Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

27246107  This is the current month’s read at the Goodreads English Kindle Mystery Club.  I actually nominated this one, which is rather embarrassing as I  didn’t care for it at all.  This was less of a mystery and more of a journey into the psychological breakdown/disconnection of the main character.  The book is written in the first person and in a stream of consciousness voice.  It is difficult to follow as the story jumps around in the time stream and even contradicts itself in the current time, within a sentence or two on the same page.    The mystery of her sister’s death is solved at the very end but it is not something the reader would have uncovered.  Heavy emphasis here on the psychology study, it was not really my cup of tea.

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The Sound of Broken Glass, Priest, & The Body in the Marsh

 

The Sound of Broken Glass is the 15th book in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series.  In this installment, Gemma has been promoted and is running a case while Duncan takes family leave to look after their foster daughter.  The case involves a barrister found dead in compromising circumstances.  As Gemma deals with the case and connections to the past, Duncan looks on somewhat jealously as he deals with taking care of the house and children.  This installment was more focused on the family life, however there was still enough mystery here to solve.  I look forward to the next book as Duncan returns to work and a transfer.

Priest is the 5th installment in the Jack Taylor series.  This picks up directly after the horrifying ending of the book 4th and the repercussions of that event.  As Jack recovers and tries to come back to himself and make some amends, he takes on a new case from his long time nemesis.  A priest with a past involving preying on altar boys is killed brutally and the church just wants it all to go away.  Jack gets dragged into the case reluctantly initially and then intrigued he continues even after being warned off by interested parties.  This was a great installment in the series!

The Body in the Marsh is this month’s read at the Kindle English Mystery Club.  This is the first in the DCI Gillard series.  Gillard gets involved in a case concerning a long-lost love.  They find signs of a murder, some forensic evidence, but still no body.  The husband, a pompous academic, seems unconcerned and then he also disappears.  Finally, the family fortune appears to be stolen in a real estate scheme.  Gillard investigates and mourns for his lost love, but things are not exactly as they seem.  I figured out the twist relatively early on but thought the scheme itself was cleverly done and enjoyed reading this.

Real Tigers & I am Watching You

Real Tigers is book 3 in the Slough House series.  In this series, River, Jackson Lamb and crew find themselves caught up in a “test” of information security and systems that goes terribly awry.  As one of their own is kidnapped and political intrigues abound, they have to try to save Slough House and their lives from a clean up operation.  Fun, action packed spy thriller with lots of pithy dialog and an intriguing story line.

I am Watching You is a psychological thriller involving the disappearance and murder of a young woman on a trip with a friend to London.  A woman who witnessed her on the train steps forward to help the police and finds herself vilified in the aftermath.  Now she is receiving threatening letters and finds herself being drawn back into the investigation of the crime.  The point of view changes frequently as does the timeline throughout the novel.  The main motif of the novel is the long-lasting impact one’s actions or inactions can have, far beyond what could be predicted.  An okay thriller read.

 

Just finished these two books. Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason, book 11 in the Inspector Erlendur series, is a departure from the team approach of the last couple books.  Erlendur is off on an extended leave trying to solve the greatest mystery of his own life, the disappearance of his younger brother when they were both children.  While he stays out in the wilderness near an isolated fjord where he lived as a child, he investigates not only his brother’s disappearance but another famous local disappearance.  Erlendur spends time reflecting on his childhood, his family and his own feelings of guilt through the lens of the two cases.  Very good installment in a series that I really enjoy.

No Place to Die picks up with Lockyer returning from leave and  now working again with Jane, who resents the fact that Lockyer didn’t trust her in their previous case.  Live burials, psychological experiments, a missing retired police officer and links to historical cases are all present in this installment in the series.  Many twists and turns in this book, however I did work out one major twist relatively early on.  I still enjoyed the book as a whole and will continue with this series.

 

Dangerous by Moonlight, Dangerous in Love, & Rapid Falls

 

Finished the last two books in the Dangerous Davies, The Last Detective, series upon which the TV show is based.  Dangerous in Love and Dangerous by Moonlight are both fun shortish reads featuring Dangerous, his sidekick Mod, an interesting love interest in the form of Jemma, and his large personality challenged dog, Kitty.  Dangerous is an almost beaten down every man character whose intelligence is hidden underneath his clumsiness and lack of ability to climb the career ladder with the police force.  One case involves mistaken identity and spotlights the lack of concern shown for the homeless, even when they are veterans.  The other involves the unofficial case of a missing person as a widow asks for Dangerous’s help finding out what happened to her husband. Both books highlight Dangerous Davies common decency and his dogged determination to solve crimes and do right by everyone involved.

I expected these books to perhaps feel a little dated, but I didn’t find that at all.  They feel representative of their times and the concerns raised, racism, homelessness, elder fraud, are still issues today.  I enjoyed this set of books and read them after watching the TV series.  I do think that fans of the TV show will find the books a little darker.

Rapid Falls is told in varying times, we flash back to the original crime and forward to current day, in a clearly delineated manner.  The main theme is deception, as in hiding your true self (your nature), hiding the truth, and covering up painful facts in a desperate attempt at normality.  Cara and Anna are sisters whose painfully interwoven lives spill out on the pages here, damaging everyone in their path.  Perhaps the most damaged, in such a heartbreaking manner, is their father.  Intense psychological thriller that peels back the layers slowly to reveal what lies beneath the events of Cara and Anna’s youth.  Good read!

The Puppet Show, Whiteout, No Mark Upon Her, & Dangerous Davies

 

The Puppet Show was an excellent read for this month’s book at the English Kindle Mystery Club on Goodreads.  Washington Poe has been off duty pending an investigation.  He is brought back in to investigate a gruesome serial killer, who is burning his victim’s alive, after torturing them.  Tilly is brought in to work on the case as well and the pairing of Washington and Tilly is extraordinary.  Exciting story from beginning to end, well written with great great characters.  I really enjoyed this and look forward to more from M.W. Craven.

White Out is book 4 in the Dark Iceland Series.  Ari Thor is back with his girlfriend and about to be a father as it closes in on Christmas.  His old boss Tomas recruits him to investigate a suspicious death in a family and at a home with a tragic history.  Slightly lighter feeling than some of the other books in the series, perhaps due to the holiday setting.  Ari Thor finds himself working against public opinion to time the current case to the ones from the past. Great read in this series.

No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie is the 14th installment in the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid Series.  Gemma and Duncan are finally married and have a new foster daughter added to their little family.  The case involves a prospective Olympic rower murdered on the river.  The case has very timely aspects with connections to cover ups of sexual misconduct and assaults.  Great character in the form of a search and rescue team member with PTSD and a connection to the victim.  Thoroughly enjoyable read in a great series.

Dangerous Davies is one of the books that the The Last Detective TV series was based on.  I really enjoyed the show and when I found out it was based on books by Leslie Thomas I decided to pick them up.  The book is definitely darker in some aspects than the TV series.  The main mystery here involves an unsolved missing person case which is basically a cold case.  One of the original men questioned is now currently being looked at and Davies takes this opportunity to re-examine the original case.  Really cleverly done as there are small hints and clues dripped throughout that lead to the resolution.

 

Career of Evil & The Body in the Dales

 

Career of Evil is the 3rd in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith AKA JK Rowling.  This series is amazingly getting better and better.  I enjoyed the first two but this even better than either of them.  Strike and Robin are being threatened by someone from Strike’s past, but he is not sure who.  Robin is the target of this madman’s threats and she and Strike dance around their professional relationship as he strives to keep her safe and she wants to continue working above all else.

Strike and Robin, particularly Robin, also have issues in their personal lives that weave in and out of the cases that they are working on.  The relationship between them is so well-developed and has real sense of tension in the push-pull between them.  The villain has no redeeming qualities and reading his thoughts as he goes about the business of stalking women and brutally killing (and dismembering) some of them is chilling.  Great read, I can’t wait to read more in the series.

The Body in the Dales introduced me to the potholes of Yorkshire caving and the lifestyle of the men and women who explore them for both a hobby and to work on the cave rescue teams.  A new DS arrives fresh from London to take up his post in Yorkshire.  DS Carter finds himself  a fish out of water serving under DCI Oldroyd, who fancies himself somewhat of a Yorkshire Sherlock Holmes, and alongside, Steph, who is also a romantic interest.  Oldroyd is really the star here as he works on the clues, sometimes withholding information to teach his staff how to think and approach crime solving.

The atmosphere and scenery of Yorkshire is well done here creating a good sense of place. The caving information is presented in a way that is not overdone or doesn’t feel like  a lecture.  As the first in a series I quite enjoyed this and will probably read another.