The Guilty Dead by P J Tracy (Monkeewrench #9)

The Guilty Dead P J TracyA year after the death of his son, wealthy businessman Gregory Norwood is found dead in his study from what looks like a self-inflicted gunshot.

Despite all signs pointing to suicide, however, when Detectives Gino and Magozzi arrive at the scene, they aren’t so sure.  Everything is a little too perfect.  Plus, there’s the small fact of the blood they’ve found on the patio, blood which definitely doesn’t belong to Norwood.

So starts the latest wonderfully twist-y and turn-y outing for some of my favourite policemen and the Monkeewrench team, a group of hackers always skirting just on the right side of legal.

Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis

 

Fire on the Fens Joy Ellis

By the time I get to book nine in a series, I am usually starting to flag.  Characters have become too familiar, storylines too predictable, and the “wow” factor I had when I picked up the first book has long since gone.

It’s why I’m always slightly anxious when I pick up a new book by a favourite author featuring a character I love.  I’m never sure if this will be a book that leaves me wanting more or leaves me cold.

I am pleased to say that the former applies when it comes to Fire on the Fens.  Once again, Joy Ellis has left me with a feeling of total satisfaction.  This is a great story, one with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing but not enough to stretch my credulity.

Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

Deadly Secret Robert BryndzaThere is something so nice about picking up a new book by a favourite author featuring a favourite character.  A sense of anticipation.  And also a sense of fear.  What, you wonder, if it’s no good?  Expectations are high, and it’s much easier to be let down as a result.

All of these apply to me and Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza.  His Erika Foster series is one of my favourites in recent years.  Each one has been interesting and exciting and has left me wanting more.  With every book, I wonder if he’ll manage to make me happy again.

I am very pleased to say (especially given my recent mixed reading experience) that I have not been disappointed at all with this, the sixth book in the series.  

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

33128934Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Stillhouse Lake was one of those books I picked up from Amazon because it sounded good but might not have read quite so quickly if it hadn’t been for me deciding to join in with Janel at Keeper of Pages Criminally Good Book Club (not that I’ve been that active as I then immediately dropped out of the online world for a week in order to read books!). Still, it was the kick I needed and I am so glad I did because I really enjoyed this, my first book by Rachel Caine.  

Close to Home by Robert Dugoni

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While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

When I pick up a Robert Dugoni book I always feel like I have to say thank you to Bibliophile Book Club for introducing me to the Tracy Crosswhite series.  That was back with book one, My Sister’s Grave, and now I’m on book five but I still can’t get enough of Tracy. 

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

The ThirstThe murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.

Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.

The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.

But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.

After writing the other day about series I am never going to catch up on, today I’m reviewing one that I have managed to stay up-to-date on – the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo.  This is number 11 in the series and I have read each one – in order no less!  The first four or five I thought were brilliant.  I came to the series late then read them all in a matter of weeks.

After that I eagerly awaited each new release and, whilst either through familiarity or writer fatigue, some that followed weren’t as good as those first books, I still kept reading because a) I loved Harry Hole as a character and b) Jo Nesbo has some brilliant twists and turns which do really keep you guessing till the last page.

Crime series I'm officially given up on catching up on…

For the Cloak and Dagger reading challenge I have set myself a mini-challenge of finishing up (or catching up rather) with two series – M. J. Arlidge DI Helen Grace series and the Nikki Galena series by Joy Ellis – and I have to say, with so many other books on my to read list and September fast approaching, I am starting to panic a bit.  The books are all loaded up on the kindle or the shelves but others keep making their way to the top of the pile.

Reading concept. Vintage tone of  woman selecting book from a bo

Sitting there, thinking about when I might find the time to read them (or which books I wouldn’t read instead), I got to also thinking about all the other series I had planned at some point to catch-up on and decided to have a bit of look on goodreads to see if my plans were every likely to become a reality.  For three, I have officially decided they won’t be.  After reading the first book in each series and a couple more along the way, I have decided I am just too far behind and I’m giving up….

Nothing Stays Buried by P J Tracy

Nothing Stays BuriedWhen Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to a crime scene in a heavily wooded city park, everything about the setting is all too familiar. And when they discover a playing card on the victim’s body, their worst fears are confirmed there s a serial killer operating in the city for the first time in years.

Across town, Grace MacBride and her unconventional partners at Monkeewrench Software find themselves at both personal and career crossroads. Weary of the darker side of their computer work for law enforcement, they agree to take on a private missing-persons case in a small farming community in southwestern Minnesota.

As the violence accelerates in Minneapolis, Magozzi and Gino soon realize their killer is planning to complete the deck, and they enlist Monkeewrench to help stop the rampage. As a baffling tangle of evidence accumulates, the cops and Monkeewrench make the unlikely connections among a farmer s missing daughter, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing that brings them face-to-face with pure evil.

After recently rediscovering the Monkeewrench series with number 7 (Cold Kill), I was excited to see number 8 already available on net galley and jumped at the chance of reviewing it.

There are so many things that make this a great series: the bleak Minneapolis weather (last time it was snow, this time tornadoes) which make everything feel a little bit dark and dangerous; the clever plotting with plenty of twists, turns and red herrings; and the characters, all of whom I like and a few of whom I love.

Tuesday intro: The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

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…

Blog tour and review: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Blog Tour Banner

I am not much of a one for doing blog tours – the added stress of getting a post up on a particular day has never appealed to me – and, in fact, this is my first.  But, it’s for an author who has become one of my firm favourites in the past year, ever since reading book four in her Nikki Galena series (Killer on the Fens),  so I decided to ignore my unwritten rule and take part.  I am pleased to report it was the right decision as this was a great book, possibly the best one yet.

Here’s what it’s about…

Buried on the FensA SKELETON IS UNEARTHED FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE IN THE CHURCHYARD. BUT THIS WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL BURIAL. THE VICTIM WAS MURDERED DECADES AGO.

At the same time, Detective Nikki Galena and her team are investigating the brutal slaying of local businesswoman Madeline Prospero. She was a member of an exclusive and secretive drinking club called The Briar Patch. But they’ve got no suspects and no one is telling them the truth.

Meanwhile, the buried skeleton leads them on a trail to the village of Quintin Eaudyke. This is a troubled place. In the late seventies and eighties a reign of terror and abuse was unleashed on the close-knit population.

When more women from the The Briar Patch come under threat, Nikki faces a race against time to stop the killing. Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the heart-stopping ending.

THE DETECTIVE
 DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.

HER PARTNER
DS Joseph Easter is the squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname “Holy Joe” belies his former life as a soldier. He has a daughter and an ex-wife who wants his attention.

THE SETTING
The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote Fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.

DISCOVER YOUR NEXT FAVOURITE MYSTERY SERIES NOW

Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

As always, the book opens with Nikki getting thrown into the deep end, with two cases (one for a thirty year old murder) on at the same time and hardly any clues to get her going.  Thankfully, her team are as tenacious as she is and attack both cases with no other option but to solve them.  Before they do though, they find themselves “down the rabbit hole” with red herrings galore and enough twists and turns to make their – and my – head spin.

One of the things I loved was that as the novel progresses these seemingly unrelated stories come together and everything starts to make sense.  None of it feels forced though, which can easily happen when weaving threads together and I was a left with a “well that was obvious feeling at the end”, even though none of it had been (if that makes sense?).

Another thing I loved was the characters.  I have sung my praises of Nikki in other reviews – she is kind, caring, but also not afraid to be tough to get the job done – even if that means upsetting friends and her wider team.  She has a back story which slowly came out over the last few books I read and there wasn’t much of that here, meaning this story can easily be read as a standalone. 

What this also means is as her back story has became less front and centre, her team have had the chance to shine.  As the story is told in the third person you get to hear all their voices and thoughts, helping make them real  In the last novel (Captive on the Fens) it was Cat that really came through as her own person – and remains one here – but now we really get to known WPC Yvonne Collins, who has been on the force a long time and seems to know everyone in the area and a lot of their secrets.

Secrets are big in Buried on the Fens – their are lots of them and people seem willing to die in order to keep them.  Nothing is quite as it seems – my favourite type of book.  This all adds to the tension, which ratchets up page by page, chapter by chapter to what is a pretty good climax of a pretty good book and one I loved.  A recommended read!

Enjoy!

Emma x

About the author

Joy Ellis photo 2Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.  Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.

Other books in the series

Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS

Final facts

Source: Publisher
Publisher: Joffe
Publication Date: 11th July, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 284
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK (it’s 99p right now!) / 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.