The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis won the inaugural Allen & Unwin Crime Fiction prize last year and it’s certainly well-deserved. I note Petraitis has written a number of true crime books and I’m not surprised as her story-telling ability is strong and attention to detail, impressive. This book and the events within felt real, as if we readers are privy to real life pain, anger and guilt.
I’m loving this Eddie Flynn series by Irish author Steve Cavanagh. The legal procedurals offer a great balance of courtroom drama, twisty plots and a really likeable and engaging cast of characters. Here in particular, amidst the legalese and police investigation, Cavanagh’s inserted the FBI. Or more aptly, an FBI-reject who I found to be fascinating. There’s reference, for example, to the much-lauded FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) having very poor solve-rates and a flawed profiling methodology. *Googles to check*
The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan is a standalone – a departure from the Irish-born Australia-dwelling’s Cormac Reilly series that I’ve enjoyed over the past four-ish years. I’ve read many good things about [The Murder Rule] over recent months and I can only agree as McTiernan manages to offer readers a likeable (though agenda-laden) lead, intriguing plot and several twists and turns to keep us guessing.
Reputation by Sarah Vaughan is the third book I’ve read by the former English political correspondent. I enjoyed her the popular Anatomy of a Scandal which has been adapted for television and coming to Netflix in April 2022. I wasn’t as enamoured with Little Disasters which had a stronger parenting focus as – regular readers of my reviews will know – my eyes glaze over at the mention of judgmental parents and parenting wars and the like.
She’s returned to what she knows best here however and the focus is very much on the world of politics. (And the private lives of those who run for office and the media reporting on them.)
Missing memories or amnesiac episodes are always good fodder for crime fiction and thrillers. Particularly when it’s indicated that one of the central characters everyone knows and loves may in fact NOT have always been quite as loveable.
It’s certainly the case in Alafair Burke’s latest book, The Girl She Was. Although it features her popular detective, Ellie Hatcher and references a pivotal point in her life, it’s not actually part of that series; rather it’s a standalone novel so perfect for both fans and newcomers.
I’ve only read a couple of Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn novels in the past and always reflect on how I miss the golden days of the legal procedural.
Cavanagh manages to easily traverse the balance between the mystery / crime solving element and showcasing the (both) boring and enterprising foibles of the justice system. He’s also created very likeable characters in the ensemble cast supporting Eddie and – in some ways – I find myself drawn as much to them as I do to the former con-man turned-lawyer.
I’m a fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels, though I was a latecomer to the series. And I absolutely adore Detective Renee Ballard. I also gave a rare 4.5 stars to the third in the (journalist) Jack McEvoy series earlier this year.
I just commented in another review that I like the way Connelly crosses characters over and has them appear, a little or lot, in other series.
The Law of Innocence is a Mickey Haller (aka Lincoln Lawyer) novel. And it wasn’t until I read this I realised I’ve only read one other in this series. Haller’s featured in other books I’ve read—briefly—but it occurred to me when reading this… I don’t actually like him all that much. And I wonder if Connelly intends for us to find him a tad disagreeable and socially-challenged, or if I’m alone in my antipathy. Or perhaps, because Haller’s own freedom is on the line here, he’s more self-absorbed and indignant than usual?
House of Correction by Nicci French is the latest standalone by the married couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. It’s an interesting book. I initially engaged with our lead Tabitha though was a little baffled by her naiveté about her predicament (ie. in jail on remand but assuming ‘the truth will set her free’). Then we see a side of her that had me realising she was perhaps not entirely a nice person. And – though I can cope with unreliable or unlikeable narrators if they’re psychopaths or sociopaths, I wasn’t sure I’d cope with one who was just a bitch.
I came across Irish author Steve Cavanagh’s name last year when his 2019 novel Thirteen won Crime Novel of the Year at Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (which – incidentally – I’ve fantasised about attending someday). He was also touring with a number of other authors I knew so I kept seeing him on social media again and again.
It wasn’t until later I realised I’d actually read one of his books – The Liar in 2017 – which I really enjoyed. And of course I heard (only) fabulous things about Thirteen, and though I’ve not read it I really must. More so now I’ve read the fifth in the series featuring Eddie Flynn, Fifty Fifty.
I mention in my review of The Liar that it’s only when I read a legal procedural that I’m reminded how much I enjoy them. I’m also reminded that though once they were a dime a dozen and they’re now as rare as hen’s teeth. (Apologies for the idioms but you get what I mean….)