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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Where to find a body?

The Body in the Marsh Book Cover The Body in the Marsh
DCI Craig Gillard
Nick Louth
mystery, suspense, crime,
Canelo
(25 Sept. 2017)
Kindle

When a woman goes missing, it gets personal for DCI Craig Gillard. But he could never imagine what happens next.

Criminologist Martin Knight lives a gilded life and is a thorn in the side of the police. But then his wife Liz goes missing. There is no good explanation and no sign of Martin…

To make things worse, Liz is the ex-girlfriend of DCI Craig Gillard who is drawn into the investigation. Is it just a missing person or something worse? And what relevance do the events around the shocking Girl F case, so taken up by Knight, have to do with the present?

The truth is darker than you could ever have imagined.

A gripping novel that I couldn’t put down – until I guessed the ending about 3/4 of the way through. Shame, otherwise it would have been a 5 not a 4.

Still, if you like a UK police/detective novel, this one is for you. The ending should be a surprise (and rather gruesome at that) for many but there are clues in there – if you know something about chess….

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When Brothers help their Sister

Two Nights Book Cover Two Nights
Sunday Night
Kathy Reichs
police procedurals, mystery, suspense, thriller
William Heinemann
July 13, 2017
320

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct ...

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.

But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead?

Did someone take her?

If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found?

It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons - because they might just lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

With Kathy Reichs, the reader knows that they are in the hands of an expert. As a forensic anthropologist, 1 of only 82 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board, Reichs’ real-life expertise has given her novels an authenticity that most other crime novelists would kill for. From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her lab, no one is better qualified to write about what it’s really like to catch the killer and solve the crime.

Such a different character and departure from her series about Brennan here, but  well worth reading.

Reichs has created a new, tortured (the female PI default) character called Sunday Night, who has a twin August Night. Now these are very unusual twins in that not just their sex is different – one male, one female – but due to a genetic hiccup, August is black and very short – compared to Sunday anyway. Their father was probably black it is hinted at in the book.  And they were born into a cult that committed mass suicide just after they escaped together. Their difference in characters but twin closeness and ability to know the other’s thoughts and intentions, enable them to work together in a way that partners can only envy.

I enjoyed this new character and the story-telling was up to Reich’s normal standard so what’s not to like? Complex plot and excellent story-telling mean a new series to follow.

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In the Center of all are the Dead

Dead Center Book Cover Dead Center
Danielle Girard
police procedurals, mystery, suspense
Danielle Girard
(6 April 2017)

Fifteen years ago, the Rookie Club began as a tight-knit band of female cops struggling for respect. Jamie Vail was one of them. So was Natasha Devlin, the woman Jamie caught in bed with her husband. When Natasha Devlin turns up dead, Jamie can’t bring herself to care. She’s got enough on her plate, hunting a sexual predator who preys on female officers. He leaves them alive, but brutalized. But when the MO of the Devlin murder matches the MO of the perp in Jamie’s case, she’s brought in on the homicide investigation and back into the Rookie Club she has been avoiding since her husband’s affair. As more cops become victims, Jamie must confront her past and solve the murder of her ex-husband's lover before she becomes the killer's ultimate prize. Previously titled: The Rookie Club

 

A book that demonstrates how a good writer becomes an excellent one.

This book, the start of a series, was first published in 2006 and I have just also read Excise which was published in 2017. There is a distinct difference in style. Giraud has clearly honed her skills.

In Dead Center there are too few red herrings and complications in solving the mystery and crimes. It became difficult to actually follow the logic and reasoning and behaviours or the characters, and in one case the last minute addition spoilt the solve, even though the story had prepared the reader for it. Leaving the solve simpler would have made a better contrast to the complications of the other major case.

Also, I kept finding myself worrying about Barney – the dog, and wondered how necessary he was to the plot as Vail never seemed to walk him and only let him out into the backyard once. If tat was normal behaviour, and she never cleared up the yard, it must have stunk. And Barney will have fat and depressed as she rarely came home. Dogs can’t be left alone for that amount of time without severe loneliness and bursting bowels and bladders!

I was going to give this book a 4 but on thinking about my criticisms I’m going for a 3.

A good editor could have stripped back some of the extraneous material and made it a chilling thriller.

That said, Vail’s story will make a good TV series!

 

 

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Enter the Doctor – when you’re dead.

Exhume Book Cover Exhume
Dr Schwartzman #1 &#2
Danielle Girard
Fiction, psychological suspense
Thomas & Mercer
October 1, 2016

Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman has finally found a place to belong. As the medical examiner for the San Francisco Police Department, working alongside homicide detective Hal Harris, she uncovers the tales the dead can't tell about their final moments. It is a job that gives her purpose--and a safe haven from her former life at the hands of an abusive husband. Although it's been seven years since she escaped that ordeal, she still checks over her shoulder to make sure no one is behind her. Schwartzman's latest case is deeply troubling: the victim bears an eerie resemblance to herself. What's more, a shocking piece of evidence suggests that the killer's business is far from over--and that Schwartzman may be in danger. In this pulse-pounding thriller from award-winning writer Danielle Girard, a woman must face her worst nightmare to catch a killer.

Brilliant new Medical Examiner series with a doctor who prefers her patients dead and with a sociopathic husband who doesn’t exactly want her dead, but close will do.

My first Girard novels and not my last.

I couldn’t put down Exhume and wanted so much to find out how the story ended that I carried straight onto Excise, book #2.

The sociopathic husband is well portrayed – just enough details to know he is extremely creepy and enough to know that only his (or her) death will stop him.

Anna – the ME, is also well portrayed such that we really understand how her mother’s emotional abuse primes her for Spencer’s (her husband) and leaves her vulnerable.

Excise, the second book is a direct continuation and we are ready for the manipulation by Spencer and to understand why Anna continues to work despite recovering from surgery.

 

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