I was very excited to see Judgement Prey by John Sandford pop up for review that I let it leap-frog over a heap of other books. And I’m even blessing it with a review on my much-esteemed website 😉 rather than just on Goodreads even though I only had an electronic copy. Because I freakin’ loved this book. I’m almost tempted to give it 4.5 stars except I was a smidge disappointed by the actual ‘who’ part of the whodunnit. It wasn’t left-field but let’s just say we weren’t given some of the clues we needed earlier and I do prefer an even playing field when it comes to the big reveal / finger-pointing thing.
I met New Zealand author Chris Stuart at the Theakston Crime Writing Festival. We were introduced by crime fiction guru (and big promotor of antipodean crime fiction) Craig Sisterson (pic of we three below).
Chris, he told me, had won New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel for her debut, For Reasons of their Own in 2021. We hung out while at the festival and she handed me a copy of her second book, The Glasgow Smile. Very weirdly we had similar backgrounds, as we’d both worked in international aid and development overseas and – at different times – worked with the same Australian project management company in the Pacific. Small world. We also both seemed to be wearing bright clothing, so we stood out in the dull England drizzle.
The Detective Up Late by Adrian McKinty is the seventh in the Sean Duffy series. McKinty has been busy with some excellent standalones so the last time we met Duffy was in the spectacularly named Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, released in 2017.
I was thinking there’d be a very long gap between books, but on further investigation (ie. looking at Goodreads) I noticed that this book was in fact originally released in 2018 and I missed it at the time. Unfortunately in my review of book six, I cagily comment on changes being afoot for Duffy though don’t offer any spoilers. It meant I started this with absolutely no idea what had happened in the previous outing. I soon discovered however that he’s moving to Scotland with his girlfriend and their three year old daughter and transitioning to a part-time role with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
I think I’ve mentioned in my last couple of reviews of this young Jane Tennison series, that we must almost be at a point where we first met DCI Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series. Here it felt were getting closer as A Taste of Blood features an ‘early’ mobile phone… albeit one that acted more like a pager; and Jane and her colleagues get briefed on this FABULOUS new forensic tool – DNA!
I discovered my posits were correct (as they always are of course! 🙄 ) as I saw the author herself mentioned on Twitter that there will be ONE more in this series!
Dark Corners by Megan Goldin features a podcaster. I’ve noticed it’s increasingly common for books to feature podcasters, or true crime web/streaming series and the like, and being able to switch up the narrative with scripts or other text is a useful device for keeping readers’ attention. (Interestingly I wonder how they’ll age. If in 20 years it’ll be the equivalent of us reading about telegrams sent a century ago or radio plays.) Anyhoo, it took me a while to realise this also felt familiar as it is the second in the series featuring Rachel Krall. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read The Night Swim, as I’d certainly not put the pieces together for much of the novel.
I very much enjoyed After That Night by Karin Slaughter which is the 11th in the Will Trent series. I must have missed one or two I think as I think I knew Will and Sara Linton were together but had forgotten how much I like their relationship and the way they complement each other.
The Drowning Girls by Veronica Lando is reminiscent of her first novel, The Whispering as it offers up vivid imagery and again Lando manages to place readers in the north of my state of Queensland. And I was very much reminded of a trip I had earlier this year to Weipa (further north than the setting of this book), where we were welcomed to the ‘west coast of Queensland’. It was surreal to most as we tend to forget that my states’s entire west isn’t landlocked and there’s a whole coastline in the tropics – offering a dichotomous view of red dirt reminiscent of outback Australia against palm trees and blue sea.
Broken Bay is the third book in this very enjoyable series by Margaret Hickey featuring DS Mark Ariti. Each has been named after a place – Cutters End, Stone Town and now Broken Bay where Mark’s taken a short break to do some fishing. There’s a tragic death while he’s there, but it unearths (kinda literally) another body and Mark’s convinced to hang around until more is known about the cause of death.
Black Lies by Mercedes Mercier is the second in the series featuring psychologist Laura Fleming who works with inmates at Westmead prison. It kicks off two years after the events of White Noise and things seem to have settled down in Laura’s life after a history of pain killer addiction created problems with her ex-husband and daughter.