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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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And yet more Perfection

Perfect Crime Book Cover Perfect Crime
DI Luc Callanach #5
Helen Fields
crime fiction, thriller, suspense, police procedural
Avon
February 7, 2019

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

The sexy Frenchman is again involved in a complicated serie of murders – except that only he thinks they are murders – to everyone else, they look like suicides.

In this series we have a lovely brooding dark French policeman sent to Edinburgh for various political reasons, who takes a long time to settle and make friends. But by this book in the series he is settling down – a little, but his friendships are stretched in this bizarre series of what are classed as suicides.

I very much like this series of novels. They tick all the right boxes. A brooding hero. A series of complicated crimes that only he can solve. And good storytelling with chills and gasps as accidents happen etc. Would make good TV.

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In Which Nick isn’t Trapped

Trapped Book Cover Trapped
Nick Louth
murder, mystery, police, thriller
Canelo
28th January 2019

Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. A searing suspense thriller from bestselling author Nick Louth

In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.

Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost...

Brace yourself.

A nerve-shredding suspense thriller you won’t believe until you have experienced it yourself, Trapped is perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, JP Delaney and Rachel Abbott.

Author Interview with Nick Louth

The book ideas I get flow most strongly in the time when I’m just waking up and I lie in bed turning them over in my mind. Sometimes the ideas come very quickly, almost tumbling over themselves in their hurry to emerge, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for me to see how they would work. For example, I have just been devising a piece of misdirection for a future DCI Gillard crime thriller, one that will send detectives and hopefully the reader in and entirely wrong direction when looking for the murder victim. The course is particularly challenging when the title of my books offers a clue: The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and so on. This particular idea I’ve been working on in the back of my mind for two or three days, and I’ve yet to write down any part of it. But it’s still there ticking over, like an engine kept warm.

I do write notes, I have a notebook that I have with me at all times, and if it’s an inspiring name for a character, or a place, I need to write it down quickly. But the big concepts, the reversals, the misdirection, ideas that give the book a ‘bang’ I tend not forget.

In the case of Trapped, the basic story on the idea for its creative tension came to me all in one go. It’s the contrast between black and white, not just the evil of the gangsters and the goodness, or at least the normality of Catherine the hostage, it’s a bit extra. I wanted to contrast two ways of living a life. Our heroine is an extraordinarily risk averse woman, who plans everything in her life, even more so now she has been blessed with the child that she took so very long to conceive. For her, nothing is left to chance. But the gangsters are seemingly driven by impulse. They plan very little, certainly not far ahead, and rely on quick reactions drive and energy to live the life they want. I really wanted to smash together these two life philosophies, and pack them into the smallest possible space to see what would happen. That space is the back of a dirty, smelly transit van, surrounded by armed police. Total claustrophobia. For a long time I thought that would be enough, straight story that would have the reader on the edge of her seat, particularly given an innocent one-year-old child was in danger. I had written the book thus far almost 8 months before I got the idea for a very strong twist. I’m particularly proud that I was able to pack in to what is a bit particularly short novel all the action and a series of shocking twists.

I’m a journalist by training, and meticulous research underlies everything I do. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to make contact with a retired senior detective with extensive experience from drugs, murder, Special Branch work and undercover operation, plus a government forensic scientist who has allowed me to come with him to an occasional murder trial. I’m also fortunate to have a very senior criminal defence lawyer who has helped me extensively with work on my next book The Body in the Mist. The role of research isn’t to dump on the page everything you have learned, rather it is to convince the reader that you know what you’re talking about. Approaching those in authority is something I’ve done for many years as a journalist so it doesn’t make me nervous or intimidate me. However that doesn’t mean to say that I was good positive response. PR people for police forces or corporations, for example, often need quite a lot of handholding before they know what it is you really trying to get from them. But others fall into your hands, so delighted are they to be involved in the process of creating fiction.

I have been rejected countless times by many literary agents, amazingly even after I had a number one UK bestseller the previous year. I sometimes struggle to find what it is that agents are looking for, but feel I have a better rapport with publishers. In the case of Canelo, I was lucky enough that they approached me after a former agent of mine, now a non-fiction publisher, recommended me to them.

Author Name: Nick Louth

Previous Books: The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and Heartbreaker

Genre: Thriller

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. 

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