Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Preserve the Dead – Brian McGilloway

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

This book is the third in the Lucy Black series of which I read and enjoyed the first, Little Girl Lost. In fact I remember this one so well I was surprised to see that I actually read it early in 2011, so the fact I recall it so vividly is a mark of a good book indeed! I do seem to be reading an awful lot of Irish fiction this year but I have to say this is up there with the best of them!

In Preserve the Dead DS Lucy Black is living on her own in her father’s house while he is at the Gransha Hospital suffering with Alzheimer’s, she is in a relationship with Robbie but following an accident in the last book, which Lucy blames herself for, she is unsure whether this relationship is based on love or guilt.

When Lucy is called to pull a dead body out of the water it doesn’t take a pathologist to tell her that this body has already been embalmed, but who would organise a funeral and then dump the body? And so starts a series of interconnecting mysteries that kept me totally entertained throughout this book.

Although Lucy’s personal life features in Preserve the Dead there isn’t so much detail that it overshadows the crimes being investigated. As is often the case in a police procedural there are some tensions within the team, but these details are inserted with the lightest of touches, which makes for a much better reading experience than those writers who lay these issues on with a trowel, after all Brian McGilloway has far meatier subjects to delight us with including exploitation of the poor and domestic abuse – we really don’t need endless petty squabbles to pad this book out with! Although there is a relatively high body count, the murders aren’t depicted in a gruesome manner, so that the impression given is that this story is much more about the who and why than violence dressed up as entertainment.

Set in Derry, Ireland the author gives the reader enough details of the culture of the area, although this story or its detection isn’t dependent on this particular setting, that we get a feeling of the kind of community that our characters inhabit. And what a mixed bunch the characters are, ranging in age from childhood to old-age, from those who are flawed but do their best to help others to those that are downright rotten and plenty that fall somewhere in the middle. I find this eclectic mix of characters not only makes for a better reading experience, it is far easier to follow when the characters are distinct, but also gives a sense of authenticity to the storyline.
If all this talk of characters and style of writing leaves you wondering, yes the plot is fantastic, the mysteries are ingeniously tied together and solved in the main by good old-fashioned police work which is intensely satisfying.

I highly recommend this book and Brian McGilloway is definitely an Irish author that I will be reading more of especially if it features the strong but sensitive Lucy Black.

I’d like to thank the publishers Little Brown Book Group for allowing me to read a copy of this book which was published on 6 August 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (August 26)

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 have just started reading The Game Changer by Louise Phillips which only arrived on Monday courtesy of Hatchette Ireland. This is the fourth in the series that feature criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson and DI O’Connor. The Game Changer will be published on 3 September 2015.

The Game Changer

Blurb

Haunted by a past she can’t remember …
When criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson was twelve years old she was abducted, but she has no memory of the time she was held.
Over twenty years later, an anonymous note is pushed under her door …
I REMEMBER YOU, KATE.
And suddenly Kate’s distant past becomes her present.
When Kate discovers that her parents lied to her about the length of time she was missing, she is forced to question everything about her childhood.
Could the suspected suicide of an ex-headmaster in Dublin and a brutal murder in New York be connected to her abduction all those years ago? And was her father involved?
While Kate delves deeper into the recesses of her memory to uncover the truth, a murderous cult leader is bearing down on her.
THE GAME CHANGER is out for revenge. Someone has to pay for the sins of the past. Goodreads

I have just finished reading The Tears of Angels by Caro Ramsay, a police procedural set in Scotland and the latest in the Anderson & Costello Mystery series.

The Tears of Angels

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book
My review will follow soon

Next I plan on reading Preserve The Dead by Brian McGilloway which was published on 6 August 2015.

Preserve The Dead

Blurb

Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is visiting her father, a patient in a secure unit in Gransha Hospital on the banks of the River Foyle. He’s been hurt badly in an altercation with another patient, and Lucy is shocked to discover him chained to the bed for safety. But she barely has time to take it all in, before an orderly raises the alarm – a body has been spotted floating in the river below…
The body of an elderly man in a grey suit is hauled ashore: he is cold dead. He has been dead for several days. In fact a closer examination reveals that he has already been embalmed. A full scale investigation is launched – could this really be the suicide they at first assumed, or is this some kind of sick joke?
Troubled and exhausted, Lucy goes back to her father’s shell of a house to get some sleep; but there’ll be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbour knocks, in total distress – his wife’s sister has turned up badly beaten. Can she help? NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (June 27)

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!

I haven’t shown you the recent additions to my shelves for the last couple of week and once again, seeing as I’ve been being good there seems to be quite a few!

From NetGalley I am delighted to have a copy of The Girls by Lisa Jewell, I really love this authors writing style and The House We  Grew Up In is a great example of her work.
The Girls

Blurb

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible? NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young which features Doctor Dody McCleland. I have the first of this series, An Anatomy of Death on my 20 Books of Summer challenge which I will need to read first.

The Insanity of Murder

Blurb

To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?
Dody and Pike’s investigations lead them to a women’s rest home where patients are not encouraged to read or think and where clandestine treatments and operations are conducted in an unethical and inhumane manner. Together Dody and Pike must uncover such foul play before their secret liaisons become public knowledge – and before Florence becomes the rest home’s next victim. NetGalley

I am also lucky enough to have a copy of The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly who wrote the stunning Just What Kind of Mother Are You? and Keep Your Friends Close.

The Mistake I Made

Blurb

We all think we know who we are.
What we’re capable of.

Roz is a single mother, a physiotherapist, a sister, a friend. She’s also desperate.
Her business has gone under, she’s crippled by debt and she’s just had to explain to her son why someone’s taken all their furniture away.
But now a stranger has made her an offer. For one night with her, he’ll pay enough to bring her back from the edge.
Roz has a choice to make.

Lastly I have a copy of Preserve The Dead by Brian McGilloway

Preserve The Dead

Blurb

Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is visiting her father, a patient in a secure unit in Gransha Hospital on the banks of the River Foyle. He’s been hurt badly in an altercation with another patient, and Lucy is shocked to discover him chained to the bed for safety. But she barely has time to take it all in, before an orderly raises the alarm – a body has been spotted floating in the river below…
The body of an elderly man in a grey suit is hauled ashore: he is cold dead. He has been dead for several days. In fact a closer examination reveals that he has already been embalmed. A full scale investigation is launched – could this really be the suicide they at first assumed, or is this some kind of sick joke?
Troubled and exhausted, Lucy goes back to her father’s shell of a house to get some sleep; but there’ll be no rest for her tonight. She’s barely in the front door when a neighbour knocks, in total distress – his wife’s sister has turned up badly beaten. Can she help? NetGalley

I also have added a few books to my own physical bookshelf starting with Capital Crimes: London Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards following this enticing review from Fiction Fan

Capital Crimes London Mysteries

Blurb

With its fascinating mix of people – rich and poor, British and foreign, worthy and suspicious – London is a city where anything can happen. The possibilities for criminals and for the crime writer are endless. London has been home to many of fiction’s finest detectives, and the setting for mystery novels and short stories of the highest quality. Capital Crimes is an eclectic collection of London-based crime stories, blending the familiar with the unexpected in a way that reflects the personality of the city.
Alongside classics by Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley and Thomas Burke are excellent and unusual stories by authors who are far less well known. The stories give a flavour of how writers have tackled crime in London over the span of more than half a century. Their contributions range from an early serial-killer thriller set on the London Underground and horrific vignettes to cerebral whodunits.
What they have in common is an atmospheric London setting, and enduring value as entertainment. Each story is introduced by the editor, Martin Edwards, who sheds light on the authors’ lives and the background to their writing. Amazon

Following my post looking at the books on my shelves that look at Women’s Lives I received many great recommendations and chose to start with this one from twitter buddy Poppy @poppypeacock; Nobody’s Child by Kate Adie

Nobody's Child

Blurb

What’s your name? Where were you born? What is your date of birth?
Simple questions that we are asked throughout our life – but what if you didn’t know the answers? Kate Adie uncovers the extraordinary, moving and inspiring stories of just such children – without mother or father, any knowledge of who they might be, or even a name to call their own.
With a curiosity inspired by her own circumstances as an adopted child, Kate shows how the most remarkable adults have survived the experience of abandonment.
From every perspective Kate Adie brings us a personal, moving and fascinating insight into the very toughest of childhood experiences – and shows what makes us who we really are. Amazon

My final addition has been on my radar for a while from a number of mentions around the blogosphere but this brilliant review by Guy Savage meant that I simply had to add This House of Grief by Helen Garner to my bookshelf.

This House of Grief

Blurb

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven, and two, drowned. Was this an act of deliberate revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner’s obsession. She was in the courtroom every day of Farquharson’s trial and subsequent retrial, along with countless journalists and the families of both the accused and his former wife.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. At its core is a search for truth that takes author and reader through complex psychological terrain. Garner exposes, with great compassion, that truth and justice are as complex as human frailty and morality. 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