Passenger 19 Ward Larsen

Passenger 19       Ward Larsen

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s, whilst sailing around the world working for Shell Tankers, my favourite genre of book was the suspense novel. I loved authors like Hammond Innes, Frederick Forsythe, Wilbur Smith, and the early Nelson Demille books such as Rivers of Babylon and Cathedral.

It has seemed to me that there are not so many books written in this vane anymore, the modern Authors who attempt this type of work always go over the top with implausible scenarios, and I had fallen out with the genre.

Until now.

Last week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Passenger 19 by Ward Larsen. I will admit I had never heard of Ward Larsen before, maybe it’s a geographical thing and his books are just not high profile in the UK yet, but now I know about him I will be reading his other books.

Passenger 19 is an adventure book, a suspense novel and a fantastic read.

Air Crash Investigator Jammer Davis is enjoying semi-retirement when his Boss comes to see him with bad news. An aircraft has crashed in Columbia. Jammers daughter, Jen, is listed amongst the passengers.

Jammer is assigned to the case and from the start appears to be having too much help from the American Authorities. When he arrives at the scene of the crash he is informed all on board are dead, but that there are 2 bodies missing. One of the missing people is Jen.

What made the plane crash? Is the first question Jammer needs to answer, but his biggest question where is Jen and is she still alive?

Ward Larsen picked a good country to set the story in. He uses the topography brilliantly allowing him to have an isolated inaccessible crash site, but best of all he can use the corrupt infrastructure to add danger to the investigation in a who-can-be-trusted plot line.

The clever US political angel adds to the weight of the book.

The story rushes through the jungle at a fast pace that never slows or gets dull.

Best of all it’s a credible tale. There are no stretches of the imagination; at no time does the reader need to suspend reality.

I’ve been looking for this book for years. Not specifically this book, but one of this genre. I have spent hours in book shops browsing shelves looking at books by Innes and alike and wishing for some modern Author to pick up the baton, sit at their laptop, and write a good suspense adventure novel. Well Ward Larson has.

Thank you Ward, I’m looking forward to reading your others.

Advertisements

Behind Closed Doors Elizabeth Haynes

Not only did I not want to put this book down once I started it, but I didn’t want it to end either.

Unusually for me I have read this book out of sequence. In fact it stands alone so well as a novel that I didn’t realise it was the latest in a series until I started to research Elizabeth Haynes for this blog. I will be reading the first two soon.

Behind Closed Doors is the best split-time book I’ve ever read. Elizabeth Haynes skilfully mixes her two main storylines. In 2013 DCI Smith investigates a series of crimes that appear to be linked to the Maitland-McDonnell’s criminal gangs. Whilst in 2003 Scarlett Rainsford, a 15 year old girl, is kidnapped whilst on a family holiday in Crete.

When a brothel is raided in 2013 England one of the woman found in the premises is Scarlett, missing for over 10 years. What is she doing in the flat, how did she get there, and where has she been in the intervening years.

The book follows the investigation into the crimes in 2013 England, whilst Scarlett’s story progresses from 2003 to catch up. Haynes interlinks the narratives in a way that neither gives away what is about to happen in the other.

Scarlett’s story alone is a great tale of survival, and would have made a fantastic book on its own.

The Police procedural part of the book, in which Smith leads her team’s investigation into the gang world, whilst assisting on the investigation of the reappearance of Scarlett, is written with an insight that can only be gained by someone who has worked closely with the Police. Elizabeth Haynes has, and it shows.

The final few chapters bring the stories together, and keep you guessing right to the end.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anybody

Killer-Lady-Writers

Things are changing, or is it just me?

Those of you who read my first blog will know a bit about my reading habits over the years, and about the types of book and the authors I read.

I honestly cannot think of a female writer whose books I read prior to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. This was not out of choice, they just didn’t write what I wanted to read.

Was it a coincidence that Rowling chose to present herself as a man in the guise of Robert Galbraith, was she trying to completely disguise herself or was she trying to break into, what I thought was a male dominated genre.

People will be saying that there have been women writing detective/ mystery/ police procedural books for years. Agatha Christie being a shinning example.

But over the last 2 or 3 years has anybody else noticed the emergence of some fantastic, British, female, Crime Thriller writers, and wow do they pack a punch.

In no particular order here are some of the women I have discovered in the last year or two.

Mari Hannah

Mari writes the Kate Daniels series. She is a DI in the North East and heads up a squad in the Major Investigations Team. Her stories are gritty; the descriptions of the characters and crime scenes are second to none. The violence in some of the scenes is breath taking and there is a no holds barred approach for the reader; but its not there as a gimmick, every act helps tell the story.

As with all good series there are back-stories to the characters that are always relevant to the main story, but also flow through the series linking them all, yet they are so well written each can be read as a stand alone

If you haven’t read any of these books yet you have missed a treat.

Mari Hannah can be found on Amazon or her own web site www.marihannah.com

Marnie Riches

Marnie is the author of a series of books, only two so far but more to come, in the George McKenzie series.

When The Girl That Wouldn’t Die was released reviewer’s started to compare it favourably with Stig Larson’s Millennium series. Well that is quite something to live up to so I downloaded it to read on my holiday. I wasn’t disappointed the book starts with a bang, in more ways than one. The main character, George McKenzie is a Cambridge exchange student living in the red light district of Amsterdam. Following what appears to be a terrorist explosion in the City she teams up with a local Police Inspector. The unlikely team unravel an amazing plot which twists and turns all the way to the end.

I was lucky enough to get a pre release copy of the second book in the series, The Girl Who Broke The Rules. It was one of the best sequels I have ever read. I find that some authors struggle with the second book, but just like Mari Hannah, Marnie Riches just got even better.

In these two books Marnie Riches tackles prostitution, drug use, and the human trafficking in a no holds barred manner.

I look forward to the next The Girl Who……..book and hope this turns into a long series.

Marnie Riches can be found on Amazon and also on her own web site www.marnieriches.com

Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons has written 2 books so far in the Detective Inspector Kim Stone series.

These books are set close to home; in fact they are set exactly where I live and the surrounding area. The Police Station Kim Stone works from; Halesowen in the West Midlands is my local station. So if ever I was going to notice any flamboyant exaggerations, unrealistic events or characters it was gong to be in these books. I didn’t.

Angela depicts the places and the people of the Black Country perfectly. The crimes she uses in the stories are all too realistic, and unfortunately common. The first book Silent Scream revolves around Child abuse at a Local Authority Children’s Home. The second book Silent Scream deals with the phycology of victims and how their vulnerability can be manipulated.

Angela also uses her characters back stories to enhance the main story and in the second book manages to introduce a nemesis to throw against DI Stone that shows a vulnerability, in the Police Office, that many writers attempt but few manage to convey.

Angela Marsons can be found on Amazon and at her own web site www.angelamarsons-book.com

I have singled out 3 women here because they have written my favourite books over the last 2 years but there are others who have also written brilliantly.

I find myself reading more books written by British women now than by any others.

I think of these Killer-Lady-Writers as a new breed of writer. They manage to combine the personal side of a character with the devastation they encounter better than the men used to.

Or is it todays society, do we as readers need more blood and guts to keep us engaged, and is it just coincidence that there are a lot of female writers coming through at the moment.

Carry on ladies.

Where They Found Her Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her   Kimberly McCreight

I have to say I usually like a complex plot that challenges me as a reader, but on this occasion it was too complex for me.

The story begins with the discovery of the body of a small child on a University Complex.

Molly Sanderson, an ex lawyer who is in therapy following a still birth, and who is now working on the local newspaper as the arts and designs correspondent is despatched to cover the story, because all the other staff have personal issues they are dealing with.

The story evolves to introduce different people; all of who seem to be interrelated throughout and all have personal issues and problems that also all seem to be interwoven into the plot.

As the story progresses random transcripts of therapy interviews with Molly and her psychiatrist appear and although relevant in the end just add to the confusion of the story.

As Molly post her reports online the story starts to include readers comments, which may eventually prove relevant, as may the social media posts, which are included into the book.

For me what could have been a good story has been overly confused. The plot jumps around and too many characters have too much going on.

Death at Whitewater Church Andrea Carter

Death at Whitewater Church     Andrea Carter

Set in rural Ireland this story follows Ben (Benedicta) O’Keefe, a Lawyer practicing in the small town of Glendara.

The story starts with Ben and a local Surveyor acting for a local businessman who is selling a disused church for development. Whilst looking around the church they discover a crypt, and inside the crypt a skeletonised body. Not only is the body too recent to be there legitimately but it also appears that whoever it is, was locked in and left to die.

Rumours begin that the body is that of a man who has been missing since the morning of his wedding day.

Missing for nearly seven years is the body that of local man Danny Devitt.

Although O’Keefe has been living in the village nearly as long as Devitt has been missing she is unaware of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Glendara is a typical Celtic rural village, family histories interweave, and everybody knows everybody else’s business As the local Lawyer, and member of the local dramatics group, O’Keefe comes into contact with various characters, all of who seem to have an insight into the mystery but nobody has a definitive answer.

To help with identifying the body the local Garda enlist the help of a Forensic Anthropologist, a face from O’Keefe’s past who brings back memories O’Keefe would rather be left forgotten.

O’Keefe deals with the past whilst working on the present day crime in a semi-professional manner.

A series of break-ins in the town may be related to the body in the crypt but how. During her research O’Keefe becomes aware of a terrorist incident in which a ship was sunk just outside the local docks. The sinking of the ship was attributed to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Is this also related to the body in the crypt?

The last few pages reveal the answers, and they’re not easy to anticipate.

This debut novel is a really good read. From start to finish it kept me enthralled.

The story is set at a pace that makes it easy to read but very hard to put down.

The characters are all fascinating without being overpowering.

The description of the settings makes Glendara feel real, yet it is a place made up by the Author Andrea Carter.

Set in the winter the isolation of the area seems more sinister, perfect for the plot.

I can only hope this is the first book of many from Andrea Carter.

The Girl Who Broke The Rules Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Broke The Rules   Marnie Riches

51SJNYI4fIL._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-55,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_

George McKenzie is back, the story picks up four years on from the end of The Girl That Wouldn’t Die and from the first page I knew it would be an excellent sequel.

The story is again set in the seedy underworld of prostitution and pornography and takes place in Holland and the UK.

George has returned home and is working to make ends meet as she researches for her PHD. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen is still working in the serious crime department in Amsterdam.

As George interviews a convicted violent sex offender in prison in the UK the dismembered bodies of sex workers start to be discovered in Amsterdam. Van der Bergen has not forgotten George since she left, in fact far from it, and the discoveries are an ideal opportunity to become involved with her again.

Van der Bergen is suffering his own demons and his ill health is not helped by his hypochondria. He needs to have George in his life not just to help him with the crimes that are taking place but also to get his life together.

George’s personal life is also a mess; her PhD mentor is over bearing in her control, her family is a dysfunctional group who skate along the edges of legality, and she is in a failing relationship with her boyfriend who still lives in Holland.

As the bodies pile up and George begins to work with Van der Bergen they find themselves conflicted with van der Bergen’s superior officer and a detective on his team. Who is making the right decisions George and Paul, or his boss and the detective?

The book rattles along a fast pace and every time I thought I had a handle on who was the culprit, and why they were doing it, I realised I hadn’t.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die was the Winner of a coveted Dead Good Reader Award (2015) – The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location.

It has to be the first of many that will be won for what I hope is a long series.

The locations are well described but in more than a panoramic way. Riches manages to capture the atmosphere of the scene. From an empty strip club to a rural train track, from a pot café to a morgue each scene is perfectly realistic and perfect for the story.

I cannot wait for the next installment.

Uneasy in New Orleans Carol Carson

Uneasy in New Orleans Carol Carson

Fin Jones lives with her Aunt Gert in New Orleans. During the day she works as a tour guide, during the evening she attends cookery school, and during the night she takes covert photographs for a Private Investigator.

Fin has two sisters the youngest of which is a sexually charged 17 years old who moves to New Orleans to stay with her sister during the summer break.

Fins older sister had a boyfriend, Jack Boyle, who is now a Detective in the New Orleans Police Department; and he has a brother, Tom, who is the PI that Fin works for at night.

Confused? Don’t be these characters all weave into a nice, if not frustrating story.

One day Fin is giving one of her tours when she see’s a body hanging over a balcony. Quickly getting rid of her tour group she returns to the building where she saw it. The body’s still there, but when she gets up to the balcony to take a look she is knocked unconscious, when she comes around the body is gone.

So begins a story that links infidelity, a woman that is one of the most improbable FBI 10 most wanted that could be imagined, Fins personal life.

Is this a serious book? No. It is written firmly tongue-in-cheek, or that’s how I read it.

Its one of those feel good books. Inevitable comparisons with a modern day Nancy Drew will be drawn. It’s the type of book I would recommend to and elderly lady friend as easily as I would a young man.

I admit that at times I found it frustrating as the story drifted from the main plot to parts of Fins personal life, but when I finished it I wanted to read more. I wanted to know what comes next for all of the main characters. That has to be a good thing.cover71543-small