Friday, 29 April 2016

A Pitying of Doves - Steve Burrows

With murder, everyone pays a price ...
Why would a killer ignore expensive jewellery and take a pair of turtledoves as the only bounty?
This is only one of the questions that piques Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune’s interest after a senior attachĂ© with the Mexican Consulate is found murdered alongside the director of a local bird sanctuary. The fact that the director’s death has opened up a full-time research position studying birds hasn’t eluded Jejeune either. Could this be the escape from policing that the celebrated detective has been seeking? Even if it is, Jejeune knows he owes it to the victims to solve the case first. But a trail that weaves from embittered aviary owners to suspicious bird sculptors only seems to be leading him farther from the truth. Meanwhile, Jejeune is discovering that diplomatic co-operation and diplomatic pressure go hand in hand.
With two careers hanging in the balance, the stakes have never been higher for Inspector Jejeune. And this time, even bringing a killer to justice may not provide the closure he’s looking for
This book is a sequel to the book I reviewed here A Siege of Bitterns and is the middle book of a three part series.
It didn't seem that long since I last read the first book and to be frank I wasn't really ready for another bird book. However, I do like a challenge, so I began to read.
This time it wasn't so much all the bird references that annoyed me as Jejeune himself. He still can't fully commit to his police role in his mind, and it seems like he also can't do the same with his girlfriend Lindy, who I felt very sorry for in this book.
I was intrigued by the "whodunnit" aspect so I kept reading, but I found long portions of it boring. Around 3/4 of the way in suddenly (well not that sudden after 250 odd pages) the book began to get a bit exciting. I appreciate a story has to be woven and all of that comes together at some point, but it takes so long to get there with such a pedestrian plot line (but it is set in Norfolk not Miami). Yet again I felt the stronger character was Maik, and enjoyed his story line more, including a bit of a stand off he has near the end.
There was also some unexplained goings on in St Lucia where Jejeune and Lindy go apparently for a holiday - but guess what? Birding was the main pastime - another part where I felt sorry for Lindy.! I assume the outcome will be covered in the third book.
So to summarise - there are murders, birds are involved - The Chief thinks it's a closed case but Jejuene knows differently because of his birding and superior intellect.
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars which is one up from last time, perhaps because I am getting into the characters more. It is certainly no reflection of the writing - just the subject matter!
My thanks go to Real Readers for an advance copy of this book which is out on 2 June 2016.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Far From True - Linwood Barclay


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Meddling with Murder - Ellie Campbell

Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife and mother, Cathy O'Farrell, with ex-cleaner, Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly surprising when Cathy's too soft-hearted to charge their only clients, little old ladies seeking lost pets and a school kid searching for his stolen bike. 

A new case involving a teenager in possession of an unexplained Glock pistol promises to change all that. Quickly Cathy's deep in waters over her head, forced with hilarious results to pose as a mathematics tutor, a subject of which she's truly clueless. There's also the tricky situation of best friend and new mother Rosa hiring her to investigate her fiancĂ©, Alec, plus the mysterious sabotage of Cathy's friends' cycle shop and a gang of yobbos dealing drugs at her children's primary school. 

Worst of all, an ill-fated trip to rural Norfolk has Cathy's husband, Declan, intent on buying a post office and transplanting the family to safer climes, threatening to tear Cathy permanently from her beloved North London home. 

Pretty soon Cathy's risking her friendships, her marriage and even her life untangling all these messes. But that's what you get for meddling in murder...

This book is a follow on novel from "To Catch a Creeper" which I reviewed here. It's not necessary to have read either of the previous books in this series as they are standalone books.

I felt this book was a little different to the previous two books as Cathy seems to have grown up, I mean she does mind maps! She is still dizzy and getting in a muddle, but somehow she copes better with it. I was LOL! at the text speak where Cathy and her ex-cleaner Pimple try to get down with the kids.

Although there is a murder in this book and obviously Cathy meddles in it, this book is what I would call a "cosy crime" book. Except this time I did start to get a little anxious at one of the scraps Cathy landed herself in. A very clever plot line ensures she has a new sidekick to make sure she doesn't come to too much harm. 

So many little nuances I found very amusing in this book. The bums and tums classes, the maths homework, Cathy's antics for house viewing and her going undercover. All little gems and great insights with a comical touch.

Once again a great read from the two sisters, and no you can't spot who writes which bit. You do need to suspend disbelief at times, but if you want a hard hitting crime novel, then read another author.....

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins


Rear Window meets Gone Girl, in this exceptional and startling psychological thriller

I must be one of the last people to read this book. I did apply for a review copy but unfortunately wasn't successful. I then waited for the book to come down in price which it didn't - so I decided I would buy it and read it straight away! I'm sure it will be a film and before anyone gives away what happens I felt I really needed to get it read, so it jumped the TBR queue.

There is not much plot outline from the publisher as you can see in the description above, so there wasn't a lot to go on when I began to read the book.

First of all the book jumps around date wise - past and present and also between the main characters. I did have a little trouble remembering who was who and which time frame we were in - but that soon settled down. I also had to re-read the beginning because I thought I had missed something - but that is soon explained and I love the way the author wrote that once I got my head around it.

I really felt for the main character of the book - Rachel. I won't be giving too much away by saying that she feels her life has been stolen and she really would like it back. As the book progresses we come to realise why Rachel lost the life she had and maybe lose a little sympathy for her. There are plenty of characters not to like in the book - with good reason.

It really did keep me guessing right to the end - a great psychological thriller which I personally feel did deserve all the hype.

I'm giving it five out of five stars - and looking forward to more books from this author.