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Ghost or Hallucination?

Forgotten Bones Book Cover Forgotten Bones
Dead Remaining Book 1
Vivian Barz
Fiction. Mystery, Suspense, Murder, Female Sleuths, Ghosts
Thomas & Mercer
July 23, 2019
302

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility. When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they're quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she's just getting started. Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia--or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan's instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI's closing in. Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric's hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

Is this a ghost story or a murder mystery? It is up to the reader to decide but it encompasses both. We have a ghost – a very persistent and quite forceful ghost; but we also have a murder and mystery. Who is the ghost? And what happened to him? He was murdered, but how and by who, and where? Set in small town USA with a very small policeforce and not much money, we have female police officer with stickability and persistence and curiosity. All of which gets her into serious trouble as she tries to find out about the ghost boy. As she delves into his case, the FBI find a graveyard and that is where things begin to get strange for our heroine – and a professor (college lecturer) with his own mental issues that having a ghost visit doesn’t help I thought the suspense was well carried and it isn’t until the final stages of the last chapter that it all comes to be resolved and the final pieces of the puzzle fit together. The issues with schizophrenia were well narrated and explored and it was refreshing to find a character with these flaws who wasn’t a psychology expert as so many books seem to write them up as. The story is a little short and we should really have found out more about the other children –  the live ones as well as the dead ones. It would have helped fill out the story – perhaps someone could have list of lost children, ages, sexes; surely the FBI would be involved before the graves came to light?  What about the FBI officers? Could we know about them? This novel seems rather like a preliminary / prequel tale for a series that is  longer and more involved. It is good – as far as it goes. This is the first in a new series with our female detective and I look forward to reading further books.

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Well rock troll princesses are a good start

Breaking the Lore Book Cover Breaking the Lore
Inspector Paris #1
by Andy Redsmith
Mystery & Thrillers , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Canelo
15 Apr 2019

A magical, mischievous mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch How do you stop a demon invasion... when you don’t believe in magic? Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning. Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from elves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him. With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

Love the introductory sentence as it really sets the scene for a very different novel.

Inspector Paris and Manchester seem to go together well. This is book 1 in a new series that I really want to read more of.  The Sergeant is wonderfully dumb and there is plenty of grisly and sarcastic humour to keep me interested. Fairies being crucified is new to me, but then it was new to everyone as Paris says ‘How do you kill somebody who doesn’t exist?’ ie a fairy!

We are then introduced to a talking crow, a female baby rock troll princess, an elf, and the Vanethria and yet more such creatures who shouldn’t exist. All of which with a sly humour and great writing style.

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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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Lose Nothing

Nothing to lose Book Cover Nothing to lose
Ziba MacKenzie #2
Victoria Selman
police procedurals, psychological thrillers
Thomas & Mercer
26 Mar 2019

He’s looking for his next victim. She looks just like his last.

Primrose Hill, London. Offender Profiler Ziba MacKenzie arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder with a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Nine days earlier, another woman’s body was found: same location, same MO, same physical appearance. For the police, it’s clear a new serial killer is on the loose. But for Ziba, it’s even more sinister—because the victims look just like her.

Ziba has been the focus of a killer’s interest before, and knows that if she gets too close again this case could be her last. Still, she’s not one to play by the rules—especially when her secret investigation into her husband’s murder begins to attract unwanted attention.

With someone watching her every step, can Ziba uncover what connects the two victims before she becomes one herself?

This is number 2 in this series about a profiler looking for her husband’s murderer and the reason why he was murdered. Even going so far as to bring in Wolfie for extra help.

Our profiler is still grieving and as such is perhaps not as clear-headed as she should be and so makes mistakes. Ones she should know better than …

For me, the writing style had improved over book 1 and so was the story-telling. As with all these genre of books, red herrings abound and there is a great twist to the ending.

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Where can you find truth?

Where the Truth Lies Book Cover Where the Truth Lies
DI Redpath #1
M J Lee
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers, Detective
Canelo
Pub Date 22 Oct 2018

The case was closed. Until people started dying… The unputdownable first DI Ridpath crime thriller from bestseller MJ Lee

A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.

DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.

As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.

When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a nail-biting crime thriller, full of breathtaking twists and turns in this fast-paced and extraordinarily original novel. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Faith Martin

A new detective for us to consider – set in Manchester this story is full of the grey, wet, dull, and dreary feel that Manchester novels often have. Which to be fair, is what Manchester often resembles – a very wet city every time I visit, when not snowing..

It is an interesting take as here we see what the role of a Coroner is and their investigative powers as against the police.  A Coroner [also called a Medical Examiner] has a number of specific tasks/roles to determine the manners and causes of death – they w also visit death scenes, identify human remains, supervise the transportation of corpses, operate crime scene equipment, complete death certificates and notify the next of kin.

Coroners have Investigators or Officers attached to them who inquiry into the circumstances of deaths that are:

sudden and of unknown cause; are due to unnatural causes;

or deaths that occur in custody.

Coroners’ officers are often the main point of contact for the coroner’s office and will liaise or speak to:

bereaved relatives and family representatives;

doctors and other health professionals;

police, and other emergency services;

registrars of births and deaths;

funeral directors;

pathologists and mortuary staff and others as relevant depending on the case.

So the Officer undertakes the bulk of the work and takes on a role that mimics what we assume the police might do, or may in fact be the prime investigative officer for a sudden death deciding whether or not the case requires a Coroner to call it a homicide and thus require a formal police investigation.

Until reading this novel I had notrealised just how much work this Office undertakes and can see how it would be an excellent role for an ex-police or officer needing lighter duties.

Hence we find Ridpath allocated to this role as he recovers from his cancer.

Ridpath is not quite as angst ridden as we now expect our police to be and thus makes for a different storyline which is refreshing. He is not an addict or alcoholic nor suffering from a traumatic divorce, though his wife is none too pleased with him and his attitude to work and looking after his health.

I think his has the makings of a nice series as the characters develop and Ridpath becomes more familiar with his role.

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