Review: In A House of Lies – Ian Rankin

In a House of Lies

In A House of Lies

(Inspector Rebus #22)

Ian Rankin

Hachette Australia

Orion

ISBN: 9781409176893

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

Everyone has something to hide. A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still – both for his family and the police – is that his body was in an area that had already been searched.

Everyone has secrets. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now – after a decade without answers – it’s time for the truth.

Nobody is innocent. Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus

 

My View:

By the twenty second book in a series I would have expected my engagement to have waned, I have read a few series over the past many years and rarely does an author still manage to capture my attention, still keep me up late reading, still make me question “can this writer get any better?” at this stage of the series.  Ian Rankin and his Rebus series shines on.

 

This is stand out crime fiction with the characters you know and love.

 

Personally I think this series is getting better and better.  I can’t wait for next year’s instalment.

Review: The Stranger Diaries – Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries

The Stranger Diaries

Elly Griffiths

Hachette Australia

Quercus

ISBN: 9781786487407

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

 

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

 

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

 

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

 

 

My View:

Why is it when I read this my brain keeps shouting Agatha Christie? Is it because of the emphasis on great writing skills rather than gratuitous violence? Is it because like Christie, Elly Griffiths sprinkles little gems of hidden clues throughout the narrative yet at the end you still don’t know who did it? (Well I didn’t J )  Intelligently and succinctly written, I am again reminded of “Golden Age” type mysteries.

 

This is a great read that will keep you guessing to the very end – once you know the ending, maybe like me, you will look back and discover the clues that are gently hidden in plain sight. I hope you enjoy working out this puzzle – I did.

 

 

 

Review: The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

The Sunday Girl

Pip Drysdale

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925685824

 

Description:

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

 

Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.

 

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

 

Then things get really out of control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

 

 

My View:

“You always know where your heart belongs when it gets to Sunday and there is only one person in the whole world you want to curl up with on the sofa.” P.59

 

This is a read in one sitting, forget what’s happening in the outside world as you urge the protagonist to safety. Secretly you smile as her plan begins to form – who hasn’t harboured a little grudge against an ex before? You empathise, you become a silent player in this game of cat and mouse. And then…

 

Well you will just have to read this yourself to find out.

 

 

Domestic noir at its pulse racing best!  This is my perfect read. More please!

Review: The Forbidden Place – Susanne Jansson

The Forbidden Place

The Forbidden Place

Susanne Jansson

Translated by Rachel Wilson-Broyles

Hachette Australia

Mulholland Books

Hodder

ISBN: 9781473668553

RRP $ 29.99

 

Description:

In the North Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

 

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

 

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

 

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

An international sensation, THE FORBIDDEN PLACE is a darkly gripping tale of the stories we tell ourselves to survive, and the terrible consequences they can have.

 

 

My View:

My very first impression of this book was created by the wonderful cover art; it succinctly conveys the almost Gothic like chilliness that pervades the landscape, there is an almost palpable sense of mystery, unease and intrigue. Fog, mist, swamp, peat bogs, isolation… the landscape is such a huge character in this book.

 

Moody with finely drawn characters, spiced with a little history, sadness and spooky folk tales, these are the elements that provide the skeleton for this chilling narrative to build on. A great read and a wonderful debut, I look forward to reading more books by this author.

 

PS This is brilliantly and appears effortlessly, translated.

 

 

Review: Broken Ground -Val McDermid

Broken Ground

Broken Ground

Karen Pirie #5

Val McDermid

Little, Brown

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781408709368

 

Description:

Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid returns with her most breathtakingly atmospheric and exhilarating novel yet.

 

‘Somebody has been here before us. And he’s still here . . .’

 

When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past – until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems.

 

It’s not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however – a shocking crime she thought she’d already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own . . .

 

‘Another stellar read from McDermid, and further evidence that her “Queen of Crime” status will not be challenged’ Scotsman

 

‘There is nothing more gratifying than watching a master craftswoman at work, and she is on fine form here’ Observer

 

‘A compulsively readable tale’ Irish Times

 

 

My View:

Markie wondered how Pirie had survived in the job as long as she had. The woman seemed to have no understanding of how relationships with colleagues were built. How had she been allowed to spiral so far out of control? Closing cases was all well and good, but in the modern police service, being a team player involved more than a team of two. Clearly Pirie couldn’t be brought to heel. She had to be replaced…” (p. 117)

 

Another great episode in DCI Karen Pirie series that weaves a peat bog murder, a serial rapist cold case, domestic violence, a new love interest and a boss who is actively trying to find the grounds to remove Karen Pirie from her job and you have an engaging, exciting and satisfying read.

 

And as DCI Karen Pirie ponders at the end of this episode (p.412) “Like an arrest, this too was only the end of the beginning.”  And I can’t wait to discover what happens next…

 

   

Review: Greenlight- Benjamin Stevenson

Greenlight

Greenlight

Benjamin Stevenson

Penguin Books Australia

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143789871

 

Description:

Four years ago Eliza Dacey was brutally murdered.

Within hours, her killer was caught.

Wasn’t he?

 

So reads the opening titles of Jack Quick’s new true-crime documentary.

 

A skilled producer, Jack knows that the bigger the conspiracy, the higher the ratings. Curtis Wade, convicted of Eliza’s murder on circumstantial evidence and victim of a biased police force, is the perfect subject. Millions of viewers agree.

 

Just before the finale, Jack uncovers a minor detail that may prove Curtis guilty after all. Convinced it will ruin his show, Jack disposes of the evidence and delivers the finale unedited: proposing that Curtis is innocent.

 

But when Curtis is released, and a new victim is found bearing horrifying similarities to the original murder, Jack realises that he may have helped a guilty man out of jail. And, as the only one who knows the real evidence of the case, he is the only one who can send him back …

 

 

My View:

About Benjamin Stevenson (https://www.penguin.com.au/authors/benjamin-stevenson):

 

Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and author. He has sold out shows from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has appeared on ABCTV, Channel 10, and The Comedy Channel. Off-stage, Benjamin has worked for publishing houses and literary agencies in Australia and the USA. He currently works with some of Australia’s best-loved authors at Curtis Brown Australia. Greenlight is his first novel.

 

I have just finished reading Greenlight and wanted to know a little bit about the author as I was very impressed with this debut.  What a surprise – a comedian? There is no comedy in Greenlight.  Works in the publishing industry, I was sure I was going to find but didn’t – works in the film industry, specifically on documentaries, his protagonist Jack has an authentic documentary maker voice.  I loved this aspect of the book.

 

Back to the book – this is a brutal, dark and intriguing crime fiction narrative.

 

I like how Stevenson has turned the stereotype regarding eating disorders on its head; a sad yet refreshing and honest approach here.

 

Consequences, guilt, redemption and acceptance are themes that are sited in small town prejudices. Tension, tension, tension. And the ending – no spoilers here. Think you have it worked out? Think again.

 

A great read.

 

Review: Careless Love – Peter Robinson

Careless Love

Careless Love

Peter Robinson

Hachette Australia

Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN:  9781444786989

 

Description:

A young local student has apparently committed suicide. Her body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn’t own a car. Didn’t even drive. How did she get there? Where did she die? Who moved her, and why?

 

Meanwhile a man in his sixties is found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland. He is wearing an expensive suit and carrying no identification. Post-mortem findings indicate he died from injuries sustained during the fall. But what was he doing up there? And why are there no signs of a car in the vicinity?

 

As the inconsistencies multiply and the mysteries proliferate, Annie’s father’s new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks and Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. This is someone who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get what he wants – and suddenly the stakes are raised and the hunt is on.

 

 

My View:

I am a little ambivalent about this particular DI Banks read. Contemporary themes and an intriguing crime were not enough to demand my complete attention to this read. I drifted, put the book down and read over several days.  I was annoyed by frequent musical references which seemed to stymie the flow of the narration and were a little pretentious. Why didn’t I feel this way about the last book? I don’t even recall there being such a heavy burden of musical references in pasts reads… maybe I felt uncomfortable with them in this episode because I wasn’t immersed in the narrative this time?

 

Despite these misgiving, by the end of the book I actually was keen to discover Zelda’s secrets/ news.  In the very last few lines of the book Zelda seeks out DI Banks, she obviously has an important story to share.  I was disappointed the book finished here, to be continued I do believe.