Midnight Sun – Blood on Snow 2 by Jo Nesbo – Book Review

Midnight Sun - Blood on Snow 2

Midnight Sun – Blood on Snow 2

Jon is on the run. He has betrayed Oslo’s biggest crime lord: The Fisherman.

Fleeing to an isolated corner of Norway, to a mountain town so far north that the sun never sets, Jon hopes to find sanctuary amongst a local religious sect.

Hiding out in a shepherd’s cabin in the wilderness, all that stands between him and his fate are Lea, a bereaved mother and her young son, Knut.

But while Lea provides him with a rifle and Knut brings essential supplies, the midnight sun is slowly driving Jon to insanity.

And then he discovers that The Fisherman’s men are getting closer…

Jo Nesbo is back with a new standalone novel called Midnight Sun that will, I’m sure, receive a mixed reaction. There is no Harry Hole, no Snowman but there is violence, drugs and a damaged leading man – Jo Nesbo does this incredibly well!

Of the two standalones, Blood on Snow (reviewed in May this year) remains my clear favourite. There’s something about Olav that kept me turning the pages and despite the fact that he was a hitman there was something rather endearing about him!

Both protagonists have depth but I struggled to like Jon in Midnight Sun, I’m not sure if it was the character or the way Nesbo presented him. My favourite character by far was Lea’s son Knut who is a curious, inquisitive and lovely kid who wants to know everything. He wants to be liked and loved. It was clear to me that Knut was missing a strong male influence in his life and for whatever reason Jon – or Ulf’s – arrival brought him to life. He loves his jokes and he wanted to help Jon, the relationship between the two was incredibly touching. I could have done with many more scenes between the two!

Recovering from the death of his daughter and the guilt of failing to save her, Jon steals money from The Fisherman, a crime boss in Oslo, and runs for his life in Northern Norway where the sun never sets. And so begins a new adventure in his life but one constant, alcohol is never far away.

The majority of the story is set in a hunter’s cabin and it makes for a wonderful and atmospheric setting. You could just imagine walking to the stream and washing, just how nature intended! As I’ve mentioned there is a little violence and a few scenes that made me squirm but this is typical Nesbo!

The book is quite short and finished way too soon for me, I felt as if more of the past and for that matter the present could have been explored to greater depth but it wasn’t. I do think the author missed a trick with this and the ending will be a marmite one. Some will enjoy it, some will hate it and some will be undecided. I’m sitting on the fence, I’m still not sure how I felt about the ending but one thing I am certain of, I wanted it to finish in a different way but without spoilers I can’t go any further with this train of thought! This is very much up to the individual reader! Oh and before I forget, watch out for the twist!

Also reviewed on Raven Crime Reads

  • Hardcover:224 pages
  • Publisher:Harvill Secker (5 Nov. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:184655859X
  • ISBN-13:978-1846558597

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime, Fiction, Jo Nesbo, Norway Tagged , , , , ,

Worldwide Young Readers Day

To celebrate the Worldwide Young Readers Day today I thought I’d take a look at a few titles that meant so much to me when I was growing up, titles that still hold a special place in my heart and maybe, just maybe, you’ll recognise some of these titles or want to investigate them further – for whatever reason!

Rupert The Bear 50th Annual

Rupert The Bear 50th Annual

Although this doesn’t classify as a regular book I always remember, once a year around Christmas, getting a Rupert the Bear annual from my parents. I hadn’t really thought much about the bear until this weekend when I came across the 50th annual on one of the bookshelves. Upon perusing the web I’ve discovered that they are still publishing the annuals, well Egmont Publishing are. Celebrating its 80th edition this year Rupert is going strong and it shows no signs of stopping.

The annual, a mixture of wonderful short stories and colourful images, they brightened up my childhood and I remember many a night falling to sleep while my father read them to me. It was a magical time and now looking back on those early days I remember the time I spent with my father priceless. Even at that young age I distinctly remember the look on his face when he read the stories to me, something I’ll never forget. The sneaky grin as the storyteller knew what was coming next and my look of utter bewilderment when a story ended in dramatic fashion. Memories are priceless, the stories and character fortunately live on in glorious print. If dad was here today, I’d sit him down and read to him and I’m sure we’d both get a kick out of that!

Rupert The Bear wasn’t the only bedtime book I remember growing up, there were countless adventures from Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven, in fact fifteen adventures, all written long before I was a kid but again something my parents introduced me to. Following Peter and Janet, the brother and sister combination, and their friends all trying to solve the most impossible of crimes. Probably why I love crime thrillers to this day!

Aside from the aforementioned books one book that I remember reading by torchlight and under the covers, long after my parents told me the light must go out, school tomorrow, was The Hobbit written in 1937 by J.R.R. Tolkien. The story follows the quest of hobbit Bilbo Baggins who attempts to win a share of treasure guarded by Smaug, a dragon. As Bilbo travels he gains a maturity and new level of wisdom, encountering numerous  creatures along the way to emerge at the end of the book in conflict.

A truly sensational read,  The Hobbit is one of my most read books as a young child. Having never read Lord of the Rings, I’m pleased to say that Tolkien’s The Hobbit left an indelible mark on my childhood. I really should make the time to read the book again and not rely on the Hobbit trilogy released recently on film!

Treasure island

Treasure island

Apart from Tolkien, two Scottish authors played a big part in my school years, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh in 1959 and Robert Louis Stevenson also born in Edinburgh in 9 years earlier in 1850. Conan Doyle will forever be associated with Sherlock Holmes and as a kid I never tired of reading the adventures of London’s famous detective both in the day and at night in bed. I won’t go into any detail about Sherlock’s adventures as they’ve been covered time and time again by so many people over the years.

Stevenson’s novels, two of them to be precise, stand out for me namely Treasure Island , and the amazing Kidnapped which follows David Balfour’s  pursuit of his inheritance in Scotland. A wonderful book and another of those childhood memories I really should revisit now I’m a lot older and daresay wiser! I should also mention Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe a book which also spawned an epic black and white television series that I’ll always associate with my childhood along with The amazing adventures of Zorro!

I could go on and list many more titles that hold so many memories for me as a young child and teenager but if I did, this article would serve to send the reader to sleep, just as the greats of the past did to me – but in a good way!

Happy Young Readers Day everyone, and along with sleep start up Casper, this is one day that should be promoted and remembered by both young and old.

Posted in Books, Children Tagged , ,

The Prisoner’s Gold by Chris Kuzneski – Book Review

The Prisoner's Gold

The Prisoner’s Gold

If you seek, they will find…

The travels of Marco Polo are known throughout the world.

But what if his story isn’t complete?

What if his greatest adventure has yet to be discovered?

Guided by a journal believed to have been dictated by Polo himself,
the Hunters set out in search of his final legacy:
the mythical treasure gathered during Polo’s lifetime of exploration.

But as every ancient clue brings them closer to the truth,
each new step puts them in increasing danger….

Damn you Kuzneski, why do you write adventure stories that are impossible to put down? I mean, it would be nice to have a breather every once in a while but with gripping storylines, amazing characters and the obligatory twists and turns, The Prisoner’s Gold is another prime example of superb construction and terrific writing that is frankly impossible to resist!

Incredible stuff, an author who continues to push the boundaries and enhance the action thriller genre, Kuzneski is one of my dependable authors, a man who delivers time and time again and long may it continue.

Characterisation is impressive with Jack Cobb once again leading the merry band of misfits! A motley crew, they act as one, one for all and all for one if you like – now where have I heard that before?! Dependable, highly skilled and determined to find the treasure, very little is allowed to stand in their way but as with all adventures things don’t always go to plan. Forced to think on their feet the crew, now sporting a new member – historian and linguist Maggie – meticulously plan for all eventualities but as this adventures is anything but A to B, things tend to go awry and Cobb shows the leadership skills that are crucial for its success.

With every good guy comes a bad guy, a bit of Ying for your Yang, and in Feng He, the leader of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, a secret organisation, we have a despicable bad guy! He is ruthless and violent. He sports a determination to keep all Chinese treasures in the country and a hatred of all things Western. There’s one particular scene where he enters a room and hands out – you’ll get that pun once you’ve read the book – his own punishment and boy is it severe. Feng and his second in command are great characters and if it is possible to like a bad guy then he’s your man!

Another character I really enjoy is Josh McNutt – sniper – and his attitude, comedy and one lines are a breath of fresh air. He does have a tendency to be rather uncouth at times but I enjoy him more every time he pushes the boundaries and makes people squirm.

The Hunters is a great series and here’s hoping it goes from strength to strength. Great dynamics, superb writing and intriguing storylines I can’t wait to see what Kuzneski comes up with next. If you’re a fan of Scott Mariani’s then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. Do read them in order to get the most out of the series but each one stands alone for those who don’t have the time to explore the back catalogue – but if you do you’ll definitely be rewarded!

  • Hardcover:384 pages
  • Publisher:Headline (8 Oct. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0755386590
  • ISBN-13:978-0755386598

Posted in Action, Adventure, book reviews, Books, Fiction Tagged , , , ,

The Yellow Diamond by Andrew Martin – Book Review

The Yellow Diamond

The Yellow Diamond

Detective Superintendent George Quinn – Mayfair resident and dandy with a razor-sharp brain – has set up a new police unit, dedicated to investigating the super-rich. When he is shot in mysterious circumstances, DI Blake Reynolds is charged with taking over. But Reynolds hadn’t bargained for Quinn’s personal assistant – the flinty Victoria Clifford – who knows more than she’s prepared to reveal…

The trail left by Quinn leads to a jewellery theft, a murderous conspiracy among some of the most glamorous (and richest) Russians in London – and the beautiful Anna, who challenges Reynolds’ professional integrity. Reynolds and Clifford must learn to work together fast – or risk Quinn’s fate.

The Yellow Diamond is a quirky read and although set in the heart of twenty-first-century Mayfair, a world of champagne, Lamborghinis and Savile Row suits, I felt as if it could quite easily have been set in 1970’s London. It doesn’t read as a modern police thriller – to me – it reeks of an old fashioned read with a protagonist who with every page appears to be increasingly out of his depth!

Blake Reynolds is a by the book Detective Inspector whose sole aim in life appears to be to account for every gratuity he receives. Whether that’s a cup of tea, a glass of vintage champagne, a £50 cigar or an expensive suit, he exhorts just about as much effort into balancing the books as he does in finding criminals and escaping life or death situations! I did like his character, he’s quite an unusual protagonist, a protagonist who wrestles with his conscience on an hourly rate! His personality shines throughout the book and gives the story a great deal of depth and colour.

His working relationship with Victoria or Vicky Clifford is intriguing and one I could never quite work out which is always a good thing! There’s no doubt about who wears the trousers in the relationship! With subtle and not so subtle suggestions, Blake Reynolds finds he is guided down a path with consummate ease and manipulation it’s great to read.

The story itself is good, I did find I’d lost my way once or twice, but on the whole it made sense and it all came together nicely at the end with a few unexpected turns. I’m looking forward to another installment of Blake Reynolds and his unique approach to policing, long may he continue investigating the rich and powerful of West London, an area full of embassies, hedge funds and high end living.

  • Hardcover:320 pages
  • Publisher:Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 Nov. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0571288200
  • ISBN-13:978-0571288205

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime, Fiction, London Tagged , , ,

The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds – Book Review

The Dark Inside

The Dark Inside

1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders – young couples who’ve been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close.

But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job…

Until five minutes ago, just before I began this review, I had no idea that this book was inspired by real life events in 1946. Dubbed the Texarkana Moonlight Murders by the media – those pesky journalists! – an unknown killer named the Phantom held the small town to ransom in the spring of 1946. The murderer was never caught.

69 years later Rod Reynolds has penned The Dark Inside loosely based on the eight murders and boy is it a page turner. It had me gripped from start to finish and although I had an inkling as to who was responsible for the murders in Rod’s book, I didn’t quite get it right! Twists and turns abound the book keeps you interested right up until the reveal.

The funny thing is with this book I didn’t warm to the main protagonist, disgraced journalist Charlie Yates, a big city hot shot who has been sent to the minor leagues by his boss to report on a non-story is sent to pasture in the remote town. Given a full expense account he checks in to the best hotel in the town and begrudgingly goes to work. He has no interest in the story or the people killed, initially, and it shows. With a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas he’s quickly alienated by the locals, including the local police who definitely has something to hide. I didn’t like him, his attitude or his mannerisms. Slowly but surely you do warm to him as his attitude to the town and people change, but not enough for me to like him at the end! I’m sure his mother loved him!

That said I don’t think he was ever supposed to be a character you love, I could be wrong of course! On the flip side there are characters in the book you truly detest, mainly due to their actions – both past and present – and there are a couple of bit players you warm to and then change your mind! It’s that kind of book but characterisation is very good and well structured.

From the very outset I was transported to 1946 Texas and I never left, the book has no trouble in holding your attention or making you believe that seeing GI’s roaming the streets and bars is the norm. I didn’t miss the internet, my iPhone or online shopping once! Very well done.

A fairly rapid read with a clever outcome I really enjoyed the read and the story has a great blend of fact, fiction and intrigue to make you want to discover the true story behind the murders.

  • Paperback:400 pages
  • Publisher:Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Sept. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0571323049

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime Tagged , ,

The House on Cold Hill by Peter James – Book Review

The House on Cold Hill

The House on Cold Hill

Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion – Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.

Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade’s is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House’s dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .

There’s not really much you can say about Peter James that hasn’t already been said. A terrific author who never seems to put a foot wrong, time after time he publishes a novel that is both engaging and fascinating to read. This time around he dispenses of Roy Grace’s services, heaven knows why because I for one would like to see Grace tackle a ghost! A standalone, The House on Cold Hill will have you shivering from the outset until a bone shaking finale.

I don’t get the chance to read ghost stories all that often, I did as a kid and loved them, but when I had the opportunity to read this title I jumped at the chance, it wasn’t the only time I’d jump while reading! The House on Cold Hill, although set in modern times, has a distinctly old fashioned style to it. I couldn’t help but think, despite the inclusion of computers and mobile phones, that I had been transported back to the old days of no electricity, no running water and reading by candlelight – no idea why, it just had that feel about it for me.

The first few chapters serve to set the story, lay a solid foundation – despite the possibility of subsidence!! – and introduce the characters to the reader but once all this has been achieved there’s no holding back and the story moves along at a rapid pace. Ollie is without question the star of the show and he proves to be a great protagonist. Worried about making a huge financial mistake in moving lock, stock and barrel to the country he’s prepared to ignore the warning signs and the fact that the small problems that immediately start to surface are in fact just the tip of the iceberg.

You can’t help but feel empathy with the family and how they put up with the problems is beyond me! They really do endure a lot but their hardship serves to entertain the reader! I know it’s a cruel world isn’t it! As long as it’s not happening to us, suck it up!!

A chilling read, I loved the way the story unfolded and how the ghostly activities increased as it became clear the Harcourt family wouldn’t be giving up without a fight. Characters come and go, some a little more gruesome than others, but the story continues to progress and flow well. Haunting in parts, there were a couple of points in the book that really freaked me out, the author has a knack for this genre.

So there we have it, not going to spoil it for anyone and give away any clues but the ending is very well done and just about right but if ever there was a book that had an alternative ending chapter then this is one! Now there’s a thought! Has that ever been done?

Bravo Mr James

  • Hardcover:320 pages
  • Publisher:Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (8 Oct. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1447255909
  • ISBN-13:978-1447255901

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime, Supernatural, Thriller Tagged , , , ,

Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino – Book Review

Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

A twenty-year-old murder
A chain of unsolvable mysteries
Can one detective solve this epic riddle?

When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case – which remains unsolved – to the point of obsession.

I remember reading Malice by Keigo Higashino exactly one year ago and stated then that it was a contender for book of the year for me and so it remained. A few titles challenged in the final few months of the year but none left the same mark that malice and its characters did.

Here we are a year later and Journey Under the Midnight Sun, the third Higashino novel to be translated into English, is something a little different, ok a lot different! By all accounts this is Higashino of old, a novel reminiscent to The Devotion of Suspect X (which I haven’t read) his first and overnight Japanese sensational blockbuster that sold in excess of two million copies. At well over 500 pages this latest novel will take some reading but despite an incredibly complex structure it’s well worth the effort.

I have to admit, of the two Higashino novels I’ve read; Malice still remains my favourite – by far. Osamu Nonoguchi’s character in Malice was and is an outstanding protagonist and narrator, he will take some beating. Every once in a while a character comes along and has such a profound effect; this is what books are made for and to this day he remains a benchmark for future protagonists – for me at least!

The book begins with a body – Yosuke Kirihara, a pawnbroker – found in an abandoned building but before the ink is dry the book has moved on and despite the initial police investigation by Junzo Sasagaki the crime unsolved.

As the book advances in years so do the relationships, some more tenuous than others but it’s the one between Yukiho Karasawa and Ryo Kirihara that had me intrigued. There’s so much there, so much depth, you’ll be analysing the relationship for days after finishing the book! Yukiho is the star of the show for me and as we are initially introduced to her she’s a schoolgirl but as the novel develops so does Yukiho, mesmerizingly so.

Whatever you do don’t expect an easy ride with this books, Higashino has a particular style and he doesn’t like to make things easy. Where’s the fun in that?! He introduces someone only to abruptly stop and change the story, only to reintroduce said character further down the line. It’s a complex yet intelligent narrative that takes a lot of brainpower for the reader to keep hold of the essence of the story, especially with the foreign names that never seem roll off the tounge.

Full of dark crime, dark events and devastation Journey Under the Midnight Sun is set to be another global blockbuster for Keigo Higashino. I’m looking forward to his next novel and just hope that it contains more magical characters, I’m sure it will! Although it took me a while to finish this read, I’m so glad I persevered. A final note, I’m still slightly confused as to the intensions of the author and what he wanted to achieve with this book but one thing’s for sure he’s created another group of fascinating characters and a spotted history of Japanese culture spanning twenty odd years.

  • Paperback:544 pages
  • Publisher:Little, Brown (8 Oct. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1408704110
  • ISBN-13:978-1408704110
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.3 x 23.4 cm

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime, Fiction, Japan, Thriller Tagged , , , , ,

The Devil’s Anvil by Matt Hilton – Book Review

The Devil's Anvil by Matt Hilton

The Devil’s Anvil by Matt Hilton

Accepting the task of protecting Billie Womack is a no-brainer for ex-counterterrorist soldier Joe Hunter, but it comes with its own set of complications.

Billie’s husband, Richard, stole thirty million dollars from some violent people. He apparently died in a car crash with Billie’s daughter, Nicola, during a desperate attempt to elude his pursuers. But his enemies don’t believe him dead. They think he escaped the plunge into the icy river that killed Nicola and has now decided to come back for the money. If he’s alive, they believe he’ll contact Billie.

It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to arrive at her remote farmhouse. Soon she and Joe are fugitives. Dead or alive, Richard’s fate means nothing to Hunter, but he promises to do everything in his power to protect the grieving mother. Even if it means taking a bullet for her, it’s a price he’ll pay.

It’s a pledge he will come to regret, as he learns that killers are forged on the Devil’s anvil.

When you pick up a Matt Hilton book you know exactly what to expect, it’s as simple as that. A high octane action thriller, a few dead bodies, a good storyline and entertaining characters full of personality. The Devil’s Anvil is no exception. Fast paced, entertaining and very readable the story moves along at a frenetic pace and at one point even Hunter’s life is on the line but we have a fair idea he’s going to survive – but then where would we be without our hero?!!

The book is formulaic – as is expected – but having just read it now the weather has become distinctly autumnal the book wraps around you like a favourite winter blanket, all that’s missing is a cup of hot chocolate! It may be stormy outside but there’s no fear of a cold chill while reading Hunter’s latest predicament. The boy can certainly find himself in an infinite number of scrapes, more than enough for one man!

The storyline is good and there are a couple of turns that were slightly unexpected and Matt deals with the twists well. Characterisation is again strong with enough emphasis given to the leading man, the supporting femme fatale and the obligatory bad guys.

The only man missing is Joe Hunter’s partner in crime and fellow hero Rink. Ok so Rink does make an appearance but for me, not enough! Having read all of Hilton’s books I have grown to love Rink and Hunter’s connection, they both go hand in hand with each other. The series is a boys own kind of read, it’s a club and without the full membership it does lose a little something. Don’t get me wrong, Hunter carries the book effortlessly but when you add Rink it becomes fuller flavoured. Think cooking, adding a little seasoning always helps with the flavour, for me Rink is the seasoning, and I’d like to see more of him.

You’ll never satisfy everyone and it’s all about getting that right balance. The Hunter series is full of action, camaraderie and gripping situations. You can get this in most books but this series does have that certain something that makes me want to return time and time again to see what predicament the boys find themselves in next. Keep going Matt, another great read.

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (4 Jun. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1473610036
  • ISBN-13:978-1473610033

Posted in Action, book reviews, Books, Fiction, Joe Hunter Tagged , , , , , ,

I Know Who Did It by Steve Mosby – Book Review

I Know Who Did It

I Know Who Did It

The hardest crimes to acknowledge are your own…

Charlie Matheson died two years ago in a car accident. So how is a woman bearing a startling resemblance to her claiming to be back from the dead? Detective Mark Nelson is called in to investigate and hear her terrifying account of what she’s been through in the afterlife.

Every year Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son…even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it.

Uncovering the facts will lead them all on a dark journey, where they must face their own wrongs as well as those done to those they love. It will take them to a place where justice is a game, and punishments are severe. Nelson and Groves know the answers lie with the kind of people you want to turn and run from. But if they’re to get to the truth, first they’ll have to go through hell…

In the words of Robert Palmer ….. Simply Irresistible!

I Know Who Did It is self-contained and if, like me, you haven’t had the opportunity to read The 50/50 Killer which this book alludes to on numerous occasions, then fear not. With any series it obviously helps and gives a greater depth to have read the opening title but as this story is so well contained and presented it’s not necessary, a bonus if you have mind! As the story develops and the references to past crimes increase it definitely made me want to explore more and see what exactly happened before, the secret of great writing. Keep them wanting more!

This is a very quick read and almost unputdownable! Mosby possesses a terrific writing style and along with a strong narrative and unforgettable characters, some not so nice as others, it won’t take you long to work your way through this book.

Mosby mixes things up along the way and when Charlie Matheson appears to have died and come back to life, the way in which the author deals with this arc and others is testament to a writer at the top of his game. The characters all intermingle, some more than others but the numerous arcs all come together in the end and make sense. Along the way you do wonder where the story is leading but eventually you get that Eureka moment, the light bulb goes off and you understand what’s just happened.

I really enjoyed this book. I’m not writing an in-depth review, I wouldn’t want to spoil the experience for anyone. One thing is for sure I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • Paperback:352 pages
  • Publisher:Orion (24 Sept. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1409157490
  • ISBN-13:978-1409157496

Posted in book reviews, Books, Crime, Thriller Tagged , , , ,

Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz – Book Review


Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz - Book Review

Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz – Book Review

It’s 1957 and James Bond (agent 007) has only just survived his showdown with Auric Goldfinger at Fort Knox. By his side is Pussy Galore, who was with him at the end.

Unknown to either of them, the USSR and the West are in a deadly struggle for technological superiority. And SMERSH is back.

The Soviet counter-intelligence agency plans to sabotage a Grand Prix race at the most dangerous track in Europe. But it’s Bond who finds himself in the driving seat and events take an unexpected turn when he observes a suspicious meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a sinister Korean millionaire, Jai Seong Sin.

Soon Bond is pitched into an entirely different race with implications that could change the world. Thrown together with American agent, Jeopardy Lane, Bond uncovers a plan that will bring the West to its knees in a heart-stopping climax.

If you’re looking for a book that features a charismatic leading man, strong female characters and an evil villain, somewhat crazed villain I may add, then look no further than the latest James Bond to hit the shelves. Trigger Mortis, a sequel to Fleming’s Goldfinger, by Anthony Horowitz.

Apart from the title, I’m afraid I’m not a fan; the book is a great adventure. It reads at a frenetic pace, even during the scene setting moments. The idea for Trigger Mortis came from an original television manuscript written by Flemming to which Horowitz had the opportunity to read and run with. Set in the world of motor racing Horowitz immediately set about changing characters and adapting it to the storyline. Of all the chapters the racing at Nürburgring – south of Cologne in Germany – and the castle retreat were by far my favourite sections of the book. Totally immersive I really felt part of the adventure.

Bond isn’t Bond if he doesn’t have an evil counterpart and Trigger Mortis is no exception; enter Korean Jai Seung Sin otherwise known as Jason Sin. He really is an evil character and takes great delight in dishing out his very special brand of death utilising his personal playing cards. He doesn’t take failure well and reprimands are a thing of the past, someone fails him, they end up dead. He is a little unhinged and slightly unstable but I loved this about him!

Strong women are a feature of this book and Trigger Mortis introduces us to a new Bond girl in Jeopardy Lane and the return of the fabulous Pussy Galore. Both play their part well but Galore’s role is far to brief for my liking. Jeopardy on the other hand plays quite a hefty role and is instrumental to the outcome of the book, I’ll let you discover how when you read it!

Let’s face it, waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee, you walk into the kitchen to find the wonderful Pussy Galore waiting for you, how can you not like that vision?! I for one hope the Fleming estate will be asking Horowitz to pen another Bond adventure in the future, he seems to have hit the mark running.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409159132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409159131


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Foretold by Thunder by EM Davey – Book Review

Foretold by Thunder by EM DaveyWhen journalist Jake Wolsey stumbles upon a declassified file showing Winston Churchill’s interest in the ancient Etruscan civilisation his curiosity brings peril in its wake. He soon attracts the unlikely attention of alluring archaeologist Florence Chung – and that of MI6. As the two are pursued across Europe and Africa in search of the Etruscans’ sacred text, danger closes in and more questions than answers arise. Are there powers in the sky modern science has yet to understand? Could the ancients predict the future? And what really explains the rise of Rome, that of Nazi Germany, the ebb and flow of history itself? In a thrilling race against time and enemies known and unknown, Wolsey fears the very survival of the West may depend on his ability to stay one step ahead of his adversaries.

An enjoyable and entertaining read, this satisfies on most levels. If you’re looking for a little adventure, some action and a little Dan Brown thrown in for good measure then look no further than Foretold by Thunder, EM Davey’s debut novel.

The book moves along at a decent pace but I did find some of the Etruscan history hard to follow, and there’s quite a lot of it to follow, but then I know nothing about the religion, not that it’s necessary at all to enjoy this tale.

Jake Wolsey is an intriguing character and the main protagonist. I have to admit I found him a little wet at the beginning but by the end he’d won me over with a change in personality and attitude that wasn’t there at the beginning. Quite clever in fact, most protagonists stay the same throughout a novel but Wolsey definitely changed. He grew stronger, more confident, cut down on his alcohol intake and became a force to be reckoned with. He imparts his knowledge as the story progresses and by the end of the first book he appears to be somewhat of an expert in things Etruscan.

Although an entertaining storyline Jake’s character building is my favourite part of the book. He’s one of those characters you struggle to like or have a positive opinion on in the beginning but the author does a fantastic job of making his personality as important as the story itself.

There are a few twists and turns along the way and enough baddies to balance good and evil. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this story goes next. Great characterisation, an entertaining storyline and a book that’s very easy to read. A great debut.

  • Paperback:320 pages
  • Publisher:Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (2 July 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0715649930
  • ISBN-13:978-0715649930

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Make Me by Lee Child – Book Review

Make Me - Lee Child

Make Me – Lee Child

Jack Reacher has no place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, so a remote railroad stop on the prairie with the curious name of Mother’s Rest seems perfect for an aimless one-day stopover.

He expects to find a lonely pioneer tombstone in a sea of nearly-ripe wheat … but instead there is a woman waiting for a missing colleague, a cryptic note about two hundred deaths, and a small town full of silent, watchful people.

Reacher’s one-day stopover becomes an open-ended quest…into the heart of darkness. 

Make Me marks Jack Reacher’s 20th adventure and isn’t as relaxing as the location suggests, it’s anything but! The book in reality is no different to the previous 19 books Lee Child has penned, all devoted Reacher fans know that what lies within is a man on a mission to right the wrongs of those in a position to take advantage whatever the cost and reason, it’s almost always financial but will Mother’s Rest be any different?

I always find it fascinating that our action hero can find himself in these predicaments but without him and his past history this genre would definitely be the poorer without him, Reacher has helped shape the thriller genre and long may it and he continue.

Reacher is one of those guys everyone wants to have in their life, as a friend, not an enemy. When Reacher, intrigued by the name Mother’s Rest, leaves the train in the middle of nowhere on a whim he stumbles into a small town with a harrowing past, a town where everyone knows the deadly secrets but no one will admit to them or answer questions. Mother’s Rest is an insular town and as far as the locals are concerned long may it continue.

The big question is how can a small holding like this survive, Reacher strives to answer the questions and discover the truth about the missing private detective and former FBI agent. Drawn into the investigation and with no plans to stay for more than 24 hours, Reacher roams the town and countryside and soon discovers that things aren’t what they first appear. Armed with nothing but refilled coffee and diner food Reacher begins to do what he does best, kick ass!

The story moves along quickly and the partnership with former FBI agent Michelle Chang definitely promises longevity. They work well together and there’s something about the coupling that make both characters step outside their comfort zone and attack the investigation as a well-oiled unit. Not at first but slowly but surely their relationship gains momentum and the pair combine to make inroads into a past that begs to be uncovered.

It’s great to have Reacher back and within these pages there’s more than enough killing to satisfy the most ardent of critic, not too much, not too little, just about right. Definitely not a book to be compared to Goldilocks and the three bears but hopefully you get my point!!!

Make Me is a great read and is over, like most of Child’s books, quicker than Reacher can brush his teeth and drink his second cup of Joe – and that’s fast! But like his appetite to refill his coffee cup so is our desire as readers – and fans – to gorge on another adventure and I for one can’t see that changing anytime soon.


  • Hardcover:432 pages
  • Publisher:Bantam Press (10 Sept. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0593073886
  • ISBN-13:978-0593073889

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Solomon Creed by Simon Toyne – Book Review

Solomon Creed

Solomon Creed

Evoking memories of Sanctus with underground tunnels, religious themes, sinister characters and a dark and unknown presence, Solomon Creed is another example of an author at the top of his game; the break has certainly done him good! Solomon Creed is a book that is both imaginative and entertaining on many levels, one of the elements that helps make this book work so well is the fact that you never truly know who Solomon Creed is. Is he good or bad? Is he hero or villain? So many questions remain, just as they did in the Sanctus trilogy and although the book ties up all the loose ends in this first adventure, it leaves the door open for the next book and certainly left me wanting more!

Simon Toyne gives us an insight into Creed’s personality, his past and the possibilities for his future (if he has a future) but we never truly understand what makes the man tick. The thing is, Solomon Creed doesn’t know who he is either and it’s his memory recall that makes him such a fascinating read. I’m not quite sure what it is about Solomon Creed but he’s such a likeable character, someone you’d expect to help those in need. He won’t take any messing mind and doesn’t suffer fools gladly but I could well imagine that if you needed him, he’d be there to help in any way possible.

Solomon knows about guns, he knows about detection and he has a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge on all manner of topics. One thing is for sure, Solomon Creed is an intelligent man and even though he doesn’t know what makes him tick, he unknowingly knows what makes others function and how to control most situations. As each hour passes Solomon Creed unravels a little more information locked away in his brain. It’s how he does it and how the information unravels that I enjoyed more than anything.

Solomon, according to the Hebrew Bible, built the first temple in Jerusalem and not only is he ascribed an infinite wisdom, born out in this novel, it is a remarkable coincidence, or maybe it’s not, that in this first book we are introduced to Jack Cassidy who built the first church in the middle of the desert in a town called Redemption.

The foundation of the story is the Cassidy clan and their hold on Redemption. Generations come and go and with the line in danger of eroding all hell breaks loose when a plane crashes out the outskirts of the town. Underhanded deals made to ensure the future of Redemption come to light and a power struggle ensues, a struggle that inevitably leads to murder and corruption. There’s very little downtime in the book and the read is both rapid and entertaining.

Characterisation is impressive and although Solomon’s personality and actions carry the book for the greater part there are a number of strong supporting characters that make the book that little bit stronger and balanced. In many ways Creed reminded me of Jack Reacher and his ability to help strangers and his ability to fix the seemingly impossible and that’s never a bad thing! There’s a good balance between good and bad and the character development is well paced and incredibly satisfying.

Dark, Super and Natural – to paraphrase Aristotle Creed is greater than the sum of his parts, and long may that continue!

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (10 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007551355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007551354


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Last Words by Michael Koryta – Book Review

Last Words

Last Words

Still mourning the death of his wife, private investigator Mark Novak accepts a case that may be his undoing. On same day his wife died, the body of a teenage girl was pulled from the extensive and perilous cave system beneath Southern Indiana. Now the man who rescued the girl, who was believed to be her killer, begs Novak uncover what really happened. The only problem is in small-town Midwest, cold cases stay cold.

Garrison is much like any place in America, proud and fortified against outsiders. So Mark is forced to delve beneath the town’s secrets, and more frighteningly match wits with the man who knows the caverns better than anyone. A man who seemed to lose his mind. A man who seems to know Mark Novak all too well.

The moment I read Michael Koryta’s So Cold The River I was hooked and I’m pleased to say that has never wavered, I’m not ashamed to say I’m a fan! A brilliant and intelligent author Koryta has this ability to grab you early on and never lets go until the final page ends and the book is closed, Last Words is another strong story and left me feeling similar thoughts after I’d finished So Cold The River. I didn’t want it to end but end it must.

You can’t help but have a myriad of emotions, Claustrophobia the principal one as Novak and Ridley, the book’s main characters, crawl in the confined and energy sapping cave system, known locally as Trapdoor. There were times I found myself shuddering at the atmospheric narrative, no more so than when Novak finds himself in the tightest of gaps unable to raise or lower his head for fear of hitting the top of his helmet or scraping his chin on the floor. You have a good feeling that things will turn out ok but there’s always that nagging feeling that things might not. I imagined myself crawling in the cold and wet and it frightened me, I’m not afraid to admit that! Sensational stuff.

Just like Trapdoor the book is alive to a plethora of options and the book appears to be along for the ride as much as the reader, often it felt like a living entity. With every chapter comes a revelation and you find yourself at the point of no return, there’s no going back until you come out at the other end when things are satisfactorily explained. That said Koryta leaves the door open on a few sub plots which leads me to the conclusion that things aren’t quite over for Markus Novak and his dearly departed wife. Let’s hope not anyway.

Characterisation is as strong as ever with Ridley Barnes and Markus Novak carrying the full weight of Last Words and Trapdoor. Barnes, accused of killing a young girl in the caves a decade earlier calls on Novak’s services to prove that he either did or didn’t kill the girl. The problem is he can’t remember. The pair are at loggerheads from the beginning and you never quite know if Barnes is guility or not. Stirring stuff!

If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that promises to keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering who is responsible and for what, then look no further. If you like that small adrenalin rush when reading claustrophobic passages then you’re in luck. Last Words delivers on both accounts.

  • Hardcover:448 pages
  • Publisher:Little Brown and Company (18 Aug. 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0316122637 ISBN-13: 978-0316122634

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