The Dogs of Riga & Water Like Stone

Two very different mysteries, both from series that I really like.  The Dogs of Riga is the 2nd book in the Kurt Wallander series that the TV show is based upon.   This books sees Kurt leaving home to continue with a case in a Soviet dominated Latvia.  He has no one to trust and at the same time is being told by desperate people that he is their only chance for justice.  The case starts with two bodies in a life raft and ends up being something much bigger and with the potential to end Kurt’s own life.  The atmosphere created here is fantastic, both in Kurt’s lonely and isolated life at home and in the terror filled streets of Latvia.  Really strong sense of place and the characters of Kurt, Baiba Leipa and Major Leipa are fully fleshed out and are able to evoke empathy from the reader.  Fans of the TV series and others who like Nordic thrillers or have an interest in Soviet-Latvian politics would enjoy this book.

Water Like a Stone is book 11 in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series.  This is a Christmas book, as Duncan and Gemma take the children to visit Duncan’s parents for the holiday.  Unfortunately, the body of a small child is discovered by Duncan’s sister as they arrive and Duncan finds himself and even his family drawn into the case.  This was a lighter read and spent a lot of time focused on Duncan and Gemma’s kids and their relationship with Duncan’s family.  The reader also meets Duncan’s sister as she is dealing with accusations of infidelity, a troublesome teen child, embezzlement and a struggling new business.  This was a quick, lighter read, well written, not much of a mystery for the reader to solve, but there is a case to follow in which Duncan is not the lead detective,  and a lot of plot dealing with family life.  A nice addition to the series, I enjoyed it and will certainly continue reading about Duncan and Gemma.

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