Archives for: July 2012
Police Procedurals with a personal twist: Deborah Crombie, Peter James and Jane Casey
I read all three of these on the weekend.
Deborah Crombie: No Mark Upon Her (2012) **** ½
Book # 14 with London police officers Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones, now newly married to each other.
MBTB mini-review: The drowning of a champion rower preparing for the Olympics looks like deliberate murder almost from beginning. The case is complicated by the fact that the victim was a London police officer and had made a sexual assault complaint against a senior officer. The powers above want Duncan to settle on the ex-husband as the culprit, but he is pretty sure the man didn’t do it.
There were enough unexpected twists to keep me reading into the night.
Publisher's Weekly: . . . Crombie gives an insightful look into British police procedures as well as a vivid view of the vagaries of London neighborhoods. Kincaid and James's chaotic, happy home sharply contrasts with the often messy police business.
The personal side: Long-time couple but newly married Duncan and Gemma have a new responsibility in their combined household: a orphaned 3-year-old girl who they hope to adopt.
. . .
Peter James: Not Dead Yet (2012) *****
Book # 8 with D.S. Roy Grace in Brighton, England
MBTB mini-review: Superstar singer Gaia is coming to Brighton to star in a movie based on the life of King George IV. Back in L.A., Gaia has been threatened by a stalker who murdered her look-alike assistant. D.S. Roy Grace has been assigned to arrange for her protection. Another case he is working on: an unidentified body has been found on a chicken farm.
A very satisfying read – lots of plot threads, but easy to keep straight.
The Times: . . . The tense plot is laced with fine humour as the Hollywood types grapple with English history, and never has the Brighton Pavilion appeared so sinister, James is on top form.
The personal side: Roy's fiancé Cleo is almost ready to give birth, and he has gone through the red tape to have his missing wife Sandy declared dead.
. . .
Jane Casey: The Reckoning (2012) ****
Book # 2 with Maeve Kerrigan, a young police detective in London
MBTB mini-review: Several brutal murders of convicted sex offenders lead police to believe these men are being targeted. After Maeve and her partner catch three men torturing another sex offender, they find out that an ex-crime lord who has been living in exile in Spain has returned to England because his teenage daughter is missing - he suspects she has been taken by a sex offender. Complex but interesting.
The personal side: Maeve has problems with commitment and her on-again, off-again love interest Rob wants to get serious.
First book: The Burning
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
Never Tell by Alafair Burke
Book # 4 with NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher
Here's some of what Publisher's Weekly has to say: Starred Review/ . . . 16-year-old Julia Whitmire, the daughter of legendary music producer Bill Whitmire, is found dead in the bathtub on the top floor of her family’s West Village townhouse with her wrists slashed. Detective Ellie Hatcher assumes that the Whitmire parents’ social clout is the reason why she and her partner, J.J. Rogan, must investigate an apparent suicide as a potential murder. . . Ellie becomes less convinced that Julia killed herself as details emerge of a rape survivor blog linked to the case and threats against its anonymous author. The meticulous plotting, coupled with Ellie’s complicated evolution as a heroine, make this Burke’s strongest work to date.
First book: Dead Connection
Mystery Memo # 113 featuring Amateur Detectives
The Mystery Memo is a log of all of my mystery reading, with brief comments and a star rating for each book read. It is published every 4 to 6 weeks.
I have pulled out the non-crime professionals to feature in this post: two lawyers, a journalist and a forensic archaeologist.
Click here to download the entire Mystery Memo # 113 and see all 15 mysteries.
* * *
Elly Griffiths: The Janus Stone (2009) ****
Forensic archaeology/British police procedural.
Book # 2 with Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, near Norfolk, England
Some of the book is from the point of view of Ruth's love interest DCI Nelson. A relatively recent child’s skeleton is found at an archaeology site. Strong character-driven story with good archaeology content.
First book: The Crossing Places
Brad Parks: Faces of the Gone (2009) *** ½
Book # 1 with Carter Ross, an investigative reporter in Newark, New Jersey.
Carter finds the connection between four dead bodies found in a vacant lot before police do. Then he finds himself and his sources being targeted in a series of attacks. Gently humorous. Great characters.
Next book: Eyes of the Innocent
William Tapply: Outwitting Trolls (2010) ****
Book # 25 with lawyer Brady Coyne in Boston.
The day after Brady has a drink with an old neighbour, he gets a call from the man’s ex-wife. She has just found the man dead in his hotel room, and the police consider her a suspect. As usual, Brady acts more like an investigator than a lawyer, and tries to find out who the murderer might be.
First book: Death at Charity’s Point
## Related posts:
MBTB review of Out Cold # 22
MBTB review of One-Way Ticket # 23
MBTB review of Third Strike # 3 in the series that combines Philip Craig's character J. W. Jackson (Martha's Vineyard ex-cop) and William Tapply's character Brady Coyne (Boston lawyer)
William Tapply 1940 - 2009
Kate Wilhelm: Heaven is High (2011) *** ½
Book # 12 with lawyer Barbara Holloway, who runs her law practice out of her house.
To keep a client from being deported from the U.S., Barbara goes to Belize to gather information about the woman's mother who said she had been kidnapped and enslaved by modern day pirates.
I love the character of Barbara and how she gets so involved in her cases.
First book: Death Qualified
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
by Karin Slaughter
I would loosely categorize this as an American police procedural. This book mostly features GBI agent Will Trent, and flashbacks to 1975 with Will's mentor GBI agent Amanda Wagner as a young Atlanta police officer.
Book # 4 in a series that combines the lead characters of Slaughter's two other series with Dr. Sara Linton, a physician and former coroner, and Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in Atlanta, Georgia
Description: A Georgia Bureau of Investigation search into a shocking crime from 1975 poses unprecedented personal and professional challenges for top agent Will Trent, who encounters threats against his life and revelations about his past. NoveList
First book with Dr. Sara Linton: Blindsighted
First book with GBI agent Will Trent: Triptych
The Detective Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves
I'm on an Ann Cleeves kick and am reading my way through her various series. My favourite so far features Vera Stanhope, a detective inspector in East Yorkshire, England. Vera is a slightly overweight 50ish single woman whose passion is police work.
Here are the five in the series so far, with my star ratings and mini-reviews:
The Crow Trap (1998) **** ½
Three women conducting an environmental study on the impact of a planned quarry each tell their version of the events that lead up to a murder. After the murder, DI Vera Stanhope adds her point of view, as she works out the relationships, personal histories and possible motives.
Read a review of The Crow Trap at Reviewing the Evidence review
Read a review of The Crow Trap at Petrona
Telling Tales (2005) *** ½
Several members of a small community are still haunted by the murder of a teenaged girl ten years before. The woman convicted of the crime just committed suicide in prison, days before someone came forward with an alibi for her – she couldn’t have murdered the girl. The first 100 pages lay out this story and I found it dragged a bit. Then Vera comes on the scene, looking at the murder as a cold case. I'm glad I stuck with it.
Read a review of Telling Tales on Petrona
Hidden Depths (2007) ****
A case of a teenaged boy found murdered in his own bathtub appears linked to the murder of a student teacher, whose body has been found in a sea pond. The police try to find how these two are connected. Cleeves' writing pulls me in.
Read a review of Hidden Depths on Eurocrime
Silent Voices (2011) ****
Vera discovers a murdered woman in the sauna of her health club. She takes charge of the case and spends a long time looking into the woman’s life – she was a social worker. I like the character of Vera, but I wish we would see a little more of her second-in-command, Joe Ashworth. Nicely complex.
Read a review of Silent Voices on Eurocrime
The Glass Room (2012) **** ½
Vera’s hippy neighbour asks her for help after his wife disappears. She tracks the woman to a writing workshop being held in an old house within driving distance. Within minutes of Vera arriving, the workshop organizer discovers the body of the most famous lecturer, murdered in the glass sun room. Lots of old fashioned police work, questioning people and discovering relationships.
Read a review of The Glass Room on Eurocrime
* * *
This series has been made into a television series called Vera.
Ann Cleeves' other series:
8 books featuring George Palmer-Jones, a retired civil servant and amateur bird watcher, and his wife Molly, a retired social worker, in Surrey, England. First book: A Bird in the Hand
6 books featuring Stephen Ramsey, an impulsive police inspector in Northumberland, England. First book: A Lesson in Dying
4 books featuring Jimmy Perez, a police detective inspector in the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland, in the Shetland Island Quartet. First book: Raven Black
posted by Sharon
Susanne Alleyn: Game of Patience (2006)****
Game of Patience
By Susanne Alleyn
MBTB review: A young woman of reputable status is found dead in her blackmailer’s apartment in post-Revolutionary France. Tortured by the events in his own past, undercover police agent Aristide Ravel is called upon to investigate these crimes and soon finds himself entangled with a friend of the victim who seems to know more than she lets on. Aristide must learn the truth before the wrong person is sent to the guillotine.
Full of rich historical detail, Game of Patience was a wonderful mystery set in between the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. Not only does Alleyn know her stuff, but she is a masterful storyteller as well. The novel was fast paced with many unpredictable twists and turns and the denouement was very unexpected, far from typical, but strangely satisfying.
I have the second in the series, A Treasury of Regrets, waiting for me at home as we speak. I can hardly wait…
Posted by Shiela
What's New at the Bookstores
This blog post should be called What Will Be New in the Bookstores.
I have selected titles from the Stop, You're Killing Me! New Hardcover list and the Fantastic Fiction Mystery page. Most of these books are to be published in July, August and September 2012 and are available on the SILS catalogue to put requests on:
Stephen Booth: Dead and Buried
# 12 with Ben Cooper, a detective constable trying to fill his police sergeant father’s shoes, and new partner, Diane Fry, recently transferred to Edendale’s force, in the Peak District in England
As moorland fires sweep across the Peak District national park, hundreds of firefighters and park rangers battle to prevent flames reaching a remote inn, once a famous landmark but now abandoned and boarded up. The blaze is just one of a series of random acts of arson which have destroyed miles of heather moorland - and once the flames have died, a grim surprise awaits DS Ben Cooper and DI Diane Fry: a body - dead for years...
Kate Burkholder: Gone Missing
# 4 with Kate Burkholder, female chief of police in the Amish town of Painters Mill, Ohio
Investigating the disappearance of an Amish teenager, chief of police Kate Burkholder and state agent John Tomasetti stumble on a dead body at the same time another girl goes missing . . .
Lee Child: A Wanted Man
# 17 with Jack Reacher, , ex-military policeman travelling around the U.S.
Reacher is hitchhiking and is picked up by three strangers, two men and one woman. But within minutes it becomes clear they're all lying — about everything — and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway . . .
Michael Connelly: The Black Box
# 18 with Harry Bosch, a homicide detective in Los Angeles
In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. . .
Tana French: Broken Harbour
# 4 with the Dublin Murder Squad
In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad's star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one . . .
William Kent Krueger: Trickster's Point
# 12 with Cork O’Connor, a three-quarters Irish and one-quarter Ojibwe ex-sheriff in Aurora, Minnesota
Discovering that he has been set up when Native American Governor-elect Jubal Little is murdered with one of Cork's bow-hunting arrows, Cork O'Connor recalls his complex relationship with Jubal while struggling to clear his name and find the real killer.
Laura Lippman: When She was Good
. . . the powerfully gripping, intensely emotional story of a suburban madam, a convicted murderer whose sentence is about to be overturned, and the child they will both do anything to keep.
Karin Slaughter: Criminal
# 7 in the series with Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
GBI agent Will Trent, newly in love, is beginning to put a difficult past behind him. Then a local college student goes missing, and Will is inexplicably kept off the case by his supervisor and mentor, deputy director Amanda Wagner. Will cannot fathom Amanda's motivation until the two of them literally collide in an abandoned orphanage . . .
P. J. Tracy: Off the Grid
# 6 with Grace MacBride, founder of Monkeewrench, a game software company, in Minneapolis, Minnesota
On a sailboat ten miles off the Florida coast, Grace MacBride, partner in Monkeewrench Software, thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent John Smith. A few hours later, in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old girl is discovered in a vacant lot, her throat slashed. . . .
Stephen White: Line of Fire
# 19 with Alan Gregory, a clinical psychologist, and Lauren Crowder, an attorney, in Boulder, Colorado
. . . the devastating secret that could cost Alan Gregory everything — the first of the dramatic two-part conclusion to Stephen White's acclaimed bestselling series.
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Book # 1 with Timothy Wilde, an ex-bartender and officer in the newly organized police force, in 1845 New York City
Here's what the Publisher's Weekly review had to say:
/* Starred Review */ Set in 1845 New York City, Faye’s knockout first in a new series improves on her impressive debut, Dust and Shadow, which pitted Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. As Irish immigrants pour into the city, fleeing the potato famine in their homeland, Timothy Wilde, a 27-year-old former bartender, adjusts to life as a policeman in New York’s newly formed police force. As one of the first to wear the copper star, Wilde soon discovers more than one unwelcome surprise. In short order on his lower Manhattan beat, he runs across an infanticide and the body of a 12-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed. The investigation the novice detective launches into the boy’s murder brings him deep into the heart of human darkness. Vivid period details, fully formed characters, and a blockbuster of a twisty plot put Faye in a class with Caleb Carr (The Alienist). Readers will look forward to the sequel.