Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

After the Fire – Jane Casey

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Another superb outing for Maeve Kerrigan in this, the sixth in the series. Although it isn’t necessary to have read the previous five books, in my opinion, you are missing out if you don’t read this series in order.

So what happens? Well there is a fire, always good when the title links to the content, at Murchison House on the Maudling Estate, the scene of the action in book five, The Kill. The fire took hold of the tenth and eleventh floors of the tower block and one of the fatalities is MP Geoff Armstrong but no-one knows what he was doing there. On the eleventh floor two bodies are found but with no identification, the police need to find out who the victims are and why they were locked into the flat. Added to that there is a boy who has lost his mother, an elderly woman who may have the key to the mystery and a young girl who has suffered horrific burns. The more the police probe, the more secrets are uncovered, but the investigators struggle to decide who was the target and what the motive was for this terrifying act of arson.

Luckily for us, but perhaps not so fortunate for Maeve. the new boss DCI Una Burt decides contrary to her previous thoughts that she should partner Derwent specifically to investigate whether the controversial MP was the target of arson and unsurprisingly she would like the result before the last embers of the fire have burnt out. I have to admit at this point that I love Derwent…. He is annoying supercilious a womaniser and anything but a team player but there is something about him that appeals strongly and I am amazed that Maeve remains more or less impervious to his charms.

I’m a huge fan of Jane Casey’s books, and this one was, if anything, even better than those that have preceded it. The characters are an absolute delight, particularly Derwent who is arrogant and refuses to follow orders but who every now and again shows his softer side, something that is even more apparent in this outing. But the author doesn’t just confine her great characterisation to the police force, the victims and the bystanders are so realistic that I felt I knew them even if some of them are predictably repulsive.

There are multiple strands to the story, but at no time is there any hint of confusion as these are expertly handled, including the reappearance of Chris Swain the man who is stalking Maeve. This is a great story arc which despite being an extreme example accurately portrays the absolute single-minded nature of this kind of perpetrator.

Added to the great characters, a complex but not confusing plot, there are a few contemporary issues to explore and finally, there is no mistaking the setting, a North London council estate. I recommend this series to anyone who says they like crime novels, there isn’t another series quite like it!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Random House UK who allowed me to read this book which will be published next week, 18 June 2015.

Maeve Kerrigan Series in order

The Burning

The Reckoning

The Last Girl

The Stranger You Know

The Kill

After The Fire

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 10)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Whicharts by Noel Streatfeild a book from my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge

20 books of summer logo

The Whicharts

Blurb

She never doubted for one moment that once she had the necessary training she would find the work. She knew with her whole being that she was a born mechanic. In what way she would have a chance to prove this she didn’t know, but her prayers always finished: “And oh God, if possible, let me fly”.
1920s London: three adopted sisters train for the stage and support the household.
Maimie, Tania and Daisy Whichart have self-reliance thrust upon them. The Whicharts is the story of their dreams, friendships and loves. The drudgery of stage-work is set against their passion for family ties and realising their dreams.
Out of print since the 1930s, Noel Streatfeild’s rare first novel is an exuberant portrayal of London cultural life in the inter-war years.
Streatfeild used parts of this first novel to develop the classic ‘Ballet Shoes’ Goodreads

I have just finished After The Fire by Jane Casey

After The Fire

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

My review will follow shortly

Next I plan to read The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

The Bones of You

Blurb

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft‑petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.
Children who don’t die before their parents.
When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love. NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (June 9)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My current read is After The Fire by Jane Casey, the sixth in the Maeve Kerrigan series which will be published on 18 June 2015.

After The Fire

Blurb

Arson, accident or murder?
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?
As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide… Amazon

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

There were 224 residents of Murchison House on the Maudling Estate in north London, and on a cold grey late November not one of them was expecting to die. Some were waiting to die But no one actually expected to die that day.
Murchison House stood eleven storeys high, an uncompromising slab of cement social housing that dated from the seventies and looked it. Five other tower blocks of varying sizes stood around Murchison House like siblings in an unhappy family.

Please note that this was taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more? Have you read any of the previous books in this series?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comment box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (June 6)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Well after a week’s break to share my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge post I seem to have acquired a few more books!

First up from NetGalley I am thrilled and delighted to have a copy of After The Fire by Jane Casey featuring the brilliant Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, this book is due to be published on 18 June 2015.

After The Fire

Blurb

Arson, accident or murder?
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in their 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?
As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide… NetGalley

and I’m equally as thrilled and delighted to have received a copy of First One Missing by Tammy Cohen which is due to be published on 2 July 2015.

First One Missing

Blurb

There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join. NetGalley

Now comes the naming and shaming for all of you bloggers who have made me stray…. First up is The Book Trail who are constantly tempting me with their original reviews complete with maps. They had a competition to win a copy of The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas and I was lucky enough to win!

The Illusionists

Blurb

London, 1885
As a turbulent and change-filled century draws to a close, there has never been a better time to alter your fortune. But for a beautiful young woman of limited means, Eliza’s choices appear to lie between the stifling domesticity of marriage or a downwards spiral to the streets – no matter how determined she is to forge her own path.
One night at a run-down theatre, she meets the charismatic Devil Wix – showman, master of illusion, fickle friend. Drawn into his circle, Eliza becomes the catalyst of change for his colleagues – a dwarf, an eccentric engineer, and an artist – as well as Devil himself. And as Eliza embarks on a dangerous adventure, she must decide which path to choose, and how far she should go when she holds all their lives in her hands. Goodreads

or click on the link to read The Book Trail review

And then there is Sonya at A Lover of Books who also has a wonderful selection of books on her blog. She had a competition to win a copy of Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti and I won that too.

Set Me Free

Blurb

In London, Margherita’s marriage has slowly been falling apart since her little Lewis’ birth, a surprise baby much wanted by her but not by her husband. To add to her problems, her adopted daughter, Lara, is going through a rough patch and all of a sudden she’s gone from quiet and introverted to constantly angry, burdened by the unhappy memories of her early childhood. Then Margherita’s husband, Ashley, suddenly announces he needs a break from the marriage and from family life. He couldn’t have chosen a worse time, just when Lara needs him most.
As Margherita struggles to come to terms with what’s happening to her, she decides that maybe this is the chance for Laura to spend some time away from London, and for her mother and daughter to reconnect. So, together with three-year-old Lewis, they decide to spend the summer in Glen Avich, where Margherita’s mum and stepfather have opened a coffee shop, La Piazza. To keep herself busy, Margherita agrees to help Torcuil Ramsay get his crumbling estate in order, with Lara’s help. And as her plan begins to work, Lara increasingly finds peace in the beautiful house and its huge library, and in a new friendship with a mysterious local boy, Mal.
And as Margherita discovers, Glen Avich can have a strange effect on people and soon her heart is reawakened by shy, awkward Torcuil in a way she’d never thought possible again. But Mal is hiding a secret, and the summer won’t last forever . . .
Spellbinding and emotional, Set Me Free is a beautifully written story of a family in crisis and a secret that will change their lives forever. Goodreads

And then I’m blaming Fiction Fan for the next book which I purchased on her recommendation following my review of The Magnificent Spilsbury and the case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robins, so I have a copy of The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by the same author.

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams

Blurb

‘Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow’s sudden death…’ Daily Mail, 1957
In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the south-coast town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse – the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and doctor, Dr John Bodkin Adams.
The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor’s alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed – it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.
The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England’s most prolific serial killers. Amazon

When Kay from Kay’s Reading Life started reviewing the Days of the Week series by Nicci French she reminded me that I still hadn’t read Thursday’s Child, you can read her review here

Thursday's Child

Blurb

Two crimes, generations apart . . .
Twenty years ago teenager Frieda Klein was brutally attacked in her own home. No one believed her – not the police, not her mother, not her friends. She left town, trained as a psychologist and never went back.
Now an old classmate has shown up. She wants help with her daughter, who claims to have been attacked at home. An attack eerily similar to the one on Frieda. No one else believes the girl’s story.
Now – with a school reunion in the offing – Frieda returns to the darkness she fled. To the small town which refused to help her and which hides a terrible secret. Because someone at the reunion knows what happened.
And they’ll stop at nothing to prevent Frieda discovering the truth . . . Amazon

Search as I might I can’t find a culprit for my purchase of You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz but I’m sure one of you are guilty.

You Should Have Known

Blurb

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself. Goodreads

Lastly I was delighted that Lovereading saw fit to provide me with a copy of A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which will be published on 13 August 2015.

A Game for all the Family

Blurb

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below