Archive for the ‘mystery’ Category

cross my heart

Alex Cross will do anything to protect his family.

Thierry Mulch is a psychopathic serial killer who committed murders he got away with and now thinks he is “the perfect criminal”.

Marcus Sunday is a writer who theorizes the philosophical world-view of a perfect killer in his book The Perfect Criminal.

Alex, Bree, and the FBI have been involved in an investigation of a recent spate of murders. Alex writes about the murders in a publication, drawing the wrath of the killer who decides to tear his family apart and make him suffer.

His conviction and his love is about to be put to the test. With a madman fanatical with being the perfect criminal on the stalk, can Alex Cross crack the most important case of his career and protect his family?

I liked the start; we see Alex in a desperate situation and then we go back several days and see the events leading up to that moment. The plot has several stories cleverly interweaved; a psycho is after Alex and his family, a killer that attacks massage parlours is on the loose, someone is kidnapping babies, Alex and Bree’s missing foster daughter Ava; and moves along quickly.

The ending was abrupt and had no resolution, it was a cliff-hanger and you’ll have to read the next book in the series to resolve it. Very annoying when you’ve invested time in a story and it feels a bit moneygrabberish to me. I doubt I’d buy the next if this book was one I’d bought, not sent to review.

Century

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

A Treacherous Paradise

Hanna Lundmark escapes the terrible poverty of her life in rural Sweden by marrying a sailor and joining the crew of his Australia-bound steamship as a cook. Unfortunately he dies soon after and is buried at sea, leaving Hanna with the freedom to start her life afresh. When the steamer docks at the African port of Lourenco Marques she jumps ship.

Hanna reserves a room in a run-down hotel and settles back to observe the intrigues of a small African town and the dynamics between the white settler and the native population. Embroiled in a series of events which lead to her inheriting the most successful brothel in town, Hanna is determined to befriend the prostitutes working for her and change life in the town for the better but the distrust between blacks and whites, and the shadow of colonialism, lead to tragedy and murder.

Based on the true story of a Swedish woman who ran the most famous brothel in Mozambique, this is an interesting historical fiction that has a crime angle to it. It didn’t grip me, though the true story it’s based on sounds interesting. Try it for yourself.

Harvill Secker

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

nypd red 2

Detective Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald are part of the elite NYPD Red squad that solves crimes committed against the elite citizens of New York. A vigilante serial killer is on the loose, tracking down and murdering people whose crimes have not been punished. After taping a confession of past crimes, victims are murdered and left in a HAZMAT suit in a public place. When his latest victim is a woman of vast wealth who had many influential connections, Zach and Kylie are assigned the task of tracking down HAZMAT killer.

With four seemingly unconnected victims they are stumped, recruiting more help from a pair of beat cops. After a potential fifth victim is identified, they are in a race against time to find her and stop the killer.

Zach is worried about more than the case though – Kylie has been acting strange recently and her secrets might implode on the case. Will they catch the bad guy in time to save the victim?

A very well plotted mystery with a lot of action, there are many ‘a-ha!” moments occurring with titbits of info I hadn’t seen coming. This can be read as a standalone book; I hadn’t read the first but quickly figured out who as who without being flooded with back-story. I was caught up in this book and eagerly await the next.

Century

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

the paris mysteries

Tandoori Angel and her siblings are living in Paris, recovering from the hectic events after her parents murders and reeling from the contents of their grandmother’s will. Though reunited with James in Paris when they arrive, he leaves to protect Tandy from his father. The Angel’s are further rocked when Harry is accused of murder and the media descend on them again. Tandy is discovering more about the death of her sister Katherine, and discovers a shocking truth she must keep secret.

A fast paced plot full of twists and mysteries, where nothing is as it seems. I was hooked by this book and quickly finished it. The Angel family is so close and weather any blows while coming back stronger than ever. I’m dying to read the next and find out more about the immense secret Tandy uncovered and the message she received as the book finished. Will the Angel’s uncle be exposed as the repulsive creature he is?

Young Arrow

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

See #2 review here

the forever watch

On a generation ship, hundreds of years into a thousand year voyage, people are dying, in a very messy fashion. And Hana Dempsey, office worker in City Planning, wants to find the killer… That’s how it starts. But that’s by no means the only mystery aboard the Noah, and as Hana delves deeper, there are more and more secrets.

This book has a plot layered like an onion with enigma upon enigma… There is plenty of action, a healthy dose of noir, and a frisson of horror, but this is primarily science fiction, and would count as hard SF if it wasn’t for the heavy dose of psi. Unusually, it is written in the first person present tense, which did take a bit of getting used to. Ramirez writes skilfully and in the main, believably. A few times he pushes the psi powers a bit too far, and I’m not entirely sure about his biology, but I’m not that much of an expert in the field so I’ll let it go.

I suspect that most readers will find “The Forever Watch” an engaging, but disturbing read… the questions it asks about the balance between freedom and survival will stay with me for quite a while.

Hodder & Stoughton

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

cradleto grave coverWho can you trust?

Accused of murdering the baby in her care, seemingly cold and measured nanny Lisa Stewart maintains her innocence. But when she changes her name and tries to flee, terrifying threats continue to follow her. Is she an innocent victim of public anger–or a calculating murderer on the run? Can Detective Marjory Fleming, dogged by her own past, uncover the truth?

This psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French and Susan Hill.

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 About the Author

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Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.

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“Margie Orford has nailed it…wonderfully crafted and fully engrossing.” – Michael Connelly


Walvis Bay is a depressed and isolated port on the edge of the Namib Desert. Corrupt and claustrophobic, its shifting population is made of transients and vagabonds-people with no future and no past. When it seems a methodical serial killer may be working undetected in this pit of darkness and desperation, police profiler Dr. Clare Hart is brought in to investigate. With her personal life in shambles, Clare is initially happy for the distraction, until it becomes clear that her own life – and the lives of others – are at stake.

This enthralling procedural is perfect for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.

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More about the book

The gruesome murder of a homeless teenage boy suggests a methodical serial killer is at work in Walvis Bay, a depressed port, isolated in the vast sweep of the Namib Desert. It is a corrupt, claustrophobic place with a shifting population of people who came here only because they had to. Sent to profile the possible killer is police profiler and investigative journalist Dr Clare Hart. Working with Tamar Damases, the woman who heads up the town’s Murder Unit, Clare is glad for the distraction. Until a few days ago, her budding relationship with Captain Riedwaan Faizal seemed to be going very well indeed – but she knows she is not the only woman in his life – As the two women trace older crimes that may be related to the recent killings, they soon realise that nothing is as it seems. And as Riedwaan comes to join Clare, to help with the investigation and to try to salvage their relationship, it soon becomes clear that it is more than just their feelings that is in danger. In fact their lives – and the lives of others – are now at stake.

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About the Author

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MARGIE ORFORD is an award-winning journalist who has been dubbed the Queen of South African Crime Fiction. Her novels have been translated into nine languages. She was born in London and grew up in Namibia. A Fulbright Scholar, she was educated in South Africa and the United States. She is Executive Vice-President of South African PEN, the patron of Rape Crisis and of the children’s book charity, the Little Hands Trust. She lives in Cape Town. The entire Clare Hart series is forthcoming from Witness.

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