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.

 

 

 

 

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When the Moon is Low

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This is the second book by Nadia Hashimi that I have read. have you read the review on “House Without Windows”?

It is a fascinating story giving an insight into life lived in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and then the Taliban. After the death of her mother,

After the death of her mother, Fereiba is raised as a step-daughter in a harsh family.  Her arranged marriage to Mahmoud, however, turns into a love affair that produces three children, the baby having been born after Mahmoud’s death. Theirs is a free-thinking marriage where much is discussed including leaving for Europe to escape the harsh world of the Taliban, but the final decision is always Mahmoud’s.   Later she comes to regret the decision not to leave for London while it was still possible.

Fereiba and the children are left alone in the world after Mahmoud’s death and she has to find a way to live in the world without her husband but with three children. She determines that they will go to London. We move with the family to several safe houses before they land in Turkey.  While in Turkey they manage to save enough money, with Saleem, the son, working on a tomato farm and Fereiba cleaning hotel rooms, to arrive in Greece where the Afghanis are not welcome. Working and saving money Fereiba worries that the food her son provides is gained by doubtful means.  And then eventually,  with enough money to go to Italy, Saleem is arrested and returned to Turkey, two days before they are due to leave. With a very sick baby,  Fereiba is forced to leave without her son.

Finally, they do arrive in London where they find a place to settle.  Much later mother and son are reunited and we follow Saleem’s travels during the time they are separated.

This is a heart-warming book, difficult to read in places but one I would highly recommend to everyone.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Where the Sweet Bird Sings

 

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Loss, grief, uncertainty, and lies that impact on the family are all in this novel.

Emma and Noah are not quite coming to terms with the death of their small son and now Emma has to cope with the death of her beloved Grandfather. And on top of this Emma’s brother is raising questions about his parents and DNA.

This is not a particularly easy book to read as we go along with Emma through all these trials as she seeks to find herself and learn to accept her life and herself.

I was given a copy of this book to read and choose to write this review.

The Deepest Grave

I have just seen it is a month since I wrote a review.  During that month I have read many books but have been dilatory in reviewing them.  Apologies.

So today I will start with an author and his protagonist both new to me.

The Deepest Grave

The Deepest Grave is the 6th book in the series but not having read the earlier books didn’t faze me or stop me from enjoying the book.

We are introduced to DC Fiona Griffiths, a young detective based in Wales who had suffered from and still might suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome.  I didn’t know what that was either but Wikipedia tells us “Cotard delusion is a rare mental illness in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.”

So we know that this young detective doesn’t have an easy life.

However, it has been months since there was a murder in Cardiff and now comes the news of a corpse that has been decapitated with an ancient sword and the murder scene has been staged like a clue in a crossword puzzle.  The victim, Gaynor Charteris,  is an archaeologist working on a dig in Dinas Powys.  That and the other names are unpronounceable to this Anglo Saxon but they all sound magical.

Charteris is apparently well respected and well liked so it was hard to understand why anyone would kill her and in this particularly gruesome way.

Fiona’s boss, Dennis Jackson is on leave and is temporarily replaced by Bleddyn Jones, a by the book inspector who really doesn’t know how to take Fiona and her activities, and in fact, doesn’t really like her.  That feeling is mutual.  We meet Fiona’s father Tom, who has a shady past but will do anything to protect his daughters.

Into the mix comes Katie the Anglo-Saxon, who has been working at the dig but who is suffering a terminal illness and in helping at the dig was hoping to get her PhD completed before the end.

These two women, Fiona, the Celtic-Britain and Katie the Anglo-Saxon form a deep friendship and work together to solve the mystery.

With them we are led on a journey as they uncover the plot to defraud,  there are some forged archaeological artefacts, and the case appears to go back all the way to King Arthur and Excaliber.

It is quite a long book and the ending is totally unexpected.  I recommend it.

I learned some new words, some things about archaeology and am off to the library to get another book in the series. Perhaps I shall start with book 1, Talking to the Dead and so will learn more about Fiona Griffiths.

The Girl From Munich

 

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Having been brought up in London during the Second World War I found this book absolutely fascinating.  Here I was reading about the war from the other side.  Civilians who were living through many of the problems we faced.

We are introduced to Charlotte/Lotte a young girl from a high-class family, used to the privileges such a family bestows.  She is excitedly making plans for a sumptuous wedding to her best friend and fiancé, Heinrich. But life changes for the pair as in 1943 when the war is being lost by Germany she takes a secretarial job in an administrative supply section.  Lotte is immediately attracted to her superior who has lost his wife and children during the war.

We follow Lotte and her superior Erich, as they flee from the chaos and make their difficult way to where her mother is staying in the country with Lotte’s aunt.

Along the way, they realise that they are in love and we follow this pair as they try to make a new life for themselves in a Germany unlike anything either could have imagined.

This is the first novel from a woman in Australia who has a  German mother and an Italian father; she has a rich heritage on which to draw.

It is a good read and certainly one I shall recommend to my friends and followers.

Note – I was given this book to read on NetGalley and choose to write a review.

Secrets Girls Keep

Secrets girls keep

I first read this book while lounging around in rehab last year.  And now another winter afternoon with time on my hands, so I reread it.  And I am glad I did.

I have read and loved all the Thaddeus Murphy books by this writer and I wondered could this new protagonist, Michael Gresham stack up.

Michael Gresham is a criminal lawyer working with his wife, Danny, his friend and confidant Marcel, who also acts as his researcher, and his secretary, Mrs Lingscheit making a tight little legal team.

We meet Michael at the Grand Jury Room in Chicago, or rather outside it as lawyers cannot enter the Room.  Gresham is here on behalf of his client, a thrice-elected sheriff who is being accused of and charged with embezzling public funds. Then suddenly, the client loses it and takes a woman hostage, dragging her into the Jury Room where he proceeds to threaten all those already there.

The hostage situation is overcome, negotiations completed, and the sheriff is taken off to jail.

But this is only a very small part of the story.  Gresham receives a call for help from his priest.  The priest confesses that years ago he had a sexual relationship with one of the congregation, and a boy was born.  He has had no dealings with the boy but has now heard that the boy is arrested for murder and he calls upon Michael Gresham to help.

In true John Ellsworth style, we are taken through a twisted and complicated plot to reach the surprise at the end.

Oh, and by the way, there is a foolish would-be drug dealer who is represented by Gresham, who manages to get the case dismissed when the arrested cocaine is shown to be missing from the police evidence room.

The trial scenes are evidence of an experienced criminal lawyer, all the characters are believable and on second reading, I enjoyed this fast paced book and will look for anther in the series.