Dead on Demand & The Missing Ones

 

Dead on Demand was a free kindle book, that I decided to try.   The sleuth is DCI Morton and the murders involve an entire host of suspects connected in a web of deceit on the dark web.  The plot was intriguing as one murder led to the next with one “hand” not really knowing what the other was doing.  The initial trigger for all the crimes was the breakdown of Edwin and Eleanor’s marriage.  Their divorce has far-reaching consequences even beyond London.  DCI Morton is a capable investigator and there is enough of his personal life included to make him a fully fleshed out character.  I did find that with so much going on, the story felt a little rushed.  I also found that the post-resolution piece didn’t really ring true with what we had heard from Edwin throughout the book.  I think that could have been left off.  Overall, an okay mystery read.

The Missing Ones has been on my Kindle for quite  a while and I finally got around to reading it.  Detective Lottie Parker is a widowed parent of 3 teens, struggling with her grief, parenthood, and her job.  Of the three, she seems most successful with her work.  The storyline interweaves a crooked planning committee, a child abuse scandal involving the Catholic church ala Magdalen Laundries, and Lottie’s personal life. The pacing was well done, but the mystery felt like there was nothing new here.  I have read a few Irish Catholic church/Magdalen Laundries storylines in other series and there was not really anything new here.   I do like the character of Lottie and will probably read another in the series.

 

Advertisements

Season of the Witch by Arni Thorarinsson

13447568  This is the fourth book in the Einar series and I have not read the first three and don’t really know the whole story why Einar appears to have been exiled from Reykjavik to this much more isolated outpost.  Einar is a journalist and he falls into murder investigations through his work for the paper.

The voice of Einar is written somewhat strangely.  It took me a while to realize he was a man, there was just something about it that made me assume Einar was female.  The mystery is fine, although I didn’t like his decision about the resolution at the end.  The other characters are ok and even provide some comic relief.  By the end, I was drawn into the story, but it is not one of my favourite series.  I’m not sure I would read more in this series.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

16160797  I’ve had this on my bookshelf forever.  I’d heard such mixed reviews that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it.  Cormoran Strike is an amputee ex-military man, who now has a PI firm.  On top of this, he is the illegitimate child of a notorious rock star.  Robin is referred to Cormoran through a temp agency, to work as a secretary/assistant.  They form a great team as they investigate the suicide of a supermodel, Lulu.  Cormoran and Robin are both great characters and coupled with an intriguing storyline, I could not put this book down.  This is not a thriller with car chases and lots of death-defying feats, this is more of an investigative mystery.  The reader follows Cormoran as he interviews all the people who touched Lulu’s life and follows up on the leads that Robin digs up for him.

I really enjoyed it and suspect that lots of people who rated it poorly were expecting more thrills and action ala Harry Potter and this is really quite different.  I am glad that I already own the next one and plan on reading it.

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell

39801

This is book 3 in the Kurt Wallander series.  Wallander is confronted with a seemingly normal middle class well-liked woman’s murder.  As he searches for a reason why she would be executed, connections are revealed to the South African political upheaval.  The book works back and forth between the South African plot and Wallander’s search fo the killer in Sweden.  He follows false leads and is confounded by the South African connections as they are revealed.  Eventually, the story lines are connected as Wallander follows the leads.  I enjoy this series, but this was definitely not my favorite book in it.  Quite a bit of the book was spent in South Africa and following the political upheaval that followed Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.  I will still continue with the series as I have liked the other books and the character of Wallander.

 

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

25716670  This was a book that was recommended to me on a discussion in Goodreads related to cult themed Nordic Noir reads and I was fortunate that my library had it.

This book hooked me in immediately.  Loved the lead characters, Munch and Mia, and the newbie to their team, a hacker, who is just finding his footing in police work.  The characters are well-developed enough so that the reader can get into their heads, but without slowing down the pacing of the story.

The crime(s) involve six-year-old girls being abducted and killed.  A storyline with a local cult is occurring in tandem to this.  At the same time Munch and Mia are having issues in their personal lives.  All these intricate story lines thread together in the end along with a sprinkling of red herrings to keep the reader guessing.  This was a really good Nordic Noir read and I hope they continue to translate the series.

The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman

32187728  I saw some reviews for this on Goodreads and decided to give it a try.  Set in Guernsey, it has a great deal of atmosphere and that closed in feel that a somewhat isolated, small community setting can give a book.  The protagonist, Jennifer, is an island girl, who left for a career in journalism and now has returned after her pursuit of a story went wrong.  She finds the body of a beautiful young woman on the beach and is unwilling to drop the story.   She shares her research with a local police officer, Michael, and then, as another girl is missing, it becomes a race against time.

There is a lot of tension built here and many red herrings.  I was convinced I knew who did  it and was completely wrong.  There are also references to Guernsey’s history of Nazi occupation and the impact that had on the community.  Themes of suicide, loss of a child, and obsession are explored.

The killer’s voice is heard in excerpts throughout the book beginning in his childhood and continuing up until the end of the book.  They give insight into his thoughts and especially his triggering (or motivating) event.  I enjoyed this thriller and would read more by the author.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring & Where Memories Lie

 

Where Memories Lie is book 12 in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series, which I have been reading in order for a while now.   This is a much more Gemma-centric book, Gemma is called to her friend Erika’s house to resolve a WW II related case.  Erika is Jewish and escaped Germany with her husband.  Her father, a famous jeweler, was left behind and perished in the camps.  Gemma’s investigation into a piece of jewelry that has surfaced from Erika’s past, sets off a chain of present day crimes connected to past ones.  Gemma and Duncan get to work together on the interconnecting cases.  As well as dealing with the mystery and investigating the handling of past crimes, Gemma deals with a personal crisis in her family.  An on-point depiction of the push-pull that many working women face.

This was a good read in this series, which is best read in order as the characters grow and their relationship changes over the course of the series.  The ending left me anxious to read the next one and see what happens.

The Devil’s Wedding Ring is from a new to me author, Vidar Sundstol.  I saw this book mentioned on a discussion of cult themed stories in the Nordic Noir  genre, books like Sun Storm, The Hanging Girl, etc.  Max is the sleuth here, a man who in his youth was a police officer in Norway.  He left abruptly upon deciding he was not cut out for the type of police work being done and spent the rest of his life, some 30 years,  in the US working as a private investigator.  He returns to Norway for the funeral of an old friend and finds himself questioning everything about his friend’s death and connections to old crimes, including the one that drove him off the force and out of Norway.

Max is a well drawn character, a man who has lived a good life but now is returning to face the regrets of his youth.  Themes of religion, ritual, sacrifice, fertility,  and regret wrapped in solid investigation.  Nicely paced Nordic Noir read.