Book review: The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

Sunday, October 10, 2021 Permalink

I ADORED The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, released in 2020. I loved the comfort and familiarity of his characters and writing.

The Man Who Died Twice is the second in the series but it doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the first. Other than having met the characters before, there’s no backstory really required to pick things up with the residents of Coopers Chase community known as the Thursday Murder Club… a quartet that revisits cold cases from the comfort of the restaurant of their retirement village, usually with a few bottles of wine to lubricate their minds.

four-half-stars

Book review: 2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Friday, October 1, 2021 Permalink

2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson and Candice Fox is the sixth collaboration between the prolific US author and Aussie crime fiction writer Fox. I very much enjoyed their Harriet Blue detective series as well as The Inn, which I’d hoped may become part of a series as I liked some of the characters it introduced.

I always wonder how they manage the paired writing (though a friend and I are attempting to also do just that) but most of the books reflect both styles… Patterson’s short sharp chapters that keep you turning the pages, and Fox’s eccentric characters and smart blunt prose.

four-stars

Book review: The Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue

Thursday, September 23, 2021 Permalink

Who knew that Raffles Hotel in Singapore offered a residency program? Well, it does and New Zealand-born Vicki Virtue spent her Writer-in-Residence stint there on The Raffles Affair, featuring ex-MI6 agent Victoria West, now working independently for governments-in-need. Here however, Victoria is attending her close friend’s wedding in Singapore and called upon to do some old school sleuthing.

three-half-stars

Book review: Cutters End by Margaret Hickey

Monday, August 23, 2021 Permalink

Critically acclaimed and popular novels by the likes of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer have seen the rise of outback noir on bookstores’ shelves – both in Australia and overseas. It’s so weird to admit this now but until about 2014/15 I didn’t read Australian novels. Particularly not crime fiction or thrillers. I used to say it was because I read to escape and I didn’t want to read about baddies running around the streets of my state capital, Brisbane or back alleys in inner-city Sydney or Melbourne.

That changed at some point (I probably should check when and why) and now I read A LOT of Australian authors, whether their work is set overseas or here in Australia.

Cutters End is Margaret Hickey’s debut novel and is set in South Australia. Its sense of place and the gritty and parched feel of the outback is central to the tone of the novel and is something Hickey manages to sustain throughout.

four-stars

Book review: Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

Saturday, August 7, 2021 Permalink

I’m a fan of US author Charlie Donlea. I’ve very much enjoyed some of his recent books including The Suicide House and The Woman in Darkness. They all feature past crimes and long-kept secrets and have leveraged popular culture, including podcasts, true crime documentaries (or similar); uncovering missed clues and injustice. Donlea maintains the intrigue and twistiness in his latest, Twenty Years Later.

four-stars

Book review: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 Permalink

Many of the books I read unfold in dual timelines. Quite often decades apart. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell offers three separate narratives, though only a year apart. It means secrets and lies haven’t had time to fester, but it means wounds are still fresh and grief is still palpable. Of course it may also mean the story is not yet over.

four-half-stars

Book review: Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 Permalink

Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh is the third in the series featuring Scotland Yard detective Jack Hawksworth, promoted here to Detective Superintendent.

I’ve commented in my review of the two previous books that I very much like that McIntosh presents Jack as a likeable boss and his own supervisor is also a good friend of his. It’s a nice change from the usual bastard-like guv’ners we meet in most novels featuring police personnel.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

Saturday, May 15, 2021 Permalink

Australian author Katherine Firkin introduced readers to Detective Emmett Corban in Sticks and Stones. At the time I expected it would become part of a series and – as always – I was right. (Why doth thou doubt me?! Or something.) It doesn’t matter if you missed the first book however as, though I re-read my old review for context, only a few characters are featured here and there’s no background required.

I really liked our lead, Emmett in the first novel, here however it was the plot that interested me the most – particularly the events of twenty years earlier which set up an intriguing cold case mystery.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Chase by Candice Fox

Monday, April 19, 2021 Permalink

I adore Candice Fox’s writing and am a huge fan of her many series and two standalones (The Inn and Gathering Dark – both of which may, of course, still become part of a series). Fox manages to create eccentric, weird or even slightly sociopathic characters that are eminently likeable. Protagonists AND antagonists we come to care for deeply. She has a natural yarn-spinning ability. I’ve seen her speak at events and met her so I know she’s quick-witted and kinda irreverent and this is reflected in her writing.

I’ve had her latest release, The Chase, for a while but held off on reading it as I’m participating in a blogging tour that kicks off today. With yours truly. My brother visited at Easter so I kindly let him have a shot at this book first and he read it in a day and really enjoyed it. And I’ve seen nothing but good reviews, which bodes well for Fox’s latest.

four-stars