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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jack and Jill by James Patterson An Alex Cross Thriller

Alex Cross's third foray into crime is as good as it gets.

A controversial Senator found handcuffed to his bed and cold bloodedly executed at point blank range. On the other side of the same town a six year old girl brutally killed. The killings continue apace alternatively with each other. Are the two killing sprees linked in any way or are there two separate cold blooded killers stalking Washington DC. The one killer targets high upmarket stakes and the other is more low key. The attention to the two murders by the powers that be is also markedly different to the disgust of the detectives handling the cases.

The sign offs on the murders of the upmarket killings are Jack and Jill. Coincidentally and frighteningly they are also the code names for the President of the US and his wife. When the killings get more and more linked to the Presidency, it is a high alert for all the agencies across the board to protect their President. But for how long can the President be shielded from events, people and his position. Not for long and the President himself declares that life will go on as usual, come what may.

On the other part of town the killing of children also continues and the neighbourhoods are frightened that nothing seems to be done, despite all the detective work going on. Detective Alex Cross has taken it upon himself personally along with his team to follow up on all leads but they are becoming less and less certain of their suspects.

In both cases, initial suspects are not right so they have to dig deeper and deeper. No clues left around, no amount of profiling turns up suspects and Alex Cross has to find their suspects fast. They know that the killers are clever, very clever and it although late in the day it has to be solved at any cost.

Fast paced, beautiful detective work, painstakingly following up leads and deducing what will happen is always interesting to read about. Patterson does this job beautifully.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK, Cornerstone this was a book you had to read in one go. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Romilly by Cate Charleston


An Edwardian family/romance story but certainly with many twists to it that it could very well have been set in present times. The over riding sense of protocol and correctness was certainly there but not overwhelmingly so, and whether such a situation could survive in those times I really do not know but it made for a very interesting, fast paced read.

Romilly and her mother have lived a very quiet life. Being Methodist, 'chapel' rules their day to day lives and both of them seem very satisfied the way it has turned out to be. Romilly has never questioned why she is so sequestered from others, not encouraged to make friends even at the academy she went to and certainly not with members of the chapel. Her mother despite being an ardent supporter of chapel, maintains a reserve that is chilling.

With the death of her mother, Romilly's new life begins with startling revelations. It also brings her into contact with the very rich and very social world. A world totally alien to her and which she has been always told to hold aloof from. How she is going to reconcile her natural good sense with what she has been taught from the day she was born is tricky because many things go against the grain. Despite a very delicate air, Romilly survives and thrives meeting antagonism and social disapproval head on because she has the support of her new immediate family.

The romance was for me just by the way as the story of family and support, and women standing up for themselves was much more important. It was however a nice by product!

I loved this read very much which was a free download from Amazon. I only wish the other two books were also available!  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The murderer here was calculating, clever and cold blooded. The methods used are unheard of, gruesome but they all mean something obviously. Trying to link the dots and trying to find a connection between the three is what the detectives have to find.

Facing a blank wall of seemingly endless clues with no connection and no idea of where to go next, a random arrest seems to make everyone happy. The fact that the so called murderer gets a stroke, is paralysed and unable to talk from that point on seemingly closes the case. It all seems very conveniently done and you still feel that somewhere down the line, the investigation has slipped.

Seemingly random, seemingly without motive the detectives move slowly but not forward. It is just by a simple deduction right at the end that it even gets closure and then it seems so simple.
Set in Iceland was interesting enough though it did not convey enough of the background. I would have liked to have seen and known more about the setting. I am glad that this author is getting known via translation as her books are certainly engrossing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Murder is Suspected by Roderic Jeffries

A hit and run with a nondescript description of both vehicle and none whatever of the driver. The witnesses an elderly couple.

Seems matter of fact everyday happening but when pieces begin to unravel at headquarters and when you have an upright chief (very unreal these days) but nevertheless this is the point when things begin to make sense.

Fusili is put in charge of the investigation and when it points to the chief constable's son is ordered to stop. He now has to decide whether he is cutting his own neck by pursuing the investigation. How he is going to balance his moral code with his professional orders is the dilemma. The hit and run is the tip of an iceberg leading to bigger law breaking. The intricacies of police work, the slogging and routine work that goes into an investigation seems mind numbingly dull! but it works and break through s only happen through this method it seems.

Very enjoyable read if one likes police investigation reads!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger

Charlie's life is in a whirlwind. He has just lost his wife at thirty three in an accident which is tantamount to murder. His professional life has taken over his entire life. His five year old son Caleb is a stranger to him and his twin sister Zadie is trying so very hard to keep it all together for all of them.

As a lawyer working in a pressure cooker, trying to make partner after ten years of slogging, Charlie only knows about work and nothing else. His life is spent in his office and the whole thing bursts after a seventy five hour sprint in the office without a break which results in a huge settlement for his office and the end of the life which Charlie knows.

The back stabbing that goes on in the corporate world is highlighted in this book. Avarice and jockeying for position, power and money all follow this greed and this firm and its partners are not exempt. Charlie has given them the opening gambit they need and all are waiting to grab his place if he is fired. They want to use the vacuum created by his departure to their own best advantage.

Simultaneously Zadie has decided to get engaged and very quickly married putting Charlie on the spot as to what to do with his son Caleb and how he is going to work around the loss of Zadie. A reconciliation with their long lost father, unraveling of family secrets and trying to get to grips with unsavoury facts however hard it is to face.

The story of loss in its different forms - personal and professional, grief, loss of self esteem and the sheer loneliness of being all alone is handled well in this story. How we reconcile this loss and try to move on trying to hang on to our sanity and not give in to depression and the easy way out is also very delicately told.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of Touchstone Publishers for an unbiased review. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox

This book was interesting in several ways. The poor girl marrying rich boy story is always very nice and when it all ends happily even better. In this case our rich man never said he was actually filthy rich and heir to an estate. He was just a chief detective and that is how our girl met him, whilst working on a case for him.  Henrietta realised that he was rich only when she visited his home and saw how difficult it would be for her to fit in. On top of that the other twist in the tale, was that Henrietta's mother herself had a colorful past, one she had successfully hidden from her eight children for all these years.  The fact that she was herself a rich heiress who disgraced her family by running away and then forsaking all attempts for reconciliation is now slowly coming to light.

In these circumstances, Henrietta visits the family home with the idea of getting used to their way of life and also to plan the much awaited engagement and wedding. To add another twist to the story a loss of a ring and the twist in the tale in its finding added another layer to this story.

Several different strands - a mystery, a follow up from a previous story plus a romance and a family saga. Very nicely combined.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of She Writes Press.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

The story was full of suspense from the first page till the end. Right at the beginning I really thought that Chris was one of the "bad guys". The scheming, the lying, the deceitfulness had me thinking in just the opposite direction to which the story eventually went.

That is the cleverness of this author. She takes you in one direction and then jerks you back again in another. Very nicely done!!!

The story of espionage and eventually terrorism in a small town, which to all appearances is peaceful and very quiet is indicative of the times we live in and very much part of today's world.

An author whose books once you start you can't put down!

Sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire

Will, Sophia and Lucy form an enviable family unit. Will is a renowned painter, Sophie is a choral master and Lucy is all what they want from a daughter. An ordinary evening, each one returning from chores and Lucy does not return from hockey practice. A few days later her bloodied body is found. Seven months down the line, her parents shattered, they await some findings about their daughters killer.

Will seeks revenge on his own. He looks into every face in his well loved neighbourhood and thinks that one of them could well be his daughters killer. It drives him and Sophie far apart. Sophie is a Catholic with very strong faith and Will is not a believer. Being approached by Father Gervase to undertake a painting of forty three saints for the new cathedral is ironic. Will finally accepts the challenge and this is the turning point in the story. He chooses for the models people from all walks of life from within the community following in the manner of famous artists of the past.

Will and Sophie have to make their peace as well. They are broken by the grief of their daughters death, but this has driven them apart not brought them together. Will the killer be found as it is now a very cold case. An odd finding of a token loved by Lucy months after her death in a chapel, opens the investigation in another way and this will finally lead to solving the case.

Poignant, very emotional, very sad but beautifully and delicately written, this was a very beautifully told story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rebecca's Children by Kate Dunn

19th century Wales - not a country or period I was very familiar with and this story a mix of historical fiction along with a complex story of both love and betrayal was portrayed very well.

The setting was tough. A hard setting to have any degree of warmth or much happily ever after and the fact that it achieved a certain degree of it, bodes well for the author's story telling. The spirit of nationalism as well as social upheaval was beginning and  uprisings were becoming common. The ordinary man seemed to have had enough and fighting against tolls and taxes is the background for this story.

Our heroine Mary handles adversity stoically, from the suicide of her father to the injury caused to her brother, the loss of the farm held by her family for generations and the entire burden of the family falling on her shoulders. It was a hard story to follow because there seemed no let up at all for Mary and whatever happiness she had was fleeting and then taken away.
The story telling was very good and characters were spot on.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.