Despite receiving this as part of the Transworld Historical Reading Challenge, this book is set firmly in modern times beginning with a murder in the...moreDespite receiving this as part of the Transworld Historical Reading Challenge, this book is set firmly in modern times beginning with a murder in the Armenian Cathedral in Jerusalem and stretching back to the death of an Egyptoglist in the 1930 in Luxor. This an intrigue crime thriller set in one of the most complicated areas of the modern world – Jerusalem and Luxor with two detectives from very different cultures and backgrounds working at different elements of the mystery.
The characters are well written and different enough to stand out from the raft of modern detectives. Ariah Ben-Roi is the detective in Jerusalem who struggles against politics in his precinct and city while investigating the murder. He is also expecting his first child and is trying to find the balance between work and his new family responsibilities. To be honest, I found this element much more interesting as Ben-Roi works with a new partner and has a good side-line in banter that made his parts of the story comfortable and amusing. The Egyptian detective, Yusuf Khalifa has suffered a family tragedy in the recent past and this is palpable in his actions and decisions throughout the story, but does feel a little heavy. However the two ends of the investigation dovetail nicely and build up a lot of tension and questions – many of which aren’t answered until the end. I really liked the way a lot of the discoveries are made through good-old fashioned police work – investigating connections, exploring paperwork and using the brain.
Paul Sussman has a great eye of detail and obviously loves this region of the world – I feel like I could navigate both Luxor and Jerusalem just using this story as a map and guidebook! However, on occasion knowing that the exact address of every place feels like too much detail and not overly relevant to the story. While a little slow at the beginning, the pace picks up considerably towards the end with an exciting and emotional few pages. This is an intelligent thriller with a unique setting and a well woven plot – and one I would recommend for those wanting to try something a little different! (less)
Lincoln Rhyme is the original Grissom. Back before CSI New York, long before Hoartio put on his first pair of sunglasses and before Vegas had such a s...moreLincoln Rhyme is the original Grissom. Back before CSI New York, long before Hoartio put on his first pair of sunglasses and before Vegas had such a strong crime resolution rate, Jeffery Deaver wrote the first Lincoln Rhyme book – The Bone Collector, about a paraplegic forensic analyst who can solve crime just by studying the evidence. Using a former model, turned cop, Amelia Sachs as his legs and eyes on the scene he is able to pin point future action from the smallest of crumbs, the tiniest splat of mud and the hint of perfume in the air.
The Burning Wire is the ninth in the series and is has complex and intriguing as ever. However, as the perpetrator this time is killing with electricity the first half of the book feels a little like a text book as Jeffery Deaver attempts to explain ‘juice’ to us. Various methods of death by electricity are gruesome to read and have a cinematic feel to them – but getting to the understanding behind them felt a little like hard work at times. However, this is balanced by the paranoia the usually confident Amelia displays – how do you protect yourself from some as invisible as electricity – especially when it is around us all the time? This humanising element is something that balances out the cold science – and the reason why I keep reading!
For me the joy of these books is never being able to figure out who done it – because this isn’t an investigate about the motives but the journey of how to narrow down and capture the suspect. Lincoln is not a very sympathetic character – although he is intelligent and professional. After eight books I never concerned myself about his disability anymore, so I was concerned when his former suicidal ideas seem to resurface here. It’s not Lincoln that keeps me coming back but Amelia, Fred Dellaware and Ron Pulaski who are more relatable and human. I still enjoyed the journey here even if it felt a little harder than previously to get my head around electricity. An intelligent thriller for those you like a little challenge in their crime novels. (less)
This is one book I’ve left on my TBR pile for too long! The Spellman’s are curious, more curious than any cat. This is a great trait in an investigato...moreThis is one book I’ve left on my TBR pile for too long! The Spellman’s are curious, more curious than any cat. This is a great trait in an investigator and as the Spellman’s all work as Private Investigators in San Francisco you’d be forgiven for thinking they were great at their job. And they are. Trouble is they bring it home with them (well, the office is on their home so it’s not a long commute!). However, the Spellman’s spend most of their time spying, blackmailing and investigating each other. They definitely put the fun into dysfunctional.
Izzy is the middle child, former tearaway teen and now trying to be respectable investigator after three previous books of mishaps, arrests and therapy. Izzy is a very likeable character – she likes good whiskey, junk food, Doctor Who and is trying to curb the amount of additional investigating she does. But she still has to deal with blackmailing parents, a determined but pushy younger sister, a perfect older brother – not mention the bartender Irish boyfriend and police detective friend. This book has several mysteries and investigations running through it – some are about daily family life, others are more serious and tackle police corruption, but it never feels like a heavy read.
The story is much more linear than the other Spellman books, but with just as many great lines and comedic moments. It made a great change to read something so light-hearted and sweet without feeling like I’d been dosed up on sugar! I would highly recommend this whole series if you want an entertaining and immersive look at a family that will make yours seem positively normal. One of the engaging books I’ve read in a while – and certainly different from other mysteries. (less)
Frank is an alcoholic, writer of horror novels which specialise in extreme torture and gory scenes. He makes a living from it even if it has cost him...moreFrank is an alcoholic, writer of horror novels which specialise in extreme torture and gory scenes. He makes a living from it even if it has cost him his family and turned him into an isolated man with little human contact. Then someone starts to recreate his graphic murder scenes in complete detail using people close to him as the victim... Frank is a difficult person to like. At first I just thought he was lonely and isolated but as I read further and find out more about his past I have to confess that I just didn’t like him very much. But I was fascinated by his story. The way he is drawn into the murders is well done – even if you think he should have gone to police straight away. There aren’t many characters introduced in detail outside of Frank himself, but this is more the study of the man losing his grasp than a crime novel. Crimes do occur but it is Franks reactions that keep you glued to the page rather than the mystery of who did it. The details of Frank’s books are gruesome and for the most part lacking in glamour. The detail is needed for the story but not lingered over – something I was grateful for as that level of detail would have turned me off! However, some of the scenes are not for those with a weak stomach. Alcohol, drug use and sex is prominent throughout but in keeping with the characters and the story. The writing is easy to slip into – the translation from the Danish seems flawless. The ending will frustrate some people but I enjoyed the ambiguity. I hadn’t read a crime or mystery book for a long time and now I realise I’ve been missing out on a genre a really enjoy. I won’t be leaving it so long before I pick up another mystery. (less)
In 1888 a series of murders in Whitechapel area of London captured the press and public’s imagination due in part to the brutal nature of the crimes a...moreIn 1888 a series of murders in Whitechapel area of London captured the press and public’s imagination due in part to the brutal nature of the crimes and apparently lack of evidence. Know as Jack the Ripper, these crimes have never been satisfactorily resolved and over 120 years later many remain fascinated with these murders. Including an unknown killer, who appears intent on recreating Jack’s famous murder spree... and we follow DC Lacey Flint as she becomes drawn into the killers world. Lacey is an unusual main character – told in first person from her point view, she brilliant describes the current happenings into the investigation and what is happening at that moment, but we only get short glimpses into her past and her motivations. She hasn’t had a happy upbringing and finds it difficult to trust others – even her fellow police officers. Throughout I was never sure of which characters I trusted as Lacey swung between extremes. Lacy is a brave but damaged character and is as much of a mystery as the crimes are – which means there are plenty of revelations that keep you anxiously turning the pages.
The crimes are brutal and creepy – this is not a book for the squeamish, yet it wasn’t the gore so much as the disturbing circumstances surrounding them that keeps you looking over your shoulder. A killer that disappears, leaving little evidence. Body parts removed and left in public places. And outside of the killings there are other crimes which make for uncomfortable reading – mostly because you suspect they may not be entirely fictional. It brings a level of realism to the story that grounds the story and makes it plausible.
Now You See Me is very well written, with plenty of memorable characters, twists and turns and an intriguing central mystery. I loved the way London came to life – not the typical tourist areas but the wider town that sits south of the river and how it added to the atmosphere. I was hooked until the very last page, never sure where the story was going to go to next!
Recommended for fans of Patricia Cornwall and Tess Gerristen. 9 out of 10. (less)