Book review: Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea

Saturday, May 4, 2024 Permalink

Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea is the seventh book I’ve read by the American author, almost all of which have been consistently good four-star reads. His latest is no different and touches on a whole stack of contemporary and popular themes, including the solving of cold cases using DNA harvested from genealogy sites as well as the burgeoning popularity of true crime podcasts and the like. Of course we see the pros and cons of both here as Donlea wraps them up in a fascinating long-buried mystery.

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four-stars

Book review: The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly

Sunday, April 28, 2024 Permalink

I started reading The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly and had one thought: “OMFG!” His opening paragraph, his phrasing, his over-use of metaphors, whip-smart prose and witty narration… I was blown-away.

Very weirdly – I discovered that I have never read anything by Connolly in past (unless it was pre-2011 when I started tracking my reading in Goodreads). I mean, I’ve heard of Connolly obviously, and his Charlie Parker series but I’m agog that this was my first of his books. Which is probably why I had no idea that this series (or perhaps his work in general) has a supernatural undercurrent.

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four-stars

Book review: One for Sorrow by Joanne Tracey

Saturday, April 13, 2024 Permalink

I mentioned on Facebook when One for Sorrow by Joanne Tracey was released that it was kinda bittersweet as Jo and I were going to co-write this series. Though at the time it was going to be themed and titled around astrology with the murder or murderer each time reflecting a zodiac sign*. It didn’t pan out for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because Jo’s an excellent and prolific writer, whereas I’m lucky to keep up with reviews on this website. 

The fact that this book is dedicated to me (I know!!!) AND I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements will probably mean you’ll assume this review will be very biased. You’d be wrong but given reviewing (how we respond to / perceive anything) is subjective it doesn’t matter… but I bloody loved this book. It’s easily my favourite of Jo’s books. Some of that MAY be because I felt a kindredness with Clementine Carter (I was there for her birth, after all) but also because I liked the cast of characters surrounding her and the ‘mystery’ at the heart of this book was just the perfect mix of clue-following-and-secret-discovering. 

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four-half-stars

Book review: Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald

Thursday, April 4, 2024 Permalink

Shock Waves by Fleur McDonald is the latest book in the ‘young’ Detective Dave Burrows series. He also features as a second character in a present day series and I suspect this one must be getting close to catching up to that as I note he first appeared in 2009.

Here his mentor and boss Bob has been undergoing cancer treatment and is off work. Despite that (and because Bob is bored) Dave involves him on a work trip checking stock but enroute they get waylaid after hearing about an explosion at council offices.

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three-half-stars

Book review: It Takes a Town by Aoife Clifford

Monday, April 1, 2024 Permalink

It Takes a Town by Aoife Clifford is the fourth book I’ve read by the Aussie author who I had the pleasure of meeting in person at a crime-writers festival in 2019. Her latest is a little slow to get started but ultimately offers up multiple twists and some perplexing moral dilemmas, but also (most importantly) poses a question that I reflected on in another review recently. Whether the actions of those involved actually made things worse or result in some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Not specifically resulting from the death of a local celebrity here, but rather the subsequent disappearance of a young woman and resulting fall-out.

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four-stars

Book review: Death Holds the Key by Alexander Thorpe

Saturday, March 30, 2024 Permalink

Death Holds the Key by Alexander Thorpe is the second in the series featuring a mendicant monk. Although I don’t read historical fiction I do make an exception for crime fiction of that golden era – including everything by my first love, the queen herself, Agatha Christie.

I confess I had to google what a mendicant monk was so now know it means a monk who ‘begs’. I’d originally assumed the detective (Detective Hartley) to be the main character but given he quickly tells us of his lack of experience and potential ineptitude, I was glad someone else was on hand.

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three-half-stars

Book review: How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 Permalink

The title of How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin is a tad misleading because the victim of the aforementioned murder actually tasks her potential benefactors with unmasking her killer.

We kick off in 1965 when 17 yr old Frances hears her fortune… discovering that she will one day be murdered. She’d probably laugh it off but there are elements of the fortune that have already made an appearance, including threatening letters.

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three-half-stars

Book review: A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci

Sunday, March 24, 2024 Permalink

It’s a terrible thing to admit but I’ve little interest in history (or real life in general – hence my hatred of non-fiction), so avoid books set… anytime before the 1960s basically. A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci is however set in the late 1960s. Around the time I was born in fact. Thankfully I enjoyed the ‘mystery’ on offer (not to mention the unfolding plot) because as a non-American I know very little of the time and events referenced here. It didn’t impinge of my enjoyment of the book, but I’m fairly sure I skimmed bits about politics and legislation that would be known by, or of interest to, Americans.*

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four-stars

Book review: Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

Sunday, March 17, 2024 Permalink

I love it when a book takes me by surprise. One minute I’m opening it, expecting something that will entertain me for a few hours, and the next I find I don’t want to put it down and am seriously invested in the plot as if the whole thing is unfolding in front of me in real life. Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera was that kind of book. We’re not necessarily meant to like the prickly Lucy Chase – who most assumed killed her best friend five years earlier. Yet, she’s incredibly disarming and I was most certainly on her side… particularly when those who should give her the benefit of the doubt, aren’t.

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four-half-stars