Book review: Something to Hide by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Permalink

Each time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s books featuring Detective Dave Burrows I make some quip about the fact there are two. Series that is. Not Dave Burrowses.

McDonald kicked off the series with a middle-aged Dave, but later took us back in time to the late 1990s and early 2000s to a young (Detective) Dave who was hoping to join the Stock Squad.

I adore both series and am intrigued how the Dave we meet in the past becomes the Dave we meet in the present.

four-stars

Book review: Crackenback by Lee Christine

Saturday, January 30, 2021 Permalink

Crackenback by Lee Christine is the second book in the series featuring Sydney Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Pierce Ryder. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read its predecessor, Charlotte Pass that introduces Ryder and his partner Detective Flowers, along with Ryder’s love interest Vanessa.

This book is centred around ski lodge manager Eva and her delightful three year old daughter Poppy. I must confess I couldn’t remember if we’d met them in Charlotte Pass, and though reference is made to the events of that book and Vanessa, we learn that Eva is her sister.

four-stars

Book review: The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Permalink

West Australian-based author Fleur McDonald has two series featuring outback detective Dave Burrows on the go. One is set in the present and the other in the past – not long after Burrows became a cop. The present day series is interrelated so Burrows is usually investigating a case but there are other characters central to the plot of that particular novel. In the last outing in that series, Starting From Now, we met investigative journalist Zara Ellison, who returned to small-town Barker to be near her dying brother. The likeable Zara stayed and returns to play a lead role here as well.

four-stars

Book review: Still Life by Val McDermid

Sunday, August 23, 2020 Permalink

It’s great to see DCI Karen Pirie and her cold case underling DC Jason Murray back again in Still Life, the sixth in the series by Val McDermid.

Here Pirie’s Historic Case Unit team (of two) is paired with an inexperienced crime squad in Fife when a new murder has ties to a past crime.

I particularly enjoyed the introduction of DS Daisy Mortimer from the crime squad. She’s keen to learn and I appreciated the honest ‘we’re-in-over-our-heads-and-happy-for-help’ approach with which McDermid portrays her and her boss Charlie. Rather than any petty rivalry cos that bastard-ry and competitiveness between cops can get a bit old.

four-stars

Book review: Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Permalink

In my review of the previous book in the (young) Jane Tennison series (The Dirty Dozen) I commented that I thought Jane was finally becoming more accepted by her male colleagues. Of course in that book she’d been appointed to the Flying Squad (the Sweeney) and very excited about it until she learned she was part of an experiment and—of course—things didn’t go as planned.

When Blunt Force opens she’s still a Detective Sergeant but posted to a small station and bored shitless. She’s there with colleague Spencer who’s also in the bad books and been sidelined. On a positive note… though she still seems to be the one fetching lunch and making tea and coffee, she and her abilities as a copper seem to be respected by her new colleagues.

Happily for Jane (and Spencer) they pick up a grisly murder case so get to escape the boring pickpockets and petty thefts.

four-stars

Book review: Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

Thursday, August 13, 2020 Permalink

I’m a fan of Mark Billingham and Detective Tom Thorne. I read the sixteenth in the series (Their Little Secret) last year and assumed this would pick up where it left off. In fact, I didn’t read the backcover blurb at all before I started the book and found it a little strange that the series was set in the past and I didn’t remember that being the case.

I knew I disliked his partner or girlfriend and was relieved she seemed to be moving on; and here Tom’s separated from his wife. So it made sense but it didn’t. And, as it happens, there’s nothing in the book until the very end that references that this is a flashback of sorts*. It meant that I read the book amidst some puzzlement worrying that my memory was even worse than it is and that I’d just not remembered the books were set in the 1990s.

four-stars

Book review: Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Permalink

I suspect Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin will eventually become Detective Emmett Corban #1, but as this is Firkin’s debut novel it’ll probably be updated once the next book in the series comes along. And—in case you’re wondering—I believe there will be another book as Emmett is eminently likeable and Firkin creates an engaging support ensemble to assist in the series’ longevity.

I read Sticks and Stones before Buried by Lynda La Plante and in that review I commented on the fact that our lead detective (Jack) was kinda ungrateful for the opportunity he’d been given in the Serious Crimes Squad. I said that with Emmett in mind… as he’d been keen for a place in the Homicide or Cold Case Squad after a promotion… instead finding himself heading up the Missing Persons’ Unit which he ‘finds’ (#sorrynotsorry) less-than-exciting.

four-stars

Book review: Buried by Lynda LaPlante

Thursday, May 21, 2020 Permalink

I adore Lynda LaPlante’s Prime Suspect series, along with her ‘young’ Jane Tennison prequels (set in the 1970s) so was excited to see her new release Buried – kicking off a brand new series.

Here we’re introduced to Detective Jack Warr. He’s a bit of an unlikely lead character: he’s not really ambitious and somewhat ambivalent about his career in the Met’s Serious Crimes Squad though many would probably envy the opportunity.

His team is presented with a case however, that intrigues him a little. Even more so when it seems to have personal links to his own family history.

three-half-stars

Book review: Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald

Sunday, March 29, 2020 Permalink

I LOVE Fleur McDonald’s Dave Burrows series’. And yes, that apostrophe is meant to be there—I think—cos there are two of them. In case you’ve been living under a rock, McDonald is basically releasing books in two timeframes as if we’re in some weird Sliding Doors-like timewarp thingy.

In addition to an interrelated series set in the present, which features Burrows though he’s not always the headline act, McDonald takes us back in time a couple of decades (kicking off in the late 1990s) to Burrows’ early years as a cop.

four-stars