Review – The Good Suicides by Antonio Hill.

18507507*Full disclosure – I received this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review.*  

This is my first time reading anything by Antonio Hill – in fact, the thing the attracted me to the book was not the blurb, but indeed the title.  I like authors that tend to write outside of the proverbial box, and judging from the title, I thought why not give this one a try.   I am pleased to say that I’m glad that I trusted my instinct.

The blurb reads like a typical thriller.  Set in Barcelona, we have a group of work colleagues who go on a team bonding weekend and come back with a shared secret.  Suddenly, a few members of this group start to die in circumstances that resemble suicide.  Is it coincidence or are there elements of foul play?   Inspector Sadalgo must investigate before anyone else ends up dead.

Now, I’ve read many a book that has been translated into English and elements have definitely been lost due to translation issues.   The translator, Laura McGloughlin, has done a very good job; not once do you feel as though there is a break  or fragment in the prose.   For his part, Hill has created some very realistic and three dimensional characters, even if Inspector Sadalgo does sometimes fit the formula of a tired detective who sometimes goes rogue.

Readers of thrillers and crime fiction need not fear that they will guess the ending or the theory behind the conclusion; Hill expertly manages to divert the reader down many different paths, albeit very believable paths.   This isn’t an easy read in the sense that Hill does not let you off the hook with a simple crime-investigation-conclusion formula.  You do get this, but it is a rocky, and fun,  path along the way.

If you want to read a good crime story, then I really recommend this book.  It is a slow burner that will ultimately provide you with hours of satisfaction.

The Good Suicides: A Thriller

Until next time,

Pegasus.

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Review – Cross and Burn by Val McDermid.

17572973Fair warning: this is book 8 of a series, and even though you can technically read it as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading the previous novels in order to truly understand the relationships of the characters.

There’s nothing quite like returning back to that series you love – the comfort food in the book world. For me, this is one of those books. Part of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, Val McDermid has written yet another brilliant installment. If you’ve never heard of McDermid, she is a Scottish crime writer who has written many successful books, both standalone and part of this series. I highly recommend you check out her standalone novels, if you’re not interested in picking up another series.

Cross and Burn begins not long after the events of the previous novel. The killer of the day is one that is seemingly hunting victims that have a strong resemblance to DCI Carol Jordan. Is this killer obsessed with Carol, or is there another motivation driving him/her?

As per usual, McDermid pulls no punches when getting into the psyche of the killer and the actions the killer takes. Gruesome, yet scarily realistic, McDermid’s ability to shock the reader whilst never going too over the top, is on top form. The relationship between the titular characters is also very well written. Even after 8 books, McDermid still manages to find new nuances to explore and always keep the reader on their feet.

If you’re looking for a fun new series than I highly recommend this one. You can start with The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill / Carol Jordan Book 1) if you want to start afresh (which I recommend), but don’t come complaining to me when you get hooked and that TBR pile gets a little bigger!

Until next time,

Pegasus

Cross and Burn (Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mystery)

Review: Sister Eve, Private Eye by Lynne Hinton

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I read a lot of amateur sleuth mysteries. Sister Eve is a little younger than the usual sleuths I read, and she rides a Harley, and she’s a nun, AND her dad is a former detective. Refreshing and appealing!

I loved Eve (Evangeline) and her candor. She reminded me a lot of myself: A little brash, a little naive, a little impulsive. When she suspected a certain guy as the perpetrator of the crime, she just drove down to his house and jumped the fence. She had no backup plan. She didn’t even have a primary plan! Her haste made for some funny moments and even a possible meet-cute. (I see romance in every novel!)

I enjoyed Hinton’s other characters, too: the injured and stubborn dad, the greasy film producer, the martyr sister, the pretty young actress…
But the plot just didn’t come together smoothly for me. Storylines are aesthetic… Liking a plot line comes down to your personal taste. I think this one just didn’t do it for me — the whole film world turned me off. I didn’t like the deviousness and quirks of the characters in the film industry. Even pretty Megan annoyed me when she didn’t stand up for herself.

The crime SOLVING, though… That was my cup of tea. Sister Eve and her friends who just happen to have information to help her solve the case… Eve’s brainstorming sessions with her dad… The police on the fringe of the true investigation… All very well worth the read.

My favorite part? Eve taking another leave of absence from the convent, because that means she might have another crime to solve soon.

-calliope

buy SISTER EVE, PRIVATE EYE

Review: Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

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I just finished Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1, and here I am halfway through #2! I love how Gabby finds not just another crime to solve, but another guy to confuse her heart.

Gabby finds a dead Elvis, and in her search for his killer she finds a bunch of quirky fans of Elvis-look-alikes. With puns and song references abounding, this cozy mystery is a fun Stephanie-Plum-esque romp through the eyes of a crime-scene-cleaner.

The crazy thing here is that after just one book I am now hooked on this series. The awesome thing is that after Suspicious Minds comes a Christmas novella – for only 99¢!

-Calliope

read my full review of HAZARDOUS DUTY (book 1)

buy SUSPICIOUS MINDS (book 2)

buy IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CRIME (book 2.5) for 99¢

Review: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

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What FUN! 1930s England, vacationing at the shore, a rocky marriage, social climbers, and a MURDER!

This reminded me so much of Agatha Christie, but with a contemporary bent. The inclusion of romance and implied social commentary on marriage… brilliant.

I loved the travelling, Amory’s husband Milo’s gracious loyalty, Gil and Emmaline’s warm sibling relationship, and the obnoxiousness of some of those guests at the Brightwell. You can’t even make this stuff up. (Well, okay, Weaver DID make it up, but it seemed pretty real to me!)

Love, hate, selflessness, mayhem, sweet nothings … You get much more than a mystery with Murder at the Brightwell.

-Calliope

buy MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL

Review: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith

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I loved The Cuckoo’s Calling (book 1 in the series), and although The Silkworm is GOOD, it isn’t AS good.

What I liked: tiny snippets of Cormoran and Robin navigating a professional relationship that turns platonically personal once in a while; a complex crime; über-developed characters; and the Hercule-Poirot-esque resolution.

What I didn’t like: too much emphasis on Cormoran’s prosthesis and pain; Strike’s character eliciting pity instead of sympathy; maybe a little too much convolution of the crime and criminals– I was confused at some parts; and the gruesomeness of the actual crime.

Galbraith (JKRowling) is an excellent writer with an extensive vocabulary. The masterful character and setting development created a movie in my mind. Impressive.

All in all, I liked it enough to want to read number 3 in the series, whenever it comes out. But I’ll admit it’s a little bit because I want to see if a love story will develop. I’ve seen the bare beginnings… And I’m a sucker for romance.

-Calliope

buy THE SILKWORM

Review: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

15251769_201403042048I love Karin Slaughter. She’s one of those authors whose new releases I always look forward to. Her Grant County series and Will Trent series exemplify crime writing at its finest. So it was with great anticipation that I began her latest novel, Cop Town.

The year is 1974. The place, Atlanta. The story revolves around two female police officers. There’s Maggie Lawson who’s been on the force for a few years and comes from a family of officers. Then there’s Kate Murphy, a rookie fresh out of training. Kate’s not prepared for the outright hostility aimed at females on the force, while Maggie has grown used to it. There’s unrest from every imaginable angle. Racism, sexism, religious bigotry are all at work. The “good ole boy” network is alive and well in Atlanta. Amidst all this turmoil a new danger lurks. Someone is killing Atlanta’s finest, execution style. When Maggie’s brother, Jimmy, almost becomes a victim, the danger hits too close to home.

Although the mystery/crime part of this book was good, it’s the character development and attention to detail that really carried the story for me. The author creates such a vivid, bleak picture of Atlanta during this time period, an era when civil rights and women’s rights were still freshly recognized. It’s hard for us to believe that these conditions ever existed but rationally we know it to be true. The characters are complex and go much deeper than first impressions imply. With the hand of an outstanding author, even some of the most unlikeable characters somehow redeem themselves by the end of the story.

Was this as good as Slaughter’s other books for me? No, but Will Trent and the gang set the bar exceptionally high. Still, it’s a good solid story with enough suspense to pull you in from the first couple of pages. I would love to see this one become the first in a new series.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Cop Town: A Novel