Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Janus Stone- Elly Griffiths

The second book in the Ruth Galloway series continued to develop the characters and build them into thoroughly likeable people.  In this book Ruth is called in to date some bones found at the site of a former children's home.  As Ruth is drawn deeper into the case it becomes clear that someone isn't happy with her investigations and is keen to scare her or even kill her.

I look forward to the third book to find out what happens to Ruth and the rest of the characters.  Still my only criticism of the book is the fact it is written in the present tense.  I just don't like it!!


Thursday, 29 December 2011

No mark upon her- Deborah Crombie

DCI Rebecca Meredith is a keen and competent rower who is contemplating having a sabatical from the Met so she can train for the Olympics.  However, one evening she goes out rowing and isn't seen again.  The canine search and rescue team are called in to investigate and soon her body is found.  Kincaid (on his way back from his wedding) is called in to investigate and soon there appear to be several issues which require his careful and diplomatic handling.
This is another good offering by Crombie and combines the progression of Kincaid and James' personal relationship and family life as well as some more delicate professional topics.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

A simple act of violence- RJ Ellory

At times I felt like I wasn't making any progress with this book but I think thats because there are several layers to the storyline running throughout.  It is also a large book (almost 600 pages).  Catherine Sheridan is found dead in her house.  She is the fourth victim of the "Ribbon Killer" but as Miller and his partner Roth try to delve into her background they keep coming to dead ends-it appears that Catherine Sheridan doesn't exist.  Interwoven with this storyline is the recollections of John who we know is linked to Catherine but no idea how or why.  This book also looks at CIA and police coverups.  I thought it was a clever story with lots of twists and turns and it is more than just a typical run of the mill police thriller.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Vanished-Liza Marklund

This was a review copy that I was sent.  I have had mixed feelings about some of Marklund's other books.  This is the second book in the Annika Bengtzon series although some of the later ones have already been published in the UK.

Two men are found murdered at a port in Stockholm and a woman is running for her life from the gunman.  Annika Bengtzon is contacted by a lady who runs an organisation called Paradise which, she claims, enables women to disappear and hide from their past.  This lady wants Annika to run a story in the newspaper covering Paradise but the deeper Annika delves into the organisation the more questions she finds she has unanswered.

I really enjoyed this book, much more so than some of Marklund's later books.  All in all I find her somewhat of a conundrum as I have really enjoyed this book and the bomber and yet couldn't stand Prime Time.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The survivors club

3 women who have survived being attacked by the "College Hill Rapist" form the survivors' club.  Eddie Como has been arrested and is being tried for the charge but as he leaves the police van to enter the courthouse he is shot by a hired assassin who is then killed by a car bomb.  The survivors club are the obvious first suspects of the police until another woman is attacked.

This is a cleverly written book with lots of twists and turns.  The characters are well rounded and likeable.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Shop on Blosson Street

This is the first in the Blossom Street series but the second I have read. It starts off with Lydia opening a knitting shop and beginning a knitting class. The book follows the life of Lydia and the 3 members of the knitting class as they face various issues in their life. For Lydia it is allowing herself to fall in love again and dealing with the repercussions of having had cancer, Alix is trying to get her life back on the straight and narrow, Carol is facing her final attempt and IVF and Jacqueline is dealing with daughter in law she doesn't like and an unfaithful husband.

This is not a taxing book to read but if you are looking for a light hearted, easy read give it a go

Friday, 9 December 2011

Dark of the moon- PJ Parrish

This book is set in 1983 and portrays the time as still very racially tense.  This is the overriding theme of the book.  Louis Kincaid has returned to Black Pool as his mother is dying.  He was appointed to the police force by a telephone interview and as such the chief didn't realise he was a black man until he walked through the door.  There is so much prejudice against him as a black detective but there is a reluctance to have a thorough investigation conducted when bones are discovered.  The pressure from those in power is to close the case with minimum work and disruption to the status quo.
I look forward to seeing where this series goes.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Back on Blossom Street- Debbie Macomber

This book is based in a knitting shop on blossom street. It is the fourth in the series I think but the first I have read.  Each chapter focusses on the life of one of 3 main characters; Lydia- the owner of the knitting shop, Alix who works at the bakery across the road and is due to get married in 4 weeks but is having her wedding taken over by other people, and Colette who has recently moved into the flat above the shop.  She is a widower with several ssecrets in her past which we learn more about as the book progresses.  This is an easy read which requires very little effort.  Very enjoyable though, I will be looking out for more in the series


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Forget me not- Mandasue Heller

This was the first book I've read by Mandasue Heller. A killer is targeting prostitutes and placing forget me nots on their mutilated body. The book focusses largely on Lisa Noone whose mother, Pat, is a prostitute. Lisa has a cocky arrogance about her but does worry about her mum. One night after arguing with her best friend Lisa meets a man who seems completely smitten with her but does seem to know a lot about her. Benny is 20 and she is only 12 so her friends don't believe she can be telling the truth when she reports it to them.

This is a good book and builds up the characters really well. It focusses much more on the storyline of Lisa and her mum rather than on the police investigations. I was disappointed to hear that DI Sneddon doesn't feature in any other books. I do like series'!!

Left Neglected- Lisa Genova

Sarah is a high flying business woman who juggles motherhood as well as her career. Everything is organised to the last minute and she never has a spare moment between answering emails, making calls and attending parent/teacher meetings. One day she loses concentration while driving and has an accident. The result of which is hemispatial neglect; a lack of awareness of her lefthand side and anything on her left.

This is a fascinating story, which describes a complex medical condition and how it effects an individual and their family. It is a condition which I studied as part of my degree so I found it really interesting to read about in a fictional situation but putting more flesh on the factual bones I learned


Au revoir Liverpool-Maureen Lee

I read this in 3 hours and at least one and a half of those I should have been asleep for but it was an utterly compelling read. I felt that I cared about the characters. Jessica is married to Bertie, a manipulative, mean man. One day she does something foolish and Bertie throws her out and doesn't allow her to know where the children are living. Jessica seeks to carve out a new life for herself whilst grieving for the loss of that relationship. Outbreak of war is imminent and an old friend asks her to travel to Paris to bring his daughter back to safety. We follow Jessica's journey to Paris and the life she begins to live over in France.

This book covers quite serious topics such as the German occupation, the resistance movement in France as well as the deceit and betrayal in people's marriages. I loved the way that the German soldiers, when featured, where shown to be humans and not just unpleasant killing machines as can occur in some books


Scars that wound, scars that heal- Jan Kern

This is a story of a girl who used to self harm. It is written by a youth worker at "The Ranch" which I guess is some sort of retreat place for people with a variety of problems. It is a true story and interspersed with the story are interviews with family and friends of Jackie, comments and experiences of other young people who self harm and some thoughts of the author too. It is heavily "Christian" in its approach but it makes no secret of that fact. I think its a very powerful, open and honest book and one that is very needed in today's society


Friday, 25 November 2011

The calling-Alison Bruce

I loved Cambridge Blue but wasn't so keen on the Siren and therefore was slightly unsure what to expect from The Calling but I wasn't disappointed. DC Gary Goodhew is called in to investigate the disappearance of Kaye Whiting, a young woman who didn't turn up to a family gathering and hasn't been seen since. A young woman makes an anonymous call stating that Kaye isn't the first and won't be the last victim. There is very little for Gary and the team to go on other than this one lead so he starts looking at other disappearances and soon a scary pattern emerges. Some of his colleagues are jealous of Goodhew's favour with their boss DI Marks but I did feel that this was only very low level and almost as if Bruce wasn't sure how big an issue to make out of it. I can only surmise that maybe this is going to continue through into other books in the series


The murder club-Mark Pearson

DI Jack Delaney returns a year after arresting Michael Robinson for violent rape. He claims he was innocent and that he was set up by the police. The blurb on the back of the book would lead us to believe that this was the central theme of the book but I felt it wasn't. There were also storylines of a body found buried in an old churchyard having died from a gunshot wound to the head and "Bible Steve", a homeless man, who quotes Bible verses and preaches damnation on the world, and is admitted to hospital with serious injuries not long adter he is released from the police station calling into question the competency of the police doctor, who is dealing with issues of her own.

In amongst all of these is Jack who is trying to carve out a life of domesticity with his pregnant partner, Kate Walker, and his young daughter, Siobhan.

I did enjoy this book but at the same time felt there were maybe too many storylines in too short a book.

A thousand bones- PJ Parrish

Until reading later reviews I assumed this was the first in a series as it shows how detective Joe Frye began life as a detective. I have since found out that her boyfriend (Louis Kincaid) is actually the main character in a series of books. The story follows Frye as she starts out in a sleepy town in Michigan. Several bones are found in the nearby woods and whilst some of the detectives are happy to make assumptions about who the bones belong to Frye wants to carry out the investigation thoroughly and get to the bottom of the matter. She does use some unorthodox methods namely allowing the newspaper editor to develop her photos for her!!

It isn't a fast paced book and even the slight twist in it is fairly easy to spot but nonetheless it was a pleasant read covering Indian legends and internal police politics/prejudices and I will be looking out for others by this author


Chances by Freya North

I was torn between giving this 2 stars and 3. It is a light fluffy chick lit book and therefore is a pleasant read. However it did feel like it dragged a bit and could have been trimmed in length. Very predictable- woman just separated from her unpleasant boyfriend but still has to deal with him as she co-owns a shop with him, widower with a son comes to her rescue with an infestation of wasps. A few misunderstandings and fireworks later they get together.