Thursday, 31 March 2011

Carol Smith – Without Warning

When a woman falls in front of a London Underground train the police assume it was an accident or suicide until they find the knife sticking out of her back. When a similar murder happens a few days later Brewster takes on the case knowing that the killer could strike again at any time.

I have a fascination with the London Underground so any book set there immediately draws my attention. This book follows a selection of characters who are mostly interlinked in some way. It's fairly obvious almost from the outset who the killer is but I think this is intentional. The killer is properly revealed somewhere between half and two thirds of the way through the book although there are still plenty of mysteries to try and work out.

I liked the story and it's London Underground setting. It also tied the July 7th 2005 bombings into he storyline as well which was interesting. I get the feeling that the bombings happened as the author was writing the book and she decided to include it as opposed to it originally being part of the plot though.

The characters were for the most part likeable, however, a lot of them were very stereotypical and clich├ęd and didn't seem to have much depth to them. This was only a minor annoyance though and didn't stop me from enjoying the story.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Gregg Hurwitz – You’re Next

Mike Wingate was abandoned at the age of four and grew up in foster care knowing nothing about his parents. He has since managed to build a nice life for himself with his own business, a wife and a daughter. However, when he meets a mysterious man at a party who seems to be threatening him his world is turned upside down. Mike must work out what it is from his past that is causing these men to come after him and his family before it’s too late.

I choose this book as part of the Criminal Plots Reading Challenge. This one is for the category “opposite gender” as the main protagonist, Mike, is male.

I was drawn straight into this book as it sets off at quite a fast pace and doesn’t slow at all throughout. The book was mostly set in the present but there were a few sections that went back and covered Mikes past, telling the story of how he was abandoned and some of the trouble that he got into during his younger years.

Mike is a likeable character, although at times I found him a little too try hard and overly perfect. I preferred Shep, he has some character flaws and is a more interesting and real character for it whilst still retaining that likeability.

There were parts of the story that were somewhat farfetched. This may bother some people but it didn’t bother me as it is a work of fiction after all. The story worked and was enjoyable to read. I’ll be reading more Gregg Hurwitz books in the future.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Laurell K Hamilton – Guilty Pleasures

The first book in the Anita Blake series. Anita Blake is an animator (raising zombies) and vampire killer known as “The Executioner”. Someone has been killing vampires illegally and the vampires have recruited Anita to find the killer.

I first discovered Anita Blake about 18 months ago when I read the short story “Those Who Seek Forgiveness” and have been meaning to start the series ever since as I really enjoyed the short story. It’s taken a while for me to get around to buying and reading the first book but I’m really glad I did (although mow my to read pile is going to get even bigger!).

I like Anita. She is tough but not overly so. The supporting characters were also interesting and hopefully we will get to learn a bit more about some of them in the following books in the series. I liked the story, it was well paced and kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen. I’d have like to have read a bit more about Anita’s job as an animator but I guess that will probably be covered more in other books.

I haven’t bought the next book “The Laughing Corpse” yet so must buy that one. I do have one of the later books “Flirt” so I was considering reading that but I’m not sure about reading out of order so I will probably wait to read that one.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stacia Kane - Unholy Ghosts

Ghosts are real and dangerous. The Church of real Truths now runs things and Chess works for them as a debunker, investigating hauntings and dealing with the ghosts. She is also a drug addict and now her dealer wants her to sort out a problem for her but it could get her into trouble with the Church or put her in great danger.

At first I struggled to get into this book. The plot seemed a little slow and the way the characters spoke was annoying at best and confusing at worst. However, I soon managed to get used to that and the plot really picked up the pace and I was soon drwan into the story.

Chess is an interesting character. She is quite intelligent and generally likeable and she seems quite real. She is not fearless and can be vulnerable but she is still strong. I found her drug addiction quite annoying and felt that as she was intelligent she should be doing something about it, especially as it had landed her into a bad situation that was escalating rapidly.

So after a shaky start I ended up really enjoying this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Simone van der Vlugt – The Reunion

Sabine has just started back at work after having been off with depression for a year. A lot has changed during that time and she is having difficulty fitting in. On top of this she is starting to have dreams and flashbacks relating to the disappearance nine years ago of Isabel, a girl that she was at school with. Sabine is convinced that Isabel was murdered and that she was a witness but has since repressed the memory.

Sabine is an interesting character, she is quite likeable although I did find her a bit annoying at times although I could relate to her quite a lot. The other characters are also well written and interesting. I liked the style of the book and the Netherlands setting. I thought the translation was well done.

There are two main storylines that are interlinked, the present day troubles that Sabine is having and the events surrounding the disappearance of Isabel nine years ago when Sabine and Isabel were at school together. The flashbacks and dreams seem to have been triggered by seeing and advert for a school reunion and meeting up with a face from Sabine’s past. I actually slightly preferred the bits about Sabine’s present day life although the disappearance bits were good as well. I did manage to work out who did it but only a little while before the reveal. I think I should have worked it out sooner though!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Steven Dunne - The Disciple

DI Brook thought he could put the reaper murders behind him, knowing that the reaper is dead. However, when a drowning in Brighton turns out to be murder, placing Brook under suspicion, and a family in Derby is murdered with all the hallmarks of the reaper killings, DI Brook is drawn in to find out who is responsible.

When I bought this book I didn’t realise that it was the second in a series, although that soon became obvious when I started to read it. I debated putting it down and getting hold of the first one to read but decided to stick with it as I have read books in series out of sequence before and have found that most of the time it doesn’t really matter. Luckily I found that to be the case here. There was quite a lot of mention of the previous events but they were all well explained so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any information.

Most of the narrative follows BI Brook and the team working on the present day events in Derby but there is also a strand that follows the 1995 FBI investigation into the Ghost Road killers in California, USA. I really liked the storyline. It was quite complex but easy to follow. It kept me guessing all the way to the end and I didn’t manage to work out who the killer was. The characters were well written and interesting.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be keeping an eye out for Steven Dunne in the future. I will probably pick up the first book in the series, The Reaper, at some point as well. I’ll leave it a while though as at the moment I feel that I already know the most important bits from it having read this book.