Chris Brookmyre – Places in the Darkness

As announced previously, my husband Wiebe is going to be contributing reviews more regularly. Chris Brookmyre’s Places in the Darkness is his first review on A Fantastical Librarian in a while.

This is as close to a city without crime as mankind has ever seen.

Ciudad de cielo is the city in the sky, a space station where hundreds of scientists and engineers work in earth orbit, building the colony ship that will one day take humanity to the stars.

When a mutilated body is found on the CdC, the eyes of the world are watching. Top-of-the-class investigator Alice Blake, is sent from earth to team up with CdC’s Freeman – a jaded cop with more reason than most to distrust such planetside interference.

As the death toll climbs and factions aboard the station become more and more fractious, Freeman and Blake will discover clues to a conspiracy that threatens not only their own lives but the future of humanity itself.

Based on the copy on the back of the book, I judged Places in the Darkness to be a detective novel set in space. From the rest of the cover I saw that this is not the first crime novel Chis Brookmyre has written. Writing crime in a completely fictional stetting is a hard thing to do. Not only do you have all the elements for your crime, you also have to explain the universe the story is set in. You need to split your focus and risk not doing a good job on one or both of these elements.  Read More …

Author Query – Chris Carter

Tomorrow is publication day for the paperback edition of Chris Carter’s The Caller, the eighth Robert Hunter novel. I’m always fascinated by how crime and thriller writers go about writing their novels and plotting their narratives. So I was happy to be able to ask Chris some questions on the subject. I hope you’ll like this interview as much as I did and if The Caller sounds like your cup of tea, do check it out!

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Chris Carter?

Just a simple guy who one day decided to write crime fiction books.  That’s all.  Read More …

Andrew Martin – Soot

York, 1799.

In August, an artist is found murdered in his home – stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey’s death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade – for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist’s last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found?

Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor’s prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life.

And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge begins his search across the snow-covered city, and enters a world of shadows…

It had been a while since I’d read a historical mystery or crime novel, so when Andrew Martin’s Soot landed in my inbox, I was quick to accept. Soot was certainly a murder mystery, but it was as much a whydunnit as a whodunnit. Especially since the book’s protagonist, Fletcher Rigge, starts off his investigation with a very limited pool of suspects. The more motives are revealed, the more the reader is seduced into guessing the culprit’s identity, which makes for a very entertaining read.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Grab Bag of Awesome

This will be the last Review Amnesty post for 2016. This last post will be a review of just two titles. One historical novel, David Churchill’s The Leopards of Normandy: Duke, and a crime novel, Wolfgang Burger’s Heidelberg Requiem. There’s not really anything that ties them together as there was for previous amnesty posts, but they are both fabulous books that I enjoyed a lot.  Read More …

Author Query – Ruth Downie + Giveaway

Cover Image Vita BrevisHistorical crime fiction is my jam — well one of them — and while I mostly read books set later in history, I have a soft spot for books with a Roman setting. Ruth Downie’s Medicus series featuring Gaius Ruso is one that I wasn’t familiar with, but given that Vita Brevis is the seventh book in the series, I’ve got some catching up to look forward to. Today, I’m happy to be part of the Vita Brevis blog tour with an interview with Ruth and a giveaway for a copy of the book. I hope you enjoy Ruth’s answers as much as I did and do check out the other stops on the blog tour.   Read More …

Susan Spann – The Ninja’s Daughter [Blog Tour]

susanspann-theninjasdaughterAutumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

The Ninja’s Daughter is the fourth book in the Shinobi Mystery series and it is a reunion with the regular cast and some of my favourite background characters, such as Ana, Gato, Ginjiro, and Suke. I really enjoyed the previous two books I’ve read in this series, Blade of the Samurai and Flask of the Drunken Master, and I was looking forward to discover what would happen next for Hiro and his charge Father Mateo. What I found in The Ninja’s Daughter was both an interesting murder mystery and a great development of the overarching story.  Read More …

Author Query – Anna Mazzola

annamazzola-theunseeingYesterday I reviewed Anna Mazzola’s amazing debut novel The Unseeing. It’s a powerful story about one of the most notorious cases of early Victorian England. I absolutely adored the book and I was really pleased to be able to ask Anna some questions about it. I hope you enjoy Anna’s answers as much as I did and that you check out The Unseeing. If you’d like to hear an interview with Anna — including a bonus question from yours truly — check out her appearance on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Anna Mazzola? 

I’m a debut author, a very small one. My first novel, The Unseeing, came out in July. I also write short stories, look after small children and act as a criminal justice solicitor to people of all sizes.  Read More …

Anna Mazzola – The Unseeing

annamazzola-theunseeingIt is 1837 and the city streets teem with life, atmosphere and the stench of London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.

Edmund Fleetwood, an idealistic lawyer, is appointed to investigate Sarah’s petition for mercy and consider whether justice has been done. Struggling with his own demons, he is determined to seek out the truth, yet Sarah refuses to help him. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone with a child would willingly go to their own death?

Criminal injustice is a hot topic these days—from Serial and the various podcasts it inspired, to Making a Murderer, to the stories we see in the news about wrongful convictions or inexplicably light sentencing. But it is certainly not a modern phenomenon and it is one such case that forms the bones for the story told in The Unseeing. Anna Mazzola’s powerful debut novel is set in the year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne and looks at the conviction of a woman for a crime she might not have committed in one of the most infamous cases of the early nineteenth century.  Read More …

Excerpt: William Sutton – Lawless and the Flowers of Sin

Mid Lawless_Flowers of SinLast week I had William Sutton over on the blog for an Author Query about his latest novel Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, among other things, and today I get to share an excerpt from the book with you. I received a review copy earlier in the week, so look out for a review in the near future!

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Molly, chief of the Oddbody Theatrical urchins, investigates the erotic publishers of Holywell Street.  Read More …

Angela Slatter – Vigil

angelaslatter-vigilVerity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Welcome to Brisneyland! The story Angela Slatter presents us with in her debut solo-novel Vigil is a departure from her previous work, which I have heard people raving about for the past few years really. As such it was the perfect place for me to start my first Angela Slatter story, since it is the beginning of a series and the start of this new urban fantasy direction for the author. And I loved it. Vigil is a fantastic read, with a heroine who captured my heart.  Read More …