Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Red Tide by Jeff Lindsay

Red Tide (Billy Knight Thrillers #2)Red Tide by Jeff Lindsay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Billy Knight is a LA cop retired to Key West as a fishing guide. With pressure form his friends he tackles an immigration problem - Haitians are being killed instead of being landed in Miami. Billies instincts tell him something is very wrong but needs to get evidence of what and where. First up Billy has to sort out his personal problems from then on the action starts. Very good story well written and entertaining. It is a story that is bang up to date with the immigration problems around the world. The story illustrates very clearly if this problem is to be solved someone has to take the first step. It may however require more resources than one ex LAPD man, governments worldwide need to take responsibility to get a lasting solution.

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The Sleeper by J. Robert Janes

The SleeperThe Sleeper by J. Robert Janes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Set in pre-ww2 Britain this is a custody battle to top all custody battles and be warned it is complicated or at least it appears that way. David Ashby has removed his daughter from Germany and his Nazi wife is determined to get her back using the influence of her General father. I have a read a pre proof copy of the book which could account for some of the difficult disconnections I found whilst reading, e.g. jumping from one location to another without a chapter break. In any case it still needs a good bit of work to be worthy of more than two stars. The story is okay, albeit getting three security services involved for a custody case seems excessive, however they must have seen some bargaining powers going begging  with the high level connections of the child mother. As historical fiction goes I liked the idea of examining relationships between Britain and Germany immediately prior to the war, a bit more detail might have helped.

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Night of the Bonfire by Kevin Scott Olson

Night of the Bonfire (Michael Quinn, #1)Night of the Bonfire by Kevin Scott Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ian Flemings Bond style is easy to replicate however you must have a good storyline to make it work. With Michael Quinn, Kevin Scott Olson has produced an excellent facsimile including gadgets,the beautiful girls and an outstanding story. Entertaining from start to finish he sends his private contractor into the art world to uncover and bring down a major drug player. The author has delivered everything you would expect of the genre, action, thrills, suspense, violence and of course moderate sex. This has been a great book to read after my last two selections have failed to deliver. Recommended.

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The Mark by Kiki Swinson

The Mark (The Score #2)The Mark by Kiki Swinson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sometimes you get something you don't expect and this is one. This is the story of a bank robber trying to go clean, however her ex from whom she stole more than her fare share has caught up with her. Not surprisingly he wants his money back. Okay this appears like your normal crime novel but it is written from the perspective of the girlfriend who like all the characters are black and criminals. The author has chosen for authenticity to use the totally alien language of a black gangsta. With every sentence peppered with profanity and double negatives it is not that easy or pleasant to read. The storyline itself is okay but the style chosen takes all the limelight and unfortunately  tends to portray violence, criminality and drugs as acceptable behaviour. 

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Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

Bluebird, BluebirdBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Texas Ranger investigates a murder whilst under suspension with the target of getting some evidence against the local white supremacist group.  As he digs into the recent events others start to emerge and he is confronted with complex family structures which are a product of the South and it's slavery / racist history. It is a good  storyline however I find the atmosphere created by the language of the South irritating, and subconsciously keep linking it with the Dukes of Hazard TV programme, diminishing the impact of this serious subject. If even half of the events accurately represent reality, then it is very easy to see why there is so much resentment in "black" culture. We appear as a society unable to let go of the past and must punish today's people for the crimes of their ancestors.


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Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A young struggling artist is caught up in an aircraft accident which should make him hero after saving the life of a four year old boy, however the other passengers on the plane causes the investigations take a different course. This is an okay book however the format is not my favourite as the story is interrupted by the bios of all the passengers in turn, which in my view is wasted, most are unnecessary as the plot is easy to work out about halfway through. The good part is the story of Scot one of two survivors and how he assimilates to life after the accident.  The author also takes this opportunity to expose the media and their anything for a story attitude, truth or not, relevant or not. As with most things in life it is what you cannot have that creates the most problems.

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Kill Devil Falls by Brian Klingborg

Kill Devil Falls: A Novel of SuspenseKill Devil Falls: A Novel of Suspense by Brian Klingborg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

US Marshall Helen Morrissey is assigned to collect a bank robber from remote town but things don't go as normal. Firstly her car starts to go wrong as she navigates the mountain road to Kill Devil Falls which exists due to a non existent gold rush. As she reaches town things go from bad to worse and is forced to stay overnight due to car failure. What follows is a good story of the depths people will be driven too by greed. Can Helen survive the night and get out with her charge. This is a full on story with action from the start to finish, a little predictable in places but does not detract from the overall enjoyment. This is what happens when the rest of the world forgets that a places exists.

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Villa Golitsyn by Piers Paul Read

The Villa GolitsynThe Villa Golitsyn by Piers Paul Read
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Having read the synopsis and with the title you can be forgiven in thinking this is an out and out spy novel, but it isn't. This is a story of relationships, emotions and philosophy. Simon Melsom who works for the foreign office is asked to provide feedback on a visit to an old school friend now living in Nice, south of France. You could say that the book is overtaken by his school friend's alcohol problem, but that is only part of it. As we progress through the story more and more is revealed of the characters, and this is the mainstay of the book, getting to know the players. The style of story is not my normal reading and therefore it all seemed fairly strange filled with intangibles. Had I known from the outset it was not a spy novel I would not have read it, was this deliberate? A more honest synopsis may be required.

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Dinner at the Centre of the Earth by Nathan Englander

Dinner at the Centre of the EarthDinner at the Centre of the Earth by Nathan Englander
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It does not happen very often but this book beat me. I have read around 20% and have not been able to understand any of it. This may be an award winning author but there are no prizes for this one. Perhaps written in a period of self indulgence it lacks any structure or storyline for you to follow and certainly does not entertain. The reason I gave up was the lack of even any promise that it would get better, I was totally confused and bored. Billed as a political thriller I was excited to start it as this is one my favourite genres however this excitement disappeared very quickly. Won't give any spoilers as if like me you will not get that far.

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Monday, 7 August 2017

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes, #1)Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This detective's name is unusual and immediately links to the parliamentary explosives expert however there is no connection. Ragdoll refers to the detective newest case a puppet style gruesome collection of six body parts stitched together. More importantly the body parts are from different bodies. Fawkes' ex wife a journalist is anonymously given crime scene pictures and a list of the next victims. With his partner and her sidekick trainee they try to identify the six victims before anyone else is murdered. It seems a regular murder enquiry except for the strange circumstance, however with ex-wife, partner and sidekick relationships added in, it is no longer straightforward. As the body count starts to rise so does the tension and the credibility of Fawkes. Will he solve the case and survive? Recommended

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The Woman Who Knew Too Much by Tom Savage

The Woman Who Knew Too Much (Nora Baron #2)The Woman Who Knew Too Much by Tom Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nora Baron's husband works for the CIA and she gets the chance to work a mission. Based in Venice it has a very interesting backdrop to this exciting political mystery thriller. Assigned to assist a Russian actress to defect, Nora's detailed plan starts to go awry. As the only one in the team visiting Venice who really knows what is happening it becomes very difficult for Nora to decide who to trust. This is quite a clever story with the author releasing enough clues along the way to keep your interest. Written in an easy style I found you don't have to work too hard to understand what it going on, and just enjoy the story. Some political novels can get too complex and kill any enjoyment, due to continually trying to keep up with the twists and turns. Good book.

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Zero Sum by Barry Eisler

Zero Sum (John Rain, #9)Zero Sum by Barry Eisler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

John Rain has an occupation which is unusual but borne out of his life in the military and subsequent mercenary work, he is an assassin. Returning to Japan after a period in the Philippines he discovers a Russian called Victor is monopolising all the hit jobs - why? This is a story of a guy trying to get his old job back only difference is the type of job. Good story with normal thriller elements thrown in, some romance / sex, greed, power and of course murder. Although it is entertaining it is not really a mystery what is going to happen. The author has chose to leave enough clues for you to work it out fairly quickly. In summary it is predictable but very enjoyable, definitely a holiday read.

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I am Missing by Tim Weaver

I Am MissingI Am Missing by Tim Weaver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Richard has one of those problems that it is impossible to understand what it is like to experience. He has lost all his memory and only has little fragments to use to try and remember. Not getting anywhere he calls David Raker to help him, Raker is an experienced missing person detective but this is something completely new to him. He quickly gets one or two small leads to work on which eventually start to bear fruit. For some reason it took me ages to read this book which mystifies me and can only assume it did not capture my imagination the way some quick reads do. It is an easy story to read and an interesting subject, but I think just moves a little to slowly for me to rate it more than three stars. Perhaps if on beach holiday it would be more appealing where there is a smaller choice of activities on offer. It does offer all the normal elements of a good crime thriller.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Justice by Another Name by E.C. Hanes

Justice by Another NameJustice by Another Name by E.C. Hanes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You would think that greed and corruption is the province of Wall Street and City of London but no it is alive and well in the pig farming industry of North Carolina. With the tragic death of a father and son within a few months of each other, Will Moser the local deputy sheriff takes on the most powerful man in the county to try expose the truth. You will be fascinated how interwoven and connected the families in the county are and how everyone knew each other when growing up. This is a very good novel, about a widow who has lost everything and tries to understand why she has suffered this injustice. Providing the story line is good I will judge the merits of book by how easy it is to read. EC Hanes novel passes muster easily. I was attracted to the book initially by the synopsis which set the story in unusually in hog land, I was not disappointed. Recommended.

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The Expansion by Christoph Martin

The ExpansionThe Expansion by Christoph Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to categorise, not a thriller, not a mystery, not a political story, not espionage, not a murder. What is it? It has all of these but all take equal share. I was quickly taken in by the easy reading style of writing and although there is no particular outstanding element is does grab you and is a exceptionally good read. The main character Max Burns childhood and background is dealt with at the beginning, in order you can get on with the main story line of the Panama Canal expansion project. The author expertly compresses several years of bidding and construction and concentrates on Max's interaction with the father and son relationship of the Rocos who are leading the project. This may not be to everyone's taste but I enjoyed it.

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Ridge by John Rector

The RidgeThe Ridge by John Rector
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Willow Ridge is community built by a company for their employees, on first impression it is like Stepford but that’s where the similarity stops. Megan and Tyler Stokes relocate there into the middle of nowhere from Chicago. Megan believes Tyler who works at the “Institute” is too familiar with the next-door neighbour and following an argument over this sets Megan to question everything around her. As time passes things become stranger and as some twists in the storyline develop it causes Megan’s life to become a nightmare. The author allows you to quickly get that feeling of something strange is going on, but cleverly keeps it secret to the end. This is a fairly fast moving story with good suspense and twists which makes it a book I would recommend to all thriller lovers.

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Executive Order by Max Allan Collins

Executive Order (Reeder and Rogers #3)Executive Order by Max Allan Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four CIA agents are caught in a border incident in Eastern Europe, but why and who sent them there? The President did not authorise the mission and the Secretary of the Interior is murdered, what is happening? This is a very fast paced exciting political thriller full of conspiracy and misguided patriotic nonsense that seems to only exist in America. Reeder and Rogers are old partners who suspect something is awry when their separate cases appear to be connected, and Reeder who is hired directly by the President is very quickly targeted for elimination by an unknown group. The race is on for the attackers to be identified and neutralised. Throughout the book the author maintains the pace, action and the easy to read writing style. Everything is straight forward with no jumping back in time or dream sequences, it is my type of book, a pleasure to read. Recommended.

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cast Iron by Peter May

Cast Iron (The Enzo Files, #6)Cast Iron by Peter May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Scottish detective in France is not your everyday crime thriller but Enzo Macleod is making his sixth appearance in this novel. An extreme drought in the west of France has uncovered a skeleton in water reservoir with a bag over its skull. The remain belong to Lucie Martin who disappeared fourteen years earlier. Enzo has been challenged to solve cold cases and this is the sixth. As he starts to dig into the details of the case he finds he has some strange connections which he cannot quite explain. He needs to resolve the case quickly as everyone close to him is in peril. This is a classic detective thriller where the investigator gets too close to the crime for comfort. It is a good recipe for a very entertaining read, it may not be the most riveting book to read but steady and predictable, in that there are twists you did not expect that spice up the action.

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The Reason by Quentin Brent

The Reason: It's about More Than Just the MoneyThe Reason: It's about More Than Just the Money by Quentin Brent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zane works selling insurance for an asset stripping organisation, but his wife and family are abducted. His search for his family, with help of his friend Tec, starts to uncover some disturbing facts about who controls the company he is working for. The plot is classically complex, as government is involved but hidden from view but combines well with the author’s easy reading writing style, making the story easier to digest. As events progress Zane must make life or death decisions on exposing the truth or preserving the status quo in the financial world. The story examines the thorny subject of morality, should I or should I not, what comes first, money, family or? All this whilst presenting a regular government conspiracy theory. It all makes for a very interesting, thrilling and very original storyline. By the way did I mention that almost all of Zanes friends are into martial arts.

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Red Sky by Chris Goff

Red Sky (Raisa Jordan Thriller #2)Red Sky by Chris Goff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raisa Jordan is sent to identify a U.S. Diplomatic escort caught up in the crash of flight 91 from China to Poland. From the start she is curious about the cause of the air crash, and starts to poke around. Her investigation draws the attention of Nye Davis of Reuters news agency, as she follows the bodies of the escort and his prisoner to the morgue. The story develops at a very quick pace, into a very exciting thriller, as Raisa and Nye try to identify who is responsible for the crash, and ultimately prevent a new Cold War between the super powers. For me author has written a first rate story, which is not only engrossing but very easy to read. Recommended.

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Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston

The Ulterior MotiveThe Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all know about the despicable deeds of the extremist groups from recent events around Europe. It is now the turn of the U.S. to succumb to their terror. As chaos and death hits Washington, Stanley and Anna Carmichael, both employed by the CIA but in totally different roles, try to track down and eliminate the threat of yet more terror. Anna a legend in the service is quietly happy to be back in the field again however she never expected the hunt for their target to be as dangerous. Expertly written the author has produced a very exciting full action thriller which fully conveys the fear generated by the actions and lack of morality of the terrorists. He has also used the thriller staple of revenge to drive the main story line. Excellent story if not possibly a little close to reality.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

Crimson LakeCrimson Lake by Candice Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Candice Fox has done it again, another excellent thriller. This time a detective is accused of a child abduction has to escapes attention by moving to Crimson Lake, a remote crocodile infested area in the North of Australia. He needs to work again, and teams up with an unlikely partner, a private investigator with a murderous past. The author expertly uses these circumstances to build a strange environment for them to investigate a missing person case. All the locals having a downer on both investigators deserved or undeserved, adds another dimension. This is a complex case the details of which provide a few twists and turns. Running alongside this, Ted (the detective) tries to resolve his own predicament and clear his name. Although it deals with very serious crimes it has its humorous moments with Ted's partner cycling everywhere, refusing lifts. Very different set up to the previous Candice Fox books but equally exciting and thrilling.

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Monday, 20 March 2017

A Quiet Death by Cari Hunter

A Quiet Death (The Dark Peak, #3)A Quiet Death by Cari Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is not often I award five stars, so put this book on your want to read list. Cari Hunter has delivered an excellent thriller on the thorny topic of people trafficking, but in the peak district. Detective Sanne Jansen is assigned to the mysterious death of a young Pakistani girl, whose body is discovered on the moors. The author leads us through the detective process to find the identity and cause of death of the young girl. As the investigation starts the community close out the detectives, who must try and get a lead on the case before the trail goes cold. As the excitement increases so does the peril for the investigators, which is cleverly interwoven with Jansen's own issues and that of her partner Dr Meg Fielding adding to the overall tension. The book runs at a fast pace compelling you to just keep reading.
Highly recommended.

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Before the Dawn by Jake Woodhouse

Before the Dawn (Amsterdam Quartet, #3)Before the Dawn by Jake Woodhouse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Third book in the Jaap Rykel series. Based in Holland I found this book a little flat, (pun intended) with a very slow start and never really hitting any high points of excitement, tension or suspense. It is however a decent story but not a thriller, an intricate plot surrounding the murders of unconnected people. Can you apply logic to be able to solve this mystery, Jaap uses all his skills to analyse the facts and try to find a lead. Although there is a twist at the end I was not satisfied with ending, but that may be only me wanting all the loose ends resolved. Could mean there will be a fourth story.

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Monday, 16 January 2017

The Kill Sign by Nichole Christoff

The Kill Sign (Jamie Sinclair #4)The Kill Sign by Nichole Christoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jamie Sinclair is visiting in Mississippi where she has a new boyfriend who is stationed at Fort Donovan. Adam Barrett is a Colonel in the military police and on a temporary posting. Intent on a romantic night out they attend a function on a paddle steamer which is attacked by bombers killing and maiming many servicemen on board. Jamie recognises a couple of people on the steamer, could they be involved, or do you believe your instincts and assume extremist terrorists are to blame. Jamie needs to help and investigate who is responsible. This is a fast moving action thriller full of little twists and turns, with few clues to the final outcome. Nichole Christoff has written a very good follow up to the excellent The Kill Box full of the same First entertaining action but in a totally different scenario. This series could be easily read one after the other without getting boring. Recommended.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Exposure by Helen Dunmore

ExposureExposure by Helen Dunmore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1960’s cold war is the setting for this spook thriller. The story line feeds directly from the events of the spy fraternity that existed at the time – gay men educated and recruited at university. Giles Holloway has a habit of taking files home but has an accident and asks a favour of Simon Callington to return a top-secret file to the Admiralty office. This is where it all goes wrong and Simon finds himself being accused of spying. Simon is the accused however the star character is his spouse Lily a German refugee. The author paints a very austere picture of life in a Britain covered in a vail of cold war suspicion. You instantly start to imagine what it would be like to live in this era (I vaguely remember it), with steam trains, landlines, smog, no TV, no computers and no central heating. This is the best part of the book as without this vivid description of life, the plot would disappear in importance and would be much better with more action.

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