Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Candidate – Daniel Pembery

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

There is a change of country from The Harbour Master which I read earlier this year with The Candidate being set in Luxembourg. There is also a change of style, although thankfully not substance, as this book is not a police procedural, it is a fast paced thriller set in the world of corporate business.

The book opens with Nick Thorneycroft finding a pair of ladies underwear on his floor, the only problem is he has no memory of what happened the night before and no idea who they belong to. At the office things are heating up, Nick is a head-hunter and the woman the company want to acquire is Kate Novakavich a Russian executive, as beautiful as she is smart. Nick feels he knows her from somewhere but is unable to place where. So the mystery is set and coupled with some very suspicious colleagues and odd landlords the tension soon mounts to fever pitch.

Anyone who has worked in an office will find the setting familiar as the internal politics don’t vary much no matter which country it happens to be set in. With whispers about a take-over being exchanged at smoker’s corner and in bars after work everyone is on edge. Nick however is trying to find out more about Kate, he has suspicions about what she is up to and has become more than a little obsessed. He’s also struggling with an on/off relationship with his girlfriend Claire.

As you can see this book might be short at roughly 140 pages but it packs an awful lot in, all of it exciting and Daniel Pembrey manages to keep the various strands separate enough that it doesn’t fall into confusion. The ending is perfect for a novella with the reader able to fill in the ‘what happens next’ for themselves.

All of this makes for a very accomplished novella that is full of action without being too macho.

I’d like to thank the author Daniel Pembrey for sending me a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 11)

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!

From good old NetGalley I have Redemption Road by Lisa Ballantyne whose first novel The Guilty One was definitely a five star read for me.

Redemption Road

Blurb

The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she’s spent her life remembering little – her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life?
Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness. NetGalley

Redemption Road is due for publication on 1 July 2015

From Bookbridgr I have a copy of The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

Blurb

Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, this is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock’n’roll era.
Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love, but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry… Bookbridgr

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is also due for publication on 1 July 2015

From Amazon Vine I have a copy of What She Left by T.R. Richmond

What She Left

Blurb

Who is Alice Salmon? Student. Journalist. Daughter. Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines.
That girl who drowned last year.
Gone doesn’t mean forgotten.
Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind.
But it’s never the whole story.
“I will stand up and ask myself who I am. I do that a lot. I’ll look in the mirror. Reassure myself, scare myself, like myself, hate myself. My name is Alice Salmon.”
When Alice Salmon died last year, the ripples from her tragic drowning could be felt in the news, on the internet, and in the hearts of those closest to her. However, the man who knows her best isn’t family or a friend. His name is Professor Jeremy Cooke, an academic fixated on piecing together Alice’s existence. Cooke knows that faithfully recreating Alice, through her diaries, text messages, and online presence, has become all-consuming. But he does not know how deep his search will take him into this shocking story of love, loss and obsession where everyone – including himself – has something to hide . . . Amazon

And finally I have courtesy of Daniel Pembrey whose book Harbour Master I recently reviewed has sent me a copy of The Candidate.

The Candidate

Blurb

WHEN HEADHUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED: Nick Thorneycroft is a British headhunter working in Luxembourg. His company asks him to recruit a high-flying executive for the company’s Russian business. The best candidate turns out to be smart, beautiful… and mysterious. Soon the effects of Russia’s political upheaval, and the arrival of an ex-girlfriend who won’t leave him alone, make Nick’s Luxembourg life increasingly perilous; worlds collide in this gripping, atmospheric tale. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy? What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Harbour Master – Daniel Pembrey

Crime Fiction  4*s
Novella
 4*s

In this action packed crime thriller Henk van der Pol is present when a young woman’s body is pulled from one of Amsterdam’s canals. Henk soon realises that this isn’t some drunk student or tourist falling overboard. His feeling that something awful is at play on the streets of Amsterdam is only heightened when he is told he is not to be part of the investigation, in fact it looks remarkably like his bosses want him to leave the Police Force and start his retirement sooner rather than later.

This is a novella, one of three that the author Daniel Pembrey has now combined into a collection of three about this cop who is happily married, with one daughter and lives on a houseboat. His only problem is that he is clearly out of step with those higher up the hierarchy whose chief influence is politics and not the historical city that whose safety they are in charge of.

This book gives a great sense of the way that the melting pot of nationalities that is Amsterdam. Being set in Amsterdam there is no escaping the red light district, or RLD as the locals refer to it as, and in this first book some of the scenes are set there although thankfully the author avoided lurid detail.

In a novella the author has to get to the point and avoid superfluous details while still painting a realistic picture; Daniel Pembery did this and I felt fully satisfied when I turned the last page. There is plenty of action, I got a good sense of Henk’s character as well as his wife and daughter. His superior officers verged on the stereotypical but again bearing in mind the length of the book, he did well not to go too far in this direction.

I am looking forward to finding out what Henk does in the next two stories in this collection.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (March 25)

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 Green and Pleasant Land by Judith Cutler

Green and Pleasant Land

Blurb

Retired police detective Fran Harman discovers that someone doesn’t like her digging up the past when she re-opens a 20-year-old cold case.
Twenty years ago, a car was found abandoned, with a desperately ill baby in the back. The child’s mother was never seen again. Newly-retired, ex-Chief Superintendent Fran Harman and her partner Mark have volunteered to help reinvestigate, and it soon becomes clear key witnesses aren’t telling them the whole truth… NetGalley

I have recently finished reading Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall which deals sensitively with the case of a child murderer

My review will follow shortly but you can read the opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

Humber Boy B

Next I am planning to read The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

The Harbour Master

Blurb

Maverick cop Henk van der Pol is thinking about retirement when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But Henk’s bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family. As his search for the killer of the woman in Amsterdam Harbour takes him into a corrupt world of politics and power, Henk finds himself facing some murky moral choices. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Find (March 6)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Well I’m doing relatively well in resisting the lure of NetGalley, this week just one entry for a book that was published in January 2015 by Quercus, Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinéad Crowley.

Can Anyone Help me

Blurb

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.
Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.
When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?
But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously? NetGalley

I also received a lovely email from Daniel Pemberey about his collection of books about Henk van der Pol who is a cop in Amsterdam, The Harbour Master and have received a signed copy from him so I can read the first three books in one collection. Like lots of other bloggers and reviewers I get lots of review requests most of which I decline on the principle that the author hasn’t looked at my reviews whereas the email from Daniel was personal, he referenced some authors I’d praised and was polite!

The Harbour Master

Blurb

AMSTERDAM NOIR IN THREE, ICE-COLD INSTALLMENTS …
Maverick cop Henk van der Pol is thinking about retirement when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But his bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family…
Part two sees Henk rove further afield, to Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels – investigating a maze-like set of cases involving diamonds, fine art, drugs and high-class prostitution. What connects the cases, and what risks must Henk run to uncover the criminals? Impeding him is his rival and boss Joost, who has an equal but quite separate interest in the investigation’s outcome…
In the finale, a powerful Dutch politician is hijacked, bearing parallels with the 1983 kidnapping of Freddy Heineken. Henk, who worked on the Heineken case at the start of his career, is now operating outside of the official investigation. He becomes imprisoned himself, and, with rival cop Joost emerging as the winner, Henk must navigate dark currents at the highest level of Dutch society. Goodreads

And then… well I went to the charity shop looking for a chair and came away no chair but two books. In my defence these are adding to my collections.

First up is Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie featuring my favourite detective Hercule Poirot

Elephants Can Remember
Blurb

Hercule Poirot is determined to solve an old husband and wife double murder that is still an open verdict! Hercule Poirot stood on the cliff-top. Here, many years earlier, there had been a tragic accident. This was followed by the grisly discovery of two more bodies — a husband and wife — shot dead. But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder? Poirot delves back into the past and discovers that ‘old sin can leave long shadows’. Goodreads

…and lastly Almost The Truth by Margaret Yorke

Almost The Truth

Blurb

Bicklebury is a small village of some three hundred inhabitants, a church and a pub, but no shop, no school, and certainly no crime – until two ex-cons decide it is the ideal location to pull a robbery. Derek Jarvis and his daughter Hannah are home when the two armed men break in, and Derek, fearing for their safety, urges Hannah not to resist. The tactic backfires as one of the men brutally attacks her, leaving her broken and revolted. Derek’s marriage and his daughter are never the same again.
As his family falls apart, he finds his wife and daughter blame him for what happened, refusing to forgive him even after the men are caught. And so Derek Jarvis, a mild-mannered accountant, conceives a plan to avenge his family. But Derek has never truly looked at himself or anticipated the terrifying twist his quest for revenge may take, as it leads him down the darkest back alleys of the psyche, strips away his controls and confronts his soul with a shocking choice . . . Amazon

Have you found anything new to read this week?