January 2

The Night Stalker & Dark Water

In January my day job changes and my mega commute of the last 5 months will cease. Between July and December I would spent around 5 hours each day driving the same road, home to office and home again. To pass the time I would listen to talking books, but as I was seldom awake while I was home I fell behind on reviewing those listens…catch-up time.

 

Today I have reviews for two Robert Bryndza books. Huge thanks to Noelle and Kim at Bookouture for the Audible review copies.

 

The Night Stalker

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

 

The second Erika Foster novel. A series which my fellow bloggers all seemed to love (and I thought had sounded fantastic) but I was late to the party.  The good thing about playing catch-up is that there are several books waiting for me and I don’t need to wait months for the next installment!

The Night Stalker is a serial killer tale – one I really, really enjoyed. The victims are found in their homes, bound and suffocated; murdered in the place where they should have been safe from harm. As Foster considers the first victim, tied to his bed with a bag over his head, she cannot discount the possibility that the man died as a result of a sexual encounter gone wrong. The investigation will be complicated as she tries to uncover the man’s private life and unearth any secrets he may have tried to keep.

When a second victim is discovered the stakes are raised as is the pressure on Erika and her team.  A prominent media personality is dead, the press are clamouring for information and her bosses are demanding significant progress in made on the investigations.  Erika needs to find a possible connection between the two men but she cannot know if there is one – perhaps the victims were selected at random.

For the reader there is the chilling bonus of being able to follow part of the story from the viewpoint of the The Night Stalker.  We see the killer watching the next target and follow them as they break into the victim’s home. When the Night Stalker becomes aware of Erika’s investigation the Stalker then focuses on her – unknown to Erika she is a target.

Robert Bryndza is great at pacing the action and there were some fabulous twists through the story. The Night Stalker is gripping reading (or listening in this instance) and it significantly builds on the character of Erika Foster and her colleagues – setting up the rest of the series nicely.

 

Dark Water

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly.  She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as eleven-year-old Jessica Collins.  The missing girl who made headline news when she vanished twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she discovers a family harbouring secrets, a detective plagued by her failure to find Jessica, and the mysterious death of a man living by the quarry.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

 

Book 3 and a rather distressing cold case for Erika and her team to take on. Except her team are not her team any longer – she has been transferred to a new station and it seems we will be robbed of the company of Moss and Peterson. Fortunately resurrecting an old investigation (a missing girl who vanished from her street some 26 years earlier) merits extra staff numbers and the trio will soon be reunited.

Dark Water has a very different feel from the first two novels but not to the detriment of excellent storytelling.

Erika will need to wade through boxes of old investigative notes but she could always seek out the assistance of the original investigating officer. This may lead to problems as the officer she needs to consult left the force in disgrace and has drunk herself to oblivion in the intervening years.

When a girl has been missing for 26 years there will inevitably be someone who knows where she has been all this time, someone who may not wish the police to look too closely into the case again. Who can Erika trust to reveal the truth after all those years? Certainly not the alleged pedophile who was once the prime suspect but now holds the police over a barrel after someone (convinced of his guilt) took matters into their own hands.

Of the three Erika Foster books I listened to over the last 5 months I think Dark Water just edges it as my favourite, though that *may* be down to the ongoing development of the characters and my appreciation of the books growing!

Both the above books are narrated by Jan Cramer and she is absolutely marvellous. Having listened to the first three Erika Foster novels, and not actually reading any of the books first, my perception of all the characters has been defined by Jan Cramer’s depiction of them.

I have a dilemma now over whether to get book 4 on audio or pick up a Kindle copy – whatever I choose I already know I am looking forward to my next encounter with Erika Foster.

 

The Night Stalker and Dark Water are published by Bookouture and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robert-Bryndza/e/B0089KJBVM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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December 31

My Favourite Audiobooks – 2017

Earlier this year my day job changed and my daily commute suddenly involved 5 hours of driving. This ate into my reading time but a subscription to Audible meant I could listen to all the books I wasn’t getting a chance to read.

So after six months and many, many miles I thought I would share the books I enjoyed the most.

It should be noted that three audiobooks made it into the list of My Ten Favourite Books of 2017 it should come as no surprise that they are also included here (the first three).

 

 

Whiteout – Ragnar Jonasson

Whiteout sees the return of Jonasson’s popular Icelandic cop Ari Thor What made Whiteout special for me was the way the author took the smallest cast of possible suspects and made a brilliant “whodunnit” murder mystery. I have compared Ragnar Jonasson’s works to that of Agatha Christie in the past…Whiteout only reaffirms my assertion.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Murder – AK Benedict

The audiobook of The Beauty of Murder was recommended to me by JS Law (author of The Dark Beneath). Boy did he call that right! The Beauty of Murder is a serial killer story in which the killer has the ability to travel through time. Loved that twist and it gave The Beauty of Murder an edge which most books simply didn’t have. The time travel is not just a clever gimmick though, this is a wonderfully compassionate and clever story. With much of the action taking place in and around Cambridge University (with a Philosophy Lecturer as a lead character) it throws up some interesting discussion points too. Hugely enjoyable but with one of the saddest moments of my reading year too…

 

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson

I was captivated by this tale which takes the reader from WW2 concentration camps to present day and shows how a serial killer was able to stay hidden for decades.

Two narrators on the audiobook really highlighted the “then” and “now” side to Block 46 and the story was outstanding.

 

 

 

 

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

I generally don’t read non-fiction, however, both my parents worked for the NHS and I grew up hearing about life in and around hospitals. When I learned of Adam Kay’s “secret diaries of a junior Doctor” I knew I had to read this book.

It was magnificent. I laughed, winced and shed a tear over his tales. Dr Adam narrates his own book and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Funny, graphic, sweary and over all too soon – I loved this!

 

 

Dark Suits and Sad Songs – Denzil Meyrick

My first DCI Daley thriller and I have already bought more in the series.

An explosive opening throws Daily into a political thriller which will have him facing unknown foes both from home and from far overseas.

With his home life in a shambles, his oldest friend and colleague battling a drink problem and an international hitman loose in his home town Daley is going to have a busy few days.

All with added UFO sightings too!

 

 

From The Cradle – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

A chilling kidnap tale which kept me hooked.

The heart of the story is the investigation into the missing children and it was great following the ebb and flow of their enquries.

Louise Voss and Mark Edwards kept the twists and surprises coming throughout the story and it had an ending I would never have seen coming.

 

 

Storm Front – John Sandford

I love John Sandford’s books and the Virgil Flowers series (of which Storm Front is one) are well worth seeking out.  They are consistently great crime thrillers yet Flowers brings the humour to his investigations which made Storm Front great listening.

 

 

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

I am a huge fan of the Marnie Rome series but this was the first time I had “met” Marnie in audiobook.  The narration by Imogen Church was fantastic, bringing much loved characters to life.

Quieter Than Killing is a great read but then I have never been disappointed in a Sarah Hilary novel – she writes stories with an edge.

Marnie is investigating a series of vicious beatings across London but she cannot tell if she is hunting a single person or a vigilante group. It is not long before the stakes are raised and danger will lie ahead.

 

The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza

The first Erika Foster thriller and a dark and murderous tale from a frozen London. This was one of the first books I listened to (two more in the series soon followed) and I became a firm fan of Robert Bryndza’s wonderful thrillers.

 

Chase – Shaun Hutson

My last pick was the chilling Chase. I love a horror tale and Mr Hutson writes some of the best. An English couple are on a driving holiday in remote USA but the trip will bring them face to face with forces they could not have ever envisaged. Their dream holiday, tinged with tragedy even before they set off, becomes a nightmare roadtrip.

After rescuing a young girl from two killers the couple flee to keep the girl safe – the killers are in pursuit and they know the area far better than the holidaymakers.

Chilling and as nasty as I had anticipated – great listening.

 

 

 

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December 19

The Deathwatch Journal – Ian Rankin

A gripping original story for BBC Radio 4 by award-winning crime writer Ian Rankin, written for the landmark Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.

Saughton Prison, Edinburgh, 1962.

Prison guard Thomas Scott watches over a condemned man sentenced to hang for the murder of his wife.

His prisoner is a guilty man, that’s for sure. William Telfer has done enough bad things in his life. And Scott has been in his job long enough to know that guilty men often proclaimed their innocence right up until the moment the noose was placed around their necks. But as they wait out the days until his execution, Scott begins to suspect that Telfer is innocent of this murder.

An innocent man could be hanged by the neck until dead. And his jailer doesn’t know what to do about it….

To find out the truth, Scott must explore Edinburgh’s darkest corners. And he is running out of time.

 

My thanks to Helena at Penguin Random House for a review copy of the audiobook.

 

The Deathwatch Journal was written for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and it is perfectly pitched – both for the audience and also for the intended hour of listening.

The story of a condemned man, William Telfer, who has been found guilty of murdering his wife and is sentenced to hang in 1960’s Edinburgh. The story is also that of his guard, Thomas Scott, who spends time with Telfer and begins to question whether his prisoner is really guilty of the crime for which he is due to hang.

Despite being a murder tale there is no graphic violence and not explosive set pieces. We follow Thomas Scott to his work where he will chat with Telfer (who tries to elicit information from Scott to learn more about his guard) and Scott records Telfer’s disposition, activities and diet in a Deathwatch Journal.

As the two men chat Scott becomes less inclined to believe Telfer may be guilty of murder. He starts a private investigation, looking into some elements of Telfer’s trial which left unanswered questions. His digging will cause ripples and it is not too long before awkward conversations will take place with individuals who are quite happy to see Telfer hang.

The story plays out in very enjoyable fashion and the 1.25 hour running time slipped away all too quickly. Away from the prison we get a look at Scott’s personal life and a nostalgic nod to the 1960’s lifesyles and the exciting prospect of a “new town” being built to the West of Edinburgh.

The Deathwatch Journal is narrated by Jimmy Chisholm and his voice lends its-self perfectly to the tale. The tough guys from Edinburgh’s harder days are suitably intimidating.  Thomas Scott comes across as an amiable likeable character and Mr Chisholm comfortably manages  (where other narrators have not fared so well) to give all the characters their own “voice”.

I listened to the Deathwatch Journal without reading the blurb beforehand and enjoyed the mystery of the tale – the afterward was also an unexpected surprise which made me appreciate the story even more (cryptic – but sorry…no spoilers).

Ideal late night listening and well worth setting aside a couple of evenings to enjoy The Deathwatch Journal.

 

The Deathwatch Journal is published by Penguin Random House and Licensed by BBC Worldwide Ltd.  It is available on CD or as an Audible download here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deathwatch-Journal-Original-Story-Radio/dp/B0759Z6L3G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513640372&sr=8-1&keywords=deathwatch+journal

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December 10

From The Cradle – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

When Helen and Sean Philips go out for the evening, leaving their teenage daughter babysitting little Frankie, they have no idea that they are about to face every parent’s greatest fear.

Detective Inspector Patrick Lennon is hopeful that the three children who have been abducted in this patch of south-west London will be returned safe and well. But when a body is found in a local park, Lennon realizes that time is running out—and that nothing in this case is as it seems…

Blending police procedural with psychological thriller, From the Cradle will have every parent checking that their children are safe in their beds…then checking again.

 

From The Cradle is published by Thomas & Mercer – you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cradle-Detective-Lennon-Thriller-Book-ebook/dp/B00K8EM27C/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

This book has been on my TBR pile for far too long, so when the chance to listen to the audiobook arose I was delighted.

This is a kidnap tale – three toddlers have been stolen away from their families by person or persons unknown.  DI Patrick Lennon is leading the investigation and he has his own family problems bubbling in the background – his wife is (shockingly) out of the picture and he is reliant upon his retired parents to help look after his young daughter.

A quick look at these lines from the description of the book:

The first child was taken from her house.
The second from his mother’s car.
The third from her own bedroom…

The third kidnap is the point where the reader joins the story. Helen and Sean Phillips are enjoying a comfortable life but everything is about to come crashing down around them, returning home from a romantic dinner they find their young daughter’s bed empty. Her big sister is sleeping on the couch but she is unusually drowsy and the backdoor (which was to be kept locked) is very much unlocked.

Most of the narrative will follow either the kidnap investigation or events in the Phillips house where tensions are as high as you may expect.  There are some additional players who will play key roles in the hunt for the missing children – but their involvement represent spoilers so you will have to find out about the delightful extra details for yourself.

For the audiobook – James Clamp narrates brilliantly and his skills at presenting multiple characters gives From The Cradle a boost above other books I have listened to – easier to enjoy a listen when the narrator is so good.

 

 

 

 

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November 16

Whiteout – Ragnar Jonasson – Audiobook

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.

 

Huge thanks to Karen at Orenda for the opportunity to listen to this audio book.

 

Whiteout was sublime listening. A tale of Iceland at Christmas time and the audiobook wonderfully conveyed a feeling of chilled darkness.

In a very remote settlement a young woman has been found dead at the foot of a steep cliff. Ari Thor Arason is drafted in to help his former boss investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. Suicide seems likely but when it is discovered that the woman’s mother and sister both died in the same spot it merits a little more investigation.

If the potential suicide is actually a murder then there are very few suspects – three residents in the house she had been visiting (all three older than the dead woman) and in the neighbouring house resides a couple who were roughly of ages with the deceased. None appear to have any possible motive for wishing her dead, she has not been in their company for over 20 years so why can murder not be ruled out?

Unpicking the mystery of this unusual death will be a challenge but it makes for excellent reading. Masterful teasing out of clues, slow reveals and clever, clever plotting by Ragnar Jonasson kept me hooked.  I have always been a fan of the Dark Iceland series but Whiteout is easily my favourite thus far, it was quite brilliant.

The audiobook was narrated by Leighton Pugh and he does a terrific job. Character voices were easily identifiable and perfectly fitted how the players had been described in the text. The story flowed around me as I listened and I felt transported to the craggy cliff edges, the stone lighthouse and the old houses where the five suspects tucked away their secrets.

Whiteout is set at Christmas and I discovered so many wonderful Icelandic traditions whilst listening to the book. Hearing about the Christmas Messages, the gifting of books and other heartwarming memories contrasted sharply with the investigation into a death – my sadness accentuated at the timing of a life lost.

 

Whiteout is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook format.

You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whiteout-Dark-Iceland-Ragnar-J%C3%B3nasson-ebook/dp/B06Y6HWP9Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1510871147&sr=1-1&dpID=51j8pDxoAML&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

 

 

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November 6

Make Me / Wolves in the Dark (Audiobook)

Make Me

Lee Child is now one of the few authors that I read and re-read and then read all over again.  I think I have read Killing Floor well over a dozen times down the years.  Somehow I missed reading Make Me when it first released so my Audible credits were flexed to give me some listening pleasure. And what pleasure it was. 

The mystery at the heart of Make Me runs right to the final scenes and even if you had given me 100 guesses I would never have puzzled this one out – totally gripping and more than a little disturbing.  But definitely one of the better novels in the series – I really enjoyed this one.

Child is happy to let Reacher age and in Make Me there were signs that his is slowing down and becoming a bit more vulnerable…extra drama!

The audiobook was very well presented.  Narration by Jeff Harding who nailed Reacher but some of the other character voices were a bit too similar over the course of the whole book. A minor niggle and it took nothing away from my overall enjoyment.

 

Wolves in the Dark

Varg Veum returns in this dark, dark tale from Gunnar Staalesen.  Veum is in a dangerous position – charged with an horrific offence and the evidence against him is damning.  The biggest problem with Varg will face is…himself.  He had gone through a period of self oblivion, drinking heavily and hardly functioning from day to day. 

Now facing the very real prospect of a lengthy prison sentence Veum must do whatever it takes to shake off his clouded memories and discover who he may have upset that may have tried to plant evidence against him.  But what it Veum DID do the crimes which he was accused of?

His personal trauma, self doubt and the trust he needs others to have in him are brilliantly conveyed by Gunnar Staalesen – a magnificent storyteller and in top, top form here.  Wolves in the Dark is hard to “enjoy” as the topics covered are distressing at times – but this is a powerful book and I loved listening to it.

Narrated by Colin Mace, the gruff tones of Varg Veum were pitched perfectly and captured how I had imagined he would sound.

 

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October 5

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

My thanks to Katie at Headline for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

 

Quieter Than Killing is the 4th book by Sarah Hilary to feature DI Marnie Rome. Each book can be read as a stand-alone novel but what you need to do is make sure you DO read all four books – they are all fantastic.

We readers are blessed with choice when it comes to police procedurals and crime thrillers, yet – for me – the Marnie Rome books stand head and shoulders above the others. Rome is a determined and focused detective who lives in the constant shadow of personal tragedy and it makes her own story utterly compelling.

In Quieter Than Killing, London is in the grip of a bitter winter and Marnie and DS Noah Jake are on the hunt for a violent offender. Someone has targeted three people for a vicious beating – disfiguring injuries have been inflicted and the only obvious link between the victims is that they have each (in the past) served time in prison for violent attacks of their own.  Are Marnie and Noah looking for a vigilante?  If so then how are they selecting their victims and what possible motive could they have?

Elsewhere the reader gets to see Finn.  He is 10 years old and has been plucked from the street and locked into a house from which there seems no escape.  His captor, dubbed Brady by Finn, has “rules” which Finn must obey…cooking and cleaning is expected and noise or disobedience are not tolerated. Finn is convinced Brady is a pervert who is planning to murder him, but Brady is keeping his distance and has been keeping Finn alive for several weeks. What does he need with the young boy and how much longer must Finn endure his captivity?

I got to enjoy Quieter Than Killing in audio and I need to give a massive thumbs-up to the narrator Imogen Church who voiced Marnie almost exactly how I had imagined her.

As with all of Sarah Hilary’s books the story is gripping, the clues well hidden and the entertainment is to the max. If you are not already reading these books you damn well should be.

 

Quieter Than Killing is published by Headline and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quieter-Than-Killing-D-I-Marnie-ebook/dp/B01INGSU68/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507232613&sr=1-1&keywords=sarah+hilary

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September 25

Friend Request – Laura Marshall (Audiobook)

Maria wants to be friends.
But Maria is dead . . . isn’t she?

When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past, her heart nearly stops.

Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.

Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers’ party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life with a terrible secret.

As Maria’s messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress. Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there’s much she didn’t know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again – until now. . .

 

Another audiobook review and this one made for uncomfortable listening.  Returning visitors will perhaps know that I find stories about bullies hard to read. Well Friend Request looks at the impact of school-girl bullying as it occurs and the consequences of one prank going too far.

The blurb for this story sold it to me.  A Facebook friend request from a long dead friend sends Louise Williams into a turmoil.  Maria wants to be her friend.  But Maria wanted to be friends with Louise in 1989 and Louise let her down and chose to hang around with the popular girl rather than the girls she could relax and enjoy spending time with. Then something really bad happened and Maria died – so how can she now want to be friends?

Readers know that Louise has done something terrible in her past and that it still haunts her.  Over the course of the story we (through a number of flashback chapters) see how Louise conducted herself at school.  It makes for awkward reading at times as Louise was no angel and some of the things that she agreed to do in order to retain her status among her friends made her cringe as she recalls them. Made me cringe hearing about them and I got really annoyed with her.

In the present day Louise is a single mum and her 4yo son is her world.  Her best friend is determined that Louise should start dating again but she is equally determined that Louise keeps away from her ex.  When you read a thriller and there is a young child so integral to the plot you cannot help but worry if something bad may happen – tension I could have done without while I tried to cope with my stress over the bullying!!!

I loved the balance of past and future and there are subtle clues over what may lie ahead but you want to keep reading to find out what went wrong in the past. You also want to know how Maria can suddenly have arrived back in Louise’s life and who else may have heard from her.   With a School Reunion looming is it really a good idea for everyone to revisit memories of days best forgotten.

I did mention that this was an audiobook read for me so some thoughts from a listener…narration duties were well handled by Elaine Claxton. She was very listenable and brought the story to life, particularly when covering the chapters from 1989 and she makes her voice younger and softer which was particularly effective.  At over 11 hours in length this was one of the longer stories I heard last month but it didn’t feel it – it zipped along at a good pace and I didn’t experience a feeling of padding or mid-story drop off as I have with some of my other recent audiobooks.

For this story of school days which may be best forgotten the report card is very positive.  I thoroughly enjoyed having Friend Request for company and would not hesitate to recommend it.

 

Friend Request is published by Sphere and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook formats.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Friend-Request-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01LWTZ751/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506190627&sr=1-1

 

 

 

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September 23

Secrets in Death – JD Robb (Audiobook)

Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally – with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

 

Another audiobook review – this time I thought I would use September’s Audible Subscription Credit to pick up the newest title in JD Robb’s fantastic “in Death” series.

Full disclosure from the start – I LOVE THESE BOOKS. I have ploughed hours of my life into reading and re-reading stories about Eve Dallas – the tough cop who is perpetually (and hilariously) uncomfortable when not chasing down murderers.  Secrets in Death is book 45 in the series – I have read all previous books (often more than once) and I am heavily invested in the lives of the characters.

So did I enjoy Secrets in Death?  Yes!  I thought it was the best new release in this series for a while. Did I like the Audio?  On the whole I did – but Susan Ericksen’s Irish accent was a bit of a shock initially and took a little getting used to. When Dallas is married to an Irishman that’s a bit of an issue, particularly since Roarke features heavily in Secrets.

The story its-self was really strong.  Eve is enduring an awkward meeting in a plush New York bar when tv’s gossip girl (who Eve had previously noticed sitting at a nearby table) stumbles across the floor of the bar and falls to the floor.  She is bleeding heaving and despite the best efforts of Dallas and two medical practitioners also in the bar – Larinda Mars dies at Eve’s feet.

It is a strong start and the pace keeps going.  Larinda has made her fame through sharing the secrets and gossip of the nations celebs. As she climbed the ladder to her success she has upset more than her fair share of people with her exclusive reveals.  But there may be more to Larinda’s investigative powers than a simple nose for the “truth” and it is not long before Eve becomes embroiled in an investigation where potential suspects are very good at keeping secrets.

Book 45 in the series – you do need to have an awareness of the background of the characters to get the most from Secrets. However it can be read as a stand alone as there is a strong murder story at the heart of the book.

A strong entry into the series though a minor quibble was that I did find that identifying the murderer was slightly easier this time around than in some of the other books. However, the story was as sharp as ever and I never fail to enjoy a JD Robb novel.

 

Secrets in Death is published by Piatkus and is available in Hardback, Digital and audiobook format: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Death-J-D-Robb-ebook/dp/B01MSAHS7G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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September 8

Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett (Audiobook)

To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork – a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.

Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work – as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital…but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse….

Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails….

 

Still doing the very long daily commute so it was time to bring some Terry Pratchett into my journey. I have been a fan of the Discworld books since the late 1980’s, I have read and re-read each title multiple times – mostly.

Even my favourite authors (and Sir Terry has been my favourite for many a long year) do not always hit the mark with their books.  Although Mort, Wyrd Sisters and Nightwatch are virtually imprinted onto my brain – I am less fond of Pyramids, Eric and Monstrous Regiment.  Raising Steam had fallen into the latter category, I bought the book on first release but never really got into it and it remained unfinished (a state previously unheard of for a Discworld novel). So when I wanted a Discworld book for my car journey – Raising Steam was getting a second chance.

Happy I am to report that I got much more involved with the story this time around and I enjoyed it a lot more as an audio experience than I had when I tried to read it.

Raising Steam sees the return of Moist von Lipwig, saviour of the Post Office and Vice-Chairman of the bank (with a small snuffly dog as the actual Chairman). I have loved both the previous Moist novels and this time around we see him coming to the fore as an industrial revolution blooms and the railways spring up.

Once again Pratchett has perfectly captured the best bits of our history and lampooned it perfectly.  We have the luddites (represented by Deep Down Dwarves) and the innovators – an engineer who gets a cracking Yorkshire accent from the narrator, the Patrician oversees the development using Moist as his conduit.  But Raising Steam is much more than an industrial revolution as there is a Political Revolution going on too. Dwarf’s are revolting (as in rising against their King) but stability and progress is the more desirable outcome for The Patrician, the King, The City Watch and also the Trolls (long time enemy of all Dwarf people). Tensions will rise and it will take a cast of many of our favourite characters to sort this mess out.

Raising Steam highlights again that there are few that can hold a torch to Terry Pratchett – his work is the stuff of legend and I sorely miss having the opportunity to enjoy new adventures with characters I have loved for all my adult life.

As for the audio – well Stephen Briggs does an admirable job and brings life to the whole cast. He gives accents to all the races (and characters) and Yorkshire, Wales, South-West and Cockney all shine through.  My only quibble is that the bad dwarf was Scottish and so was one of my most loved characters – “Spike”.  My mental image of Ms Dearheart were slightly tarnished by Mr Briggs making her sound like Supergran.

All in it was a great few hours of listening – with minor quibbles over Scottish accents – but only a Scot would pick up on that I feel!

 

Raising Steam is available in paperback, digital and audiobook. Terry Pratchett remains a legend.

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