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A social commentary: Book Review

content?id=1f AzQEACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&source=gbs api - A social commentary: Book Review Secret Surrender:
The Untouchables: The Pretenders
Darcy Burke
Historical Fiction, Romance,
August 11, 2020
four star - A social commentary: Book Review

From USA Today Bestselling author Darcy Burke, your next Regency obsession: The Pretenders! Set in Burke’s popular world of The Untouchables, indulge in the saga of a trio of siblings who excel at being something they’re not. Can a dauntless Bow Street Runner, a devastated viscount, and a disillusioned Society miss unravel their secrets?Book One: A Secret SurrenderA survivor of the mean streets of London’s East End, Selina Blackwell has learned to be a chameleon, and in her current iteration as a fortune-teller, she’s able to provide a Season for her sister. Only, Madame Sybila can’t be a chaperone, so Selina takes on another identity as the proper Lady Gresham. But when a Bow Street Runner takes too much of an interest in her business, it seems the crimes of her past will finally come to light. Determined to prove that Madame Sybila is a fraud bent on fleecing London’s elite, Harry Sheffield enlists the help of the alluring Lady Gresham in exchange for introducing her to Society’s best. With his busy career and aspirations for the future, Harry has no time for marriage, but an affair is just right—until he discovers the lady’s disarming secret. Whatever his feelings for her, he can’t ignore who she is and who she’s been. And when she holds the key to the one case he couldn’t solve, he must choose justice or love.

A Middlesex Workhouse – for orphans and others, plus Bow Street Runners from Historic England.

ARC – free book from author

A story where the heroine is not what she seems – by a long way. She is not an aristocrat and perhaps has not actually married her ‘husband’ – and she certainly isn’t a Tarot card reader – or is she? And is she a Lady who makes charitable donations to an orphanage. Well, she certainly presents herself as one, and it’s true the Orphanage needs money.

And then you have the real Aristocrat who ‘plays’ according to his friends and Society, at being a Bow Street Runner. The original police force in London.  The force originally numbered six men and was founded in 1749 by magistrate Henry Fielding (who coincidentally was also the author of The History of Tom Jones. A rather famous novel for its somewhat bawdy nature.

Bow Street is in the heart of the East End and at that time was a centre of crime and gin palaces – if they could be called that. Gin had become a major problem for London especially as it was very cheap and provided an easy way to forget the misery of being poor in London.

Tom Jones was a Foundling – or an Orphan – and an Orphanage plays a prime part in this story by Darcy. You really didn’t want to be an orphan at this time, or even later in the nineteenth century as dickens made people more than aware. Orphanages were nasty places, cold, over-crowded, without the money (or often the will of those in charge) to feed and clothe the orphans, let alone educate them. And in her book, Darcy also demonstrates the lure of crime for orphans – and for criminals to find easy pickings for everything from theft to prostitution.

Of course, the Bow Street runner did not believe in the orphanage his mother was giving money to, after all, she already was being swindled by a Tarot card fortune-teller – who he was determined to find and unmask. But he finds she has rather more secrets than he anticipated. And life becomes more complicated. So we have a nicely told historical romance from Darcy with a significant amount of commentary on Society and what life was like for those who did not hold titles nor wealth, and in addition had no training to fall back on to make a living. And for women, the choices were even fewer – if you wanted to be respectable – which was why so many were not. And who could blame them

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Sea Side Sea Shore

content?id=gpNqDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&source=gbs api - Sea Side Sea Shore The Body on the shore:
DCI Craig Gillard #2
Nick Louth
Crime Fiction, police procedurals, mystery
Canelo
September 3, 2018
330
four star - Sea Side Sea Shore

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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Murder by deviousness

content?id=4NW5DwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&source=gbs api - Murder by deviousness The Body in the Snow
DCI Craig Gillard Crime Thrillers Book 4
Nick Louth
Fiction, crime, suspense,
Canelo
January 31, 2020
four star - Murder by deviousness

Money, success, family? All deadly... The new unputdownable DCI Gillard thriller. A young detective is out for a jog on a snowy winter morning. Then she sees something terrible: a murder in the park, sudden and inexplicable. A woman has been killed by a passing hooded cyclist. It’s just DCI Craig Gillard’s luck that he’s on duty. The body is that of Tanvi Roy, one of the richest women in Britain and matriarch of a food empire. With a tangled web of family and business contacts and jealousies, Gillard’s job just got even more complex. As he delves deeper into the Roy family, it’s clear that everything is not as it seems. As the investigation threatens to unravel, Gillard realises it's only the beginning of his problems. Trouble of a different sort is brewing close to home... Perfect for readers of D.K. Hood, Patricia Gibney and Mark Billingham, The Body in the Snow is a remarkable and gripping crime thriller.

This is good solid British crime writing from a reliable author who thinks up devious plots and believable characters.

Always a good read.

This book also brought up 2 very interesting snippets – the first in location 2619, which is 54% of the way through, is a conversation between a mother and her very precocious 11 year old daughter. The second is better and most women will love this one. Location 2911. A discussion on ‘wrinkled bits’ left over from universe building and what happened to them!

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Add all the crime fighters together and you get…

m9 - Add all the crime fighters together and you get... M-9: A Chelmin and Spaulding CID Mystery
Chelmin & Spaulding CID Mysteries Book 1
by Marvin J Wolf
Mystery & Thrillers , Police Procedural
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 20 Aug 2019
four star - Add all the crime fighters together and you get...

Who killed Kendra Farrell and left her bound, dehydrated body on a boxcar loaded with Army boots? Army CID agents Rudy Chelmin and his rookie partner, Will Spaulding, trace the train’s route back to Barstow, CA, and the Marine Corps Supply Depot. Before they can begin a joint-service investigation, they come under attack by a determined and heavily armed international gang. As they try to unwrap the mystery of Kendra’s death they must take out a sniper, escape from an RPG attack that levels a city block, and dodge a car bomb—and that’s just the first few days. To find Kendra’s killer they must learn why she was killed. As they unravel a mind-twisting snarl of nefarious, intertwined networks, they must also battle the bureaucracy—The FBI, Homeland Security, and the Barstow police want their share of the case. Then Chelmin vanishes and Spaulding has only three days to learn if his partner will suffer Kendra’s agonizing fate.

This is a complex story that might confuse so you need to keep your wits about you when reading it! I thought it was interesting in the way that the Army, Navy, FBI and local PD were interlinked in solving the murders and the rationale for them.

Keep the story straight and the various characters involved, and you will enjoy the book…

More in the series to come I hope.

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Ghost or Hallucination?

content?id=PDunvgEACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&source=gbs api - Ghost or Hallucination? Forgotten Bones
Dead Remaining Book 1
Vivian Barz
Fiction. Mystery, Suspense, Murder, Female Sleuths, Ghosts
Thomas & Mercer
July 23, 2019
302
four star - Ghost or Hallucination?

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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