Category Archives: murder

After the Fire by Jane Casey

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The Blurb:

After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?

As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide…

My review:

“After the Fire” is the fourth Jane Casey novel, featuring D.C Maeve Kerrigan, that I have read and I enjoyed this one as much as the others. Unfortunately, I haven’t read them in order, but that has not detracted from my enjoyment in the least.

This book, the 6th in the series, is sadly topical. It deals with the aftermath of a fire in a tower block of flats, but unlike the awful reality of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, the death toll is less and the novel deals with the distinct possibility of arson and murder.

The police are quickly involved in the aftermath of the fire, when it is discovered that a politician has died, seemingly by throwing himself out of a window to escape the flames and two more bodies are found in a locked room. There are enough pointers here that police involvement is needed and the ensuing tale unfolds many secrets. One of the early surprises is that the politician, Geoff Armstrong, was strangled before being thrown out of the window. The painstaking murder investigation, alongside the search for an arsonist, kept my interest throughout.

As before, one of the reasons I liked this book so much is the relationship between the characters, especially Maeve Kerrigan and her boss, Josh Derwent. These are not two dimensional; there is real depth to their characters which adds so much to this crime fiction. Jane Casey writes in a style which flows, holding interest. For me, this was a real page turner!

Meet the author:

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Jane Casey is an Irish author of crime fiction novels. She writes the Maeve Kerrigan series. Jane is married to a criminal barrister, which gives her insight into the criminal underworld. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award and longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. She lives in London with her husband, James Norman, and their son.

Jane Casey made her debut as a published novelist in 2010 with the standalone novel The Missing. She followed it up later that very same year with the novel The Burning, which began her Maeve Kerrigan series. Below is a list of Jane Casey’s books in order of when they were originally released:

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Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey

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My review:

 

Although “Let the Dead Speak” is the seventh in a series of crime novels featuring Police Officer Maeve Kerrigan, this is the first that I have read……..and it certainly will not be the last!

Jane Casey’s superb crime novel is so full of intrigue and suspense, that it is difficult to describe the plot in great detail without spoiling the book for others. What appears at first to be a classic case of a bloody and vicious murder turns into much more. Child abuse, fraud, blackmail – all appear as the plot unfolds.

The maze of intrigue and investigation begins when young Chloe Emery returns home unexpectedly, to find her mother is missing and her home looking like an abattoir. The murder squad team, which includes newly promoted D.S. Maeve Kerrigan and D.I. Derwent, are called in and the investigation begins. What appears at first to be a fairly straightforward case becomes anything but when Kate Emery’s body cannot be found and neighbours act suspiciously when questioned.

With each new piece of evidence, with each apparent dead end, the suspense and intrigue grows, making this an unputdownable crime novel. As I said earlier, I have not read the previous six books in this series, but it worked well as a standalone. It has piqued my interest and curiosity to find out more about Kerrigan and Derwent and other cases they have been involved in.

I enjoyed Jane Casey’s writing style. Without being too wordy, she portrays characters and scenes in such a way as to make them live in my imagination.  The characters all have depth and are “real”, to the extent that I cared about what happened to them – or I detested them! I am particularly interested in the past relationship of Kerrigan and Derwent and look forward to back-tracking.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good crime novel     and would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review it.

Find out more about Jane Casey and her work on her Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Casey/e/B003VNABHU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490280613&sr=1-2-ent

The Riviera Express by T.P. Fielden

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“The Riviera Express” by T.P.Fielden is the first in a series of Riviera Murder Mysteries, featuring Miss Judy Dimont.

Described by some reviewers as a “cosy” mystery novel, this has much more to offer than some books in this sub-genre. It is true that this murder mystery does not contain the blood and violence of many grittier novels, hence the “cosy” label, but “The Riviera Express” is full of intrigue.

When the train, known as the Riviera Express, arrives in Temple Regis, a beautiful seaside town in Devon, it is met by local journalist, Judy Dimont and news photographer, Terry Eagleton.  They are there to meet the famous actor, Gerald Hennessy, who is due to arrive that afternoon. Against all expectations, there is to be no exclusive interview, as Mr Hennessy is found to be dead on arrival! Another death follows fast on the heels of this – that of Arthur Shrimsley, who is found dead at the bottom of the cliffs. It appears that these two deaths are not suspicious, but Judy Dimont soon comes to other conclusions after interviewing several people connected to the two deceased men. It also appears that there was a connection between the two men, which may cast doubt on the coroner’s verdicts of death from natural causes and accidental death.

As well as an intriguing plot, “The Riviera Express” also has some well- drawn characters, particularly the feisty main character, journalist Miss Judy Dimont. This is a woman with a past. We don’t know a great deal about her role in the War, but the many hints are enough for us to know that it was important and secret. Apparently, it was during the War that she gained experience of looking for clues in people’s actions and words, all of which enhanced her post-war role as a journalist for a provincial newspaper, The Riviera Express. This is certainly no cardboard cut-out character and I look forward to reading more of her exploits.

Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was the style in which it is written. Set in the late 1950s, the author has written in a way which evokes the era. The novel is rich in vocabulary not in common use – Miss Dimont thinks of the actor-manager of the local theatre as “the old poodlefaker”; the view from a hotel window is described :”….the sea beyond and the still effulgent clouds suspended above, allowed eventide to enter the room and bestow upon its furniture a special glow.” Later, travelling journalists are described as “crumpled journeyman scriveners”.  These little gems, plus touches of humour, enhanced the reading of the book.

All in all, “The Riviera Express” was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me; I hadn’t expected to like it as much as I did, if I’m honest.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Published by Harlequin U.K.

Available from Amazon.co.uk:

Hardcover: The Riviera Express: £12.08

Kindle : The Riviera Express: £7.99

Audio: The Riviera Express: £11.37 or £7.99 with Audible Membership.

Also available from Amazon.com:

Hardcover:The Riviera Express: $9.76

 

Eli’s Coming: Chasing the Night, Book1 by Darcia Helle

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“Eli’s Coming” by Darcia Helle is an exciting, fast paced thriller, with elements of romance, the supernatural and fantasy.

Eli Hayes has a dark, mysterious past, which he hopes he has left behind, especially so now that he has met Amanda, with whom he has fallen in love. Eli’s secrets begin to surface when his father escapes from a secure hospital and as the story unfolds, we fall deeper and deeper into Eli’s secret life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent, well written thriller. I particularly liked the way that the author portrayed her characters. They were well rounded and there was nothing two dimensional about them. Even the minor characters came to life for me.

Darcia Helle is such a talented author. Her plots are gripping and her characters, interesting and real. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series

 

“Perspectives”….a collection of short stories by Darcia Helle and Maria Savva

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“Perspectives” is a collection of twelve short stories, written by Darcia Helle and Maria Savva, each inspired by a photograph taken by Martin David Porter. It is a collaborative effort of the highest order.

The authors were sent six photographs each and these were used to stimulate the imagination. The result is excellent! The stories cover a range of genres and emotions; there is horror, thriller, the paranormal; guilt, poignancy and reality – all are to be found in this gem of a book.

I particularly enjoyed the whimsical “Repercussions” and the twists and turns of “Love and War”. I found “Cold as Ice” to be wonderfully surprising, as was the end of the rather philosophical “A Different Perspective.” The combination of superb photography and accomplished writing has worked so well and I thoroughly recommend this book to all short story lovers.

I was given a copy of the book by Maria Savva in return for my honest review. Thank you for the opportunity, Maria – I have spent a most enjoyable afternoon in the company of “Perspectives”!

 

 

Far Away in Time by Maria Savva…..more excellent short stories.

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I suspect that if you follow my reviews, you will know that I am a fan of Maria Savva. I particularly enjoy her short stories and her latest collection, “Far Away in Time” did not disappoint.

Many of the tales are darker than those found in previous works by Ms Savva, but they are all gripping and so well-written, that they draw you in quickly. Several of the stories are tragic: “The Ghost of Christmas Past” and “Tragedy of Love” are both so sad. “Betrayal”, telling of Desiree’s rejection by her father and step-mother, aroused feelings of anger towards this callous pair. I am sure that there will be several readers who will be able to identify with Charlene’s predicament in “Echoes of her Dreams”, as she allows her own dreams – and needs – to be trampled on.

I enjoyed the magical realism of the two parts to “Far Away in Time” and also “A Sign”, which looks at the question of whether or not the dead can send signs to the living. In my opinion, the spookiest story in the collection is “The Beach”.

I cannot pick out my favourite story, because they all have something good to offer. They certainly made me think about some of the issues that many people experience at some time in their lives. If you haven’t read any short stories by this author, this is a good place to start; I would say that there is something for everyone in “Far Away in Time.”

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D.James

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In my opinion, one of the great writers of literary crime fiction in the United Kingdom is P.D. James; I have read many of her novels and enjoyed the careful plotting, the psychological insights and her well-developed characters. Her books are not light, superficial offerings and I certainly cannot whizz through a book in a day!

In ” Death Comes to Pemberley”  P.D.James uses the characters first introduced to us in “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. She has taken the setting of the Darcy’s home in Derbyshire to set us on the trail of a murderer. On the eve of St.Anne’s Ball, a great social event in the county’s calendar, a tragedy occurs which will have life-changing consequences for many of those involved. To say any more would give away too much of this enjoyable murder mystery!

I particularly enjoyed the writing style adopted by P.D.James, which is recognisable as more than a nod in the direction of Jane Austen, and the further development of the beloved characters found in “Pride and Prejudice” is interesting. The novel is well paced on the whole, and I read the last third of the book in a short space of time, as I was intrigued to find out how it would end.

For me, this was a satisfying read