Dead Pretty, Flamingo Fatale, Now You See Me & Snap

 

Dead Pretty is book 5 in the Aector McAvoy series.  In this book the focus is very much on Pharoah and the mess of a life her disabled husband has dropped her in without much notice.  Aector and Roisin also feature prominently, reaffirming their life together after the events of the last couple books.  Aector is trying to solve the case of missing girl, while Pharoah is seemingly off on her own tangent involving a man recently exonerated after being convicted.  As Aector delves further into his case, he begins to wonder who he can trust.  Another very good read in this great series!

Flamingo Fatale has been on my TBR list for a long time.  It is written by James Dean who writes a number of cozy mysteries under several pen names.  I finally got to this one because an ebook of it was available on Hoopla.  This is a trailer park themed cozy and the characters provide the “local color” that people would stereotypically expect from them.  The shotgun toting neighbor, the single mom working multiple minimum wage jobs, the teen mom, young men with criminal records, and the like but this is balanced by the fact Wanda and her family come across as real people.  People who are doing their best and yet still struggling to make it.  I think this is something that readers from various places or stages in life can relate to.  I enjoyed this, but I would say it is a little grittier than the average cozy.  Now that I’ve met the basic cast of characters, I will read another in the series.

Snap is another “I need to get to that” from my TBR.  I read Rubbernecker by this author and really liked it so I put this one on my TBR.  This was a solid thriller, with a cold missing person case being connected to something happening in the present day.  The character of Jack, is both tragic and heroic.  The lengths and depths he goes to in order to care for his sisters after the disappearance of his mother versus what should have been his life from the glimpses of his life before her disappearance is heartbreaking.  While the character of Jack provokes an emotional response from the reader, I didn’t really feel much for Catherine and her part of the storyline.  A good read, but I’d recommend Rubbernecker over this.

Now You See Me by Lesley Glaister is not really a mystery read, more of a gradual  unveiling of secrets of two damaged people.  Lamb and Doggo meet and bond, but both have secrets that are inevitably going to tear them apart.  This was just not for me, but perhaps a younger reader could relate more?

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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.