In a town rife with corruption, it’s hard to know who is good and who is bad. Or, at least that is the case in Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth, which seems to sit permanently in the grey.
The city, somewhere in Scotland in the 1970’s is grey, overhung by smoke and smog. The settings seem to be mainly grey, with a lot of the action taking place at night or in the evening. And the characters are grey, so many walking a fine line between what is right and wrong, it’s no wonder some of them start to fall.
In a way, it’s perfect Nesbo territory and why I love his books – there is a darkness there that draws you in and, even with characters that tend to chose the moral right versus the legal one, I can’t help but want them to succeed.
When Lou’s father dies, and after a bad break-up with her boyfriend, she decides to up sticks, leaving London and returning to her childhood home, one she hasn’t been back to for 18 years.
Given what happened when she was last there, it’s possibly not the smartest idea, but she feels she needs to to confront her demons and start living her life again.
The what happened is she ran away with her teacher, a much older man. Or at least that’s the cliff notes version. As The Fear unfolds, so does Lou’s story, which is much more frightening than it first appears and explains a lot about why she is who she is.
DI Marnie Rome is back and, for me, it couldn’t come a moment too soon as I was in need of a book in my favourite genre that left me feeling completely satisfied and a lot less grumpy that I been with recent reads.
I love Marnie because, whilst she’s go baggage, she’s also normal. Her past bothers her, colours her present, but isn’t all consuming. She still manages to have normal relationships with her partner and her team and she doesn’t go running off on her own every two seconds to prove something to herself.
When DI Jackman’s sister-in-law commits suicide, his family finds it hard to believe. She was a loving wife and mother and didn’t seem to have any real cares in the world.
His partner, DI Marie Evans, finds it so hard to believe she becomes convinced not all is as it first appears. It’s a belief that becomes a reality as first one then two more suicide victims are found, neither of which are quite what they seem.
It looks like someone has come up with a very clever way of committing murder – by getting his or her victims to do it themselves. It’s also a very clever idea of a book, one I enjoyed as I watched the police scramble to figure out just who was behind some rather vicious attacks on seemingly innocent people.
Brian Caskey is a bit of a mess. A former cop, he drinks too much, smokes too much, has mental health problems, and has got himself involved in something he probably shouldn’t have gotten himself involved in.
He is also a writer of 1940’s crime fiction, with a main character who drinks too much, smokes too much and has got himself involved in something he probably shouldn’t have.
Both Brian and his detective live in Northern Ireland, a place where people seem to have a bit of an edge to them but also don’t take life too seriously unless they have to. Neither seem to have had much luck in life, living alone and on the edge of the “real world”
When the body of a young and popular teacher turns up in the waters of Sonny Lake, the first detective called to the scene is Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, a local who not only knows the area but also the victim – Rosalind Ryan, at least in passing (they went to school together).
The connection, Gem insists, is slight. The relationship between the two women non-existent. So she stays on the case, along with her partner Felix. Unfortunately, Gem isn’t quite telling the truth; she has a history with Rosalind (Rose), holding a secret that might put the case in jeopardy.
Splinter in the Blood is one of those books that opens with a scene that can’t help but hook you. A police officer at the scene of a crime, the shooting of another officer, who – instead of calling it in – is destroying the evidence.
The victim is DCI Greg Carver. And the officer destroying the evidence his partner, Ruth Lake. Why, it’s not clear – just as it’s not clear if Ruth is a dirty cop or a good one making bad decisions.
She seems good, I have to say, dogged and determined to figure out who shot Carver – and finish the case they were both already working on, the Thorn Killer, a serial killer loose on the streets of Liverpool. But there is always, all the way through the book (well until the climax) that nagging doubt.
Once again I’m linking up again with Vicky at I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter/paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.
This week, I’m planning on starting Willnot by James Sallis as part of a buddy read but also to – hopefully – regain my faith in one of my favourite authors after a not so great read of one of his books a few weeks ago. Here’s what it’s about…
James Sallis is one of my favourite authors. I came to his work late and, over the last few years, have been slowly working my way through his back catalogue. He is also the most-reviewed author on my blog – with nine reviews where I basically tell you he is brilliant.
It probably had to happen, then, at some point, that I would come across a book that wasn’t and – unfortunately – that day has come. I’ve just finished The Killer Is Dying and – very much like my last review (The Last of the Greenwoods by Clare Morrall), I’ve been left more than a little flat.
I am not sure why – the writing style is the same – sparse and to the point in that noir way I love. The characters are just as damaged as in other books, unsure how to live their lives without messing them up but doing the best they can. And the dark setting is there too – this time Pheonix, with the harsh, hot weather almost becoming a character in and off itself at times. Yet, for me – this time – it just didn’t work.
When an early morning Amber Alert disrupts Detective D. D. Warren’s plans for the day, she knows it’s bad. Turning up at the scene of a horrible crime, she thinks it couldn’t be worse. Four members of a family of five are dead, the last member – a sixteen year old girl named Roxy – is missing.
The first question any officer would ask – is Roxy in danger or is she on the run, having killed her family. Now it’s one D. D. must answer. Helping her, as well as her team, is Flora Dane, a young woman we first met in Find Her and who was kidnapped and held hostage for 472 days.
Now, she spends her time helping other survivors, though not always in a way D. D. would like, at the same time as tracking down potential predators and inflicting her own type of justice (which D. D. definitely doesn’t like). Roxy is one of the survivors she has been trying to help out and, with the girl having seemingly disappeared into thin air, D. D. and Flora agree to work together to track her down.