Posts Tagged With: crime

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

brighton rock

Synopsis from Amazon:

A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

I picked up this book for part of my dissertation reading (the portrayal of Brighton in fiction) and wow, it certainly portrays life in the town in a dark, horrific way. Brighton Rock follows Pinkie, a heartless man as he tries to become a gang leader. He kills a journalist without any remorse. Just as he thinks this is the start of big things, he starts to be hunted down by Ida Arnold, who wants justice for Hale’s death. As events unfold Pinkie takes all sorts of measures to remain safe and in control, including more death, but he may just have underestimated Ida…

I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, especially as the opening line is:

“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”

I actually enjoyed this book. It was a slow read, and sometimes I got a little bored but overall it was exciting, with murder, fear, love and suspicion . The book shows a dark side of Brighton, with gang wars and dingy hide-outs. The ending was not what I expected either – and probably not how I would have written it, but a good way to end the book.

I liked Ida best. Pinkie was too arrogant and moody for me – he had lots of mood swings, which although fitting for his character, did annoy me somewhat after a while. Ida on the other hand, she was big and brave. She was clever and determined – and not easily scared. I think she was the most courageous character in the book.

Although written in the 1930s, this is a good crime novel, and just as exciting as modern-day thrillers. If you like suspense, and adventure, this book is worth reading.

8/10

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

bones to ashes

Synopsis from Amazon:

Under the microscope, the outer bone surface is a moonscape of craters…

The skeleton is that of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old – and forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is struggling to keep her emotions in check.

A nagging in her subconscious won’t let up. A memory triggered, deep in her hindbrain – the disappearance of a childhood friend; no warning, no explanation…

Detective Andrew Ryan is working a series of parallel cases, and requires Tempe’s forensic expertise. Three missing persons, three unidentified bodies – all female, all early-to-mid teens… Could Tempe’s skeleton be yet another in this tragic line of young victims? Or is she over-reacting, making connections where none exist?

Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But she couldn’t have predicted where this investigation would lead, or the horrors it would eventually uncover… Can Tempe maintain a professional distance as the past catches up with her in this, her most deeply personal case yet?

I have only just started reading crime novels and this is the first Kathy Reich’s book I have read – and it certainly encourages me to read more of this genre and more of her work.

In this novel, Tempe is working with several skeletons – most of them from Ryan’s missing girls and cold cases. Except, it all gets a little personal. When a young girl her friend disappeared without a trace, and Tempe worries that one of the skeletons is her friend. With this in mind, she and her sister start their own investigation, which leads them into danger….

This was an exciting book with plenty of turns and twists and I didn’t work out the ending. It seemed very realistic – full of scientific knowledge and crime knowledge. Reich’s writing is engaging and gripping. She writes about more than just the crimes, there is love and friendship and family explored too, adding depth to an already good book. Through these she is able to explore the characters more fully.

My only complaints were lots of the conversation was in French, which then had to be translated, and there was so much science I didn’t understand! Other than that, this was a good book and well worth reading.

8/10

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

grave-surprise

Synopsis from Amazon:

A bolt of lightning struck Harper Connelly when she was 15, leaving her with a strange spider web of red on her torso and right leg, episodes of weakness, shakes and headaches – and an ability to find dead people. Harper is summoned to Memphis to demonstrate her unique talent, but there are still plenty of sceptics, even as Harper stands atop a grave and announces there are two bodies buried there. The police are convinced there’s something fishy going on when the grave is opened to reveal the centuries-dead remains of a man, which they’d expected (that being his grave, after all) and a dead girl, which no one expected – except Harper, of course. And suspicions are raised even further because Harper had failed to find eleven-year-old Tabitha Morgenstern when she was abducted two years before. Harper and Tolliver need to find the real killer to prove Harper’s innocence, especially after their nocturnal visit to the cemetery in hopes that Harper can sense something more is followed by the discovery, the following morning, of a third dead body in the grave . . .

This is the second book in Harris’ Harper Connelly series – and pretty much as good as the first. There is a reason why I have only heard good things about this series – her writing is exciting and engaging; her characters are realistic and herstorylines, and the suspense as they unfold are perfect.

In this book, we travel from Saines to Memphis with Harper and Tolliver – her step-brother. She is going to give a demonstration of her ability to a group of university students. The old grave yard has a surprise in store for her though – in the oldest, darkest grave, is a recent body. The body, an 11 year old girl called Tabitha, who Harper had been looking for 18 months ago. Coincidence? Harper sets out to find out. Yet the grave has one more surprise for her. When she goes back, another new body is in there. How are the two related? What is the key? Alongside this, Harper learns more about the supernatural and has to struggle with her feelings forTolliver.

There is a lot to this book, yet it reads quickly. It is exciting, thrilling even. I was starting to think there was something deeper between Tolliver and Harper, so I am glad that has started to be explored. There are links back to the previous book, to allow the story to continue, and keeps other storylines open, such as the disappearance of their sister Cameron. I think that is important and very well done.

I liked all the characters. All of them seemed believable. There are issues all of them face, and I like how Harris explores things such as grief and sexual orientation, as well as families and religion.

I read this book in two sittings. You will not want to put it down – it is fabulous, a must-read.

10/10

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

grave-sight

Synopsis from Amazon:

Harper Connelly had a lucky escape when she was hit by lightning: she didn’t die. But sometimes she wishes she had died, because the lightning strike left her with an unusual talent: she can find dead people – and that’s not always comfortable. Everyone wants to know how she does it: it’s a little like hearing a bee droning inside her head, or maybe the pop of a Geiger counter, a persistent, irregular noise that increases in strength as she gets closer. It’s almost electric: a buzzing all through her body, and the fresher the corpse, the more intense the buzz. Harper and her brother Tolliver make their living from finding the dead, for desperate parents, worried friends . . . and police departments who have nowhere else to look. They may not believe in her abilities, but sometimes the proof is just too much for even the most sceptical of police chiefs to deny. But it’s not always easy for someone like Harper, for the dead *want* to be found – and too often, finding the body doesn’t bring closure; it opens a whole new can of worms.

I really enjoyed this book. It is the first Harris book I have read and I was gripped. We are introduced to Harper Connelly and her step-brother Tolliver. Having been struck by lightning at the age of 15 Harper was left with a unique gift – she finds dead people. This talent takes her to Sarne to find the body of a missing teenager. When found however, the town goes nuts. To separate Tolliver and Harper, Tolliver is arrested and thrown in jail, and Harper has several attacks on her life. In the midst of this, she does some investigating work, and this small town reveals some dark secrets…

This is the first book in the Harper Connelly series, and if all the books are this good, we will be in luck! This is an exciting, engaging and gripping book. I really enjoyed how Harris wrote. Even though Harper’s talent is questionable, I found myself pulled into the story and believing what was written. I was trying to solve the mystery too.

I enjoyed reading all the characters and the setting. I chuckled at the fact Sarne had been written as the stereotypical hill-billy small-town, with in-breeding. That did make for a fun read! I thought the way Harper and Tolliver were written were great. I connected with both of them and liked how Harris wrote in their history so we understood them better.

I don’t have any complaints about this book – I loved it. This is a must-read.

10/10

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

blue-smoke

Synopsis:

Reena Hale grew up with an intimate knowledge of the destructive power of fire. When she was a child, her family’s restaurant was burned to the ground, and the man responsible was sent to jail. The Hale family banded together to rebuild, and Reena found her life’s calling. She trained as a firefighter and then as a cop, always with the end goal in sight: to become an arson investigator. Now, as part of the arson unit, she is called in on a series of suspicious fires that seem to be connected-not just to each other, but to her. And as danger ignites all around her, Reena must rely on experience and instinct to catch a dangerous madman who will not stop until everything she loves has gone up in smoke.

I really enjoyed this book. I had never read Nora Roberts before, but I already have two others lined up. Catarina Hale first experiences fire when to get revenge, Joe Pastroelli burned down the Hale family restaurant, Siricos. Pastroelli is taken off to jail, in front of the neighbourhood and his own son. Having experienced the adrenaline fire produced, Reena trained up on the arson unit in Baltimore. Yet someone is out to get revenge on her – setting fire to all around her, from buildings to lovers. We follow Reena as she tries to second guess the man tormenting her and prevent her whole life, herself including, going up in smoke.

This book had me gripped right from the beginning and by the end, with so much excitement on the last few pages, I could not put this book down. Never did I get bored. I was hooked, and trying to work out the arsonist’s next move too. The anticipation of finding out what was to burn was intense. It was interesting that right from the start we know who is after her – it really isn’t hard to work out – but then as Reena doesn’t know until 100 pages towards the end; in fact it takes her a while to realise she is being targetted, there is a new and exciting level of dramatic irony.

I loved the Hale family. They are a big, Italian family, firmly rooted in the neighbourhood and loved by all. They all look out for each other and protect each other. I loved Xander, Reena’s younger brother, because despite his age, he always had Reena’s back, and saved her on many occassions. I loved Bo, the next door neighbour. It took me a while to figure him out, but he comes through for her and won’t desert her even though he is in danger. And I loathed the arsonist and really wanted to see him taken down. All the characters sparked a response from me, which I think is important in a book.

There was a fair amount of sex, and plenty of bad language, which I didn’t like, but that aside, this was an incredible book. Exciting and engaging. Robert’s writes a fantastic story. I highly recommend this book.

9/10

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Days of Newgate by Andrew Pepper

This book, set in London in 1829, is the first book in a series about Pyke, a Bow Street Runner, and sometime crook of questionable (to say the least) morals.

The book is set at a time for great change for the policing system: Home Secretary Peel had his plans to set up one ruling Police Force, and thus put Runners like Pike, out of work.  His plans were opposed by many, and this conflict is very well illustrated in this book.

Pyke finds himself caught up in trying to solve a brutal triple murder, and his investigations uncover a web of deception which perhaps goes as high as the Government itself, and which threatens Pyke’s livelihood and even his life.  

Aided by an enigmatic society beauty (which comes across far less cliched than that sounds), Pyke has to stay one step ahead of the powers that be at all time, as he faces danger from known and unknown persons.

I really enjoyed this book.  The action moves along at a fair old pace, and I never found myself getting bored.  1820s London is brought vividly to life, with detailed descriptions of the way of life.  However, the historical references did not detract from the main storyline; they merely served to help set the scene.

Pyke is a terrific main character.  He is a cruel and brutal man, who I felt I should dislike, but there was just enough goodness in him to make me want to root for him all the way.  As a character who was very believable, his actions still took me by surprise on many occasions.

There is a lot of violence and bloodshed in this book, and I can certainly see that that in itself would turn a lot of readers off.  I wouldn’t recommend it to a squeamish friend!  However, if you want a good crime mystery with plenty of twists and turns, and don’t mind some blood and gore, this is a great read.  I look forward to reading the next installment.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Darker Side – Cody McFadyen

Amazon Synopsis
When FBI Agent Smoky Barrett and her team of investigators are called in by the Director himself to handle a case of murder committed on a flight from Texas to Virginia, the case begins with a shock, and the twists keep coming. It soon becomes apparent that Smoky is dealing with a serial killer who appears to have committed a truly horrific number of murders already, someone who can find people with secrets not just the secrets we all admit to ourselves, but the deepest, innermost secrets of all and is using them to target and destroy his victims. The case is on the edge of going public, and when that happens, with all the accelerated power of the Internet behind it, public hysteria is not far behind. Just at the time when she is working so hard to bring up her adopted daughter Bonnie, Smoky is now under the most intense pressure of her career to get results. Yet the team has never been faced with such an apparently insoluble problem. Who will the next victim be? Everyone in the world has secrets. Even Smoky.

 

My Thoughts

This is the first book by McFadyen for me and I was gripped from the very beginning. I loved the characters that he has created and felt I got to know them and understood what was going on in their heads. Smoky, the main character has a traumatic background with some harrowing history but is dealing with her demons the best she can. Murders are being committed in their hundreds and the only link is that all the victims had a dark secret that they had shared with someone. How the killer accesses this information is a mystery that Smoky needs to unravel. Yet she has a secret that she’s never told to anyone before, will this hinder or aid her search for the murderer? When the killer’s methods are described it makes for cringing reading. I felt the pain and fear of the victims, and their sense of helplessness. There is also a strong religious theme running through this storyline that is sure to spark many discussions. This is a tale of love, loss, pain and grief, with a strong sense of endurance and hope. 

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.