March 24, 2018 · 8:47 pm
I picked up a copy of this from Netgalley ages ago and for some reason I kept overlooking it. Until a trip to Newcastle where there was no wifi in my room and I hadn’t updated my kindle recently and this was at the top of the list. Well once I started I couldn’t stop.
The Fourth Monkey is about a killer who sends body parts of his victims to the police to taunt them. First they get an ear, then the eyes following the ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ monkeys. Detective Porter has spent 5 years chasing the 4MK (4th Monkey Killer) whilst also dealing with a tragedy in his personal life. Just when he thinks he will have to give up, the police seem to get a big break. So starts a race against time to find the next victim.
This was a really gripping novel, that I felt had that great combination of gruesome murder and humour. I like a serial killer story, and read a lot. Therefore to find one that to me felt a bit different is a real bonus. There were some great one liners in this book that made me chuckle, especially in the interaction of the detectives. The story also includes a diary of the young 4MK and details his relationship with his parents and how his childhood was. Personally I wasn’t as keen on the diary element as I was on the rest of the story, mainly because it makes some very uncomfortable reading. Yet it also gives you an insight into the killers childhood that almost make you feel a bit of sympathy for him.
This is definitely not a book for the feinthearted. There was a scene with a rat which made me squirm. However it is a great read that I would highly recommend if you like a gruesome story with a touch of humour.
June 11, 2014 · 1:05 pm
One of the problems I find with a kindle is that I am much less discerning when it comes to buying books. As those who know me can no doubt testify if I visit a bookshop I take my purchasing of books very seriously. Whilst I tend to buy one or two at a time due to my inability to make a decision, I will carefully consider what I’m buying and then they go in the to be read pile in my room ready to be cracked open when the mood takes me.
I have no such problem with kindle buying, I’ll go click happy when I’m browsing Amazon and consequently I have loads of books on there that I buy with the intention of reading and somehow don’t get round to it. This was the case with my latest read, A dark redemption by Stav Sherez. It turns out I actually bought this back in May 2012 and it was only recently rediscovered when I was stocking up my kindle with festival appearance authors.
The book opens with Jack and two of his student friends going on a trip after University. They decide to go to Africa as they want something more interesting than the normal back packing student holiday. Through flashbacks during the book we start to find out happened during this adventure.
Back in the present day Jack Carrigan is a widowed police detective who has a habit of putting his foot in it. He is leading an investigation into the murder of a woman from Uganda whose heart is missing. Geneva Miller has recently been demoted and is given the chance of saving her career by spying on Carrigan and reporting back on his work.
I very much enjoyed this novel which links the atrocities in Uganda with a London based police procedural. The descriptions of both Uganda and London were very atmospheric and I particularly enjoyed the way that some of the history of Uganda was interspersed throughout the story without it feeling like you were being lectured at.
The two main characters were both reasonably likeable and I thought the characters backgrounds were really well entwined throughout but without detracting from the main thread of the novel which can sometimes happen in the first of a series.
I’ve seen Stav Sherez around at the festival but I don’t think I’ve heard him talk before so he is going to be a new one for me. He’s talking in a session titled Keeping it Real about the responsibilities that come with basing stories on events in real life so it will be interesting to hear him speak. It also goes to show that it’s always worth checking what’s already on my kindle in case there are other hidden gems like this one that I might have missed.
November 29, 2013 · 9:54 pm
Well this week acrimereadersblog has been on tour (that sounds better than admitting to another holiday) and has spent the past few days in Rome. As always a trip away no matter where to or for how long is always a good opportunity for reading, and thanks to the joy of the kindle I have no shortage of books to choose from. My choice for the flight this time being Lynda LaPlante, who it has recently been announced will be attending the festival next year.
With a bit of creative licence the P of Plante also continues the theme of the holiday which turned out to be things beginning with P. We saw Putin, the Pope, a political rally, a police museum and paid preposterous prices.
Of course we covered the usual well known sites. We walked round the Vatican, we saw the Sistine chapel with all the artwork and it’s amazing ceiling (I bet Michelangelo was gutted he couldn’t just have nipped to B&Q for a tin of magnolia) we admired the Coliseum and we forgot to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain.
However alongside the many stunning sites of historic significance we also covered the aforementioned 5 P’s. We caught Putin arriving at the Vatican surrounded by armed police. We waved at Pope Francis as he travelled round in his little popemobile before he made his regular address to the crowds. We then accidently got caught up in a Furza Italia political rally, with lots of flag waving and coloured flares. Of course not understanding any Italian we weren’t aware that had we waited for a bit longer we would actually have seen Berlusconi himself talking to his supporters. We visited the Police museum (otherwise known as the Museum of criminology) which was essentially a storage area for all the torture devices and murder weapons collected by the police force over the past few hundred years. Then to round off our 5Ps we also paid preposterous prices. Two cakes and two coffees cost us 39 euro’s, luckily they were very nice but you’d hope so for that price.
Rome was a lovely place, although one thing that seemed strange was the lack of seats in coffee shops. It seems that most Italians simply neck their espressos stood at the counter. I don’t think we saw anyone just sitting down leisurely in a coffee shop and reading a book. That did seem a bit sad, the coffee was lovely and therefore its a shame to not be able to enjoy it. Then again maybe different cultures enjoy books in different ways. We certainly saw a lot of bookshops during our visit and so I don’t doubt that the Italians love to read. Maybe they just keep it for travelling, certainly the Italian next to me on the plane was very interested in my kindle and how ‘esoteric’ (his word not mine) the range of books available were. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that mine doesn’t really contain anything but crime novels!
May 28, 2013 · 7:37 pm
I’ve been having a closer look at the programme for the Harrogate Crime Writers Festival today, there are 17 sessions across the three days not including the dinner or the quiz. Having looked through them all, so far I’ve read at least one author from 11 of the sessions. Therefore if the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writers Festival Challenge (TOPCWFC for the purposes of my new readers) is this year to ensure that I read an author from each session then I’m pretty much on track.
However sadly, those of you who have been reading this from the start will know that the initial TOPCWFC was actually to read a book by every author appearing at the festival. By my calculations there are 43 authors (not including those who are chairing or interviewing people) and so far I’ve read a rather paltry 14. I think even by my standards the main challenge is over before its even really begun, somehow I doubt I’ll find the time to read 29 authors in the next eight weeks but never one to shirk a challenge I’ll give it a go.
In order to start properly as I was in town earlier today I decided to pop into Waterstones. I think one of the saddest things over the past few years has been the demise of the bookshop. I’m not one for shopping but put me in a bookshop and I can spend hours browsing round but I fear that sadly I’m in the minority and bookshops are only going to become more scarce. This time I went into my local Waterstones with my copy of the festival programme dutifully annotated to ensure I don’t end up duplicating authors. I figured I’d try and pick up a couple of the books from sessions I’ve not yet completed. That however is where I hit the fundamental flaw when it comes to bookshops, their lack of books.
I understand that bookshops can only stock a limited selection of books due to shelf space but when you go in wanting something specific its very frustrating. Obviously the idea with a bookshop is that you can go in and browse around and then decide what you fancy reading which is good normally. Today however I was to be disappointed. Therefore I can see where the benefits of amazon come into play (and in true bbc style all other good online retailers this is not an advert for amazon) shopping from the comfort of my own front room and every single book you could possibly want certainly has its advantages.
The problem is, online shopping in itself can be annoying. The endless waiting for delivery and then in my case the knowledge that no matter what size the parcel is, it will still have been intercepted by Hilda next door. That means an extra 30 minutes discussion about the latest parking saga on the street before I can get my hands on my book. Patience has never been one of my strong points and this can certainly test it.
Some of course may say that all this annoyance could be circumnavigated by simply purchasing items for my kindle. I do agree to a point, and a kindle really is one of the best inventions since the creation of BT Vision in my opinion. No luggage limit is likely to allow me to carry the 14 books recently read on my holiday. However I still like to have a proper book to read at home which takes me back round in full circle to having to visit a bookshop.
Luckily in order to continue the TOPCWFC un-interupted I did find one book I wanted in the bookshop, so its time to start some serious reading.