It’s a good job Detective Patrick Hedström and his wife Erica live in the small coastal village of Fjallbäcka. Someone’s got to solve the crimes that...moreIt’s a good job Detective Patrick Hedström and his wife Erica live in the small coastal village of Fjallbäcka. Someone’s got to solve the crimes that keep happening, and while the police force does a fairly good job, they never quite manage without Erica’s interference.
Erica’s friend and local author, Christian Thydell, has been receiving sinister messages, yet seems reluctant to do anything about it. What is he hiding? Meanwhile, another local man and friend of Christian’s, has gone missing. Chuck in two more of his friends who both start receiving the same threats, some sinister flashbacks to an abused childhood and references to a beautiful, mysterious woman with long dark hair, and you have all you need for a nice bit of small town Swedish sleuthing.
Läckberg has a punchy writing style, keeping her chapters fairly short which in turn are broken up into chunks that keep the action happening. A lot of crime authors dawdle along and expect you to appreciate pages of description where nothing happens and no clues are given. Läckberg gives plenty of clues and really gives you the chance to formulate your own theories. The plot is not so complicated that you have no idea what’s going on, and I always like having a shot at figuring out the who, why and how, which she gives you. While there are repetitions of certain aspects throughout the series, like how Erica always thinks of an avenue of investigation that the police haven’t thought of, investigates it, finds vital information, and then for some reason decides not to tell Patrick immediately, no harm is done and it’s nice to get to know the main characters and to rely on their characteristics. I love this series and can’t wait for #7.(less)
First World War veteran Laurence Bartram made his first appearance in The Return of Captain John Emmett, when he was asked to look into the mysterious...moreFirst World War veteran Laurence Bartram made his first appearance in The Return of Captain John Emmett, when he was asked to look into the mysterious suicide of his former classmate. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton is set shortly afterwards, on a country estate in Wiltshire, where Bartram's friend William Bolitho has been commissioned to create a memorial for the village's war dead. William wants Laurence to investigate the history of the small church on the estate, but before long Laurence has been drawn into the Easton family's tragic past, revolving around the mysterious disappearance of five-year old Kitty from the manor house over a decade earlier. A series of events in the present cause him to start his own investigations into what really happened to Kitty, proving that every family has its secrets to hide.
This book was a slow starter and I was tempted to give up after a hundred pages or so, but am glad I didn't since the first major event happened shortly after, and the pace didn't let up until the end, with plenty of revelations and discoveries. Speller's style is very easy to read, this is a good mystery and I loved the setting of postwar England, mostly village life, with trips to London thrown in. I also enjoyed her characters and how they developed. My only problem with it - other than the slow start - was Laurence, who didn't really come alive or ever show any real oomph. I hope there's a third book in which he can. (less)
Moonlight Mile is book number six of a crime series, and while I haven’t read any of the first five, I thought I’d try this, as I knew the name Dennis...moreMoonlight Mile is book number six of a crime series, and while I haven’t read any of the first five, I thought I’d try this, as I knew the name Dennis Lehane from films such as Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River(all adapted for his novels). Plus this was a new donation to the library and so was shiny and clean - yes, that can influence what I borrow.
The book follows Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie as he tries to track down a missing teenager. It’s not an ordinary case for him as, twelve years previously, he was asked to find the same girl when she was just four years old and had been kidnapped. It was no ordinary kidnapping though - the child had effectively been rescued from an abusive, alcoholic mother, and “given” to a couple who could give her the love she deserved. But Kenzie did the job he was hired to do, and returned her to her neglectful mother. Now he must find the girl again, a quest which involves the Russian mafia, identity theft and a personal mission for Kenzie as he fights to resolve the battles between his professional and personal lives.
I thought this book was brilliant. While over 400 pages long, it felt like a quick read. Told in the first person, there is no wasted narrative - it all concerns the current case, no endless descriptions, no multiple-page musings, just short, concise action told in a no nonsense style. I immediately liked the main characters: Kenzie, a decent guy with a great sense of humour, and his wife, equally as pragmatic, who are former partners and appear in the five previous books in the series; their best friend Bubba, a psychotic maniac who will do anything to protect them and their five year old daughter; and the missing girl Amanda, who proves to be a force to be reckoned with, despite being only sixteen.
In addition, there is a lot of great humour throughout the book, and some wonderful one-liners. Yefim, the dangerous Russian gangster, becomes almost loveable for exchanges like this (after threatening Patrick’s family, Patrick calls him a “fucking hump”):
“Where you come up with “hump”, man? I never hear that.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Old tape, I guess.”
“I like it. I can use it?”
“Say to some guy, ‘You pay me money or else, you, you hump’. Ha.”
And nearer the end of the book, after a bloody showdown on Yefim’s patch, Yefim tries to give Patrick some of the many electrical goods he has lying around:
“You want PlayStation 3?”
“No, I’m good.”
“Got a couple, thanks.”
“How about a kindle, my friend?”
He shook his head several times. ”I can’t give those fucking things away.”
This kind of humour is scattered throughout the book, for me making it a thoroughly enjoyable read. A definite five stars for this one.(less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this book. The possibilities and What Ifs: What if Georgia had gone to live with her grandmother after her mother had died?...more**spoiler alert** I loved this book. The possibilities and What Ifs: What if Georgia had gone to live with her grandmother after her mother had died? What if Cath hadn't spent that time in Paris? What if John hadn't sent Georgia to the sanatorium? I loved the flashbacks and the timing of them - I never wanted to be elsewhere in the story and thought the pacing was just right. The characters and their stories were revealed gently and I felt for them and the misunderstandings that shaped their relationships. Really enjoyable.(less)
I can see why Michael Morpurgo was Children's Laureate having just read War Horse. It's a beautiful story about the friendship and camaraderie that ca...moreI can see why Michael Morpurgo was Children's Laureate having just read War Horse. It's a beautiful story about the friendship and camaraderie that can exist between man and beast and that transcends the politics of war. Also a wonderful book for children, not condescending and with a heart warming message. Will definitely be reading more of his work. (less)