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

Dark Signal: A Kate Fox Novel (Kate Fox Mystery #2) by Shannon Baker

OUT – 17 October 2017

2017-09-15 21.29.11

Description

Reeling from her recent divorce, Kate Fox has just been sworn in as Grand County, Nebraska Sheriff when tragedy strikes. A railroad accident has left engineer Chad Mills dead, his conductor Bobby Jenkins in shock. Kate soon realizes that the accident was likely murder.

Who would want to kill Chad Mills? Kate finds that he made a few enemies as president of the railroad workers union. Meanwhile his widow is behaving oddly. And why was his neighbor Josh Stevens at the Mills house on the night of the accident?

While her loud and meddling family conspires to help Kate past her divorce, State Patrol Officer Trey closes in on Josh Stevens as the suspect. Kate doesn’t believe it. She may not have the experience, but she’s lived in the Sandhills her whole life, and knows the land and the people. Something doesn’t add up–and Kate must find the real killer before he can strike again.

Review

I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest opinion, for which my thanks.

This is the second book in the Kate Fox series and the first that I have read.

I really enjoyed this book it is well written, has a terrific story-line which is well plotted and carries you along at a good pace while Kate works out what has happened with, or should I say despite, the help of the state police and has a gripping conclusion.

We also learn something of Kate which is helpful having not read the first in this series. I like to know something of the characters. The characters are well drawn and  Kate is engaging as she forges her own way through the investigation.

Rating: 4*

Information

Hardcover – published on 17 Oct 2017

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Forge (17 Oct. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765385473
ISBN-13: 978-0765385475

https://us.macmillan.com

Author:

https://us.macmillan.com/author/shannonbaker

http://shannon-baker.com

Cold Kill (UK) / The Sixth Idea (US)(Monkeewrench #7) by P J Tracy

 

 

 

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Description

The peaceful Christmas season in Minneapolis is shattered when two friends, scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, two hours and several miles apart, dramatically concluding winter vacation for homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.

An hour north of Minneapolis, Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When Leo and Gino discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect that she is a target, too. The same day, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges.

This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives sixty years into the past to search for answers – and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. What they find is an unimaginable horror – a dormant Armageddon that might be activated at any moment unless Grace and her partners Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, along with Leo and Gino, can find a way to stop it.

Review

This is #7 of the Monkeewrench series and continues the excellent writing of plot, characters and story from P J Tracy.  I have read all the books and have come to love Grace and the Monkeewrench crew as well as Leo and Gino.  P J Tracy writes great characters in this series allowing humour to come through even in the bleakest of moments. The story lines are very well plotted bringing together each element to a thrilling conclusion.

This book is no exception it draws you in with each new layer of plot and takes off on a magnificently woven story which delivers on all the aspects of the books I have come to expect and enjoy – tension, pace, humour, terrific characters and intricate plotting.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book and, indeed, the whole series.

Rating: 4.5*

Note: This was the twelfth and final book that I read from my 10 books of summer 2017 list.

Information

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Penguin (17 Nov. 2016)

https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/p-j-tracy/23490/

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1405917466
ISBN-13: 978-1405917469

https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/pj-tracy-books-in-order/

Author: http://pjtracy.com

PJ Tracy is a mother/daughter writing duo. Sadly PJ Lambrecht died Dec 2016. Their last Monkeewrench book together Nothing Stays Buried is out now 2017. Traci will continue the series with the #9 book of the series due in 2018.

IN MEMORY OF PJ
http://www.twincities.com/2016/12/22/p-j-lambrecht-monkeewrench-author-dies/