The title of this post sounds as if I have been on the lam with a black mask on my face and a bag marked Swag on my back, but it is not as exciting as that, it is merely a round up of my reading.
I mentioned earlier this year that I am beginning to wonder if I should rename this blog Random Crime as I have read such a lot in this genre over the summer. I had decided not to go abroad this year, my last trip to Australia with the delays and the nightmare that was Dubai airport was so awful it nearly finished me off, and I laboured under the misapprehension that staying in the UK would mean I would have a relaxed time. Au contraire. I have been so busy my feet hardly seem to have touched the ground. A lot of this is connected with the family move to Ealing, helping out with same, looking after grandchildren in the summer holidays etc etc, this week catering for a friend's birthday lunch, helping at the Felixstowe Book Festival and generally doing my impression, well honed, of a blue arsed fly.
Next year I may take myself off to Siberia. Sure it will be quieter there.
So crime it has been as I love them, I gobble them up and they relax me. Yes even serial killers have their charms when you are tired and you are sitting with your feet up and cuppa at hand. Here goes:
Bitter Remedy - Conor Fitzgerald. Oddly enough I have started this round up with one of the crime series that are not an easy read. I do not mean that in any critical way, it is just that these require a bit of concentration and usage of the grey cells as they are more cerebral than others. I do not know why this is so, or even if I am the only one who feels this way, but these require more concentration from me.
They are set in Rome and feature Alec Blume, a resident American in the police force having lived their all his life. As per his private life is the usual mess, he is a maverick yadder yadder yadder but he has an interesting personality and I find him intriguing. Not sure I like him much mark you. He is on leave after a minor breakdown, his live in lover has left him as she does not want him to be involved in the upbringing of their child, and he signs himself up for a natural remedy course at a crumbling villa outside Rome. He is willing to try anything but when he gets there finds the course has been cancelled. Taken on a tour of the gardens by the hostess, Silvana and her gardner father, he is given a herb to try which fells him and is rushed off to hospital. There he meets Silvana's fiance who is involved in drug and girl trafficking and is a thoroughly shady piece of work. Instead of being on holiday he finds himself involved in trying to find a missing girl and bodies start piling up. Well written and worth your attention though it might be best to start at the first one in this series if you feel you want to give them a go.
Dark Horizon - Simon Hall. I have been lucky enough to have been sent all the books in this series by the author and enjoy them greatly. A TV reporter and a detective form a partnership in which they help each other with solving murders and providing Dan, the reporter, with the inside edge on the latest crime which keeps his ratings made boss happy. In this latest a long siege of protesters is outside a huge monolothic shopping and office centre which nobody wants. I have to say the one weakness in this book is that I am not quite sure why this should be so. It is called Resurgam and one night during a protest a lorry is driven headlong through the gates by one of the more radical of the group, Esther, and a security guard is killed. Esther flees the scene and off goes the story.
The story of Dan's personal life runs alongside the narrative and, yes you have guessed it, he cannot commit, his private life is a mess etc etc. At least in this book he sorts himself out.
The Frozen Shroud - Martin Edwards. This is the latest in this series which is set in the Lake District and features a historian turned occasional detective, Daniel Kind. I have read all of these and, once again, can recommend that you try them and read them in order to bring you up to date with the personal life of Daniel which, again, is......no need to go on.
Three bodies have been found - a maidservant at the local hall found bludgeoned to death, her face disfigured and a blanked put over her face which froze in the icy winter, hence the Frozen Shroud. It was assumed that she was murdered by the mistress of the house who had discovered her husband was having an affair with her. She promptly committed suicide and no further investigation took place. Back to modern day and a sexy attractive Australian woman cutting a swathe through the local men, is also murdered in exactly the same way. Her violent ex lover fleeing the scene was killed in a car crash and once again the assumption was made the killer had been identified and no further investigation takes place. Five years later, yet another body and another fall guy set up to take the blame.
As always, loved it and the relationship between DCI Hannah Scarlett and Daniel is coming along nicely. Already looking forward to the next one.
The WInter Foundling - Kate Rhodes. I read the debut novel of this author a couple of years ago and my review is here. Thought it was excellent. Featuring psychologist Alice Quentin who is called upon to help Scotland Yard in certain cases, it was gripping with really good writing and, the word the Guardian hates, a page turner par excellence. Since then she has written two more, both well up to scratch and this latest is well up to scratch too with Alice taking a sabbatical to investigate the treatment of psychopaths in a high security mental prison (well somebody has to do it I suppose) where she meets one of the worst serial killers of the last thirty years. A series of deaths has all his hallmarks all over it and it gradually becomes clear that he has a follower, somebody who must work at the prison. But who? Great stuff.
I have recently raved about Martin O'Brien and his Jacquot novels and am now re-reading them all over again. I find when I discover a series I enjoy I motor through them at the rate of knots and when I go back to them enjoy them even more and this is what I am now doing.
Right I think I have actually caught up withg my backlog. Praise be.