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Grimy Manchester and Murder

Where the Innocent Die Book Cover Where the Innocent Die
DI Ridpath Book Four
M J Lee
Fiction
Canelo
March 23, 2020
320

Nowhere is safe. No one can be trusted. A bloodied body is found in a Manchester Immigrant Removal Centre. The investigating officer and the pathologist seem certain: a suicide. But for DI Ridpath something doesn’t add up. As the evidence starts to unravel, and with few leads, the pressure is on to find answers before the Inquest is closed. Caught between the police, the coroner and a system that doesn’t care, Ridpath isn’t making any friends. And at the centre of the case Ridpath will find a heart of darkness. Innocent people are suffering. How many more will die before Ridpath discovers the truth? The fourth instalment of the unputdownable DI Ridpath series is perfect fans of Mark Billingham and Patricia Gibney.

So this is Detective Ridpath again in the Coroner’s Office and there is a death in a Detainee Centre and he is asked to investigate it and confirm the findings as the Inquest was due – the parents had flown over from China to take their daughter’s body home. The Coroner did not want to postpone the inquest because of this.

The pathologist had identified the death as suicide but there was one factor that confused Ridpath. Despite all the doors to the rooms being locked by 9.15pm and the inmates being unable to unlock them, the girl’s door was unlocked – which was why her death had been discovered in the wee hours of the morning as the ‘officer’ made his rounds. And then the camera outside her room had been disabled – as had 5 others in the facility.

 Ridpath has to work fast to discover the truth of the death which turns out, as one could expect, to be rather more complicated than the initial findings.

The story proceeds – and Manchester is portrayed in its grimy, grey self accurately – and yes, people retiring wanted to get away to somewhere warmer – it drove our daughter, once she had lived there a few months, to Australia!

 I like these stories and hope Ridpath stays with the Coroner’s Office as it makes a definite change of storyline from the usual major incident squads.

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How to Fall Properly

Falling Into Right Book Cover Falling Into Right
A Redemption County Novel
Sharon Kay
Crime Fiction, Police Dogs
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
October 24, 2017
292

How do you recover when life kick-boxes your soul? Becca Gable is fighting to stay on her feet after a series of crushing losses. She's always been the good girl until the events of the past year push her to make a mistake she can't take back. Now, her corporate finance job and her fiancé are gone thanks to her newly-acquired criminal record. Shane Marlow survived an IED blast during his service in Iraq-but half his team did not. Physically healed, he returns to his home county as a K9 officer. The scars of loss run deep and though local folks admire him, no one truly gets him-until Becca literally lands in front of him. Their bond of shared tragedy evolves into a connection both fiery and healing. But a stalker decides that Becca's crime should stay front and center. As the unsettling episodes reveal that no part of her life is secret, Shane is all that stands between her and the enemy.

Shane Marlow and Denver – yes please – especially Denver. I haven’t read the previous book in this series so this was my introduction to this pair – but what novel doesn’t like a hero with a working dog?

I know that a lot of soldiers have come back from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the US with PTSD and that many of them have really struggled with it as they have not had the right treatment, for whatever reason. And this leads to problems in their working and personal life. A dog can be an emotional support as well as useful partner in work and they have been recognised as such worldwide – though quite how a turkey could be I am not sure –  Now I could also get pot bellied pigs, monkeys and miniature horses, but bearded dragons, kangaroos, peacocks – lots of birds including ducks too – rodents, spiders, reptiles, ferrets  – and the list continues have all been claimed as emotional support – especially to get them on a plane! See https://bestlifeonline.com/emotional-support-animals/ for 30 of the weirdest claims.

 But despite the wide variety of animals being used for emotional support these days – myself I prefer the cat variety! And have 2 Maine Coons now to provide me with some love.. and stroking soothes both of us.

There is also, of course, the story of Becca and how she breaks the law – for a good reason – but this where we have problems.

I saw a discussion on how TV makes law breaking ‘for the right reason’ become a justifiable crime and people shouldn’t be punished for it. This is also a prevalent them in many novels. It makes for a good story of course – especially if the criminal either gets punished and comes out to help other prisoners onto the ‘right’ road; or the criminal finds the right path for themselves and gets forgiven or – well you know what I mean. Sometimes they continue to break the law and as readers we cheer for them – as they are ‘doing good’ and the law is wrong. But who are we to judge? And when are ‘we’ the right ‘we’ to judge? And then we start getting onto a very sticky wicket indeed and we can talk about the societal contract and how society can judge right from wrong. But what if the majority agree with a law that you personally don’t?

I’m not going further into this, but I am beginning to wonder if society’s fiction, whether on a screen or in a book/written form, is, in some way, mind washing us to a moral code that makes it difficult for us to judge right from wrong.

All the above notwithstanding. I enjoyed reading this story and liked it enough to give it 3 stars. I’m detracting 1 star for my above discussion on law.

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Fluffy Coffee

Clouds in My Coffee Book Cover Clouds in My Coffee
Julie Mulhern
Fiction
Henery Press
May 10, 2016
256

"Mulhern's lively, witty sequel to The Deep End finds Kansas City, Mo., socialite Ellison Russell reluctantly attending a high school football game...There she stumbles on a dying teenage boy covered in blood, who asks that she tell his girlfriend that he loves her. Ellison determines to learn the girlfriend's identity and deliver the message, plus find the boy's killer...If that's not enough for one day, an unknown man turns up shot to death in her garden. Cozy fans will eagerly await Ellison's further adventures." - Publishers Weekly on Guaranteed to BleedWhen Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors' party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she's shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee...

A gentle cosy but lots of fun murder – attempted and accidental and bungled – mystery set amongst tyhe gentility of the Southern gentry. Country Club members all.

The calm surface of life in 1974 hiding a seething roiling boil of jealousy, infidelity, kinks, blackmail and much more with hidden emotions and sniping and snarking. Especially amongst the women. Who had little else to do as with housekeepers, cooks, nannies and cleaners, their time was spent on nails, hair and being bitchy at the club. Sly writing style shows this set off to their worst….

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And the snow piles up

Snow Country Lane Book Cover Snow Country Lane
Tim McAndrews Prosecutor
Sarah Vail
mysteries, suspense, crime thriller
Archway
March 2, 2020
378

Tim McAndrews has been through a lot. Still a top prosecutor in Seattle, his near-perfect case record has been unjustly tarnished by a self-defense shooting. Because of it, he fears his career as an assistant district attorney is doomed to go nowhere. It's not all bad, though. Legendary FBI Profiler, Elias Cain has offered Tim a job with his team. As he weighs his options for the future, Tim is fortified by the fact that he saved his wife and lover, the beautiful Daniela St. Clair, from death. Tim takes a much-needed ski vacation with his wife and best friends to the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. When a young girl is abducted in front of the resort, Tim is drawn into the intrigue. This girl isn't the only child in danger. Once the police finish their investigation, he will be assigned the prosecution's case where two six-year-old twin boys were abducted and murdered. Rainbow-colored duct tape Tim finds in the snow may be the one clue that ties these kidnappings together. Tim's vacation is put on hold when his friend, Elias Cain, negotiates with the Seattle DA to loan Tim to his profiling team for the kidnapping investigation. As their research unfolds, Tim and his friends realize that they are chasing down a child trafficking ring that's like an octopus with tentacles reaching everywhere. To take down this monster, Tim might have to put his life on the line-again.

When I started reading this book, I hadn’t realised that it was book 2 in a series about Tim McAndrew. But actually it didn’t matter. It stood alone well and the author drew out the character of Tim so that his background was well explained. And that of Daniela too.

In this novel the suspense is well carried forward. Just how many children have been abducted? and what for? Your suspicions are well founded when the twin boys are dropped off outside the hospital’s doors. But who is doing this? And why? And why doesn’t the profile, the FBI have drawn up seem to apply?

Profiling is an art as well as a science it seems and Tim understands both even though he hasn’t yet been formally trained and his emotions are well expressed.

I was invested in the kidnappings and the chases and whether the children would be safe and whether Tim would catch his man. The writing was concise and well expressed and kept you wondering. As the reader you knew of some of the story that Tim didn’t but not enough to guess who the real villains were – but I did have suspicions which proved correct.

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Sea Side Sea Shore

The Body on the shore: Book Cover The Body on the shore:
DCI Craig Gillard #2
Nick Louth
Crime Fiction, police procedurals, mystery
Canelo
September 3, 2018
330

A killer is at work in the commuter belt. DCI Gillard needs answers, fast... Promising architect Peter Young is shot dead at his desk. DCI Craig Gillard is quickly on the scene, looking at what appears to be a brutal and highly professional hit. Two weeks later, on the Lincolnshire coast, another body is found on a windswept beach. The man cannot be identified, but sports a curious brand, burned into his neck. Gillard is plunged into a case without answers, finding himself up against dark and mysterious forces. This time lives are on the line, children's lives - and his own. Written at breakneck pace with a jaw-dropping twist you won’t see coming, The Body on the Shore is perfect for fans of Robert Bryndza and Mark Billingham.

Louth is always a 4 star read with plenty of twists and turns in his stories. Well plotted. 
DCI Craig Gillard continues to impress as a well drawn character. 
Looking forward to Book 5 in April.

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