Posts Tagged ‘Crime’


In Book Reviews on October 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm
Transworld Publishers 2014

Transworld Publishers 2014

I saw advertisements for this book all over the Underground when it first came out and the cover freaked me the heck out. I love it. I knew that because of the cover I would eventually read this book. I was talked into reading her first book in the Jack Caffery series (Birdman) and did so first. While I did enjoy it, I had more negative things to say about it than positives so I refrained from doing a blog post about it. This book was much much better than that one.

Nutshell blurb: Jack Caffery is called in to investigate some disturbing events which happen in a high security unit for the mentally ill. And then bad stuff happens.

I can’t help but compare Ms. Hayder’s writing in both of the books that I’ve read. It’s interesting to see how her style has progressed from book 1 to book 6. (I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’ve skipped from book 1 to book 6 but now I’m looking at it in black and white and I’m horrified. I actually skipped four other books. How could I let this happen????) Anyway, her style has improved.

I’m not sure if I like Jack Caffery very much, though. I found the other characters, particularly A.J., a nurse in the nut house, much more interesting as he has more personality and isn’t under a lot of pressure to be a super cool detective with lots of secrets.

Being cool is totally over-rated, by the way. I realise that I’m biased on this statement as it points in my favour. I mean, I’m pretty much the opposite of cool. Perhaps this is why characters who try really hard to attain a sense of mystique annoy me. I can’t relate. I could never imagine myself as a gritty, hard-boiled detective. I would be out with my friends, having cocktails and I’d say something like ‘Oh my God, you guys. I have to tell you about the awesomest case I’m working on. So, I was visiting this looney-bin, right…’

Yeah, so I have a really hard time with the inscrutable mysterioso who suffers from extreme emotional poverty yet whom all females seem to be attracted to. This archetype doesn’t work for me. However, as I just mentioned, the other characters are pretty interesting. I was intrigued by the woman who thought that she could unzip herself out of her skin to make herself invisible. I mean, who doesn’t want to do that sometimes?

Ok, actually I don’t. It was pretty freaky.

I must admit that I saw the plot twist coming from miles away (and I’m not really one of those people who says ‘I saw the plot twist coming from miles away’) so that was a bit dissatisfying.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put it down and even though I don’t particularly like the main character, I would be interested to see how his story unfolds in other books.

Plus, I have to read at least 4 of her other ones because I skipped them and that just isn’t the done thing. And yes, I’m a little bit obsessive about these things. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Bat

In Book Reviews on August 6, 2014 at 6:00 am
Vintage 2013

Vintage 2013

This is the first Harry Hole novel. I really enjoyed The Redbreast so I thought I would check out some more books by this author. I rarely read books out of order. If I pick one up and find out that it is not the first in a series I usually put it down. I decided to read The Redbreast, though, because I had an idea that it might not matter if I read them out of order.

Thank God I did.

If I had read this book first, I wouldn’t have been inspired to read any of his others.

Don’t get me wrong; I liked this book. Mostly. I wouldn’t do a blog post about it if I didn’t like it (unless it offended me) but, wow. This book was all over the road at points.

Nutshell blurb: A Norwegian girl is killed in Sydney, Australia. Harry Hole travels there to lend a hand in solving the murder.

It starts out well enough. Harry gets there and the Sydney police aren’t thrilled about his presence. He has an aboriginal police officer called Andrew assigned to him and they go about questioning people and looking for answers.

Then a little more than a third of the way into the book some crazy stuff starts to happen. Drug use within the police department, prostitutes, the main character goes completely off the rails, cross-dressers, people chopped up into little bits. There’s even a great white shark involved. Pretty much ALL THE THINGS! There were a few moments when I looked like this:



Seriously. I had no idea what was going on.

Also, I really liked Harry in The Redbreast, but not so much in this book. He was quite the douche-nozzle, in my opinion. But not in a tortured anti-hero kind of way. He was just a jerk.

The story managed to pull itself together by the end, but I still found the end to be somewhat dissatisfying.

Considering how good The Redbreast was, it will be interesting to read his other books to see Mr. Nesbo’s growth as an author.

Whispers Underground

In Book Reviews on July 13, 2014 at 6:00 am
Gollancz 2012

Gollancz 2012

Practically the whole point of being police is that you don’t gather information covertly. You’re supposed to turn up on people’s doorsteps, terrify them with the sheer majesty of your authority, and keep asking questions until they tell you what you want to know.

If these books had been around when I was a teenager, I would have totally wanted to be a cop in London. I would have been super disappointed in my career aspirations to find out that there was no supernatural department of the Metropolitan Police Department, so it’s probably best that these books only came out a few years ago.

Nutshell blurb: Peter Grant is back for another adventure. This time he’s investigating the murder of the son of an American diplomat which means that the FBI gets involved. Hijinx and hilarity ensue.

I read The Rivers of London back before I started this blog, so I haven’t done a write-up on that but if you would like to read my thoughts on Moon Over Soho, please feel free to do so.

I loved this book as much (but maybe a teensy bit more because I adore Lesley) as the last one. They actually do seem to get better as you go along. The characters are all so unique and well thought out. They could be real people for all I know. They certainly seem like it.

I want to read them all again, one after the other because sometimes I forget events or names of people from previous books if I’ve left too much time in between them.

Also, Mr. Aaronovitch has such an engaging style of writing that I get so caught up in the narration that I don’t concentrate on what’s actually happening.

Does that even make sense? Maybe not, but it happens, people. It’s probably not the best thing when reading a crime novel as you need to pay attention to the details in order to keep up with plot twists and such.

It doesn’t really matter, though. The sheer enjoyment I’ve gotten from reading these books so far is worth it. And I’m sure that I’ll pay more attention to the facts during my second pass.

I said it in my post for Moon Over Soho and I’ll say it again now: Ben Aaronovitch is a genius. I hope that he keeps on writing these books forever.

The Redbreast

In Book Reviews on June 1, 2014 at 6:00 am
Vintage 2006

Vintage 2006

Nutshell blurb: Harry Hole is a detective trying to solve a case involving a rare gun, WWII Nazi sympathisers and his murdered partner.

This was the first book I’ve read by Jo Nesbo. I’ve noticed that he is one of the most popular authors on the tube. I always see people reading his books and I’ve wanted to give them a go so I finally have.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I tend to not read too much crime. It’s not because I don’t like it, but it’s because most of the crime books I’ve read have super annoying characters in them. To be fair to the genre, I haven’t read that many of them but the ones I have really put me off. In so many cases the main character is ridiculously handsome, phenomenally talented (more so than any actual, living human being), a super athlete, catnip to the ladies, he single-handedly solves every case he comes across, speaks 15 different languages, has read every book that was ever written AND committed them all to memory. You know the kind of character I’m talking about.

Super. Annoying.

I gave this book a try and was pleased to find out that the main character is just a regular guy. He has a few social issues in that he’s not great with people but he’s relatable. My eyes didn’t roll at any time during the reading of this book.

It was especially interesting because it flashed back to the 40s and Norways involvement in WWII.

One thing I did have a problem with (which was my own stupid fault) were the names. This book takes place in Norway and I’m not really very familiar with Nordic names. When I read, I do so very quickly. Unfortunately, I didn’t make allowances for names that are foreign to me. So, I read along as I normally do. You know, at the speed of light. And then when I got to the end and the plot twist/reveal, I was a bit confused because I’d gotten some of the names mixed up. It was quite an interesting twist, but it felt somewhat diminished by my idiocy.

Next time I read one of Mr. Nesbo’s books (and I definitely will be reading more), I will make a note to pay special attention to the names. It’s not difficult, but the fact that I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have at first made it tricky at the end.

I feel so uncultured.


In Book Reviews on January 29, 2014 at 6:00 am
Titan Books 2013

Titan Books 2013

This book was quite unlike Stephen King’s usual fare. I expected to be terrified but instead found something far different. This certainly isn’t a bad thing. Just not what I expected.

Nutshell blurb: Devin Jones recalls a summer in his youth where he worked at an amusement park in North Carolina called Joyland. A murder was committed years ago and the crime looms over the park and those who work there.

This story is a murder mystery with a heavy focus on the characters. The murder mystery isn’t the main point of the book, though. It focuses mainly on the protagonist and the things he’s going through in his life at that time. There isn’t a lot of action, but I found that to be ok because we really get into the main character’s head.

I know I’ve said this in previous posts, but Mr. King has a talent for creating characters that are relatable. His characters feel as thought they could really exist. For me, this is what makes his scary stories even scarier.

For this book, it was more about painting a vivid picture of a really likable guy.

I felt really sad when I finished this book. It was very moving and I had quite the book hangover when I finally put it down. Unfortunately, I finished it while I was on my lunch break and I found it really difficult to switch gears and get back to work.

Note to self: Don’t finish any more books at work!

It was pretty painful.

I really loved this book. It has a lot of soul. I think that you’ll be disappointed if you go into it thinking that it’s going to scare the pants off of you, but it’s worth a read if you can appreciate an excellent character study as well as a slow-burning murder mystery.

Heat Wave

In Book Reviews on January 26, 2014 at 6:00 am
Hyperion 2009

Hyperion 2009

I must inform you that I’m about to go into super-charged fan-girl mode. I LOVE the tv show Castle. I’ve only seen the first two seasons so far, so if you decide to make any comments, no spoilers please.

So recently, I was on the internet looking at something completely unrelated and one thing led to another and I found out that the Derrick Storm and Nikki Heat books actually exist! I’m not gonna lie. That made my damn day. (I do realise that I’m behind the times on this. I don’t like to look up stuff that I like on the internet for fear of spoilers. Yes, that’s how much I hate them.)

Nutshell blurb: Who cares??? This is a book written by Rick Castle!! (Told you I was going to fan-girl it up today.)

I was thrilled to pieces to start reading Heat Wave. It actually has Nathan Fillion’s Richard Castle’s picture in the back as the author. Such a meta moment for me.

So, as I was saying, I love Castle. The focus of the show is on the characters rather than the homicides or the procedure of solving crimes. My favourite interplay is that between Castle, Ryan and Esposito. So many giggles!

Anyway, as I read this book, I really felt as though it was written by Castle. The characters in the book were slightly more exaggerated but they, as well as some of the situations in the book, were recognisable from the show.

The story itself was fun and didn’t take itself too seriously. It read pretty much like an episode of the show.

Nikki Heat is fantastic. She’s a bit harder in the book and somewhat less vulnerable. As Castle said in one of the episodes, she’s tough, savvy and a little bit slutty. So, not entirely like Kate Beckett.

I love that these books exist and I feel that I must read the others. So much of the show is spent talking about these books and I love that this made the characters in the show feel a bit more real.

Perhaps it’s a gimmicky way to make money, but I don’t really care. I love it for what it is and I’ll go back for more.


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