I am a huge fan of Patricia Cornwell so I was very excited to be accepted to get a proof copy of her latest Kay Scarpetta novel, Autopsy.
Autopsy picks up the story a few years after ‘Chaos’ in a world changed by a global pandemic. Kay and husband Benton have returned to Virginia to take over the medical examiners office. Following alongside are trusty sidekick Marino who is currently married to Kay’s sister, and her niece Lucy who is struggling to cope with the loss of her wife and child. When Kay arrives in Virginia she is thrown into the deep end when a murder victim turns up on the train tracks, and all the clues lead back to Marino’s community. Alongside this investigation, Kay has to contend with a top secret visit to the White House to investigate a crime in outer space.
I love a Kay Scarpetta novel and this was no exception. I must admit that some of the past novels in the series have been getting a bit technical for me, with too many long descriptions of weapons and cyber stuff, but this felt like a real return to form. It had all the hallmarks of a classic Patricia Cornwell with great characters, helicopters, lots of guns and a gripping story full of red herrings and corrupt officials.
This is one of the few series of books that I have read from the start more than once and it felt like a return to an old friend. I love the main characters, especially the interactions between Kay and Marino and it was good to see them working together again. The storylines were good. The space station crime has some fascinating insights into life within a shuttle, alongside a tricky case a bit closer to home. If I have one slight issue it’s that the ending felt a little rushed. Reading on a kindle meant I wasn’t aware of how close to the end I was, so it all came as a surprise how quickly everything finished. However that was only a very small complaint. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and it was a welcome return to what Scarpetta does best – solving murders.
Rod Reynolds is fast becoming a favourite author of mine and therefore I was delighted to be able to join the blog tour for his latest Black Reed Bay.
Black Reed Bay starts with a panicked phone call to the police from a woman who is running away from an upmarket gated community and believes her life is in danger. The call gets disconnected before the police can find out any more information. Detective Casey Wray is sent to investigate when it seems that the young woman has disappeared without a trace. At first she thinks it is just a simple domestic dispute gone wrong, until more bodies appear and more secrets are uncovered.
This was an interesting story that I very much enjoyed. What I really liked was the pace of the novel, the only way I can think to describe it is an ebb and flow of a novel. Everytime I felt like it was slowing down and I was going to take a break something shocking was thrown in and I had to keep reading. This is a really atmospheric book and the contrast between the perceived privedged background of a rich gated community and the dark misery of the criminal world gives it an extra depth.
The character of Casey was interesting, there was enough of a back story given to make her seem real, yet there was a sense that there were hidden depths not explored in this story. She works hard and clearly cares about her cases but not to the detriment of everything else.
There was lots going on within Black Reed Bay and at one point it’s difficult to see how on earth things are all going to be tied up. However Rod Reynolds manages to wrap all of them up neatly in a satisfying end. Overall a great story.
To find out what others though of Black Reed Bay visit the other stops on the tour.
I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s new novel Deep Cover, book 16 in the Geraldine Steel series.
In Deep Cover Geraldine is still in York, whilst her partner Ian both in work and life has gone to London for a special assignment. When the body of a sex worker turns up Geraldine tries to put her turbulent personal life and worries about her ‘missing’ colleague behind her to track down the killer. However the trail soon goes cold and Geraldine and her new colleague Matthew are stuck hunting dead ends until the arrival of a second body. Meanwhile in London Ian has gone undercover to try and track down a group of drug dealers, but this is a personal quest too as the group are threatening Geraldine and Ian is determined to help her and her sister.
I enjoyed this novel, which was definitely a tale of two halves switching as it did between York and London. I must admit I preferred the York based story rather than the London one, but then I live in York so am probably a bit biased. I enjoyed the relationship between Geraldine and the new character Matthew and felt they bounced off each other well.
The narratives from Ian and Geraldine were interspersed with chapters told from Thomas’ point of view as the killer which I did enjoy. I felt these gave an interesting element to the story as you sensed how he was spiralling out of control. This is a fast paced novel and I found myself staying up late to finish ‘just one more chapter’
Deep Cover is the 16th novel to feature Geraldine and I think it would be difficult to read as a standalone as there is a lot of back story to cover, but also you are in for a treat if you have not yet read any of the Steel series so I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning.
Find out what others thought of Deep Cover at the other stops on the blog tour.
Last month I was very pleasantly surprised when a copy of the latest James Patterson novel, The Noise dropped through my letterbox. This wasn’t a novel I’d heard of previously but was very excited to see that this novel was actually in collaboration with J.D. Barker. In case this is an author that has passed you by, J.D Barker wrote the 4MK trilogy of novels that I was a huge fan of, so I was looking forward to this. (See review of 4MK here)
The Noise begins with young ‘survivalist’ sisters Tennant and Sophia out trying to catch rabbits, when suddenly an explosion rips through their town. Their father pushes them into an underground cellar but when they emerge the world has changed beyond recognition. Tennant seems largely unscathed but Sophia begins acting strangely. How they have survived is a mystery, and a team of elite government investigators are assembled to try and solve it. Dr Chan and Lieutentant Fraser are the two tasked with leading the government group but they have different ideas of how to go about this, one wants to study them, one just wants to contain them. However they are going to have to work together if they wish to save the lives of those at risk.
This novel started with a bang and I was quickly drawn in. The two sisters attempting to navigate their way through uncharted territory was heart rending . Despite her young age Tennant has to step up to try and protect her and her sister, and I felt for her as she tried to be there for her younger sister. This was very much an action led story with numerous characters flitting in and out but that just pushed the story forward at an incredible pace.
I must confess to getting a little disillusioned in the middle, I felt as though it just went on a bit too long without really moving the story on. However that was only a minor gripe, and I suspect it was more my desire to find out how the story ended that led me to think this!
Overall I found this story quite intriguing. It wouldn’t be my usual choice but it sucked me in from the start and was incredibly compelling. It also reminded me of what a great author I think J.D Barker is and so I’ll be on the look out for more from him soon I hope.