Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Tattooed Man by Alex Palmer


This is an exceptionally well-written story and an excellent read to boot.

Paperback:  Paul Harrigan is a top cop who has survived the corruption and political manoeuvrings of the NSW Police.  So far.

His partner Garce Riordan has left the Service and now works in the shadowy world of undercover intelligence - so she and Harrigan can't talk about work much.

Harrigan is called to a grisly murder scene in Sydney's wealthy north:  four guests are seated around the dinner table - all dead.  One of them a Senator's ex-wife;  one of them a missing corrupt NSW detective.  And the mummified condition of the detective's body - identified by a distinctive tattoo - suggests he has been dead for quite some time.

While Harrigan is facing the demons of his past, Grace is drawn into the investigation through some very unofficial enquiries of her own.  Enquiries which will lead to a flashpoint neither can predict.

Politics, corruption, big business, espionage and illicit technology, Alex Palmer weaves them all into a heart-stopping race for the truth.

About the author:  Alex Palmer is a Canberra-based novelist who took up writing full time when she was made redundant from the Australian Public Service.  With her debut Blood Redemption (2002), she won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel and shared the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award for best crime novel by a woman with Gabrielle Lord.  Her second novel in the Harrigan and Grace series, The Tattooed Man (2008), was the winner of the 2008 Canberra Critics Circle Award.  The third book, The Labyrinth of Drowning, was published in 2009.

I purchased this book from Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney.  It was priced at AUS$19.99.

Rating:  4/5

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Trackers by Deon Meyer


The Times wrote that Deon Meyer is "one of the sharpest and most perceptive thriller writers around" and they are not wrong there.  However, as a reader, one needs to be as sharply perceptive as the author to weave this complicated and one-thousand-and-one plot into a cohesive intelligent tale of smuggling, politics, terrorism and edge-of-the-seat brilliance.  The conclusion is so unexpected.  Very cleverly written.  Recommended read especially if you like to tax your mind.

Paperback:  On the vibrant streets of metropolitan Cape Town, three people are all running from something or someone - where will their paths cross?

Milla - escaping an abusive marriage.  Finds herself at the heart of an anti-terrorist operation in Cape Town in the days before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Lemmer - a bodyguard of the rich and famous.  On a new experience looking after a pair of smuggled white rhinos on a thousand kilometre journey from Zimbabwe.

Mat Joubert - former policeman making a living in the private sector.  Current assignment is to search for a young woman's missing husband.

From the city to the wild border country, from luxurious gated communities to the ganglands of the Cape Flats, Trackers (2011) is the finest novel yet from the award-winning Deon Meyer.

Deon Meyer shares with us the gist of the book:



Go to deonmeyer.com for more reviews, photos, videos and other information.

The Independent's review (24 October 2011).

Rating:  5/5

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly


What is this book about?  Watch this clever trailer by Diane Kelly:



Getting to know Diane Kelly and her Tara Holloway debut novel:





About the author:  Diane Kelly is a tax attorney by day, writer by night.  A recipient of the 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, she has received more than two dozen RWA chapter awards.  Diane's fiction, tax and humor pieces have appeared in True Love magazine, Writer's Digest Yearbook, Romance Writers Report, Byline magazine, and other publications.

Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure (2011) is her first mystery novel, followed by Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte (February 2012) and Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray (June 2012).  Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch will be available in October 2012 and last but not least, the fifth book in the Tara Holloway novel series, Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria will become available in 2013.

Do visit Diane Kelly's feisty website for more information and updates.  What a funny make-me-laugh-out-loud debut.  It comes with the highest recommendation - love it to bits!

Rating:  5/5

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Bodies In The Barrels Murders by Jeremy Pudney


This is a true serial killings story involving barbaric and sadistic torture methods and macabre rituals which occurred in what the author termed "a sleepy backwater" in South Australia between 1992 and 1999.

Where is this sleepy backwater?  It is Snowtown, a settlement noted for its quality stock breeding, fat lambs, wool and wheat crops, 150 kilometres from Adelaide.  According to the author, "its wide main street is virtually deserted during the day and the town is dissected by a rail line on which trains that used to stop now barely slow as they pass."  If you have been to Australia, it is easy to picture it.

It is now famously known as the Snowtown murders.  It was Australia's most horrific and sustained serial killings and the single biggest criminal investigation and trial in Australia's legal history.  Unfortunately, South Australia already had a reputation for producing the country's highest number of serial killers.  Even so, it appalled the nation and the world.

The Bodies in the Barrels Murders (2005) is divided into three sections:  The Beginning, The Murders and The Trial.  Part police reporting, criminology text, biography and social history including unreported details from the 171-day trial, it is the authoritative account of the twelve horrifying and gruesome deaths which reads like the worst horror movie you could possibly imagine in your lifetime.

About the author:  Born in Adelaide in 1974, Jeremy Pudney was also raised in the South Australian capital.  He completed a Journalism degree at the University of South Australia and began his journalism career in 1993.  Jeremy was a police reporter at South Australia's only daily newspapers, The Advertiser, when the Snowtown murders story broke.  He is now a television reporter with Network Ten in Melbourne.  Primarily a police reporter, he is also assigned to major national and international stories.  The Bodies in the Barrels Murders (2005) is Jeremy's first book.

For video buffs, this documentary (watch at your own peril;  contains disturbing images) is as informative as the book.

I do not rate books of this nature.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Wrath Of Angels by John Connolly


I have never read a better introduction on the blurb of a new book.  The Wrath of Angels (2012) is the eleventh novel in The Charlie Parker Stories.  I highly recommend this excellent thriller/horror series to all.  Just remember to keep the lights on when you are at it!

From the hardback:  In the depths of the Maine woods, the wreckage of a plane is discovered.  There are no bodies.  No such plane has ever been reported missing.  But men both good and evil have been seeking it for a long, long time.

What the wreckage conceals is more important than money:  it is a list of names, a record of powerful men and women who have struck a deal with the Devil.

Now a race is on between those who want the list to remain secret and those for whom it represents a crucial weapon in the struggle against the forces of darkness.

The battle to secure the prize draws in private detective Charlie Parker, a man who knows more than most about the nature of the terrible evil that seeks to impose itself on the world, and who fears that his own name may be on the list.

It lures others too:  a beautiful, scarred woman with a taste for killing;  a silent child who remembers his own death;  and the serial killer known as the Collector, who seeks new lambs for his slaughter.

But as the rival forces descend upon this northern state, the woods prepare to meet them, for the forest depths hide other secrets.

Someone has survived the crash.

Some thing has survived the crash.

And it is waiting...

About the author:  John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968.  His debut - Every Dead Thing (1998) - swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers, and all his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers.  He is the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award.

To find out more about his novels, visit johnconnollybooks.com

John Connolly introduces his latest book:



Rating:  5/5

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Disgrace by Jussi Adler-Olsen


Disgrace aka The Absent One (2012) is the terrifying new episode in the four-part Department Q series.  The first, Mercy aka The Keeper of Lost Causes (2011), was a No 1 international bestseller.  The third, Redemption, will be out in 2013.

From the paperback:  Kimmie's home is on the streets of Copenhagen.  To live, she must steal.  She has learned to avoid the police and never to stay in one place for long.  But now others are trying to find her.  And they won't rest until she has stopped moving - for good.

Detective Carl Morck of Department Q, the cold cases division, has received a file concerning the brutal murder of a brother and sister twenty years earlier.  A group of boarding-school students were the suspects at the time - until one of their number confessed and was convicted.  So why is the file of a closed case on Carl's desk?

Who put it there?  Who believes the case is not solved?

Carl wants to talk to Kimmie, but someone else is also asking questions about her.  They know she carries secrets certain powerful people want to stay buried deep.  But Kimmie has one of her own.  it's the biggest secret of them all.  And she can't wait to share it.

About the author:  Jussi Adler-Olsen was born in Copenhagen and worked as a magazine editor and publisher before starting to write fiction.  He holds the prestigious Glass Key Award, given annually for a crime novel by a Scandinavian author, and is also winner of the Golden Laurels, Denmark's highest literary accolade.

Disgrace is translated from the Danish into the English by writer and translator K E Semmel.

Another Danish thriller film in the making?:



Rating:  5/5

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Governor's Wife by Mark Gimenez


This is a very entertaining Texan story which reads like the kind of story I read many years ago as a child when writers wrote stories for the sake of telling a good story and did not have to worry about credibility.  I particularly enjoyed the politics and the humour as well as the introduction to the sad plight of the people living in the colonias on Texas' southern border.  It has been both a fun yet serious read.  

From the hardback:  Bode Bonner is the Republican governor of Texas.  He has everything he ever wanted:  money, power, influence.  But something isn't right in his life - everything feels too settled and easy.  He longs for one more moment of excitement, one more challenge.

Lindsay Bonner is Bode's wife, and she's bored too.  Bored of Bode's womanising, bored of the endless cocktail parties and receptions.  She is desperate to break free of her bland, wealthy Texan lifestyle.

And that moment comes when she saves a poor Hispanic boy's life.  From then on, nothing will be the same for Bode and Lindsay Bonner.  Their lives are about to change in ways they could never have predicted.

About the author:  Born and educated in Texas, Mark Gimenez attended law school at Notre Dame, Indiana, and practised with a large Dallas law firm.  He is married with two sons.  He has written five previous novels:  The Colour of Law (2005), The Abduction (2007), The Perk (2008), The Common Lawyer (2009) and Accused (2010).

Visit markgimenez.com for more information.

Mark Gimenez talks about his latest book, The Governor's Wife (2012):



Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Not Dead Yet by Peter James


Peter James' eighth book - Not Dead Yet (2012) - in the outstanding and award-winning Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series set in the beach city of Brighton and Hove on the south coast of England, is another good read but without much of the credibility we have come to expect from Peter James, as the story deals with the coveted world of celebrities and how fan adoration, if unchecked, can sometimes turn into obsession and become gravely dangerous.

Pick it up today or you can start from the very beginning with the debut Dead Simple (2005) and simply read on till you reach No 8.  Not Dead Yet went straight to No 1 in the UK hardback bestseller list selling 8 500 copies in three days.  This series is published in 34 languages.

From the hardback:  For LA producer Larry Brooker, this is the movie that could bring the fortune that has so long eluded him.  For rock superstar Gaia, desperate to be taken seriously as an actor, this is the role that could get her an Oscar nomination.

For the city of Brighton and Hove, the publicity value of a major Hollywood movie being filmed on location, about the city's greatest love story - between King George IV and Maria Fitzherbert, is incalculable.

For Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Sussex CID, it is a nightmare unfolding in front of his eyes.  An obsessed stalker is after Gaia.  One attempt on her life is made days before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton.  Now, he has been warned, the stalker may be at large in his city, waiting, watching, planning.

About the author:  Peter James was educated at Charterhouse, then at film school.  He lived in North America for a number of years, working as a screenwriter and film producer before returning to England.

Peter James has written twenty-two novels and three of them have been filmed.  All his books reflect his deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in-depth research, as well as science, medicine and the paranormal.  He has also produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes.

He divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London and near Brighton in Sussex.

Do visit the author's website at peterjames.com for more information.  Don't forget to check out Peter's newsy blog as well.

The author talks about his latest book and gives us some interesting tidbits from his experiences as a crime writer:



Rating:  4/5

A Reader's Biggest Problem


Emilie Buchwald Quote


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Night Watch by Linda Fairstein



Night Watch (2012) is the fourteenth and the latest in the Alexandra Cooper novel series. I have read all of Linda Fairstein's books and do not feel the need for any intense review.  I have only this to say - I am a fan of Linda Fairstein and whatever she writes, I will read.  

Her books are not only about a good mystery but it is also about a captivating city that she has set her novels in - the Big Apple.  I love reading about the places she mentioned in her books which carry so much history as well as intrigue and some of these places are not even on the tourist hotspots!  I reckon a good book, be it fiction or non-fiction, is one that gives you scope to discover more and further.  

On Night Watch, she has made a change from writing about historical places to writing about the treacherous world of fine food and wine in New York City.  It is a fascinating read!  I highly and will always recommend Linda Fairstein's books to anyone.

From the blurb:  Forty-eight hours after New York Assistant D A Alexandra Cooper arrives in France to visit her restaurateur boyfriend, Luc Rouget, her holiday is cut short when a young woman is murdered.  The only evidence discovered on the body is one of Luc's matchboxes promoting his new restaurant in New York.  Before the investigation begins, Alex is summoned back home to handle a high-profile case.

Mohammed Gil-Darsin, Head of the World Economic Bureau, has been accused of attacking a maid in his hotel.  As the scandal unfolds, Alex finds her attention torn between preparing the alleged victim to testify and a murder case with ties too close to home.

When a second body is found with Luc's matchbox - this time in Brooklyn - Alex begins to fear that the two cases may be connected, and that uncovering the sordid secrets of the city's most wealthy and powerful could cost her and her loved ones everything they hold dear.

About the author:  Linda Fairstein is a former prosecutor and one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children.  For three decades, she served in the office of the New York County District Attorney, where she was Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit.  

In 2010, she was presented with the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers Association.  Her Alexandra Cooper novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have debuted on the Sunday Times and the New York Times bestseller lists, among others.  She lives in Manhattan and on Martha's Vineyard.

Do visit Linda Fairstein's website for more information.  

Rating:  5/5

You Can Read Anywhere


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Red Wolf by Liza Marklund


With Red Wolf (2003), Liza Marklund wants to show that power and the abuse of power always carry with it the potential for corruption.  This is another intelligently written story that I did not want to miss.

Liza Marklund tells us briefly in her own words what Red Wolf (2003), the fifth book in the Annika Bengtzon series set in Sweden, is all about:



About the author:  Liza Marklund is an author, publisher, journalist, columnist, and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.  Her crime novels featuring the relentless reporter Annika Bengtzon instantly became an international hit, and Marklund's books have sold 12 million copies in 30 languages.  Her novels have all been number one bestsellers in all five Nordic countries, and she has been awarded numerous prizes, including a nomination for the Glass Key for best Scandinavian crime novel.  The Annika Bengtzon series is currently being adapted into film.  For the latest updates, visit lizamarklund.com

About the translator:  Neil Smith studied Scandinavian Studies at University College London, and lived in Stockholm for several years.  He is deputy editor of Swedish Book Review.  He now lives in Norfolk.

The next and sixth book in the Annika Bengtzon series, Last Will (2012), is out now.

Rating:  5/5