Click a logo below for more information...
 
 

Reviews

January 2012

Peter May - The Lewis Man

"...May is currently unveiling a cracking series."

Synopsis:
Fin Macleod is drawing a line under his past life: his marriage to Mona has officially ended and his employment with Edinburgh and Borders police has finished. Inevitably, he finds himself drawn back to his old home on the Isle of Lewis. When a body is found in the peat bog and DNA proves a family connection to someone still living in Lewis, Fin's curiosity is roused and he becomes involved in helping the local police with their investigation - very unofficially.

Old relationships and deeply hidden family secrets are slowly revealed. The history of “the homers”, children placed in foster families who do not always treat them well, is explored and the horrors of some of the children vividly brought to life. New relationships are also explored and Fin is drawn to the family connections he still has on the island.

Review:
The strength and beauty of this book lies in the exploration of the relationships between people. The characters are beautifully drawn and so true to life. I particularly appreciated the struggle which Marsaili's dad, Tormod has with hanging on to reality and fighting the mists of the dementia which are engulfing him. It is this loosening of Tormod's grasp on present day happenings and his relapse into past times that is the clue that helps us understand what has happened and reveals to Fin and Marsaili the final truth.

In the present, Fin's complicated relationship with the islanders reflects Peter May's understanding of how people work. For those who enjoy learning something new from their literature this book describes the life of the islanders of Lewis past and the present with great sympathy and knowledge. Peter May obviously has a great love for the island and its way of life. The plot is intricate and cleverly fitted together. It finishes with an unexpected bang.

Having previously read 'The Blackhouse' which I thoroughly enjoyed I was concerned the next instalment would not be so enthralling. However, I absolutely loved this second book in the series and can safely state that May is currently unveiling a cracking series.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Steve Hamilton - Misery Bay

"A great story that will hook the reader from the first page..."

Synopsis:
On a frozen January night, a young man loops one end of a long rope over the branch of a tree. The other end he ties around his neck. A snowmobile will find him 36 hours later, his lifeless eyes staring out at the endless cold water of Lake Superior. It happens in a lonely corner of the Upper Peninsula, in a place they call Misery Bay.

Alex McKnight does not know this young man and he won't even hear about the suicide until another cold night, two months later and 250 miles away, when the door to the Glasgow Inn opens and the last person Alex would ever expect comes walking inside to ask for his help.

What seems like a simple quest to find a few answers will turn into a nightmare of sudden violence and bloody revenge and a race against time to catch a ruthless killer. Alex knows all about evil, of course, having faced down a madman who killed his partner and left a bullet next to his heart. Mobsters, drug dealers, hitmen — he's seen them all and they've taken away almost everything he's ever loved. But none of them could have ever prepared him for the darkness he's about to face.

Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed Misery Bay but felt that I would have taken more from the characters had I have read previous Alex McKnight books as there are numerous references to earlier events which I did not understand and with this knowledge it would have given me a better insight into the characters. But this is not a criticism of the book, more a suggestion to read the books in the correct order.

Whilst the plot and characters themselves didn't seem to have a particularly new twist, Hamilton has a great style of writing and really enables the reader to connect with the characters. The plot is well thought out and there is enough information given without it becoming too verbose. Despite McKnight being the main character of the book, liking him and wanting him to survive, I still felt that there was a lot I didn't know about him, but strangely this just made him more interesting to me.

A great story that will hook the reader from the first page that comes highly recommended from me.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

David Thomas - Blood Relative

"...a fantastically gripping and entertaining read..."

Synopsis:
Peter Crookham gets home from work later than anticipated, to find his journalist brother Andy lying dead – his body covered in knife wounds. Crookham's beautiful young wife Mariana is drenched in his blood.

Sure of his wife's innocence, Peter vows to clear her name. However he is forced to rethink his position when he learns of Andy's final investigation – Mariana's life before marriage.

This past, he will discover is entwined with an elusive figure who was once a member of the former East German security service known as the Stasi. The man turns out to be more than that though…far more. And so is Mariana!

Review:
I have long been a fan of the books David Thomas has written under a pseudonym and was intrigued when this one dropped through my letterbox. Rather than the high octane thrillers he writes as an ongoing series, he has stepped out of his comfort zone with the kind of ordinary man in extra-ordinary situation at which the likes of Dick Francis excels.

The plot is relatively straightforward but the drip feed of information as discovered by Peter is excellently handled and keeps you turning the pages until the final magnificent revelation. This discreet pace setting elevates the whole book from very good to brilliant.

Crookham is drawn with an artist's eye for detail, and this is an area where the author has never really had the room to work in previous novels. (Action thriller characters rarely have more than a little back story lest the action slow) As I was reading, I got a strong sense that Thomas really enjoyed getting to grips with his characters and their emotions. Mariana and Andy were skilfully used in absentia and the villain of the piece was suitably evil.

To sum up, I would have to say that Blood Relative is a fantastically gripping and entertaining read which I would have championed as a Fresh Blood novel, had I not know of the author's alter ego.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Ethan Cross - The Shepherd

"...make Cross an author to watch in future."

Synopsis:
Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante's beautiful daughter, a woman with whom he's quickly falling in love, Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.

Review:
'The Shepherd' is a debut novel that has a great mix of gruesome murders, a psychotic killer, revenge and great writing. Cross grips the reader from the first page with the murderous actions of serial killer Francis Ackerman Jr., a killer true to his word but also very unpredictable. Following two storylines, that of Marcus Williams and Ackerman, Cross writes with accomplishment to build an exciting plot and interesting characters. The murders and 'games' carried out by Ackerman are extremely brutal and the scenes leading up to the murders well written.

However, my one criticism of an otherwise excellent debut novel is the extremely unbelievable reasoning for why all the previous events had taken place. It all just seemed way too far fetched and the resolution somewhat spoiled the ending for me. I am assuming all these explanations are due to Williams appearing in other novels by Cross. I am hoping that if this is the case, now the 'why' has been explained, Cross can get back to the writing of the cat and mouse thriller part of the book he obviously excels at.

All that said, I did thoroughly enjoy The Shepherd and would recommend this book and make Cross an author to watch in future.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Ward Larsen - Fly By Night

"...a tight, tense and exhilarating read."

Synopsis:
A top secret CIA drone goes missing over the lawless horn of Africa. While they were initially prepared to write off the loss of the plane, new evidence surfaces that the plane is in a hangar owned by a shady cargo carrier called Fly By Night Aviation.

They turn to ex NTSB investigator Jammer Davis to lead the investigation. He goes to Sudan under the pretence that he is to investigate a plane belonging to FBN Aviation which had crashed, but his real mission is to find the drone.

His enquiries lead him to Khartoum, the Red Sea and into the Sudanese desert. Before long he uncovers a conspiracy which has far reaching consequences.

Review:
It's very hard not to compare Jammer Davis with Lee Child's hero Reacher. Both are big brusque men who are equally handy with their fists and their brains. Both have a military and an investigative background. However Davis is rooted and has a home and a teenage daughter. I could go on at length about similarities but won't as it's not fair to either of the authors or characters.

The characterisation of all the main leads works well within the frames of the crime action thriller genre and the standouts other than the lead are Dr Antonelli, Bob Schmitt and Boudreau. Khoury and Jibril also provide solid support. The pace is relentless from the off and while the plot cannot be described as complicated it isn't simple either. The prose is strong and to the point with little spare baggage.

Where Larsen really excels for me is the way he sprinkles in snippets of aviation knowledge which enhance the story without ever detracting from the flow of action. Buy a copy of 'Fly By Night' and you'll be rewarded with a tight, tense and exhilarating read.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Janet Evanovich - Explosive Eighteen

"...makes for an easy, enjoyable read with plenty of humerous moments."

Synopsis:
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she's knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she's flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he's dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo - Stephanie Plum. Now she's the target, and she doesn't intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she'll need to watch her back.

Review:
With Evanovich and Plum you know what you are getting, and with 'Explosive Eighteen' that was part of the problem. As always, Plum gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it goes from bad to worse, with some comic scenes getting there with the ever loyal Lula at her side, together with an order from 'Cluck in a Bucket'. What I am finding a little frustrating is the never resolving love triangle between Plum/Morelli/Ranger and it would be good to see (after 18 books) a decision finally made as the constant flitting back and forth, whilst amusing to begin with is now wearing somewhat thin.

This book is filled with the usual Plum novels - explosions, murders, missing cars, attempted abductions, break ins, funeral home viewings and dinners at Stephanie's parents' home. It is the standard mix with a different plot which I never fail to enjoy. Colourful characters, unbelievable situations and light hearted relief makes for an easy, enjoyable read with plenty of humerous moments.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Julia Crouch - Cuckoo

"...I will be exploring Crouch’s next offering to see how she progresses as a writer."

Synopsis:
Polly is Rose's oldest friend. So when she calls with the news that her husband has died, Rose doesn't think twice about inviting her to stay. She'd do anything for Polly; it's always been that way.

Polly has never been one to conform - it's one of the qualities Rose admires in her - and from the moment she and her two small boys arrive on Rose's doorstep, it's obvious that she is not the typical grieving widow. But the longer Polly stays, the more Rose wonders how well she really knows her. She can't help wondering too whether her presence has anything to do with Rose's growing sense that she's losing her hold on her family and home. As Rose's meticulously constructed world is picked apart at the seams, one thing becomes clear; once Polly is in, it's very hard to get her out again.

Review:
Crouch's debut novel had some great aspects to it, but also some parts that in my opinion were let down by fussy characters that seemed more fitting in a cookery or home making novel than a pyschological novel. Rose, the main character, was lacking in substance and became rather irritating in her role as 'mother earth' which was a shame as the plot itself was thought provoking and gripping. I felt that Rose was portrayed as whiter than white, but as the layers were revealed it became apparent there was more to her, as indeed with all the characters, but it was done in such a way that little or no empathy was able to be given them.

Polly was obviously weaving a web of lies and destruction but as the story was being told only from the viewpoint of Rose, how she exactly did this was not clear. For me, it would have been more interesting to have been given Polly's point of view as well. However, the great plot certainly sustained my interest and I will be exploring Crouch's next offering to see how she progresses as a writer.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

John F. Dobbyn - Black Diamond

"...I must confess to being blindsided by the final reveal..."

Synopsis:
Michael Knight and his senior partner Lex Devlin agree to defend a jockey accused of murdering a colleague midway through a race at Boston's Suffolk Downs. Michael is experienced in the world of horse racing and this is a key factor in his decision to defend the man who allegedly killed his friend.

However not only is Boston's Irish Mafia involved but there are links to members of the former terrorist branch of the Irish Republican Army. Both of these organisations have fearsome reputations for brutality and Michael finds himself caught between a rock and a very hard place before he has had chance to draw breath.

As the action switches between Boston and Ireland it becomes clear that Michael has got himself mixed up in a scam which the two organisations will kill to preserve.

Review:
This is the first book of Dobbyn's I have read, but it will definitely not be the last. With Michael Knight he has a fantastic lead who is clever, determined and driven. He is ably supported by Lex Devlin and D.A. Billy Coyne but it is Michael's story and he tells it with gusto and aplomb. Ten Sullivan is one of those characters who has a small part with a big impact, as does Seamus McGuiness. Characterisation and atmosphere creation are this author's greatest strengths and boy, is he strong.

The plot is cleverly drawn out and I must confess to being blindsided by the final reveal despite offering many private theories. There has obviously been a lot of research conducted behind the scenes and it shows throughout. The pace is driven steadily by new information being discovered and evaluated. All in all I found Black Diamond to be a very clever and wonderfully written novel. More please.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Tom McDonald - The Charlestown Connection

"The pace is steady without any lulls or dips and the plot is nicely constructed..."

Synopsis:
Dermot Sparhawk was once an all-American College football hero - now he stacks grocery cans in a parish food pantry. His godfather turns up with a knife in his back at Sparhawk's workplace and dies at his feet. Determined to catch his godfather's killer he enlists his Micmac Indian cousin and his paraplegic lodger who was also a former teammate.

The investigation sees him enter the world of the IRA, FBI and the Boston Mafia. He also has to deal with the silence of his neighbourhood streets where no-one will tell tales that may come back to haunt them. As he discovers more and more clues he learns that his life may well depend on him solving the murder of his godfather.

Review:
'The Charlestown Connection' is a remarkable debut from MacDonald and sees him create a marvellously atmospheric thriller which draws the reader into the book with some excellent passages. The book is at its best when the author is setting a scene and his descriptive powers really are second to none. At times I was imagining sights, smells and sounds as they were being described to me.

Sparhawk is the standard kind of character in such novels and does not stand out from the crowd but neither is he hidden. He is the average man who blends in. Other support characters are all well drawn but again are nothing special. Just when you think that characterisation is the author's weak point up pop Angus Og and Glooscap who are both expertly drawn. The pace is steady without any lulls or dips and the plot is nicely constructed although I did guess the ending some 75 pages before I read it.

To sum up 'The Charlestown Connection' I would have to say that this is a book in which the shortcomings of the lead character and the plot are overshadowed by the wonderful sense of place which the book engenders in the reader. The star of this book without a shadow of doubt in my mind is the Charlestown which the author has introduced to me.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Peter James - Perfect People

"...‘Perfect People’ is a thought provoking novel."

Synopsis:
John Klaesson and is wife Naomi are grieving their lost son who died of a rare genetic disease. Desperate for another child but terrified of the diseased gene which they both carry striking again they turn to leading geneticist Dr Leo Dettore. His research has enabled him to cleanse genetic profiles to make sure that hereditary illnesses can be eradicated from the genetic profiles of the embryo. His methods can spare them the pain of losing another child. But his methods also bring into question their own moral codes and they are left wondering if the price is too high.

His shipboard clinic is where the nightmare begins. They are presented with a list to choose from: height, build, eye colour and even personality traits such as empathy and compassion. They discover they have the chance to not only have a disease free child but an actual designer baby. When Naomi falls pregnant they have second thoughts as they are already suspecting something is very wrong.

Review:
This departure from the Roy Grace series is the first standalone novel Peter James has released in years, and boy was it worth the wait. As ever the attention to detail is paramount, and while the thought of lots of scientific facts may concern some readers, James' prose is so delicately written that you never feel as if you are reading a textbook. One set piece took me right back to a similar experience in my own life and I can tell you that every corresponding detail was spot on.

The central characters of Naomi and John are extremely well crafted and their thoughts and fears are portrayed with the skilful nuances at which Peter James excels. Dettore is a fine support as he creates moral dilemmas for reader and character alike and the murderous Timon adds an evil edge to proceedings.

The plot is engrossing and with a book this good you'll be thinking just one more chapter until you realise it's time to go to work. While the pace of the novel is never faster than steady, there is no need for concern as this style of novel would lose out with a hurried style. I have to say that all things considered, 'Perfect People' is a thought provoking novel.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Chris Kuzneski - The Death Relic

"...a fine thriller..."

Synopsis:
When the Spanish vanquished the New World of the Mayan and Aztec empires in the fourteenth century there was little record left of the two civilizations. From the ruins of their empires comes tales of a Christian artefact so deadly both the Mayans and Aztecs simply called it 'The Death Relic'.

Maria Pelati is meeting with an archaeologist who disappears midway through their initial meeting. She calls in intrepid duo Jonathon Payne and David Jones to help her find the missing man. They quickly find a link between his work and his disappearance. Following his trail they have to solve one of the oldest mysteries of the New World and fight to survive.

Review:
For this outing Kuzneski re-introduces Maria Pelati from his first novel 'Sign Of The Cross' along with the regulars of Payne, Jones and Per Ulster. While there is still action aplenty, 'The Death Relic' is probably his most sedate novel to date. Whether he is spreading his literary wings, or is just trying something different, Kuzneski has concentrated far more on the interplay and relationships between his characters instead of the breakneck action which is his trademark. Don't get me wrong all the usual elements are still there, it's just that a newer element is given a larger share than we have previously seen with this author.

The relationships between Payne, Jones and Pelati are given the closest scrutiny and they stand up admirably for what some may perceive as one dimensional characters. Per Ulster, Tiffany and Hamilton are ably drawn but the real stars are as ever Payne and Jones. The prose is as neat as ever although the usage of a certain trait did grate on me from time to time. The pace was relentless and Kuzneski has somehow managed to make relationship issues page turning for someone who expected gunfights and car chases. A remarkable achievement in itself!

All in all 'The Death Relic' is a fine thriller which suffered slightly due to my own high expectations. Recognise it for what it is and you'll love it.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Boyd Morrison - The Midas Code

"...the pace is akin to that of a white water raft ride..."

Synopsis:
Crack army engineer Tyler Locke receives a mysterious ancient manuscript. It is written in ancient Greek which makes it indecipherable to him. Classics scholar Stacy Benedict can help him but they learn that the manuscript may contain the clues to one of history's greatest treasure troves – the tomb of King Midas.

However there are others who have the same goal and they will stop at nothing to unearth the riches that lay with the legendary king. Locke and his new partner must race against other parties to both discover the past and save the present.

Review:
Morrison delivers the goods once again with the follow up to his debut novel, 'The Noah's Ark Quest'. 'The Midas Code' has all the requisite elements, namely high speed action, globetrotting adventure, earth shattering consequences if the hero fails and ancient intrigue affecting the modern world.

Rather than have his hero as the fount of all knowledge, Morrison has given him a different skill set and uses Stacy Benedict as the real brains so that Locke can concentrate on being the ever dependable hero. This leaves Morrison free to write a rip-roaring thriller which has the reader entranced from first page to last.

Tyler Locke is your average hero in this kind of novel and while there really is little to separate him from others in the genre, there is also nothing to make him appear inadequate. Westfield is the sidekick who is there for comedic, explanative and occasional rescue purposes, and he too brings little new to the table. Stacy is a good character who neatly fills her role and the baddies of Crenshaw and Orr are ably put together. Do not be misled though. These types of thrillers are not about the characters – they are about the action. As long as we care about the characters then the books work! If you want beautifully created characters filled with angst, personal insecurities and back stories then don't expect to find them in a 'balls-out' thriller like this.

The plot is very carefully put together with the explosions and explanations all making perfect sense. Hold on tight as the pace is akin to that of a white water raft ride – furious bouts of life threatening action then a spell of calm before the next onslaught on your senses!

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Gregg Olsen - Victim 6

"...if you have a cast iron stomach this may be the one for you!"

Synopsis:
The bodies are found in towns and cities around Puget Sound. The young women who are the victims had nothing in common... except the agony of their final moments. But somebody carefully chose them to stalk, capture, and torture – a depraved killer whose cunning is matched only by the depth of his bloodlust. But the dying has only just begun. And the next victim will be the most shocking of all.

Review:
'Victim 6' is a novel that focuses more on the gruesome and violent aspects of the crimes rather than the investigation, with the detectives being somewhat hapless, disorganised and inefficient in their ability to solve a crime. I was disappointed that there was no explanation for any of the crimes or the behaviours or those carrying them out. Certain clues were sought out by the police but never followed through, giving the book a slightly unfinished feel. The characters all seemed to have really annoying names which didn't endear me to them, and there was a lot of characters so at times it was hard to follow who was who.

However, I did find that despite these negatives there were plenty of positives to the book. I enjoyed Olsen's style of writing and he has a great way of engaging the reader's interest. Even though the plot was a little predictable, Olsen managed to make me read until the end. Definitely not a book for those that are prone to nightmares, but if you have a cast iron stomach this may be the one for you!

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

James Lee Burke - Feast Day of Fools

"When you crack open the spine of a James Lee Burke novel you are never in doubt that you are in for something special."

Synopsis:
Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his wife, and locked in an almost-romance with his Deputy Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off of the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay.

When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack's investigation to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering illegals. Ling denies having seen the victims or perpetrators, but there is something in her demeanour and aristocratic beauty that compels Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds. Could it be that the Sheriff is so taken in by this creature who reminds him of his deceased wife, that he would ignore the possibility that she is just as dangerous as the men she harbours?

The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of serial murderer, Preacher Jack Collins. Presumed dead at the close of 'Rain Gods', Preacher Jack has re-emerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing which is more terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun. But this time he and Sheriff Holland share a common enemy.

Review:
When you crack open the spine of a James Lee Burke novel you are never in doubt that you are in for something special. The man's astonishing back catalogue stretches behind him with a staggering consistency of quality that promises much of the each next offering.
And does 'Feast Day of Fools' measure up? Unquestionably.
There is richness to this man's writing that cannot fail to delight. He specialises in imbuing his characters with certainty of action, even while their motives are conflicted and he is the master of an oblique dialogue that in the hands of someone less skilled would serve only to confuse, but with Burke it never fails to enlighten and engage.

His set pieces are sharp and effective and his prose swoops and soars with a lyricism that would make a poet's heart ache with envy. The plot continues to drive you forward but you force yourself to slow down: to savour the quality of the words arranged on the page.
Character is central to every one of James Lee Burke's novels and the central character here is one Hack Holland, a septuagenarian officer of the law whose mind is stuck in a past war, and the deeds this drove him to, while in the present he sets out to atone with a single-minded zeal afforded only to the convert.

That biblical need to set things right even extends to the conflicted killer, Jack Collins, arguably one of the most arresting degenerates JLB has ever concocted. The scenes where these two men face off to each other spark off the page and give more thrill and satisfaction than even the most finely cooked feast day meal.

The remaining characters are no ciphers either. All have their purpose and all have a depth and contradiction that fascinates. We have a mysterious Chinese woman who is a former CIA agent offering a route of safe passage to illegal immigrants, a Russian pornographer, Mexican drug-dealers and an ex-government employee with dangerous secrets to sell. Even the Texan landscape becomes like another character when given light and shade by the words of the author.

It was no accident that I used the word “biblical” in an earlier statement of this review, for this is feeling that one leaves this work with: there is an epic otherness to the book that only this particular word will suffice. 'Feast Day of Fools' is a book that will undoubtedly reward further study, so once you've satisfied your urge to know how it all worked out, set it aside for when you have a quieter time, read again and savour.

Reviewed by: M.M.

CrimeSquad Rating:

James Patterson and Marshall Karp - Kill Me If You Can

"...when Patterson gets it right, he always hits the bullseye. "

Synopsis:
Matthew Bannon is an ex-marine turned budding artist. When in Grand Central Station Matthew stumbles in to a war zone. Smoke is piling across the concourse and there is an assassinated man, Walter Zelvas, by the lockers, blood smeared across a particular locker. Looking inside he finds a case load of diamonds and in a moment of madness takes them as his own. But the diamonds belong to the Russians and they will stop at nothing to get their property back, setting their prime assassin 'The Ghost' who dispatched Zelvas to locate the diamonds and dispatch the thief. Along with other assassins, Bannon with his beloved Katherine run to Paris and Venice but it will take all of his Marine instincts to keep him and Katherine alive and one step ahead of the enemy.

Review:
For some reason Patterson's novels appear to have stopped being sent to Crimesquad.com despite reviewing his books so often. It is always difficult to keep up to date with the large Patterson yearly output and needless to say sometimes the quality suffers due to the large quantity. However, even though I bought 'Kill Me If You Can' myself I decided to review it because it is rather very good. This is the first collaboration with Marshall Karp who is an excellent author in his own right – read his brilliant 'The Rabbit Factory' if you haven't done so already.

All the right Patterson ingredients are present in this latest offering: short chapters, fast pacy writing and a plot that races along so that before you know it the end is in sight. Patterson's heroes always seem to be utterly and wholly obsessed with the 'love of their lives' and the cringing sex scenes can easily be skimmed. Thankfully the story is not inhibited by these small episodes. 'Kill Me If You Can' is a rollicking good read and one that shows the reader that when Patterson gets it right, he always hits the bullseye.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating: