15 July 2018

Review: THE LAST PUZZLE - Cherringham 16, Matthew Costello, Neil Richards - audio book

  • Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
  • Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-08-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Lübbe Audio 
Synopsis (Audible)

When amiable old village eccentric Quentin Andrews dies, the good folk of Cherringham are astonished at the crowd that turns up to his funeral. But even more astonished are the beneficiaries of his will: Quentin has left a veritable fortune to whomever is the first to solve an intricate "Cherringham crossword". That puzzle is only the first of many that Jack and Sarah will uncover as they follow the treasure hunt for clues and learn the truth about who Quentin Andrews really was... and the biggest mystery of them all... was he - in fact - murdered? 

My Take

This episode fulfills its promise of being suitable for a relatively short commute, providing an interesting yet not demanding audio file with mysteries to be solved.

Good narration by Neil Dudgeon.

My rating: 4.3

About the series

Cherringham is a serial novel à la Charles Dickens, with a new mystery thriller released each month. Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly - but with a spot of tea - it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick listen for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid 90's, creating content and working on projects for the BBC, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, Nintendo to name but a few. Their transatlantic collaboration has underpinned scores of TV drama scripts, computer games, radio shows, and - most recently - the successful crime fiction series "Cherringham".

Now into its second season of 12 novellas, Cherringham is popular around the world and has been adapted as a series of audiobooks in Germany.

Review: KILL ME AGAIN, Rachel Abbott

  • this edition published by Black Dot Publishing 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-9576522-7-9
  • 391 pages
  • source: my local library
  • #5 in the DI Tom Douglas series
Synopsis (author website)

When your life is a lie, who can you trust?

When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.

But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.

When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?

She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her.

My Take:

The thing with Rachel Abbott's plots is that they are so credible. Despite being married to Duncan Taylor for 11 years, his wife Maggie comes to realise how little she really knows about him. More importantly, snippets that she discovers prove that much of what he has told her is fiction.

Days pass and Duncan does not come home, Maggie gets a text message from him asking her not to contact the police, and then others contact her saying they are looking for Duncan, that he has a debt that must be paid.

There is a sub-plot running for most of the book that involves the disappearance and search for Tom's former girl friend Leo.

A very good read, with a characteristic twist to the plot.

My rating: 4.5

I've also read

11 July 2018

Review: TWIST OF FAITH, Ellen J. Green

  • this edition published by Thomas & Mercer 2018 (Amazon Publishing)
  • ISBN 9781503949065
  • 321 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Amazon)

When family secrets are unearthed, a woman’s past can become a dangerous place to hide…

After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.

Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.

When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what’s been buried in Ava’s nightmares isn’t just a crime. It’s a holy conspiracy.

My Take

Ava Saunders is driven by the need to know who her mother was, who she is, and what her real name is. Frustratingly her adoptive mother Claire dies without telling her. Ava has snatches of memories that don't tie in with what little Claire has told her. Something connects her to events happening over twenty years before, but Ava has never managed to get the true story.

The author manages to carry the mystery attached to Ava's origins almost to the end of the story, providing a number of puzzles for the reader to solve. At the centre of it all seems to lie a number of black and white photos of open doors taken by an old Polaroid camera.

Prior to her death her mother insisted that Ava return from Canada where she has been studying. She has never got on really well with her adoptive mother. They seem to have been on the move for much of her life. After Claire's death Ava gains a couple of friends, one a detective, who are willing to help her search for information.

While this novel is about a search for identity, it is also about revenge.

My rating: 4.4

About the author:

Ellen J. Green was born and raised in Upstate New York. She moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University, where she earned her degrees in psychology. She has worked in a maximum security correctional facility in the psychiatric ward for fifteen years. She also holds an MFA degree in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. The author of The Book of James, Ms. Green lives in southern New Jersey with her two children.

10 July 2018

New to me authors: meme: April to June 2018

So far this year 1 in every 3 books that I have read have been written by "new to me" authors.

In the last 3 months I have read
 See what others have read in this time.

New to me authors - April to June 2018

It's easy to join this meme.

Just write a post about the best new-to-you crime fiction authors (or all) you've read in the period of April to June 2018, put a link to this meme in your post, and even use the logo if you like.
The books don't necessarily need to be newly published.

 After writing your post, then come back to this post and add your link to Mr Linky below. (if Mr Linky does not appear - leave your URL in a comment and I will add to Mr Linky when it comes back up, or I'll add the link to the post)
Visit the links posted by other participants in the meme to discover even more books to read.

This meme will run again at the end of September 2018

Review: REDEMPTION POINT, Candice Fox

  • this edition published in Bantam 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-14378-188-2
  • 410 pages
  • Author website
Synopsis (Author website)

When former police detective Ted Conkaffey was wrongly accused of abducting 13-year-old Claire Bingley, he hoped the Queensland rainforest town of Crimson Lake would be a good place to disappear. But nowhere is safe from Claire’s devastated father.

Dale Bingley has a brutal revenge plan all worked out – and if Ted doesn’t help find the real abductor, he’ll be its first casualty.

Meanwhile, in a dark roadside hovel called the Barking Frog Inn, the bodies of two young bartenders lie on the beer-sodden floor. It’s Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney’s first homicide investigation – complicated by the arrival of private detective Amanda Pharrell to ‘assist’ on the case. Amanda’s conviction for murder a decade ago has left her with some odd behavioural traits, top-to-toe tatts – and a keen eye for killers . . .

For Ted and Amanda, the hunt for the truth will draw them into a violent dance with evil. Redemption is certainly on the cards – but it may well cost them their lives . . .

My take

This is a sequel to the earlier book CRIMSON LAKE when Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell first joined in partnership, so I would really recommend reading the two books in order.

Ted is still determined to track down the man who abducted Claire Bingley and so caused Ted's dismissal from the police force, his marriage break up, and his estrangement from his small daughter.  But media interest in Ted's story is still high and he is approached to appear on an Australia -wide television show, ostensibly to give his side of the story. A podcast is keeping Justice for Ted alive as its central theme.

Ted and Amanda are asked to work with local police and the inexperienced DI Sweeney to work out who murdered the bartenders at the Barking Frog Inn.

There are several "voices" telling the story in this novel - Ted's, Amanda's, Pip Sweeney's, and a diary which has been begun as a therapy journal. The identity of the writer does not become obvious until the novel is well underway.

My rating: 4.7

I've also read
5.0, HADES 
4.3, EDEN

Review: Inspector Morse: BBC Radio Drama Collection - audio book

  • Narrated by: John Shrapnel, Robert Glenister
  • Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Radio/TV Program
  • Release date: 03-01-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: BBC Digital Audio 
  • source: Audible.com 

  • Synopsis (Audible)

    Three BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations starring John Shrapnel as Morse and Robert Glenister as Lewis, plus a bonus reading by Colin Dexter of one of his short stories.

    In Last Seen Wearing, Inspector Morse is reluctant to take over an old missing person case from a dead colleague. But two years, three months and two days after teenager Valerie Taylor's disappearance, somebody decides to supply some surprising new evidence....

    In The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, Inspector Morse tackles the murder of an exam invigilator. The newly appointed member of the Oxford foreign exam syndicate was deaf, and he wasn't from the insular world of the Oxford colleges. Now he is dead.

    After he's rushed into hospital, Inspector Morse becomes intrigued by an old crime in The Wench Is Dead. Could the wrong men have been hanged for the murder of Joanna Franks?

    Plus Colin Dexter reads his own short story, 'The Double Crossing', in which it is a good first day for a certain detective named Lewis.
    Gripping, suspenseful and entertaining, these BBC dramatisations were adapted by Guy Meredith from the original Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter.

    My take

    Just the thing for shortish journeys - each play takes about 80 minutes. Getting used to John Shrapnel playing Morse instead of John Thaw takes a bit of time as does Robert Glenister playing Lewis.

    I initially found the sound a bit patchy but it worked ok once I realised I had to have volume right up so I caught what was happening with minor scenes and some of the minor characters.

    The quality of Dexter's writing and characterisations  comes through well, even those these are obviously abridged versions of the original novels.

    I had in fact read most of the Dexter novels before beginning this blog.


    My rating: 4.3

    I've also read the following by Colin Dexter


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