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
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




Kill the Next One, by Federico Axat

AXAT_Kill The Next OneWhen I began reading, I was hooked…especially at the double-back. As Ted battles with the enormity of what he has done, and what he may do, I became increasingly meshed with the multitude of dilemmas in which he found himself.

My head spun with the merry-go-round of events as his life unfolds after attempting suicide. What was going to happen next, for crying out loud? The puzzle was so enigmatic, I had to keep reading as events unfolded.

The more Ted learned, the more intricate the tale…fascinating. His fouled relationship with his wife and daughters, his enmeshment in so many complications, the discoveries we find… all gripped me. Definitely a one-sitting read!

An unusual tale, told in a series of twists…which I’m afraid seemed (to me) to wrap up too suddenly, leaving something indeterminate unsaid. The final chapter seemed a bit of a let-down, but the fact remains, I’ve read no crime novel like this before, and I want more from AXAT!

The Blurb: An audacious psychological thriller where nothing is what it seems. Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. Then the doorbell rings. A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain. Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel. Kill The Next One, an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

Publisher: The Text Publishing, Australia  2016
Originally published as La ultima salida (The Last Way Out)2016
Translation © Hachette Book Group Ltd with permission
of Little, Brown and Company, NY

Print: 9781925355871
Ebook: 9781925410259

Other AXAT titles:

  • The Meadow of the Butterflies
  • El aula 19/Classroom 19 (Digital edition)
  • Benjamin

More titles listed at Federico’s site (behind the portrait) Federico AXAT

Federico is also found here…
Twitter: @FedericoAxat, and FaceBook:

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.


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

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VIVIENNES BLOG, by NZ author Stephen LEATON (release mid-January ’15)

eb83c-vivienneVIVIENNE’S  BLOG

Author Stephen K. LEATON
It was a lot easier to read and enjoy Vivienne’s Blog than it has been to write this review. Not wanting to sell it short, I actually spent time refining my understanding of the genres mentioned among the publisher’s material: thriller, chilling suspense, fantastical, psychological thriller, or mystery.
The book’s designer has helped us readers by using alternate fonts, to show Vivienne’s internal thoughts as distinct from her blog entries, or her letters to her ex-husband, to whom her blog is directed.
One of the fascinations is – what is she remembering as real, and what is a fantasy, a psychotic memory, a deranged version of history and truth? As she seeks to both preserve her “Faerie” bloodline and to “punish” her ex-husband and his second wife, we are swept into the maelstrom of her mind – and the suspense is very, very real. Is the baby safe with her? Will she be captured before any danger comes to her or the child?
She is not unintelligent – she reads body language expertly. She plans. She is never taken by surprise, but can make mistakes. At times expressing herself lucidly, yet at times rambling and erratic, we are “in the air” – puzzled as we wonder – what is real and what is Vivienne’s reality?
And as the story and her life ends – Leaton drops us a chilling bombshell.
(Move along…no spoilers here)

Publisher: EUNOIA Publishing Ltd

Date Available: 2015 (mid-January)
ISBN: 978-0-9941047-9-3 Paperback, perfect bound
ISBN: 978-0-9941047-1-7 Leather cover, stitched, ribbon tied, illustrated.
Also will be available in Kindle.
R.R.P $NZ 34.99 p’back; $NZ 45.00 deluxe edition;
RRPs will vary according to medium, sales channel and purchasing nation.
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Thank you and have a Happy New Year
– Lynne. –

The Killing Season, by Mason CROSS

Carter Blake is a bit of a mystery  He specialises in locating people who don’t want to be found, and certainly has skills and thought processes to make him good at his job. 
Hang on, it’s not a job – he’s not employed salary-wise – he accepts contracts, so he’s a free agent. We don’t know Blake’s background – is he ex police? Ex military? Ex Secret Service?
Blake is called in by the FBI to assist in locating a death row escapee, serial killer Caleb Wardell. SAC Walter F Donaldson sets Dave Edwards (“Assistant Special Agent”) in charge of the man hunt, with Special Agent Elaine Banner to work with Edwards and Blake.
Unsurprisingly when you get to know him, Blake prefers to use his own methods. Banner sticks with him as he heads in the directions he’s certain Wardell would have taken, while Edwards stubbornly takes the conservative, tried-and-true procedures and heads in the wrong direction.
Add interplay with Russian mobsters, whose attempt to free Wardell’s transport companion gave Wardell the opportunity to get away. They’re not too pleased about Wardell killling their objective either.
Blake works by getting inside the head of the one to be caught. But he arrives at the right locations at the wrong time: too late to prevent a murder or massacre. Wardell enjoys both – a particular target or a random set of victims.
Mix in politics and bad politics, manipulation of Wardell himself, and his of Blake, a fake FBI agent, and you have a pot-pourri of things rotten.
What makes this a great book is Cross letting us see different characters’ points of view – it adds to one’s understanding of the character, and of his/her motivation and processing of the events. It’s a method well handled, and I will definitely be looking for the next novel. Killing Season is the first of a Carter Blake series, so there’s a reason for buying it, then The Samaritan, expected in 2015.
Publisher Orion Books, for Hatchette UK Co
© Mason Cross 2014
ISBN 978-1-4091-4567-7 paperback
Also available as hard cover and ebook editions
Find your Booksellers NZ outlet here

Pop Goes the Weasel, by M J ARLIDGE

Pop Goes the Weasel,
(featuring D. I. Helen Grace)

Like crime TV? Like Silent Witness?
Arlidge wrote for that series,
and you’ll love Arlidge’s Pop Goes the Weasel.

In this crime thriller, Arlidge has continued to focus the story around the character he first created in ‘Eeny Meeny’–Detective Inspector Helen Grace: “I wanted a female protagonist who was different from anything I’d seen before–more interesting than the people she was tracking.”

(SoundCloud: Richard & Judy Book Club

He has written not a linear plot, but near parallel scenes featuring the different characters in the tale, and it works well. The plot covers revenge, spousal and child abuse, prostitution and gang control, and intermingled with the criminal element are snippets of the private lives of the police investigation team

Men turn up dead – and butchered. Their hearts are delivered to their places of work – unlike the first victim, for whom the delivery is made to his home. D I Grace finds her investigation is made difficult by the new Detective Superintendant, Ceri Hardwood, who is keen to advance her career by piggy-backing on the successes of her team. Then there is the callously ambitious crime reporter, using fair means or foul to access information about the progress of the investigation, and leads towards a headline maker to bump her career. All the while, frustrated but loyal team members follow Grace’s hunches, tracking down leads and people for interview, as they work steadily to resolve the mounting body count and their own domestic issues.

This is more like watching a television production – descriptive passages set the scene, bring action to life, reveal emotions…than reading. No chapter is longer than it need be to present the scene. The tale is tight, and all the more vivid for it. We watch how the British police proceed through an investigation, as they work within the law (with one or two stepping outside for a quick result) to track and trace online and real world activity of suspects or leads.

This was a great read – Arlidge’s style had me stuck to his pages over two days until finishing it. That doesn’t happen often.  I would question only one element – the body count mentioned at the end of chapter 35 seemed one short.

 But then, I’ve not read it a second time. Yet…
If you want a fast-paced, intriguing set of puzzle pieces to fit together, this is the book for you.

 (A third in this series is scheduled for release in February 2016.)

Publication: data
Buy it at…
Publisher: Penguin (11 Sep 2014)
Paperback edition: 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1405914955
ISBN-13: 978-1405914956
Online: Booksellers NZ

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FACE OFF, edited by David BALDACCI

Pairs of favourite crime authors “face off” against each other to write their own favoured characters into a single short story.

Each of the eleven stories – some written as separate sections, some via distance collaboration – allows the distinctive traits of the characters to remain true to their origins. This reader ripped through the book avidly, then re-read it more closely.
For fans of either a writer or a crime series character, this compilation will delight as the character has to work with another author’s character.
Crime story readers who’ve not yet met a particular crime author will find this an ideal avenue into new reading.

The proceeds of this book are to go towards the International Thriller Writers group, and is not their first compilation (look for Thriller, 2006; Thriller 2, 2009; Love Is Murder, 2012).
As Editor, David Baldacci gives an overall introduction to the work involved in the ITW and its publications, and brief author biographies.

1. Red Eye has Dennis LEHANE’s Patrick Kenzie and Michael CONNELLY’s Harry Bosch working together.
2. In the Nick of Time has Ian RANKIN’s Rohn Reburs and Peter JAMES’ Roy Grace working together.
3. Gaslighted has R.L. STINE’s Slappy The Ventriloquist Dummy appearing with Douglas PRESTON and Lincoln CHILD’s character Aloysius Pendergast.
4. The Laughing Buddha has M. J. ROSS’s Malachi Samuels alongside Lisa GARDNER’s D. D. WARREN.
5. Surfing the Panther has Steve MARTINI’s Paul Madriani with Linda FAIRSTEIN’s Alexandra Cooper.
6. Rhymes With Prey has Jeffrey DEAVER’s Lincoln Rhyme with John SANDFORD’s Lucas Davenport.
7. Infernal Night has Heather GRAHAM’s Michael Quinn with F. Paul WILSON’s Repairman Jack.
8. Pit Stop has Raymond KHOURY’s Sean Reilly with Linwood BARCLAY’s Glen Barclay.
9. Silent Hunt has John LESCROART’s Wyatt Hunt with T Jefferson PARKER’s Joe Trona.
10. The Devil’s Bones has Steve BARRY’s James Rollins with James ROLLINS’s Gray Pierce.
11. Good And Valuable Consideration has Lee CHILD’s Jack Reacher with Joseph FINDER’s Nick Heller

Publisher: Hatchette New Zealand
Date: © International Thriller Writers, Inc, 2014
ISBN 978-0-7515-5492-2

 Find your nearest Outlet here

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Cross Fingers by Paddy RICHARDSON

Cross Fingers

author Paddy Richardson

If asked to produce a televisions documentary on the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand, how would you go about putting a new spin on it when it’s been hashed and rehashed in news media so many times? 
That’s a quandary faced by Rebecca Thorne, television journalist, in a gripping story of sleuthing, old case files, stalking and personal danger, as she strives to find not only a ‘new angle’ but once found, to follow it up and learn how it was resolved.

Paddy Richardson puts us in Rebecca’s place, and we follow the leads, interview the relevant parties to the acts of rebellion and hostility during the tour, read police interview files from the time, and meet some of the families and people who took part in the tour protests (or in the police Squads).

This was a thoroughly enjoyable, “not putting it down till I’ve finished” read. Richardson’s intriguing plot line allows her to use the technique of slipping “old files” into the current story line  smoothly and realistically; no sense of a producer calling “cut” between takes old and new. And the “old files” are so realistically like a police report they are utterly believable.

Her unique twist on an historical event is conveyed in such a believable style I’ve caught myself Wiki’ing the tour and the police squads and protests. She has sparked something – I have a question I can’t mention here as it would be a spoiler if I did. And this is one book I’d suggest parents bought for their offspring too young to have been aware of how that tour affected New Zealand. It’s fiction, sure – but Richardson provides real food for thought better than any History teacher ever could!

I don’t usually “rate” with my reviews, but for Cross Fingers I will – 10 out of 10, for readability, for a well-told twist of crime vis á vis community, for writing a crime story in a unique style.

2013, Auckland, Hatchette New Zealand
ISBN: 978-1-86971-307-2

 Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book. If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank youCross Fingers,

GUN MACHINE – author Warren Ellis

– a crime thriller cum mystery by action-comic writer Warren Ellis ELLIS_Gun Machine

The best part of Ellis’s work here is the way the changing points of view, from the protagonist’s (1st Precinct detective John Tallow) to the antagonist’s (“the hunter”) – it brings closer the ability to see the hunter’s desparation in his crazed world.
And it took an accidental discovery for the hunter to enter the story.
When called to a disturbance in an apartment building, in which Tallow’s partner is killed by a naked tenant gone mad on learning his home is to be sold out from under him, Tallow has to kill the angry tenant. Who’s shot and killed his partner. During the aftermath with medics, police and CSU people swarming, Tallow examines a hole in another apartment’s wall, blasted earlier by the tenant. Inside the room he discovers a puzzle.
No, an enigma, a mystery, a symbolic almost mystical gun display of as yet unrecognised significance.
Ballistic tests on a few of the guns link them to unsolved killings from years ago, and Tallow has “reopened several hundred homicides” – considered cold cases with any evidence long locked away in the vaults of the sub-basement of the Propery Office. The sheer numbers of cases to be reopened are overwhelming, and all are dumped on Tallow to work, with a team of two young CSU staff.
From the hunter’s point of view, the disturbance at the apartment block is unsettling – he watches his collection being brought out from the building in crates and boxes, loaded into a police truck and disappearing. Right from the moment we meet the hunter, we see his double life – unhinged and switching from a cold modern reality to a self-created mystical identification with the native americans who’d inhabited the sites of New York during pre-European settlement. 
Tallow, under increasing pressure from superiors and fellow detectives, is expected to work alone as he uncovers corruption among colleagues and top citizens and bigwigs in both the commercial and the criminal worlds, as the hunter becomes more and more unable to control his delusions. Becoming increasingly dangerous: blackmail, manipulation, payoffs – all when revealed contribute to the resolution of the network of lies, murder and threats.
Ellis has written a gripper of a thriller, and I expect to become just as rapt in his other novels, starting back with his first – Crooked Little Vein.

Ellis, W., 2013. Gun Machine. London: Mulholland Books, Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN (paperback)  978-1-444-73064-7
ISBN (ebook)          978-1-444-73065-4

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Jillianne HOFFMAN, "The Cutting Room"

 The Cutting Room, by Jilliane Hoffman

 by Jilliane HOFFMAN
Published by Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN: 978007 311675

The Cutting Room reminds us that prison incarceration is not necessarily able to end the machinations of sick-minded prisoners, who can reach beyond the walls and have others commit crimes for them.

Carefully constructed in three parts, this 410 pager is a skin crawler in some chapters, and its story – beginning with a filmed snuff movie – concludes in a quiet and personal (but slightly disturbing) conquering of mental demons by the female Prosecuting Attorney, C-J.
Between those two points, we follow the progression of serial killings, mutilated victims, sick voyeurism, corrupt and perverted members of the criminal and justice systems and high society, and the personal turmoil of a surviving ex-victim. We see the strain on relationships of those working the case at its early and final stages. We lose one character who we expect to be the surviving puzzle solver.
This is a “re-reader” – I’m into my third round, revisiting scenes for the quality of the writing, the characterisation, the dialogue. And picking up on nuances I’d missed in earlier readings, so cleverly has the author drawn me into the world of sick crime and determined investigation.

Ms Hoffman’s style is a pleasure to read, the plot structure intertwines events past and current, from New York to Miami, to California, Orlando, the Santa Ynez Mountains, back to Miami and hints of the future. Rivetting stuff!

I love criminal justice and forensic drama – CSII, Law & Order, NCIS., Bones, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, et al – so The Cutting Room  couldn’t have been sent to a more biased reviewer. I found myself wanting a whiteboard to chart all the victims and perpetrators and their links, but chose to re-read instead.

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