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Adrian McKinty Mark Bailey

Review: Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly
Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Trade paperback: 353 pages (January 2017 in UK)

Publisher: Serpents Tail  ISBN: 978-1781256923

This is the sixth Sean Duffy novel set in and around Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

 

It is 1988. Detective Inspector Sean Duffy is on holiday in County Donegal with his girlfriend and baby daughter visiting his family in the Donegal Gaeltacht. He is called back to Carrickfergus where a man has been shot in the back in the Sunnylands Estate with an arrow. Uncovering who has done takes Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave. Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs and with his relationship with his girlfriend on the rocks, Duffy needs all of his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.

 

 

Once again, this a very assured police procedural with multiple serious themes (the peace process is still in the background along with the ongoing war (both in Ireland and elsewhere – the Gibraltar shootings provide a spark to more rioting), economic regeneration (or the lack thereof in Carrickfergus) is in the middle and another cover up in the foreground) and great writing which is strongly literate but still keeps you engaged & turning the page.

Finally Duffy’s life seems to be on upswing but for how long.

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Ben Aaronovitch Mark Bailey

Review: Ben Aaronovitch – The Hanging Tree

Ben Aaronovitch – The Hanging Tree

Ben Aaronovitch – The Hanging Tree
Ben Aaronovitch – The Hanging Tree

Gollancz, Hardcover, 400 pages

Published: 3rd November 2016

ISBN13: 978-0575132559

 

This is the 6th PC Peter Grant novel by Ben Aaronovitch.

PC Peter Grant or the Folly don’t usually deal with suspicious deaths even when they occur at exclusive parties in one of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. However, Lady Ty’s daughter was there and Peter owes Lady Ty a favour.

Peter and DC Guleed are plunged into the alien world of the super-rich where basements are bigger than the house and dangerous, arcane items are bought and sold on the open market.

This is the sort of environment where any sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean – but this is Peter Grant we’re talking about. He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week . .

 

This is, in part at least a return to form after Foxglove Summer as Ben Aaronovitch is more comfortable writing about London and its environs than the countryside.

The story rattles along with plenty of action sequences, plot twists and some laugh out loud one liners. The mystery element is resolved very nicely and the Faceless Man narrative is moving forward – hopefully towards some resolution. But that partly is the major issue in that it feels like it has been cut in two with a second novel forthcoming to tidy up the loose ends.

 

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Elly Griffiths Mark Bailey

Review: Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card

Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card (2016)

Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card
Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card

Quercus, Hardcover, 384 pages

Published: 3rd November 2016

ISBN13: 9781784290269

 

The Blood Card is the 3rd in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series by Elly Griffiths (probably best known for the Ruth Galloway novels).

 

It is Brighton, England – Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto.

A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession along with a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card.

The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic mean that Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case by a colleague of their late commander.

This causes Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini to be put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key but he is silenced first. Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, finds the clue buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards .

 

Again there is excellent characterisation, especially of the 5 main protagonists (Max Mephisto, DI Edgar Stephens and his 2 sergeants, Emma Holmes and Bob Willis; Ruby – Maxs daughter and Edgars fiancée ) all who contrast with each other nicely.

The mystery element is well handled with twists and turns but a fair outcome – the only caveat would be with the detour to America which slows the plot down a bit.

 

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Luca Veste Mark Bailey

Review: Luca Veste – Then She Was Gone

Luca Veste – Then She Was Gone

Luca Veste – Then She Was Gone
Luca Veste – Then She Was Gone

Paperback: 448 pages (December 2016)

Kindle: 3043Kb (July 2016)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

ISBN: 978-1471141393 (PB)

This is the 5th novel by Luca Veste featuring DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi.

Murphy and Rossi are investigating the disappearance of a politician who was on course to be elected as one of the youngest MPs in Westminster.

A year earlier, Tim Johnson has taken his baby daughter out for a walk – she never made it home. Johnson claims he was assaulted and the girl was snatched. The police see a different crime, with Johnson their only suspect.

Detectives Murphy and Rossi are tasked with discovering what has happened to the popular politician – and in doing so, they unearth a trail that stretches into the past linking both cases. There is a past crime that someone is hell-bent on avenging.

 

This is a tight well written novel with strong well drawn characters which grabs your attention and keeps you turning the page (or clicking the Kindle).