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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book kept me gripped from the very beginning as our our heroine, Harry Martinez cracks open a safe for a client - my heart did sink a little initially as we were taken into the diamond mines of South Africa and I felt as if I was going to be following story lines from another author... but that didn't happen and I'm glad to say the book was fast paced, interesting, and went into different directions to what I had expected. I really enjoyed this book - will certainly be looking for more Harry Martinez titles.
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on 30 June 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I greatly enjoyed The Insider, Ava McCarthy's debut novel of computer based intrigue and gambling, so had high hopes for the second book featuring heroine Harry Martinez, which promised thrills and intrigue in the worlds of horse-racing and diamonds with murder on the side. The parts featuring Harry herself were well-written, the way she is set-up to take the fall for a murder and again has to involve her dad and friends in her attempts to uncover the truth and find the real culprit, some great scenes and atmosphere, but I found the sections dealing with conflict diamonds less readable: the way the action moved from fast-paced light-hearted chase and banter to deadly serious suffering of exploited people was an uneasy match, and I found the plot such as it was confusing.

There were too many characters and the pace kept slowing to a crawl to include the other elements, which derailed any thriller aspect. Here too, Harry's main skills seemed to gain little use, and her risk-taking and clashes with the police seemed more stereotype than fresh and fun. All in all I decided not to continue reading, as I had little interest in finding out what happened. If the author gives Harry another outing I shall cautiously borrow it from the library, as this was just a waste of good ideas and an engaging central figure in rather forced events. Avoid.
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on 5 November 2015
Harry accidentally takes on a diamond cartel with a horseracing link after witnessing a murder. She puts her life at risk once again on a daring adventure in Ireland and South Africa. Very good.
June Finnigan - Writer
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second of the Harry Martinez books, and although I've not read the first it would seem Ava McCarthy might have a good set in the making. Some folk might reckon they've seen the plot line before, but there again that's being a common charge since the Illiad (at least!) Harry is a private investigator who in the fine tradition of the literary version of the profession walks a fine line ethically. In this case she's up to her neck in illegal diamond trade, questionable horse racing practices and computer hacking; pursued by the authorities, hired killers and anyone she crosses. Folk are not who they seem, identities shift and the landscapes shifts from the grittier parts of Dublin to a busy climax in sub-Saharan Africa.
Once you know no one is to be trusted it's entertaining to try and work out what will happen to whom and why; veteran readers of these fast thrillers might work out the ending, but so what? Enjoy the ride. As for the rest of us, it's a question of restraining yourself to read at a slowish pace so as not to miss anything. Very entertaining and hats off to Ava McCarthy for waking us up to what might well be happening in the unethical side of the diamond trade.
Harry is a refreshing character, she is not an arse-kicking martial arts expert, nor a sultry schemer; she's a woman who made a rather bold career choice and despite the knocks and the kicks, which she does not shrug off with a grim jest by the way, just keeps on keeping on.
I'm really going to have to read the first one `The Insider'.
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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2010
The second in the series featuring Harry Martinez sees her (it's Harriet really) pitched into an investigation involving diamonds, horses and corporate skulduggery. McCarthy skillfully avoids the stereotypical thriller lead character with Martinez, who relies on her wits and skills rather than physical power, so this is more thoughtful (and thought provoking) than an out and out action thriller.

I guess this would have been even better had I read the first book in the series, as I would have avoided some clunky explainers in the early chapters, but once the plot gets into it's stride, there's lots to admire, with some well drawn characters and a background that has been very well researched. The story unfolds at a satisfying pace, drawing you on without resorting to cliffhanger moments and there are enough puzzles and twists to keep the avid thriller reader engrossed

I loved it and would recommend it to lovers of the genre.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an easy to read modern mystery in which the heroine, a hi-tech hacker, takes on an international diamond cartel to unravel a plot which involves racehorses and her own family. Although there's very little original about the plot, it neatly interweaves several threads to produce a credible tale which kept me entertained for several hours.
'The Courier' is the second book in the series about a security consultant named Harry (she's a girl; it's short for Henrietta) but you don't need to have read the first to dive straight in with this adventure. The Insider The action is split between Harry's hacking assignment in Ireland, which soon goes horribly wrong and leaves her blamed for a dead body, and the horrific conditions in a South African diamond mine. Harry already has a bad rep with the law and keeps digging herself a deeper hole; soon she's enmeshed in the nasty business of diamond dealing.
Although many of the subjects in this novel have already been explored by other novellists (racing has been over-done, surely, and Henning Mankell lifted the lid on blood diamonds many years ago) the author's attention to detail is impressive -- I enjoyed the secions about wi-fi computer access, subverting security systems, and assessing gemstones.
However, the main plot and characterisation felt rather flimsy to me. Although it's perfectly functional there's no real sense of threat or urgency. I haven't called it a 'thriller' because it's not particularly thrilling. The writing leans towards simplistic cliche occasionally, and sometimes the heroine just behaves like a silly girly, which drives me a bit bats.
Perfectly adequate for filling time on a long train journey, but not a book I'd add to my 'must read' list.
7/10
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My first time reading any Ava McCarthy and it won't be my last. Almost from the off the reader is drawn into the world of Harry Martinez and this reader does not want to be pulled out again.

Written at a good pace, shifting from Ireland to South Africa and back again, the action is at once engaging and repulsive. If the descriptions of the goings on in a Sth African Diamond Mine are anything to go on, I would think twice about buying any more.

There also appears to be a love of horses and horse-racing - surprisingly enough (!) - which seeps out of every page. Again the descriptions put you right there with the action.

I would highly recommend this book - which has very little swearing in it too (always a plus in my book) - and look forward to going back to read the first one in the series The Insider - this is the second installment. I could see Harry Martinez being a great source of material for a top notch TV detective series, now that Frost has come to an end.

A bright star in the crowded sky of crime/thriller authors. Ava McCarthy deserves to be picked up and run with for a long, long time to come.
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on 28 April 2010
It's a thriller, and it does what it says on the tin. Well-paced and with very readable style, I enjoyed the settings, and the detail from the author, as the heroine 'Harry' (Henriette Martinez) battles through the novel with various shady forces. Very impressive scenes in South Africa. Good atmosphere too, and it keeps you guessing, which I always enjoy in a good story. I fairly rattled through the read, which is always a good sign, so I'll give it 5 stars, as I can't find any areas to criticise. I had enjoyed the author's previous novel, so I parted with my hard earned cash for the sequel. Since it was value for money, and a cracking read, I'll give it 5 stars.
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on 27 May 2010
I just sat down with a cup of tea for a quick flick through The Courier - didn't get back up till I'd finished it. This is an excellent, readable, entertaining book that drags you through the unsavoury side of horseracing and diamond mining and out the other side, safe and sound with Harry. Ava makes everything interesting, even IT. I can't wait for her next novel. Hurry up, Ava! We're waiting; and yes, what about a film or TV series?
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on 26 May 2011
The Courier was even better than Ava McCarthy's last book, The Insider. Tense, page-tuning stuff with interesting characters and insight into the bloody world of diamonds. Can't wait to read the next one!
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