Sometimes I find that with the fabulous amount of new books on offer the longer running series can fall off my radar even if I have loved the previous ones. This is what had happened with Jonathan Kellerman and the Alex Delaware series. Therefore I was really pleased to be sent his latest one City of the Dead.
City of the Dead begins with a dead man who whilst originally thought to have been run over actually seems to have been thrown into the side of a van. However things take a more sinister turn when a trail of blood leads the detectives to the body of a young women. The woman turns out to have a troubled background and the case gets even more complicated as the investigations leads us into the sordid side of LA.
I really enjoyed this story. Despite the murder and crime it felt like the type of story that could be described as a caper (the frolicsom crime type, not the pickled berry), lots of red herrings and dead ends but not so many that it became confusing.
I liked the characters within it, Alex is a psychologist who helps the police out on cases when needed and is an all round nice bloke. The friendship between Alex and detective Milo Sturgis is an interesting one, and I like the fact they work together with mutual respect rather than it just being who can use who the most. I really enjoy the mix of police procedural and psychological thriller that is created by having the two characters together.
The descriptions of the city are incredibly vivid and it conjoured up a pretty murky desperate place where criminals are around every corner.
Although this is the 37 book in the series I think it could be read as a standalone as the focus is on the crimes not necessarily the detectives. However if you are in the market for investing some time and starting a new long running series then start dig out When The Bow Breaks and get stuck in.
I have been a fan of Vanda Symon since I saw her a few years ago at the Harrogate Crime Festival and have very much enjoyed her Sam Shepherd series so was looking forward to reading her latest.
Faceless is a stand alone novel set in New Zealand, that was an absolute cracker. It tells the story of three very different characters who’s lives collide with devastating consequences. Billy is a homeless artist who has to make money to survive anyway she can. Bradley is an office worker with a dark side that even he didn’t realise existed until a fateful night. Max has become Billy’s friend and despite living an unseen life now he’s having to come out of the shadows and face his demons to save a life.
Faceless was a story that I’ll be honest I was not expecting. I agreed to the tour because of the author and started reading without checking the blurb so it was certainly something unexpected, and all the better for it. What starts as a story of three separate people all in their own way completely ‘faceless’ to society, soon becomes a terrifying tale of kidnap, violence, mental health crisis and more.
The story is told mainly from the perspective of the three main characters with the chapters flitting backwards and forwards. Gradually the back story of the characters is revealed and the reasons they are in the situations they are becomes apparent. This was very much a character led story yet the plot was impeccable. The story was interesting and the writing was flawless. The face that it was told from the different viewpoints meant that you almost felt that you were learning about the characters at the same time as they were learning about themselves and what they were capable of.
This is a really difficult story to review because it was harrowing but it was absolutely compelling and a fantastic change from her usual police procedural. I would highly recommend this as one of the best books I’ve read for a while.
I am a huge fan of the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski so was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel – Demon.
Demon sees podcaster Scott King investigating the murder of 12 year old Sidney Parsons, who in 1995 was killed by 2 school friends. The ‘Demonic Duo’ were released from prison under new identities but refused to ever give any reason or explanation for what had happened on that terrible night. Ever since then the quiet village has been plagued with stories of superstition and supernatural behaviour. As Scott begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crime he soon realises that this is an investigation that is leading him towards danger.
Demon was another fantastic read from Matt Wesolowski. As with all this series, the book follows the traditional podcast structure and so is split into six ‘episodes’. Each episode focusses on the interview of one central character and their take on the so called Demonic Duo. I really enjoy this style of writing. The six episode structure gives it a unique feel, and I find it really does move the story along easily.
One of the clever things about this series is the mix of horror and crime. It can be a tricky balance to pull off but it’s a balance that Matt Wesolowski manages expertly. Throughout the story the demons are at the forefront, but the crime element is still perfectly executed. The sense of foreboding created by the writing is palpable, with menace and fear pouring off the page. Yet at it’s heart this is not a supernatural story but an investigation into human behaviour and the consequences of actions and reactions.
There are a range of characters within this story and they all have their flaws yet the human elements also come across to the reader with all of them having secrets and guilt that influences the way they act. Another big part of this novel is the setting. Demon is set in a small fictional village called Ussalthwaite. This is a place filled with folklore and stories and based in North York Moors which give it a bleakness that adds to the menace bubbling under the surface.
I think this is one of the best series I have read for a long time and each novel feels like it’s just getting better. Whilst this would work as a stand alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning (Review of the second in the series Hydra is here) and enjoying them all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend the whole series to anyone who hasn’t yet read them.
Don’t forget to find out what others on the tour thought of the book:
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.