When the Devil Drives & In the Dark

When the Devil Drives is the 2nd in the series with PI Jasmine Sharp and DS Catherine McLeod.  In this installment, Jasmine as accepted Sharp Investigations as her own upon the death of Jim and is being kept quite busy with referrals.  A walk in client leads her to investigate a 30 year old missing person case.  It soon becomes evident that there are forces at work that definitely don’t want Jasmine working on the case.  Meanwhile DS McLeod is investigating a shooting death which may have been professional sniper or a stray bullet from poachers.  She digs into her case with the same tenacity that Jasmine works on hers, parallel cases in which the reader keeps waiting for them to meet.

Excellent read, well written with an intriguing mystery plot.  I found in this, as in the first in the series, that the Jasmine story line is more compelling but overall I enjoyed the book in its entirety.  Recommended read, but I’d definitely start with the first in the series, Where the Bodies are Buried, which by the way, is a read this month over at the English Kindle Mystery Club!

In the Dark by Cara Hunter was on my TBR because I had read the first in this series with DI Fawley as the protagonist.  To be honest, I don’t really remember much about the first book, Close to Home, so I think it is safe to say  you can read this without having read it.

In this case builders working on a semi-detached accidentally knock down a wall into the neighbors basement and find a barely alive young woman and a child imprisoned there.  Fawley is called in and the investigation begins.   So. many. twists. and turns.  Really cleverly laid out plot and so engaging.  I read this in one sitting, because I had to know the truth about what was going on in this book.  I don’t want to give anything away, but definitely a good read for people who like twisty turny thrillers (and don’t mind rats).

 

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The Hot Pink Farmhouse & Darkside

The Hot Pink Farmhouse is the second in the Berger and Mitry Mystery series, a new to me series, which I am really enjoying.  The unlikely pairing of a sometimes schlubby film critic who is most at home sitting in a darkened theater and the West Point grad high achiever works really well.  In this installment, a murder that may or may not be mistaken identity occurs and Mitry finds herself dealing with it while the whole community is in a political uproar over the change and the future.  Meanwhile, Berger has met and made friends with a renowned artist, who is involved in Mitry’s case.  Very good read in a good series.

Darkside is the second in Belinda Bauer’s Exmoor Trilogy.  I really liked the first in this set.  Stephen, the main character from the first book is mentioned briefly in this second book, but you could get away with reading this without reading the other.  In this installment, Jonas is the community policeman, who finds himself pushed to the side as a team is brought in to investigate the murders occurring in his community.  The head of the team seems to be enjoying humiliating Jonas and just in general excluding him from the case.  Jonas has other issues to deal with as well.  Meanwhile, bodies are piling up at a disconcerting rate.  This is a psychological read, like Blacklands, and it was a good read, but I thought Blacklands was much better.

Natural Causes & The Girl Most Likely

Natural Causes is another book from my long suffering TBR.  A  good blend of police procedural and the supernatural (in the form of demons).  DI McLean is recently promoted and not the most liked of all DIs due to his inability to play nicely with others which may stem from his traumatic childhood or perhaps from the fact that he can sense demons around him.  There are plenty of murders to investigate here and a lot going on in the  book in general.  An engaging read with some interesting characters, probably good for fans of TV show Lucifer.

Girl Most Likely follows Krista, who is not the Girl Most Likely of the title, but still has her own notable achievement as the youngest female Police Chief in the country.  At the time of her High School reunion, her recent promotion, her father’s confession of suicidal ideations in the wake of the death of her mother, and the trending #metoo movement Krista finds herself  caught up in a murderous crime wave.  The book alternates sections between the current events and the killer’s perspective.  This was an okay read.

The Reaper & Where the Bodies are Buried

 

 

These books are both in contention to be reads next month over at the Kindle English Mystery Club on Goodreads, so for once I am ahead of the game.  The Reaper by Steven Dunne involves a DI Damen Brooks, damaged of course, who sees something in a current case that leads him to believe that an old killer has resurfaced and followed him.  Killing again to engage him in a game of cat and mouse.  There was a great deal that I liked about this.  I enjoyed the development of the characters of both Damen and the killer, the resolution was well done, and the mystery was engaging.  The pacing dragged in the middle for a bit but not enough to put me off.  I will be interested in reading another in this series.

Where the Bodies are Buried is the first in the Jasmine Sharp and Catherine Macleod series.  This is set in Glasgow and for the first part of the books Jasmine and Catherine are on parallel plot lines.  Catherine is a police officer, while Jasmine is learning to be a private detective under the tutelage of her Uncle Jim.   The two women’s story lines twist and turn until they eventually connect.  This was a really good page turner, the characters, the setting and the mystery were all engaging and well written.  I already put the next book on hold at the library.

 

Blood Harvest by Sharon J. Bolton

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Blood Harvest  has been on my TBR for a while and I added it to the last group I picked up from the library.  This novel encompasses much of what SJ Bolton does well a great sense of place, a menacing almost claustrophobic feelings of menace,  hints of the supernatural, and interesting, complex characters.   Here a family has moved into a new house on the edge of a village right next to the graveyard and church and a new vicar arrives as well.  Soon it becomes obvious that their new haven is anything but a safe sanctuary.  A gang of youths that appear at will to terrorize the children, a strange child who appears to  only a few, voices calling out to people where no one seems to be, and the deaths of children that may or may not be connected all come together to ruin their ideal of country life.  Good psychological thriller.

The Cold Blue Blood, The Wine of Angels, & The Hypnotist

 

 

These are three books that have lingering on my TBR and I found that they were available at my library so I checked them all out.  I am three for three with these reads.  I enjoyed all three of them.

The Cold Blue Blood is the first in The Berger & Mitry Mystery series.  The sleuths make a great team with their differences really complimenting each other.  Berger is a grieving 30 something widower, whose favorite habitat is a darkened theater.  Mitry is a legacy police officer, picking up where her famous father picked up.  The pair of them meet up on Big sister, a small exclusive community where Berger is staying for the summer and Mitry is investigating a murder.  The case ends up being connected to more bodies and there are plenty of suspects to consider before it is resolved.  Very good first in a series.  I already requested the second from the library.

The Wine of Angels is my first Phil Rickman and I didn’t know what to expect.  What I found was a fascinating blend of supernatural elements and mystery in one novel.  Merrily Watkins has moved to a new parish with her teen daughter Jane, to take over eventually as the vicar.  Expecting a quiet village that is a break from her city postings, she instead finds political backstabbing, suicides, pagan rituals, a perhaps haunted vicarage, and much more.  I loved the setting and the depiction of the village, the vicarage, and the orchard.  The characters were well developed and interesting people.  There were multiple references to the poet Thomas Traherne and the musician Nick Drake which added to the color of the book.  I don’t read a great deal of supernatural but this is the kind that I like, very much, “Wickerman-esque” or a British Folk Horror feeling.  The mystery was well plotted and kept the reader guessing.  I really enjoyed this.

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler is a Nordic Noir novel.  DI Joona Linna, who always has to be right, is leading a team investigating what he believes to be a family annihilation, even when others see it as a debt collection gone wrong.  The murders lead him to the hypnotist, or rather the reluctant hypnotist, a man who has swore never to hypnotize anyone again after a traumatic event involving one of his patients.   There was some awkwardness it seemed in places in the writing, but I chalk that up to translation.  The story as told in time shifts and through different characters was well done and completely captivating.  The villain(s) are particularly creepy.   Explores dark themes surrounding child abuse, child murder, mental illness, and revenge.   Very good Nordic Noir read.

 

 

The Cold Dish & Deadly Errand

 

I recently finished watching the Longmire TV show and really liked it so I decided to pick up the books to read, The Cold Dish, is the first in the series.  The book really stands out from the early series in the development of the characters of Vic and Lucien.  Vic because I live near Philly and the Vic of the book is definitely a good rendition of some  Italian Philly natives I have met.   Lucien is much more defined, I feel like I know more about  him in the book and he also is funnier.   That being said, I think I preferred Longmire himself from the TV show.

This was a good mystery read, with great characters and a fascinating setting.  I will read more in this series.

Deadly Errand by Christine Green was on my TBR.  I’m not really sure when I added it or why.  It involves a young woman who is trained as a nurse but who wants to give up traditional nursing to be an investigator, specifically investigating medical cases.  Her first case is a young nurse who is stabbed to death on the grounds of a facility during the night shift.  Her family asks Kate to investigate.  The case is bound up in harassment, fraud, and some religious fervor for good measure.

Everything about this was okay.  It didn’t really grab me to be honest.  The most interesting character was a sidekick, Kate’s landlord, Hubert, who is a mortician and she spends time discussing her cases with him.  I probably will not read more in the series.  Might be more interesting to people who like to read medical/nursing oriented mysteries.