Some books from the Library

Final Account is book 7 in the Inspector Banks series. This is a series I really enjoy and I have not read in a while so it was a pleasure to pick it up again. This book was renamed in the US, so UK readers will know it as Dry Bones that Dream.

In this installment, Banks is called to the scene of an almost headless victim of a shotgun blast. His traumatized daughter has to give her accounting of events and Banks becomes emotionally involved as he resolves to see justice done for the daughter’s sake. As the investigation broadens more characters are involved and Banks realizes that not everything about the crime, the victim, and some of the others he meets along the way are as it seems. Great installment in a series that I regularly enjoy.

This is the second book in the Inspector Vaara series.

Inspector Vaara is investigating a crime in which a woman was brutally tortured to death. At the same time he has been called to look into whether there is any truth to a local hero being branded a war criminal. Deception abounds and Vaara cannot seem to untangle his personal feelings and ideas of right and wrong from the investigations. Add into this all a strong dose of political pressure, chronic pain, visiting obnoxious relatives and it is a pressure cooker of a situation. This is a good outing in the series, but not as good as good as the first book, which I really liked. There is also somewhat of a cliffhanger at the end of the book regarding Vaara’s personal life.

This Dog for Hire appeared to be a cozy mystery, however I would not really classify as that. Yes, there is non-police sleuth and yes, we have an animal sidekick. But the crime and underlying mood of the book feels darker and more tense. The sleuth, Rachel Alexander, is hired to work on the case of murdered artist, whose valuable dog disappeared is missing. There are many theories of the crime batted around and Rachel does quite a bit of chasing down leads. The dog is recovered early on, the gist is not animal abuse by any means. The resolution and events that led to the crime are shocking when revealed. Great first in a series.

The Secret Place is the second book in two months I’ve read by Tana French. I love her writing and her books, generally. This book was an exception. I can appreciate the attention to detail and the research that went into delving into the teenage culture and vernacular, but there was only so much of it I can take. I was doing fine up until about a third of the way through and then I just had enough. The book is over 450 pages long and while the crime was interesting and the adult characters are superb, it is very teen centric. The crime and practically everyone involved are teens and the locations center on private boarding schools and the local shopping center/hangout.

As a Tana French fan, I am glad that I read it as her characters often roll over into other books, but it definitely was not a favorite.

Four More Mysteries…

These are my latest four library reads. I really love Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series and A Bitter Feast was an excellent addition to the series. Duncan, Gemma and their children are invited to a co-workers family estate for a community event. Duncan is involved in a car accident and the occupants of the other car both die. Duncan and Gemma become involved as it is soon apparent that this was no ordinary car accident. The usual supporting characters of Doug and Melody are also seen here and have a strong side plot involving Melody’s hidden relationship with a musician. The plot has some fun twists and turns as another murder occurs while the investigation is in full swing. Great installment taking the detectives out of their usual, more urban environment.

Snow Angels is the first in a new series by James Thompson. The Inspector Vaara is a wounded officer, married to an American ex ski champion, living and policing in a ski resort town. The darkness and bleakness is an ever present character in this novel as Finland is seen through Vaara’s American wife’s eyes and through Vaara’s explanations to her. Vaara is drawn into a brutal murder investigation of a celebrity, who is a young female Somali immigrant. The murder has brutal sexual and racist components and Vaara is in a race to solve the case before a media frenzy takes hold. This was a completely immersive experience with many tragic elements to the crime and the people attached to it. Very good start to a new series. Themes of racism, female genital mutilation, brutal violence.

Slough House is the 7th book in the Slough House series. In this outing, Ex- Slough house agents are being picked off in retaliation to an action in Russia. Lamb, River and the rest of the current staff must move quickly to save themselves. There is a surprise reappearance of a familiar face along with other recurring characters like Tavener and Molly. Lamb and his operatives find themselves up against everyone, the Russians, Tavener and multi-millionaire corrupt businessmen. Given that Slough House operatives are the rejects of the service no one expects much of them. Excellent book, however I would strongly suggest reading the series in order as the relationships develop over time and the characters all have histories.

Tana French’s Broken Harbor is a dark investigation into the murders of an entire family. This is a devastatingly sad mystery. From the back story of Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy the investigating officer, to the love story of the victims, to the horrible effects of the recession on an entire generation, sadness abounds. I did suspect the outcome relatively early on, however I believe that was by design. There are several red herrings that seem to be there to build tension and accent just how tragic the entire story actually is. Excellent psychological mystery. Themes of mental illness.