HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Book Review: Denise Mina – Garnethill

Posted by HelenEdith on June 21, 2009

(The first Maureen O’Donnell mystery)

I picked this book up and started reading and knew that it was going to be an easy book to read. It’s a crime novel set in Glasgow, and either my year in Scotland taught me more local phraseology than I realised or this book is so well written that when it ventures into dialogue which you wouldn’t hear south of the border, it only adds to the reading enjoyment.

Maureen O’Donnell is an incest survivor who still sees a therapist. She also sleeps with a therapist, albeit not the same one. Unfortunately, she discovers him in her living room, tied to a chair, and with his throat cut.

She gets taken in for questioning and released, but is so worried that she’s an obvious candidate for blame that she feels that she needs to try and find the real killer in case the Police don’t look past the obvious.

She finds some very murky goings-on in the process, and decides that she must deal with them herself.

The action culminates with a trip to the Isle of Cumbrae, off the Clyde coast from Largs, which is an old stamping ground of mine from the aforementioned year spent in Scotland. I did think that Denise Mina got one thing wrong about her trip to Cumbrae, as she referred to the ferry turning around and backing in, and even back in my day, the ferries didn’t do that. Back then, one was roll-on-roll-off with a door that lowered at each end, so no need to back anywhere, while the other was an ex-landing craft with one door at the bow. Those two ferries have since been replaced by two larger RORO ferries, so I think that unless the ferry service to Cumbrae has been degraded recently that a little more research was needed!

Apart from that one possible inconsistency, this was a good read, albeit with an ending that I wasn’t expecting. The inside of the back cover indicates that there are more books featuring Maureen O’Donnell, so it looks like I’ve found myself another series to read.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Blue Smoke

Posted by HelenEdith on June 2, 2009

This is yet another of Nora Roberts’ crime thrillers. This one is about Reena Hale, who witnessed an arson attack on her family’s restaurant and went on to become an arson investigator.

Then some of the fires she investigates start to have personal implications, and Reena must find out who is setting them and why.

There is lots of background associated with an Italian family running a pizzeria; and lots of pressure on Reena to settle down and marry, along with the more serious plot of the arson investigation, and the book kept me interested right to the end.

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Book Review: Fern Michaels – Payback

Posted by HelenEdith on January 14, 2009

(The second in the Revenge of the Sisterhood series)

This book didn’t take very long to read, partly because it’s a somewhat slimmer volume than some of my other recent reading matter has been.

In Weekend Warriors, Kathryn Lucas gained revenge on the men who had raped her but escaped due to the Statute of Limitations.

In this book, it is the turn of Julia Webster, whose philandering husband has infected her with HIV.

Julia decides on a two-part revenge: she’s a doctor, and in addition to giving her husband his come-uppance, she wants to deal with the owners of three HMO companies who provide health insurance and then deny claims by their policy holders, many of whom die because of it.

Nikki Quinn’s ex-fiance Jack Emery is causing trouble by becoming suspicious of the activities of the Sisterhood. In fact, he gets himself into some very hot water with ex-spy Charles’ British overseers.

The revenge doesn’t go entirely smoothly, but they do get the job done, although I think that the eventual revenge was a bit improbable. I thought that the revenge in Weekend Warriors was more plausible.

It will remain to be seen how the revenges in the rest of the series turn out. Myra’s turn is next in Vendetta.

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Book Review: Susan Hepburn – Ghost of a Chance

Posted by HelenEdith on January 3, 2009

This book came from the “Crime” category in the library, and although it took about half the book before we had much in the way of obvious crime being committed, it was so entertainingly written that I have no complaints about that.

The main character in the book is Mike Brodie. Mike is actually a woman, Christened with the name Michal by parents who wanted a boy. Mike plays the saxophone. Well, actually, she plays the whole family of saxophones. She is in numerous bands and groups and has an agent called Paul Barnett who is always booking her up for slightly more than she really wants to do.

The book opens with Mike taking a short holiday visiting her friend Maggie at a minor stately home. She gets off to a bad start when the local re-enactment group think she’s an intruder and scare the life out of her. Then Paul shows up and talks her into stepping into a band making their television debut and in need of a sax player to replace their one, who has a broken arm. Paul “persuades” Mike despite the black eye she’s carrying from her run-in with the re-enactment group. Some holiday it’s turning into!

Mike has a ward Raffi, short for Raffaela. She’s a young adult and she pops up in the story quite a bit. In fact, she turns out to be quite important to the story. The owners of the minor stately home where Mike is staying are also important to the story, as is Jake, a powerful member of their staff. Some of the other staff are quite important to the story, too.

Thngs start unravelling when the elderly gentleman who has been writing a history of Berwick Grange and was on the trail of the priests’ holes within the building turns up dead in the village pond. It doesn’t seem immediately that this event is causing things to unravel, and Mike goes on about her life, and seems to be performing just about as often as if she weren’t on holiday. However, this does prove to be a turning point in the book, and things start getting really nasty.

A host of other characters are creeping around, including at least one who’s supposed to be dead but isn’t, and by the end of the book, we discover the significance of the priests’ holes and finally tie up all the loose ends.

The title of the book, by the way, is the name of a racehorse owned by the Grange’s owners. The racehorse plays quite a minor part in the story, but it’s a good title.

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Book review: Fern Michaels – Weekend Warriors

Posted by HelenEdith on August 11, 2008

(The first in The Sisterhood series)

This book started with a Prologue, then moved on in time to Chapter One, then moved on again before getting into the story proper. However, having set the scene, I doubt whether the other books in the series will need to do this.

The series is about a group of women who have been failed by the justice system for one reason or another. They get together, along with a British ex-spy who can find out anything about anybody in about two hours flat, and they take it in turns to take the law into their own hands.

Kathryn’s name is first out of the hat, so she gets to choose the punishment for the three motorcyclists who raped her in front of her disabled husband. The reason why she can’t pursue them through the law courts is because she’s left it too long and the statute of limitations has expired for the offenses.

Men might be a trifle uncomfortable reading this book when they discover what Kathryn’s chosen punishment is for the three rapists, but it is a rather good punishment which fits the crime pretty well.

We follow the progress of the women as they carry out the punishment – with plenty of suspense along the way as their well-laid plans don’t always work out exactly as intended, but they do get their men, and their men don’t go to the Police!

The book ends with the next woman being chosen to avenge the crime against her, and I’ll be putting in a reservation at the library for that one pretty soon.

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Book Review: Karen Robards – Superstition

Posted by HelenEdith on July 26, 2008

This is the sort of book my local library files in the “Crime” genre, but it could equally be filed under “Romantic Suspense” if my library ran to that category.

Nicky Sullivan is a television reporter after a story, and she’s decided to do a story in the hometown of her childhood, where one teenager was murdered and two more disappeared some years previously. She is trying to kick start her mother’s stuttering career as the psychic by including her in the hopes of being able to speak to the dead girls and find out what happened to them.

Nicky gets more than she bargains for when a member of her production crew is murdered during filming; and Nicky starts getting emails from the killer!

The local Police chief, Joe Franconi, wants Nicky as far away as possible, to keep her safe from events on Pawley’s Island, but Nicky has other ideas, and returns to research further programmes. Joe has a somewhat chequered past himself, having departed from New Jersey with a cloud over his name.

As another murder occurs, and there are more attacks, the tension ratchets up, but we do eventually find out “who dunnit” – and the boy gets the girl as well!

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Book Review: Nora Roberts writing as J.D.Robb – Seduction in Death

Posted by HelenEdith on November 24, 2007

I enjoy Nora Roberts’ romantic fiction, and decided to give her crime writing a try.

There are a whole series of these crime novels, which are set a little into the future in New York City, and this book is not the first in the series, so I may have missed out on some development of the character of Lieutenant Eve Dallas which occurred in previous books.

This story was about a series of killings of young women who had been drugged with powerful date-rape drugs, and it dipped into Eve’s background as an abused youngster.

One of the nice things about setting your stories in the future is that you can use things that don’t currently exist to help your plots along, including easy-to-apply disguises, medicines to cure 24-hour bugs, and cars which you can program with a destination and just switch to ‘auto’ so that they drive themselves.

I enjoyed the book and might dip into some more J.D.Robb later on.

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