Category Archives: Reading
Happy Publication Day to Chris Nickson! Out today in hardback, published by Severn House
With the discovery of a young woman’s charred and blackened body, Richard Nottingham tackles his most disturbing case yet.
March, 1733. Fire rages through an empty house in a rundown area of Leeds, but the investigation takes a disturbing turn with the discovery of the charred remains of a young woman and her baby amidst the smouldering ruins. Was the fire deliberately started to conceal the woman’s murder? Richard Nottingham’s enquiries into the victim’s identity will lead him from squalid alehouses, prostitutes’ haunts and thieves’ dens to the home of a wealthy wool merchant
(From the publisher’s website http://severnhouse.com/book/Come+the+Fear/8039 )
Come the Fear is the 4th book in the Richard Nottingham historical detective series. After its predecessor, The Constant Lovers, the Constable of Leeds’ focus returns to the city, where he comes across a gruesome and shocking murder. Full of the atmosphere of the poverty-stricken nooks and crannies of historical Leeds and the evil people who lurked there, characterisation is a strong feature in Chris Nickon’s writing – both of people and places.
As the series progresses, Richard Nottingham seems to become harder, tougher – which is no surprise after everything he has gone through, both in a professional and personal capacity. Come the Fear follows Nottingham’s investigation into the murder, as he deals with rogues and gentry alike. A lot of research has gone into this series which is evident by the perception of authenticity of both era and location. Chris’ books are like a time machine, transporting you back to the 18th century and placing you right there on the streets and alleyways of Leeds.
If you like a well-written mystery with a sense of menace, like an authentic historical drama, like a book with rich characters and a strong sense of time and place – I recommend you read any of the books from Chris Nickson’s Richard Nottingham series.
The Broken Token (2010)
Cold Cruel Winter (2011)
The Constant Lovers (2012)
Come the Fear (2012)
copy of Come the Fear kindly provided by the author
Book Description (from Amazon UK)
“For LA producer Larry Brooker, this is the movie that could bring the fortune that has so long eluded him . . . For rock superstar, Gaia, desperate to be taken seriously as an actor, this is the role that could get her an Oscar nomination… For the City of Brighton and Hove, the publicity value of a major Hollywood movie being filmed on location, about the city’s greatest love story – between King George IVth and Maria Fitzherbert – is incalculable. For Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Sussex CID, it is a nightmare unfolding in front of his eyes. An obsessed stalker is after Gaia. One attempt on her life is made days before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton. Now, he has been warned, the stalker may be at large in his city, waiting, watching, planning.”
Not Dead Yet is, I feel, one of the better books in the latest of the Roy Grace series. The plot is well thought out with lots of twists and turns to keep the excitement going and it had me guessing right up until the surprising reveal; the pace is maintained throughout the book with the introduction of several dodgy characters, which Peter James is good at; and it’s nice to see some of the backstage people in DS Roy Grace’s team get some further development, including Cleo. Not Dead Yet is a lot more police procedural than I seem to remember the other books being, but that adds to the interest of the cases and gives more dimension to the investigations.
The only criticism for me is that I feel the Sandy saga has gone on for too long now and I really couldn’t care less what happens there. This book would have worked for me even without any mention of Sandy, plus one other character who I felt was superfluous to the plot.
Overall it is a typical cliff-hanging, gripping Peter James novel with extra depth, more akin to the earlier books in the series. I highly recommend this one.
Books in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Series:
Dead Simple (2005)
Looking Good Dead (2006)
Not Dead Enough (2007)
Dead Man’s Footsteps (2008)
Dead Tomorrow (2009)
Dead Like You (2010)
Dead Man’s Grip (2011)
Not Dead Yet (2012)
The Dying Minutes by Martin O’Brien, set around the azure coastline of Marseilles, is the seventh in the detective novel series featuring the very likable, Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot. It begins with a gold bullion convoy being hijacked in 1972, of which part of the heist mysteriously disappears and becomes an unsolved case. Twenty seven years on, Chief Inspector Jacquot is recovering from gunshot wounds from a previous case (Blood Counts, book six in the series) and is on sick leave when he inherits a boat from an old fisherman who once knew his father. Jacquot is seduced by the elegant boat and life on the water, and it’s not long before his inquisitive mind begins to wonder about its history and that of its ex-owner.
While Jacquot is discovering his sea legs and persuading his pregnant partner to keep the boat, his old flame Chief Inspector Isabelle Cassier, walks back into his life during the investigation of some brutal murders. The murders point to the missing gold and the involvement of two of the most feared gangland families on the coast. Isabelle seeks Jacquot’s help with the investigation and he finds himself once again in close confinement with Isabelle as they work on the case together.
The Dying Minutes is beautifully written with a strong sense of place and atmosphere, transporting you right there to the South of France. It’s a pure joy to read. The words create a realistic feel for life on the boat and in the harbour and villages around Marseilles, and you can almost taste the salt in the air, the exquisite wines and delicious food.
There are a lot of characters in this novel, which I found a little difficult to keep track of at first, but the chapters are short and introduce the well-defined players quickly so it wasn’t long before they all slotted into place. The pace of the novel is steady and doesn’t race along the pages but it’s woven with mystery and an underlying sense of foreboding and is all together an exciting and unpredictable read.
I really liked the characters and how they interacted, especially Chief Inspector Jacquot. Above all, it’s beautifully written, with a plot and characters that have been well thought out and delivered with a perfectly timed pace. I highly recommend this book, and now have an impatient need to check out the rest of the series.
This copy was given to me by Random House.
Headhunters by Jo Nesbø is a standalone thriller and very different to the Harry Hole detective series. Written from the main character’s point of view, Headhunters is the story of Roger Brown, a highly successful head hunter specialising in the appointment of executive directors for top companies. He is one of the best in his field and not at all modest about it. In order to maintain the affluent life style he and his art dealer wife, Diana, have become accustomed to, Roger has a side line set up in art theft – specialising in particular works that bring in large sums of money for a single heist. Think The Thomas Crown Affair.
The first part of the book is a steady, interesting character portrayal of Roger Brown, written in the first person with a dark humour and an insight into the mind of this professional and likeable criminal.
Then Roger meets Clas Greve, ex CEO of one of the biggest GPS technology companies in Europe, who would be a perfect placement for one of his clients. Not only that, Greve is also known to possess a rare piece of artwork that could make Roger rich beyond his wildest dreams and solve all of his problems. But what Roger is also about to discover is that he has met his match in Greve.
The second part of the novel takes an entirely different direction where we find Roger Brown’s life turned completely upside down as he battles wills against Clas Greve.
The narrative captures your attention with the inner-most thoughts and psyche of the main character. The plot is intricate, if not slightly far-fetched in the second part, but totally credible and entertaining in the first part. Headhunters is perfectly translated from Norwegian to English by the excellent Don Bartlett – you’d never guess it was a translation.
In all, a highly entertaining and gripping thriller.
Purchased from Amazon for Kindle
July, 1732. On a hot summer morning, Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, is called out when a young woman is found stabbed to death among the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, just outside the city. In her pocket is a carefully folded love note: “Soon we’ll be together and our hearts can sing loud, my love, W.” Her pale skin and smooth hands speak of money, but no one comes to claim her body.
When the victim’s husband eventually appears, his evidence throws up more questions than answers. What happened to the maid who accompanied her mistress on her final, fatal journey? Who is the mysterious ‘W’ who signed the note? And why does the victim’s father seem so indifferent to her death? Nottingham has to delve into the dark secrets of the rich and influential to uncover the truth.
Second in the highly acclaimed Richard Nottingham historical mystery series 1732. Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City of Leeds, is grieving the death of his daughter, but he must rouse himself from his lethargy when the body of wealthy wool merchant Samuel Graves is discovered, his throat slit, the skin razed from his back. Why would the killer want Graves’ skin? When Nottingham receives a slim, bound volume entitled The Journal of a Wronged Man he discovers the shocking answer – and it hurls him into a desperate battle for survival against a ruthless killer with old scores to settle.
Good Luck, Chris!
The criminals in Leeds seem to be taking things easy during the very hot and stifling summer of 1732, and the hearty Constable Richard Nottingham is enjoying a moment’s peace. That is, until a young woman’s body is found, just outside of his Leeds’ patch. The victim has been stabbed to death, and responsibility for the investigation falls onto Nottingham and his small team. But nobody comes to claim the body or has reported the woman missing, until after she has been buried.
The mystery moves on as Nottingham and his loyal sidekick, Sedgwick, discover the young woman to be the newly wed wife of the much-older Samual Godlove, and daughter of fallen Baron, Lord Gibton. The maid who has been with her since childhood has also disappeared. The story takes us on a gentle stroll through the investigation as the Constable tries to uncover the truth surrounding the murder of Sarah Godlove and the disappearance of her maid, and the mysterious message found in Sarah’s hidden pocket.
The Constant Lovers is written in much the same style as the first book in the series, The Broken Token. I didn’t find The Constant Lovers as atmospheric as the first book (possibly because it was set in a small village outside of the then vibrant but poverty-stricken town of Leeds) or as gripping as the faster-paced second book Cold Cruel Winter.
That said, The Constant Lovers is still a good read with great characterisation and a steady pace, which takes you back into another century and a completely different and very interesting world of crime and detection.
The Constant Lovers was kindly given to me by the author, Chris Nickson.
Books in the Richard Nottingham series:
The Constant Lover (January 2012)
Cold Cruel Winter (May 2011, Paperback: January 2012)
The Broken Token (May 2010)
Harry works for the Oslo Police Crime Squad and when he begins to investigate the case of a missing wife and mother, it’s not long before he’s looking for similarities to unsolved cases of other missing women throughout Norway, and connecting them to gruesome murders.
The book is set in the beginning of winter, during the first fall of snow. When a woman disappears, a menacing-looking Snowman is left behind. Cleverley woven between the scenes of Harry dealing not only with the investigation, a new partner, the relationship with his ex-wife, but also alcoholism – are the graphic scenes around the circumstances that led to the disappearances, and the psychotic mind behind the serial killer, known as The Snowman.
The Snowman is quite a complex thriller, so you need to keep tabs of the many characters and their names, and it’s written from various viewpoints with characters and locations all well-developed.
I love Jo Nesbo’s style of writing. He skillfully builds up the tension and maintains it throughout the book, and the underlying sense of foreboding is always there. And you’re never allowed to forget the icy cold atmosphere of wintry Oslo or the creepy characters and mysteries surrounding some of the characters lurking in the background. I mustn’t forget to mention the excellent translation by Don Barlett, which is totally unnoticeable to the reader.
There were two problems I had with this book:
One was keeping tabs on the different timelines – but this is a problem I find with a lot of books that jump backwards and forwards with dates (maybe I should keep a notepad next to my Kindle in future, to jot down the dates..). It can be rather confusing and, with a thriller that is already complex in itself such as The Snowman, can make it even more difficult to keep track of.
The second was the cover – I thought the publisher could have done better by selecting a cover depicting more atmosphere.
I still enjoyed The Snowman regardless, and am currently reading one of Jo Nesbø’s earlier books, The Redbreast.
I purchased The Snowman from Amazon on Kindle.
Other Inspector Harry Hole books in the series:
The Bat Man (1997)
The Cockroaches (1998)
The Redbreast (2000)
The Devil’s Star (2003)
The Redeemer (2005)
The Snowman (2007)
The Leopard (2009)
Phantom (2011) – due to be published in the UK March 2012
My first reading experience of Phillip Margolin was Gone But Not Forgotten – a paperback given to me as a present in 1994. It is one which has remained in my mind as an all time favourite ever since and turned me into a firm fan of Phillip Margolin. Margolin writes legal thrillers as good as Michael Connelly writes detective novels.
After Dark, first published in 1995 and now available in the UK on Kindle, is a gritty legal thriller. Abigail Griffin is a famed prosecutor for Multnomah County District Attorney’s. Married to, but separated from, a Supreme Court Justice, she becomes the prime suspect when he is found murdered.
Abbie engages Matthew Reynolds as her defense lawyer to save her from Death Row. The eccentric Reynolds is renowned for his record of preventing clients from receiving the death penalty. Working with Reynolds is Tracy Cavanaugh, fresh out of clerking for a Supreme Court Justice, now in her dream job. Tracy is an ardent defender of justice and is uncomfortable with some of the decisions and revelations in Abbie’s case. She takes it upon herself to look further into it, working with Reynolds’ private investigator, Barry Frame.
The result is a well paced, legal thriller and murder mystery with a touch of romance, full of well-defined and captivating characters that kept me hooked with intrigue. The only downside for me was that in the first part of the book Margolin goes quite deeply into the technicalities of the US legal system. Apart from this, the characterization was brilliant and the plot, although complex, was cleverly put together with surprising twists and turns throughout, until it eventually landed at an unpredictable dénouement.
If you like legal thrillers and murder mysteries, I can highly recommend Phillip Margolin’s books. Most of them are available in paperback in the UK, but the Kindle versions are only just becoming available.
After Dark purchased from Amazon UK for Kindle
Other thrillers by Philip Margolin:
Vanishing Acts (2011)
Supreme Justice (2010)
Executive Privilege (2008)
Proof Positive (2006)
Lost Lake (2005)
Sleeping Beauty (2004)
Ties That Bind (2003)
he Associate (2002)
Wild Justice (2000)
The Undertaker’s Widow (1998)
The Burning Man (1996)
After Dark (1995)
Gone, But Not Forgotten (1993)
The Last Innocent Man (1981)
So Detective Harry Bosch goes to Hong Kong to take on the Chinese Triads? I wasn’t sure about this book at first, even though I have loved every thriller of Michael Connolly’s I’ve read so far (and I’ve almost read them all). But Nine Dragons didn’t disappoint.
Harry Bosch is working in Homicide Special, an elite squad of detectives taking on particularly complex cases. While covering for a short-staffed unit in South LA, Bosch and his partner, Ignacio Ferras, attend a liquor store shooting. At first, all seems like a routine homicide, but Bosch soon realises they are involved with the Chinese triads. In the hunt for the killer, the investigation becomes personal and Bosch is forced to go to Hong Kong in an effort to protect his daughter, who lives there with his ex-wife.
The pursuit in and around Hong Kong brought back memories for me. The place descriptions were so vivid and accurate I felt as though I was back in the city myself.
As well as having to deal with some personal challenges and facing up to responsibilities, Nine Dragons sees the loss of two long-term characters from Bosch’s life and the teaming up with David Chu from the Asian Gangs Unit. Bosch doesn’t hit it off with Chu, which works well in the book, but as they become partners in the next book it’s an interesting relationship to follow.
Nine Dragons wasn’t one of the best Harry Bosch books I’ve read, but it was still a good read and didn’t disappoint.
Purchased from Amazon UK, Kindle version
Congratulations, Harry Smith, on the publication of the historical account of his life The Barley Hole Chronicles.
“Barley Hole was for my great-grandfather Canaan, the land of milk and honey. For my father, it was paradise lost and for my mother, Barley Hole was a curse. It was a place that haunted her spirit and her soul throughout her life. To me, Barley Hole is a name forever etched on the map of my family’s heart; it is where betrayal and injustice nearly thrust us into oblivion.
The Barley Hole Chronicles are an odyssey of the human spirit that stretch across time and geography to incorporate, diverse personalities, personal hardships, World Wars and the struggle for peace and love, in a society fallen from grace. These Chronicles document one Yorkshire family’s decent into the wilderness of poverty and hunger. It is a personal record of one young man’s struggle to survive the great depression, the Second World War and the hazards and wonders of life in post war Germany. The Barley Hole Chronicles are a summation of two memoirs by Harry Leslie Smith 1923 and Hamburg 1947. The Barley Hole Chronicles are a true account of a time and place when life, full of raw emotion, was never so real. It is also a social history of the 20th century at its bloodiest and deadliest time.”
Not only is this a vivid and poignant memoir of Harry Leslie Smith’s life but it forms a very interesting historical account of times after the First World War through to post Second World War.
Good Luck, Harry!
Also available in two separate editions:
1923: A Memoir (click here to read my review)
Hamburg 1947: A Place For The Heart To Kip
- 1923 A Memoir by Harry Leslie Smith (laydilejur.com)
Congratulations to Bill Kitson and his lovely wife, Val (who assists with the editing and proofing processes for all of his books!)
Today is a double whammy UK publication day:
- Back-Slash, the 5th and latest book in the Mike Nash detective series, is out in hardback today
- Depth of Despair, the 1st in the Mike Nash series originally published in hardback in 2009, is released in e-book format.
“What is the secret of the forester living a hermit-like existence in the remotest part of the Wingate Estate? Is he a callous murderer? Is he now taking a terrible revenge on those who wronged him? Or, does the truth lie elsewhere? A ruthless killer is on the rampage, one with a distinctive trademark. With resources decimated by a flu epidemic, Mike Nash is forced to use unorthodox tactics to expose a web of corruption and deceit spanning the years. Evidence all seems to point to an inevitable conclusion, but will Mike be able to uncover the truth, and can he do so before it is too late for all concerned – be they innocent or guilty? “
Depth of Despair
“When two skeletons are discovered from Lamentation Tarn, talented detective Mike Nash and his team have little evidence with which to work, until a surprising discovery prompts them to contact law enforcement agencies in Eastern Europe. A joint taskforce is formed to uncover a criminal network involved in prostitution, drugs and human trafficking, but Nash’s preoccupation with internal politics, as well as with an attractive Russian detective, proves to be a distraction. Finally, a young victim escapes the gang’s clutches, providing Nash with much-needed evidence. A search of the neighbouring tarn yields further corpses and reveals an even more heinous crime. Two more bloody encounters must occur before the criminals are brought to bitter justice.“
Good Luck, Bill!
Other books in the DI Mike Nash series:
Depth of Despair (August 2009)
Chosen (January 2010)
Minds That Hate (May 2010)
Altered Egos (March 2011)
This is Peter’s first full length standalone thriller since the immensely successful Roy Grace Detective series was launched in 2005 with Dead Simple.
Perfect People took eleven years to evolve. All that time for research, writing, editing and publishing (in between writing several other hugely successful books, amongst other things) and yet it will probably take me no more than a few days to devour!
“John and Naomi are grieving the death of their four-year-old son from a rare genetic disorder. They desperately want another child, but they realize the odds of their next child contracting the same disease are high.
Then they hear about geneticist Dr Leo Dettore. He has methods that can spare them the heartache of ever losing another child to any disease.
At his clinic is where their nightmare begins.
They should have realized something was wrong when they saw the list. Choices of eye colour, hair, sporting abilities. They can literally design their child. Now it’s too late to turn back. Naomi is pregnant and already something is badly wrong . . .“
Other Thrillers by Peter James include:
Not Dead Yet (8th in DS Roy Grace Series to be published May 2012)
Dead Man’s Grip (2011 – 7th in DS Roy Grace Series)
Dead Like You (2010 – 6th in DS Roy Grace Series)
The Perfect Murder (2010 – Short Reads Standalone)
Dead Tomorrow (2009 – 5th in DS Roy Grace Series)
Dead Man’s Footsteps (2008 – 4th in DS Roy Grace Series)
Not Dead Enough (2007 – 3rd in DS Roy Grace Series)
Looking Good Dead (2006 – 2nd in DS Roy Grace Series)
Dead Simple (2005 – 1st in DS Roy Grace Series)
The Truth (1997)
Sweet Heart (1991)
Atom Bomb Angel (1982)
Dead Letter Drop (1981)
I really enjoyed this book, mostly because of the characters and the style in which it was written. Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck was an outstanding and dedicated homicide cop with an attitude until an incident killed one of his close colleagues, paralysed another and injured Carl, leaving him with a severe guilt complex. When he returns to work after convalescing – an even bigger ‘pain in the butt’ than he was before the incident – he is severely lacking in commitment and motivation, has no intention of doing anything at all and can’t wait for his retirement, some 20 years away. Despite his extraordinary detective skills, Carl is known by his peers as ‘indolent, surly, morose, always bitching and treating his colleagues like crap’.
He sounds like someone I should hate.
So when the new ‘Department Q’ is launched by politicians to deal with unsolved cases, Carl is selected as the ideal candidate to run it. Except that he’s the only member of staff in that department and his office is a run-down windowless room, deep in the basement out of everybody’s way. But Carl’s no pushover and soon he’s got them decorating and upgrading the place and finding him an assistant. In the meantime, Carl’s idea of a working day is to sit in front of the computer, surf the internet aimlessly and put his feet up on the desk and doze.
“… He looked down at his two spanking-new computers and the bundle of wires attached to them. Apparently the information superhighway had been split up so that the internet was linked to one computer and the rest of the world to the other. He patted computer number two. Here he could sit for hours and surf the Net to his heart’s content. No pesky rules about secure surfing and safeguarding the central servers; at least that was something. He looked around for an ashtray and tapped a cigarette out of the pack. ‘Smoking is extremely hazardous to you and those around you’, it said on the label. He glanced around. The few termites that might thrive down here could probably handle it. He lit the cigarette and took a deep drag. There was definitely a certain advantage to being head of your own department….”
Enter Assad, Carl’s new Arab assistant, who’s meant to be the cleaner and odd job man but who has a suspiciously keen interest in police work, compared to Carl’s now complete lack of it. The couple make a very interesting pair as they struggle to work alongside each other, and as Assad’s enthusiasm fights against Carl’s cynicism there are some very entertaining moments.
The first unsolved case Carl decides to ‘toy’ with is the missing politician, Merete Lynggard, who disappeared without a trace five years ago.
The book is structured into two alternating timelines: 2007 the present day, and 2002 just before Merete disappears. While the investigation is trying to get off the ground in Department Q, Merete’s timeline gradually reveals what has happened to her – and make no mistake this is a crime thriller, despite the humour of the working relationship between Carl and Assad. When the two timelines eventually merge into one, the whole thing races towards a tense and gripping denouement. Very cleverly done.
The ending leaves a few questions unanswered however, particularly around the mysterious Assad – but this is the first in a series of Department Q novels, so I look forward with impatience and excitement to the second novel, Disgrace, which is due out in March 2012. I don’t really care what the plot is about – I’m just looking forward to more of the terrific characters and the thrilling but entertaining way in which the book is written.
I highly recommend this book.
Mercy purchased from Amazon, Kindle version
Into The Darkest Corner is a superbly written and well-delivered story of Cathy, a young woman living her life in total fear of anything that moves. The story grips straight away, although it was slightly confusing at first until I understood the timelines, but that didn’t take more than a few pages and then I realised how cleverly it was done.
The chapters alternate between two time periods; from 2003, the time when Cathy was a carefree, fun-loving, nightclub-going young girl; to 2007, the present time, where we find Cathy has transformed into a woman who appears to be much older than her years, who is extremely disturbed and neurotic, with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
It’s written in the first person, from Cathy’s point of view, and the reader is taken through Cathy’s excitement at meeting the man of her dreams, through to Cathy’s living hell as her dreams and her man turn into her worst ever nightmares.
The OCD behaviour Cathy develops as a result of the trauma is so realistic and scary that I could feel her panic in my bones as I read. Here is one section describing Cathy’s typical behaviour as she returns home after work and closes the front door of her flat:
“I ran my fingers around the door frame, turned the door handle six times one way, six times the other way. One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six. The bolts held the door shut. I turned the Yale lock six times. I slid each bolt six times and back again, each time turning the doorknob six times. When I’d done all that, I could start checking the rest of the flat.”
It usually took Cathy several hours to complete the checks before she could begin to feel even a tiny bit safe at home, but sometimes she ended up being so physically exhausted she couldn’t do anything else afterwards. A romantic interest is provided by caring neighbour, Stuart, who helps to build Cathy’s confidence to start tackling her illness. But all along, the narrative is filled with menace and foreboding and you can just sense the danger lurking in the pages ahead, as Cathy’s nightmares are about to return.
Into The Darkest Corner is now on the list of books I couldn’t put down, as I became oblivious to the world around me while deeply immersed in Cathy’s story.
Into The Darkest Corner purchased from Amazon, Kindle version
Chosen is the follow-up to Bill Kitson’s gripping debut novel, Depth of Despair (click here to read my review), and opens with a clipping from the 1983 Seattle Times
MISSING GIRLS: 3 BODIES FOUND.
The clipping ends with: “There is some confusion here. We’ve gotten immediate identification, yet the Medical Examiner tells us the girls have been dead a long time. We’re not sure how this is possible.”
And so the mystery begins as North Yorkshire Detective Inspector Mike Nash, formerly of London’s Metropolitan Police, is disturbed during his much-needed weekend off by a call from his Sergeant, DS Mironoma, and the words: “Possible missing person. I’ve a woman here frantic with worry. Apparently, her daughter went out on Friday night and hasn’t returned…”
It’s every mother’s nightmare and it’s not long before DI Nash’s intuitive (and sometimes unorthodox) methods of detection lead him to fear the worst, and guide him on to the trail of other missing girls that could be linked. Then it’s only a matter of time before Nash suspects he has a serial killer on his hands. The team look into the history of other possible victims and it’s during this part of the investigation that Nash becomes involved with the sister of one of them. The investigation turns into a race against time as more discoveries indicate the abductor could strike again soon.
DI Nash and his merry team are delightful characters. Nash attracts the ladies with his good looks, charm and dry sense of humour and earns a lot of respect from those around him. He banters with his colleagues – DS Clara Mironoma in particular, who is from Eastern Europe and is more than a match for Nash. There is a clear attraction here between these two although neither admit it, but it lays the foundations for future possibilities.
Chosen is written in the same short-chapter thriller format as Bill Kitson’s other Nash books and enough information is provided to get the reader’s imagination brewing before switching quickly to another scene and firing off further intrigue.
Despite being a detective novel, Chosen is not full of police procedure so don’t expect nitty-gritty details on how DI Nash and the team operate. Chosen is driven by the characters and their interaction with each other, which is strongly evident in the realistic dialogue. Like the set up of the crimes, the reader is granted enough freedom to form their own mental pictures but the gritty dialogue builds another dimension to the characters. It also moves the plot forward with realism and conviction. Expect lots of twists and turns in the investigation to lead you around as DI Nash uses his own particular methods to solve the crimes. The ending was more gruesome than I expected but it pulled the whole story together satisfyingly.
This is the third book of Bill Kitson’s Mike Nash series that I’ve read and I know I can pick up any of them and not be disappointed. The only disadvantage I would say, is that the books are only currently available in hardback and not yet in paperback – although Depth of Despair is just about to be released as an e-book in October 2011 and Minds That Hate in March 2012. Hopefully, this will open up Bill Kitson’s crime thrillers to a much wider and well deserved audience.
Other DI Mike Nash books in the series are:
Depths of Despair (Aug 2009) e-book version due out Oct 2011
Chosen (Jan 2010) e-book version due out Jan 2012
Minds That Hate (May 2010)
Altered Egos (Mar 2011)
Back-Slash (due out 31st Oct 2011)
This copy of Chosen was kindly gifted and signed by Bill Kitson and his lovely wife, Val. Thank you!
DI Mike Nash is on call, covering Helmsdale during what seems like a normal Christmas season for the police. That is – until he has to deal with a case where a family have died in their home from carbon monoxide poisoning. A suspicious house fire soon follows and then the murder of a young drug addict and the disappearance of a scientist’s daughter. A quiet Christmas it is no more then, as Nash is inundated and all the investigations appear to lead him to one man intent on revenge. But as he tries to delve deeper into the cases, Nash faces challenges he would never have imagined.
Altered Egos is a fast paced detective thriller. The chapters are short and sharp like scenes playing out from a movie, and the suspense builds up quickly, moving readers from one terrifying mystery to another. The chapters may be short but there is no lacking in characterisation. Bill Kitson doesn’t go to great lengths to describe the physical appearances of each character, but provides enough realistic dialogue and behaviour for the readers to put together their own mental images.
DI Mike Nash is a very likeable character, with a dry sense of humour that also rubs off onto some of the other characters. Through each book, readers are given a glimpse into his complex personal life and romantic interests – and Altered Egos is no exception. If you think the cover looks scary, wait until you read the book!
Warning: This book has a great plot, characters that will hold your interest and amuse you, stunning locations and it’s highly likely to keep you awake, reading long into the night.
Other DI Mike Nash books in the series are:
Depths of Despair (Aug 2009)
Chosen (Jan 2010)
Minds That Hate (May 2010)
Altered Egos (Mar 2011)
Back-Slash (due out Oct 2011)
Altered Egos was purchased in hardback from Amazon UK
“What would you do if your son was accused of murder?”
That’s enough to immediately invoke a mother’s protective instinct.
Saving Max is about a high-powered lawyer, Danielle, who is a single Mother devoted to her autistic teen-aged son, Max. When his behaviour worsens and he becomes difficult to manage, Danielle seeks expert psychiatric help for him and he’s admitted to a clinic for assessment. Danielle’s nightmare begins when she finds him one day, lying unconscious and covered in blood, beside the body of a fellow patient, who has been brutally stabbed to death. From there, Danielle has to fight the very justice system she works and believes in, in order to save her son. This is the story of a mother’s desperation and stubbornness, who will cross all the boundaries in a fight to save her son from being destroyed.
Saving Max is a combination of a detective, psychological and legal thriller. It’s the debut novel of Antoinette van Heugten, who has two autistic sons so she knows exactly what she’s talking about where Max is concerned. And with fifteen years experience as a trial lawyer, she brings a very realistic feel to the courtroom scenes. All of the characters are fully developed and believable and I especially liked Doaks, who made a truly credible private detective.
It took a few chapters to get into the flow of the story, but once there I was hooked into it and couldn’t put the book down. The scenes which begin to reveal the mind of the killer are quite grotesque and deliver the shock factor, whilst Danielle’s desperation to find the truth and save her son as she’s running out of time, had me turning the pages very quickly to read more.
It’s very good as a debut novel, which can only mean there’s even better to come.
Paperback copy provided by Midas PR