The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths

Out Now

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Description

The fourth Stephens and Mephisto mystery from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series.
What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto and find out.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ investigation into the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

Review

Set in 1953 in Brighton it is approaching Christmas – the lights and decorations are going up and the snow is falling. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are starring at the Hippodrome. Ruby is engaged to DI Edgar Stephens. Edgar is looking forward to seeing the show when a call comes through – a young women, Lily Burtonshaw, has been found dead, strangely posed in her room at a Hove boarding house. He and his team, Sergeants Emma Holmes and Bob Willis are on the trail of a murderer.

As Edgar, Emma and Bob investigate connections emerge to the artistes at the Hippodrome, two were residing at the same boarding house, and then there are more murders which appear to strengthen the links.

Elly Griffiths evokes a wonderful picture of the 1950s and of Brighton her characters have the maturity of a fourth book in the series and are very believable, their personal hopes are part of the storyline but don’t distract from the main plot. The story line has it’s twists and turns. There are several murders and they have to be solved one way or another. This is no cozy mystery nor is this book grisly but it is a murder mystery and it is about detective work. Very well written Elly Griffiths leads you through the maze of misdirection bringing you to a tense and thrilling conclusion.

I thought this was a terrific read and would certainly recommend it.

With thanks to Quercus Publishing via NetGalley who provided me with an e-ARC in return for an honest opinion.

Rating: 4*

Information

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Quercus (2 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1784297003
ISBN-13: 978-1784297008

Author:  http://ellygriffiths.co.uk

https://www.quercusbooks.co.uk/Quercus/Authors/Elly+Griffiths.page

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Published: 2 November 2017 (Hardback)

2017-09-17 13.03.32

Description

Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency and ambient direct democracy. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.

Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave. She runs a lending library and conducts business by barter. She is off the grid in a society where the grid is everything. Denounced, arrested and interrogated by a machine that reads your life history from your brain, she dies in custody.

Mielikki Neith is the investigator charged with discovering how this tragedy occurred. Neith is Hunter’s opposite. She is a woman in her prime, a stalwart advocate of the System. It is the most democratic of governments, and Neith will protect it with her life.

When Neith opens the record of the interrogation, she finds not Hunter’s mind but four others, none of which can possibly be there: the banker Constantine Kyriakos, pursued by a ghostly shark that eats corporations; the alchemist Athenais Karthagonensis, jilted lover of St Augustine of Hippo and mother to his dead son, kidnapped and required to perform a miracle; Berihun Bekele, artist and grandfather, who must escape an arson fire by walking through walls – if only he can remember how; and Gnomon, a sociopathic human intelligence from a distant future, falling backwards in time to conduct four assassinations.

Aided – or perhaps opposed – by the pale and paradoxical Regno Lönnrot, Neith must work her way through the puzzles of her case and find the meaning of these impossible lives. Hunter has left her a message, but is it one she should heed, or a lie to lead her into catastrophe? And as the stories combine and the secrets and encryptions of Gnomon are revealed, the question becomes the most fundamental of all: who will live, and who will die?

Review

Diane Hunter dies. Under interrogation. In the UK of the future governed through the system this should not happen. So Inspector Neith is sent to investigate. From therein you are on your own. You may be reading this book but you can really only experience it – or not, if you so choose. Many will love the crazy, helterskelter ride it will give them, many will wonder at the time it has spent them to get as far as they do whether or not to the end. I hope that if you choose to read this book you are the former and enjoy your visit to the fair/circus/Anglo-Greek playground of God, gods, man, woman and machine. If not then perhaps this is a book to leave on a public bench somewhere for another to try.

I enjoyed the crime investigation elements of the book as those of you who know this blog would expect.

With thanks to Willian Heinemann via NetGalley for an e-ARC in return for an honest review.

Rating: 3*

Information

Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann (2 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1785151274
ISBN-13: 978-1785151279

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/cornerstone/william-heinemann/

For more information on Century & Arrow, follow @Arrowpublishing on Twitter or visit http://www.randomhouse.co.uk

Or for Hutchinson, William Heinemann and Windmill, follow @WindmillBooks on Twitter or visit http://www.windmill-books.co.uk.

Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1113201/gnomon/#0UIiof8xOIGE4TRr.99

Author: http://www.nickharkaway.com/regarding-gnomon/

 

The DEATHS of DECEMBER by Susi Holliday

The hunt is on for a serial killer in a thrilling festive crime novel.

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Description

It looks like a regular advent calendar.

Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors…and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.

The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.

But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?

As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…

It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.

Review

I would like to thank Mullholland Books via NetGalley for providing an e-ARC to me in exchange for an honest review.

An interesting premise, good characters and set in a wintry wonderland of December – this is a great start as I so enjoy crime fiction, a good story, good characters and snow!

Mind you don’t think this is the cosy mystery it might first seem because it isn’t. It isn’t very dark but it is a police procedural with DC Bekky Greene and DS Eddie Carmine tracking down a serial killer. Written from various viewpoints, not something I always enjoy but is quite fashionable and I didn’t seem to mind it too much, it was well done by Susi Holliday. You know ‘whodunnit’ pretty soon but it’s about whether Becky and Eddie can figure it out and find the killer – and can they do it before more are killed?

I enjoyed the inclusion of the various characters that made up the investigation team in the broader sense – crime scene, analysts and support staff. I liked the Christmas market link and Carly is a good character too, although her three children (they are older teen/young adults) seems to be all to realistic these days in that they need a good kick up the backside (sorry if that’s not very ‘PC’!) tending towards that spoiled brat type – but that’s a very minor element.

Deaths in December keeps you engaged, builds up tension towards the end and finishes with the strong possibility of a further book – which might be interesting I wouldn’t mind getting to know Becky and Eddie better, along with several others in the book.

This is a terrific read and one I would certainly be happy to get in my Christmas stocking.

Rating: 3.5/4* Recommended

Information

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books; 01 edition (16 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1473659361
ISBN-13: 978-1473659360

Author: http://www.sjiholliday.com/

Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

Published 5 December 2017

2017-09-10 10.55.32

Description
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN EDWARDS

‘The death was an odd one, it was true; but there was after all no very clear reason to assume it was anything but natural.’

In the winter of 1942, England lies cold and dark in the wartime blackout. One bleak evening, Councillor Grayling steps off the 6.12 from Euston, carrying £120 in cash, and oblivious to the fate that awaits him in the snow-covered suburbs.

Inspector Holly draws up a list of Grayling’s fellow passengers: his distrusted employee Charles Evetts, the charming Hugh Rolandson, and an unknown refugee from Nazi Germany, among others. Inspector Holly will soon discover that each passenger harbours their own dark secrets, and that the councillor had more than one enemy among them.

First published in 1943, Raymond Postgate’s wartime murder mystery combines thrilling detection with rich characters and a fascinating depiction of life on the home front.

Comment

With thanks to Poison Pen and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Previously published during WWII, 1943, it is of it’s time and quite interesting for that.

Set in Croxburn were Cllr Henry Grayling has taken the train home from his work in London, with wages for delivery the next day.Arriving at his home he is very unwell and later dies. The money is missing.

The police investigate and we read accounts of his fellow passengers, a somewhat laborious procedure, several of whom have possible reason to dispose of the Counsellor. It is however not difficult to spot ‘whodunnit’.

In spite of all this it is not the worst book I’ve read. Just about gets the 3* rating.

Rating: 2.5/3*

Information

Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

British Library Crime Classics

Poisoned Pen Press
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date: 05 Dec 2017

The Hanged Man by Simon Kernick

From bestselling author, Simon Kernick, comes the thrilling second instalment in The Bone Field series. Featuring DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd

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Description

A house deep in the countryside where the remains of seven unidentified women have just been discovered.

A cop ready to risk everything in the hunt for their killers.

A man who has seen the murders and is now on the run in fear of his life.

So begins the race to track down this witness before the killers do.

For Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd, the road ahead is a dangerous one, with bodies and betrayal at every turn…

Review

Thank you to Century and Arrow Publishers via NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was quite good in the main, it had all the usual mix – anti-hero copper, bad guys doing awful stuff you wanted stopping and police unable even with all the resources they have to put the bad guys away. I was glad to see that whilst issues around insufficient resources were aired it was not overdone and indeed accepted that the police had by and large sufficient capabilities but that the criminals also had a lot of resources indeed resources even within the police force. There was more than an implication that the police have their hands tied at times because of rules/regulations/law preventing them from pursuing certain courses of action.

This book is in the crime fiction thriller genre. It built up the story pretty well and it did have action and tension especially towards the end. I don’t know if it was because I had not read the first book in the series, although other writers don’t stop this from being an issue, but I felt Ray Mason was unlovable and not in a good way, especially as he was one of the main narrators, and the anti-hero that we are supposed to love, aren’t we? Tina Boyd was easier to relate to but her role seemed relatively small; Dan, oh dear – the straight copper, by the book, marriage broken because of his own inability to control his personal proclivities – something of a cliché character in the end, although he didn’t have to be. The baddies seemed better drawn. However, all of this I could have gotten through but for the final action from Ray. I got it, I just didn’t like it.

This book had such potential and I didn’t hate it even though I had not read #1 I could engage with the storyline, just not all of the execution or all of the characters. You may enjoy this more, especially if you have read The Bone Field.

Rating: 3*  Just about.

Information

For more information on Century & Arrow, follow @Arrowpublishing on Twitter or visit http://www.randomhouse.co.uk

Century and Arrow are part of the Penguin Random House group found at global.penguinrandomhouse.com

The first 15 novels are standalone stories, although there are recurring characters. Simon’s latest thriller, The Bone Field, is the first in his first ever crime series, with the next instalment, The Hanged Man, due to be published in November 2017.

ISBN 9781780894478 (Hardback).   ISBN 9781780894485 (Trade Paperback)

Publisher: Arrow (5 April 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1784752266
ISBN-13: 978-1784752262

Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/features/2017/may/simon-kernick-series-graphic/#oCp4ru0VlghI3VuW.99

Author:

https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/features/2017/may/simon-kernick-series-graphic/

MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau

 

Coming November 16, 2017: a librarian who steals and kills for her library.

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Description

In the dedication this book is noted as being a fantasy, set mainly in a library, and is dedicated to those wonderful people LIBRARIANS.

The Cayacosta2 Review site said:

This book is truly every librarian’s dream come true. After fighting budget battles over and over again, librarian Serenity has lost her library funding. What’s a librarian gonna do? How about ripping off the city that’s ripping off its citizens? Serenity begins helping herself to the funds that local politicians have been setting aside for their own personal “rainy day “. With the money she amasses she can build a library to thrill readers everywhere. Problem is, those politicians aren’t too thrilled to see their money disappearing and they plan to do anything to get it back. Why in the world are libraries always under threat? A funny, moving story of our most precious institutions under threat.

Review

This is a book which I enjoyed even though it takes some time to get to the actual murder. It’s not your traditional murder mystery, rather it’s a quirky story whose main protagonist Serenity Sweetblossom Hammer is head librarian at Maddington Library. Always looking to raise money to keep the library open, whilst its budget is being cut, Serenity comes across something strange within the town councils accounts – lots of money – and decides to put it into building a new library which will be the hub of Maddington.

Free money, because there is no such thing, comes at a cost and you are taken down a crazy, MAD road of murder, corruption and passion. The passion of books and what they can do for an individual, a town, a community. The passion of librarians to provide for their community. The question here is not so much ‘whodunnit?’ but what will taking dodgy money cost Serenity in the end?

The characters Serenity, Joy, Doom etc aren’t quite sufficiently formed but are enjoyable. The storyline is interesting but it doesn’t take itself seriously. So, instead of a tense murder mystery full of corruption and manipulation we get a lighter version although the ending is perhaps sadder because of that. This is a tale of morality as much as it is murder – satirical? Mmmmm?

There are still so many children, YA and adults who cannot afford to buy books, get internet, get answers, information and educational support within easy reach if at all. The cutting of budget to libraries that provide such vital resource and services to everyone is being felt across both the UK and USA and is a travesty.

Thank you to Madison Press and NetGalley for providing an e-ARC in return for an honest review.

Rating: 2.5/3*

Information

Published by Madison Press Madison, Alabama madisonpresspublishing@gmail.com

Book Layout © 2017 BookDesignTemplates.com Cover Design by Artrocity. CS01082017

MAD Librarian/ Michael Guillebeau. –1st ed. ISBN: 978-0-9972055-3-4

Author, Michael Guillebeau:-
MAD Librarian is now allied with the Awesome Foundation for Library Innovation (http://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/libraries). Awesome is a group of librarians who contribute their own money to provide grants to innovative library projects like sharEd which provides low-income Pre-K classrooms in developing countries with materials in a library model, and Breaking Silos for Social Justice, which supports librarians and other Austin, Texas-area professionals who are working to support communities of marginalized groups. MAD Librarian is happy to have half our sales going to support this great work. MAD + Awesome—insert your own joke to celebrate this partnership that will help change lives.

Half of all income goes to the Awesome Foundation for Innovation in Libraries. Available for pre-sale at https://www.amazon.com/MAD-Librarian-Michael-Guillebeau-ebook/dp/B075LQD1LB/

The Bone Keeper by Luce Veste

Out: 8 March 2018

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Description

What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.

Review

I had heard good things about this author and so was delighted to get the opportunity to read this e-ARC from Simon and Schuster UK. This is the second piece I have read by Luca Veste, the first being a short story. The plot seemed to be right up my alley and an interesting take from Luca Veste – a killer on the loose bringing to life an urban myth of the locality.  Set in Liverpool a city I know which certainly added interest for me.

It opens with the disappearance of Matty who, along with three other children, had gone into woodland to find where The Bone Keeper lives. Then there’s Caroline who, years later, is found wandering the streets of Liverpool having been viscously attacked repeating The Bone Keepers rhyme.  Finally, we have Louise Henderson a Detective Constable assigned to Caroline’s case.  All good so far.

The story jumps back and forth between ‘Now’ and ‘Past’ clearly indicated but somehow it feels a bit jumbled and instead of bringing out the tension, story and characters – instead of gripping you so you didn’t want to put the book down – it made me halt, take a break before coming back. The book is pretty much told from the point of view of DC Henderson but I didn’t really find myself engaging with the character, indeed her relationship with her DS grated. This book would have been better for keeping to the detection, I understood that the author wanted to convey to us that Louise had a secret past and issues from that, indeed had done so, without the halfhearted attempt at romance which, whilst not taking over the story thank goodness, for me shouldn’t have had a place in it.

Nevertheless, there is a good story in here. There is some tension, it is a little scary and the parts of the book dealing with the actual initial attack and subsequent murders with the overtones of The Bone Keepers myth turning reality with it’s twists had potential to make this a really good book. Somehow, for me, it just didn’t quite get there. Each reader will have their own take and so I hope you enjoy it even more than I did.

Rating: 3*

With thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for providing me with an e-ARC via NetGalley for an honest opinion.

Information

The Bone Keeper will be published 8 March 2018

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8 Mar. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1471141411
ISBN-13: 978-1471141416

Paperback: ISBN9781471141416     e-book: ISBN9781471141423

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Fiction     http://simonandschuster.co.uk

Author: Luce Veste http://www.luceveste.com