Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

After The Silence – Jake Woodhouse

Police Procedural 3*'s
Police Procedural
3*’s

This is billed as an action packed thriller and it is certainly that! The book starts with violently with a Police Officer being pursued by a man in a mask, his last thoughts that of his wife and his unborn child and his partner Inspector Japp Rykel. And this is just the start!

Set over a tight time-period of five days in the depths of winter it is Japp Rykel who has multiple murders, child abduction and a gang that import all types of nasties called the Black Tulips to contend with. This is in addition to the normal discontented and dysfunctional team and excessive demands from his superiors!

I was a little bit worried I had started part way through the series as there was references to Rykel’s past but this is the first book in the Amsterdam Quartet. Previously Rykel had a bit of a breakdown and went to Kyoto to find himself, later returning to policing. His method of coping mainly seems to involve tossing coins at the beginning of each day to predict what the day has in store for him. A device that seemed a little off the wall to me.

To be honest I found the multiple themes and violence in this book a little too much for my taste, the pace is fast and at first I found the characters quite hard to distinguish, although this eased as I got further through the book and their traits became more apparent but unfortunately none of them particularly held my interest. There was an overload of awful things that happened to those close to Rykel which although we were told had upset him, it wasn’t really apparent from his action. Later in the book a seconded officer mused upon her awful childhood and contemplated sharing her experiences with Rykel, but didn’t so the interaction between characters also seemed fairly superficial. It was all a bit grim, the ending even more depressing, if possible, than the pages that preceded it.

However, if you like your police procedurals fast and furious and would like to read one set outside the normal locations, this could be the book for you.

I received a copy of this book due to be published on 24 April 2014, from Penguin Books (UK) in return for this honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Sorrow Bound – David Mark

Police Procedural  4*'s
Police Procedural
4*’s

This is the third in the Aector MacAvoy series and although I haven’t read the previous books it worked well for me as a stand-alone read.  As in all the best novels in this genre there are a number of strands to the story, not least Aector’s struggles to get back to his previous self after whatever incident had injured him in his previous outing. To help him integrate back into his role he has to see the Police psychologist to get a clean bill of health. Aector isn’t really terribly enamoured with spilling his secrets to Sabine Keane and is relieved when he has a murder to investigate along with his superior Trish Pharaoh.

Aector comes across as a really likeable man who has a strong grip on what’s right and what is wrong. There is no falling out with either his superiors or the most junior members of his team but when it becomes apparent there is a sadistic serial killer menacing the good citizens of Hull, Aector is determined to find the culprit, and of course to catch him there he has to understand the motive.

A crime committed long ago, a drug dealer who wants to own the city and blackmail of another police officer are all put into the mix which meant that there was no time to sit back and relax for a moment during Aector’s race against time to stop any more murders.

This is not one for the faint hearted, this killer is brutal and David Mark doesn’t spare the reader any of the horrifying detail with more than a dash of violence in many an encounter. However, I think the subject matter is given a little lift by the observations such as walls being described as the colour of Elastoplast, the musing over whether his psychologist had been saddled with a rhyming name from birth and one action scene in a laundrette made me smile whilst simultaneously wincing, an art indeed!

Although the serial murder plot is neatly tied up with only a slight rising of my eyebrows as to motive the ongoing issue of the drugs plot that wove its way through the book is left to be continued in the next book where Aector may have to face the consequences of a long kept secret.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher’s Quercus ahead of the publication date 3 April 2014 in return for my review.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (March 26)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading After The Silence by Jake Woodhouse, a police procedural set in Amsterdam, a city I love.

After The Silence

Blurb

A murdered policeman, a dead businessman hanging from a hook, a building burnt to the ground in an arson attack and a missing girl – identity unknown.
It’s up to damaged, world-weary Inspector Jaap Rykel of Amsterdam’s finest to piece it all together. Alongside him he’s got an inexperienced female detective wrestling with the ghosts of her past, and a Sergeant with a drugs habit. And then there’s the internal affairs investigation . . .

I have just finished Sorrow Bound by David Mark, my review of this gritty police procedural set in Yorkshire will follow soon…

Sorrow Bound

Next I am going to finally read Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Precious Thing

Blurb

Remember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever. They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Instantly, they fell under one another’s spell and nothing would be the same again. Now in their late twenties Rachel has the TV career, the flat and the boyfriend, while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Yet despite everything, they remain inextricably bound. Then Clara vanishes. Is it abduction, suicide or something else altogether?
Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it. Goodreads

I’d love to hear what you are reading this week as I am constantly scouring shelves to add to my TBR mountain.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Under a Silent Moon – Elizabeth Haynes

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

Under a Silent Moon is a departure from the previous books by Elizabeth Haynes as this is more of a police procedural than a psychological thriller.

This book follows an investigation into two deaths discovered in Morden Village. Using dispatch logs, emails and some nifty charts representing the work of a police intelligent analyst which was the author’s previous job. The first body found was that of Polly, a beautiful woman who had many liaisons throughout her time in the village. Polly was found by a friend, bludgeoned to death in her cottage. Soon afterwards the police were reporting to Taryn Lewis that her father Brian Fletcher-Norman was in hospital having suffered a heart-attack and her stepmother had been found dead after her car plunged into a nearby quarry. The police soon suspect that these two deaths ‘under a silent moon’ may be connected.

Each of the six days the investigation took forms the chapters of the book, these are further broken up by the timings detailing the information and decisions being made by the police as well as the actions of the other characters in the village. I found this interesting but it did take a while to get into the book until the characters became more defined. There is the obligatory relationship problems between DCI Louisa Smith and her team, especially Andy Hamilton who have history! The characters are mainly fairly unlikeable, even poor Polly who is now dead but that just gives the reader more perpetrators to choose from.

The ending was really thrilling as the truth of what happened on that autumn night becomes clear to everyone although some are more compromised than others….

A good read which is probably best read in as few sessions as possible to allow the investigation to flow and for the reader to immerse themselves in trying to guess whodunit.

Other books by Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes first book Into the Darkest Corner was one of those books that everyone seemed to be reading.
Into the Darkest Corner

This book leaps straight in with a transcript from a court case in May 2005. After this most of the book is written in two alternate stories, one starting in 2003, the other in 2007. The story of Cathy is about a young woman struggling to cope with OCD which causes her to spend much of her life checking and counting.

This is amazingly well written which gives the reader an insight into how OCD rules the lives of those that live with it. Tension is built and each time Cathy seems to be getting a grip on things something else happens to disturb her both in the past and the present. This is one of those stories which stay with you long after you have read it.

Her second Revenge of the Tide was not my cup of tea at all

Revenge of the Tide

Genevieve is former pole dancer had a good job and was pole dancing for exercise and money to buy the boat. Her former life in London was full of shallow people (except her fellow pole dancer friend) and the boat people are the most generous she’d ever met, Genevieve then finds herself in the most predictable of situations given that she was hiding something on the boat…..

However her third Human Remains was another outstanding read. Please click on the book cover to see my review.

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s
Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Broken Harbour – Tana French

Crime 4*'s
Crime
4*’s

Tana French has managed to serve up another delight in her fourth book Broken Harbour. Set in Brianstown, a new estate built by the sea when Ireland was on the way up, by the time the story starts the recession has hit and the estate is half-finished. Narrated by Mike `Scorcher’ Kennedy, the man in charge of an investigation into the slaying of a family on the estate it follows the twists and turns as the truth of what happened one Monday night to cause the deaths.

Kennedy is a man for whom life is black and white, partnered by a rookie Richie Curran he sets about showing him the ropes and teaching him the set of rules that have helped him as a murder detective over the years. I loved the straight-talking Kennedy, even though he has family issues of his own he isn’t overtly messed up, just doing a job. The mystery of what happened in the Spain household does have a number of twists and turns to keep the reader entertained; without spoiling the story I thought one aspect was dragged out for more pages than was really needed.

For me the fact that Kennedy’s character lifted the story from the run of the mill police procedural to another level. Great choice for a holiday read.

Tana French has set all her books so far in Ireland where the trained actress has lived since 1990. This is one author with a true flair for telling a good story.

Previous books by Tana French

In the Woods
The Likeness
Faithful Place