24 June 2018

Review: SLEEPING IN THE GROUND, Peter Robinson - audio book

  • read by Mark Meadows
  • Isis audio book
  • published 2017
  • #24 in the Inspector Banks series
  • ISBN 978-1-4450-6992-0
  • source: my local library
  • length: 12 hours 35 mins
Synopsis (Isis audio)

A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.

But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.

When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

My Take

When the supposed murderer is identified Banks and his team find it hard to reconcile this conclusion with the opinion everyone who knew him has of the murderer. Nor does there seem to be a cogent motive. It is one of those cases where the ends don't tie up.

If you are a follower of the Inspector Banks TV series then you will notice there are some serious differences between the direction that series has taken and what happens in the books. For me it provided some confusing moments.

Nevertheless this was a "good listen", well narrated (with voice characterisation) by Mark Meadows.

My rating: 4.6

I've also read
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL (2007)
4.6, ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS (2008)
4.6, BAD BOY (2010)
4.9. BEFORE THE POISON
4.7, WATCHING THE DARK (2013)
4.3, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION
4.8, ABATTOIR BLUES
4.4, THE PRICE OF LOVE
4.5, BEFORE THE POISON

21 June 2018

Review: THE LIAR IN THE LIBRARY, Simon Brett

  • this edition published by Creme de la Crime, 2017
  • #18 Fethering series
  • 183 pages
  • ISBN 978-1-7809-101-7
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Amazon)

When an author event at the local library ends in murder, Jude finds herself a suspect in the waspishly witty new Fethering mystery.

Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along.

Although they haven't met for twenty years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn't changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn't been suspecting however was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death.

More worrying, from Jude's point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole not just to solve the murder but to prevent herself from being arrested for committing it..
My Take:

Another lovely outing in the Fethering series with Jude and Carole. In this one Jude becomes a victim of lies told by some one she knew 20 years earlier, and then the prime suspect in the murder of her former friend's husband. After some initial sleuthing she is warned off doing any more by the police and has to hand everything over to Carole.

This is a series I have really enjoyed. Simon Brett has been publishing them now for 18 years. If you have not read any of them, I suggest you start with #1. I have listed the series below.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read
BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES
THE POISONING IN THE PUB
4.4, THE SHOOTING IN THE SHOP
4.3, SO MUCH BLOOD
4.2, A DECENT INTERVAL
4.5, BONES UNDER THE BEACH HUT
4.2, GUNS IN THE GALLERY
4.6, THE CORPSE ON THE COURT
4.3, THE STRANGLING ON THE STAGE
4.2, THE CINDERELLA KILLER
4.5, THE TOMB IN TURKEY
4.4, CHARLES PARIS: MURDER UNPROMPTED
4.2, CHARLES PARIS: CORPORATE BODIES
4.4, THE KILLING IN THE CAFE

The Fethering series
1. The Body on the Beach (2000)
2. Death On the Downs (2001)
3. The Torso In The Town (2002)
4. Murder in the Museum (2003)
5. The Hanging in the Hotel (2004)
6. The Witness at the Wedding (2005)
7. The Stabbing in the Stables (2006)
8. Death Under the Dryer (2007)
9. Blood At the Bookies (2008)
10. The Poisoning in the Pub (2009)
11. The Shooting in the Shop (2010)
12. Bones Under the Beach Hut (2011)
13. Guns in the Gallery (2012)
14. Corpse on the Court (2012)
15. The Strangling on the Stage (2014)
16. The Tomb in Turkey (2015)
17. The Killing in the Cafe (2016)
18. The Liar in the Library (2017)
 

18 June 2018

Review: LET ME LIE, Clare Mackintosh

  • this edition published by Sphere in 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-7515-6487-7
  • 390 pages
  • source: my local library
  • author website
Synopsis (author website)

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie . . .

My Take

Anna Johnson is a wealthy young woman, a young mother, with a baby just 2 months old, conceived after her mother dies. The father of her daughter is the grief counsellor she saw after her mother died.

In the last 18 months both her father and her mother have committed suicide by jumping off Beachy Head, with her mother's death apparently a copycat of her father's. Now, 12 months to the day, Anna gets a card in the post questioning whether her mother's death was suicide.

She reports to the card to the police, to Murray, an ex-detective now assisting at the police station as a civilian. Murray remembers the suicides, seven months apart, and decides to do a little investigation of his own.

The structure of the book builds the suspense, with several points of view: Anna's, Murray's and then an unidentified voice who appears to be one of the suicides. Anna becomes convinced that someone is telling her that her mother was murdered, possibly her father too.

Very readable.

My Rating: 4.4

I've also read 4.6, I LET YOU GO

14 June 2018

Review: THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES, Elizabeth George

  • thise edition published 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
  • ISBN 978-1-444-78662-0
  • 595 pages
  • #20 in the Inspector Lynley series
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Number-one New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth George returns with another character-driven crime drama featuring beloved characters Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley.

Inspector Thomas Lynley of Scotland Yard and his pugnacious and deeply loyal detective sergeant Barbara Havers find themselves up against one of the most sinister murder cases they have ever encountered. Fans of the longtime series will love the many characters from past books who join Lynley and Havers, but listeners new to the series will quickly see why Elizabeth George is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of our time.

Both a gripping listen and a deeply complex story of revenge and redemption, this novel will be remembered as one of George's best.

My Take

It is some time since I have read a title in this series and maybe I paid the penalty for not keeping up, although there have only been 2 novels added since BELIEVING THE LIE.

You may wonder at my lower rating, but this book made me cross on many levels. Let's start with the size. It is very long by crime fiction "standards" and I thought there was a lot of detail that could have been pared. There were a number of plot lines, mostly related to the main story, but it is not good when you know things are coming to an end, and then you realise you have 150 pages to go. The problem too is that the writing is quite dense and so doesn't lend itself to quick reading. And I thought there were parts that might have been a good idea initially - like Barbara Havers learning to tap dance - but could have been edited out. It took me almost a week read.

It felt to me that the plot had been sketched twice - the first with Havers and Isabelle Ardery in it, and then Part II (when Part I didn't work) with Havers and Lynley in it. In the long run the author decided to go with both.

The main plot, the investigation of the apparent suicide of the deacon of a local church, had a number of sub-lines all of which were finally drawn together satisfactorily but sometimes I lost sight of where we were heading, or I became impatient for us to get back to the Havers & Lynley investigation.

I am assuming that I will be in the minority with my dissatisfaction.

My Rating: 4.3

Also on this blog
CARELESS IN RED
4.6, BELIEVING THE LIE (2012)
3.9, THE EDGE OF NOWHERE

7 June 2018

Review: THE SIXTH WINDOW, Rachel Abbott

  • this edition published by Black Dot Publishing 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-9576522-8-6
  • 402 pages
  • #6 in the DCI Tom Douglas series (set in Manchester)
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Eighteen months after Natalie Gray loses her husband, Bernie, in a horrific hit-and-run accident, she finds love with his best friend, Ed Cooper, and moves into his home with her teenage daughter, Scarlett. But she begins to suspect Ed has a dark side - and even darker intentions. Natalie must get her troubled child to a safer place, but when Scarlett starts to hear voices coming from the empty apartment next door it seems she has unwittingly moved them into the heart of danger.

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth. As his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett, will he be too late to protect them from the threat they face or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

My Take

Each of the main stories in this series can be read on its own although the main detective DCI Tom Douglas and his back story hold the series together providing a thread of continuity.

Bernie Gray was a young policeman killed in a hit and run accident when he was out on his morning jog. The driver was assumed to be a young joyrider and the case was never solved. Eighteen months on, new evidence leads to a closer scrutiny of the case and some links to a current case. Tom Douglas's team interviews the widow and her daughter and some things emerge that they had not mentioned in the earlier interviews.

Another very enjoyable read from Rachel Abbott. Highly recommended.
Now I just have #5 in the series to read.

My rating: 4.6

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

3 June 2018

Review: TIME IS A KILLER, Michel Bussi

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • translated from French by Shaun Whiteside
  • File Size: 3241 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1474606679
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (April 5, 2018)
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2018
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06XW3PNT9
Synopsis (Amazon)

It is summer 1989 and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.

Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things - to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.

As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible - she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter - and why?

My Take

An intriguing book which keeps the brain working at the little mysteries that the author presents for resolution. We mainly see the story through Clotilde’s diary which she kept in the days before the car crash that killed her father, mother and brother. But we know that the diary is not in Clotilde's hands, so who is it reading the story to us? And how reliable was Clotilde's point of view? She was after all only 15 years old and brought a teenager's interpretation to her observations.

Twenty seven years later Clotilde, now a successful Parisian lawyer, brings her family to Corsica for the first time, and becomes obsessed with the idea that her mother is still alive. But how can that be? Surely the bodies in the car were identified at the time. And then little things beginning to occur which could not be coincidence. Clotilde’s obsession strains her marriage. Then a retired policeman tells her that he has proof that the car crash was not an accident. Her father's car had been tampered with. Her family was murdered.

A slightly lower rating than I might have otherwise have given, due to some reservations about the final pages.

My rating: 4.7

I've also read
4.8, BLACK WATER LILIES
4.5, AFTER THE CRASH
4.5, DON'T LET GO

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