Tag Archives: mystery/thriller/suspense

Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole

30 Jun

31673769Format: e-ARC, 378 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 28 February, 2017

ISBN: 9781409168751

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Back cover blurb: A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My review: I was reminded a lot of the Luther TV series while reading this. Will Fawkes, aka Wolf, is the kind of detective who takes crimes personally, isn’t above bending the rules to get his man, and who often finds himself embroiled with his witnesses and colleagues. The case was gory and intriguing, full of sudden twists, and based on the blurb, I should have enjoyed this more than I did. But the fact was I didn’t get much sense of Wolf until very late in the story. I wasn’t invested in him, or even any of his colleagues. Only Edmunds seemed to stand out, and it doesn’t look like he will be staying on for the second book. I can see how Cole wrote this initially as a screenplay, but feel like the characterization would have been all down to the actors cast. I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

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In the Shadow of Winter, by Lorna Gray

8 Apr

shadow of winter

Format: e-ARC, 339 pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Published: March 12, 2015

ISBN: 9780008122720

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The Cotswolds, 1947

The relentless winter of 1947 holds post-war Britain in its deadly grip, and Eleanor Phillips rides out from her beleaguered Cotswold farm to rescue a stranger lost in the storm. But the near-dead man is no stranger and when she recognises Matthew Croft, the old ties of a failed romance tug deeply. Her sweetheart has returned from the war…

Suspicion, the police and the panicked flight of a desperate man beat a path to her door. And with a wanted man hidden in her home and stealing back into her heart, Eleanor must be on her guard—for the net is closing in on them both and enemies are all around…

My review: This gets off to a very slow start, probably because having a taciturn hero means there is hardly any dialogue in the first quarter to advance and break up the narrative. However, once the mystery of his flight is revealed, the plot becomes more interesting and the last quarter is action-packed.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure I connected with these characters as much as I should have. Eleanor is plucky and good with horses, but I don’t feel like I know much about her, and I know even less about Matthew. They drink a lot of tea. He healed very quickly from his injuries. But I like them. Freddy is also a great secondary character.

Some of the word choices were wrong, but as this was an ARC I’m hoping those errors will have been corrected for the final published version. The cover is very pretty, but like the blurb it’s a bit misleading about the plot.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

 3cupcakes

 

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Necropolis, by Michael Dempsey

16 Aug

Format: ebook

Published: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Back cover blurb:
In a future where death is a thing of the past, how far would you go to solve your own murder?

Paul Donner is a NYPD detective struggling with a drinking problem and a marriage on the rocks. Then he and his wife get dead–shot to death in a “random” crime. Fifty years later, Donner is back–revived courtesy of the Shift, a process whereby inanimate DNA is re-activated.

This new “reborn” underclass is not only alive again, they’re growing younger, destined for a second childhood. The freakish side-effect of a retroviral attack on New York, the Shift has turned the world upside down. Beneath the protective geodesic Blister, clocks run backwards, technology is hidden behind a noir facade, and you can see Elvis at Radio City Music Hall ever night. In this unfamiliar retro-futurist world of maglev Studebakers and plasma tommy guns, Donner must search for those responsible for the destruction of his life. His quest for retribution, aided by Maggie, his holographic Girl Friday, leads him to the heart of the mystery surrounding the Shift’s origin and up against those who would use it to control a terrified nation.

My review:
I haven’t read much sci-fi for a while, so this was a refreshing change. The first half was great – innovative, written in the hard-boiled Chandler style and full of concepts that seemed totally conceivable for forty years in the future. I liked Donner and Maggie, and the villains were perfectly evil.

However, in the second half of the book I felt things dragged a bit, and found it easy to predict what was about to happen. I knew quite early on what one of the big gotchas would be, and that soured things for me a bit. This book was best when the sudden violence and twists were out of the blue.

My rating: 3.5/5

One For The Money, by Janet Evanovich

9 Mar

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: December 1, 2011 (first published January 1, 1994)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Back cover blurb:
Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash–fast–but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water–wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight–and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.

My review:
Great one-liners – I laughed out loud on so many occasions, and not just because of Vinnie and the duck. Stephanie’s hilarious relationship with Morelli is really the key to the story. They have so much bad history and yet they come to work together so well and the UST is clearly present. I liked Ranger, too, and look forward to reading the rest of the series to see what happens to all these larger-than-life-but-very-Jersey characters.

PS: Yes, that is the movie tie-in book I have, but in no way could I picture Katherine Heigl in my head when I read Stephanie. It doesn’t surprise me that it appears this movie is going straight to video here. Never judge a book by its movie.

My rating: 4/5
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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