Book review: Playing Nice by JP Delaney

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Permalink

Playing Nice is the fourth book by Anthony Capella, writing as JP Delaney. I’ve enjoyed them all, two of them garnering very rare 4.5 stars from me.

I initially approached this a little nervously. Babies swapped accidentally at birth, felt a little ‘done’, but Delaney lulls us into a bit of a false sense of security before throwing in a few surprises.

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four-stars

Book review: Shadows In Death by JD Robb

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 Permalink

Shadows In Death is the 51st in the futuristic cop series by JD Robb. So, author Nora Roberts (writing as Robb) is obviously doing something right. The series kicked off in 1995 but—as I’ve mentioned before—our characters traverse time slowly so, Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire hubby really only exist when we’re there to see them. Just like Santa Claus. Except the opposite.

Here, Robb offers us something a little different. The ‘crime’ in question happens early, which isn’t uncommon. But usually we would spend the rest of the novel trying to work out whodunnit. Here Eve and her offsider, the delightful Detective Delia Peabody solve this pretty quickly. It’s murder for hire but things get complicated when Roarke’s (kinda sordid and unlawful) past comes back to haunt him (and those he cares about).

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three-half-stars

Book review: Hermit by SR White

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 Permalink

Hermit by SR White is not at all what I expected. Someone else told me the same thing and I didn’t understand what they meant. Weirdly I was intrigued rather than particularly engaged for much of the book. But then things are revealed towards the end that are shocking. Like… beyond-imaginable shocking.

Some of the revelations come from left field and ultimately help us understand the quiet hermit-like man accused of the crime central to this book. There is, however, also a sense of frustration and injustice that the ending brings. And that’s complicated a little by the fact that White ultimately whets our appetite and leaves us wanting more.

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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.

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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.

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four-stars

Book review: Kokomo by Victoria Hannan

Saturday, August 1, 2020 Permalink

I’d had Kokomo by Victoria Hannan for quite a while before I picked it up to read. It’d been garnering a lot of praise from from bookstagrammers, bloggers and reviewers so—although the cover looked like something out of Fifty Shades of Grey—I decided to give it a try.

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three-half-stars

Book review: When She Was Good by Michael Robotham

Monday, July 27, 2020 Permalink

I adored teenager Evie, introduced last year along with forensic psychologist Cyrus in Michael Robotham’s Good Girl Bad Girl. (The girl they named) Evie was found almost seven years earlier, abandoned and in hiding, and has an extraordinary ability to tell when people are lying. Cyrus was cynical about this talent at first but is now convinced.

It’s interesting that both Evie and Cyrus were ‘found / rescued’ when young by police officers. Cyrus has stayed in touch with his rescuer Lenny though and she often drags him into cases.

The past and present collide here as the case Lenny’s investigating has ties to Evie’s past.

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four-half-stars

Book review: A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis

Friday, July 24, 2020 Permalink

I had to re-read the last third of A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis before writing this review. Ellis (aka author Tom Wood writing his first psychological thriller) throws in a twist at the end that is fabulous and exceedingly clever, but made me question a lot that came before. So… I figured I must have missed something.

I can’t say too much about the twist and its impact on everything of course, but I’m not sure Ellis has shaped the narrative sufficiently (a la Louise Candlish’s The Other Passenger, written in an interview style) to pull it off.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Spirited by Julie Cohen

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Permalink

Julie Cohen’s two most recent books, Together and (The Two Lives of) Louis and Louise have both made my very short ‘favourite books of the year’ listing when released.

I knew her latest, Spirited was a little different and, as it combines a couple of elements I usually avoid—historical fiction and the supernatural—I was a tad nervous. And though it’s set in the 1850s its themes resonate today. Cohen’s books are often hard to describe but I saw this from a fellow author on Twitter and it seemed apt.

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four-stars