Archive for crime

Kellerman Reread: Blood Test

jonathankellerman-bloodtestLittle Woody Swope was gravely ill. Treatment was possible, if painful. But his parents, members of a bizarre sect called the Touchers, threatened to take him out of hospital.

Then Woody was gone. So were the Swopes, leaving their motel suite heavily bloodstained.

Enter Alex Delaware, child psychologist, young, burned out and semi-retire. he and his LA cop friend Milo find a heap of suspects – an aging ex-hippy doctor; a back-country police chief; a male stripper; even Nona, Woody’s sister, a flame-haired Lolita with hate in her eyes and larceny in her soul.

But the truth was more bizarre than even Alex could have imagined… 

Blood Test is the second Alex Delaware book. It’s a far slimmer book than When the Bough Breaks, but the writing is more assured and the story certainly packs a punch. Set about a year after the events in the first book, Alex has recuperated from the broken jaw he sustained and has slowly started to get over the nightmares that haunted him in the aftermath of the events of When the Bough Breaks. He’s also been doing some consulting on the side, even though he’s officially still retired. And it is one of these consulting gigs that gets him involved in the main case of the book.  Continue reading »

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Thomas Sweterlitsch – Tomorrow and Tomorrow

thomassweterlitsch-tomorrowandtomorrowIt is ten years since the attack that reduced Pittsburgh to ashes. Today all that remains is the Archive: an interactive digital record of the city and its people.

John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor, one of the ‘lucky ones’ who escaped the blast. Crippled by the loss of his wife and unborn daughter, he spends his days immersed in the Archive with the ghosts of yesterday.

It is there he finds the digital record of a body: a woman, lying face down, half buried in mud. Who is she … and why is someone hacking into the system and deleting the record of her seemingly unremarkable life? This question will drag Dominic from the darkest corners of the past into a deadly and very present nightmare.

When I started Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. Was it a murder mystery? An SF novel? A dystopia? It turned out the book is all three. Thomas Sweterlitsch delivers an immersive and thrilling tale of a man whose barely patched-together existence comes crumbling down around him when he discovers a murder in the City Archive that its perpetrators would rather stay buried with the city it happened in. The narrative is fascinating, though at times a little hard to follow. But staying on its tracks paid off beautifully in the end.  Continue reading »

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Kellerman Reread: When the Bough Breaks

kellerman-jonathan-br-when-the-bough-breaks-6830-pSeven-year-old Melody Quinn is the only witness of a horrific double murder but she can’t or won’t talk about what she saw. Child psychologist Alex Delaware is brought in to try and get through to her and to the truth of what happened that night. But it soon becomes clear that Melody isn’t just traumatised by the murders.

Alex is only too aware that LA is a city which spawns ugliness. But is he prepared for the seemingly bottomless pit of perversion and violence that he’s about to uncover?

The first time I read Jonathan Kellerman’s When the Bough Breaks I was probably around fifteen and the last time somewhere around twenty-five. In between I’d reread the series – up to the point it was published at time of reread – several times, but from then till now it has been about a decade. So all in all the timing of this reread seems to be serendipitous to say the least, as I’m now thirty-five. As it’s a reread I’ll be focusing on the experience of rereading the book in addition to the usual review elements such as plot and characters.  Continue reading »

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Kellerman Reread: An Introduction

jonathankellermanJonathan Kellerman has been publishing books for over three decades. He is best known for his crime series featuring Dr Alex Delaware. Delaware is a child psychologist who is drawn into consulting for the LAPD due to his friendship with Detective Milo Sturgis. Delaware’s chosen profession is one that Kellerman is very familiar with as he himself is also a child psychologist and still holds a chair as Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology. The Alex Delaware series is long-running: the first one came out in 1985 – when I was six, people! – and the thirtieth, Motive, will be out later this year. Continue reading »

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Colette McBeth – The Life I Left Behind

colettemcbeth-thelifeileftbehindEveryone tells her she’s a survivor. No-one knows she’s dead inside.

She’s dead but she’s the only one who knows what really happened;

What your friends have said.

What the police missed.

Who attacked you.

So if you want the truth who else are you going to turn to?

Confession time: I’ve had a review copy of Colette McBeth’s Precious Thing sitting in my to read pile for over a year. And every time I picked it up and put it down because there were all of these SFF and historical fiction titles I wanted/needed to review first. However, when I visited Headline in October, they basically told me I had to read The Life I Left Behind, as it was just that good. And since I’d resolved to read more crime books this year – as I loved the ones I read last year so much, I thought McBeth’s second might be a good title to start 2015 with. It was, because The Life I Left Behind was an enthralling read, one I just couldn’t put down and which kept me awake long after I turned off the lights.  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: YA April-June

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the second one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: YA January-March

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. YA books have become a permanent part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the first one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: Crime & Historical Crime Fiction

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. Today it’s time for crime and historical crime fiction books. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Nichole Christoff – The Kill List [Blog Tour]

nicholechristoff-thekilllistAs a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.

Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.

The Kill List, Nichole Christoff’s debut thriller, is a gritty and entertaining mystery and I had a blast reading it. I loved its lead character Jamie Sinclair and her main co-stars Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barrett and FBI Agent Kevin Jaeger. The chemistry between Jamie and Barrett in particular was wonderful. Yet there was also one big thing that bugged me about the narrative and while it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, I did find myself pondering it while thinking about it after I finished the book. Discussing it here might be considered a spoiler for an aspect of the book – I don’t think it  impacts on the mystery, so much as on character development – but in any case, be aware the next paragraph might be slightly spoilery!  Continue reading »

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Susan Wilkins – The Informant

susanwilkins-theinformantAs a drug-fuelled teenage tearaway, Kaz Phelps took the rap for her little brother Joey over a bungled armed robbery and went to jail.

Six years later she’s released on licence. Clean and sober, and driven by a secret passion for her lawyer, Helen, Kaz wants to escape the violence and abuse of her Essex gangster family.

Joey is a charming, calculating and cold psychopath. He worships the ground Kaz walks on and he’s desperate to get her back in the family firm. All Kaz wants is a fresh start and to put the past behind her.

When Joey murders an undercover cop, DS Nicci Armstrong is determined to put him behind bars. What she doesn’t realize is that her efforts are being sabotaged by one of their own and the Met is being challenged at the highest level.

The final test for Kaz comes when her cousin, Sean, gets out of jail. He is a vicious, old-school thug and wants to show Kaz who is boss. Kaz may be tough enough to face down any man, but is she strong enough to turn her back on her family and go straight?

The Informant is not your regular crime mystery. Yes, if you look for it in the store it’ll probably be shelved under crime, but trust me, this is not your regular crime mystery. Because everyone knows who the bad guys are. No one doubts they did it—whatever particular it you had in mind, as with Joey Phelps and company you can pretty much count on them having commited that particular kind of crime. What makes The Informant compelling then, isn’t the presumed whodunnit, but the psychological development of its lead characters and that of Kaz in particular.  Continue reading »

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