A Perfect Death – but for whom?

Perfect Death Book Cover Perfect Death
DI Luc Callanach
Helen Fields
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, female sleuths
Avon Books
January 22, 2018

'Without doubt, this is one of the best detective series I have read.' Woman's Way Magazine Your new addiction starts here: get hooked on the #1 bestselling series. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge. There's no easy way to die... Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible - engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it's too late. But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task...

A spooky and sinister tale about a murderer who is very individualistic. He is looking to provide the Perfect Death for his victims and each attempt brings him closer to his aim. And each victim is chosen for very specific reasons that make sense to him but not necessarily – at least in the beginning – to the police targetted with his capture.

The setting, Edinburgh, adds to the atmosphere as we start on Arthur’s Mount – which is credited with a lot of spooky happenings.

I  thought the portrayal of the police especially Callanach were good and having read Helen Fields before, I was not disappointed.

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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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The Moor is a cold and lonely place to die

On Laughton Moor Book Cover On Laughton Moor
Dect. Sgt. Catherine Bishop #1
Lisa Hartley
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
(11 Feb. 2015)

Detective Sergeant Catherine Bishop has an enigmatic new boss, Detective Inspector Jonathan Knight. How he will adapt to life in Lincolnshire after years in the Met is anyone's guess. When the body of a well known local thug is discovered, an intriguing message found on his battered corpse raises unwelcome questions. Is DS Bishop herself being accused of the grisly murder, or does the message point to a more sinister secret? As the body count grows higher, Bishop and Knight find themselves in a race against time to discover the identity of a merciless, faceless killer whose motivation is a mystery.

Great reading as a police procedural demonstrating just how difficult it can be to solve murders that initially seem random, or where the link is buried deep in the past.

By the final chapter I had guessed who the murderer was though.

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Go nowhere, read this!

Don't Let Go Book Cover Don't Let Go
Myron Bolitar
Harlan Coben
thrillers, suspense
September 26, 2017

THE GLOBAL NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER The brilliant new thriller from the international bestselling author of Home and Fool Me Once. Mistaken identities, dark family secrets and a murderous conspiracy lie at the heart of this gripping new bestseller. 'The modern master of the hook and twist, luring you in on the first page only to shock you on the last,' Dan Brown 'Harlan Coben is a folk poet of the suburbs and his well-tuned new mystery, Don't Let Go shows why ... This kind of writing is what we call poetry.' New York Times A SMALL TOWN IS HIDING BIG SECRETS ... Fifteen years ago in New Jersey, a teenage boy and girl were found dead. Most people concluded it was a tragic suicide pact. The dead boy's brother, Nap Dumas, did not. Now Nap is a cop - but he's a cop who plays by his own rules, and who has never made peace with his past. And when the past comes back to haunt him, Nap discovers secrets can kill...

Harlan draws you in slowly to a story that initially seems very far-fetched. but the evidence accumulates.

And then the ending takes a wild twist and everything you thought you knew is unravelled. Twice. Or maybe more times.

It so didn’t happen as the reader – unless they are a lot more suspicious or canny or twisted or clever or.. than me could imagine. Clever Mr Coben.

Excellent understated writing as always. Almost conversational in tone and expression.

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What a Christmas….

Cold Xmas Book Cover Cold Xmas
DCI Antonia Hawkins
Alistair Gunn
british detectives, police procedural, female sleuths, murder, thriller
(16 Nov. 2017)

In the small village of Cold Christmas there's a church that faces the wrong way . . . What has it to do with the three dead men found in a London flat? 

DCI Antonia Hawkins has a killer to catch. Only she can't predict what is waiting for her at the end of the chase. 

Nobody remembers the young men entering the abandoned London flat a few weeks ago. Nobody cares if they left.

Until the unbearable smell of decay.

DCI Antonia Hawkins is called in to view the dead men; three, lying neat in a row. There's no damage to the bodies, no obvious cause of death. Is this a suicide pact? Or is that just how it's meant to look?

If there is a link between the three very different men then Hawkins needs to find it, and fast. Because unless she does, more are going to die. And they might not all be strangers.

Overall a good new detective read for me with one main proviso – I am getting rather tired of what is now becoming a cliche – the female detective with angst and a rubbish love life.

A couple of other slightly irritating things – that cat needs to be put on a diet, and as all overweight cat owners know – a. you ignore their plaintive miaows for more food; b. you have them on a strict feeding schedule; and c. you use the special food for overweight cats – I can suggest a few brands if you like – biscuits are best.

Other small irritation is that I thought that all detectives had now learnt to keep wellie boots in their cars!

These small irritations detract me when I’m reading from a good story as they continue to bug me and I want to edit the story for the author, just as I edited my students’ work…. Which is a shame as this could have been a really good series for me, but as I also thought the ending unnecessary in its dolore, I’m downgrading to a 3.5/4.

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