I know it seems to be a bit late writing Easter book reviews but I wanted to share with you the two books I read over the Easter holidays.
First was An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac. This was Jane’s debut novel and it’s just been re-released. Imagine coming home after a long day at work. You have an evening event on for your parents’ wedding anniversary but you have a bit of time to relax and get changed. You even have time to pop to the shops to get something your parents asked for. Everything is going fine until you get home and find that your flat has been broken in to. However, there’s more than just the mess, there’s a strange metallic smell and it’s coming from the lounge… but that’s just the beginning of the nightmare for Anna Cotrell.
We also get to meet DCI Helen Lavery, recently promoted. It’s her first homicide and she has her father’s police reputation to live up to. If that wasn’t enough pressure, Helen is also a young widow with two teenage sons. She can only do her job with the help of her mother. Although Anna starts off as prime suspect, it quickly becomes clear to Helen that the case isn’t that simple.
I really enjoyed this book and this is the closest I’ve seen to my own style of writing (except a lot better, especially the descriptions!). Although it’s set in a fictional county with fictional towns and villages, you quickly get a good sense of place as well as characters. I particularly liked Helen. Police officers are often portrayed with major flaws and problems but in this instance, it’s the battle between work and motherhood that causes Helen’s difficulties. And as she moves up the promotion ladder, the sacrifices become bigger.
At the heart of it is a mystery. Who is the dead man that is found by Anna, a complete stranger to her? And why is he in her flat? Isaac takes you on a magical mystery tour as she weaves in and out of storylines through Helen and Anna’s eyes mostly but also the killer’s.
If you like your crime on the slightly more gentle side but without being totally cosy, then An Unfamiliar Murder is a great book to read. Five stars!
If though, you like your crime to be fast packed with a kickass heroine, then you want The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows by Marnie Riches. This is the third in the series after The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die and The Girl Who Broke The Rules and the finale suggests that there has to be another. The only problem with this series is that it’s in digital format and has not been made into paperbacks. I have no idea why as they are fantastic books and would make a wonderful TV drama. Anyway, I digress (but seriously, Avon Books, get it sorted!)
Georgina (George) McKenzie, criminologist extraordinaire, is back in Cambridge, interviewing convicts for her studies into human trafficking. It’s one of the coldest winters on record right across Europe and there seems to be no thaw in sight. Over in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen is given a murder to solve although he’d much prefer to continue with his Missing Persons’ case – two young children abducted from their garden the previous autumn. It isn’t long though before the estranged lovers (George and Paul) have to reconcile both personally and professionally to find a serial killer, nicknamed Jack Frost, who has found the perfect winter weapon – icicles.
If you’ve read Marnie Riches before then you’ll know that reading one of her books is like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture for reference. She jumps around the plot with different viewpoints at dazzling speed. Riches can never be accused of being boring. She’s not afraid to tackle difficult issues and human trafficking and child pornography are covered in this book. But despite all the apparent bravado of her characters, Marnie Riches also delves into their vulnerabilities and fears, and not just the main characters. It was lovely to find out more about van den Bergen’s team – Elvis and Marie – and the problems that they face. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Marnie Riches book without George’s horrendous mother, Letitia, and lovable Aunty Sharon who add hilarity wherever they go.
Although you could read The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows as a standalone, it would make much more sense to read the series in order. But I have to warn you now that The Girl Who books are seriously addictive! Five stars from me.
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