Posted in Book Review

Ian Rankin- 5* Review – In a House of Lies

IN A HOUSE OF LIES…

Everyone has something to hide
A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still – both for his family and the police – is that his body was in an area that had already been searched.

Everyone has secrets
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now – after a decade without answers – it’s time for the truth.

Nobody is innocent
Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.

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My Thoughts…

‘In a ‘House of Lies’ is a polished police procedural with iconic characters, especially Rebus. Even ailing and in retirement, he remains an intelligent, tenacious detective.

DI Clarke is on the Murder Investigation Team (MIT) investigating a murder of a victim from Rebus’ time. Opening this cold case lets out old secrets, and no one is safe especially Rebus. Someone is leaking information to the press, and internal affairs suspect Clarke, who is still smarting from their previous investigation. Corruption, murder and poor policing are all exposed in this fascinating crime novel, and Rebus finds himself with a case that reveals some poignant facts and showcases the best and worst of humanity.

The characters are complex, flawed and realistic, whether they be criminals or police. The tension and suspense increase with each page making it hard to put down. The setting is authentic and the background information cleverly woven into the story, making it an easy standalone read.

Police procedural at its best, whether you are a fan of Rebus or not.

I received a copy of this book from Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Murder at the Grand Raj Palace – Vaseem Kahn – (Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation #4) – 5* Review

For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj.

The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder…

When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.

Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesh, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness.

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My Thoughts…

If you’re looking for a 21st-century take on the cosy mystery, this is a must-read. I love Miss Marple, Poirot and Midsomer Murders and this series encompasses the best of these with an enthralling taste of life in India.

Chopra, a retired policeman, is an inherent crime solver and even ill health can’t prevent him from doing what he loves. He is an honest, loyal man who values truth and justice. Sometimes his personal life gets sidelined by his investigations, like this one, which threatens to rock his marriage after twenty-five years. Chopra is a surrogate parent to an orphaned baby elephant called Ganesh, with a talent for crime solving and a young boy who is inseparable from the young elephant. These young characters provide the light relief to Chopra’s often grisly investigations.

The plot plays out like an Agatha Christie with numerous suspects, misinformation and sub-plots. The steady pacing makes these easy to follow, but the storyline keeps its secrets well. Poppy, Chopra’s wife, has her investigation adding to the story’s diversity. Indian culture and society are intrinsic to this series, and there are also pertinent comments about politics, colonialism, religion, and multi-national corporations, which give the story its authenticity. 

I haven’t read the previous books in this series, but this one reads well as a standalone. However, it’s addictive reading, and  I’m sure I will read the other books in the series soon. If you like whodunnit mysteries, charismatic characters and charming animals, this is a book you’re sure to enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from Mulholland Books, Hodder& Stoughton via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: A Known Evil – Aidan Conway Extract and 4* Review

Blog Tour - A Known Evil

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.

A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession, and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.

A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com

Extract

One

‘They’d found the body in the entrance to their block of flats where, sometimes, bleary-eyed, they would avoid treading on the dog shit some neighbour couldn’t care less about cleaning up – teenagers on the way to school at eight in the morning. They’d been the first to leave the building, apparently, although it was now known the victim didn’t live in the same complex. Paola Gentili, mother of three, a cleaner, on her way to work. Multiple blows to the cranium. No sign of sexual assault. No attempt to appropriate money or valuables. No sign of a struggle.

So, it seemed she had been taken completely unawares. Better for her. Husband had been informed. Distraught. Had given them the few preliminary details they required without the need for any formal interview. That would have to wait until they got the go-ahead from the presiding magistrate. But the guy seemed clean enough going by the checks the new ‘privatized’ IT system had given them in record time. What social media access she had was regular and only moderately used. Meanwhile, they’d started looking into the other stuff. No particular leads. No affairs. No money issues. No links to known families in the organized sector. Worked in a ministry in the centre of the city. No unexplained calls. Just waiting now on the forensics guys to come up with something more concrete to work with.

Inspector Michael Rossi had only just driven through the gates in the Alfa Romeo. He had known immediately that something big was coming by the urgency of Carrara’s steps as he’d emerged from the baroque archway leading from the Questura’s offices to the car park. If Rossi had bothered to switch his phone on before it would have got him out of bed, what? Twenty minutes earlier? But that wouldn’t have saved anyone’s life. Now, the debris of takeaway espressos and sugar sachets violated the bare desk space separating them in his office. Their own cleaner had just been in, chatty as ever, oblivious as yet to the news.

“Other than that,” said Carrara, “we’re totally in the dark on this one. But it does look like there’s a possible pattern emerging.”

“You’ve been busy,” said Rossi.

The second such killing in as many weeks. The modus operandi and the victim profile bore distinct similarities, but no one had dared yet to use the term. Serial? Was it possible? In Rome?

Detective Inspector Luigi Carrara. Five years Rossi’s junior, several years under his belt in anti-mafia, undercover, eco-crime, narcotics, now on the Rome Serious Crime Squad. Recently married, he had the air of one of those men who never seem to have overdone anything in their lives: hardly a wrinkle, haircut every month, bright, fluid in his movements. Just the man Rossi needed on a Monday morning like this one.

“How similar?” said Rossi, still struggling to form what he considered decent sentences, though his mind was already whirring into action. “The weapon, for instance?”

“Blunt instrument. Iron bar or hammer, probably.”

“Who’s on the scene?”

“A few boys from the local station. They got the magistrate there sharpish though. Hopefully, they’ll have disturbed as little as possible. She was carrying ID, so we got to work with that straight off, once the news came in on the police channel.”

“Press know?”

“Not officially. But they will.”

“Silvestre?”

“Out of town, I think.”

“Good. Let’s go,” said Rossi grabbing his battered North Face from the coat stand, feeling more vigorous and even a little bit up for it. “I want to see this one for myself.” ‘

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com
My Thoughts…
‘A Known Evil’, is an informative, well- researched international thriller. It details a serial killer’s exploits in a well-paced plot, set against a background of Italian politics and bureaucratic corruption, involving the church, police, judiciary and state.
If you are expecting graphic, serial killing detail, and knife-edge suspense, you may be disappointed. This story concentrates on how the corruption in all aspects of Italian life has facilitated the serial killer. Hampering the police investigation and furthering his and the corrupt officials’ sinister agenda.
Michael Rossi is the senior investigating officer; he is well-educated, a philosopher and a theologer, he sees his police officer role as a vocation. An enlighted individual who looks at the bigger picture, which helps him to be an excellent detective. His success allows him a certain latitude with his bosses, but they still frustrate his progress if he threatens their much-prized status quo. There are shades of ‘Morse’ and ‘Hathaway’ in this character with the Italian influence of ‘Zen’, and he is both likeable and interesting, worthy of more than one book.
I read this story in a day, intricately constructed with multiple settings and subplots that demand concentration to see how they relate to the overall story. The short chapters allow action and detail to be delivered in manageable bites, keeping the story’s momentum and suspense levels high.
There are plot twists and misinformation that keep you guessing. The reader glimpses aspects of the main characters’ past lives, perhaps the springboard for further stories in the series? The atmospheric, edgy ending answers all the questions posed throughout.
‘A Known Evil, ‘ explores in vivid detail the political intrigue, sinister organised crime and apparently random assassinations in a chaotic city drowning in corruption.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Killer Reads in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

-#JudgeForYourself- 5* Review -John Grisham – The Whistler

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

The most corrupt judge in US history. A young investigator with a secret informant. The electrifying new thriller.

Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida’s one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That’s until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.

No one has a clue what she’s been doing – until now.

Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them. Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions.

But first they need Lacy to start an investigation. Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?

Mystery Thriller Buy Links

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Mystery Thriller My Review

The Whistler (Exclusive Early Sampler)

Driving to meet a potential informant Lacy and her partner Hugo argue good naturedly about music and catch up on their respective lives. The closeness in their relationship is deeper than that of colleagues. They are friends and the author wants you to know this from the start. Lacy and Hugo are not the FBI agents I initially thought them to be but part of a federal organisation that investigates judicial corruption.
The informant Greg, is definitely an anti-hero, he is the middle man and in it for the money. We don’t even meet the true antagonist or the potential whistle blower in this four chapter sampler but it’s easy to visualise and have opinions about them and their actions from the thoughts and conversation of Lacy, Hugo and Greg.
The suspense and menacing quality of this story builds from Lacy’s first meeting with Greg. Can she trust him? Does he have a hidden agenda? Is this case worth risking her life over? These are all questions tantalisingly raised in the first few chapters. The reader’s bond with Lacy, single and childless and Hugo, the family man is already strong by this time and you want to know how this case will affect their lives.
The story’s other players are still to be introduced but they form a sinister presence, even before you meet them. Is this a story of good versus evil? Or something less defined, yet more complex? You’ll want to read the whole story to find out.
#JudgeForYourself

I received a four chapter sampler of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Whistler by John Grisham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Whistler (Exclusive Early Sampler) by John Grisham

John Grisham

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