Review: Nine Elms – Robert Bryndza

Nine Elms
Robert Bryndza
Hachette Australia
Sphere
ISBN: 9780751572711

Description:
Robert Bryndza is ready to take the world by bestselling storm again with the introduction of Kate Marshall, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

My View:
The read started with a sensational attention-grabbing introduction – chapter five is pulse raising. However after that point I struggled to suspend my disbelief – I questioned the resources that this ex police officer turned investigator seemed conjure up, her ability to walk into a crime scene virtually unchallenged, to view an autopsy, to have confidential information handed over to her so readily…it just didn’t feel right. The criminals in this also seemed to be able to defy reason, their escapades – and that’s what there were, ramped up “adventures” of the killing kind were just a little over the top.

And I really did not want to discover the protagonist was just another ex-cop with a drinking problem – albeit one attending the Program (but I didn’t want to hear about that either).

However, I can see why many might like the thrills and blood letting in this, at times, tense read. I can also see the potential for this series to develop into a more substantial and believable read (or one where I can at least leave my disbelief at the door way before I enter the book). I really am at odds with myself trying to decide if I liked this read or not…almost but not quite…

Guest Review:The Six – Anni Taylor

The SixThe Six

Anni Taylor

Self published through Amazon

ASIN: B0744BM54M

 

Description:

“A dark, slow-burn serial killer story that dazzles, with an explosive ending.”

In the grip of a crushing gambling habit, young mother Evie is desperate for a way out. She’s stunned when she’s offered a lifeline: A place on a unique, addiction-healing program that includes a six-day stay, six challenges and a chance at sixty thousand dollars.

From all over the world, twenty-eight people travel to a monastery on a remote island in Greece to begin the program. There is just one clause – they must keep it secret.

The monastery holds secrets, too. There are those who peer through the walls and wait: people with the darkest of desires.

Far too late, Evie discovers the chilling truth. And the closer she gets to finding an escape, the closer the horror lurking in the depths of the monastery gets to her.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Evie’s life had spiralled out of control. Her husband Gray and two beautiful daughters, Willow and Lilly meant everything to her – but the gambling addiction had taken over and she had no idea what to do next. She was at the bottom…

When Evie arrived on the tiny Greek island where she had been accepted into a special program which would cure her addiction, she was bemused. The monastery was old; she was met by Brother Vito who explained about the six challenges – the end result (should she reach it) would give her $60,000 ($10,000 per challenge) and she would also have all her debts paid off.

As Evie met the other contestants, she realised there would be no friendships made – everyone wanted to win. But then she saw someone she knew from her “previous life”…

Gray was shattered to realise Evie had left him, and their daughters. He had no idea where she was; none of her friends knew either. Evie’s note which said she would be back in a week gave Gray a small kernel of hope. But as Gray searched for his wife, his journey put him in the path of Constance who was the mother of a young teenager also missing; together the two of them joined forces in their search for loved ones they had become increasingly concerned about. Would Evie and Kara be found – alive? Or were the police right?

Wow! Deep, incredibly dark and disturbing, The Six by Aussie author Anni Taylor (author of The Game You Played) is another intense psychological thriller that pounded through the pages. The main characters are resilient, tough but scarily vulnerable; the bad guys are horribly bad!! A fast-paced and thrilling plot, The Six is a breathtaking and intense ride, and is filled with twists and turns which kept my heart in my mouth! A highly recommended 5 stars.

With thanks to the author for my digital copy which I beta read, for my honest review.

Post Script: Th Falls – B Michael Radburn

The tension is cranked up another notch in this instalment of Taylor Bridges’ story.

the-falls

 

The Falls

Taylor Bridges #2

B Michael Radburn

Pantera Press

ISBN: 9781921997426

 

Description:

A week of despair… a century of evil

 

Damaged but not yet broken, park ranger Taylor Bridges believes his ghosts are in the past – until a raging forest fire in an isolated canyon of The Falls lays bare the remains of a young woman… and a decade-old killing ground.

 

After the police enlist Taylor in their investigation, the evidence bizarrely points to a deranged preacher who reigned over The Falls a century ago.

 

But when a crucial witness and a policewoman disappear, it’s clear that a disciple of The Falls’ dark history is on the loose.

 

 

My View:

The tension is cranked up another notch in this instalment of Taylor Bridges’ story.

 

In this, the second in the Taylor Bridge series, the tension is palpable from the onset.  The book opens with a great hook; “When the flicker of life left their eyes, the pupils dilated and oil-black, the surface marble dry, he knew they were dead. Yet, against all rationale, he sensed they could still see, judging him, as he prepared the grave. That’s why he closed their eyes. That’s why he turned their faces away.” Chapter one, p3.

 

The line was baited with my favourite cravings – a murder, some mystery and a good dose of psychological thriller.  Add to that delicious combination a protagonist whom I enjoy traveling with and realistic settings; Australian – small rural town and bush settings. Evocative, taught and so so credible.   What more could I ask for? I took the bait – hook line and sinker!

 

Loved this read…more please.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Out of Bounds – Val McDermid

A slow burn that is big on police procedural and immensely satisfying to read!

out-of-bounds

Out of Bounds

Inspector Karen Pirie #4

Val McDermid

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown

ISBN: 9781408706923

 

Description:

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, whose gripping, impeccably plotted novels have garnered millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, Out of Bounds, she delivers a riveting cold case novel featuring detective Karen Pirie.

 

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

 

Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems.

 

An enthralling, twisty read, Out of Bounds reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business.

 

 

My View:

A slow burn that is big on police procedural and immensely satisfying to read!

 

Another great read from this author – and another series to add to you list of must reads. Fantastic character driven police procedural – twists, turns and surprises and as a bonus McDermid subtly weaves in some contemporary social issues. McDermid looks at the plights of political refugees and discrimination in the UK and deftly crafts minor storylines that offer a positive positions/reflections of life to contrast populist ethnocentric views. Bravo!

 

 

And as if that isn’t enough to draw you in – it is an educational read as well – I learnt so much about the different brands and flavours of gin available in the UK (which prompted me to check out our local liquor store, sadly there was only 4 types of gin on the shelves of which I selected one to bring home with me) the lack of choice was very disappointing after being tantalised with the many many types Karen and Jimmy sampled and judged during their Monday night soirees.

 

And I learned a new the expression – the Scottish word – numpty, which for the unenlightened means; a stupid or ineffectual person. J And by coincidence – I was in the hairdressers to day and heard that word used in conversation, remember I am in Australia and this is not a word that is ordinarily a part of colloquial language but my hairdresser was from the UK. Glad I understood what she me and and that she wasn’t talking about me J

 

Out of Bounds is a well written, engaging, educational,  complex, character driven and socially relevant police procedural that you will find immensely satisfying to read (as a bonus there are glimpses of the authors sense of humour in her writing which made me smile as I read) I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

 

 

 

Post Script: Game: A Thriller Set In Sydney Australia – A C Efverman

Game

Game

A C Efverman

A C Efverman

ISBN: 9781516979929

 

Description:

Sydney is hosting the World Cup in soccer in a few weeks’ time, when Detective Sergeant Morgan Callaghan is assigned to lead an investigation of three dead women who have been found in central parts of the city. Morgan’s mother is dying, and his family cannot understand the pressure that Morgan has been put under by his superiors and the FIFA committee. The hunt for a serial killer leads Morgan into a darkness he has never experienced before – and in this darkness he will lose more than he ever thought was possible… This dark, relentless thriller will take you on a journey to Sydney where you will get to know DS Morgan Callaghan, and you will also get a rare insight of what it feels like to work on a murder investigation in Australia.

 

My View:

This police procedural would make an excellent film script.

AC Efverman writes a book that is heavy on detail, crime and personal tragedies. This book could so easily be read as a script for a TV show – such are the directions and the descriptions provided.

My favourite piece in the book is an observation, a reflection that the protagonist (DS Callaghan) makes about serial killers, “As I said: he is a psychopath. These guys don’t follow any rules. They make up their own agendas. Serial killers have been known to escalate their murdering sprees when they have work experience. (p191, emphasis added)  So true!!!

The book is reportedly very successful in Sweden, however I feel the English translation of the book would have benefited from a strong edit by someone who speaks and writes English as a first language – so much of the conversations came across as stilted and unnatural – and some terms of expression were obviously influenced by Swedish rather than colloquial Australian.

A good debut.

Post Script: The Killing Lessons – Saul Black

If this book was a film I would watch with my hands partly covering my eyes. Terrifying!

Cover The Killing Lessons

The Killing Lessons

Saul Black

Hachette Australia

Orion Books

ISBN: 9781409152958

 

Description:

When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper’s isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it’s the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it’s just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

 

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims–women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them–has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she’s losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.

 

But the slaughter at the Cooper farmhouse didn’t quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena’s ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she’s running from.

 

 

My View:

If you love crime fiction, if you love serial killer narratives that run full pelt off the page- then this is a book for you. This book demands that you read it in one sitting – be prepared to sit and read four hundred and eight pages of pulse raising drama without moving from your chair, there are no distractions important enough to tear you away from this book.

 

If this book was a film I would watch with my hands partly covering my eyes. Terrifying!

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Doll Maker – Richard Montanari

Gripping! This is the read I have been waiting for…

The Doll Maker

The Doll Maker

A Byrne and Balzano Mystery

Richard Montanari

Mulholland Books  

ISBN: 9780316244732

Description:

Detectives Byrne and Balzano return to the streets of Philadelphia to put an end to a macabre succession of murders.

A quiet Philadelphia suburb. A woman cycles past a train depot with her young daughter. There she finds a murdered girl posed on a newly painted bench. Beside her is a formal invitation to a tea dance in a week’s time.

Seven days later, two more young victims are discovered in an abandoned house, posed on painted swings. At the scene is an identical invitation. This time, though, there is something extra waiting for Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano: a delicate porcelain doll.

It’s a message. And a threat. With the killers at large, Detectives Byrne and Balzano have just seven more days to find the link between the murders before another innocent child is snatched from the streets.

 

My View:

After a few average reads this week I was so pleased that I picked up my e-reader and settled in for the night with this incredibly creepy read. The prologue had me hooked (and is probably the most gruesome and violent part of the narrative) the creepy parts comes later 🙂

The Doll Maker had my attention in a vice like grip. I felt the urge to read and read…and I did …my husband has no idea what time I turned the bedroom light off… (And I am not saying). He slept peacefully as I read the entire book start to finish.

A great, fast moving, tension packed police procedural with the creepiest villains I have come across in a long time (no spoilers here) but I think is the juxtaposition of manners/politeness against loathsome serial murders that makes these antagonists so creepy. This narrative is well plotted, very well executed and delivers in every way a good work of crime fiction should – you are left believing this could happen. Such evil does exist.

And surprisingly this is Book 8 in the Byrne and Balzano series – and I hadn’t read the other 7 and it didn’t matter! (But now I would like to).

 

 

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

Post Script: Die Again – Tess Gerritsen

“Death was a rock star who always drew an audience.”

Die Again

Die Again

(Rizzoli & Isles 11)

Tess Gerritsen

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593072431

 

 

Description:

With DIE AGAIN Tess Gerritsen proves that she is still at the top of her game. I love this fantastically gripping story and can’t wait for more’ KARIN SLAUGHTER

 

THE VICTIMS

In Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating a bizarre murder. A man has been found gutted and hanging in his home. When the remains of another victim are found, it is clear that this murderer has been at work for years, and not just in Boston.

 

THE KILLER

Six years ago, a group of travellers set off on an African safari. None of them are seen again – apart from one woman who stumbled out of the bush weeks later, barely alive. The only woman to have seen the killer’s face.

 

THE SURVIVOR

Has the ‘safari killer’ resurfaced in Boston? Jane is sent to Africa to find the one link between the two cases – the only survivor – and convince her to face death once again…

 

Links

 

www.tessgerritsen.com

 

 

My View:

What a breath of fresh air this narrative is!

Loved the dual settings and the psychological suspense; twists and turns galore. The earlier story based in Africa is unique, compelling and will set your pulse racing…this is not so much a story about the gory details of death (though we are not cheated on the number of deaths within or the stark reality of death) but this is more a narrative about the impact of action/non actions, about friendship, trust, genetics, big cats, domestic cats and… a serial killer.

 

A brilliant and refreshing episode to add to the Rizzoli and Isles repertoire.

 

 

Post Script: Hush – Anne Frasier

“The mind is such an amazing universe.”

Hush

Anne Frasier

Belfry Press

ISBN: 9781475094862

 

 

Description:

What’s your greatest fear?

It’s criminal profiler Ivy Dunlap’s job to unravel the psyches of the most dangerous men alive. None haunts her dreams more than the killer who took her son’s life sixteen years ago, then silently disappeared into the dark. Now an urgent request for help from the Chicago police has reawakened Ivy’s greatest nightmare. The Madonna Murderer has returned to fulfill his calling. This time Ivy understands the killer and will face her greatest fear to stop him from killing again.

 

Publishers Weekly

Few serial killers penned by suspense writers today are as warped or as fully realized as the Madonna Murderer, who preys on newborn baby boys and their unwed mothers. As if the crime itself isn’t bad enough, the killer leaves a musical snow globe that plays “Hush, Little Baby” in the infant’s crib as his calling card. It has been nearly two decades since Ivy Dunlap and her infant son were victimized by the Madonna Murderer. Unbeknownst to the killer, Ivy survived the assault. Her baby didn’t. Now a respected criminal psychologist, Ivy is called into service by the Chicago P.D. when the killer resurfaces after 16 years of dormancy. Her personal interest in the case takes on a sharper edge when she learns that her partner, Detective Max Irving, has a son named Ethan who is the same age her child would have been had he survived. When Ivy tries to rattle the Madonna Murderer by publishing a “dead-baby letter” in the newspaper, the killer becomes more daring; he befriends Ethan, sends Ivy a chunk of his skin bearing a tattoo and expands his profile of victims. Although some readers may be turned off by the novel’s graphic nature, a wealth of procedural detail, a heart-thumping finale and two scarred but indelible protagonists make this a first-rate debut.

About the author:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

BARNES & NOBLE BESTSELLING AUTHOR

RITA AWARD AUTHOR (SUSPENSE)

AMAZON.COM BESTSELLING AUTHOR

 

My View:

 

 

I was drawn to this book by the amazing cover art and discovered a fantastic police procedural/psychological thriller. This book has great pacing, in-depth character development, a creepy villain and protagonists you will empathise with and enjoy reading about; I really enjoyed this read.

 

And the point of difference in this particular read is that the writer acknowledges the pain and effect that being party to a serious crime, whether as a witness, whether that be discovering a victim, whether you are one of the first responders, or work in a crime related field or are related to the victim of a crime “ that touch left latent prints that would never, ever go away…no matter what they’d gone through – loss of a parent, loss of a sibling- they wouldn’t be able to understand the darkness and fear.”

Post Script: Hunted – Elizabeth Heiter

Unbelievably good – this is my kind of read!

Hunted

Elizabeth Heiter

Harlequin

Harlequin MIRA

ISBN: 9780778315841

 

Description:


FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer. But she’s never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods. As the body count climbs, Evelyn’s relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career—and her life—at risk. And the evil lurking in the Burier’s mind may be more than even she can unravel.

Terror is closer than she thinks… 

The Bakersville Burier knows he’s got an FBI profiler on his trail. He knows who she is and where to find her. And he’s biding his time, because he’s planned a special punishment for Evelyn. She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it’s her turn to be hunted!

My View:

What a fantastic FBI procedural from debut author Elizabeth Heiter. I loved this book- the pace, the characters, the plot, the twists, the action, the tension…I loved it all.

Evelyn Baine is a great female protagonist – smart, dedicated, resourceful, a wonderful FBI profiler with a personal history that steers her life – personal and professional.  Heiter sets a great crime scene and the office banter and politics adds a further dimension to the narrative. I can see a TV show waiting to explode onto our screens.

Heiter gets all the essential elements of a great crime read spot on.  I cannot wait for her next book…due out in the New Year, “Vanished” which follows an important story line in Hunted.