Who get punished?

Unpunished Book Cover Unpunished
Gardiner and Renner Thrillers #3?
Lisa Black
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Police procedurals
Kensington
Jan 2017

Maggie Gardiner, a forensic expert who studies the dead, and Jack Renner, a homicide cop who stalks the living, form an uneasy partnership to solve a series of murders in this powerful new thriller by the bestselling author of That Darkness.

It begins with the kind of bizarre death that makes headlines—literally. A copy editor at the Cleveland Herald is found hanging above the grinding wheels of the newspaper assembly line, a wide strap wrapped around his throat. Forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner has her suspicions about this apparent suicide inside the tsunami of tensions that is the news industry today—and when the evidence suggests murder, Maggie has no choice but to place her trust in the one person she doesn’t trust at all . . .

Jack Renner is a killer with a conscience, a vigilante with his own code of honor. In the past, Jack has used his skills and connections as a homicide detective to take the law into his own hands, all in the name of justice. He has only one problem: Maggie knows his secret. She insists he enforce the law, not subvert it. But when more newspaper employees are slain, Jack may be the only person who can help Maggie unmask the killer-- even if Jack is still checking names off his own private murder list.detective

This story is centred around a forensic examiner who is as nosy as they all seem to be. She (as they tend to be in this genre) is never happy with the easy answer and always finds extra clues.

That said, I really enjoyed this novel. I had not read the previous books about this forensic/detective/killer combination and as a fan of the TV series ‘Dexter’ I was hooked by Renner.

I found both characters believable and the writing had me guessing the ending wrongly – so good for Lisa!

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No Noise?

House of Silence Book Cover House of Silence
Sarah Barthel
Fiction
Kensington
2016-12
300

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin s future like that of every young woman hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiance commit a horrific crime and no one believes her. Gregory denies all, and Isabelle s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband s assassination. In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine. Weaving together a thread of finely tuned suspense with a fascinating setting and real-life figures, Sarah Barthel's debut is historical fiction at its most evocative and compelling."

The publisher’s write-up sounded fabulous and so I attempted to read this book several times. But found that whilst the beginning was engaging, once Isabelle was committed to the asylum, I found myself getting less interested and less interested. Somehow my attention wandered… I never managed to complete the book.

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Gotta love a dog

Lone Wolf Book Cover Lone Wolf
K9
Sara Driscoll
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Police procedurals
Kensington
Nov 2016

In the first book in a thrilling new series, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and Hawk, her loyal search-and-rescue Labrador, must race against time as they zero in on one of the deadliest killers in the country . . .
Meg and Hawk are part of the FBI s elite K-9 unit. Hawk can sniff out bodies anywhere living or dead whether it s tracking a criminal or finding a missing person. When a bomb rips apart a government building on the National Mall in Washington D.C., it takes all of the team s extensive search-and-rescue training to locate and save the workers and visitors buried beneath the rubble.
But even as the duo are hailed as heroes, a mad bomber remains at large, striking terror across the Eastern seaboard in a ruthless pursuit of retribution. As more bombs are detonated and the body count escalates, Meg and Hawk are brought in to a task force dedicated to stopping the unseen killer. But when the attacks spiral wide and any number of locations could be the next target, it will come down to a battle of wits and survival skills between Meg, Hawk, and the bomber they re tracking to rescue a nation from the brink of chaos."

A story here that combines dog love and FBI work – or how working dogs – whether attack, drug finders, corpse finders or even those who help in disasters to find buried people, help the FBI and law enforcement in their work – and search and rescue.

Having followed a search episode as written in the story,  I can truthfully say that the work for the dog handler, is only for those who are seriously fit. Not only do they often have to run long distances, in steel-toe capped boots, but often through different terrains, up hill and down hill, through water and bush, and generally prove that you are a long distance fell runner / marathon runner.

The dogs of course, steal this story.

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How good a Cowboy can a Nerd make?

The Reluctant Cowboy Book Cover The Reluctant Cowboy
Morgan Ranch
Kate Pierce
romance, Animals, western, contemporary
Kensington Publishing
(29 Nov. 2016)

After a turbulent childhood, the Morgan brothers went their separate ways, leaving the family cattle ranch and their cowboy days far behind. But now, one by one, they re being called back home to California. Have they been summoned to save the land or to start a new legacy?
Chase Morgan high-tailed it away from ranching life as soon as possible. But running a successful technology company can t erase the memories, or secrets, of his youth. Coming home to help his Grandma Ruth may finally put some ghosts to rest if he can just get a certain smart, beautiful houseguest out of his business. But getting her out of his head is proving even more difficult
Determined to save the Morgan ranch, historian January Mitchell has pinned her hopes on the surprisingly rugged, surprisingly likable, and exasperatingly stubborn Chase. Surely his love of this breathtaking, mysterious land runs deep enough that he ll once again embrace his inner cowboy. Or maybe, despite both of their skittish hearts, she ll have to find a way to get him back in the saddle any which way she can.

I read this book with interest and thought it had some ideas that were thought provoking. But I did also have a plot reservation which meant that I downgraded it from a 4 star to a 3.

I did disagree with the idea out forward by Chase that  Stonehenge was , well let’s say disappointing, as the structures that made it work were no more. But for me, that is its allure. What structures were there? And what were their purpose? It gives rein to imagination and speculation.  We know very little about what could have happened there – or in many of the other stone circles that dot the UK and parts of France and further. And then before they were stone they were wood as we  now know. What purposes exactly did all these henges perform? And just how did they manage to align them up? We went to Callanish 

[CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=550863]

in the Isle of Lewis and from there you can several other stone circles precisely lined up to view.

We know there was at least one tomb associated with these structures and possibly some stones that are now missing – used for construction of other buildings no doubt – but little more. They are still very mysterious and that is the joy of them.

So a precisely reconstructed ancient monument loses appeal for my imagination, although reconstructing how people lived is much more interesting – did they really sleep on a stone bench? How did they manage to cook over an open fire in the middle of the room? And so on..

I was also slightly disappointed that the cowboys let their (feral) cats eat dog food as it clearly has little nutrition for them as they are true carnivores but I suppose they will be supplementing their diet with rats and mice so…  But I did like the idea that even cowboys found the smell that occurred when you branded, de-horned and castrated young steers upsetting enough to put them off eating beef for a while. I just wish it put them off eating beef for longer as a vegetarian – but then we wouldn’t need cowboys of course and they are great characters for novels!

I was about to give this book a four as I enjoyed reading it until I realised that there was a very large plot hole. What had happened to the boys’ mother and their sister and why were they not concerned about them? They were only worrying about the father being put in jail – and he had admitted to killing their mother even though it couldn’t be proved! It seemed to me that this was skated over in this first book – although it did provide fodder for the further books in the series of course. It would have been better to have a good link to it in book 1 – in my opinion.

So the book was enjoyable enough that when I was offered the second book in the series to review, I immediately said yes.

 

 

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