On a bitterly cold winter's night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city's Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage. Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic - no one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder. And Cody has other things on his mind, too.
The first DS Nathan Code book was a winner as far as I was concerned. There was horror and a touch of humor and the relationships between the characters was intriguing. However, DS Cody's second outing is not nearly as interesting.
It began with a brutal murder on the grounds of a Cathedral in Liverpool. Is it a one off or part of a future series? Did the killer know the victim or pick her out at random? And the more that Cody learns about the victim, the less likely it seems that someone would choose her as a murder victim.
Then things slow down and get far less interesting..Too much time is spent on the relationship between Cody and his former girlfiend who appears to be getting on with her life. However she still seems to be hung up on Cody. Then there is her fiance who is handsome, well off and devoted. Add to that some unlikely suspects and Cody's boss whose attitude toward Cody has not been explained. But the excitement and the sense of threat that filled A Tapping at My Door is missing. There was one scene in Tapping in a pub where Cody and his partner had to face off against some dangerous thugs that hated cops that I thought was nothing short of brilliant. There are no moments like that in this book.
Things do pick up at the end but it's too late to save the book in my opinion. I'll read the next one but I will be more wary about picking it up.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where the Marble Arch stands today in London was once the Tyburn gallows - also known as The Hanging Tree. The walk toward those gallows along Oxford Street and past the Mayfair mansions has a bloody and haunted history as the last trip of the condemned. Some things never change. For both blood and ghosts have returned to those mansions of the super-rich. And it's up to Peter Grant - England's last wizard and the Metropolitan Police's reluctant investigator of all things supernatural - to get to the bottom of the sinister doings.
I gave this five stars because I love this series set in a London where magic works and the mundane police are reluctantly coming to accept that it is coming back into prominence. Because I am writing this a fan, you have to accept that there are things I like about this book which may make a non-fan think it is four stars or below. Because this is the 6th book in the series it is loaded with references to previous books. Be warned. I would suggest listening the first books before tackling this one.
I listened to the book twice after it turned up in my library. The first time was for the story and the fabulous narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Peter is back in London and pursuing the Faceless Man, helped and hampered by new and old friends and enemies. A lot of characters from earlier books in the series make appearances, some brief, others more substantial. It may be ok as a stand alone novel, but I'm a bit dubious.
The second time I listened to it was to catch any pop references that I might have missed. Aaronovitch has written for the Doctor Who franchise, so those references are no surprise, but there are a whole lot more, including a nod to Phil Rickman.
Recommended for those who like this sort of fiction.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that, quite literally, no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance - comrades for the coming travails.
I began listening to the Johannes Cabal, neuromancer, novels a few years ago and unusually for me, I ended up listening to them in order. While I think that with the assistance of the author's voice at times, this works as a stand alone novel.
Johannes Cabal's much loved wife has been dead but preserved by his necromantic arts since before the first book. He has been seeking through the entire series something that would allow him to bring her back to life. Now he thinks he has found a solution and takes off accompanied by his brother, Horst, a gentlemanly vampire that Cabal had wronged early on; the devil succubus Zarenyia, part woman and part spider with whom Cabal had earlier made a pact; a criminologist who Johannes met in the first novel, when he and Horst were running a traveling carnival and a witch.
I stayed up late to finish this occasionally startling the dog and cats by laughing out loud as the story spins on to its satisfying end. I have my fingers crossed that this will not be the last I see of these characters.
Narrator is Nicholas Guy Smith who has narrated most of the Johannes Cabal books and short stories and he, as alwaysl, does a stand out job.
I don't give a full five stars frequently but this book deserves it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Jack Harmon craves silence and a bird's-eye view. From his new home in Palmyra Tower, he can raise binoculars to watch over West London. If he watches for long enough, he will learn who has secrets. He will learn who plans to kill. But Jack does not see everything. October 2013, the month of the great storm of St. Jude. A man dies beneath a late-night Piccadilly line train, verdict: suicide. Jack's friend Stella Darnell, the detective's daughter, suspects it could have been murder.
Stella Darnell owns a successful cleaning service. Her deceased father was a police detective. After his death she began to look at some of the cases he was involved in but did not solve. There are also mysteries in her own life and the lives of her employees, friends and family that are incidental but important to the development of the main plot. This is not a traditional mystery or a traditional literary novel.
Sometime engine driver, sometime cleaner and Stella's friend, Jack Harmon, witnesses the death of a man beneath the wheels of a train where he is a passenger, not a driver. Stella is approached by the dead man's brother to try to find out if his brother, who owned a computer security firm was murdered. Jack meanwhile is offered the opportunity to rent an apartment in Palmyra Tower, a repurposed water tower where some years ago a man died. Stella's mother is on her way home from an extended trip to Australia, where Stella assumed she was meeting a man that her mother found on the internet. Stella is both right and wrong.
Not a fast moving story, it moves back and forth through time and honestly when I started the series I wasn't sure that I would stay with it because the characters are all off kilter and not particularly likeable and at times just plain weird. To begin with I thought they were all probably on the autism spectrum but as more is revealed about their backgrounds, it is clear that that their oddities are based not on neurological issues but on family and childhood experiences. Like an onion, it is necessary to peel off the layers to find out what is at the center of the events in this book. And Thomson does a very good job of pulling them all together.
I enjoyed this book very much and am looking forward to reading the next one that is already in my library.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago. Instead she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who's convinced that Lyn's recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose - and she's running out of time.
Anyone who grew up reading early Mary Stewart, early Victoria Holt and early Elizabeth Peters will feel right at home with Named of the Dragon. While those books had stereotypical themes that Kearsley echoes-- for instance after reading a few of these novels you always knew who the good guy and the bad guy were and that it was a really bad idea to go wandering around at night by yourself.
Kearsley's book is a less obvious and more complex with regard to plot and characterization, but I really kept waiting for some action besides early morning walks across the fields. There's events that could be paranormal or could be dream sequences that lead the heroine on a quest to find out exactly what is behind events occurring at the home she is staying at for the winter holidays in Wales.
The main character, Lyn Ravenshaw, is a literary agent who was invited on the trip by a sucessful author of books for children who wants Lyn to distract their host and the author's current lover, while the author pursues another love interest. The host is a literary author that Lyn would like to sign to her agency. Living not far away is a well known playwright. There's a young widow with a child who is about the age Lyn's still born baby would have been had it lived and the host's younger brother and a collection of employees and local people, some judgemental and some not.
It's a pleasant sort of way to pass a few hours with a true shot of nostalgia for those of us of a certain age.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses loom over the shimmering beach. Two of the houses are habitable, while the third is slowly and mysteriously being buried beneath an enormous dune of blindingly white sand. But though long uninhabited, the third house is not empty. Inside, something deadly lies in wait.
This was my absolutely favorite Michael McDowell horror novel. I really regret that we lost McDowell too young because he had a great talent for southern gothic fiction. Listen to the Audible sample for a taste of super narration of one of the scariest books that I have ever read. Whoever picked this as the sample passage did a brilliant job because while the rest of the book is not as gory but psychologically horrific, the theme of Savage Mothers Eat their Children runs through the book. McDowell had an MA in English from Harvard and a PHD from Brandeis but don't let that put you off. While his books are literate and you can spend as much time as you like deconstructing them, the first read just tell you this is a master story telling.
Following a funeral, a group of mourners go to Beldame where there are three beach houses. The one in the middle has been uninhabited for years but there is a presence there, a presence that will creeped me out when I first read the Paperback Orginal in the very early 80s and still creeps me out today. In fact until this was reprinted I wouldn't even loan out my paperback copy for fear of not getting it back.
The horror is ambiguous and subtle but no less scary for that. The atmosphere is suffocating.
The narrator is perfect for the subject matter.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound, and dumped in water around London.
The premise sounded interesting-- so interesting that I had the book in my Kindle library but had not tried it yet. Then I found out I could add the narration for $1.99 so I did and downloaded to listen to it on a trip.
Just to let you know where I am coming from I'm a fan of Sharon (SJ) Bolton, Stuart MacBride, Tammy Hoag, Ian Rankin, Stephen Booth and a lot more whose plots are gritty and gorey and whose characters are somewhat foul mouthed.
However in this book the swearing by the characters struck me as at inappropriate times and sometimes just too much to the point that it lost the ability to support character or give emphasis to events.
The book had a good beginning when Erica Foster, one time eastern european immigrant to the UK as an au pair, now a respected DCI, is brought into a high profile case and put in charge. She also probably has PTSD from her last case that had resulted in the death of five officers including her husband. And that makes me wonder why she and her husband were working on the same team. I thought there were rules against that. At least that was what Jane Casey told me in her Maeve Kerrigan series.
Foster needed some more time off and probably therapy because she immediately causes problems with DCI Sparks, the former head of the investigation without even knowing anything about him. She then annoys the desk sargeant and gets in a fracas with a member of the public. When investigating she fails to keep her colleagues informed of her location and keeps going into potentially dangerous situations without back up even before she gets kicked off the case and Sparks given back his old position. She also is apparently given a car without video and audio recording equipment installed and proceeds to make her situation worse by questioning a witness in it and obtaining potentially valuable information that she cannot substantiate.
Incidents keep happening that do not get woven back into the plot. Not even red herrings.
I have got to stop here because the longer I think about this book the more questions I have as to the author's choices and it really wasn't THAT bad. In fact I think it could have been cleaned up into a better than average read. But something needed to be done with the solution. Definitely weak-- I'm not talking about the actually end of the book which was pretty exciting, but the reason behind all of the deaths and whatnot in the case.
The narration was fairly good and the eastern european names were smoothly pronounced.
Book contains violence, descriptions of explicitly sexual photographs, inconsistent characterization, and adult language.
Chuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he's thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter, Dahlia, to personally oversee the project. The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there's the cemetery, about 30 fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s.
Set in a decaying mansion in Tennessee that is scheduled to be demolished in the near future, a team is sent in to scavenge what could be saved of its architectural features and remaining contents. And as you would expect, Things start Happening. Creepy Things. Then an overgrown plot is discovered by the workers with a dozen or more headstones.
According to the author's blog this was in part inspired by a reality show involving a Virginia company called Black Dog Salvage. I only knew about the company because a friend who was building a log cabin took me there when we had to be in Roanoke on business. Moving the Salvage business to Tennessee where the author lives and using this as the starting point for a ghost story is an intriguing idea.
The narrator is good but not spectacular. The southern accent isn't laid on too heavy.
The only real problem I had with the novel was the pacing. It's a bit slow for the first two thirds of the book and there was a lot more about architectural salvage included than I really wanted to know. And although there were some spooky moments there wasn't any shockers until near the middle.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It is Christmas Day in York. A woman is found dead in her bed. A suicide note is found on her chest. It reads "I am so sorry Martin". Hours later, the police are called to a house a few miles away. A mother and her daughter have been brutally attacked; the mother is dead and the daughter is barely alive. The father is found shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the room. He is covered in blood but he is unharmed. His name is Martin Willow
I downloaded the kindle book then bought the Audible Whispersynced version based on the Amazon reviews. I started out following along with the text while the narrator read it. That is something I rarely do. However, it did show me that the book does need a good editing. Words as read by the narrator were not the same words in the Kindle book. Also there were things that outright puzzled me. For instance a British character asked DS Smith for his badge. Since Smith is plain clothes he would have a warrant card as his ID rather than a badge.
The first quarter was interesting as DS Smith investigates a possible suicide and at another location a homicide of a mother as well as a vicious assault on her daughter. The obvious suspect is the father who was found in the house in a traumatized state.
However Smith is put on leave following a violent assault on a prisoner (which his supervisors make clear they are going to cover up. I found this a little odd. Usually collusion is not so obvious, even in fiction.) Smith then goes off on an investigation related to the disappearance of his sister 10 years ago in Australia. I didn't find it particularly thrilling.
Finally, the story gets back to the original plot and a .resolution.
The narrator did the best he could with the material and I would listen to another book read by him. There's a three volume Kindle ebook by Giles which contains this story and two others which I plan to read sometimes soon to see if Giles manages to find an editor.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. Yet there are a few things that bother Duffy just enough to keep the case file open, which is how he finds out that Bigelow was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: Who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?
I'm a big fan of the Sean Duffy novels. Adrian McKinty's novels set in Ireland during the 80's is a wonderful feast of police procedurals and cultural milestones.
This case opens with Muhammad Ali visiting Ireland and Duffy on riot duty to protect him from potential attack. Northern Ireland was a very violent place. Impossible to forget as Duffy is constantly looking under his car for mercury tilt bombs. Duffy is also a great fan of music. Duffy also has a rough time of it, which is pretty much a standard for Duffy.
Why only three stars for the story, then? It's a locked castle mystery involving a group of Finnish business men who have arrived to see if Northern Ireland is a good place to set up a mobile phone factory, a young female reporter, and an unexpected dead-- or was it suicide? My problem with the story is that I guessed how it was done right off. And McKinty wouldn't let it go. Too much time detailing how impossible it was. However I continued along because I love Duffy and McKinty's darkly humorous take on the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
I also love Gerard Doyle's reading of this book. He definitely deserves five stars.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful