Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

23rd June 2020.  5 stars.

I fairly zipped through this novel, which either means it’s a quick read or I couldn’t put it down. It’s probably both as once again things get personal for Sloane Monroe. This time it’s Shelby, daughter of her boyfriend, Cade, who happens to be Chief of Police in Jackson, Wyoming.

When Shelby’s attacked and killed, the effect on Cade and Sloane is devastating. Naturally, there’s worse to come as she begins to dig below the surface to discover that Shelby was a high class escort, which takes our private eye in a new direction.

She’s forced to work with old adversary, Coop, who’s also a Chief of Police, and a former lover, to solve the murder. Then, as the attacks continue Sloane realises just how personal the killings have become.

As I’ve come to expect from Cheryl Bradshaw, it’s an emotional roller coaster of a ride with Sloane’s customary cool shaken to the core. Even with the help of those she loves, she’s struggling to hold it together at times, forced to reveal her vulnerabilities like never before.

And what a climax to an absorbing story that twists and turns with each attack, until the final revelation that means life will never be the same again for Sloane.

This series simply gets better with each book. While you can read this as a standalone, you’ll miss out so much unless you start at the beginning and follow Sloane’s difficult and achingly emotional journey through some brilliant and original investigations.

Highly recommended.

Description

On an early winter morning, college student Shelby McCoy walks the quiet, snowy path back home. A tree branch snaps in the distance. Then another. A man is there with her, following close behind, whispering her name. She looks back, sees him gaining on her, and runs. Who is this man, and why is he carrying a gun?

If you love a great mystery with a surprising twist, you’ll enjoy Gone Daddy Gone, a New York Times bestselling series.

Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

The Jansson Tapes by Colin Garrow.

17th June 2020.   5 stars.

With more than a gentle nod to The Rockford Files and The 39 Steps, Colin Garrow’s third offering in the Terry Bell series is the most exciting yet. Filled with his trademark humour, the wisecracking duo of Terry and Carol set off in pursuit of some missing reel-to-reel tapes, unaware of the danger they’re facing.

From the moment the book starts to its thrilling climax, the action is as non-stop as the Geordie banter. Populated with some terrific characters, Terry Bell somehow manages to extricate himself from some serious situations and keep himself one step ahead of the bad guys as the complex story twists and turns from one crisis to the next.

If you like your crime at the entertaining end of the spectrum, driven by distinctive characters, a plot you wouldn’t find in a formula manual, and a liberal injection of humour, this is a series you should seek out. While each book can be read as a standalone, like all series, you’ll get more from the books if you read them in order.

This is my favourite of the three books so far. The author’s enjoyment leaps out from every page as he reveals some of the inspiration behind his writing and Terry Bell’s character. I’m tempted to suggest there’s more than a passing nod to Raymond Chandler in some of the descriptive narrative, which is another bonus.

If you like to be entertained and enjoy a lot of fun and excitement alongside the thrills, then look no further than the Terry Bell series.

Description

When a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise. Caught between a suspicious detective inspector and the machinations of a mysterious woman, can the wily investigator unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again?

In this murder/mystery series set on England’s northeast coast, The Jansson Tapes is book #3 in the Terry Bell Mystery series.

The Jansson Tapes by Colin Garrow

Review of No Remorse

My thanks to Chelle at Curled Up with a Good Book for another lovely review. So pleased you enjoyed the story.

‘The plot is brilliant – I hadn’t foreseen what was going to come at the end! Robert takes us on a complex and intriguing journey with the wicked twists and turns that I have come to expect, and love, from Roberts writing.  No Remorse takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster – my feelings towards some of the characters changed numerous times!’

No Bodies Review

Another terrific review for No Bodies from Chelle at Curled up with a Book

‘You can’t help but be sucked in and enjoy the ride with Kent. The novel will make you laugh in places – Kent does get himself into some sticky situations – and I really enjoy the humour throughout the book. The plot is fantastic, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you completely gripped; and if that’s not enough – just wanting to know what will happen to Kent’s animal sanctuary will keep you turning the pages!’

No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh

21st May 2020.   4 Stars

I was drawn to this police procedural, set mainly in Dublin, by the quality of the writing when I read a sample. It wasn’t long before the plight of Edel Johnson, whose husband had mysteriously disappeared, pulled me into an intricate and intriguing plot that had me as baffled and confused as the two main detectives, West and Andrews.

They’re a capable and likeable duo, who made small, painstaking discoveries in their efforts to solve the original murder, which then led to a second killing. Both put Edel at the heart of the enquiry, but was she really responsible? Detective West, who’d taken a shine to the abandoned wife, struggled to keep his emotions at bay as he tried to unravel the mystery.

The characters and the plot carried the story at a steady, somewhat meticulous pace. It was like peeling back the layers of an onion until suddenly it all started to make sense. Then the hunt for the killer gathered momentum.

But I was hooked long before that by the cocktail of suspense, mystery and the possibility of one man’s emotions destroying a careful, painstaking investigation.

This was a police procedural with a fresh voice and a satisfying plot. There was no effort to impress, use traumatised detectives or make the story stark and gritty. It was good honest storytelling that left me feeling satisfied, entertained and happy to read more books by this author.

For once, the publisher’s blurb was accurate – it was a gripping crime mystery.

Description

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?

No Simple Death

Future Riches by BL Faulkner

15th May 2020.   5 stars.

If you haven’t discovered the Serial Murder Squad series you’re in for a treat. I discovered the series last year and immediately took to DCS Palmer and his team. As I was reading the later books in the series, it felt only right and natural to go back to the beginning.

Future Riches begins with a couple of murders in the world of TV production. As soon as the Serial Murder Squad takes charge, Justin Palmer and his colleague, Gheeta Singh, immerse themselves in the theatrical world of TV drama, actors and their agents. With Palmer’s nose for anything off key and Gheeta’s formidable IT skills, they’re soon on the trail of the killer.

The story may be short, but it’s crammed with action, a generous measure of humour and witty one-liners, internal work conflicts, and a pace that leads you breathless through a few twists and turns to the exciting climax. At the story’s core is the relationship between Palmer and Singh. Their differences complement each other and they have an understanding and respect that needs no explanation, thanks to the skill of the author. (Looking at his bio, I suspect he’s drawn heavily on his time in TV for this adventure.)

If you like honest, exciting crime fiction, delivered without frills or distractions, this is the perfect introduction to an addictive series.

You can read my interview with BL Faulkner here.

Description

Justin Palmer started off on the beat as a London policeman in the 1964 and is now Detective Chief Superintendent Palmer running his own serial murder squad from New Scotland Yard.

Not one to pull punches, or give a hoot for political correctness if it hinders his inquiries, Palmer has gone as far as he will go in the Met. And he knows it. Master of the one line put down and slave to his sciatica he can be as nasty or as nice as he likes.

The mid 1990’s was a time of re-awakening for Palmer as the Information technology revolution turned forensic science, communication and information gathering skills upside down. Realising the value of this revolution to crime solving, Palmer co-opted Detective Sergeant Gheeta Singh, a British Asian onto his team. DS Singh has a degree in IT and was given the go ahead to update Palmer’s department with all the computer hard and software she wanted. Most of which she wrote herself, and some of which is, shall we say, of a grey area when it comes to privacy laws and accessing certain databases!

Together with their small team of officers and one civilian computer clerk they take on the serial killers of the UK.

On the personal front Palmer has been married to his ‘princess’ , or Mrs P. as she is known to everybody, for nearly thirty years . The romance blossomed after the young DC Palmer arrested most of her family who were a bunch of South London petty villains in the 60’s. They have three children and eight grandchildren, a nice house in Dulwich and a faithful dog called Daisy.

Gheeta Singh lives alone in a fourth floor Barbican apartment having arrived on these shores as part of a refugee family fleeing from Idi Amin’s Uganda . Her father and brothers have built up a good computer parts supply company in which it was assumed Gheeta would take an active role on graduating from University. She had other ideas on this, and also on the arranged marriage her mother and aunts still try to coerce her into. Gheeta has two loves, police work and technology, and thanks to Palmer she has her dream job.

Combining the old ‘coppers nose’ and ‘gut feelings’ of Palmer with the modern IT skills of DS Singh the two make an unlikely, but successful team. All their cases involve multiple killings and twist and turn through red herrings and hidden clues alike keeping the reader in suspense until the very end.

Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin

13th May 2020.  3 stars.

After finishing a novel, I like to wait a few days before writing a review. It can be a couple of days, or a couple of weeks if I’m not sure what to say about the book. This in one of the latter.

Overall, I enjoyed Murder on the Oxford Canal. It had some interesting characters and the story had enough suspense and pace to keep me reading to the end. Essentially, it’s a routine police procedural that starts with what could be an accident in the canal, but turns out to be murder. The victim works for a drugs baron who always remains one step ahead of the law.

Time to call in Hillary Greene, who has a few problems of her own. Her dead husband, also a police officer, was on the make and died, leaving a fortune tucked away somewhere. Internal affairs are investigating her, the rumour mill is at work, and she’s been kept off major cases as a result. Mixed in with this are the usual petty battles between officers looking for promotion and the need to work and share resources with Vice to solve the crime.

With all the ingredients and conflicts established, I looked forward to an interesting and twisting story. Unfortunately, the suspense and tension were diluted by too many petty jealousies and hostilities, too much detail about the love lives of officers and Hillary’s tendency to bend the rules to score points. She was also vain and sexually obsessed, thinking several of her colleagues were attracted to her. None of these qualities endeared her to me or explained why men found her attractive or such a good detective.

The climax was also a little pedestrian, but the final twist was terrific and easily the best bit of the story.

As it can take time for characters to develop, I’m going to read the second book in the series, which I have on my Kindle. I know plenty of readers enjoy the series from the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so I’m happy to give the author another try.

Description

Not only has she lost her husband, but his actions have put her under investigation for corruption.

Then a bashed and broken body is found floating in the Oxford Canal. It looks like the victim fell off a boat, but Hillary is not so sure. Her investigation exposes a dark background to the death.

Can Hillary clear her name and get to the bottom of a fiendish conspiracy on the water?

Murder on the Oxford Canal