March 8 2014
And she's certainly got a good bunch to launch us in style. Susan Ee's Angelfall is dark, chilling and utterly riveting, says Linda, who loves post-apocalyptic fiction. Silent Saturday by Helen Grant features a girl looking for adventure to escape her controlling mother. Jane Casey's Bet Your Life features a resourceful and likeable lead character who tries to find out what happened to a rich and popular boy. And Linda praises Andrew Lane's stylish and entertaining take on the young Sherlock Holmes in Knife Edge.
On the thrillers front this week Arnold Taylor says the characters and particularly the narrator of Robert Harris's An Officer and a Spy come to life and bring a new slant to the infamous Dreyfus Trial. John Cleal was swept along by Chris Morgan Jones's The Jackal's Share which he describes as a fiercely intelligent read from the world of high finance. Chris Kuzneski's The Hunters is reminiscent of films like Mission Impossible and Ocean's Eleven, says Laura Parkin, but it's good on the action scenes. The Game by Tom Wood is ingenious and delivered with all the subtlety of a kick in the teeth, says a gleeful John Cleal.
We're also out and about around the country this time, taking in the sights of Manchester, Peterborough, Glasgow and Essex – so don't say we never take you anywhere fancy! Chris Roberts says David Thorne's debut novel East of Innocence, starring an Essex lawyer, is well-paced, even if you do wonder why the lead character hangs around his old stamping ground. Frank Mackay's How a Gunman Says Goodbye, featuring an ageing hitman, won't make you care about the characters, says John Cleal, but it's a chilling and unnerving book from an emerging name in Scottish noir. Sharon Wheeler reports that Chris Simms's A Price to Pay, the second outing for DC Iona Khan, is a page-turner showing the less salubrious parts of Manchester. Eva Dolan's Long Way Home is an assured debut novel set in Peterborough and showing the grim life for many immigrants, says Chris Roberts.
When it comes to releases from the other side of the pond, John Cleal is a fan of Paul Doiron's series featuring game warden Mike Bowditch, and highlights the startling twists and turns in Trespasser. You might look at your neighbours in a different light after reading Julia Heaberlin's Lie Still. Sylvia Maughan says it's not a bad read, but suffers from an over-complex plot. David Ellis's The Wrong Man is a decent legal thriller, although sometimes difficult to take seriously, reckons Chris Roberts.
And finally on the European beat, Donna Leon ventures away from her Commissario Brunetti to a musicologist faced with mysterious papers that belonged to a Baroque composer. Sylvia Wilson describes The Jewels of Paradise as an absolute gem.
It's an Italian author facing the Countdown interrogation this week – Gianrico Carofiglio, a former anti-Mafia prosecutor. He slips in an extra place to run away to – but we admire his good taste and appreciation of the seasons when it comes to the venues!
We'll back in a fortnight with 16 new reviews and an interview with a top author. In the meantime, we hope you'll visit our friends at Reviewing the Evidence and find out what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic.
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Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...
Crowded, busy, noisy, jolly, boring, not boring, frantic, quiet, not serious.
Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...
A table, my computer, a glass of chilled white wine, some food, trees, a piano with a piano player, canals and lot of water, gondolas, sunshine. Guess where I am …
Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?
Spaghetti all’assassina (murderer’s spaghetti), a VERY spicy recipe.