Review: Held for Ransom

The first 13133718in the Cliff Knowles series, Held For Ransom is a nail-biting thriller following the FBI’s investigation into the kidnapping of a wealthy tech executive. Written by a retired FBI Special Agent, what really sets this series apart from the usual police-thrillers is the ultra-realism and attention to detail that puts the reader right in the middle of an FBI investigation, watching the events unfold like you’re right there in the middle of the action. Told from the perspective of Special Agent Cliff Knowles and the victim, Carl Fischer, it’s a gripping story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really enjoy this series, so I picked this one up to “see how it all started” after reading several of the later books, and I and wasn’t disappointed. Cliff is a likable, unflappable investigator (I loved the patience he had while trying to keep the victim’s wife on track to get information. I’d have lost my marbles!) The story unwinds bit by bit, drawing me into the heart of the investigation and it reads like one of those docu-crime shows on cable, where each clue teases just a bit more of the story. I loved all the FBI terminology and procedures, it really enhanced my understanding of the actions and reactions of the characters and the story feels like it plays out in real time, moving at just the right pace and the exciting ending kept me frantically turning pages. This is the perfect series for any fans of gritty police procedurals or docu-crime shows on cable and one I definitely recommend.

Amazon Link

Series: Cliff Knowles #1
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, Paperback
ASIN: B005WCUSOY
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery, Thriller
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)
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Review: Dead Wrong

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Dead Wrong by Helen H. Durrant

At Hobfield, a troubled housing estate in northern England, a bag of severed fingers are found in a bag on the playground. Soon after, the butchered remains of two bodies are found in a field next to Hobfield. DI Calladine and partner DS Ruth Bayless are put in charge of the investigation. With few clues, reticent residents and a brutal killer on the loose, Calladine and Bayless rush to track down the killer before more bodies are found.

I’ve read the later books in this series, and grabbed this one to see how it all began and right from the grisly first chapter you’re thrust into the action. A killer appears to be “taking out the trash” one thug at a time at the run-down housing estate notorious for drugs and desperate people. Calladine’s gut instinct tells him there’s more to this than just someone trying to get rid of the bad apples, and slowly reveals the back story to the killer’s motives. It made for a riveting plot and I loved the plot twist at the end and the action-packed conclusion was definitely one of those can’t-read-fast-enough endings.

In addition to the fast paced plot, the characters are realistic and interesting. Calladine, a fine detective grapples with his inability to commit to his relationships and the care of his mother, in a nursing home due to advanced dementia. He is, of course, overwhelmed by everything on his plate, and DS Bayliss does a great job as a sidekick to keep him on an even keel.

Overall, Dead Wrong is a grisly, gripping and unflinching crime thriller and a great start to the Calladine & Bayliss series. I definitely recommend it to Brit Crime fans, or anyone who enjoys a good police procedural.

Dead Wrong is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  |   Barnes & Noble

Series:Calladine & Bayliss #1
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Joffee Books
Publication Date: July 3, 2015
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePUB
ISBN: 9781523358601
ASIN: B010Y7641M
Genre:Police Procedural
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Kiss & Tell

Kiss & Tell Luke MurphyKiss & Tell by Luke Murphy

Tense, gritty, and thrilling!

With the death of her father…

Officer Charlene Taylor has received her dream promotion—working Homicide with the LAPD. Her first case is the high-profile murder of Ken Anderson, a playboy UCLA professor with a haunted past. A mafia kingpin, billionaire tycoon, cheated wife and jaded lover are only a few on a long list of suspects, all with motive and opportunity.

…all hope of reconciliation is lost.

Not only does she feel the pressure from media and her boss to solve her first case, but Charlene must also deal with her father’s murderer, the “Celebrity Slayer,” a serial killer who enjoys baiting her with his knowledge of her life and routines.

Can a rookie detective work two high-profile cases and still keep her sanity? -via Goodreads

I really enjoyed the taut atmosphere of the book. The fast paced plot with all the twists and turns cranked up the tension with each page, and didn’t let up for a second, whipping through twists and turns that kept me just a little unsure, a little on edge. Well done!

The multi-faceted plot wound together several crimes. From the murder of a well-connected UCLA professor from a powerful family to The Celebrity Slayer, a vicious serial killer working his way through Hollywood’s B list actresses that may tie in to the murder of Charlene’s father, a retired LAPD detective turned PI who was pursuing his own Celebrity Stalker case. With so much going on in the book, is was deftly plotted in a clear, organized way, very easy to follow and definitely a white-knuckle thrill ride. I have to say, the UCLA professor case was the most interesting to me, almost a locked room mystery because the suspects were apparent, but difficult to prove and with its own plot twist. And that alone would’ve made for a great book, but the Celebrity Slayer plot led up to an excellent surprise ending that kept me on the edge of my seat! Definitely one of those conclusions that I couldn’t read fast enough.

Newly promoted to Homicide Detective, Charlene is a little thorny, a little vulnerable and very stubborn, but you just have to root for her. Although a tough, tenacious and diligent detective, she battles her own demons; her inability to work through her issues with her recently murdered father, a drinking problem and commitment issues with her boyfriend.

Overall, Kiss & Tell is an exceptional thriller and police procedural and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to crime fiction fans.

Kiss & Tell is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Imajin Books
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781772230895
ASIN: B0104ZI59I
Genre:Thriller/Procedural
Reviewer:Mystereity Reviews

Review: Prayer for the Dead

23445664Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald

‘You’re going to make it complicated again, aren’t you McLean?’

In Prayer for the Dead, Tony investigates the seemingly ritualistic murder of a reporter in the historic Gilmerton Caves in Edinburgh, Scotland. With no evidence left at the scene, the investigation flounders amid several more murders possibly related to the first and Tony finds he has no choice but to reluctantly team up with a colleague of the victim, Jo Dalgleish, herself an abrasive reporter who has caused Tony problems in the past. With very few clues, Tony sets out to connect the murders and find a killer.

I’ve been an avid fan of this series since I read Natural Causes back in 2012. Tony is an enigmatic main character; each book tantalizes with just a little bit more of his history and you never quite feel like you get to know him. That accomplishes two things for me; for one, it adds an element of unpredictability that keeps you just a little off balance, you can never get ahead of Tony. The second thing, of course, is it keeps me coming back for more. Add in the colorful cast of characters that makes up Tony’s “family” including Grumpy Bob, DC MacBride, DS Ritchie, Madame Rose and, of course, Mrs McCutcheon’s cat, and it’s easy to be drawn into McLean’s unique world where anything can happen.

The fast-paced plot blended a chameleon of a killer, possibly shifty developers and Madame Rose’s harassment into a twisty puzzle that kept me turning pages. I loved the plot twist at the end about the killer, and that moment when they went to the killer’s house? Creepy!

Overall, Prayer for the Dead is an entertaining and thrilling police procedural that will appeal to mystery fans. This book can be read as a standalone or as an entry into the series, but I recommend reading the series from the start, as there are some minor on-going plot threads that wind through the series.

Prayer for the Dead will be released February 7, 2016 at book retailers

Thank you to Crooked Lane and Netgalley for an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Inspector McLean #5
Rating:★★★★✰ 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Publication Date: Feb 7, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9780718180195
ASIN:
Genre:Police procedural
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead Nasty

32866702Dead Nasty by Helen H. Durrant

When a girl’s body is found in a dustbin, a case that is eerily similar to the crimes of a serial killer recently released from prison, and Calladine’s instincts say that he’s the killer. But with an unshakable airtight alibi, Calladine is warned off of harassing him and Ruth tries to convince Calladine that it’s a copycat. When another girl is found killed in the same manner, and a third girl goes missing, Calladine and Ruth race to find a killer before any more young lives are lost.

Dead Nasty is the second book I’ve read in this series and I loved it as much as the last. Ruth and Calladine make a good team, with Calladine’s gut instincts and Ruth’s rational devil’s advocate mindset balance the pair and keep the investigation moving. The labyrinthine did-he-or-didn’t-he plot kept me second guessing myself with each page. The pace never slows, a nice little plot twist at the end and an unpredictable plot, made for one of those reads that keeps you off-balanced just enough that you can’t put it down.

Overall, another excellent book in the Calladine & Bayliss series, and I recommend it for fans of police procedurals or Brit crime fanatics.

Dead Nasty is available at book retailers or online at Amazon

Thank you to Joffee Books and Netgalley for a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Series: Calladine & Bayliss #6
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication Date: Nov. 5, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781911021896
ASIN: B01M9JRC13
Genre: Police Procedural
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Skeletons Of Birkbury

61etjg0qvilThe Skeletons Of Birkbury (DCI Hatherall #1) by Diana J. Febry

When a tree uprooted during a storm reveals the bones of a young woman, DCI Hatherall and partner DI Fiona Williams have the difficult task of picking through decades of secrets and lies to find a killer.

The Skeletons of Birkbury is so unequivocally British, the rural setting of Birkbury and the age-old rivalry between villagers and landowners helps set the scene with its quirky village atmosphere, colorful villagers and an engrossing plot that draws you into the story. The slow, steady pace of the book lulls you into complacency, you barely realize how the suspense grows because you’re so drawn into the fabric of the village life. I love how realistic the characters are; DCI Hatherall is an enigmatic investigator with several skeletons in his closet that he’s dealing with along with solving the case. I really felt for poor Frank! Still grieving over his wife’s death several years prior, he’s done things he isn’t proud of and when he gets caught in the middle of this decades old murder investigation, you can’t help but empathize with him. I loved Joyce’s loving loyalty and protection of Frank, even going so far as to search for evidence to exonerate him. It was very sweet and added a real touch of humanity to the story.

The well crafted plot had many misdirections and red herrings that kept me turning pages, and each new clue had me questioning my suspicions. There were so many facets to the plot; not only do they have to untangle the murder of the young woman whose bones were found, but also the suspicious car accidents, one fatal, that are connected to the case. I really enjoyed how well the disappearance of another woman, seen with one of the suspects, dovetailed into the story, and the action packed ending raced to a satisfying conclusion. I was sorry when it all ended.

Overall, The Skeletons of Birkbury is an outstanding entry into the world of DCI Hatherall and I don’t hesitate to recommend it for mystery fans to curl up with and spend a few hours.

The Skeletons of Birkbury is available online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series: DCI Hatherall #1
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Wings ePress
Publication Date: May 11, 2012
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 2940152882391
ASIN: B0082PXOQM
Genre: Police Procedural
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: A Deadly Thaw

Sarah Ward, Mystery, Deadly Thaw,New release!  Pick up your copy today!

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward

If you read only one book this year, A Deadly Thaw should be it.  A tense thrill ride through twisted justice and family secrets, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

Lena Grey was convicted 14 years ago of killing her husband, Andrew.  Not long after she is released from prison, a man is found shot to death in an abandoned morgue and is positively identified as Andrew.  If he wasn’t killed 14 years ago, who did Lena kill and why?

I loved this from the first page; I don’t think I’ve ever read a more delightfully labyrinthine plot. I think the most compelling aspect of the book was that you’re just as in the dark about Lena as are the police and Lena’s sister, Kat.  You’re not given any clues, so every revelation is just as shocking to you as it is to the characters.  I admit, I had an inkling what was behind Lena’s behavior change as a teen, but had no idea how it played into the later events. But the book was in no way confusing, it unraveled layer by layer, amping up the tension which each page.  The shocking conclusion was heart-stopping and wholly satisfying and left me wanting more.

Besides the suspenseful plot, the characters really make this a memorable book.  Sadler and his team are realistic and believable, and Kat was believable and realistic as a baffled sister trying to unravel Lena’s clues. It was very easy to relate to Kat’s bafflement to her sister’s actions, and her frustration while trying to figure out the clues Lena was sending to her.  I really thought Mark was an interesting character; he went from one of Kat’s therapy clients to the sensible and pragmatic shoulder for Kat to rely on.  While it wasn’t possible within the book to expand his character, I could easily see him and his fellow ex-soldiers carrying a book of their own.

Overall, A Deadly Thaw is a riveting and compelling book that will thrill lovers of action-packed mysteries.  This is the second book in the Inspector Francis Sadler series, but it can easily be read as a standalone.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

A Deadly Thaw is available at book retailers, on  Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Series: Inspector Sadler #2
Rating:  ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: Sept.  27, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover
Genre:
Mystery, Police Procedural
ISBN-13: 978-1250069184
ASIN: B01CNTDM50
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday (Sepetember 27, 2016)

I finished all 5 of the books on last week’s TBR, do I get a prize?

No?

Ahh well, here’s this week’s TBR

28233217 Cat With A Clue – Laurie Cass

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

I started this one last night.  The first page says that the real life Eddie passed away a few months ago.  *sniff* RIP Eddie. *mrr*  I love this series and got sucked right in, from the first page,  as always happens with these books.

 

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30320413

Worth Killing For – Ed James

On a busy London street, a young woman is attacked in broad daylight and left bleeding to death on the pavement. Among the eyewitnesses are DI Simon Fenchurch and his wife.

Fenchurch pursues the attacker through a warren of backstreets and eventually arrests a young hoodie with a cache of stolen phones—an ‘Apple picker’ on the make. The case should be closed but something feels off…Was this really just about a smartphone? Why did the victim look nervous before she was targeted? And why don’t the prints on the murder weapon match the young man in custody?

Before Fenchurch can probe further, his superiors remove him from the case, convinced he has let the real culprit run free. But Fenchurch is determined to get to the truth and, before long, uncovers a conspiracy that reaches high above the street gangs of London.

#2 in the DI Fenchurch series, and I’m expecting it to be another action-packed and intricately plotted book from a great author.

 

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31305593The Swap – Nancy Boyarsky

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. 

But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. 

When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

I was offered an advance copy by the author and was intrigued by the premise.  Looking at the great reviews, I’m expecting a real page turner!

 

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Dead Man’s Shadow – Anne Wilkinson32203985

Will and Bella have just bought an old house, and Bella’s mother, Alex, has agreed to help do it up.

When the floorboards are torn up, she finds letters written by a man named Edward Barton, requesting deeds relating to a property called Gothic Hall.

She starts to investigate the site of the old house, and learns that bones were found nearby during some construction work.

There’s a mystery to be solved and if there’s one thing Alex likes, it’s a good mystery…

Tales of arranged marriages, conspiring families and dangerous liaisons are soon unraveled, revealing the complicated relationship between Edward Barton and Harriet, a young heiress who longs to be free from her controlling brother.

This has all the makings of a great book – history, mystery, murder and based on true events, I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

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29778567The Corpse with the Garnet Face – Cathy Ace

The seventh book in the Cait Morgan series finds the eccentric Welsh criminologist–sleuth accompanying her husband Bud to Amsterdam to try to unravel a puzzling situation.

To Bud’s surprise, he discovers he has a long-lost uncle, Jonas, who’s met an untimely death. Bud’s mother assures him Jonas was a bad child, but, from beyond the grave, Uncle Jonas begs his nephew to visit the city he adopted as his home to delve into the life he built for himself there, founded on his passion for art.

With an old iron key as their only clue, Cait and Bud travel to Amsterdam to solve the cryptic message left by Jonas—and to honor the final wishes of a long-lost relative.

This has been on my TBR list for months and I’m finally going to get this started.  I’ve never read this series before, but I was drawn in by the old iron key.  I’m a sucker for old iron keys, ever since I read The Secret Garden when I was a kid.

 

So what’s on your TBR this week?  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!

Review: The Hope that Kills

Ed James, Police, Brit Crime, London, Mystereity, Ed JamesThe Hope that Kills (DI  Fenchurch #1)  by Ed James

Fast-paced and heart-stopping, The Hope That Kills is a chilling look into the dark side of human trafficking and a thriving sex trade industry.

When two young prostitutes are found dead, with no ID and seemingly no official identities, DI Simon Fenchurch, driven by the disappearance of his daughter 8 years ago, relentlessly pursues every lead through London’s seedy underground sex trade, looking not only for a killer but also clues to his daughter’s whereabouts. What Fenchurch uncovers is a horrifying morass of corruption, human trafficking and exploitation.

I’ve been a long time fan of Ed James’s books and I’ve been looking forward to reading this one. So, when I started this book, I expected an exciting and compelling story, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The thrilling plot draws you in quickly, and the non-stop action keeps the pace moving swiftly right up to the exciting conclusion. The only thing that bothered me is that the armed support unit apparently doesn’t see the need to surround a house to prevent a suspect from running out the back door.  Shouldn’t that be SOP?

Simon makes a great main character, dedicated and intuitive.  While the use of a flawed hero may not be a new idea, Simon’s pain is very real and humanizes him; who can’t relate to a grieving father, living with the pain of losing his only child?  The use of drums was, I thought, a powerful metaphor for the rhythm of life, but were Simon’s drums the unconscious recognition of his daughter’s heartbeat, or just the remembrance of each moment without his daughter? Either that or he has dangerously high blood pressure.  You decide.

This was the first of James’s books set in London (the rest are set in Edinburgh) and although vividly drawn, I just didn’t connect with it as well as the Edinburgh setting. I’m not sure I have a real reason for that, except that it’s my perception that as a giant mega-city, London just doesn’t have the same character as Edinburgh.

Overall, an exceptional start to a new series from an already great author, and recommended fans of Brit crime or gritty police procedurals.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review

The Hope That Kills is available at book retailers, or on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Series: A DI Fenchurch Novel  #1
Rating: ★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2016
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Language: English
ASIN: B01AAAKV4O
ISBN-13: 9781503936553
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Who Killed Vivien Morse

mystery, book, review, mystereity, vivien, morseWho Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J Febry

Who killed Vivien Morse? A killer, of course. But which one?

When a social worker is found dead in the woods, battered to death with a tree branch, DCI Hatherall and his team are called in to investigate. Was it a domestic dispute? Did the mysterious Druid have something to do with it? Or was it her last client, a damaged girl who clutches a bundle of rags, calling it her baby, Future? DCI Hatherall has to put all the pieces together to find a killer.

This was a fantastic book, so absorbing that I read half of it in one sitting and only reluctantly put it down. I really enjoyed the plot, the many threads woven together to create a multi-dimensional story packed with suspense and intrigue that lead up to a great ending, I loved that sinking realization when you realize what you’ve missed and just what’s going on, then the race to the finish to see how it all plays out.

I really enjoyed the characters, from pragmatic and methodical DCI Hatherall to the colorful villagers, the rich characters added much depth to the story. What really drew me in was the disturbed girl who clutched a bundle of rags, claiming it to be her baby, Future. I just had to know more about it! But I really enjoyed the dotty Druid, Dick Death.

“Death? Your surname is Death?”
“No, it’s pronounced Dee-ath.”

I loved the humor Death brought to the story (not many times you can say that about a book!) and I hope he makes appearances in the later books, he was by far my favorite character in the story.

Although this is book 4 of the DCI Hatherall series, it can easily be read as a standalone. While there were a few references to past events, they didn’t confuse the story at all. This author is going to the top of my authors to watch, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.   Fans of Brit Crime will really enjoy this, with a strong sense of location, well-drawn characters, a strong plot and a satisfying conclusion, Who Killed Vivien Morse is a gripping mystery that will draw you in from the first page.

Who Killed Vivien Morse is available for Kindle fomat at Amazon and in ePub format at Barnes & Noble

Thank you to the author, who provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Series: DCI Hatherall #4
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery
Formats: Kindle, ePub
Language: English
ASIN: B01HT3MSRI
ISBN-13:2940153107110
Reviewer:  Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead & Buried

30841710Dead & Buried by Helen H. Durrant

Dead & Buried is the fifth book Calladine and Bayless series, and I was really impressed by how quickly I was able to sink into the story, despite having not read the first four books in the series. Great characters and a fantastic plot combined to create a gripping story, fast paced and impossible to put down.

The plot moved swiftly and played out so smoothly that I read most of it in one afternoon. I enjoyed watching how the investigation moved seamlessly, connecting all the deaths to a single event 40 years in the past.

What I really enjoyed about the book is that the murder was the focus of the book. While there are obviously back stories to the characters, it’s detailed efficiently enough to make things clear, without distracting the reader from the plot. I really appreciated that, it rounds out the characters with enough detail to give them dimension without being too much filler.

Overall, an outstanding police procedural and very much recommended to Brit Crime fans.

Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

Dead & Buried is available in book stores or on Amazon

 

Review: Jørn Lier Horst – Ordeal

norsk, Norwegian, nordic, crime, police, procedural, mystery, book, review, ordeal, mystereityOrdeal by Jørn Lier Horst

Jørn Lier Horst never fails to impress me, his William Wisting series draws you in with their intense and thrilling plots. A former police detective in Norway, his experience shows with how well crafted and realistic the story’s investigation plays out. In Ordeal, the cold case of a taxi driver missing for over 6 months has Wisting stumped, that is until a close friend tells him about a strange customer at her cafe who makes several comments that could be clues to the case. That starts Wisting on a journey encompassing illicit activities going back decades, the seemingly unconnected murder of a young woman, and daughter Line’s impending motherhood.

One of the things I love about this book (and the series) is how clean it is.  That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a more complex story in other books, it’s just that I really appreciate how sleek and uncomplicated this series is. There’s no excess filler in the plot; it’s a straightforward police procedural with a minimum of extraneous details. And yet the stories never seem to suffer because of it; the labyrinthine plots just suck you in from the beginning.

I also like how Wisting and daughter Line work together but separately on cases; the unique symbiosis adds so much depth to the story and really highlights how close Wisting is to Line, and yet how distant their relationship is in a lot of ways.

Overall, another stellar book in the incomparable Wisting series, and I definitely recommend this series to any mystery lover.

 

Ordeal is available at book retailers or you can order a copy on Amazon

Review: Missing by Ed James

30318747Missing: A Gripping Crime Thriller by Ed James

Thrilling, compelling and gritty, Missing delves into the difficult subject of of child sexual abuse and its impact; not only for the victim, but also the family and the police officers assigned to investigate the case.

This will definitely be high on my favorite books of the year list, the finely woven plot unwound bit by bit, with lots of plot twists and red herrings that kept me guessing as the book raced towards the shocking finale.

The main character, Craig Hunter is a likeable guy. I mean, who wouldn’t love a copper that would jump out a window into a tree to rescue a cat? I really enjoyed that scene, it made for a great start to the book. I also liked how well the characters from the Scott Cullen series were integrated into the story, adding more dimension to the characters I already knew (and loved.)

Overall, Missing is a dark, riveting, and memorable book with a strong plot that will draw you into the middle of the action. I definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys police procedurals or just a good, old-fashioned hard-boiled mystery.

Missing by Ed James is available on Amazon

Review: Breakdown

25892497Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman

#31 in the Alex Delaware series, Breakdown is a story of mental health issues, secrets, lies and murder.

Alex is called one day to treat a woman who was put on a mental health hold (5150).  He is told that she asked for him; Alex, however, never treated her, but did treat her son for a short period a few years prior.

Drawn into helping the woman, who later turns up dead from ingesting a poisonous plant, Alex, along with homicide detective Milo, works to solve her murder and find her missing son.

I couldn’t put the book down, it was so good.  Usually, Kellerman novels get bogged down in the middle, but not so with this one.  The plot was steady through the book, and the ending was just right, apprehending the suspects through police work, not a car chase shoot ’em up climax.

For me, the only detraction in this story is that a few of the themes have been used in earlier books in the series.  Which isn’t really much of a criticism; after all, the main character is a psychologist so I’m not terribly surprised that some topics may be recycled.   Still, the plot was riveting and complex and very enjoyable.

Lots of characters in this one, but it’s not difficult to keep them straight.  I loved the Chet Brett character (“You know the little mermaid statue? I made that.”) made me giggle, In fact, the characters are what draws me to this series; always well-drawn, they are easy to relate to and likeable.

This book can be read as a stand-alone; there are a few references to prior books but would not confuse a first time reader.  This is one of my favorite series, though, so I do recommend reading the whole series.

 Breakdown can be purchased at any book retailer, or you can get your copy at Amazon

Review: Holy Island

24273148Holy Island by LJ Ross

In Holy Island, DCI Ryan is on temporary leave from his job as a homicide detective after a traumatic incident and holes up on an island off the north-east coast of England.  A few months into his leave, an islander turns up at Ryan’s cottage; she has found a young woman dead in the ruins of a priory.  Not long after, 2 more people are found dead and Ryan is thrown into a dark world of ritual sacrifice, small town lies and long buried secrets.

 Whew, after reading several cozy mysteries in a row, I was a little unprepared for the long slog getting through a real mystery.

Not that this book was boring in any way; the labyrinthine plot was well paced and bewildering.  This was one of those books where I kinda figured early on that I probably wouldn’t solve this one on my own and that I was just along for the ride.

I loved the island location, it’s almost a classic mystery theme and it worked well with this story.  Yeah, it made some aspects predictable, but it still fit well in the story.

This is one of those books where everyone has a tortuous back story and, if you’re anything like me, you get impatient waiting for the story to stop tiptoeing around everything and spit it out.  Most of the details of Ryan’s past didn’t come out until a good 3/4 of the way through the book.  No, if you’re going to set up such a detailed back story, you should really disclose it a lot sooner than it was.  Ugh.

Overall, Holy Island was a solid story, and one I recommend for any British mystery lover.

Holy Island is available at most book stores, or get the Kindle edition at Amazon