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Archive for the ‘Murder’ Category

Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot gets a case in which a man is found hanging from a tree. There are no signs of a struggle and by all appearances, it is suicide. When she learns that his name is Mark Hardcastle and he directs plays at a local theatre, she pays a visit and learns that Hardcastle has a boyfriend, Laurence Silbert. Silbert is the next stop on her quest for information and when no one answers the doorbell, Annie becomes skeptical. She breaks in and calls Silbert’s name. When still no answer, she and Winsome Jackman begin a search and find Silbert’s beaten body. At this point, Annie’s boss, Detective Superintendent Gervaise, suggests they call Detective Chief Inspector Banks home from his holiday.

Of course, what for all intents and purposes begins to look like a jealous lover’s murder/suicide, to Banks’ imaginative mind there are sinister doings. I won’t spoil the intrigue by describing these sinister doings, though.

I picked up All the Colours of Darkness, written in 2008, at Warwick’s Albert Wisner Public Library’s Friends bookstore and although it’s signed and normally I’d keep it, I think I’m going to re-donate it and let someone else get some reading pleasure. As always, Robinson’s DCI Banks books are great reading. In this particular book he does not deal with a cold case alongside a current one, which he has in many previous books.

There is intrigue, suspense, espionage, action. Of course, there’s Banks’ extensive and variable taste in music, some of which I want to write down. (Has anyone compiled a list of his music, similar to Michael Connelly’s Bosch CD?…actually there is, so click here.)

Other reviews here include: When the Music’s Over, In the Dark Places, Children of the Revolution, and Before the Poison.

I just received my copy of Robinson’s latest book, Sleeping in the Ground, which I can’t wait to read. It will be great vacation reading.

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This debut mystery by Danish authors Kaaberbol and Friis is an absorbing read. Not only is it a mystery but it delves into the personalities of the characters. The only confusion is what country/countries the action takes place in.

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In brief, Sigita’s son Mikas is kidnapped by a woman who has previously offered him chocolate in the schoolyard and playground. Karin, at the behest of her boss Jan, retrieves an extremely heavy suitcase from a baggage check in the local train station. Curious, she opens it to find a young child, unconscious but alive, curled up in the suitcase. What nefarious activities was the boy headed for? Unsure what to do, she calls her long lost friend, Nina Borg, tells her about the suitcase, but not its contents. A long time ‘savior of the world’, she knows Nina will know what to do. The end result (not a spoiler), her boss doesn’t have what he wants and the abductor doesn’t have what he wants leading to two days of tension, terror  and murder.

Recommended by a bookseller from Soho Press at the Brooklyn Book Festival, The Boy in the Suitcase, the initial book in the Nina Borg series, was well worth the read. Towards the end, I was constantly reading because I wanted to know how it ended. The authors did leave some characters unsettled, I guess is the word I would use. I would have liked to find out what happened to some of them…the ones you get attached to.

The Boy in the Suitcase is a welcome addition to the Scandinavian mystery scene.  It has action, tension, mystery. It h as a plausible plot, a few surprises and a surprise ending…or more to the point, it has an end you don’t see coming until…presto, at one point you do see coming. If you’re a Nordic mystery fan, go for it.

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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner picks up where her debut novel Missing, Presumed leaves off. Manon Bradshaw has adopted twelve year old Fly (from the previous book) and moved back to Huntingdon, living with her sister and nephew Solly. When a finance executive is stabbed to death in a local park, Fly is charged with the murder, even though there is no evidence to support the charge. He was seen walking in the park at the time of the murder and his footprint was found in some blood on the ground.

Manon, five months pregnant, is obviously beside herself, bemoaning the move which was theoretically to benefit Fly by getting him out of his old neighborhood. Barred from participating in the murder investigation, she of course, does so anyway, along with hired attorney Mark Talbot.

There are a lot (a lot) of twists and turns in Persons Unknown, that’s for sure. And it is a good read. However, it is short on solving the mystery and long on Manon’s bemoaning her fate: single, pregnant, tired, not keeping Fly safe in his new environment…and the list goes on. So, here you have the plusses and minuses. Do what you will.

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When P.I. Rick Cahill’s ex-girlfriend, Kim, comes to him with a problem, he cannot deny her request for help because he’s still in love with her. She fears her husband is cheating on her and she trusts no one but Cahill whose forte happens to be tailing wayward spouses. What he sees appears to be philandering, but as Cahill digs deeper, it becomes something more complicated, especially when a “solid citizen” with a notorious past enters the picture.

Simultaneously, Cahill receives a phone call from a contractor who found a hidden safe while demolishing Cahill’s boyhood home. Upon opening it, Cahill finds a gun, $15,000 in cash and safe deposit box key. His father, a dishonored La Jolla policeman who died a broken man after years of ostracism and alcohol, was rumored to be on the mob payroll, but Rick, who idolized his father, always held out hope that the rumors were false. Could this be evidence that they indeed were true?

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This fourth entry in the Rick Cahill series, after Dark Fissures, provides readers with a lot of action. Cahill does take his share of knocks. The plot moves along quickly. Cahill’s part time partner, Moira, a true curmudgeon, provides the smart repartee exhibited by many crime novel sidekicks.

Cahill’s antagonistic relationship with the local police, carried forward from previous books, continues unabated. A little more background, while alluded to, would have been nice, although its absence doesn’t really hinder enjoyment of this solid book. My only other criticism is that Coyle keeps harping on the rumors and demise and Cahill’s idolizing of his father. It was made crystal clear a few pages into the book and there was no need for the constant repetition. All in all, though, Blood Truth was a good read and  while I’d read more books in the series, I wouldn’t necessarily go specifically looking for them.

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Two Nights is a welcome departure from Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series and does not delve into the forensics of murder. Instead, you get an action packed story that keeps you reading.

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Sunday Night has a troubled past as a child, as a marine (?) and as a cop. It is just such an upbringing that entices dowager Opaline Drucker to hire her. A year ago her daughter and grandson were killed in an explosion at a Jewish girl’s school in Chicago. Her granddaughter, Stella, disappeared. The only sign of her existence was an attempt to access a bank account that only Stella and Opaline knew about. There has been no solution to the case, despite the ongoing Chicago P.D.  investigation.

Deep in her gut, Sunday thinks Stella is still alive. Because of her own troubled childhood, she feels a kinship with Stella, which is the only reason to leave her isolated island home in Charleston and head to Chicago.

Sunday criss crosses the country following leads, some of which are hunches as opposed to real leads. She butts heads with local law enforcement…of course. Her methods and demeanor are unconventional, but that is the appeal of Sunday Night. The ancillary characters are interesting characters as well, just adding to the appeal.

I’ll let you find out for yourself why the book is called Two Nights. I’ll let you find out for yourself how the case is resolved. But, I’ll warn you, once you start reading you may not want to put Two Nights down. Kathy Reichs has put together a good story.

As an aside, this new character for Reichs works well for her, unlike Renee Ballard, Michael Connelly’s new protagonist in The Late Show who, for all her rebelliousness, doesn’t generate the excitement that Sunday Night generates. Given the choice, you know which one I’d pick. Let’s hope Sunday Night appears in more books by Kathy Reichs.

 

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Kiewarra, Australia has been going through a two year drought when Aaron Falk returns for the funeral of his former best friend, Luke, his wife Karen and their young son Billy. Aaron and his father slunk away twenty years earlier when the town inhabitants accused them of being involved in the death of sixteen year old Ellie Deacon, Aaron’s friend. However, no one was ever arrested and convicted of murdering her.

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Times haven’t changed much in twenty years. The drought has made emotions fragile and the thought of Luke using his shotgun on himself and his family is understandable, if not condoned. However, the town’s new police detective Raco feels that things are amiss and with the help of Falk, a Federal Police Detective, starts questioning the events leading up to the triple murder/suicide.

Memories and grudges last a long time in Kiewarra and most people recognize and remember Aaron, not too fondly, and some will not even talk to him. News travels fast in this small town and soon everyone is aware of the ongoing investigation, even though they all believe the case is closed.

In The Dry, Harper makes the devastation and desolation caused by the drought palpable. She ably brings up the events of twenty years ago, juxtaposed with current events, the lives of sixteen year old kids juxtaposed against their current adult lives. She shows the meanness that existed all those years ago doesn’t go away over time.

I will say that I guessed ‘who dun it’ about two thirds of the way through the book, not because of any lapse in Harper’s story. It was half lucky guess, half logic. Several (two) people told me that they thought the book lagged a little in the middle but I didn’t find it so. It gripped me from the beginning. I liked the main protagonists and although I could see them as the initial installment in a series, I’m not sure how that would work, being the setting is in a small town…unless they both move to Melbourne (Falk already lives there).

The Dry is a good story and Jane Harper is now on my radar. I’ll be looking for future books by her.

 

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Private Detective Roxane Weary is the daughter of the late Police Officer Frank Weary. Weary was a hard driving, hard drinking detective and since his death nine months earlier, Roxane (with one ‘n’) has started following more in his footsteps, especially with the drinking.

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Her good (sober) brother, Matt, recommends her to Danielle Stockton, whose brother Brad was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Sarah’s parents and is on death row. The execution date is two months hence. Brad has, for fifteen years, denied any wrong doing and the only person who can corroborate that, Sarah, has been missing all these years. Good at finding things, Roxane is charged with finding Sarah, who Danielle swears she saw in town two weeks earlier.

Unfortunately, Roxane screws things up more than she recovers things, the alcoholic haze she lives under not helping her much. Her thought processes are mush at times and her theories go awry. Her credibility lessens, as does her popularity. But, of course, there is more than meets the eye, otherwise there would be no story.

The Last Place You Look, Lepionka’s debut novel, has the right amount of action, self pity, family discord. Despite, or because of, all her faults readers will immediately like Roxane. Her drinking is a problem. Her love life is a mess. Her life is a mess, actually. Positive comparisons to her father leave her ambivalent because in some ways she wants to be like him and in others she certainly doesn’t.

The story line is plausible and keeps readers reading. There was one part towards the end in which I was afraid for her. Now that takes a lot and says a lot.

All in all, The Last Place You Look is an admirable debut and I, for one, am looking for more adventures with Roxane Weary.

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