Tag Archives: detective

death without company

Death Without Company (Walt Longmire #2) by Craig Johnson

From Goodreads:

Walt investigates a death by poison in this gripping novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and Dry Bones, the second in the Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit Netflix original series

Fans of Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr and Robert B. Parker will love Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Is Empty and As the Crow Flies, who garnered both praise and an enthusiastic readership with his acclaimed debut novel featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire, The Cold Dish, the first in the Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, now on Netflix.

Now Johnson takes us back to the rugged landscape of Absaroka County, Wyoming, for Death Without Company. When Mari Baroja is found poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Sheriff Longmire is drawn into an investigation that reaches fifty years into the mysterious woman’s dramatic Basque past.

Aided by his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Saizarbitoria, Sheriff Longmire must connect the specter of the past to the present to find the killer among them.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a cracking good read. It’s one of those books that was just so easy to read and I flew through it. After the first book I’ve now gotten over the differences between the book and TV show and just enjoying this new version of the same characters. I still picture the actors faces though when reading.

The standout from this book is the humour. Walt is very self-deprecating and has a very wry attitude to everything that happens to him – the bad and good equally! Vic also adds to this considerably. I’m definitely looking forward to the 3rd installment.

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the black ice

The Black Ice (Harry Bosch #2) by Michael Connelly

From Goodreads:

Narcotics office Cal Moore’s orders were to look into the city’s latest drug killing. Instead, he ends up in a motel room with a fatal bullet wound to the head and a suicide note stuffed in his back pocket.

Working the case, LAPD detective Harry Bosch is reminded of the primal police rule he learned long ago: don’t look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together.

Soon Harry’s making some very dangerous connections, starting with a dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that wind from Hollywood Boulevard to the back alleys south of the border. Now this battle-scarred veteran will find himself in the centre of a complex and deadly game – one in which he may be the next and likeliest victim.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Loved this, it’s Bosch at his best, fighting hard to get to the truth and giving the finger to the brass on the way. The author really builds Harry here as the lone wolf but also betrays his lonely side through his attraction to two different women. His back story is filled in quite significantly and we get to know the man behind the man.

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summer knight

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher

From Goodreads:

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment

Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower.

The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him–and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything..

My Rating: ⭐⭐

Although I managed to get to the end I really struggled with this book. The storyline just didn’t work for me. The blend of fantasy and crime investigation just didn’t work, it was just too outlandish and unbelievable. The fantasy element was way off the scale and the frenetic pace of the story hampered my ability to get to grips with anything that was going on. I was just reading it on auto pilot most of the time!

According to Goodreads reviews the series improves a lot from the fourth book so I will keep going with it but after this I would be tempted to give it up.

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the cold dish

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) by Craig Johnson

From Goodreads:

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, knows he’s got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been watching the TV series (Longmire) based on these books over the last few months and having totally finished the series I decided to give the original books a try. Overall I’m very impressed and think they will get even better as they go.

It’s obvious to see the influences of the book on the TV show but there are many differences between the characters in terms of personality, description and even their back story. It took me a little while to get used to this especially with the TV characters so visible in my mind but the quality of the writing and the great story building soon swept me along.

The ending really caught me out, I was worried that I would guess from the TV show but it’s definitely very different. If you watched the TV show then I’d definitely recommend the books. If you haven’t then I’d still recommend them and the show both!

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borderlands

Borderlands (Inspector Devlin #1) by Brian McGilloway

From Goodreads:

The corpse of local teenager Angela Cashell is found on the Tyrone-Donegal border, between the North and South of Ireland, in an area known as the Borderlands. Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin heads the investigation: the only clues are a gold ring placed on the girl’s finger and an old photograph, left where she died.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the author’s debut novel and is a great read. It’s set very close to me. Lifford and Strabane are 15-20min from home and it was a little bit creepy reading a murder story set like this. Some of the locations and names have been changed slightly which created a slight discomfort when reading but nothing to detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

The storyline is very good and very well structured. I enjoyed the descriptions of complexity of how the police work right on the border and sometimes across the border. It’s nice to see a book using Northern Ireland as a location without dwelling on politics or The Troubles.

The characters were good. Inspector Devlin is the main character and I look forward to seeing how he develops. I found the female characters very badly developed (Devlin’s wife Debbie in particular was frustratingly weak) so I hope that improves as the author’s writing skills mature through the rest of the series.

The author taught in St. Columbs College, Derry for 18 years. He wrote this book in 2007. I worked there in 2001/2002 as a Science teacher and he does look familiar. I’m not sure if I’m just trying to find a connection but there’s a good chance we worked there at the same time and may even have spoken in the staff room. I’ll take it as a celebrity interaction regardless!

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raven black

Raven Black (Shetland #1) by Ann Cleeves

From Goodreads:

Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We watched the TV show based on these books a few years ago and while it was difficult to separate the two I did find this book very enjoyable. There were interesting differences in Inspector Perez and his friend Duncan between the TV and book but I think I can see why from this first story.

The author writes in a very relaxed way, probably suited to island life and also manages to give what appears to be an authentic view of life on the Shetlands even if it is in the unusual turmoil of a murder enquiry. I’m looking forward to reading more of these.

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gallows view

Gallows View (Inspector Banks #1) by Peter Robinson

From Goodreads:

A Peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale; two glue-sniffing young thugs are breaking into homes and robbing people; an old woman may or may not have been murdered. Investigating these cases is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a perceptive, curious and compassionate policeman recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of city life. In addition to all this, Banks has to deal with the local feminists and his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks’s wife, Sandra, are drawn deeper into the events. The cases weave together as the story reaches a tense and surprising climax

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Enjoyable story and a very good first book from this author. It reminded me very much of Peter James’s Roy Grace character although his home life is very different. This book came from a recommendation. I can’t remember who but thank you for doing so as I have a feeling this series and character will develop further and get better as they grow.

I did find the first half a bit slow going but once the strands of the cases began to come together the story really picked up and I found it hard to put down. Don’t give up if the same happens to you, it’s worth sticking it out.

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the late show

The Late Show (Renée Ballard #1) by Michael Connelly

From Goodreads:

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job no matter what the department throws at her.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is just superb! Michael Connelly is best known for his books about LA detective Harry Bosch set in the 80s and 90s. This is a brand new character for him and is set in the much more modern mid 2010s. For an author that spent so much time writing about men this is a female character and from a totally male perspective I think he’s done a fantastic job of creating a strong female character working in a male dominated culture that is tough enough to get the job done but doesn’t simply become a man with a woman’s name*. Contrast that with David Baldacci’s Atlee Pine character.

If you haven’t read any of Connelly’s books before then it’s possible to start here as it’s a completely different storyline from anything else he’s written although there does seem to be some crossover in later books.

I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t give much detail and to be honest I don’t really know how to add to the summary above. Simply put Ballard is a brilliantly constructed character and Connelly’s writing is so good that I struggled to put this one down and read it through in just a couple of days.

*so difficult to write that without sounding patronising and sexist!

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devil in a blue dress

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1) by Walter Mosley

From Goodreads :

In Los Angeles of the late 1940s, Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I really struggled to get into this book. The storyline didn’t make any sense, the characters were superficial and hard to relate to and it jumped from scene to scene without much coherence. The author and the character get high praise from readers and reviewers so I’ll give leeway for a first book and probably try the next instalment rather than just giving up.

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grave peril

Grave Peril (Harry Dresden #3) by Jim Butcher

From Goodreads:

Harry Dresden – Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden has faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you’re the only professional wizard in the Chicago-area phone book.

But in all Harry’s years of supernatural sleuthing, he’s never faced anything like this: The spirit world has gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble – and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone – or something – is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn’t figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself….

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The previous books were very much detective stories with a little bit of a fantasy twist. This one is very much a fantasy/horror with a mystery twist. It’s pretty full on with demons, faeries, vampires and magic. I did find it very enjoyable though. I particularly like the way the author treats magic and the magical world with a certain level of contempt. There’s no perception of magic as something wondrous or other worldly, it’s just mundane, slightly above ordinary and something that’s likely to go wrong.

I really enjoyed the depiction of the vampires and especially the various “courts” and how they use different techniques to subdue and consume their victims.

Where I have a problem with this book is the character Michael and the events that brought Harry and him together. There’s a whole back story here that’s missing. I have checked at least 3 times to see if I skipped a book by accident. There is so much missing here and so much that is assumed the reader knows that it makes the story difficult to follow and creates a sense of uncertainty. It knocked at least one star off my rating.

Overall it’s a really good book, I’d just like to have been given a chance to read how Harry and Michael met and came to be working together.

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