Hide And Seek, by M J Arlidge

ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek_NZArlidge’s style has me determined to get my hands on each novel in the D. I. Helen Grace series of crime stories. His characters – both the police team members, and each title’s new cast members – are well and truly alive on the page – real, and human with their foibles and fancies.

In Hide And Seek our favourite police officer-no-more is in her worst possible place: the world behind the bars of Holloway. Both the guards and the inmates (some of whom are there because of Helen) have already adjudged her as a rotten copper – before her trial – and as just another crim.

When the inmate of the cell beside Helen’s is found dead in her bed, left by her killer in a bizarre and ghastly state, it is Helen who has to remind the inmates that none of them are safe. Helen is driven to watch both guards and inmates alike in her effort to identify the killer.

She faces suspicion and hostility from both sides. The second and third kill creates a frenzy among the inmates. An understandable error of thinking delays her eventual discovery of the murderer, which she learns the hard way. Seriously, the hard way.

The unwarranted (as in, not official) actions of loyal D. C. Charlie Brookes are what decides the sequel*.

Published 2016 by Michael Joseph, for Penguin/Random House
ISBNs:
Hardbound:     978-0-718-18383-7 (NZ ISBN: 978-0-718-18383-7)
Paperback:      978-0-718-18384-4 (NZ ISBN: 978-1-405-92562-4)

Researching Holloway

Arlidge has posted about his research into Holloway prison, carried out almost while conceiving the story for Hide And Seek.

Read about his research at  DeadGoodBooksBlog logo

The Series:

   Eeny Meeny
   Pop Goes the Weasel
   The Doll’s House
   Liar Liar
   Little Boy Blue
   Hide And Seek
   *   Follow My Leader, later in 2017

The New Zealand Cover differs from editions produced for northern hemisphere markets
ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek       ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek_USmaybe

 

 

 

Reviewing “Night School” by Lee Child

child_lee-jack-reacher-21

“In the morning they gave him a medal, and in the afternoon they sent him back to school”

 

Night school, set in 1999, is Lee Child’s twenty-first novel in the Jack Reacher collection. (It’s debatable about referring to the Reacher books as a series, as they’re not serial in Jack’s timeline..)

If Lee Child wanted to keep Jack Reacher fans happy, then this has certainly achieved its purpose.

In Night School Jack is made invisible by sending him to training school – where he finds two other ‘students’. All are invisible to personnel in the Military Police, the FBI and the CIA.

The three agents are to work a clandestine investigation into all possible threats, reporting only to the National Security Advisor to the President, through his senior deputy Dr. Marian Sinclair who briefs them: An Iranian (a double agent) living with three Saudis in a safe house in Hamburg, has reported a message carried by a courier “The American wants one hundred million dollars”. Their job—to learn what is being offered, worth that price. There are two rules: Rule Number Two: talk to no one – except Sinclair. Rule number one: do not burn the Iranian asset. Reacher brings in Sergeant Frances Neagley, and heads to Hamburg to find out what they can.

Soon after arriving, they are called back to McLean, where they are briefed on a possible product – a Trojan virus has just appeared on the black market: it can override the patch coding for ensuring computer systems correctly handle the millennium clock change – the Y2K threat – and stop computer clocks at any moment. The team’s focus now is to track down who could be arranging that Trojan’s sale. Who more likely than a geek? And a convention of coders was held in Hamburg at the time of the message being reported.

The team sift through records of americans attending the convention, turning up one ex-Pat American living in Hamburg. News comes in of a Hamburg police report from a witness to an agitated meeting between an American and a “middle-eastern” man. Tracking movements of American military moves, Reacher & Neagley discover three serving in Germany have gone AWOL – one for four months. Reacher & Neagley are ordered back to Hamburg, with pics of all american geeks for that witness to id.

The investigation continues, with Child giving snippets of the actions of other parties in the plot, building up the complexity of the case, and allowing readers to visualise locations and character, and foresee possible events – yet there are surprises, still. Action scenes are defined crisply, with realistically timed reading pace matched with movement. Threats on the side build tension, and the engrossed reader will surmise the worst scenario possible; resist the urge.

All in all, a satisfying read, from the opening to the resolution. Reacher fans and new readers alike will become engrossed in this book, being released globally on November 7.
Night School by Lee CHILD
388 pages, in forty-five chapters
Published by Bantam Press, of Transworld Publishers, 2016
Released through Penguin Random-House. 7th November

ISBN: 9780593073902

Availability:

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PS: Further information, from Lee Child’s website, the FAQs page [ http://www.leechild.com/faqmedia.php ], question 4…
“If you’re a diehard must-be-read-in-chronological-order person: The Enemy (prequel set 8 years before Killing Floor); The Affair (prequel set shortly before Killing Floor); Killing Floor; Die Trying; Tripwire; Running Blind (US title)/The Visitor (UK title); Echo Burning; Without Fail; Persuader; One Shot; The Hard Way; Bad Luck and Trouble; Nothing to Lose; Gone Tomorrow; 61 Hours; Worth Dying For; A Wanted Man, Never Go Back.” (Not yet updated to show where Night School fits.)

Reviewing Blood Related, by NZ author William Cook

I love crime – any media. I’ve been a fan from way W COOK_Blood Related
back  – Hitchcock’s Half-Hour and The Untouchables,
at thirteen. Most current crime shows I watch “live” – but  Silent Witness I have to record and watch in daylight.
It’s too good a show to not watch at all – no matter how creeped out I get. Most crime novels (thrillers, chillers, serial killers…) I can read at any time.
But if Blood Related had been a TV show – I would have had to watch it in daylight.

A delightfully chilling sense of unease throughout the tale of Caleb Cunningham, psycho-killer, as he turns slaughter into an art form – ‘installations’ – hidden from discovery under the city. The sewers and drains are his alleys and pavements.

Gut-wrenching reveals – his twin brother a killer too, both moulded as such by their father, another serial killer, and their mother an insane alcoholic. Bodies secreted everywhere, even in the much modified basement of the family town house. His grandfather was a killer, his handiwork scattered in the grounds of a country farm.

Only homicide Detective Ray Truman senses connections and pursues the multitude case files as he works on the puzzle of three generations of serial killers. He comes too close to ending Caleb’s continued criminal future.

So, those are the facts of who’s in the tale, but no spoilers. Some reviewers will give you more but  I’d like you to follow the horror in Cook’s pages.

You still have a lot of fine reading to do. Cook’s style is unique – part narrative, part reportive – and the details of Caleb’s insane crime spree are conveyed in a (first-person) skin-crawler style which fascinates and repulses, both. This will not be my first, or only, William Cook thriller!

Published 2015 King Billy Publications, Wellington, New Zealand

Buy at Amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/BloodRelatedPromo: Kindle or Paperback editions available

Read about more of William’s work at his site: http://williamcookwriter.com

Reviewing Blood Related, by NZ author William Cook

I love crime – in any media. I’ve been a fan from way back – Hitchcock’s Half-Hour and The Untouchables. Most current crime shows I watch “live” – but Silent Witness I have to record and watch in daylight. It’s too good a show to not watch at all – no matter how creeped out I get.

Most crime novels (thrillers, chillers, serial killers…) W COOK_Blood RelatedI can read at any time. But if Blood Related had been a TV show – I would have had to watch it in daylight. A delightfully chilling sense of unease throughout the tale of Caleb Cunningham, psycho-killer, as he turns slaughter into an art form – ‘installations’ – hidden from discovery under the city. The sewers and drains are his alleys and pavements.

Gut-wrenching reveals – his twin brother a killer too, both moulded as such by their father, another serial killer, and their mother an insane alcoholic. Bodies secreted everywhere, even in the much modified basement of the family town house. His grandfather was a killer, his handiwork scattered in the grounds of a country farm.

Only homicide Detective Ray Truman senses connections and pursues the multitude case files as he works on the puzzle of three generations of serial killers. He comes too close to ending Caleb’s continued criminal future.

So, those are the facts of who’s in the tale, but no spoilers. Some reviewers will give you more but  I’d like you to follow the horror in Cook’s pages.

You still have a lot of fine reading to do. Cook’s style is unique – part narrative, part reportive – and the details of Caleb’s insane crime spree are conveyed in a (first-person) skin-crawler style which fascinates and repulses, both. This will not be my first, or only, William Cook thriller!

Published 2015 (3rd edition)
Billy King Publications NZ   King Billy Publications, Wellington, New Zealand

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Read about more of William’s work at his site: http://williamcookwriter.com

Little Boy Blue, ARLIDGE’s 5th DI Helen Grace thriller

This series just keeps getting better and better – ARLIDGE M J_Little-Boy-Blue.jpg
Little Boy Blue is more than just a thriller. It’s the most gripping, most creepy, most enthralling of the series. We Grace fans have seen her face her demons, come to admire her gutsy persistence, her empathy, her instinctive judgement.

This time around, we find she will need more, with three murder cases to solve, which all have something in common – Helen. That makes the cases personal.

But she has two things else to deal with. Firstly the quandary of backing off from the investigation, or trusting Gardam (her Detective Superintendent with more than mere business on his mind) by sharing her connections with the victim. And then she has newly ranked DS Charlie Brooks vying with DS Sanderson for Helen’s favour on their way up the career ladder, both getting in each other’s way while working to resolve the increasing scope of the investigation.

While Helen strives to ensure her links to the murder victims do not come back on her career, our old friend Emilia makes the connection, and D I Grace hits the headlines.

From starting to build a profile of the killer, and discover a possible motive, she arrives at a surprising and thoroughly unpleasant meeting with her past, and an arrest to her career devised by deviously clever means. No happy endings in this thrilling, chilling tale…

… leaving me looking forward to seeing where Arlidge will take DI Grace in Hide And Seek, sixth in the series with an expected release in September.

More news: DI Helen Grace Series is in development for BBC TV – I sort of saw that coming.

Published by Michael Joseph, for
33%_penguin-random-house
Hardback edition (Arlidge’s first) –  ISBN: 978-0-718-18183-3
Also available in Paperback – ISBN:  978-0-718-18083-6
Kindle edition also available, published by Penguin

Already available in the Northern hemisphere,
with a NZ release date of 30th May, through

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Liar, Liar, by M J ARLIDGE

The opening fiery scene is ARLIDGE -Liar Liardramatic in itself, leading on to the realisation there are two other fires in Southampton. Southampton police are desperate to find if there is a link between the fires, and a lead opens when suspicions arise about the owners of the first three properties.

Within a day, three more suspicious fires are set.

Their new DS Jordan Gardam is a micro-manager, to Helen’s discomfort. Her team instinctively trust her orders and follow instructions without pause. The SOC team and officers sift through the remains of the razed homes and buildings, combing among ash and charred remnants for clues, around the dangerously-near to imminent collapse of structural parts of the buildings.

One family tragedy is the start of many, as the arsonist continues. Our old friend Emilia, newspaper investigator and reporter–and fame-seeker–is right on the scene, publishing ‘only the facts’ about the case. Which serves to add fuel to the fire of outrage among the community

Just when we think Helen’s got it sorted–there come more fires, more deaths, more fraying nerves and tempers–and more leads. DI Grace and her team have to put together bits and pieces of information of they had not realised the significance.

We begin to suspect she’s on the wrong tack, and then more pieces of the puzzle take on a new interpretation, leading to the final gripping chapters and unvoiced questions (the answers to which may, or may not, be revealed in a follow-up in the series).

Liar Liar is the fourth in Arlidge’s DI Helen Grace thriller series, Liar Liar fulfils all DI Grace’s fans with the same fascination in her and the team’s progress through the investigation of “a series of carefully calculated acts of murder” as they have found in Eeney Meeney, Pop Goes the Weasel and The Doll’s House.

33%_penguin-random-house

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-718-18082-9
Published 2015

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The Killing Lessons — Saul BLACK

Killing Lessons cover
NZ edition cover

The Killing Lessons, author Saul BLACK

 

ISBN Hardback: 9 781 4091 5294 1
ISBN Paperback: 9 781 4091 5295 8
ISBN Ebook: 9 781 4091 5297 2

Why did it take three years over eleven states before seven murders were connected as the work of one killer? A creepy and sick behaviour pattern is the link, and San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is driven to an to pursue the cold cases –and the new murders.

Special agent Carla York is brought in to replace a colleague on sick leave–but why then blight Detective Hart’s reputation with hate mail, reporting her blackouts, her alcoholism, and an attempt to frame her as a drug user?

The serial killer is no longer working alone, and killings continue, with the intervals between killings reducing over time. So far, so usual…

Except Black gives us a direct point of view into the delusional, crazed alpha killer and his simpleton beta partner. The killer has a reason for his killing trail, not yet complete, risen from his macabre past. It drives him closer to insanity as he continues–and we are with him all the way.

We are also with his latest victims, as they suffer the most chilling sadistic treatment, and a humiliating death.

The final outcome is not an easy read–it’s damned scary, and although I love being scared as I review good crime writing as I have for this review blog, this story is the only one yet encountered which has had me so wound up in the terror that the closure for one character and another brought tears of relief. Now that’s good crime writing.

Nota Bene– Saul BLACK is, in re, Glen DUNCAN–writer of
The Last Werewolf  (pub. Canongate), &  I, Lucifer  (pub. Scribner)

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NZ Release Date:
12 May 2015
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The Doll’s House – M J Arlidge

I now kARLIDGE -The Doll's Housenow exactly what I will be doing in early September this year–reading the coming Liar Liar, 4th in the Helen Grace, which started with Eeny Meeny, then Pop Goes the Weasel, and now The Doll’s House–by UK author M J ARLIDGE (Twitter @mjarlidge), due for release on 12th February. Love this author’s style.

The accidental discovery of a young woman’s body in wet, cold, beach sand, having died of starvation in darkness, begins DI Grace and her team’s investigation, tracing the body’s identity and background.

A parent reports the disappearance of their daughter Ruby, who shares the same hair and eyes.

Grace’s intuition tells her there is a link between the two cases, and when one of her team finds two old case files of similar missing persons, she realises the body uncovered on the beach is the first of three, all sharing distinctive features. The beach reveals the two bodies – also having died of starvation in darkness, and over a four year period. Another serial killer is out and about.

Ruby in the meanwhile is being held in an isolated room, in darkness, occasionally visited by her captor, who seeks to replicate in Ruby the long gone love of his life, his sister Summer. He fantasises that the “Summer” living in the room below ground (set up to replicate their childhood safe place) is still having difficulty “adjusting” to being together again.

Forced to dress in clothing not of her own choosing, only being fed when she “behaves”, Ruby finds a stash of secreted notes in a hiding place behind a loose brick, all written by three previous captives. She learns to play her captor for small allowances – things she can turn to tools for an escape bid.

Grace’s desperation for finding a trace of her missing nephew* leads her into breaching procedures, snooping through the national police database, at last finding an entry under his name. A colleague helps track the full file. Grace is caught in a set up created to rid the team of Grace and the overshadowing glory cast by her earlier successes.

The investigation is ensnared in false leads, but with assistance from a former nuisance Grace finally has the full picture – where Ruby is most likely to be held, who the captor is, his motivation…and his intent.

The serial killer has found another candidate to become his Summer. Enraged by Ruby’s escape attempt, and realising police are watching his place of work, he tries to dispose of both Ruby and the doll’s house in which he has been holding her.

‘Read carefully, I will say only ‘zis’ … a lone Kawasaki motorbike is faster than a patrol car, and the absence of backup creates an urgent need to go it alone.

Penguin logo For release from 12th February in three formats this is joining one of my crime authors’ collections  on my shelf (shelves)

Digital Audiobook    ISBN: 9781405921008
Paperback                   ISBN: 9781405919197 ( from Amazon )
ePub eBook               ISBN: 9781405919203 ( from Amazon )

* Not sure about him?
Buy books one and two in the series (Amazon Author page )

AFTER HER- by Joyce MAYNARD

More than a crime story, Maynard’s tale is that of how two sisters, Rachel and Patty, cope raising themselves, caught between a disinterested mother and an absent Police Detective father, during and after the extended period in which a serial killer prowls the hills on which they play. Told from Rachel’s point of view, in the first person, the reader is drawn into the sisters’ world, their family, and Rachel’s development.
With imagination in lieu of spending money, they roam far and wide, inventing stories and games in the vast region crossed by trails and tracks. Up in the hills, they discover (and believe they are the first to do so) a dumped rusted out truck, which becomes a secret place for their days left to their own devices.
To indicate the time period – their musical entertainment is via a small portable record player, with a collection of records retrieved from a dumpster (Black Sabbath, Moody Blues, Rolling Stone, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin, Arlo Guthrie, Leonard Cohen … ). At the foothills in the evenings, they watch their neighbours’ television through uncurtained windows, making up the dialogue for shows like Charlie’s Angels, Little House on the Prairie, or Brady Bunch reruns. They cycle, Patty plays basketball, Rachel writes.
When Rachel is thirteen, while watching neighborhood television, they see their father appear on the news. Knowing it must be something important, they follow the line of flight of a Police helicopter overhead, arrive at a gathering of Police vehicles and staff, and learn a girl has gone missing, and a bloodied sock is all that’s been found so far. Rachel realises it’s not a wild animal attack – her faith in her father tells her: if it were an animal attack, her father would not have been called in.
The victim is found, dead and trussed in a particularly unusual  position, which is to become the “call sign” of the killer who continues to kill over months. Although everyone is warned not to go up into the hills, people do – the sisters too – and further killings happen. The details of each case are held back from the press, but somehow one or two “info-snips” make the front page.
Rachel, her family knows, sometimes has visions, which often precede events. Now her visions start showing her the killer in action, and she is torn between letting herself waken, or staying in the dream to try to see something her father can use. But her visionary dreams unsettle her so much, her father tells her to stop letting them draw her in. They continue, but she stops passing on what she sees.
As the case of the serial killer continues, taking its toll on her father and the reputation of the local Police, Rachel and Patty continue to grow and develop as all young teens do. Rachel decides to contrive a situation which will bring the killer to them. Their misguided attempt to help causes further trouble for their father. To his shame, the FBI are called and take over. An arrest is made, and although Rachel is able to convince him of her evidence they have arrested the wrong man, he con do nothing.
Thirty years on, after losing her father to lung cancer, Patty becoming a pro basket-baller, Rachel studying forensic psychology and becoming a fully fledged writer, Rachel who has remained sure the killer is still at large, begins traveling and tracking killings which fit the same modus operandi.
How successful can she be in trying to put things right?
Published 2013, William Morrow imprint of Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-229184-4 (international, paperback)
           978-0-06-225739-0 (hard cover)

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