Cushla

RDO for libraries...book reviewer...lots of book and reading related stuff...animal rights, dog person, LFC and warcraft player

 

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The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter  Swanson Hello there.'I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger's face.'Do I know you?' Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched - but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it? Back in Boston, Ted's wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night.

A super twisty domestic noir with alternate chapters voiced by different characters that keeps you hooked and reading until late into the night. If you can suspend your disbelief and don't mind odious characters you are in for an entertaining, addictive read...plus it had this line

"He said it was like looking at death…. I love the beach, everything except the fucking sand, the fucking sun, and the fucking water.”

The Broken Ones

The Broken Ones - Stephen M. Irwin The worldwide aftershock of what becomes known as "Gray Wednesday" is immediate and catastrophic, leaving governments barely functioning and economies devastated. Hollow-eyed apparitions appear, haunting their loved ones and others. But some things never change. When Detective Mariani discovers the grisly remains of an anonymous murder victim in the city sewage system, his investigation will pit him against a corrupt police department and a murky cabal conspiring for power in the new world order. Then there is the matter of the dead boy who haunts his every moment. . . .

I love a genre-bender and this is perfect - an occult mystery investigated by a dectective set in a believable futuristic dystopian Australia were everyone has their own personal ghost. It did take me a few chapters to get into it but then it explodes into unputdownable 'into the early hours' binge reading frenzy.

All the characters are well drawn especially the haunted (literally) detective Mariani and there is some beautiful writing to be enjoyed along the way.

"Every second strip light was off, so the effect of light and shadow was like being inside a tigers tail"

Utterly unique, disturbing but full of warmth and humanity. Highly recommended to those who like this kind of tale.

Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman And Lucifer said: “Let us rise against Him now in all our numbers, and pull the walls of heaven down…”

The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that plague is only part of a larger cataclysm—that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on heaven, and that the world of men has fallen behind the lines of conflict.

Is it delirium or is it faith? She believes she has seen the angels of God. She believes the righteous dead speak to her in dreams. And now she has convinced the faithless Thomas to shepherd her across a depraved landscape to Avignon. There, she tells Thomas, she will fulfill her mission: to confront the evil that has devastated the earth, and to restore to this betrayed, murderous knight the nobility and hope of salvation he long abandoned.

As hell unleashes its wrath, and as the true nature of the girl is revealed, Thomas will find himself on a macabre battleground of angels and demons, saints, and the risen

dead, and in the midst of a desperate struggle for nothing less than the soul of man.


"Cormac McCarthy's The Road meets Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in this frightful medieval epic..."

I would add to that quote Barry Unsworth's Morality Play.

I love Christopher Buehlman novels, every one is different and you never can assume anything, you have no idea what you are going to get. From the brilliant opening sequence to the poignant ending this apocalyptic tale of a hopeless quest undertaken by a fallen knight, a drunkard priest and an young girl is truly epic. Masterly storytelling walks a perfect line between fantasy and reality and drives the reader on and on and the superb characters live on in your mind long after you have closed the book

It is a tale of opposites; good and evil, beauty and horror, love and hate, holy and profane etc Great to see a dystopian novel set in the past, punctuated with actual historical events; Battle of Crécy, the Avignon Papacy and of course the Black Death. 14th century France is hell on earth, literally. I loved it, plus it has the best swearing ever.....

"And the Lord made no answer...."

Orkney Twilight

Orkney Twilight - Clare carson Just didn't get on with this novel at all....gave up third of way through

Camille: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy

Camille: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy - Pierre Lemaitre Anne Forestier finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she is trapped in the middle of a raid on a jewellers on the Champs-Élysées. Shot three times, she is lucky to survive – and morbidly unlucky to remember the face of her assailant.

Followed home from her hospital bed, Anne is in grave danger. But one thing stands in her favour – a dangerously vengeful partner, carrying the scars of devastating loss, who will break all the rules to protect the woman he loves: Commandant Camille Verhoeven.

Following the horror of Irène and the thrills of Alex, Camille is the heart-stopping final chapter of Lemaitre’s multi-award-winning trilogy, soon to be the subject of a major American film. Drawn once again into a labyrinthine web with answers ever out of reach, Camille must draw on all his talent to face an enemy who threatens everything he holds dear.


"Perhaps I have been a little overzealous ..."
"Overzealous ? You've broken every rule in the book."


The conclusion to Pierre Lemaitre's stylish trilogy, whilst doesn't reach the exceptional heights of the previous 2 volumes is a fitting conclusion of the story of a man whose life is shaped by three women. You really do have to read this series in order to avoid spoilers and a nod to the translator who provides a flawless reading experience.

The Hunt

The Hunt - Tim Lebbon The cruellest game. The highest stakes. Only she can bring his family back alive …

Rose is the one that got away. She was the prey in a human trophy hunt organised by an elite secret organisation for super-rich clients seeking a unique thrill. She paid a terrible price. Every moment since she has been planning her revenge … And now her day has come.

Chris returns from his morning run to find his wife and children missing and a stranger in his kitchen.

He’s told to run.

If he’s caught and killed, his family go free. If he escapes, they die.

Rose is the only one who can help him, but Rose only has her sights on one conclusion. For her, Chris is bait. But The Trail have not forgotten the woman who tried to outwit them.

The Trail want Rose. The hunters want Chris’s corpse. Rose wants revenge, and Chris just wants his family back.

The hunt is on …


Tim Lebbon is best know for his horror and fantasy novels and this is his first foray into the thriller genre. A super frenetically paced story without a spare word that never lets up. A very visual narrative with beautiful descriptions of the Snowdonia area. Could see this being optioned for a film...

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon - David Grann A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.


Compelling ripping yarn that makes the reader glad they are NOT an explorer ...

Kolymsky Heights

Kolymsky Heights - Lionel Davidson, Philip Pullman Perfect review of this fabulous thriller from the Guardian by Maxton Walker

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/aug/03/book-beach-kolymsky-heights-lionel-davidson

Kolymsky Heights is, on first analysis, just another spy thriller. First published in 1994, it is essentially a late cold war era man-on-a-mission thriller – with the emphasis firmly on the word cold. Porter is the only westerner who can hope to break into and out of a top secret scientific research base that is literally hidden inside a mountain in Siberia. (So secret is this base that nobody who ever enters is allowed to leave alive.)

Porter, however, is descended from Canadian Inuits, who remain – physically, ethnically and culturally – virtually identical to their Siberian counterparts, despite the decades-long political rift between the two. That, alongside his linguistic skills – he also has to pass himself off as a Korean at one point – makes him the only spy able to get anywhere near the base without arousing suspicion.

I've never read a thriller that so successfully transported me to a hitherto unimagined place. After a few racy globe-trotting chapters in which Porter is painstakingly inserted into his undercover role, we enter the dark, icy world of the Siberian winter. And it never gives up its grip until the end.

The plot, viewed dispassionately, is ridiculous. The chain of events that Porter needs to get right in order to engineer his audacious act of espionage is long and fragile. But Davidson has a such a disarming style, and paints the various characters – grizzled Siberians, officious Russian bureaucrats, and mad scientists – with such easygoing charm, that it really doesn't matter. And his cranking of the race-against-time plot is so relentless that it offers little time to reflect on the daftness of the whole thing. (Ultimately it really isn't the point anyway. It's a great ride; and as much an affectionate portrait of a little-seen part of the world as anything else.) The way Porter literally conjures a getaway car out of nothing when his enemies get too close, for example, is brilliant. And the increasingly frantic finale played out on possibly the strangest international border in the world is a masterpiece of suspense and misdirection.

Kolymsky Heights was Davidson's first thriller for 16 years, and he died in 2009 without having produced another. Which is a pity, because one feels if he had produced a few more like this, he really could have been mentioned in the same breath a Le Carré and Deighton.

The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller

The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller - Robert Olen Butler I am not a massive fan of spy thrillers and I hadn't haven't read the first Kit Cobb adventure but I throughly enjoyed this book.

Well paced and fast moving with a real sense of place and time that really had me gripped. Femme fatales, deadly killers and a charming protagonist make for an exciting reading experience.

I was delighted to receive a free copy of The Star of Istambul via Realreaders

The Murder Bag

The Murder Bag - Tony Parsons Meet Detective Max Wolfe. Insomniac. Dog lover. Coffee addict. Boxer. Orphan. Devoted husband of a brutally departed wife. Single parent. Defender of the weak, avenger of slaughtered parents and every murderer’s worst nightmare.
There’s a serial killer on the loose. He cuts throats. And he is good at it.

Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field, founded five hundred years ago by King Henry VIII. Suddenly they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable…

Detective Max Wolfe follows the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city all the way to the corner rooms in the corridors of power. At enormous personal cost, what Wolfe uncovers is a horrific secret that has been buried for two decades - and is now ready to explode.


I was waiting for a man who was planning to die.

I had parked the old BMW X5 just up the road from the entrance to the railway station and I drank a triple espresso as I watched the commuters rushing off to work. I drank quickly.

He would be here soon.

Well paced, twisty and engrossing read. An awful lot of research has gone into the inner workings of the Homicide Department based in London’s Savile Row and I found the information about the Black Museum fascinating and the city of London was well drawn in all its cold indifference. The examination of how the rich and privileged live within their own set of rules to the common man was an interesting angle. Wolfe's domestic situation and Stan the dog caused me more ongoing anxiety than the case....

TheLie

TheLie - C.L. Taylor When dream holidays go nightmarishly bad...

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves . . .


A intricate, compelling tale that twists between two timescales and ties the reader into anxious knots as solid friendships are torn apart by mistrust, jealousy and lies. The creepy, isolated Nepalese "retreat" was very realised and reminded me a little of the community of backpackers in the Alex Garland's The Beach.

The character development and subsequent girlie group dynamics were excellent - I couldn't bear any of them but you don't have to like them to enjoy their story!

The end was an abrupt, anticlimax after all the thrills in Nepal but a fast, enjoyable read, perfect holiday read...or maybe not.

Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark - William Giraldi "Beyond the snowed-in trees, just over these hills, lay an unknowable compass of tundra, a tapestry of whites and grays. Everywhere the living cold. Like grief, cold is an absence that takes up space. Winter wants the soul and bores into the body to get it."

Wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been snatched from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old son of Medora and Vernon Slone. Wolf expert Russell Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings and learns of the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora.

When her husband returns from a desert war to discover his boy dead and his wife missing, he begins a maniacal pursuit that cuts a bloody swathe across the frozen landscape. As Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband’s vengeance, he comes face to face with a dark secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil.

An epic woven of both blood and myth, Hold the Dark recalls the hyperborean climate and tribalism of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and the primeval violence of James Dickey’s Deliverance.


A lot to admire in this short Cormac McCarthyesque tale with a heart of icy darkness.

Beautiful stark writing atmospherically describes a bleak, frozen Alaskan landscape interspersed with acts of violence as shocking as fresh blood on snow.

The Bones Beneath (Tom Thorne Novels)

The Bones Beneath (Tom Thorne Novels) - Mark Billingham The Deal
Tom Thorne is a detective again, but there’s a price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.

The Danger
Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.

The Deaths
But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make…


I had, same as Throne, a creeping feeling that it was all going to end horribly proceeded by lots of head working manipulative behavior from Nicklin.

So to make it work you have to go along with the premise that the authorities would allow this ill thought out jolly for a serial killer who is allowed to dictate terms and conditions. This of course makes it immensely readable because you know it is coming.....

I love the Lleyn peninsula and am very familiar with Bardsey Island, Aberdaron and Abersoch so was great to see the area used as a book setting.

Billingham really does a good job of getting over the atmosphere of this wild desolate place, making Throne almost take a secondary role.

“There you go,” Morgan said. “Bardsey Island. Well...that’s what the English call it.”

“What do you call it?”

“Ynnis Enlli in Welsh. Island of Tides. Bloody tricky ones at that...”

Approaching as they were — from behind the mountain that dominated one side of the island — the first view was of cliffs and the snowflake specks of wheeling seabirds against the black crags. The island was shaped like a giant, humpbacked tadpole; no more than a mile from end to end and about half as wide.


An Untamed State

An Untamed State - Roxane Gay Mirielle Duval Jameson's fairy tale life is shattered when, during a visit to Haiti with her American husband and their child, she is kidnapped. Her father, a self-made millionaire, refuses to pay the ransom; and so Mirielle's captors take their revenge - pushing her beyond what she previously thought possible to endure. An Untamed State is a stunning achievement: a compelling, unflinching, deeply moving and unmissable novel.
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti's richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father's Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.

An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a wilful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.


Searing, unflinching account of a woman's kidnapping in Port-au-Prince - distressing enough but it is the rebuilding of her shattered life that is the most heart-wrenching and haunting part of this great novel

The Devil's Detective

The Devil's Detective - Simon Kurt Unsworth Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no reward or satisfaction, because Hell has rules but no justice. Each new crime is stamped "Do Not Investigate" and dutifully filed away in the depths of the Bureaucracy. But when an important political delegation arrives and a human is found murdered in a horrific manner—extravagant even by Hell's standards—everything changes. The murders escalate, and their severity points to the kind of killer not seen for many generations. Something is challenging the rules and order of Hell, so the Bureaucracy sends Fool to identify and track down the killer. . . . But how do you investigate murder in a place where death is common currency? Or when your main suspect pool is a legion of demons? With no memory of his past and only an irresistible need for justice, Fool will piece together clues and follow a trail that leads directly into the heart of a dark and chaotic conspiracy. A revolution is brewing in Hell . . . and nothing is what it seems.

The Devil's Detective is an audacious, highly suspenseful thriller set against a nightmarish and wildly vivid world. Simon Kurt Unsworth has created a phantasmagoric thrill ride filled with stunning set pieces and characters that spring from our deepest nightmares. It will have readers of both thrillers and horror hanging on by their fingernails until the final word. In Hell, hope is your worst enemy.


"This is Hell, Balthazar, a place of savageries so vast and shifting that you cannot even conceive of their beginnings or endings, and only some of those are of the flesh. Souls burn here, little angel, but the flames are rarely seen."

This Hell is not fire and brimstone but more like the ugliest city on earth: over populated, cruel, deadly, corrupt and run by either jobs worthy or indifferent demons. The urban landscape of Hell is constructed with ghettos, red light district, factories, orphanages and devoid of any hope.

Though grim, gritty and visceral it is hellishly good fun. One of my books of the year....

The Advent Killer

The Advent Killer - Alastair Gunn Christmas is coming. One body at a time.

Three weeks before Christmas: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is drowned in her bathtub. One week later: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is beaten savagely to death, every bone in her body broken. Another week brings another victim.

As panic spreads across London, DCI Antonia Hawkins, leading her first murder investigation, must stop a cold, careful killer whose twisted motives can only be guessed at, before the next body is found. On Sunday.

When the clock strikes one . .


A well written thriller, faced paced that kept me racing through till the end.

Antonia Hawkins is a very human protagonist who as well as hunting the festive serial killer she has to deal with demanding superiors and two ex boyfriends.

I enjoyed the sections written from the killer's perspective and trying to puzzle out his motivation. I had a couple of suspects whom I thought could have been the perpetrator - both were wrong - good job I am not a detective

Perfect summer read.

Currently reading

The Toy Taker by Luke Delaney
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
The Killing Lessons by Saul Black
Last Man Off: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Antarctic Seas by Matt Lewis Thorne
The Martian by Andy Weir
Strangers by David Moody
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
The Twelve by Justin Cronin