Crime Fiction

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February's Recommendations

The letter ‘L’ drove our reading choices in February and we’ve found a good selection of authors to recommend.
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We don’t work to a set reading list and we’re always pretty relaxed about how we interpret our reading theme each month. The letter ‘L’ could be the author’s surname, or first name, or in the title, or even the name of the main character. It created an eclectic mix for our discussion; and we got a good mix of reviews too, with a few 5-Stars and a handful at the other end of the scale as well. Here are the top scorers.

Watcher in the Wall by Owen Laukkanen (5-Stars)
Bunny said this was ‘a gripping read’ and, having never tried Laukkanen before, is looking out for more of his books. This is the fifth book in the series about Kirk Stevens of Minnesota’s BCA and Carla Windermere of the FBI. Teaming up again as part of a joint violent crime task force, they are investigating teenage suicides and an online suicide club which is presided over by a psychopath. All very topical and thought-provoking. Cornish Eskimo also recommends Laukkanen, particularly the Stevens and Windermere series.

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon (5-Stars)
This was a new author for Oxo and Calendar Girl, and they both really enjoyed this book. Not just the plot (“Really good”) but the Venetian setting and all the details of everyday life. They were pleased to realise the Guido Brunetti series comprises 27 titles which means there are plenty more to read! Earthly Remains is a tale of corruption, big business, cover-ups and life-shattering crime. And, as usual, Brunetti has to tread carefully through the quagmire of Venetian and Italian politics to solve the case.
To read an interview with Donna Leon about Earthly Remains, click here. Calendar Girl also read Falling in Love (Brunetti No. 24) and gave this 5-Stars as well.

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (5-Stars)
This is the 8th Vera Stanhope mystery and although not part of our ‘L’ theme it was picked out for the top rating by Calendar Girl. Just after she’d finished reading the book, the story was televised, so she had a double dose of Vera. And although several things had been changed for TV – names, a slightly different ending etc. – Calendar Girl is a forgiving soul and enjoyed both the book and its TV adaptation equally. That’s some recommendation!

The Search by Howard Linskey (4+ Stars)
Almost hitting the maximum rating, this is the third book in the DC Ian Bradshaw series by British author Howard Linskey. The story centres around a convicted killer, dying in prison, who says he’ll confess to a 20-year old unsolved murder and tell the police where the body of the missing child can be found. Clover says the characters are ordinary people and entirely believable. The plot twists and turns and she couldn’t guess the ending. “A great read!”

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (4+ Stars)
The latest in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). Cornish Eskimo says this is a cracking story involving blackmail and wrongdoing in parliament. The will-they-won’t-they relationship between Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott continues. “A really enjoyable read.”

Lies by T.M. Logan (4+ Stars)
This was the first novel published by this British author. It’s about a teacher called Joe who discovers his wife has been having affair with Ben, a family friend. There’s an altercation and Joe knocks Ben unconscious, but then leaves the scene because his young son is having a serious asthma attack. When he returns, Ben has disappeared. And then Joe’s life begins to unravel because Ben, an IT whizz-kid, sets about to destroy Joe by electronic means. Freyja found the plotline absolutely terrifying and said it was a very uncomfortable read. But she had to give it 4+ Stars because it was so gripping and Logan clearly understands how to build the tension.

The Irregular by H.B. Lyle (4-Stars)
Freyja enjoyed this so much she wrote a standalone review, which you can read here.

Louise’s Lies by Sarah R. Shaber (4-Stars)
A historical mystery set in 1943 in Washington DC, and Feebs says she will be reading more by this author. Louise Pearlie works for US wartime intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and, when it seems a local murder investigation might link to the OSS in some way, she’s ordered to find out more. Feebs rated this for its atmosphere and plot, and because it’s set in wartime America so it’s a different viewpoint. If you'd like to read an interview with Sarah R. Shaber click here.

If you enjoy reading crime fiction why not come along to one of our meetings? They’re on the third Friday of every month, 2.30pm @ Oundle Library. It’s all very informal because we don’t have a set reading list. We do, however, enjoy a wide-ranging chat about the books we’ve read and enjoyed. Everyone welcome!