleas to be included in the team working on the case are mostly over-ridden but eventually, she manages to convince her boss that she has particular talents that could be utilised here.

Fiona is paired with Jane Alexander, a detective of fairly long standing and it is made clear that Fiona is only the back up to Jane,

Because she is Fiona, and her mind doesn’t run along the train tracks, she does some investigations on her own and these investigations lead the two detectives to meetings with other prostitutes, many of whom have been badly beaten by their ‘handlers”.  And then another prostitute is murdered.   They had been hoping for some insight to the murders or murderers from this prostitute but she is killed before they can get to her.

The story goes through a round of organised crime, a millionaire who has died in a small plane crash, drugs, rough sex, people trafficking and through it all we have Fiona, sometimes working with the team and often on her own.

We meet her family, Mother, Father, and two sisters none of whom are at all like Fiona intellectually or physically.  We learn about the disease she suffered for a couple of years that involved her dealing. with several psychiatrists.  She describes psychiatrists as “hating mental illness and basically wanting to subdue the illness rather than treat the patient,”

And because of this illness, Fiona has never had a boyfriend, so here we are introduced to a possible boyfriend who may turn into a lover, although she has had a couple of lovers up to now.

This is a fascinating book; not easy to read as we feel for our protagonist who is marching to a different drum than most of us.    I am looking forward to the next book in the series and have reserved it from our local library.

 

 

 

 

Die Easy

Die Easy is book No 10 in the series featuring  Zoe’s protagonist, Charlie (Charlotte) Fox

Die Easy

This time we find Charlie and her partner/lover in New Orleans to act as body guards to a wealthy investor from Florida.   Many people feel that New Orleans, the city and the people, have been ignored for too long and a celebrity fund raiser is planned.  This is the reason Blake Dyer, the client, is going to be in New Orleans at this time.

As may be expected, this job does not go smoothly and is complicated by the fact that Sean Meyer, Charlie’s partner, has not totally recovered from the devastating accident that put him into a coma for several months.  He has woken from the coma apparently recovered physically but there are large parts of his past that he doesn’t remember, including Charlie.

Even some of the skills at which Sean excelled before the accident seem to have deserted him/been forgotten and Charlie is not completely happy to rely on somebody who is not really at the top of his game to be part of her team.  However, she has no choice but to obey her boss when he says Sean is to be part of the close protection team.

Without giving too much away, Charlie has to face an opponent from her past, deal with a threat not only to herself but also to Sean and more importantly the client while all the time not being sure whether she can rely on Sean to watch her back.  A robbery turned hostage situation develops around the fund raiser and while there are many close protection operatives on board the boat, Charlie is thrust into the lead role as the one to ameliorate the situation and get the passengers off the boat unharmed.  As usual, Charlie shows herself both physically and mentally able to cope with all that is put in her path but with some disastrous consequences.

So I urge you to get your hands on a copy of this book by fair means or foul – buy, borrow but perhaps I shouldn’t encourage you to steal – and set aside a Wednesday (or any other) afternoon to read this book.

Once again I commend Zoe Sharp on writing this book, her imagination and her characters.  I like to think of her as a friend.

Note – I have just placed a reserve at our library for the next and latest book in the series.  So watch this space for a review of Fox Hunter.