book of the month for March is Kerry Bell's HOPE COMES TO EMMERDALE,
the fourth in the stunning series of family sagas that tells the
fantastic back story to the nation's favourite soap.
of the Month - Lynda
La Plante: Buried
by Zaffre 2nd April 2020
Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start
a new life together. Though charming, Jack can't seem to find his place
in the world - until he's drawn into an investigation that turns his
life upside down.
the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is
discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen,
untraceable bank notes.
search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld - a world he
finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the
law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers - and
what will it cost him?
BURIED, it's time to meet DC Jack Warr as he digs up the deadly secrets
of the past . . .
was hoping that Lynda's next book would be another young Jane Tennison,
but this beginning title in a new series will do just fine. There is no
one quite like her for character-building, and the plot just seems to
be there, in the background, unfolding and unfurling as you read.
Superb characters, superb story, superb writer!
Connolly: The Dirty South
by Hodder & Stoughton 16th April 2020
It is 1997, and
someone is slaughtering young black women in Burdon County, Arkansas.
no one wants to admit it, not in the Dirty South.
an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief.
He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain
for their killer. He cares only for his own lost family.
that is about to change . . .
the becoming of Charlie Parker.
Sharratt: Liar Liar
by Avon 19th March 2020
The truth can be
a dangerous thing…
a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace
Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But
strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will
only tell the police that it was an accident.
Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case
that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and
strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…
gripping and pacey thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat
from the moment you turn the first page. The perfect read for fans of
Sharratt takes a seemingly simple but awful accident that results in
the death of a young boy, and turns it into a brilliant, gripping tale
of darkness and horror. I don't know if this is the first DS Grace
Allendale mystery, or part of a series - I only know I want to r
Kelly: The Water Clock
by Allison & Busby 20th February 2020
the bleak snowbound landscape of the Cambridgeshire Fens, a car is
winched from a frozen river. Inside, locked in a block of ice, is a
man's mutilated body. Later, high on Ely Cathedral, a second body is
found, grotesquely riding a stone gargoyle. The decaying corpse has
been there more than thirty years. When forensic evidence links both
victims to one awful event in 1966, local reporter Philip Dryden knows
he's on to a great story. But as his investigations uncover some
disturbing truths, they also point towards one terrifying foggy night
in the Fens two years ago. A night that changed Dryden's life forever.
don't think you can describe this as a "police procedural" because the
central character, in his very first outing, is a reporter, Philip
Dryden. Again the action takes place in Cambridge, firstly 1966, then
nearly thirty years later. There's forensic evidence, so some police
activity, but it's really Philip that gets to grips with what's going
on, and the end result is extremely satisfying. Why I've never
discovered Jim Kelly before I simply do not know! His ability to switch
between eras is uncannily good. Absolutely superb crime writing of the
highest calibre. Now for The Fire Baby.
Kelly: The Fire Baby
by Allison & Busby 20th February 2020
1976. A plane crashes on a farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Out of the
flames walks young Maggie Beck, clutching a baby in her arms…
years later, investigative journalist Philip Dryden – visiting his
wife, Laura in hospital – is witness to Maggie’s deathbed confession.
But some secrets are best kept secret, and what started out for Dryden
as a small and curious story about the only survivor of an
almost-forgotten plane crash soon escalates into a full-blown murder
while Dryden is wondering what other secrets Maggie carried, his
semi-conscious wife is trying to tell him something that might just
save his life…
Dryden's second outing involves a plane crash in the fens near to
Cambridge, with a young mother emerging from the wreckage carrying a
baby. Philip is present when Maggie, dying, makes a shocking and
disturbing confession, and things spiral out of control shortly
afterwards, bringing Philip's own family into the investigation, and
even his own life is at risk. This is the equivalent of the famous
locked room mysteries that prevailed in the 1920s, and is expertly
handled by Jim Kelly. I'm hooked on Jim's novels now, and can't wait to
read more! I really, really loved it!
Tope: The Patterdale Plot
by Allison & Busby 20th February 2020
Brown had hoped that her autumn would be less frantic than usual to
give her a chance to enjoy her pregnancy, her upcoming nuptials, and
some time looking for a new house in the Patterdale area of the Lake
District. But it is not to be . When one of the lodgers at her parents'
Bed & Breakfast dies in her arms after seemingly being poisoned,
she becomes embroiled in a complex investigation, headed up by her
friend D I Moxon. It is clear the victim had some connection to a
controversial new building project near Patterdale and Simmy's ideas of
a quiet run up to Christmas are cruelly dashed.
have read and reviewed most of Rebecca Tope's wonderful Miss
Marple-like mysteries set in the Lake District and festuring the
brilliant character of Simmy Brown, but this one has to be Rebecca's
finest! Simmy is pregnant but inevitably becomes embroiled in a murder
mystery when a fellow lodger at her B&B dies from poisoning.
Rebecca's stories are soothing, gentle mysteries that unfold before
your very eyes as she delves deep into her characters' lives and
problems, and the whole thing is like watching a TV dramatisation
rather than reading a book, so vivid are her descriptions and prose.
by Allison & Busby 20th February 2020
‘A crime story
wound up in supernatural,
nerve-jangling creepiness’ Peterborough Telegraph
a blood-soaked man is discovered with the word Baal-Berith scored into
his flesh, the bewildered police call on expert Professor Matt Hunter
to assist. Before long, a gruesome discovery is made and Hunter is
drawn into a frenzied murder investigation.
a fury of media interest in the case, and the emerging link to a
documentary on demonic possession, Hunter is unable to escape a dark
world of exorcism and violence … even when events spiral frighteningly
out of control.
used to hunt high and low for stories similar to Dennis Wheatley's
black magic tales, fascinated as I was at the time by anything to do
with the occult and witchcraft and magic. Peter Laws' superb crime
thriller Possessed goes a long way to filling such a gap, and is
written so well you have to take it seriously. Having just watched the
BBC's pathetic, tragically-bad adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Pale
Horse, which was so bad it was farcical, I thought I might find it
difficult to read a thriller involving even the hint of magic, but
thankfully Peter Laws manages to rescue the situation brilliantly, and
Possessed ends up a thoroughly creditable and readable occult mystery!
Coates: Perdition's Child
by Urbane 6th February 2020
library is the scene of a baffling murder, followed swiftly by another
in Manchester, the victims linked by nothing other than their
Australian nationality. Police dismiss the idea of a serial killer, but
journalist Hannah Weybridge isn't convinced.
is drawn into an investigation in which more Australian men are killed
as they try to trace their British families. Her research reveals past
horrors and present sadness, and loss linked to children who went
missing after the Second World War. Have those children returned now?
again Hannah finds herself embroiled in a deadly mystery, a mystery
complicated by the murder of Harry Peters; the brother of Lucy, one of
the residents of Cardboard City she had become friendly with. It soon
becomes clear Lucy is protecting secrets of her own.
is Lucy's link to the murders and can Hannah discover the truth before
the killer strikes again?
Coates gripping thriller is the perfect read for fans of Emma Tallon,
K.L.Slater and Laura Marshall.
believe I may have reviewed previous episodes in the career of Hannah
Weybridge, as my friends at Urbane have been sending me books for a few
years now. Hannah is the best possible person to get to the bottom of
these baffling murders, as she's an investigative journalist. It's nice
to have a strong female lead, we know they work because of Vera, and
Hannah is a brilliant character. The story is as unputdownable as
mundane tasks such as sleeping and eating will allow. Hugely
entertaining and highly recommended by Books Monthly!
Berry: The Warsaw Protocol
by Hodder & Stoughton 25th February 2020
the latest thrilling Cotton Malone adventure from international
bestseller Steve Berry, one by one the seven precious relics of
the weapons of Christ,
are disappearing from sanctuaries across the world.
former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone witnesses the theft of
one of them, he learns from his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, that a
private auction is about to be held where incriminating information on
the president of Poland will be offered to the highest bidder -
blackmail that both the United States and Russia want, but for vastly
price of admission to that auction is one of the relics, so Malone is
first sent to a castle in Poland to steal the Holy Lance, a
thousand-year-old spear sacred not only to Christians but to the Polish
people, and then on to the auction itself. But nothing goes as planned
and Malone is thrust into a bloody battle between three nations over
information that, if exposed, could change the balance of power in
the tranquil canals of Bruges, to the elegant rooms of Wawel Castle, to
deep beneath the earth in an ancient Polish salt mine, Malone is caught
in the middle of a deadly war - the outcome of which turns on a secret
known as the Warsaw Protocol.
Berry outdoes Dan Brown by a country mile in this thrilling and
totally believable ancient relic tale. A nod to Indiana Jones here and
there but this story is utterly compelling and brilliantly written.
Isles: Cemetery Road
by Harper Collins 5th March 2020
No.1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy
returns with an electrifying standalone. A tale of friendship,
betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small
things should never be uncovered…
successful journalist Marshall McEwan discovers that his father is
terminally ill, he returns to his childhood home in Bienville,
Mississippi – a place he vowed to leave behind forever.
family’s newspaper is failing; and Jet Turner, the love of his youth,
has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of the powerful
patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Poker Club.
is on the brink of economic salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar
Chinese paper mill. But as the deal nears completion, two murders rock
the town to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic
Marshall and Jet soon discover a minefield of
explosive secrets beneath the soil of Mississippi. And by the time
Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history – and the
woman he loves – he would give almost anything not to face it.
town America at its finest and murkiest! Greg Isles is one of my
all-time favourite US writers, and he pulls out all the stops with
Deaver: The Never Game
by Harper Collins 19th March 2020
Escape or die
international bestseller Jeffery Deaver returns with a stunning new
thriller – the first in an exciting series featuring enigmatic
investigator Colter Shaw.
storytelling ― The Never Game is
Deaver’s most riveting, most twisty, most unputdownable novel yet’
student kidnapped from the park.
Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself
locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she
uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise she will die.
investigator running out of time.
distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter:
unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by
survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker with a forensic mind
trained to solve the most challenging cases. But this will be a test
even for him.
killer playing a dangerous game.
a blogger called Henry is abducted – left to die in the dark heart of a
remote forest – and the whole case gets turned on its head. Because
this killer isn’t following the rules; he’s changing them. One murder
at a time…
Deaver is one of the world's best-selling authors, and his pedigree is
second to nonw. The Never Game is a conventional thriller but with a
villain who seems to have a failsafe method of getting away with
murder, and is playing a cat and mouse game with the pollice. It's up
to Colter Shaw to raise his game and stop the killer before it's too
late. Tense, fast-paced and action-packed, brilliant stuff.
Cowley & Donough O'Brien: Locked In Fear
by Urbane Publications 10th January 2020
a sleepy country village, Detective Inspector Robin Marshal - now in
retirement - is nearly killed by a stranger. His friend Alice, a police
psychiatrist, discovers that the murder attempt was almost certainly
ordered by a terrifying criminal, `Big Mack', currently incarcerated in
a notoriously violent prison. There his criminal kingdom controls not
only the inmates, but many of the guards, through the power of money
and the threat of extreme violence.
Alice goes to work in the prison to find out more, she, too, becomes a
target, her car machine-gunned on a country road; and Robin is attacked
again while recovering in Spain.
pressure from an outraged public and with political concern rising, the
authorities try to put a stop to Big Mack's activities. But everyone is
under threat when he is suddenly at large following a murderous escape.
How can this evil kingpin be stopped?
in Fear is a gripping thriller perfect for fans of JD Kirk, Rob Ashman
and Joy Ellis.
have to admit to never having read anything by JD Kirk, Rob Ashman or
Joy Ellis, so I didn't know what to expect from Locked In Fear.
Sometimes it's better that way. Anyway, this is a cross between the
cosy countryside murder such as you'd find in Midsomer Murders, and the
gangland terrors of Lynda La Plante, for example (other gangland terror
novels are available, of course). Big Mack is an horrendous character,
and you really do feel for Marshal - after all, he's retired, and
should be enjoying his retirement! Some great writing in this thriller,
some terrific characters, and a whole heap of tension. An excellent
escape from the horrors of modern day living!
small print: Books
Monthly, now well into its 22nd
year on the web,
is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul
Norman. You can contact me here.
If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me
remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this
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email at email@example.com and I'll let you know where to send it.
& Science Fiction Books
Bilk Sleeve Notes
Stephen King page
Arch Hades: High
5th July 2018
don't often get to review books of poetry in Books Monthly, and this
was a most welcome diversion from the many, many books of fiction I get
to read during the course of the year. What I like best about Arch's
poetry, other than the fact that it is head and shoulders better than
anything Simon Armitage has ever written, both before and after
becoming Poet Laureate (!), is the fact that Arch's poetry is
recognisable as poetry - that's the first thing, the essential thing
about poetry for me. I love the rhyming which is missing from most
modern day poetry, and I can feel the emotion pouring out of the author
(poet) in this gentle, moving collection of poems and postcards about
love and loss, two things that affect each and every one of us. Very