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….)
Every time I read one of her books I confess my love for Alafair Burke. I’m not as wedded to her series with Mary Higgins Clark as I am to her solo books, but she has offered up consistently good legal thrillers for years. Plus I like the way she interacts on social media. #seriously
I also like that her books often offer a taste of contemporary culture and politics – here through the #MeToo and #ThemToo movement as well as light (and deft) reference to the current US political and legislative environment.
I hadn’t read any books by Phillip Margolin for a long time though I was once a regular reader. I’ve got a couple of his books on my bookshelf (right next to Steve Martini) which is quite apt because both write legal procedurals and although it’s a (sub) genre I enjoy, it’s one I read far too little of nowadays.
I read most (if not all) of Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & Associates series and would have thought I’d read most of the spin-off series (Rosato & DiNunzio) but Goodreads tells me I’ve only read a couple.
It fortunately doesn’t matter as previous knowledge of the lawyers’ or firm’s exploits aren’t at all necessary in this sixth in the series.
I’m behind with my reviews and not allowed to do any more reading until I catch up… so yesterday I attempted a video review.
Brad Parks’ Closer Than You Know is well paced and kept me guessing for much of the book. The legal procedural possibly rushes the closing a bit more than I’d like but it hooked me enough to read in a sitting.
Lisa Scottoline, along with Alafair Burke is one of my go-to authors for legal thrillers. They’re a genre that once felt like they were everywhere (though that was perhaps in the days of John Grisham and Scott Turow – and the movies based on their novels). They seem to be less prevalent now, which makes me appreciate them more than I perhaps once did. (Although the book I read after this – Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks – was also a legal procedural!)
After Anna, Scottoline’s latest is less about the legal process in many ways, though part of the plot does unfold in a courtroom. It’s more a novel of suspense with the majority of the story being told through the memories of a man on trial for murdering his step-daughter.
I’d had an advance copy of this book for quite some time before I finally read it. I’d been waiting until closer to its publication date, but had I realised I’d enjoy it as much as I did, I might not have left it so long.
The book’s author, Sarah Vaughan was formerly a news reporter and political correspondent so is well-placed to write about politics and British Parliament and she certainly includes a lot of information about political landmarks and easily and casually references political machinations and the political game-playing ‘behind’ the politics.
I’ve talked before about my old (bad) habit of avoiding Australian fiction. I’ve assumed it was because I’d read to ‘escape’ and didn’t really want to read about my own backyard. That’s slowly changed over the past 4-5 years however and my proportion of Australian to overseas authors has grown enormously.
Richard Beasley – an author based in Sydney – has previously released the popular Cyanide Games and Hell Has Harbour Views – though is new to me and (as always) it’s great to discover a new crime fiction author and (in particular) a new series.