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Reviews

February 2008

David Ellis - Eye of the Beholder

"As with any good thriller, Eye of the Beholder has a climatic ending and unexpected twist to ensure the reader wants to keep turning the pages."

Synopsis:
Attorney Paul Riley has built a lucrative career on his famous prosecution of Terry Burgos, a serial killer who emulated the lyrics of a violent song to gruesomely murder six girls, including the daughter of billionaires Harland and Natalia Bentley. Now, fifteen years later, the police are confronted with a new series of murders - and the grisly second verse to the song.

Riley is the first to realize that the two cases are connected and that the line between copycat and cover-up has been blurred. As the murderer's list of victims becomes less random and more personal, Riley finds himself at the centre of a police task force as both an investigator and a suspect.

As the layers encasing the mystery unravel, old deceptions emerge - with dangerous new consequences. Driven by his own fear that he may have overlooked something crucial during the investigation years ago - and worse yet, the possibility that he is responsible for the execution of an innocent man - Riley sifts through fifteen years of lies in order to uncover the truth. But what he discovers along the way is that the killer isn't the only one who wants to keep the past buried...

Review:
Eye of the Beholder alternates between 1997 and 2005, with lawyer Paul Riley involved in both the original case and the new murders.

The book is also written in both 3rd person and 1st person from the view of Riley. Personally, I would have preferred the author to keep to one or the other. The story itself was very involved and complex, with plenty of suspects and motives to ensure the reader is busy trying to solve who carried out the murders.

The author has built some strong characters, many of them are unlikeable - and they are painted as possible suspects. As with any good thriller, Eye of the Beholder has a climatic ending and unexpected twist to ensure the reader wants to keep turning the pages.

There is an excellent plot with lots of twists and this is also a book of many characters... it's a great read.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

M.J. Rose - The Reincarnationist

"M.J. Rose writes convincingly about both modern day and ancient Rome."

Synopsis:
Josh Ryder is caught up in a suicide bomb attack in modern day Rome. Despite surviving physically, he is subsequently plagued by flashbacks to ancient Rome and to a past history that he doesn't fully remember. However, he feels a strong pull to a shadowy woman that he knows by the name of Sabina. His connection to this woman is so strong that he is convinced that their destinies are intertwined.

Rome 386 AD. Julius undertakes a desperate mission to escape with Sabina, a Vestal Virgin who is pregnant with his child. The potential punishment for her misdemeanours is death by being buried alive. Sabina and Julius have concocted a plan which would allow them to escape the city alive - with their baby.

How do these events of 386AD connect with Josh's flashbacks and the discovery of an ancient burial chamber in modern day Rome containing the skeleton of a young woman?

Review:
This is an unusual novel based around the theme of reincarnation. As often happens with books with two separate stories, I rather preferred one to the other. In this book it was the modern-day mystery surrounding Josh's flashbacks. The story set in ancient Rome was interesting but I felt rather less empathy with the characters of Julius and Sabina. However, both stories combine cleverly together towards the end of the book.

This novel's strength is in its superb plotting and – as with all the best thrillers - the story does not offer up the ending that the reader might expect. The book made me think about the whole issue of reincarnation and the author has obviously done a huge amount of research around the subject as well as clearly being fascinated by the issue. M.J. Rose writes convincingly about both modern day and ancient Rome. A good read.

Reviewed by: S.W.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Peter Temple - Black Tide

"He is such a good writer of taut action and sharp conversation..."

Synopsis:
This is the new Jack Irish thriller and heralds the return of the part lawyer/ investigator with a sideline in fine furniture making and horses.

A call from the past in the shape of a friend of Jack's dead father takes him deep into trouble. Being asked to look for an errant son who has run off with his father's life savings distracts Jack from a recent failed love affair, but the more he digs into the missing son, the more dangerous it gets.

Nameless and, in some cases, faceless strangers trap him in a web of politics, underworld drug dealing and espionage. This sets Jack up against a number of murky enemies, all desperate to get to the missing son before he does...

Review:
Jack Irish remains a hugely companionable and likeable hero. A man's man with a sensitive, artistic side (albeit with fine wine, furniture and horses); he's not afraid to fight and he also gets hurt. Jack is also partial to the ladies, and thus gets hurt emotionally as well. He's not perfect, but enough of a cynical cool guy as you could ever want to meet. He's also kind enough to old men and animals to redeem himself.

This novel follows much the same path as the last: a call from the past, a horse racing scam and a couple of love affairs (one dying, one starting) all tie up together to provide structure to a plot that is slightly less believable than the last. There is a sense that we have been here before, but it's not a bad place to be. It allows Temple to expand and enjoy the company of his characters, who are all good fun. In fact, this is what makes the novels enjoyable. They are a nice place to hang out; a group of good blokes in various locations in southern Australia, with some sexy women who want to be with Jack. And that means you want to be with Jack too.

In our last “Jack Irish” review we recommended that Temple carried on with this series - for the very reason that this formula works. However, after reading another one in the series, the satisfaction in a sense of place and company has become slightly marred by the repetitiveness of the story. The next book should stretch beyond the confines of the plot structure that Temple has constructed for these books. He is such a good writer of taut action and sharp conversation that he can afford to loosen up and become more creative with the narrative. So, maybe you can get too much of a good thing, but in the case of the series, and this book, it still remains a good thing and a very good book.

Reviewed by: S.M.W.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Simon Lewis - Bad Traffic

"A brutally bold and revealing first book."

Synopsis:
Chinese policeman Jian receives a desperate call from Mei Ling, his daughter in England, asking for help... then her mobile goes dead. He travels as fast as he can from northern China to her University in Leeds to try and find out what trouble she is in. On arrival he is hampered by the fact that he is unable to speak English and it also appears that his daughter dropped out of her classes eight months earlier. Jian is convinced that the key to her disappearance lies at a local Chinese restaurant where she had a job as a waitress.

Meanwhile, Ding Yi is an illegal migrant worker who, with his wife, has been brought to England with false promises of a fortune to be made. When his wife is separated from him and no-one will tell him where she has been taken, he embarks on a desperate search for her. This leads him into the path of the policeman Jian - with disastrous consequences.

Review:
This is an excellent book by debut novelist Simon Lewis. Jian's journey from mainland China to a bleak and unwelcoming northern English city is cleverly portrayed - as is his determination to unearth exactly what has happened to his daughter. His isolation is emphasised by Lewis' subtle use of Chinese customs and phrases. Jian is completely out of his element and he must rely on his wits to survive the hostile English environment. Even the existing Chinese community are unable to help him as Lewis subtlety reflects their Cantonese origins, in contrast to Jian's Mandarin background.

Ding Yi's plight is distressing to read at times. His brutal and exploitative treatment at the hand of the gang who have brought him to England rings true. It is clear that these illegal immigrants are there only to provide cheap labour and the regime of brutality means that it is every man for himself. This lack of mutual support is key to the plot as when Ding Yi and Jian finally encounter one another, they do not join forces against the gang as one might expect. Instead, the brutality that each is used to means that they effectively work against each other with equal animosity.

A brutally bold and revealing first book.

Reviewed by: S.W.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Qiu Xiaolong - A Case of Two Cities

"As ever with this subtle and engaging series, the complexities and intricacies of Chinese society are beautifully portrayed."

Synopsis:
Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau is asked to investigate corruption within the establishment and its connections to the underworld. This is a delicate and dangerous assignment as Chen has to pick his way through the interrelationships and power struggles of Chinese society.

Chen's instructions are not clear and he has to interpret the subtle hints given to him by the Party official who has nominated him for the task. He soon finds himself leading a delegation of Chinese writers to the United States - where a leading player in the corruption has fled. He meets up again with Inspector Catherine Rohn of the US Marshals service. Chen's loyal assistant Yu and his intelligent and perspicacious wife Peiqin remain in China and continue to provide important information.

Review:
As ever with this subtle and engaging series, the complexities and intricacies of Chinese society are beautifully portrayed. In addition, however, in this book the interface of Chinese culture and American life is also well defined as the delegation of Chinese writers are welcomed by their US counterparts.

The two sides of Chen - the intelligent and persistent cop and the sensitive and intellectual poet - each play their part in the story. The beautiful pen pictures of the poetry continue to delight.

On this occasion I felt the plot was perhaps a little slow to get going as Chen begins to investigate the corruption in China. However, once the action moves to the States the story moves along at a fair pace. Yu and Peqin are not so involved in this book and I look forward to hearing more of their particular characters in a future book.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Fred Vargas - This Night’s Foul Work

"Vargas demonstrates how as a genre, crime fiction can produce works that stand alongside the best that modern fiction is producing."

Synopsis:
Commissaire Adamsberg is professionally and personally preoccupied. Leading the investigation into the murder of two young men, he is convinced that their deaths are not drug related and is refusing to hand over the corpses to the narcotics department. He is aided in his hunch by pathologist, Ariane Lagarde, who shares his belief that the corpses are the results of more sinister forces. However, he and Ariane disagreed over an important case twenty-three years earlier and neither is sure how they can rely on the instincts of the other.

Personally, Adamsberg is also paying for the years of neglect of his musician lover Camille. Although now the mother of his child, a situation which until recently he was blissfully, and typically unaware, Camille has now drawn a line under their relationship. The handsome new police recruit that has been charged to guard Camille is causing Adamsberg some disquiet, not least because he bears a long-held grudge against Adamsberg for a childhood misdemeanour.

These elements of Adamsberg's life combine to create the chaos within which he thrives and propel him towards the conclusion of the case.

Review:
In her previous novels Fred Vargas has demonstrated her skill in writing highly individual and engrossing detective stories. In this book, however, Vargas demonstrates how as a genre, crime fiction can produce works that stand alongside the best that modern fiction is producing. On one hand, the book is a strong murder story. The story takes Adamsberg geographically from Paris to Normandy and, like other Vargas books, the plot is deceptively complicated. As in her previous novel, Wash This Blood Clean From My Hands, Vargas imbues in her story a sense of her surroundings. From the men gathered in the local village bar to the dispirited priest being hidden away from his community, Vargas draws the reader into this little Norman community.

But the book is much more than a detective story. Some of the best passages deal with Adamsberg's gradual acceptance of the end of his relationship and these sections are beautifully written. With the introduction of the new police recruit, Vargas also explores the fragility of childhood memories and how they can influence the adult that we become. This a complex and beautifully written book and credit must also go to the translator for maintaining all the subtleties of the writing. Fans of Vargas will also be pleased to see the reappearance of one of the protagonists of her stand-alone book The Three Evangelists. If I read a better book this year, I will be surprised.

Reviewed by: S.W.

CrimeSquad Rating:

John Grisham - The Appeal

"Grisham is on top form with The Appeal"

Synopsis:
Attorneys Mary Grace and Wes Payton know the $41,000,000 awarded to
their client, Jeanette Baker, in a wrongful death suit will do little to ease the agonising loss of both her husband and son. But they believe the nationwide headlines exposing the Krane Chemical Corporation for dumping toxic materials into Bowmore's drinking water are the real victory.

Neither of them is particularly worried about the company's appeal. Surely nobody can shake the rock solid evidence they amassed against the industrial giant? Then again, there are those who have accused Krane's ruthless Chief Executive of being the devil incarnate and Carl Turdeau will do whatever it takes to retain his position of power... and his millions. In other words, he has to win the upcoming appeal. And if a corrupt politial machine can make it happen, they can name their price for whatever is left of his soul.

Review:
With Grisham's first legal thriller for sometime, The Appeal is rather like The Pelican Brief meets Erin Brockovich; featuring the underdog fighting against the huge corporations in an impoverished town.

Trudeau is a thoroughly dislikeable character and one can't help but hope that he gets what he really deserves. Even when the chips are down for him during the book, it is impossible to muster much sympathy for him. Whereas, the Paytons are the David fighting the Goliath of Krane Chemical. However, with many underhand political tactics going on, it is a huge fight.

As usual, Grisham makes the reader feel as though they really know much
about the situation and the characters, which leaves you wanting to know who wins, and caring about who doesn't.

There are a couple of annoyingly unanswered questions at the end of the book, but overall this is definitely worth a read for those who enjoy legal/political thrillers - and Grisham is on top form with The Appeal.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Andrea Camilleri - The Patience of the Spider

"Camilleri is a witty, intelligent writer who knows how to draw in a reader and keep them wanting more."

Synopsis:
Inspector Salvo Montalbano is recovering from the gunshot wound that he received in Rounding the Mark when he is asked to investigate the kidnapping of a young woman in a closed community in Scilly. As he investigates the mysterious disappearance he finds himself slowly coming back to life and becoming interested in what is going on around him. However, with a number of issues praying on his mind – not least his relationship with his long time lover, Livia - it appears that this investigation may be his saving grace.

As the investigation progresses Montalbano realises that this is no ordinary kidnapping and it is the odd anomalies that make him realise that there is more going on than meets the eye. Clearly he cannot leave the investigation to his subordinates to deal with and he does not want to give anyone the chance to put him out to grass...

Review:
The Patience of the Spider is the eighth in this excellent series featuring the irascible Police Inspector Montalbano. In this latest book, as much as Camilleri is interested in the crime, the tumult within Montabano, and how he copes with it, is also exposed. Long time readers will be well conversant with Montalbano's idiosyncrasies and they are part of what make him such an interesting character. This is a wonderful series that at times has a slightly surreal feel about it, but it is often the very absurdity of what often goes on at times which proves to be the highlight of the novel.

Camilleri is a witty, intelligent writer who knows how to draw in a reader and keep them wanting more. From his poetic descriptions of Sicily to the sharp, witty and ironic comedic moments - along with the sly but perceptive comments on Italian life and culture - these are clearly the things that keep this series fresh and interesting. Doubtless long time loyal readers will keep coming back for more. You don't have to be a lover of all things Italian to enjoy this series - only someone who basks in the exquisite writing of a good novelist mingled with a protagonist whose enjoyment of life is under constant pressure from those around him. Sit back and relish a very alluring series.

Reviewed by: A.O.

CrimeSquad Rating:

James Sallis - Cripple Creek

"... brilliantly crafted, deftly written and its style is unforgettable."

Synopsis:
In the hope of seeking solitude; not only from his traumatic experiences in Memphis but also big city crime, John Turner has now moved to Cripple Creek, where he is working as deputy sheriff. His intention is to spend his time restoring a house with his lover - a legal counsel for a state police barracks.

Normally in Cripple Creek crime is minor and very local. However, when the sheriff arrests a drunk-driver a gym bag is found in the boot of his car with $200,000.00 in it. When the arrested man breaks out of jail seriously wounding two police officers in the process, Turner's investigation leads him to an organised crime connection in Memphis which not only pulls him into a labyrinth of rising violence but also has a rippling effect on some of the closest people to him. The introduction of a family member into the storyline also makes for interesting reading and further soul searching.

Review:
Lovers of dark 'noir' crime stories will always mention James Sallis. He is the type of author that readers love to wallow in. Cripple Creek marks the return of John Turner, a former policeman, convict and psychotherapist who burst into our lives in the breathtaking Cypress Grove. He is a magnet for violence. Cripple Creek is full of dark twists and violence and, as a character, it is easy to see not only how damaged Turner is but how brutal he can be in a flash - and with very little provocation.

The author's lean prose is one of the best things about this novel but also one of the most infuriating as there are times when you are left wanting a bit more background detail. This minor quirk should not, however, dissuade you from reading what is surely and rapidly becoming one of the most interesting protagonists around.

Cripple Creek is a novel that is on the one hand full of grace and style yet violent and dark. It is brilliantly crafted, deftly written and its style is unforgettable. This is a deceptive novel that sneaks up on you with a bang. To really enjoy this torrid tale read Cypress Grove before hand.

Reviewed by: A.O.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Graham Hurley - The Price of Darkness

"Never predictable, the plot moves on quickly to an exciting and unexpected end."

Synopsis:
This is another tale of the vibrant city that is Portsmouth. We begin with ex-DC Paul Winter, apparently on very good terms with Bazza Mackenzie, drug supremo and wealthy “businessman” of the city. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that Winter is playing a very dangerous game and is actually working undercover.

Then a visiting property developer is murdered, closely followed by a high profile government minister, with all the press interest that entails. The pressure is on for a quick arrest and D.I. Faraday, Winter's erstwhile boss, is involved in both cases.

Winter, as always, is playing his own game and we are never very sure exactly which way he will go, and neither are his superiors at police H.Q. This leads to some critical decisions that put Winter in a very hard place...

Review:
This is an excellent story, which not only has the detailed plot and well drawn characters of Hurley's previous books, but it tells life as it is, where all the “goodies” are not good, and all the “baddies” are not bad.

Decisions have to be made which are not clear-cut. As in life, often the lesser evil is the best choice. The complicated network of loyalties, both within the police force and in the criminal world, result in divided loyalties and sometimes betrayal of trust.

Never predictable, the plot moves on quickly to an exciting and unexpected end.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Linda Fairstein - Killer Heat

"Fairstein's books are always intelligently written..."

Synopsis:
Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper confronts a serial killer whose deadly exploits lead her through the little-known islands surrounding Manhattan.

It's August in the city and just as she's claiming victory in a rape trial, she gets the call: the body of a young woman has been found in an abandoned building. The brutality of the beating is disturbing enough, but when a second body is found off the Belt Parkway, the city's top brass want the killer found fast, before the tabloids can start churning out ghoulish headlines.

Once again Linda Fairstein brilliantly orchestrates a mix of cutting-edge legal issues, New York City history, and spine-tingling suspense. And at the centre of it all is Alex Cooper - stunning, single-minded, accomplished, and not to be trifled with, in or out of the courtroom.

Review:
Fairstein returns with Alex Cooper, and her two sidekicks from the
Police Department, to find a serial killer. Fairstein's books are always intelligently written with a generous mix of historical facts thrown into the mystery. These are generally supplied by Chapman who has a vast knowledge and interest in historical matters.

Fairstein never seems to resort to the easy option of pairing Cooper off with those she works with, even though the reader could easily see her with Chapman or Mercer when any of them are single agents. Instead new characters are introduced and play a small part in the novels. Fortunately Cooper has managed to avoid her ballet lessons in this books, which pleased me greatly as I always found this part to be superfluous to the storyline.

The crime was solved relatively early, rather than all being revealed in the last few pages, but, as ever, there was plenty of tension and a climactic ending.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

James Patterson - 7th Heaven

"... a classic Patterson gripping read."

Synopsis:
It has been six months since the last sighting of Michael Campion - the young champion with the heart defect who captured the nation's heart and imagination.

The whole country has been in uproar since his disappearance some months previously. Now Lindsay has an anonymous tip - that Campion was last seen entering the premises of a well-known prostitute known as Junie Moon. Soon the girl has been interviewed and has confessed that Michael died while on her premises. But where is the body? Why is there no trace evidence? Yuki takes up the gauntlet of the prosecution and decides to take Junie Moon down for the unforgivable act towards America's adopted son.

At the same time there is a spate of fires. All the victims are couples and it is believed that they are accidents, until restraints are found on one couple and Lindsay and Rich Conklin are rushing to find the firebug who is targeting these people – seemingly at random. Or is it?

Review:
Patterson seems to have set up a very good franchise using his name almost as a brand. However, it is also to his credit that his ghost writer is also credited on the cover.

Maxine Paetro has been given The Women's Murder Club and she is crafting an excellent series. Until now, it has normally been the Cross titles that get all the glory but of late Cross, along with some very dodgy standalones, have made many people ponder if Patterson isn't spreading himself and his name just a little too thinly. In particular, Patterson's last few novels including You've Been Warned and Double Cross were not of his usual high standard. The last Women's Murder Club, The 6th Target ,was probably his only decent novel of 2007. Now that he has changed publishers in Britain, it can only be hoped that Patterson will be pushing up the ante and delivering sure-fire novels like he did with his earlier work.

It seems he has done just that with his first novel with his new publishers. 7th Heaven is a marvellous book and one that will show readers what Patterson (and his co-writing gang) are capable of when you have the right mix in a book. The courtroom drama with Yuki is thrilling and when Patterson/Paetro get it right, often page turning.

The firebug story is gruesome and fascinating but the factual content about past arsonists is extremely interesting. This shows that Patterson and Paetro have done their homework and it shows through the story. This is the sort of novel we have come to expect from the Patterson stable and one which should be a benchmark for subsequent books. It's a classic Patterson gripping read.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Constance Briscoe - Beyond Ugly

"The writing is often harrowing."

Synopsis:
Despite her mother's constant physical and psychological abuse,
Constance Briscoe has gained a place at Newcastle University to study law - a long-held ambition. She finances her studies by juggling several jobs at weekends and during the holidays, including working with the terminally ill in a hospice. She also finds the money to pay for several cosmetic surgery treatments in an attempt to transform the face that her mother has convinced her is ugly, ugly, ugly.

With the degree achieved, Constance takes up Michael Mansfield's invitation to become a pupil in his prestigious chambers. But there she doesn't find the support and encouragement she expected...

Review:
Constance Briscoe returns with part two of this non-fiction biography, picking up from where Ugly ended.

Beyond Ugly deals more with the expected emotional issues Briscoe had to deal with following her horrific childhood at the hands of her family. The writing is often harrowing. Whilst Beyond Ugly is by no means as harrowing as Ugly, it does illustrate all the barriers and difficulties Briscoe had to contend with to come so far. To become a barrister is no mean feat in itself, but to do so as a black woman with no support from any family or friends really shows what one person can do with a lot determination.

I was however a little disappointed that there was no confrontation or little mention of her family and their thoughts on the great success Briscoe has made of her life, or indeed the part they played in destroying her childhood all those years ago.

There is little summary of the childhood that made Briscoe who she is today, so it would be beneficial to read Ugly before moving onto Beyond Ugly.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Helen Black - Damaged Goods

"... extremely readable, despite the dark nature of the subject matter."

Synopsis:
Lily Valentine, a young, tough and sympathetic lawyer, represents children in the care system and provides the legal expertise needed in finding foster families for these sometimes difficult to place children. She works closely with children in a care home run by Miriam, a warm and passionate defender of her charges.

The latest resident of The Bushes is Kelsey, a fourteen-year-old girl who has swallowed a bottle of bleach in an attempt to kill herself. When Kelsey's mother, a well-known prostitute and heroin addict, is found murdered, Kelsey comes under suspicion.

In order to prove Kelsey's innocence Lily becomes embroiled in the world inhabited by the murdered woman. This involves prostitution, drugs and paedophilia, the heart of the problem.

Review:
I found this extremely readable, despite the dark nature of the subject matter.

The characters are sympathetic: Lily and Miriam really care about the young people and their lives. Kelsey struggles to do the right thing despite the enormous odds against her. Kelsey's mother Grace also has made tremendous efforts to lift herself and her family out of their situation, before meeting her death.

The details of the story display a knowledge of the system born of experience and I found the story very believable and authentic. I do hope that there will be more stories about Lily Valentine.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

John Matthews - Ascension Day

"...exceptionally well written."

Synopsis:
Lawyer Jac McElroy's first big case is a no-hoper: to get a pardon for a man set to be executed in just fifty days...

But Jac's hungry to make his mark and he knows something just isn't right about Larry Durrant's murder conviction. Trouble is, everyone thinks Larry's guilty, from the Louisiana Governor right down to the accused, who has confessed to the crime and now wants to make peace with his maker.

Working alone, Jac soon discovers that someone doesn't want anyone - especially a lawyer - digging around this case. And they'll stop at nothing to make sure Larry's execution goes ahead on schedule. Now Jac must decide whether he's prepared to risk his career, his reputation and his life to save a man who, by his own admission, is a murderer.

Review:
I found this to be an enjoyable books, depite it having a rather predictable ending. With a story not dissimilar to that of Grisham's A Time To Die, Ascension Day sees rookie lawyer, Jac, trying to save a seemingly guilty man from Death Row.

The plot covers the story mainly from the eyes of the lawyer, but also from the convict's family, showing how the murder victim is often not the only innocent victim in a crime.

From the start of the book I found the number of characters being introduced or mentioned slightly overwhelming, but the number of lead or main characters is kept to a level that you are able to follow.

Whilst the reader has little chance of working out the motive for the original murder, and all does become clear at the end, the fact that one is aware of who the killer is well before the end of the book doesn't diminish the wish to read the whole book as it is exceptionally well written. And, despite being able to guess who (if not why), I had to
finish the book quickly just to be proven right in my guesswork!

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Jane Hill - The Murder Ballad

"A very easy and enjoyable book to read."

Synopsis:
Stumbling headlong into a passionate fling and an impromptu marriage to music star Trey, Maeve's life is about to change beyond recognition. Trey wants to whisk her off to his country house in North Carolina and Maeve follows him without a backward glance. But when she first lays eyes on her new home - a dilapidated old cabin in the middle of nowhere - she begins to feel uneasy.

Nothing quite matches up to what she's been led to expect and, below the surface, a dark secret lies buried that has never been resolved. Too late, Maeve realizes that she is all alone in a strange country, sharing a life with a man she hardly knows.

Review:
A very easy and enjoyable book to read. Whilst I didnt get a feeling of total suspense, and thought when reading the book that I was going to be disappointed by the ending, I wasn't too far off. I found the plot to be quite predictable and it was easy to guess who committed any crime, but there was also a spanner thrown into the works that could not be predicted.

That said, Hill has a great style of writing which transports the reader to every scene and makes it feel alive. The lead character is someone you can like and therefore actually care what happens to her.

So although this book wasn't the most thrilling I have read to date, I still enjoyed it, mostly in part to Hill's ability to write so well.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating: