ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a scandal.jpgA court drama with twists. A politician, a close friend of the British Prime Minister, is standing trial for the rape of his mistress. We see the chief characters mainly through the eyes of the female judge whose detachment grows thinner as the case unfolds, and the wife of the accused whose turmoil is intense. The characters, their flaws and strengths, their fears and motives, are all beautifully drawn. Sarah Vaughan’s writing is impeccable.

The plot is plausible and the secrets finally revealed are convincing, but sadly, the pace, for me, dragged. I have to admit to skimming from time to time, although this did not rob me of much in the way of important detail.  If we are talking stars, here, this would be a three. The mechanics of the court, while emotionally brilliant, seemed to be flawed in the logic of the arguments and witnesses called as well as the evidence presented.

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan – author

For more patient, forgiving readers, this will be a good quiet read to savour the word skills of a master writer, while perhaps not that of a brilliant story teller.

Thanks to Jonathan Ball Publishers for this Simon & Schuster imprint. ISBN9781471165009.

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TURN A BLIND EYE – Vicky Newham (DI Maya Rahman #1)

This is the promising first in a series featuring DI Maya Rahman.

Turn a blind eyeBeing Bangladesi born, she is ideally suited to deal with the multi-ethnic Tower Hamlet district of London in which she works. Hardly has she returned from the funeral of her brother who has committed suicide in Bangladesh, when she has to meet a new partner – a Scots Australian married to an Aborigine – and investigate the murder of a local school headmistress. With the corpse is a card with the second of five Buddhist precepts. Unfortunately, the clues are no use except in hind sight until more school personnel are dispatched and the third and fourth precepts are found with the bodies.

Hounding her for results, Maya’s superior officer is more of a hindrance than a help.

The writing is flavoursome; a delight to savour, but the pace is somewhat slow and the multiracial detail is a bit distracting from the who-dunnit aspect. The characters are well painted and develop into believable people, especially considering their multi-ethnicity. Although the different faiths and rituals are convincing, the motives behind the elaborate fixations of the killer are less so.

Vicky NewhamThank you, Jonathan Ball Publishers, for this ARC.

Published by HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins. ISBN: 9780008240790

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FOREVER and a DAY – Anthony Horovitz

The birth of a legend; James Bond, shaken but not stirred.

Forever and a day.jpgCommissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, this is a James Bond prequel. There have been many contributions, by at least ten writers, to the 007 extended thriller list. Author John Gardner was the most prolific, as by 1996 he had fourteen novels as well as two novelizations from the films to his credit. American author Raymond Benson took up the mantle with six Bond novels, three novelizations and three short stories between 1996 and 2002.

For my money, Horovitz is surely the most authentic in the Fleming mould. His grip on the Bond reality as per Fleming is less flippant than some representations; especially as portrayed by most of the film productions which tend to colour the subsequent written character.

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz – author

As befits a prequel, Bond is not the hardened operator in this rendition as he is later, and his receiving of the 007 license to kill qualification comes with at least some small anxiety. I really liked his sense of mortality as he accepts the horror of the possible consequences of the acid treatment the baddy hopes to administer when he gets Bond where he wants him.

The exotic, stunningly beautiful, and devious women, the powerful, hideously cruel adversaries and world-threatening situations are here all true to the Bond tradition.

My thanks to Penguin Random House, South Africa, for this review copy.

ISBN 978-1-911-21478-8. Jonathan Cape.

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GOLDEN PREY – John Sandford (Davenport #27)

I was stunned to see that the Lucas Davenport series still ploughs on steadily with this, the 27th offering, and, no, it shows no signs of being dead in the water.

Golden PreyThere is a change of flag in that Lucas is now a deputy US Marshal, due to his friends in high places. So much so that he can select his cases; but that is no excuse for lowering his sights when it comes to hunting the most evil of prey.

Garvin Poole is one such. He’s a bank robber of the worst kind; the leave-no-witnesses kind, and although he had been out of sight for a long time, he recently executed a huge pay-off caper, along with a six-year-old witness. The drug gang whose cash he stole is not about to forgive and forget, either. They send a pair of vicious contractors who don’t mind torturing anyone who might know Poole to find him.

John Sandford

John Sandford

Davenport is one shrewd tracker, but soon finds himself in a race with the gang’s killers who might just find it easier to follow him while they are at it to achieve the same ends. The danger is constant, the flip from pursuers to pursued is cliff-hanging and Sandford is a master at that.

If you are a first-time Sandford reader, what joy to discover he is not only terrific but prolific?

My thanks to Jonathan Ball Publishers for this review copy. ISBN 978-1-4711-7203-8.

 

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CASHED OUT – By Michael H. Rubin

cashedoutcover1A JIM NESBITT REVIEW:

BLOODY ETOUFFEE

 

The main difference between Mike Rubin and all the other lawyers-turned-authors out there writing legal thrillers is that this guy writes like a homesick angel and never lets the law get in the way of a terrific and well-told story.

In Cashed Out, Rubin is note perfect in serving up a down-and-out lawyer with a name you could only find in America’s Banana Republic state, Louisiana. With vivid prose and an effortless familiarity, Rubin also captures the baroque and grotesque essence of the state, from the stench of petro-chemical plants along the Cancer Corridor to the patois of murderous New Orleans greaseballs, the silent ka-ching of politicians on the take and the cultural and political corruption that seems as natural as swamp gas.

The book’s main character, Hypolite “Schex” Schexnaydre, is a fourth-generation Bayou State native living in a rundown house on the ragged side of Baton Rouge, a failed barrister with no clients and an empty bank account until fast-talking, porcine G.G. Guidry shows up at his door to put him on retainer to draw up a quintet of shell corporations that name his mistress as president.

Money is Guidry’s game and he’s made his as a toxic waste disposal hustler. He’s playing a hazardous game of three card monte with state regulators who are about to shut down his infamous plant, community activists tired of getting poisoned and his partners, who include the aforementioned mobsters and Schex’s ex-wife, a hard-driving blonde with the focus of a heat-seeking missile on the money she thinks Guidry owes her.

It’s enough to get a man killed and Guidry gets murdered just a day or so after he puts Schex on retainer. But not before he pays a midnight visit and leaves Schex holding a suitcase bulging with more than $4 million in cash.

Michael H. Rubin

Michael H. Rubin – author

That makes Schex an instant target of cops who think he had a hand in Guidry’s murder, a philosophical mob boss and his rebellious button men and the mistress and that conniving ex-wife who both think they have a rightful claim to the dead man’s dirty money. Above them all, pulling the strings, is a crooked patrician pol with his eyes on the loot and the seat of power where Huey Long once ruled.

Schex, the perfect patsy, is on the run, dodging the cops and the button men, relying on his wits to clear his name, keep from getting killed and somehow get his hands on that money to beat them all at their own game. Off-shore oil rigs, Garden District mansions and a gruesome discovery at a processing plant for alligator skin and meat are all whistle stops on this rollicking ride.

Schex is nobody’s angel. But you can’t help but root for this native son of Louisiana, playing the state’s favorite corrupt blood sport. You want him to win it all.

WJS_0349

Jim Nesbitt – author.

Jim Nesbitt is the author of two hard-boiled crime thrillers set in Texas and northern Mexico that feature battered but dogged Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch — The Last Second Chance and The Right Wrong Number. Both are available on Amazon, and a third is on its way.

amazon.com/author/jimnesbitt
www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01D2D9ASO
jimnesbittbooks.com

 

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DAY of the DEAD – Frieda Klein #8 – Nicci French

Day of the Dead JpegAs the last leaf of autumn falls, so comes the final reckoning in Frieda Klein, psychologist’s pursuit of serial killer, Dean Reeve. Of course, just who is pursuing whom? If you like final conclusions, this is a deadly one indeed. It has taken seven nail-biting novels to get here.

Readers of the previous seven will know Frieda, her friends and family well, and will miss them after this final farewell, but even if you start right here, it’s obvious that they are all your old friends, as well. Loyal to a man, or a woman, she misses them as much as they do her, but with Reeve’s intent to destroy those near and dear to her just stepping-stones on the path to cutting her throat, she must avoid them.

Nicci French

Sean French & Nicci Gerrard – authors

A student, intent on writing a dissertation on the enigmatic Klein, steps into the path of the killer. As intent as Klein is on keeping away from her nearest and dearest to keep them from harm, she in turn must keep the student close to protect her. She must simultaneously follow the thread of a trail which the placing of bodies strategically around London indicates,until she can get ahead to lay an ambush of her own. Each new victim is a message. If she can’t interpret it, more may die.

An excellent finale to a great series. Thanks, Penguin Random House, South Africa for this ARC.

Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/273137/day-of-the-dead/#1KXe55lEqd1eYrUb.99

Note: Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.

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WANNA GET LUCKY – Deborah Coonts

Excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this bawdy, funny, tale of a Las Vegas hotel and casino’s six foot trouble-shooting customer relations gal.

Wanna get LuckyShe answers to The Big Boss, whom she is in awe of. A girl falls out of the Hotel’s VIP helicopter to her death. It knocks Lucky’s world sideways when she discovers that The Big Boss was sitting beside her when she fell. Did she fall, or was she tossed out? The pilot and the other passenger go missing. Lucky takes it on herself to fend off the press, the police and the perps as she juggles the drugged customers, the various weird conventions of wife-swappers and Adult film industry among others, all the while getting to the bottom of the mystery.

Her mother, whom Lucky loves and is in awe of, who runs a high-class brothel in a town nearby, provides a clue or two and lots of advice… There are loads of interesting characters, including Vegas’ famous female impersonator, and the hunk on the security team; both of whom stir Lucky’s libido.

Deborah Coonts

Deborah Coonts

While tongue in cheek and very funny, I did not find it slap-stick. It was non-stop action by way of happenings and trouble for the resourceful Lucky to deal with, rather than violence, per se.

Lucky O’Toole has a new fan. Bravo, Deborah Coonts. An Instafreebie selection – thank you.

www.deborahcoonts.com.

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REMORSELESS – Will Patching

RemorselessDoc Powers, is a forensic psychiatrist; now one of a panel of three who must determine whether parental murderer, Leech, is eligible for parole, half a life-time after eighteen year old Leech stood trial. Outnumbered two to one, Doc is troubled to see the psychopath go free, as his testimony helped put him behind bars all those years ago. Judy Finch, beautiful parole officer, wants to give Leech a chance, convinced that he is a reformed man.

Not only is Leech determined to avenge himself on Doc for putting him behind bars, he is fixated on Judy, convinced that she will be his own. The author paints a believable and scary portrait of the deranged serial killer.

As Leech prepares to cut down members of the team that incarcerated him, including his own brother, Doc is fighting his own nightmares. Fearing for his sanity, drinking too much, enduring guilt over the death of his pregnant wife, Judy becomes a rock in his unstable world. For all his training, Doc is a little less convincing in his despair and Judy almost too good to be true, but that doesn’t spoil the empathy.

Will Patching

Will Patching – author.

As the purported no.1 in a series, and a partnership between Doc and Detective Inspector Jack Carver, we hardly see much of Carver until the last quarter, but supposedly, that gives us something to look forward to in the series as it grows.

This is promising. Except for the odd wobble, I enjoyed the read and have no doubt this is a series that will go from strength to strength. A great eyecatching cover, too.

This Crime Fiction was chosen from Instafreebie for the sole purpose of exposing emerging and little known authors to the public. All received from Instafreebie that meet a rating of four-stars or more will be reviewed, along with chosen ARCs from Penguin Random House and other reputable publishing houses who choose to request reviews from Book Postmortem

 

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DEATH & DECEPTION – B.A.Steadman.

Death & DeceptionDetective Inspector Dan Hellier returns home to Exeter afraid that he might not be up to standard in a force critical of a young newcomer from London. Especially nerve wracking is the soon-to-retire DI who he feels is always looking over his shoulder.

He and his team must swing into credible action when the body of a young woman, a talented singer, is found in the woods. How is a school music teacher involved? Does the recording studio where she sought fame have any connection to her death? Why is her fellow student, Jamie May on the run? What does a Latvian gang have to do with it?

B.A. Steadman

B. A. Steadman – author

This is a credible start to B.A Steadman’s writing career as we are led on a tense path of intrigue and mystery to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Hellier is a warmblooded character, vulnerable, but easy to like and root for. Likewise, the supporting cast are well portrayed; the flow is smooth and there was no moment when it was easy to put this down.

I choose Crime fiction from Instafreebie for the sole purpose of exposing emerging and little known authors to the public. All received from Instafreebie that meet a rating of four-stars or more will be reviewed, along with chosen ARCs from Penguin Random House and other reputable publishing houses who choose to request reviews from Book Postmortem.

 

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COLDWATER – Samuel Parker

Another extraordinary thriller from the author of PURGATORY ROAD, testing our belief in the physical manifestations of the powers of the devil.

ColdwaterA man returns, after twenty years in prison for murder, to his home town. To the rotting home he halfway grew up in, where his foul deed as a jealous child destroyed his family, to live alone. He is hated and feared by the folk of the backwoods town to an extent where six vigilantes try to bury him alive because they do not have the courage to kill him.

The evil force-field that has taken possession of him also protects him and has the power to destroy his attackers. A woman with a gun comes from the city to expunge him from the world for shattering her family, and finds herself at odds with the gang that pursue him for the same purpose.

Samuel Parker

Samuel Parker – author

When you get your head around the esoteric aspect, this is an exciting tale told in a prose that is almost poetic. The characters are many-fold; the meek, the bullies, the evolving, all believable and real.

The action unfolds on edge of civilisation, where the dense forests and hills envelop the reader, and the protagonist on the run, like a straight-jacket.

The sense of doom is overwhelming, although you can’t help but hope that there might be salvation before he is consumed by the evil that inhabits his soul.

 For more details and an extract, visit http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/coldwater/381240.

My thanks to Anne Rogers [annerogers.freelance@gmail.com ] for this ARC

ISBN 9780800727345
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