How well do you see?

A different female detective. One not racked – completely – with angst. Thankfully.

And she comes from an ethnic background and is local to her policing area.

This story is set in an area of London I know quite well. I know of the cultural inheritances and the issues that came as new cultures came in and the local and new clashed – from the time of the Huguenots and before! See the Roman Road… Immigration to the UK has often come through the Docks and this affects the architecture as well as the culture.

I did think that the problem of distinguishing between forced and arranged marriages was portrayed well and the tip-toeing around not to tread on toes that is so common that it actually lets illegal activities occur rather than disturb certain elements of the community. As there is often a wall of silence and united front before outsiders this doesn’t help discover the truth.

I thought the author dealt quite well with the issues of inequality as I have seen this area transform – patchily – from nearly slums to desirable residences.

Overall a solid first book in this  new series.

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Find your way out?

A Map of the Dark Book Cover A Map of the Dark
The Searchers #1
Karen Ellis
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
Mulholland Books
11 Jan. 2018)

A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning...

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost...

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa's skin. Everything she has buried - her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother's death - threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself...and return to the darkness she's been hiding from for years.

Whilst I did quite enjoy this book especially the characters of some of the teenagers – the girl with creative mind and tattoos of her little creatures that kept her sane and operative under very dire circumstances. However, I found the other teenagers a bit wooden.

What irritated me though, is the current fad for this genre of having the female detectives to be very angst driven and this story takes this to the extreme. Whilst use of the angst is made in the story I am sure this was not the only way it could be written. This downgrades this book to a 4 star.

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Why Lie? Lisa Hartley Tells the Truth

Tell No Lies Book Cover Tell No Lies
Lisa Hartley
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
19th February 2018

Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky...

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin.

An Interview with Lisa Hartley

New Book: Tell No Lies

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I usually have an idea at the back of my mind for a while – maybe a couple of weeks? It might be the main theme of the book, maybe part of a sub plot, or even a minor scene that will set up major events later on. I don’t really have a notebook or make a list to choose a theme from. I tend to start writing before I make any concrete decisions about topics and wait to see where the story goes.

 How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Much of the research I do for this series is based on locations, or how a character can get from one part of London to another, and how long it might take them. For this book, I spoke to my partner who grew up in one of the areas mentioned. Because I don’t really plot before I start writing, I tend to do the research as I write, and as necessary.

 What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Generally: newspaper articles, interviews. Google maps (and street view). I also use relevant books such as Blackstone’s Senior Investigating Officer’s Handbook for my series featuring CID officer. For this book: mainly Google maps, and the Transport for London website to plan Tube journeys. I also read articles about people trafficking, accounts of drug use and

 What do you read when you are ill in bed?

It would depend how ill I was feeling. Probably a book I’ve read before, so it’s familiar and a comfort. Maybe an Agatha Christie?

 What is your favourite genre?

It has to be crime, doesn’t it? But I love historical fiction too, and of course historical crime fiction…

 If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

There are loads, and more every month. Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, C.J. Sansom, Toby Clements, S.D. Sykes, Ann Cleeves, Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper, Nicci French, David Jackson, Alex Barclay, Joseph Knox, Sara Paretsky, Rachel Howzell Hall, and so many more I can’t think of at the moment. Sue Grafton and Helen Cadbury are two writers whose work I’m really going to miss.

Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

It’s probably predictable for a crime writer to say Agatha Christie, but I’m going to. The first “grown up” book I read after the Famous Five and Secret Seven was an Agatha Christie, and I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since. Christie had the knack of conjuring up a character within a few short sentences or even less, and Poirot and Miss Marple are wonderful creations. Her books are short, but if you want an easy read and a clever plot, they deliver every time.

Author Bio:
Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

Twitter: @rainedonparade

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What lies under…

What Lies Beneath Book Cover What Lies Beneath
Cassie McGraw #1
David Archer
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
Lone Stone Publishing
(23 Nov. 2017)

Fresh out of high school and off to college, Cassie thought she had the world by its tail, and then she met Mike. Tall, handsome and a police detective to boot, he swept her off her feet and into a whirlwind relationship that led to an engagement ring. But things aren't always as they seem, and Cassie comes to discover that Mike has a dark side. When she learns just how dark it can be, she comes face-to-face with the greatest forward she could imagine, and it leaves her burned and scarred for the rest of her life. Cassie isn't one to wallow in misery. She takes her experiences and a degree in psychology and sets out to help other women avoid the kind of thing that happened to her, but then one of her clients comes to her in desperation. Her abusive husband has kidnapped her daughter, and it's up to Cassie to find the girl before it's too late. Of course, then the only trick is how to survive.

Here David archer tried a different format and a different type of hero – a heroine.

This is the story of Cassie who uses her dreadful injury for good.

Having been a burns victim myself, and also being female, I got Cassie but not her portrayal. for my mind, Archer cannot successfully write for a female character and certainly not her true reaction to such an injury.

Yes, she will have spent time in therapy – a year he says, physical and psychological, but I know myself, from a lesser injury that a year  is not long enough. The therapy, physical at any rate takes much longer.

I also found that he contradicts himself saying initially that they couldn’t graft and then he says that they did.

So my theory of this author stands. He can’t write a female character that I can believe in. (Nb I have read a complete series of his with a male hero).

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Whose eyes are they?

Eyes Like Mine Book Cover Eyes Like Mine
Sheena Kamal
thrillers, literary fiction

It's late. The phone rings.
The man on the other end says his daughter is missing.
Your daughter.
The baby you gave away over fifteen years ago.
What do you do?

A gripping story that you need to read through to the end. Quickly. And an anti-heroine, who does have friends that you root for all the way and wish for her a better life than fate has given her so far.

Immersive story-telling.

A tortured heroine – and who can blame her? A (previous) life style that ended in an horrendous attack, and, from which, whilst clearly still suffering from PTSD, she has gradually put together a new life. And has some hope for her future. Until her past re-surfaces in a most awful manner.


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