The Chemistry of Death, The Zig Zag Girl & Joe Country


The Chemistry of Death is the first in a series that I had already read the second one in.  In this David Hunter has moved to rural Norfolk and taken on a local GP post after the death of his wife and daughter.  The discovery of a body leads to him being pulled into the investigation due to his training in forensic anthropology and his previous experience in criminal investigation.  Very well developed sense of place and fully fleshed out characters come together with great pacing and really interesting forensic details.  This is a series that I will continue to read.

The Zig Zag Girl is by an author whose work I really like.  I have read most of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series.  This work is different in that the protagonists are male and this is historical, while the Galloway series is set in modern day.  Edgar was part of a group of  “special” agents in the war, most of them magicians set with a task of using sleight of hand and misdirection to fool the enemy.  Now that the war is over Edgar is  police officer and is investigating the murder of a woman connected to magic.  Edgar joins with one of the other men from his unit, Max and together they race to uncover who is picking off people connected to their unit before it is their turn to die.

I really wanted to like this and in fact expected to like it, but it was pretty obvious from very early on who the killer was and except for one detail why.  All the references to magic and misdirection made the main red herring seem heavy handed and too obvious.  I felt that there was nothing to any of the female characters that were introduced.  They were just too superficial.

Joe Country by Mick Herron  is book 6 in the Slough House series.  I generally try to space out books in a series to not read them to close together, but book 5 was so good I couldn’t wait to read this one.  There is a new “recruit” to Slough House, Lech Wicinski, a man who can’t quite believe that he is ending up there.  Jackson Lamb is still his usual disagreeable self.  River’s grandfather, the OB, dies and River’s father shows up at the funeral causing a scene.  Finally, most of the team finds themselves in Wales, in the snow trying to save Min Harper’s son.  This was another excellent installment in the Slough House series.