Crime Fiction

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April Reviews

Read about some of the books we read in April. As usual there was a good mix...
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At our last meeting we drew the letters P and Q to guide our reading choices. But we’re never scrupulous about sticking to the script and our reading seemed to create its own theme of first novels.

We had two ‘5-Star’ reads this month.

If You Knew Her by Emily Elgar
Published in 2018 this is the first novel by British author, Emily Elgar – and it’s terrific! In fact, if Freyja could have awarded it more than 5-Stars she would have.

It’s the story of a young woman (Cassie) who’s the victim in a hit-and-run accident and ends up in the intensive care ward of her local hospital. The chief nurse, Alice Marlowe, begins to suspect there’s more behind the accident than anyone thinks. And Frank, another patient on the ward (who has locked-in syndrome) comes to understand that Cassie’s life is still in danger. The characters are likeable and the plot is intriguing. Freyja simply couldn’t put the book down! You can read her standalone review here.

The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home
Another first novel, and a random choice from the library and proved an unexpected hit for Cornish Eskimo. Cal McGill is an eco-warrior and PhD student in Edinburgh, studying oceanography. Arrested by the police for an environmental protest he’s drawn into an investigation into body parts that have washed up in Scotland. At the same time, he’s also investigating the death of his grandfather who drowned in WW2. The Eskimo says it’s difficult to put a finger on why exactly this book is so enjoyable but the story draws you in and it’s a great read. 5-Stars.

The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
Clover awarded 4+ Stars to this first crime novel by Tony Parsons (who is probably best known as the author of Man and Boy). She’s written a standalone review and you can read it here.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Finn and Layla go on holiday to France, where Layla disappears – never to be seen again. Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister but as their wedding day approaches it begins to look as if Layla could still be alive. Clover didn’t know how to rate this book because she said it has the stupidest ending she’s ever read, which ruined it. Until the last few pages she would have given it 4+ Stars, but at the final page it sank to a minus score. Make of that what you will!

The Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin
The first novel in the Jim Stringer series by British author Andrew Martin. Moving to London from Yorkshire, Stringer starts a new job as a train driver working on the Necropolis Line, which moves bodies from London’s overcrowded graveyards to an enormous cemetery in the suburbs. Soon he realises that some of his colleagues are involved in much more sinister work. Oxo says this is an intriguing mix of history and fiction, with a couple of good plot twists. Rated 4-Stars.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Freyja was looking forward to reading this new book by Australian author, Liane Moriarty. Published last year it’s the story of nine strangers holidaying at a luxury retreat. One by one their back stories are revealed and although there isn’t a murder, unpleasant things happen. Freyja said it was very readable but not nearly as good as Moriarty’s other books. Rated 4-Stars.

We ranked the following books at the lower end of our rating scale:
The Expats by Chris Pavone – 3-Stars
The Store by Richard DiLallo and James Patterson – 3-Stars. “Creepy and readable.”
The Games by Mark Sullivan and James Patterson – 3-Stars. “Not as good as the Alex Cross series, but still enjoyable.”
Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny – 2-Stars “Far too melodramatic!”
Border Angels by Anthony J. Quinn – 1-Star. “No-one and nothing to like.”
Our Friends in Berlin by Anthony Quinn – 1-Star. “Too lacklustre to go beyond the first 100 pages.”

If you enjoy reading crime fiction why not come along to our next meeting at Oundle Library on Friday, 17 May @ 2.30pm. It’s 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!