A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr

‘A Quiet Flame’ is the 5th Bernie Gunther novel by Philip Kerr.

At the end of the previous novel ‘The One From the Other’ Gunther was incorrectly accused of being a war criminal, so needed to escape Europe. It is now 1950 and he has arrived in Argentina with the name Carlos Hausner. Despite the alias, Colonel Montalban, the head of the secret police in Argentina, quickly finds out that the famous Berlin detective Bernie Gunther is now in the country.

Montalban wants Gunther to investigate the murder of a young woman and to find another young woman who has gone missing. The mutilation of the murdered woman is identical to that in a case that Gunther was investigating in 1932 before the Nazis cane to power. This was a case that Gunther never solved. Now that many of the worst of Germany’s Nazis are living in Argentina, it is likely that Gunther can discover the murderer among Argentina’s German population. Continue reading


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Body Work by Sara Paretsky

‘Body Work’ is Sara Paretsky’s 14th novel featuring female private investigator V.I. (Vic) Warshawski.

Vic attends a night club with several friends. The main show features the body artist – a nude woman who has the audience paint her body like it is a canvas. 50 year old Vic is not very impressed, her 90 year old neighbour Mr Contreras is completely offended, but Vic’s young cousin Petra loves the club and immediately gets herself a job there. Worried about Petra’s safety, Vic feels obliged to return to the club regularly to keep an eye on her.

There are several shady characters who frequent the club. The female owner acts as though she has something to hide. She lets an overweight ex-cop do what he likes – including touching up the waitresses. One young woman – Nadia comes in each night to draw a face on the body artist and each time a drunk Iraqi Vet Chad is offended by the drawing and becomes abusive. Continue reading


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Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney

‘Under a Pole Star’ is a beautiful romance surrounded by Arctic exploration in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

When Flora Mackie’s mother died, she was only 12 years old and her father wasn’t sure what to do with her. He was the captain of an Arctic whaling ship and he decided to take Flora with him. The trips to the Arctic continued till Flora was 18 and Captain Mackie decided that the presence of a young lady unsettled the men.

Flora struggled to settle into normal society and vowed to return to the Arctic as a scientist and explorer. She ended up marrying a man she didn’t love in order to achieve her ambitions. Continue reading

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical, Penney, Stef, Romance

The Black Friar by S.G. MacLean

‘The Black Friar’ is Shona Maclean’s 2nd novel featuring Captain Damien Seeker, a loyal follower of Oliver Cromwell.

Dissent against Cromwell is growing and so is the number of spies keeping an eye on the dissenters. Seeker along with the other spies reports to Thurloe. One of the spies, Carter Blythe, is discovered having been bricked into a wall of Blackfriars church alive, dressed in a black friars’s robe. Thurloe asks Seeker to investigate.

Blythe had been working undercover with the fifth monarchists who originally fought with Cromwell but now want to overthrow him. It is feared that the group is setting up an attack. Continue reading


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The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

‘The Invisible Ones’ is a mystery centred on a Gypsy family in England.

Rose Wood married Ivo Janko but went missing soon after the birth of their son Christo. The Janko family are one of the few remaining Romany families that still travel. Most people last saw Rose at her wedding. No one reported her missing even though she hasn’t been seen for 7 years. Now her father Leon wants to know what happened.

Leon Wood hires Ray Lovell, the head of a two man detective agency, to find out what has happened to his daughter. He has chosen Ray because Ray is half Romany. The Jankos are unlikely to talk to a non Gypsy. Continue reading

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David Young Profile and Books

David Young was born near Hull in England. He attended University in Bristol, studying science, but dropped out. He then studied humanities at Bristol Polytechnic. After a few odd jobs, he became a journalist, eventually with BBC World Service. After 27 years as a journalist, he longed to escape and hoped that writing would enable this.

Young attended the Crime Thriller Creative Writing MA at City University in London where he was tutored by Claire McGowan. It was there that he wrote the first chapter of ‘Stasi Child’ and was encouraged to turn it into a novel. In winning the MA course prize, his novel was snapped up by an agent and he managed to avoid the usual multiple rejections of a first novel.

There are two further novels planned featuring Oberleutnant Karin Müller, due for release in early 2017 and early 2018. Continue reading

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The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

‘The Beautiful Dead’ is another intense thriller from Belinda Bauer.

Eve Singer is a TV news presenter working the homicide desk. It is a cut throat industry with rival TV stations rushing to be first to the scene and to present the most sensational aspects of the story. Eve, approaching 30, is also getting old in an industry where youth and good looks are everything. Her life outside of work is also chaotic as she cares for her father who suffers from dementia and is deteriorating rapidly.

But London’s latest serial killer has taken a liking to Eve and is setting up his murder scenes as a presentation to her. But as he starts to give her advance information she must walk a fine line between reporting events and becoming an accomplice. Continue reading

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61 Hours by Lee Child

’61 hours’ is the 14th novel in Lee Child’s Reacher series featuring ex military policeman and now drifter Jack Reacher.

This story is set in South Dakota in winter. It is incredibly cold and getting colder as a storm blows in. Reacher has managed to get a seat on a bus half full of ageing retirees on their way to Mount Rushmore. But in the middle of nowhere, the bus skids on an icy bridge and crashes. The nearest place is the small town of Bolton. The driver and passengers are stranded in Bolton for several days due to road closures.

Bolton has recently grown due to a prison being built outside of town. The police force has doubled in size and the chief doesn’t yet know and trust all of his people. Continue reading


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The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

It is 1953. The young Elizabeth is about to be crowned queen, rationing is still in place in Britain and DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto take on their 3rd case together in ‘The Blood Card’.

When Edgar and Max served together in the war in a group known as the Magic Men, their commanding officer was Colonel Cartwright. Now Cartwright has been found murdered with a playing card left on his chest. The card is the Ace of Hearts – The Blood Card.

The investigation into Cartwright’s death interrupts Edgar’s current case, the drowning death of medium, Madame Zabini. He leaves the Zabini case in the capable hands of his sergeants Emma and Bob while he travels to New York to visit an associate of Cartwright’s Wild Bill Hitchcock. Edgar discovers that America is the land of plenty (no rationing like Britain) but Hitchcock is dead. Then there is an attempt on Edgar’s life! Continue reading

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Stasi Child by David Young

‘Stasi Child’ is David Young’s brilliant debut novel, set in East Berlin in the mid 1970’s when the Stasi (the secret police) overshadowed the lives of the citizens.

Oberleutnant Karin Müller and her partner Unterleutnant Werner Tilsner of the criminal police (KRIPO) are called to investigate the mutilated body of a girl in a cemetery near the wall marking the border to the west. It is reported that the girl was shot in the back while trying to escape from West to East. It looks like a job for the Stasi, but senior Stasi officer Klaus Jäger has specifically asked for Karin, the first woman in East Germany to head a murder unit, to investigate. It doesn’t take long for Karin and Werner to find discrepancies between the reports and the evidence. But both realise that speaking out would be dangerous. Continue reading

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