A few short reviews – Kellerman, Gerritsen, Hallett and Turton

I really do seem to have got out of the habit of posting reviews and my reading is a bit patchy, but nevertheless the pile of ‘read but not yet reviewed’ books is getting taller. So this will clear a few. 

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First up – one of the few books that I’ve been sent by a publisher (although it is from las year).

Title – The Burning

Author – Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

Published – 2021

Genre – Crime fiction

This is the fourth in the ‘Clay Edison’ series – I read and reviewed #3 previously on my blog.

Although I didn’t feel I’d missed out not reading the books preceding the third in the series, I’m not sure this book would have made much sense if I hadn’t read ‘Lost Souls’. 

Clay Edison is the Deputy Coroner in California, he’s called to the murder scene of a wealthy victim, a man who appears to have been a collector of all sort of different things. During a search of the extensive garage he spots a car that looks remarkably similar to one that belongs to his own brother. Edison decides to keep this information to himself – which sets him on course to pursue his own investigation.

The book is set against a series of fires in California, filling the skies with smoke, cutting homes and businesses off from the power grid, leaving Edison alone as his pregnant wife takes their daughter out of the area.

I was a bit frustrated by the plot, I’m not a fan of fiction where someone at the beginning hides something which they should have told the authorities about. In fact the way the story pans out it wasn’t dreadful and it linked in with he previous book, but the feeling of frustration stayed with me. 

1star1star1star

Next – a book I was sent for free but not as a review copy

Title – The Shape of Night

Author – Tess Gerritsen

Published – 2019

Genre – Fiction

I didn’t know what to expect from this book so when a young woman moved into an old gothic house in a close-knit coastal community I was anticipating crime fiction. I was a little surprised when it became more of a gothic horror / thriller with some vaguely erotic romance with a ghost. 

The main protagonist is a woman who has a secret that is haunting her and an associated alcohol problem. It’s one part thriller – what happened to the woman renting the house before her? Part ghost story – the house seems to be haunted by the original sea captain who owned the house. Part romance – both with the ghostly sea captain and the local doctor. 

It took me ages to read, I stuck with it is probably the best I can say. 

1star1star1star

Third – a book I bought for myself

Title – The Twyford Code

Author – Janice Hallett

Published – 2022

Genre – Crime fiction

I bought this based on how much I enjoyed The Appeal. 

In The Twyford Code the author has tried to find a different way of using ‘found footage’ to present the story, the text being a series of transcriptions of voice memos or calls stored on a mobile phone. The main protagonist is Steve, recently out of prison and trying to solve a mystery from his childhood. It’s partly a mystery and partly a book about trying to make amends. 

The plot was intriguing – based on the memories of a group of remedial readers at Steve’s school. Their teacher (Miss Isles) led them to believe that the world-famous children’s author Edith Twyford hid a series of clues in her books. What happened to Miss Isles on an unexpected outing with the group to Bournemouth? 

I confess that I didn’t enjoy this as much as The Appeal. Using the text of the calls (transcribed by ‘DecipherIt’ software) gave text using the vernacular, with lots of transposition errors or inaccuracies which made it quite a challenging read. In addition the story moves quite slowly, so it did take me a while to get to the end. 

1star1star1star

Finally –  review of another book I bought for myself

Title – The Devil and The Dark Water

Author – Stuart Turton

Published – 2020

Genre – Historical fiction

I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but I was still intrigued to see what was next from Turton. 

As with its predecessor this is quite a mix of genres (as I write this review Amazon has it in “Metaphysical & Visionary”). Set in 1634 one of the main protagonists is the world’s greatest detective, Samuel Phipps, who is being transported by ship from Batavia (think Indonesia) to Amsterdam, to be tried for a crime. He is accompanied by his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes (goodness I found that first name difficult to read!). Even before the passengers and crew board the ship there are mysterious goings on and these carry on apace once the ship is at sea. Are these supernatural or do they have a more human source? When the first murder takes place we have a ‘locked room’ mystery to solve. 

This is one of many current books that uses a historical setting but imbues some of the characters with more contemporary attitudes –  something I’m not yet sure if I am comfortable with. 

This is quite a long book but it does pack an awful lot in – both in terms of plot, character development and back story. 

1star1star1star1star

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