Book Review: The Locksmith, by Barbara Howe

Reviewed this for Booksellers NZ – Reposting my review from their site…

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_locksmithWho is the Locksmith, and what role does he play in this fantasy tale? You will keep this question in mind as you read through the adventures of Lucinda Guillierre, a young girl living with her stepsister Claire and her stepmother, in the magical world of Frankland, ruled by The Office.

The Office was created in historic times by the Great Coven, which established the four offices of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, and their leaders. Each Office has a Guild, for the study and training of Witches and Wizards of each element.

Unsettled by her lack of magical progress, she resigns herself to a future as a normal person, but agrees to take her sister Claire to challenge the path to meet the Fire Warlock, to have a wish granted. She takes with her, her only true possessions her father left her —two large books…

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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.)

Lee CHILD … How did I not know?

As many followers know, the crime genre is my favourite. I’ve been reviewing crime for New Zealand’s distributor for a few years now.
So WHY have I only just discovered Lee Child?!?

I’ve just finished reading his Reacher novel number 21, sent me by BooksellersNZ

And visited Mr Child’s site. And watched a YouTube vid of Lee Child and Stephen King in a mutually hosted presentation (2015), after the release of Child’s Make Me

Expect a review soon. And in the meantime I’ll be at the local Library…gotta read more!

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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