I’ve been lucky enough to be invited onto some fantastic blog tours recently and the latest for the new novel by Karen Rose is no exception.
Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose is the start of a brand new series featuring a band of private investigators led by Burke Broussard. Rocky Herbert has seemingly killed himself, however his son Gabe is certain that his dad wouldn’t do that and has a private autopsy done before hiring the Broussard agency. PI Molly Sutton soon realises that ex policeman Rocky was working on his own investigation. An investigation that threatens to expose corruption within the police force and bring down some high ranking individuals. A phonecall leads them to Xavier, a young lad who is the key witness to the case. Unfortunately they are not the only people who know that Xavier is the key and soon they are all running for their lives.
This is a great start to a cracking new series that was full of action and twists from the start. The series is set in New Orleans which is a fascinating city that Karen Rose managed to portray all sides of, from the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to the diverse musical heritage the place is known for to the amazing sounding food and drink.
I enjoyed this story although it was not a quick read at over 600 pages and for me it did seem to drag on a bit in the middle but that’s probably because I was impatient to find out what was going to happen.
There were a lot of characters to keep track of but I found the story was so engrossing that it’s simple to keep everyone straight. I really enjoyed the characters of Xavier’s Mum and her friend Willa Mae. Their light hearted banter in the midst of some dark scenes was a real highlight.
As with a lot of the author’s stories this has a romance element and the budding relationship between PI Molly and her charge Gabe is interesting, although as I was keen to get back to the thriller element. The mix of thriller, romance and old fashioned adventure story was a mix that worked really well and creates a riveting read.
I have always been a big fan of Karen Rose, and despite it’s length this is a great start to a new series and I would definitely be looking out for the next in the series.
I am a big fan of Ian Rankin and was once lucky enough to join him for a whisky (ok so I was with all the other people who had bought tickets but I was in the same room as him!) so when I was asked to join the blog tour for his latest The Dark Remains of course I said yes.
The Dark Remains is actually a joint venture between Rankin and the late William McIlvanney. Rankin took the notes McIlvanney had written and turned them into a fully fledged story. This novel is a prequel to the original trilogy and introduces us to a young DC Laidlaw, who has a great policing sense but isn’t always very good at following orders. When Bobby Carter, a lawyer who works for some dubious but powerful families, is found dead, Laidlaw has to find out what happened before the gang rivalry becomes all out war.
I enjoyed this story alot. I’ve read the McIlvanney books and I’ve read Rankin so was interested to see how this mix would work. For me it takes the best of both and mixes it into an immensely enjoyable read. There is the humour of an Ian Rankin Rebus story overlaid with the grit of the Laidlaw background. The story is set in a Glasgow of the 70’s and I felt that this was portrayed well. The quality of the writing shows in that you are instantly transported to the city at that time and don’t need to be constantly reminded in words. It was enjoyable to read a detective story set in a time before mobile phones, and modern day forensics.
The story itself is what you would expect of a Rebus book, lots of gangsters and Glasgow slang but with characters that are also full of warmth and personality. It was interesting to find out about Laidlaw’s family and I enjoyed this glimpse into how the man became who he was.
The one thing I would say is read this with an open mind. It isn’t an Ian Rankin, and it isn’t a William McIlvanney, what it is, is a very good story!
Find out what others thought by visiting the other stops on the tour:
Rizzoli and Isles are back and thanks to Transworld Books I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy.
Listen To Me is the 13th outing for the duo. Detective Jane Rizzoli is investigating the murder of a nurse with the help of Dr Maura Isles. She is also trying to help a young woman who thinks she is being stalked, as well as try and avoid her mother
This was another great instalment of the fantastic series that I throughly enjoyed. As daft as it sounds reading a Rizzoli and Isles always feels like returning to meet some long lost friends. I love the way the two characters interact with each other, as unlikely as they are to be friends it just works. Jane Rizzoli is the fast talking, action hero who runs into danger, wheras Maura Isles is the reserved academic who solves crime via her medical knowledge.
I really enjoyed the bigger part that the character of Jane’s Mother, Angela, played in this novel. Angela has got new neighbours and is convinced that they are up to something bad. However neither her daughter or the local police are interested and she is just dismissed as a busy body. However like mother like daughter so Angela isn’t going to be told to keep her nose out for long. I really like this character and felt she gave a great extra dimension to the police procedural elements of the story.
The writing is as always flawless, and the short chapters made it zip along. My only slight criticism was the lack of any real acknowledgement that Rizzoli is now a mother and her baby was rarely seen. Although saying that, I also like the fact that the story continued to focus on the crime and not purely on the characters personal lives. Yet there is enough of the back stories that you feel invested. Although this is the 13th book in the series I would definitely say it can be read as a standalone.
I absolutely love a Rizzoli and Isles book and Listen to Me was no exception. It was a fast paced read that will keep you entertained throughout.
I was sent a copy of this from Faber and Faber Ltd and despite not being my usual style of crime I thought it sounded intriguing.
Teenage Ava is sent to live with her grandmother after the death of her mother. Not only does Ava have to leave her home and everything she knows, she is going to live with a woman she has barely met. Grandmother Lane is an artist who is ill equipped to look after herself let alone a teenage girl. Lane already relies heavily on her assistant Oliver who seems to be the perfect help for them both but tensions soon start to simmer to the surface and Ava become suspicios that maybe Oliver isn’t the person he pretends to be.
This was an utterly compelling story that I really enjoyed. It was part character study and part crime story that weaved its way between past and present as we gradually uncover the story that was behind the estrangement between Lane and her daughter as well as learn more about Lane’s relationship with her partner.
I found all of the characters fascinating in their own way. Ava was a quiet unassuming child who had been put in a situation where she had to grow up quickly. Lane elicted both sympathy and frustration from me. Clearly she was struggling with her own health but won’t admit she’s suffering. Instead she chooses to self medicate and practically ignore her granddaughter and her grief. Oliver is a hard character to pin down, on the one hand it seems that he really cares for Lane, but equally there is a side of him that seems difficult to trust.
The novel is set in New Orleans and I loved the way the setting rumbled in the background giving a sense of history and providing a bit of colour in the otherwise sightly grey world of the book. The writing was impeccable and I felt it flowed seamlessly. The book flitted between present day and the late 90’s where we gradually uncovered more about Lane’s background and what led to the falling out with her daughter.
I very much enjoyed this story and the end was something I didnt see coming. I would highly recommend this intriguing and emotional novel.