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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview #NineElms (Kate Marshall Book 1) by Robert Bryndza (@LittleBrownUK) I liked the main character but not enough attention to detail for me #NetGalley

Hi all:

Today I bring you a book that didn’t rock the world for me, but you might find it more to your taste (I think I should stop reading thrillers with plots that are too closely related to my previous professional life).

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

Nine Elms (Kate Marshall Book 1) by Robert Bryndza

From the breakthrough international bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice, a breathtaking, page-turning novel about a disgraced female detective’s fight for redemption. And survival…

Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.

Fifteen years after those catastrophic events, Kate is still haunted by the unquiet ghosts of her troubled past. Now a lecturer at a small coastal English university, she finally has a chance to face them. A copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.

Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. Success promises redemption, but there’s much more on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim…and his successor means to finish the job.

Editorial Reviews

“[A] heart-pounding series launch.” Publishers Weekly

Nine Elms is a taut thriller that sweeps up the reader into the world of Kate Marshall. Kate is a thoroughly realized character with troubles and virtues who will have you rooting for her through to the nail-biting end.” —Authorlink

“A taunt thriller that will keep readers guessing, this is a powerful start to a new series.” The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

“Robert Bryndza’s characters are so vividly drawn—even the slightest character—and fully human and uniquely imperfect. His plots are clever and original and cool and his sense of timing is excruciatingly flawless. Nine Elms is Robert Bryndza spreading his already formidable wings to thrilling effect.” —Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors

“So chilling, with truly terrifying characters and a hard-hitting storyline that is gripping from start to finish. I will wait with bated breath for the next Kate Marshall thriller.” —Rachel Abbott, Amazon Charts bestselling author

“Bryndza is my type of author and Nine Elms is my type of book. Twisty, dark, and layered with a protagonist you root for from page one, this is a superb start to what promises to be another stand out series.” —M. W. Craven, author of The Puppet Show

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PJKBZDH/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nine-Elms-Kate-Marshall-Book-ebook/dp/B07PLNY832/

https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B07PJKBZDH/

Author Robert Bryndza

About the author:

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 29 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

www.RobertBryndza.com

My review:

I thank NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review. This has in no way influenced my review.

I’ll try to be brief and provide information that might help others decide if this is a book they’d like to read. On the whole, I had far too many issues with the book to enjoy it as others have, but I am a regular reader of thrillers and have fist-hand knowledge of many of the issues central to the plot (I have worked as a forensic psychiatrist in the UK, where the story is set, and I have experience of working in a high secure hospital, so I’m more familiar with their security procedures than most readers will be), so I understand that my reading experience is likely to be very different to that of others. (And I won’t mention what my issues were not to derail others’ reading experience).

I had never read any of this author’s books before, and it is evident that he is well attuned to what people expect. He keeps the rhythm of the narration fast; this books starts with quite a bang, and there are only brief moments when the reader can have a bit of a break from the tension and the flow of the story. The plot covers many favourite points of the genre. We have not one but two horrific serial killers (even if the second one is a copycat, he is quite twisted in his own right); their murders are discussed in detail (although I’ve read books where the violence is more extreme, this is not for the fainthearted); we get the story told from a variety of points of view (although for the most part each chapter follows only one point of view), including victims and killers; we do not get all the information about the motivations until the end; there are characters to root for as well, and a complex investigation where the police get the assistance of outsiders (although in this case, Kate Marshall used to be a police detective, so she’s not quite the true amateur of other stories).

I did like Kate Marshall and her assistant, Tristan. It’s true that we do not learn a lot about him, but this is the first book in a new series, so there’s plenty of time for that. Kate seems to combine the characteristics of the main characters in many thrillers, as she is both a victim who survived a terrible attack and has suffered trauma due to that, and she is also a disenchanted and retired member of the police force, who due to her experiences and her way of coping with them lost her career, her way, and her family and is now asked to take a look at a case related to her past. I thought that the peculiarities of her circumstances, her relationship with her son, and her attempts at forging a new life for herself make her an interesting character in her own right, even if some of her actions and decisions are not always consistent.

As I have already said, I found that the story stretched my suspension of disbelief too far, and as I am a bit of a stickler for details and love a well-constructed police procedural, it did not work for me. I am aware that I only had access to an ARC copy, and it might well be that some of the minor issues I detected are not present in the final version. If you are a reader who enjoys novels and TV series about serial killers, prefers fast action, an easy read, don’t mind a good deal of explicit violence and some less than savoury characters and family relationships, focus more on the overall plot than on the details, and are looking for a satisfying ending, you’re likely to enjoy this novel. Do check a sample of it and see what you think.

Oh, the fact that I’ve also written a story about a copycat killer might not have helped matters. Just as a reminder, in case you’re interested, I introduced my book Deadly Quotes here (although the offer is no longer available).

Escaping Psychiatry 3. Deadly Quotes. Cover by Juan Padrón
Escaping Psychiatry 3. Deadly Quotes. Cover by Juan Padrón

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publishers for the book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share, like, and comment if you’re so inclined, and always keep reading, reviewing and smiling!

Categories
Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview THE NEVER GAME (A COLTER SHAW NOVEL BOOK 1) by Jeffery Deaver (@JefferyDeaver) (@HarperCollinsUK). Twists, turns, a fascinating backdrop and a new hero

Hi all:

Today I bring you the latest novel by a very well-know author.

Cover of The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver
The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver

The Never Game (A Colter Shaw Novel Book 1) by Jeffery Deaver

From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw.

“You have been abandoned.”

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry.

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

The Never Game proves once more why “Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception” (Associated Press).

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Game-Jeffery-Deaver-ebook/dp/B07HDSGVMQ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Game-Jeffery-Deaver/dp/000830372X/

https://www.amazon.es/Never-Game-Jeffery-Deaver-ebook/dp/B07HDSGVMQ/

Jeffery Deaver's picture
Author Jeffery Deaver

About the author:

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ‘ Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ‘ which consisted of two entire chapters ‘ when he was eleven, and he’s been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.

The author of thirty-four novels, Deaver has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony award, a Gumshoe Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader’s Award for Best Short Story of the Year. In 2001, he won the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his Lincoln Rhyme novel The Empty Chair. In 2004, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden Of Beasts and the Short Story Dagger for “The Weekender.” Translated into 35 languages, his novels have appeared on a number of bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times. The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO film retitled Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin.

Jeff has also released three collections of his short stories, called Twisted, More Twisted and Trouble In Mind.

https://www.amazon.com/Jeffery-Deaver/e/B000AP76I4

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins for providing me an early ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

Jeffery Deaver does not need an introduction. He has been writing and publishing crime and mystery novels and thrillers for a very long time, and he has been collecting awards and accolades for almost as long. Despite my interest in those genres, I hadn’t read any of his books yet, partly because I always hesitate to start reading a series halfway through (yes, and I had many other books to get on with). When I saw this novel, the first in a new series, I thought this was a good chance to remedy that.

This novel has all the required elements for those who love the genre: an enticing opening (in fact, we are given a glimpse of an extremely tense scene that will come much later in the book), a hero with pretty amazing abilities, a complex past, and a few secrets (and a curious name too, Colter Shaw), a twisted case that gets more and more complicated as we go along (red herrings, false endings, action scenes, bizarre clues, plenty of suspects), useless and useful members of law enforcement (LaDonna Standish is my favourite character in the whole book, and she ticks all the boxes: African-American, lesbian, married with a child, a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, intelligent, a good professional, dismissed and bullied by her co-workers), some sort of love-interest (I didn’t care too much for that aspect of the story), an intriguing backdrop to the story (Silicon Valley and the gaming industry), another case he is working on as well that is pretty personal for the hero, and a twist/hook at the end.

If you like the description and are seeking for those elements in a story, do not hesitate. I can’t fault Deaver’s writing. He knows his stuff and he delivers in all aspects. He knows how to bait the reader’s interest, and his mastery of plot is evident. He drops hints, and when you think you have worked out who is the guilty party, or what is going on, he pulls the rug from under your feet. He is good at combining a fairly modern writing style, including plenty of action and the latest technologies, with well-tried classical elements; including the final explanation of how he worked out who the guilty party was (it is not quite a Sherlock Holmes or Poirot moment, but not that far from it). Although most of the story is told in the third-person from Shaw’s point of view, we don’t get all the information he does, for very good narrative reasons.

Any negatives? I cannot compare this book to his previous novels, and although I’ve checked the reviews, it seems that some people see this as the beginning of another winning series (it seems that the character of Colter Shaw had already been introduced in one of his short-stories), and others feel that is far from his best work. For me, one of the issues was the main character. If you had told me about this man, who was home-schooled and grew up raised in a survivalist household in the mountains of California, whose parents were both brilliant professors, but whose father (Ash) suffered from paranoia and insisted in educating his children (two boys and a girl) in the art of survival, totally isolated from the world and who ended up dead in somewhat unclear circumstances; whose mother was her husband’s psychiatrist and chose to follow his radical lifestyle and indulge (?) his paranoia, whose brother disappeared, and who now lives by working on a variety of criminal cases and collecting rewards (but seems to have other financial means) while at the same time pursues his own investigation, I would have said we were onto a winner. He is skilled, he seems to be attractive, he has commitment issues (unsurprisingly), he is somewhat obsessive and does things his own way (he loves to keep notebooks and writes his observations by hand), he is clever and witty, calm and collected under pressure, and no danger or risk faces him. Although he is not that bothered about rules and regulations, he has a sense of morality and of right and wrong (and he chooses to do the right thing). Despite all those characteristics and his back story, which should have made the character irresistible and compelling, I didn’t feel a particular connection to him. I wonder if it was the third-person narration (we also get flashbacks of episodes of his childhood, as a way to flesh out the character’s background and to build up interest and offer more clues) or something else, but although he was interesting, I felt as if I was observing the action rather than getting really engaged and worried about what might happen to him (or most of the other characters). Perhaps it read too much like a movie, and I can take or leave action flicks (I enjoy them, but they don’t engage my mind for long). Some reviewers have compared the character (negatively) to Jack Reacher, and I guess other characters will come to mind for those who love the genre. The character himself goes to pains to explain he is neither a private investigator nor a bounty hunter, but I’m not sure that makes him unique or distinctive enough. As I said, most readers love the character, and I am convinced he’ll be further developed in future novels in the series, so this should not put anybody off if the rest interests you.

I saw some readers complaining about the fact that the book was centred around the world of computer games, some because they didn’t enjoy it and found that slowed the novel down, and others because they felt there were inaccuracies (I can’t comment on that), but although I’m not a gamer, I found the descriptions interesting (not too detailed) and enjoyed the main plot line and the mystery behind the kidnappings (it is not unique but it works well). I made some general comments about the ending earlier, and I’m trying to avoid spoilers, so I won’t go into it in more detail, but I agree that there seems to be a sudden and surprising change of direction at one point (some readers have complained of a “rushed” ending), although everything is explained and I guess that is the name of the game.

In sum, personally I enjoyed the story and the plot, but at this point, I am not sure I’m interested enough to keep reading the series. On the other hand, I am convinced Deaver’s reputation is well deserved, and I intend to read more of his novels in the future. (I read a very early ARC copy of the novel, so it might well be that not all I say applies to the finished product).

Thanks to Harper Collins, to NetGalley and to the author, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling.

Categories
New books

#Newbook THE BODY IN THE SNOW by Christoph Fischer (@CFFBooks) A cozy Welsh mystery with a fabulous setting and characters.

Hi all:

It’s Friday and time for a new book. Today I had to bring you a new book by a great writer and blogger, Christoph Fischer. He not only writes in many genres (yes, there are a few of us) but is a generous blogger, reviews tonnes of books and features interviews and news about other writers, advice and charitable causes. He’s an all round great guy, and now he’s trying his hand writing a cozy mystery. And I, for one, I’m very intrigued.

The Body in the Snow by Christoph Fischer
The Body in the Snow by Christoph Fischer

THE BODY IN THE SNOW – A BEBE BOLLINGER MURDER MYSTERY:

Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbours or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens.
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap.

Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback?  All will be revealed in this light-hearted, cosy murder mystery by best-selling and award-winning historical and crime fiction novelist Christoph Fischer.

Here are the links to preorder it:

The Body in the Snow” is now available as e-book on Amazon on pre-order via these links:

http://smarturl.it/BodyInTheSnowBB

http://bookShow.me/B01LVYRI9L

I know the book is due on the 24th, so if you’re reading this on the date of publication, that’s tomorrow, so you won’t have to wait long. You might be still in time to get one of the ARC copies if you’re desperate to read it, but I also recommend you that you check the series of posts the author has been sharing on his blog about how the novel came to be. They are packed with information and will make you want to read it even more.

Here are a few links:

Some background for “The Body in the Snow (A Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery)”

Welsh Wednesdays: Wales as the setting for “The Body in the Snow (A Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery)”

Biography Excerpt: Bebe Bollinger, the star of “The Body In the Snow” #cozymystery #murder #Wales #Eurovision

 

Thanks to Christoph for bringing us his new book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, and CLICK! And of course, don’t forget to check the other posts on the author’s website. He has tonnes of reviews, features about books and authors. 

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