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Be careful in vineyards

October Man Book Cover October Man
Rivers of London
Ben Aaronovitch
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, Greeks, and Romans,Urban fantasy
Gollancz
| 13 Jun 2019

Trier is famous for wine, Romans and for being Germany's oldest city. So when a man is found dead with, his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth.

Fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.

Enter Investigator Tobias Winter, whose aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger and paperwork. With the help of frighteningly enthusiastic local cop, Vanessa Sommer, he's quick to link the first victim to a group of ordinary middle aged men - and to realise they may have accidentally reawakened a bloody conflict from a previous century. But the rot is still spreading, literally and with the suspect list extending to people born before Frederick the Great solving the case may mean unearthing the city's secret magical history.

. . . so long as that history doesn't kill them first.

This book takes us away from the usual London magic haunt and Peter to Germany and a new character who was apprenticed to a Mistress Practitioner of Magic – in the police of course.

Germany suffered badly after the war and its initial need for practitioners was to eradicate the werewolves, it was only once that task had been completed that it was possible to look at the strange occurrences from a policing viewpoint. But as in Britain, the official practitioners had been decimated by the magical battles and ‘magic ‘ police were still learning and had not yet linked up with the more established London police.

Nonetheless, it was rivers and their goddesses that were causing issues. Or perhaps one could say more accurately the lack of such goddesses and their worship.  Especially as some rivers had ‘birthed’ baby goddesses, who being toddlers really had little control of their powers. So we get wine growing, rivers and some very strange deaths and perhaps a new apprentice.

Nice but not quite as original and atmospheric as the London stories.

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Missing corpses? oops

The Corpse Wore Stilettos Book Cover The Corpse Wore Stilettos
MJ O'Neill
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,
BooksGoSocial/ Red Adept Publishing
30 Apr 2019

SHE WORE A DONNA KARAN MARKED FOR REPOSSESSION Since Kat Waters’s father took a trip to the slammer on what she’s sure are trumped-up racketeering charges, life’s been tough. All their assets are frozen, and she’s down to the last few pairs of Jimmy Choos she can swap for rent. To keep her family out of the homeless shelter, the former socialite took a job at the local morgue—a job she’s about to lose when the body of a murder victim goes missing on her watch.  HE WORE A CAPTIVATING SMILE While Kat’s processing the latest victim in the prostitute serial killings, ex-Special Forces soldier Burns McPhee strolls in with an air of confidence, expecting access to the Jane Doe. While Burns tries to flirt his way into examining the latest victim, whom he thinks is connected to the death of his best friend, someone else steals the body right out from under them. THE CORPSE WORE STILETTOS Dodging questions from the cops and kidnapping attempts from a body-snatching psycho, Kat and Burns forge a deal. He’ll clear her name and keep her safe if she gets him information on her peculiar coworkers, one of whom he’s certain is involved with the body heist. But digging up secrets can lead to a lower life expectancy. The unlikely team will need all their talents not to end up as the morgue’s next clients while they hunt for a murderer, the missing corpse, and a pair of diamond-studded stilettos.

In any group there are a number of roles that are played according to this story: The ‘leader’; the ‘cheer leader’; the ‘martyr’; the ‘historian; and the ‘information broker’. And when a newly employed assistant in the County morgue has a corpse disappear on her, then these roles are played by the people she co-opts in her search to discover who the corpse was, and who stole her from the morgue.

There were a couple of clues that I thought was not followed up enough – firstly the stilettos themselves – our heroine identifies them as high end designer wear when she first sees the corpse and then this is ignored in the description that was later given as a reason the dead girl was un likely to be a prostitute. Secondly her jewellery was taken off in the morgue and included a solid gold cross which was put into the evidence locker. Again this was not mentioned again in the story.

So Kat really needed to read in more depth her ‘PI for Dummies’ book..

I liked Kat though as a character and her habit of spouting odd facts and her inability to make decisions without lists and decision trees; her issues within social situations; and her general lack of self-worth. I also liked the other characters in this book – DC – the Cheer Leader and wearer of odd outfits; Marshall being suitably creepy; and Burns the enigmatic one.

I’m interested to see where this series goes from  here.

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Not the tourist view

The Body in the Mist Book Cover The Body in the Mist
DCI Craig Gillard #3
Nick Louth
crime, murder, mystery
Canelo
20 May 2019
kindle

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined.

The past has never been deadlier.

From master storyteller Nick Louth comes the third installment in the DCI Craig Gillard series. Compelling, fast-paced and endlessly enjoyable, The Body in the Mist is a triumph, perfect for fans of Robert Bryndza, Angela Marsons and Faith Martin

Nick Louth is really getting better – this is best book yet.

The story starts slowly, sedately, lulling you into thinking that you know the storyline, but you don’t.

As the story progresses shocking and unexpected revelations take it to a different and very dark level.  This is dark coasts and moors and hills where nasty things happen in the farm woodsheds… And then there is the final page!

The novel is well crafted with logical, if shocking, outcomes that take the story into just what happens in these lonely places, where families have lived a hard scrapple life for many generations, and the neighbours are far away and likely to be feuding. The weather is stormy and dank and cold, and the sun is fleeting and miserly. Not the nice tourist image at all.

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And death has it secrets

Secrets in death Book Cover Secrets in death
Dallas, Eve (Fictitious character)
J. D. Robb
fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, crime fiction
Piatkus Books
September 5, 2017
384

No one is going to miss Larinda Mars. A ruthless gossip queen with a lucrative sideline in blackmail, there's no lack of suspects when she's murdered in a fashionable New York bar. With so many people wanting her dead, it's going to be a tough case to crack. Lieutenant Eve Dallas may not like this particular victim, but it's her duty to bring the killer to justice. As she digs deeper into Larinda's mysterious past, it becomes clear the reporter had a unique talent for uncovering secrets. Including ones very close to home for Eve and her husband Roarke... Someone was willing to commit murder to keep their secrets hidden. And with Eve now working to uncover the truth, she and her team are heading into serious danger.

Dallas rides again in a New York winter, with a hat with a pompom, which rally embarrasses her, but… there is a murder to be solved and Roarke and his eGeek friends have plenty to do.

Gossip columnists have lots of secrets and they hold secrets on others too it seems, secrets that make them a lot of money and give them a lot of power. So lots of enemies to comb through. Perhaps not quite as original as the earlier books in this series, but still, always worth a read.

As always, Peabody makes us smile, Roarke makes us lust, and we all want to be Dallas. And we’d also quite like that week in the Mexico hideaway she offered Peabody – especially if we fly by one of Roarke’s private planes.

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And yet more Perfection

Perfect Crime Book Cover Perfect Crime
DI Luc Callanach #5
Helen Fields
crime fiction, thriller, suspense, police procedural
Avon
February 7, 2019

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

The sexy Frenchman is again involved in a complicated serie of murders – except that only he thinks they are murders – to everyone else, they look like suicides.

In this series we have a lovely brooding dark French policeman sent to Edinburgh for various political reasons, who takes a long time to settle and make friends. But by this book in the series he is settling down – a little, but his friendships are stretched in this bizarre series of what are classed as suicides.

I very much like this series of novels. They tick all the right boxes. A brooding hero. A series of complicated crimes that only he can solve. And good storytelling with chills and gasps as accidents happen etc. Would make good TV.

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