Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fifty fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Fifty fifty is the third book in the Detective Harriet Blue series which started with Black & Blue (Bookshots) and Never Never.  To avoid ***SPOILERS***, and for greatest enjoyment, I highly recommend reading the other books in the series before reading this review.

Detective Harry Blue has been living life in a weird limbo ever since she got back from her last assignment.  To everyone else she is the volatile and temperamental detective who can go off at any moment, a trait that everyone think she shares with her brother.  Harry is focused on proving that her brother is innocent and getting him out of jail - not easy when her fellow detectives are convinced they have their man, and that trial by media has convinced the public that he is guilty before the trial even begins.  When her temper gets the better of her and she lashes out, Harry finds herself bundled up and shipped off to the middle of nowhere to get her out of the way and prevent her from making a life changing mistake.

The sleepy little town of Last Chance Valley almost seems too small to have any real problems, there are only 75 people living in the town and everyone seems content to live in the small town for their entire lives.  There are a few teenagers that take the chance as soon as they can and leave for the 'big smoke' as soon as they can, but the single police officer based in the town has been mostly able to cope - until now.  Someone has big plans for Last Chance Valley, a detailed manifesto has been found that is full of notes about spree killers - what drove them to kill, how they planned their attacks, and what made them succesful.  

When Harry is welcomed to the town with a rather spectacular explosion and a first victim it becomes clear that the killer is real, and when the town decides that they already know who the killer is Harry has her work cut out for her as she tries to prevent small town justice.  Saddled with a partner who thinks that he knows everything and who is determined to see terrorists around every corner, Harry is in a race against time to prevent not just another death - but the death of the entire town. Everyone has their secrets in a small town, and sometimes those secrets turn deadly - especially for outsiders.

This is the third book in the Detective Blue series and the second full length novel and I love this series even more now that I have read Fifty fifty.  My favourite Patterson series is the Detective Michael Bennett series, and the Detective Harriet Blue series is now a firm second favourite - not only because of the character, but also because Patterson and Fox have found a seamless writing style that drags you into the story and keeps you rooting for Harry even when you know you really shouldn't!  If you enjoy reading this series then I highly recommend trying Crimson Lake by Candice Fox, which was released between Never Never and Fifty fifty - it is highly readable and sucks you into the story in much the same way as a James Patterson thriller does.

It was a long, slow, agonising wait for Fifty fifty when I heard it was coming, and then it was almost over too quickly because I couldn't put it down once I started.  This is a highly readable series, and it was nice to read a book set in our part of the world, even if it was across the ditch in Australia.  All we need now to make this series perfect is for Harry to be sent on a joint task force assignment to New Zealand!

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Friday, August 11, 2017

The night stalker by Robert Bryndza

The night stalker is the second book in the Detective Foster series and while you can read it alone I highly recommend reading the series in order for best enjoyment and to avoid **SPOILERS*** - so start with The girl in the ice if you can.

It starts with the death of a doctor in a quite suburban neighbourhood, his body discovered naked and displayed on his bed.  It looks like a sexual encounter gone wrong, or at least that is what it is supposed to look like - but DCI Erika Foster is not convinced. especially when a date rape drug is found in his system.  All signs point to an accident at first, but when it becomes clear the easy conclusion is that it was a hate crime against a gay man.  DCI Erika Foster never goes for the easy option, she wants to actually solve the case, and when a second body is found with the same signature she is the first to reach the conclusion that they are dealing with a serial killer - and she soon discovers that her opinion is not a popular one.

With an oppressive heatwave beating down on London tempers are short and her superiors have little patience for her insistence that a serial killer is on the loose - especially when her opinion differs from that of the pet forensic psychologist.  Erika is used to following her gut and it is telling her that  the killer not finished with their task, and it is a bitter victory when a third victim is found and the police arrest a suspect.  With her personal and professional lives colliding, and with the Night Stalker just out of reach Erika may have no choice but to go rogue to get the job done - a tough choice at the best of times for a police officer, but this time a promotion is on the line too.

The DCI Erika Foster has been a great find, and while the writing is not as polished as some of the more established authors, Bryndza has a knack for creating real characters that are well rounded and feel genuine.  Foster is something of an anti-hero, she is flawed and likes to go against the rules, but she is also damaged after the deaths of her husband and team which makes it more understandable.  The team around her have personalities and their own little quirks that make them distinct personalities - some are a little on the clich├ęd side, but you get that with all genres.  One of the parts that makes this series seem so real is the politics in the office, you can see the scheming and manoeuvring happening around Erika as things move forward, and it is very clear that at least one of the senior staff doesn't like her - which makes it more realistic when things go wrong.

This has been an interesting series so far and I am currently waiting for book three to arrive so I can find out what is going to happen next.  Erika's world has expanded between book one and book two, and from blurbs about the next book it looks as though her personal life is going to expand as well.  A very readable series that has short punchy chapters that sucker you in and keep you hooked.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla