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When strange things happen in your back garden

Know Your Rites Book Cover Know Your Rites
Inspector Paris #2
Andy Redsmith
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy
Canelo
Pub Date 22 Aug 2019

Inspector Nick Paris is back in this magical crime mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch. Inspector Nick Paris, now also known as 'the one who stopped the demons', has become an unlikely celebrity in the magical world. He is desperate to return to tackling more ordinary crimes on his home turf of Manchester. However, the fates aren’t in his favour when he is called upon again by his more unusual police colleagues to solve a gruesome killing. The only suspect is a dwarf trying to make it in the rap business. But are there more mysterious matters afoot? Paris is thrust back into the world of magic and murder – but who will face the music?

Inspector Paris is back with the strange collection of friends and foes in this second of the great series set in Manchester.

We have ogres, warlocks, fairies, dwarves, elves, and the small stone child (read and see who I mean).

I thought that this book was not quite as original as book 1 as we had met all the characters before, but there were some excellent lines of text. eg ‘What makes sense depends on how you look at it’; ‘Persuasion, ..that’s one way of describing Ug the Ogre dangling Orin upside down above the station cesspit’; ‘bonetti’s heart was in the right place. even if his brain was nowhere to be found’.

I also liked the espionage cats and the rapping dwarf. Great ideas.

So overall a fun read with giggles.

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December Meetings

We Met in December Book Cover We Met in December
Rosie Curtis
women's fiction, romance
Harper Collins, Avon

his December, unlucky-in-love Jess is following her dream and moving to Notting Hill. On the first night in her new house-share she meets Alex, the guy in the room next door. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but there’s still a spark that leaves Jess imagining how they might spend the year together – never mind the house rule against dating…

But when Jess returns from her Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started seeing Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into the man of her dreams – and, apparently, the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and spend the year falling in love with London, not Alex – but what if her heart has other ideas?

A gentle love story set in London across 12 months of the year.

A great reminder too of how difficult it is to live in London on a nurse’s salary or even that of a publisher’s operational organiser.

I loved the walks around and about as this is something I like to do too. There is so much hidden history that we forget about – Battle Bridge for instance – not a Civil War battle as so many thing, but Boudicca’s last stand, and then the places where there were spas – eg Sadler’s Wells. And if you look closely, you can find the rivers that used to flow into the Thames and that the Victorian’s culverted over but one still is visible under glass – if you know where to look.  And I do!

And yes, Little Venice is pretty but for me Camden Lock and the canals further along are better – Little Venice is too touristy and well aware of its idyllic setting..

So back to the book.

Nicely written, in a good style, gently telling how people learn to know each other and that friends make great romance buddies.

Cozy but understanding the life of the singleton at 30 and the difficulties of making ends meet when you change careers later in life.

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Up high you go..

Elevator Pitch Book Cover Elevator Pitch
by Linwood Barclay
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,
HQ
Pub Date 05 Sep 2019

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets. Right to the bottom of the shaft. It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos. Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered. Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . . Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

This was a great read and I never guessed the villain of the piece! Which is always the start of a good review from me.

It was well written with characters you loved to hate as well as those you felt some empathy for; and enough central characters to confuse you.

There was the Mayor; his son; his two aides; the journalist; her daughter; and two cops to keep you interested. Their actions and interactions and links proved fascinating and often unexpected which keep the story moving along at quite a fast pace.

Ps Saudi Arabia is currently going for the building height record – the Jeddah Tower opening in 2020 will be 3,280 foot high.

Currently, Burjkhalifa in Dubai is the highest at 2.722 feet.

The New York Trade Center for comparison is 1,776 feet.

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Mayhem but not enough Magic

Magic & Mayhem Book Cover Magic & Mayhem
by Erica Ridley
Romance , Sci Fi & Fantasy
WebMotion
Pub Date 26 Jul 2019

KISSED BY MAGIC Enjoy an Outlander-meets-Frozen romantic comedy: A treasure-hunter risks an ancient curse and ends up trapped inside an icebound castle with a medieval princess! MUST LOVE MAGICPrincess Bride-meets-Office Space romantic comedy: When a magically challenged fairy jeopardizes her apprenticeship by getting involved with a sexy mortal, it's one disaster too many. In order to earn her wings, she'll have to ditch the human–and her one chance at true love. SMITTEN BY MAGIC A former corporate raider plans to redirect his money and attention toward family and good works. Unfortunately, his attempts to make things better meet with one disaster after another. His plans disintegrate further when he runs into an angelic tourist with... wings?

Another set of 4 books, re-issued from first published, revised, edited and improved. But still not quite 4 stars.

Whilst these are romantic comedies they read like they are still early stories where the author is still learning her trade – not as sophisticated as her current novels.

Some were better than others, and they all had a good twist that didn’t rehash the standard fairy story (like Red Riding Hood or Cinderella of which there are far too many on the shelves now).

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Our world is about to end?

A Merciful Death Book Cover A Merciful Death
Mercy Kilpatrick Book #1
Kendra Elliot
Montlake Romance
(17 Jan. 2017)

FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout

A story about Preppers – that almost uniquely US lifestyle that assumes a world disaster is likely to happen tomorrow and thus you better be prepared today. Everything that might sustain life is required from food and medicine, to methods of providing power and water.

There is a Preppers site for the UK population but its 40 hints start with assuming the following:

1. You are in debt – so get rid of it

2. You will need 6 months of cash to get by

3. You need to have a 72 hour survival kit.

Now this would just seem ridiculous to the US Preppers who are assuming – bearing in mind there is a lot of land they can use – that they will need to feed themselves from their own land and livestock for years at the very least – 72 hours pishposh…

 The other point with US Preppers is that very many of them don’t recognise that US laws apply to them and many are not on the electoral role, the children are not registered, and they are deep into the illegal purchase and storage of weapons – lots of them – more and of many different types – than can seem at all reasonable and very well hidden.

Apart from this belief of world disaster looming, the Preppers , mostly, come across as rational self-sufficiency farmers using bartering rather than cash.

I found this a nicely told tale with enough empathy for the characters whether Prepper or Police.

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