22 July 2018

Review: SECRET SANTA - Cherringham 25, Matthew Costello, Neil Richards - audio book

  • sourced at Audible
  • Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
  • Length: 2 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
    Release date: 12-21-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Lübbe Audio
Synopsis (Audible)

Bill Vokes has played Santa at the children's Christmas show for years. But with the show just hours away, he vanishes with no explanation. The whole village is baffled. Did something bad happen to loveable Bill, upstanding citizen, churchgoer, life and soul of the party and the holiday season? Jack and Sarah are on the case - and soon discover there are secrets about this Santa that no one could have imagined...

Cherringham is a serial novel à la Charles Dickens, with a new audio episode released every two weeks. 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.  


My Take

If you do a bit of short journey travelling, these short audio books can become a bit addictive in the style of MidSomer Murders, where a remarkable number of deaths occur in a small village community. They are cosies, intellectually undemanding, nothing too macabre happens, and there's a lot of "common sense". I like the way Neil Dudgeon handles the narration, and also the development of the main characters Jack and Sarah.

My rating: 4.2 

About the authors
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, and 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.

The narrator of the audiobook, Neil Dudgeon, has been in many British television programmes including the roles of "DCI John Barnaby" in "Midsomer Murders" and "Jim Riley" in "The Life of Riley". He is also known for his film roles in "The Nativity", "Sorted" and "Son of Rambow". In 2012, Dudgeon starred as "Norman Birkett" on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play series written by Caroline and David Stafford.




18 July 2018

Review: THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, Bill Clinton & James Patterson

  • this edition published by Penguin Random House UK 2018
  • ISBN 978-1-780-89840-7
  • 513 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (website)

Blurb from back cover:
The President Disappears. The world is in shock.
But the reason he’s missing is much worse than anyone can imagine. With details only a President could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.

Extract

Chapter 1
“The House Select Committee will come to order . . .”
The sharks are circling, their nostrils twitching at the scent of blood. Thirteen of them, to be exact, eight from the opposition party and five from mine, sharks against whom I’ve been preparing defenses with lawyers and advisers. I’ve learned the hard way that no matter how prepared you are, there are few defenses that work against predators. At some point, there’s nothing you can do but jump in and fight back.
Don’t do it, my chief of staff, Carolyn Brock, pleaded again last night, as she has so many times. You can’t go anywhere near that committee hearing, sir. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
You can’t answer their questions, sir.
It will be the end of your presidency.

My Take

Very readable and very topical, almost credible.

The President is on the brink of impeachment. He has apparently met with a terrorist leader and appears to have foiled his capture. A young US soldier was killed. So the House Select Committee is baying for his blood.

And it won't have escaped your attention how reliant we've become on technology. What would we do if it wasn't available?

I thought Bill Clinton's voice came through loud and clear, his social agenda and political ideals.

The President runs a tight ship. In crisis there must be absolute loyalty, but there is a traitor in the White House.

My rating: 4.8

From the authors:

‘Yes, The President is Missing is fiction – it’s a thriller – but James Patterson and I have come up with three of the most frightening days in the history of the presidency. And it could really happen... These days, the seemingly impossible can happen. And it happens so fast. I believe that readers will not soon forget President Jonathan Duncan and his story.’ – Bill Clinton

‘Needless to say, we had some great conversations about the presidency, what life in Washington is really like, and about the state of America and the rest of the world.’ – James Patterson


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
4.8, ONLY THE INNOCENT #1
4.9, THE BACK ROAD #2
4.6, SLEEP TIGHT #3
4.5, STRANGER CHILD #4
4.6, COME A LITTLE CLOSER #7
4.6, THE SIXTH WINDOW #6 

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
 

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin