I have spent most of the week chuntering and fuming and firing off vituperative comments on various cricketing forums re the state of our current team but have now calmed down and, as always when we are knocked out a tournament early, can now relax and enjoy the rest of the games on show and there are some cracking ones coming up.
So to sooth the savage breast I have turned to crime, as per. This time two new titles and two new authors, to me anyway, and unlike my last crime readings which were set in LA and Venice respectively, these are UK based. The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons was my first read of the week. A family are found slaughtered by what appears to be a weapon for killing animals, the wife has been raped, the husband shot through the eyes and two of the three children are dead, the youngest has vanished.
The killing mirrors a murder carried out many years ago, the guilty party now out on parole and attention diverts to him. At first sight it appears he has nothing to do with it, he is old and dying of terminal cancer, but then the investigating team finds that the ceiling of the caravan in which he lives is plastered with pictures of the murdered wife and he is arrested.
The murder takes place in a gated community in Highgate and having worked there many years ago in the library in Swain's Lane, opposite the cemetery, I know the location of the crime and its surrounding environs which I always find adds an extra layer of interest to the story. It features a new detective, Max Wolfe who is, naturally, divorced and on his own but in this case has the care and custody of his young daughter. He is the usual troubled soul endemic in crime fiction but not as filled with angst as some which is a relief..
I found this book compelling reading, well written and kept my attention right to the end. I did guess who did it and why about half way through as I suspected the same old childhood story was going to emerge and I was right, but that made no difference to my enjoyment. It is a tad gruesome in places but on the whole did not go overboard and if you enjoy thrillers then I think this can be added to the list of authors to keep an eye out for in the future.
The second was Before it's too Late by Jane Isaac. This is set in Warwickshire and a missing girl, Ellen Readman, has just been found floating in the river having been dead for some time. Then another girl vanishes from a local college in Stratford on Avon, a Chinese student seemingly abducted while walking home alone after an argument with her boyfriend.
The two cases may or may not be linked but the police are keeping an open mind when a second student from the same college as Min Li, vanishes. This time it is a young male student also from China and in both cases ransom notes are received and paid though the money is never collected.
The detective investigating these disappearances and possible murders is DI Will Jackman and, he too, has his family problems though these are not those of divorce and estrangement, more tragic circumstances are in play.
Once more I guessed who did or who dun it half way through. I have obviously read too many crime novels as I can pick up the probabilities earlier these days, but it did not affect my enjoyment at all. Ending felt slightly rushed but I look forward to more from this author and the final page certainly made us feel there might be more to come. I do hope so.
So two satisfying reads and took my mind off the dire state of cricket in this country...
NB - These two titles are due to be published in May and April respectively so do put them on your list or, even better, pre-order