Saturday, June 17, 2017

Love me not by M. J. Arlidge

Love me not is the seventh book in the DI Helen Grace thrillers series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.  While you can read this book independently you will get the most enjoyment out of reading the series in order.

Helen's name has been cleared and she is back on the force, but her time in prison has left a mark - on her and her team.  With her boss gone, Helen is covering her own job and trying to manage the team.  Trying to return to normal doesn't seem like it is on the cards, she has trouble sleeping and her apartment feels claustrophobic.  Her only real release is riding her new bike, purchased with compensation money after her wrongful arrest, conviction, and incarceration.  While riding her bike early one morning she is nearly run down by a speeding car on a country rode, and after saving herself from a nasty crash she discovers a body lying in the middle of the road - a victim of foul play.

Helen has no way of knowing that the woman lying in the road is just the first, that the body count will grow in a matter of hours.  What seemed to be a random attack is the first move on the part of a killer with a plan and their accomplice.  Helen and her team are used to dealing with grisly cases of murder, and they know the darker side of human nature, but the killers are working at an accelerated pace and the team is playing a desperate game of catch up to try and figure out who the killer is and what their endgame is.  The clock is ticking and the stakes are high, and before the day is out more victims will fall.

The DI Helen Grace novels are well written and extremely addictive - pulling together the best elements of the crime and thriller genres, while maintaining a brisk pace with short and snappy chapters that seem to read themselves.  I have been a huge fan of the series since the first book was released and await each offering with an eagerness that would be highly embarrassing if my mother wasn't also reading the series and was just as eager to get her hands on the series as I am! 

I have said this before, but in many ways Arlidge is an English James Patterson, writing books that are fast paced, kept lean, and keep you glued to the pages.  Both Arlidge and Patterson pare back on the dense details and let the story drive you forward rather than bogging you down with details that are usually there as set dressing rather than helping the story - in many ways the stories unfold like a television series which is no doubt from Arlidge's background in television. 

Somewhat surprisingly this book was originally advertised as being called Follow my leader, but somewhere along the line it changed to Love me not.  Having read the book I think I have an inkling of why, and Love me not feels like a better fit for the story.  Now comes the wait for the next book in the series!

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, June 16, 2017

The verdict (ebook) by James Patterson and Robert Gold

Working as the Global Head of Security for Tribeca Luxury Hotels means that Jon Roscoe has a mandate to ensure the absolute privacy and security of the guests at the chains luxury hotels all around the world.  Sometimes it's easier said than done, especially when one of the guests residing in the hotel is attending London's Old Bailey every day, charged with the attempted murder of his lover. 

It's all Roscoe can do to keep the press off the hotel grounds, especially one particularly aggressive member of the press who keeps testing his patience at every turn - and it doesn't help that Harvey Rylands is used to getting what he wants, and has no concern for the people who have to clean up after his messes.  With all the stress at work the last thing Roscoe needs is stress at home, but his teenage son Martin seems to have other plans.

The verdict was an exciting read, is a great addition to the Bookshots series, and an excellent companion to Kidnapped which also features Jon Roscoe.  This is the first Bookshots I have read as an ebook, and in some ways it was more exciting and tense than reading the tree book version because it was harder to tell how close to the end I was which naturally helped ramp up the tension!

I haven't read all the Bookshots because some of them have not appealed that much, or because I have started reading them and didn't like them that much - but Patterson and Gold seem to have struck gold (no pun intended) with this writing partnership.  I have read all of their Bookshots and thoroughly enjoyed them, and I look forward to each new one in the way that I look forward to the Patterson/Ledwidge outing.  There is a lot to like here and this series is a great way to start your Bookshots journey if you haven't tried one yet!
If you like this book then try:
  • Kidnapped by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The hostage by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Murder games by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Once again a serial killer is stalking the good citizens of New York, and this one is playing a twisted game with a deck of cards.  Each victim has a different method of death and could be mistaken for simple murders or accidental deaths, except for the playing cards that are left on their bodies.  Detective Elizabeth Needham is determined to solve the case and stop the killer - even if that means roping in a civilian to help her solve the case.  Professor Dylan Reinhart is teaching yet another psychology course when Detective Needham crashes his lecture with an offer he can't refuse.

Someone is playing a very deadly game, and they hold all the cards - leaving the cops scratching their heads and wondering what is coming next.  The Mayor is determined to stop the killer in their tracks because his re-election is on the line, but his heavy handed approach and political manipulations aren't going to help catch a disciplined and clever killer.  As Detective Needham digs deeper into the case, Professor Reinhart goes along for the ride, offering advice and insight where he can - but helping the police could put everything he cares about at risk.  As the case heats up the secrets start bubbling to the surface as they race against the clock to stop a cunning and well organised killer who doesn't worried about MOs and sticking to the rules of the police handbook - or the rules of abnormal psychology as lectured by Professor Reinhart.

Murder games is another one of those books that is difficult to review because you constantly risk straying into spoilers - even when you don't mean to!  This is the third book full length novel I have read from Patterson and Roughan and I have come to love their combined style which seems to layer stories within stories, and secrets within secrets to keep you thoroughly hooked to the end and wondering if you have actually solved it before you have solved it.  When you meet Professor Reinhart you think you have him all figured out, but then you discover X, Y, and Z and it makes you realise you don't really know what you think you know.  And then there are the other cliche characters that don't turn out to be such a cliche after all!

Murder games has elements of the classic crime novel, but like their previous outings Patterson and Roughan have delivered a tensely written thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the action ramps up and you can't help but wonder if the good guys will win the day or whether they will be too slow and the body count will grow.  This does feel like it could be the start of a new series and I have to say that I would love to see these characters again as they break quite a few stereotypes, and there is a really good chemistry between the characters - not to mention the authors.  There is a lot to like here, and as it is either the start of a new series or a stand alone you don't have to worry about spoilers by reading things out of order!  Best enjoyed when devoured in one sitting (just saying).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Twelve angry librarians by Miranda James

Twelve angry librarians is the eight book in the Cat in the stack mysteries so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first seven books in the series.  While you can read this series as standalone books it is best enjoyed read in series order so if you have not read the first books - then you may want to read them first before reading anymore of this review.

The Southern Academic Libraries Association, otherwise known as the SALA, is holding their annual meeting at Athena College.  As Charlie is the interim library director he has to play nicely with the other librarians and welcome them to the college - not an easy ask when one of the visiting librarians is his nemesis from library school.  It is something of a relief to know that Gavin Fong is pretty much universally disliked by his peers, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with the arrogant man and his petty behaviour.  When one of their first interactions ends in a physical altercation Charlie is both embarrassed and angry, but it also leads to him being a potential suspect when Gavin Fong is murdered.

Charlie is no stranger to murder mysteries, and has even been a suspect before, but never have there been so many viable suspects before.  It seems as though Gavin Fong made enemies in every library he worked in, and over his career he has worked in many many libraries.  It seems that even Charlie's friends and colleagues are not above suspicion as they have all had problems with Gavin.  When a second body is found the tension rises - who could be behind the double murder?  With his reputation on the line Charlie can't help but dig into the mystery, which might just be putting his life in danger.  If all the excitement of the murders wasn't enough, Charlie has some tough decisions to make at home - especially when his daughter announces that she and her husband might be moving out of state after the birth of Charlie's first grandchild.  All this excitement is a lot for Charlie to handle, but luckily he has Diesel by his side!

I love the Cat in the stack mysteries - partly because I am a librarian myself and there is some wonderful in jokes, but also because I love cats and have had the pleasure of owning a Maine Coon myself and Diesel reminds me a lot of her (not to mention the everyday cat antics that he gets up to).  The in jokes step up a notch in this addition to the series because of the references to the librarians meeting (we have conferences like this in New Zealand) and because you just don't expect librarians to be so political and troublesome - unless you happen to be one!  Charlie has continued to grow on me as a character, and with each novel the legend of Charlie, his family, his boarders, his friends, and his town continues to grow.  I know that Miranda James is a pseudonym and that 'she' writes other series, but there is a very selfish part of me that wishes all 'her' time was devoted to the town of Athena, Mississippi! 

A very enjoyable read, and a good addition to the series.  We are obviously heading towards some changes for Charlie and I look forward to the continued character development as Charlie is starting to feel like a colleague I have worked with for years.  I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves a good murder mystery, or for anyone who likes a good read about libraries, or anyone who enjoys stories about the human animal bond that have strong character development.  A fine addition to the Cat in the stacks mysteries (fondly known as Charlie and Diesel in our house).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla