Review: The Scholar – Dervla McTiernan

he Scholar

The Scholar

Cormac Reilly #2

Dervla McTiernan

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460754221

 

Description:

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller The Ruin comes a compulsive new crime thriller featuring DS Cormac Reilly.

 

Being brilliant has never been this dangerous …

 

When Dr Emma Sweeney stumbles across the victim of a hit and run outside Galway University late one evening, she calls her partner, Detective Cormac Reilly, bringing him first to the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him.

 

A security card in the dead woman’s pocket identifies her as Carline Darcy, a gifted student and heir apparent to Irish pharmaceutical giant Darcy Therapeutics. The multi-billion-dollar company, founded by her grandfather, has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy – it has funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research. The enquiry into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

 

As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but as his running of the case comes under scrutiny from the department and his colleagues, he is forced to question his own objectivity. Could his loyalty to Emma have led him to overlook evidence? Has it made him a liability?

 

 

My View:

This series continues to deliver a narrative that on the surface appears straightforward but is nuanced with contemporary issues, richly developed characters, interesting back stories with a landscape of corruption and political point scoring that is contemporary and engaging.

 

Cormac Reilly continues to outshine most contemporary protagonists I have read.

 

The only negative – it will be a long wait for book 3 in the series J

Review: The Ruin – Dervla McTiernan

the ruin

The Ruin

Dervla McTiernan

Harper Collins Publishers

ISBN: 9781460754214

 

Description:

 It’s been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he’s never forgotten the two children she left behind…

 

When Aisling Conroy’s boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget – until Jack’s sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

 

DI Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of an ‘accidental’ overdose twenty years ago – of Jack and Maude’s drug- and alcohol-addled mother. Cormac is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything…

 

This unsettling crime debut draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t. Perfect for fans of Tana French and Jane Casey.

 

 

My View:

Fantastic reading – and I don’t say this lightly!

I have discovered a new favourite protagonist in Cormac Reilly and lucky for me (and you) the second book in the series, The Scholar, is due out in a couple of weeks so you will be able to immerse yourself in the in Irish landscapes, the exciting mysteries, the politics and corruption (in the police force that makes for an interesting back story) and the brilliance that is Cormac Reilly.

 

Cormac Reilly is a realistic, hardworking, sensitive, conscientious, modern and honest cop. He is not flawed (that I have noticed, hurray!!) He doesn’t drink excessively, or have any addictions or other black marks on his character – so refreshingly different!  You will love this character and want to read more.

 

This is another read I predict will make a wonderful tv series.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Promised Land – Barry Maitland

the promised land

The Promised Land

Barry Maitland

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760632670

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

Brock and Kolla return in an enthralling new mystery from a master of the genre.

 

Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of John Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.

 

Pettigrew’s lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.

 

At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?

 

 

My View:

This is my very first Brock and Kolla read but not my first Barry Maitland, what a versatile, talented writer!

 

A little bit about Barry Maitland for those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading any of his novels.

 

About the Author   http://www.barrymaitland.com/on-life-and-writing/biography/

 

My family came from Paisley, an industrial city near Glasgow in Scotland, where I was born. When I was young we moved to London, where I went to a school with an English teacher who inspired me about literature. But I wanted to be an architect, which I studied at Cambridge University. After a period in practice I studied urban design at the University of Sheffield, where I also taught.

 

In 1984 I was offered the position of head of the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in Australia, and moved there with my family. Six years later Newcastle was struck by an earthquake, and Margaret, my wife, was almost killed when the house fell in. It was a dramatic and chaotic time, and as a reaction to what was going on around us I began to think about the plot of a murder mystery, The Marx Sisters. This was published in 1994, and became the first of a series of twelve Brock and Kolla novels published over the next 20 years, together with one stand-alone mystery thriller Bright Air, set in Australia.

 

In 2000 I retired from the University of Newcastle in order to write full time, and my latest project is a full-blooded Australian set of novels, the Belltree Trilogy. I live and write in a small town in the Hunter Valley, an attractive wine-growing and agricultural area in New South Wales on the Pacific Coast of Australia, which coexists with one of the largest coal ports in the world, in the harbour of Newcastle, which is where the second Belltree novel is set.”

 

 

As I started reading this, the 13th booking he Brock and Kolla series (and yes it can be read as an excellent standalone) I wondered how this author could have such realistic landscapes both in this series set in London and the Belltree series set in Australia. (I have read the first in the Belltree series, and it too is a wonderful, exciting read.) Now I have read Barry’s brief author bio the landscapes now make sense.

 

Regardless of which landscape Barry Maitland’s novels are set in you find realistic settings, characters that are humble, intelligent and fearless and plots that are complex and well executed.

 

I really love discovering a new to me series that has a back catalogue of many.  I love immersing myself in such an existing series, reading 1 – 12 of the Brock and Kolla will be such a fabulous way to really get to know the writer and his characters and settings

 

The Promised Land is a captivating read!  I am hooked. I want more!

 

Book Bingo -Book 1 – Dark Sacred Place – Michael Connelly

Book Bingo is a reading challenge run in collaboration with Mrs B’s Book Reviewsand The Book Muse   and Theresa Smith Writes Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read to and what book they chose. You can join in by heading over to the book club where members are regularly posting their books and thoughts for discussion.

I am a little behind in my reviewing- and so will be trying to catch up in the next week or so. I have read the books I just need to find time to write and post the reviews.

 

My first square – CRIME – my favorite genre.

 

dark sacred night

Dark Sacred Night

A Ballard and Bosch Thriller

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760528553

 

Description:

At the end of a long, dark night detectives Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch cross paths for the first time.

 

Detective Renee Ballard works the graveyard shift and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old files.

 

The intruder is none other than retired legendary LAPD detective Harry Bosch, hunting for leads in an unsolved case that has got under his skin.

 

Ballard escorts him out but — curious to know what he was searching for — soon becomes obsessed by the murder of Daisy Clayton. Was she the first victim of a serial killer who still stalks the streets?

 

For Bosch, the case is more than personal: it may be all he has left.

 

But in a city where crime never sleeps, even detectives have a dark side…

 

 

My View:

I am a big fan of Michael Connelly and this new book did not disappoint. The combination of characters – Bosch from the original series   teed up with new character, Renee Ballard, brings perspectives new and old, insight and experience, risk taking and daring in an exciting, dramatic dark narrative.

 

I am really looking forward to the next time these two characters work a case together.

 

 

 

Best Mystery or Thriller of 2018

This is another category that has so many worthy contenders, if your book did not make it on this list it is because I had to draw the line somewhere or perhaps you featured on another of my lists- sometimes categories overlap.

In no particular order:

Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind

Liar’s Candle – August Thomas


Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Let Me Lie – Clare Mackintosh

Let me Lie

The Portrait of Molly Dean – Katherine Kovacic

The Portrait of Molly Dea

Take Me In  – Sabine Durrant

Take Me In

Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal

All In – Lily Gardner

All In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Picks for Best Crime Fiction Reads of 2018

What a fantastic year it has been for readers of all genres. I cannot believe how many 5 star reads I have have had the pleasure to review. Let me start this arduous task of reducing my list to a reasonable number by listing my pick of  the best crime fiction reads of 2018. I hope some of these make it onto your shelves.

 

In no particular order:

The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

All the Hidden Truths – Claire Askew

All The Hidden Truths

Second Sight – Aoife Clifford

Second Site Aoife Clifford

GreenLight – Benjamin Stevenson 

Greenlight

Scrublands  – Chris Hammer

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

The CraftsMan – Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman

Man at The Window – Robert Jeffreys 

Retribution – Richard Anderson

I, Witness – Niki Mackay

I Witness

Since We Fell – Denis Lehane

Since we Fell

The Wanted – Robert Crais

The Wanted

Review: Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind

Kingdom of the Blind

A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery

Louise Penny

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown Book Group

Sphere

ISBN: 9780751566598

 

Description:

The new Chief Inspector Gamache novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.

None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.

But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.

The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip though his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.

Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.

As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.

 

My View:

Once again I am transported to Canada; I am hearing the French accents clearly as I read, I see the snow, the storm, the isolation, and the quirky, unique characters. I try my best to solve the many mysteries that are presented to the reader. Before the conclusion I have actually discovered one of the secrets here…I congratulate myself and keep reading.

 

This is a wonderful exploration of complex relationships, moral dilemmas and the misery of drug addiction.  This is satisfaction guaranteed reading!