Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

28165010Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Like many people out there, I have been a fan of Kathy Reichs every since reading her first Temperance Brennan / Bones novel.  With those, Tempe became a familiar figure, one I felt I knew and one I liked a lot.  With familiarity though might not come contempt but definitely comes less excitement when a new book is released, especially with a TV show attached; somewhere along the way I stopped picking up the latest instalment.

Then I saw Two Nights, a new novel with a new character, and that familiar excitement was back again…I felt I had to read this book because, despite not being excited by Bones any more, this had nothing to do with thinking Reichs wasn’t a good writer – she is – and a good storyteller – she’s that too.  Both apply here, with what is a cracking story and a great central character – Sunday Night – who is uniquely damaged (as all the best characters in crime fiction are) and absolutely intriguing (I am really hoping this is the first in a new series).

The story on the face of it seems simple – a young girl is missing after a local school is bombed and her mother and brother dead.  Her grandmother wants justice and has the money to pay to get it and the connections to find the right person to do the job.  That right person is Sunday, a former soldier and detective who now lives off the grid and under the radar.

Sunday is tough, really tough, and hard to love.  She isn’t unlikeable though, which – as you may know from reading other reviews – is really important to me.  I have to like the people between the pages or I lose interest in them and their story.  Sunday’s story, I wanted to know.  I eventually found it out, and it’s pretty dark; it’s no wonder she doesn’t trust anyone or that she is determined to do the right thing, even if that involves ignoring the law when she has to.

It’s her voice you hear throughout and so you get to understand the workings of her mind pretty well.   You see in it a confused person but a good one.  You also see someone who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer and knows how to fight.  Her storytelling style is short and sharp…there is a little of the old school detective novels here – words aren’t minced – which I liked.  It kept the story moving along and me interested.  In fact, I don’t think I got bored or found my mind wandering once.  With my reading so many of this genre, that’s hard to do.

It’s also hard to keep me guessing – I often figure out the who, why and where pretty early on.  Good writing can keep me reading but there isn’t that buzz of not knowing that I love.  I had that here.  There was one point in particular where I thought one thing and realised I was completely wrong and it brought a smile to my lips.  Loved it – and loved the book…can’t recommend it enough.

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday intro: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea 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. Diane is currently on a summer break but I have decided to carry on regardless because these are some of my favourite posts. I see others are doing the same – if you are, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I don’t miss checking out your reads.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share two teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

So, after a very long intro, this is what I’m reading this week…Read More »

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

32991958My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

So this is possibly one of the shortest blurbs in the history of blurbs – and completely intrigued me as a result.  Add to that some positive reviews and I felt like this was a book I really wanted to read.

The first few chapters had me convinced I’d made the right choice and things only got better from there I have to say, especially with some great twists in the last third which pretty much turned everything I had been thinking on it’s head. Read More »

Month in review: June, 2017

Hi All – and welcome to the end of June.  I’m hoping you had a good month.  Mine has been a bit up and down in that I’ve been feeling more than a bit grumpy – I think I’ve been waiting for my holidays and then leaving work so I can start my new adventures.  That I started off with a few so-so books didn’t help I have to say – though it has ended with a bit of a bang with two brilliant books, making me just a little bit happier.

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Forgotten by Nicole Trope, and a frantic search for a stolen baby which left me on the edge of my seat and staying up late into the night to finish.  Can’t recommend this one enough and it’s my book of the month!

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, another corker from one of my favourite authors who has crafted a twisty, turny, thriller that left me guessing until the end.

Black Hornet by James Sallis, with it’s wonderful noir tale of a sniper on the lose in 1960’s New Orleons.

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Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts, where I return to the rather seedy East Rise and the death of  high ranking police officer and his wife and the secrets they were hiding.

Guiltless by Viveca Sten, my third visit to Sandhamn island with it’s small population and high murder rate.

Cold Kill by P. J. Tracy, an enjoyable crime novel with conspiracy at it’s heart and a cold Minnesota winter to keep the tension high.

Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World by Billy Bragg, a fascinating walk through a musical genre that rocked Britain for two years and was responsible for bringing us the Beatles.  Now no one has heard of it – well, hardly anyone!

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My Sister by Michelle Adams, a good debut with plenty of twists and turns but – unfortunately – I just couldn’t get away with characters that were too unreliable, even for me.

The People at Number Nine by Felicity Everett, another book where the characters let it down for, or at least one – whose story it was I was reading.  Plus, I felt I had been promised more suspense than I actually got.

Again, there were not books I really disliked this month, so overall a good month which has ended with quite a bang with my favourite read of the month.  Here’s hoping July is as good!

How has your month in reading been?  Good, I hope.

Emma x

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts

35227796To most people, Detective Inspector Milton Bowman appears to have an ideal life. But some secrets aren’t buried deep enough.

After a tragic car accident, and a shocking murder, DI Milton’s colleagues have to start digging into every aspect of his life.

Suspicion and disbelief creep into their lives as a web of deceit unfolds – the Bowman family, friends and even colleagues come under suspicion. No one is to be trusted.

Nothing is as it appears.

Buried Secrets, the second in the East Rise series, starts with a tragic accident, closely followed by a murder, one that puts the police themselves at the heart of the investigation.  Front and centre of trying to find the murderer should be DI Harry Powell; unfortunately, he’s at best a witness, at worst a suspect, so off the case.

Instead it’s down to DI Doug Philbert and DCI Barbara Venice to head up what will prove to me a much more complicated case than any of them might have thought.  Amongst the team they are leading are some familiar faces, including DC Hazel Hamilton, who is appointed Family Liaison Officer and finds herself supporting the nineteen year old son of the victim.

I suppose one of the first things I would say about Buried Secrets, and one of things I liked about it, is exactly what drew me to the first in the series, Mercy Killing – the fact that this book really shows how the police work, and how team work is at the heart of what they do.  Whilst some characters here take front and centre, it is all the officers as a unit, working together, that solve the case.  No one is a lone wolf, so often the case nowadays in books.

What it does mean though is that it took me a while to get all the characters straight in my head, who they were, what their roles were and what type of personalities they had.  I did get it, but it was probably a good 10 chapters in before everything fell into place. The good new is, once I did, there wasn’t anyone I didn’t warm to or want to find out more about.

And this is something I am hoping I will get to as the series goes on because what Lisa Cutts did here is, I thought, quite clever.  Whilst Harry was one of the main characters in the first book, and is definitely present here, it was Hazel who dominated this novel (and not in a bad way).  I liked getting to know her here and understanding what made her tick

I also liked that she had the role of family liaison, something which I know exists but don’t really know what they do.  Hats of to them I would say now because it’s a hard, emotionally  draining, job by the sounds of it.  Focusing on this aspect of the case (though not to the detriment of the investigation, there was plenty of that), gave this book a different slant, which I liked.

Other things I liked? The twists and turns, which started to come thick and fast in the second half as you were left guessing who the guilty party was, and the sub-plot involving a local drug gang (which I’m hoping might be the subject of another novel because there are some nasty characters there that might make a good story).  Plus the fact that I got to see not just the investigation but the trial.

What I didn’t like? Not a lot, if I’m honest.  The getting my head round the large cast maybe but that’s a minor complaint and may just be down to my age and terrible memory for names.  Also, for me, it was just a little too long – not much, maybe fifty pages, but there were a few scenes of Hazel’s burgeoning relationship I could maybe have done without.

And that’s it really.  Overall, I found myself liking this book a lot and recommending it for fans of police procedurals…Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 22nd June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 432
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Hornet by James Sallis

14436814A sniper appears in 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists. Five people have been fatally shot. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. He’s black and she’s white, and though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griffin to avenge her death, or at least to try and make some sense of it. His unlikely allies include a crusading black journalist, a longtime supplier of mercenary arms and troops, and bail bondsman Frankie DeNoux.

In the Black Hornet, I met Lew Griffin again, a man who the word complex doesn’t go far enough to describe.  In his life, he has been many things – soldier, private investigator, criminal, author – and trouble always seems to come knocking.

The Black Hornet can be read as a standalone, and if you do, you will know non of these things about Griffin because this book takes us back to the beginning, before he was anything but a former soldier trying to make a life in a city that doesn’t seem to care much about any of his residents.

New Orleans in the sixties sounds dirty, and hard, and not a place I would want to be but it suits Griffin and the people he meets perfectly, and it serves as a perfect backdrop for the civil rights movement that is brewing and the way life for black men is changing, but maybe not quick enough.

The setting, and the story, suit the way James Sallis writes to a tee.  He doesn’t waste words, with short sentences, short chapters and short books (this one runs at 150 pages), yet I never feel like I am missing out on anything.  Plot lines move along quickly, we me rushing to keep up and characters appear fully formed and expecting you to know who they are and what they are about.

It took me a while the first book round to get into the style but now I have to say I look forward to it.  I know what I’ll get and I like it.  It reminds me of the way people like Humphrey Bogart talked back in the day and of gumshoe novels.  Simple is the wrong word to describe it, it’s not, but it feels like that on the surface, whilst under it a lot is said and you have plenty to chew on and think about, long after the last page.

Saying all that, I know this book won’t be for everyone.  Most characters don’t have much in the way of descriptions for example, you have to piece people together with the bits you know, which are given sparingly (so LaVerne, Griffins girlfriend starts to form when I find out about her red dress, which he finds hanging up in another mans flat).

Then there’s the fact that the main story isn’t always the main story (to not sound cryptic) because it’s really about the characters and what drives them – usually it’s sadness but with a fair bit of hope thrown in.  When I got to the end here, the who the sniper was part, I was slightly disappointed because it meant the book was over and I didn’t want it to be.  I wanted to stay in New Orleans, seedy as it was, drinking bourbon and shooting the breeze with unsavoury characters.

For me, though, this is another winner from Sallis, who is one of my favourite authors.  This was a great addition to a series with a character I find compelling and with a story I couldn’t put down.  I loved it!

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

 

Source: Purchased
Publisher: No Exit
Publication Date: 11th May, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 150
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Other books in the series:

The Long Legged Fly (book 1)

Moth (book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guiltless by Viveca Sten

The tiny Swedish island of Sandhamn has always been a haven for lawyer Nora Linde. With trouble brewing in her marriage, she finds its comforts more welcome than ever, even in the depths of winter. That is, until her two young sons trip across a severed arm in the woods.

The boys’ gruesome discovery will once again connect Nora with her childhood friend Thomas Andreasson, now a local police detective. When the limb is identified as belonging to a twenty-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace months earlier, what had been a missing persons case takes on a whole new urgency.

Nora and Thomas delve deeply into the woman’s final hours, each of them wrestling not only with the case but with the private demons it awakens in them. As they do, they’ll find themselves drawn into the history of Sandhamn and the tensions that have been simmering just below the surface for more than a hundred years.

Guiltless is my third trip to Sandhamn, a small island off the Swedish coast with a population of only a couple of hundred people but – seemingly – a lot of murder.  I have to say, it sounds beautiful there, but – given the death count – I would think twice before visiting.

This time, the victim is a young girl, missing for months before Nora’s boys find her body. She is an island native (vs. the visitors that flood the island in the summer) and so her death is possibly more shocking than it might have been otherwise and the small community are rocked to it’s core.  The question is why and who?

It’s a question Nora finds herself in the middle of, not just because her sons found the body but because her best friend, Thomas, is investing the case.  Nora and Thomas make an interesting team.  They don’t investigate together as such but they do use each other to bounce ideas off, as well as supporting each other in life in general.

I like their relationship (purely platonic) and both Nora and Thomas as individuals and I think it is this that keeps bringing me back to the series.  They are genuinely nice people, the type I would want to know.  Their friendships seems natural and I can only commend Sten for how well she has created these two people.

Her plots too are pretty good.  There is a simplicity to them when you first start reading but soon the twists start coming and you don’t really know where you are.  Clever.  At the same time, a word that does pop to mind when describing her novels is gentle because you aren’t being beaten over the head with wild card detectives or omnipotent killers.  There is an old fashioned element here, a lot of who dunit and (thankfully) very little in the way of gruesome.

This style fits me perfectly more often now I find.  I don’t like lots of gore with my crime and I am tiring of detectives that go out on their own and don’t listen to anyone else on their team, usually whilst not sleeping, not eating and drinking too much.  There is none of that in Thomas, and I like it.  I also liked the book – a lot – and definitely recommend it (including for those who haven’t read the first two – it’s definitely a standalone).

Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 23rd May, 2017 (originally published 2010)
Format: ebook
Pages: 370
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

Other books in the Sandhamn Series…

Still WatersClosed Circles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold Kill by P. J. Tracy

29966598

The peaceful Christmas season in Minneapolis is shattered when two friends, Chuck Spencer and Wally Luntz, scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, two hours and several miles apart, dramatically concluding winter vacation for homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.

An hour north of Minneapolis, Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When Leo and Gino discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect that she is a target, too. The same day, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges.

This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives sixty years into the past to search for answers-and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. What they find is an unimaginable horror-a dormant Armageddon that might be activated at any moment unless Grace and her partners Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, along with Leo and Gino, can find a way to stop it.

This is the seventh book in the Monkeewrench series, though only the second I’ve read and it can definitely be read as a standalone.  Given the detail in the summary (from Goodreads), there isn’t much I can add without spoilers so I’ll have to settle for saying what I thought of the book itself…which is pretty positive.

There is a lot to like about this book.  I loved the setting, the cold Minnesota winter seems like just the right place for a mystery killer to be on the loose and adds to the tension as blizzards reduce visibility to almost nothing and cars skid down roads, and I loved the characters.

As I mentioned already, I have only read one other book in this series (it was book no. 4) yet I clearly remembered a lot of the central characters, specifically Grace and Harley from the Monkeewrench team.   Entering the pages of Cold Kill was a bit like meeting old friends…you’d pretty much forgot the existed but once you come face-to-face again it was like you’d only seen each other last week.  It felt good.

I also liked the detectives. Leo and Gino are old-school, long-ish in the tooth but determined to do the right thing.  There was a humour in their relationship which lightened a book that had a lot of murder in it.  I found myself smiling more than once at their joking back and forth.

The book itself was well written.  It kept me turning pages and barrelled along at quite a pace.  I have to say that the plot wasn’t one I completely believed in (there is a bit of spy / espionage theme here and those aren’t books I normally read) but I was willing to let that go because of I was enjoying myself too much.   If you can’t tell, I liked this one a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Library
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 17th November, 2016
Format: ebook
Pages: 315
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

p.s. This was published as The Sixth Idea in the states

 

 

 

 

Tuesday intro: Guiltless by Viveca Sten

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea 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. Diane is currently on a summer break but I have decided to carry on regardless because these are some of my favourite posts. I see others are doing the same – if you are, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I don’t miss checking out your reads.

This week, I’m reading Guiltless by Viveca Sten, the third in the Sandhamn crime series. I’ve really enjoyed the other two so here’s hoping third time is still a charm.

Here’s what it’s about…

The tiny Swedish island of Sandhamn has always been a haven for lawyer Nora Linde. With trouble brewing in her marriage, she finds its comforts more welcome than ever, even in the depths of winter. That is, until her two young sons trip across a severed arm in the woods.

The boys’ gruesome discovery will once again connect Nora with her childhood friend Thomas Andreasson, now a local police detective. When the limb is identified as belonging to a twenty-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace months earlier, what had been a missing persons case takes on a whole new urgency.

Nora and Thomas delve deeply into the woman’s final hours, each of them wrestling not only with the case but with the private demons it awakens in them. As they do, they’ll find themselves drawn into the history of Sandhamn and the tensions that have been simmering just below the surface for more than a hundred years.

And here’s how it starts…

Saturday, November 4, 2006 Marianne Rosén stood motionless in the hallway. The shoes were all in a heap. She automatically bent down and lined them up neatly. Then she realized Lina’s pale Timberland boots were missing.

The realization terrified her. Why hadn’t Lina come home last night?

What do you think – would you keep reading?

Emma x

Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Dead Calm by Inge Löhnig

51NLOhDy8bLWhen the body of a retired paediatrician is discovered in his weekend house on Lake Starnberg, it seems clear that his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong. But as Inspector Konstantin Dühnfort starts to investigate and details of how the man met his death are revealed, an altogether murkier series of events begins to emerge – one of torture, betrayal and cruelty, of complex sibling relationships and toxic parental ambition. With a family ripping at the seams, will Dühnfort be able to uncover what really happened?

I was excited to read Dead Calm not just because it sounded right up my street but because it would be my first crime novel set in Germany.  I am a big fan or Nordic Noir and crime fiction so wondered how this would compare.  In a nutshell – really well.

In many ways, it’s similar – it’s dark and gritty – though I have to say German life doesn’t seem quite as structured or controlled.  There is much more eating, drinking and seeming to enjoy life here.  Not too much though because there is murder afoot and a murderer to be found.

In this case the victim is a respected and semi-retired paediatrician Dr. Heckeroth, who is found rather gruesomely in his lakeside cabin by his son, Albert. Albert was the apple of his eye and chosen child – with the other two (Caroline and Berstram) being ignored for the most part.  It’s an interesting and potentially explosive family dynamic which plays out as the investigation progresses and which I think Lohing uses to good effect to bring the story and the characters to life.

They also do a brilliant job with the detective’s, led by Dühnfort and supported by Gina and Alois.  Dühnfort and Gina especially are really well drawn, with enough of their personal life to make me like and care for them.  Much like my Monday read (Mercy Killing) this was very much a team effort.  Dühnfort relies on his instinct a lot but doesn’t go off on his own, working with others to get results.  I like this and it is a good change for me and my recent reads where detectives tend to go off on their own.

The story itself is full of twists and turns and I wasn’t sure till close to the end who did it (I was right – yay!). It isn’t the fastest of paced books though.  Instead, I would say it was steady.  I never lost interest and I never got bored but I didn’t feel the overwhelming urge I have with other books to stay up late or keep turning pages.  This might not be a surprise as it runs to nearly 450 pages.

I thought it was well written and well translated.  I liked getting to know each character, none of which I didn’t like to a degree (even the bad apples had redeeming features), and learning a little more about life in Munich, which sounds lovely despite the subject matter.  I am not sure if this is part of a series or the first in one, but I’ll definitely be looking out for more.  Liked it a lot!

Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Manilla Publishing
Publication Date: 18th May, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 448
Genre: crime, mystery
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.