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John (Scotland)

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Skinner's Ghosts (Bob Skinner Mysteries)
Skinner's Ghosts (Bob Skinner Mysteries)
by Quintin Jardine
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Another instalment in a great series, 4 Nov 2010
I have been reading the Skinner books in order and am now up to number 7. I tend to read two or three and then leave them for a while. Like all the series I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Coming back to them after a few months was like meeting old friends.
I can understand some of the criticism on other reviews. Some of the dialogue is clunky and the stories can be over the top with gun fights in Edinburgh city centre. I am also not sure that high ranking police officers become involved in hands on policing, like knocking on criminals doors early in the morning.
In this one after his wife has left him, Skinner has embarked on an ill advised affair with his assistant. The newspapers get hold of this and as the scandal develops he realises that someone from his past is out to ruin his career
Skinners Ghosts are his past cases and as others have stated it is best to have read the novels in order as references are made to the Libyan terrorist (Skinners Rules), the plane crash (Skinners Ordeal), the billionaire loser in the golf match (Skinners Round) and Jackie Charles makes a reappearance from Skinners Mission as Skinner and his team try to work out who the baddie is.
The books are about a whole group of police officers and their relationships with each other. Unlike in other police series they all get on and respect each other. The same characters appear and thier lives and careers progress in the series. I enjoy reading about Skinner's relationship with his wife and son, with his daughter and her partner Andy his best mate. The lesser characters are interesting too and each get their turn in the spotlight.
There are now 20 books in the series and I am looking forward to working through them and seeing how the characters develop.

Line of Vision
Line of Vision
by David Ellis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good courtroom thriller, 19 Oct 2008
This is a strange book that will tug at your emotions. The main character Marty tells the story but he is far from likeable. Unlike many books I was not able to say I was rooting for Marty.
At the start as the narrator he outlines how he has killed the husband of his lover.
However you are not quite sure if he is telling the whole truth and you get the feeling that large important chunks are being missed out. One of the other reviewers wrote that the book took off once the court case started at around 220 pages. This encouraged me to stick with the book and I was not disappointed.
There are a fair few twists and revelations during the court case. In the end all the loose ends are tied up.
If you enjoy court room thrillers then this is for you. A very satisfying well plotted read.

Aftermath (The Inspector Banks Series)
Aftermath (The Inspector Banks Series)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banks never lets you down, 23 April 2008
I have read every one of the Inspector Banks novels in order. I am now up to Aftermath and this proves that the series is going from strength to strength. The early novels were short but later they have become more in depth with character development.
The first chapter could easily be the last chapter of many a crime novel.
A neighbour reports a domestic in a neighbour's house. Two constables respond to this and stumble upon the home of the Chameleon a serial killer that Yorkshire police have been chasing for months. The killer Payne has knocked his wife Lucy unconscious. He attacks the constables and kills one but the other constable manages to knock him unconscious.

The remainder of the story is the aftermath for those involved.
Banks has to make sense of all the bodies in the cellar. He investigates the past of Lucy to see if she was involved.
Annie Cabbot has to find out if the police constable used excessive force in arresting Payne.
We see the effect this has on Cabbot and the constable.
Also the life of the neighbour who phoned in the domestic unravels.

As ever Robinson progresses the lives of the two main characters Banks and Cabbot. There is also a return for psychologist Jenny Fuller who looked in the early novels that she would be a main character but does not feature in later novels.

As ever Robinson keeps the story flowing. His dialogue is realistic and there are the usual twists along the way. If you enjoy crime novels and have not read any of Inspector Banks I recommend that you do.

The Cleaner
The Cleaner
by Brett Battles
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.91

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Heavily endorsed -who paid them?, 23 April 2008
This review is from: The Cleaner (Paperback)
This novel was heavily endorsed by well known novelists on the cover.
However I found it very disappointing. It was not for me. Quinn works for a faceless organisation called the Office. We never learn who they are who they work for or what their point is. He seems to go around the world cleaning up after the office has killed or messed up. We never learn anything about Quinn as a person. I am still unclear what his job is exactly. He had an apprentice in tow but we never learned anything about him. Other workers for the office are being assassinated and when an attempt on Quinn's life fails he flees with his apprentice to Vietnam.
I am afraid I had no empathy with the characters and gave up after 150 pages. Maybe it all became clear after I gave up but after 150 pages I did not care and that is the problem with this book. If you like wham bam action with shallow characters then this might be alright for you.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2009 9:25 AM GMT

Logan McRae (3) - Broken Skin
Logan McRae (3) - Broken Skin
by Stuart MacBride
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but a long wait to the next, 14 Dec 2007
Oh woe is me. I have just spent the last week and a half reading all three of Stuart Macbride's novels, Cold Granite, Dying Light and Broken Skin one after the other in order. I now find I will have to wait six months until May 2008 before the next instalment in the lives of MacRae, Insch, Steel, Ballbreaker Watson and the rest.
These novels which are set in Aberdeen are dark and gritty. The dialogue is so true to life. As a Scot myself, I fully appreciated the crude, course put downs that appear throughout the novels. I have heard many similar in my own life. The best lines are usually spoken by DI Steel. She only had a peripheral role in Cold Granite but is a central character in Dying Light and Broken Skin. For that reason alone the second and third books are better. Many times I laughed out loud at what she had to say.
Logan MacRae is the central character and while he is a shrewd detective he is hopeless in dealing with strong assertive women. He can't stand up to Steel his skiving boss and his live in lover PC Watson has him on a string. In Broken Skin he can't cope when the deputy Procurator Fiscal takes a fancy to him. The characters contrast perfectly with the dark crimes they have to investigate. There are usually three or four crimes being investigated. MacBride neatly intertwines the stories and there are often links between them.
In Broken Skin, the team are investigating a series of burglaries, hunting for a child murderer, looking into a suspicious death where sado-masochistic sex has gone wrong and the central theme of a serial rapist. These sad and depressing cases are off set by the humour. The pace never drops as Insch Steel and MacRae race around following leads and clues and then head for the pub to drown their sorrows or celebrate a great result.
The main suspect in the rape case is the star striker for Aberdeen FC. One small gripe was that I did not think some his actions reflected that of a professional footballer. Macrae and Watson follow him one Sunday morning but he ends up at Pittodrie for training at 8am. Footballers rarely train on a Sunday and not at 8am. Also when a rape happens on a Friday night his girlfriend alibis him by saying they were together in the pub drinking. The police seem to accept this without following it up. It is unlikely that he would have been drinking the night before a game and if he was, others would have recognised him and remembered. Still these are minor points and I did not let them spoil my enjoyment.
It advisable to read Dying Light before Broken Skin or you may not understand the problem in the relationship between the weegie journalist Colin Miller and MacRae.
If you like a good police procedural with larger than life characters and crude realistic dialogue then this is for you.

The Second Horseman
The Second Horseman
by Kyle Mills
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious preposterous but not bad, 7 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Second Horseman (Paperback)
I have read quite a few of Kyle Mills books and found them to be OK until I read the quite brilliant Fade and thought that he had moved onto a new level.
Unfortunately this has not maintained that standard.
The story involves Brandon Vale a clichéd master criminal who never uses physical violence in his brilliantly planned robberies.
At the start he is in prison having been framed for a diamond heist he did not commit.
A shady government department springs him from jail and want him to steal $200 million from Las Vegas to allow the department to buy 12 rogue nuclear weapons to stop them falling into terrorist hands.
There is enough material here for three novels, the prison break, the robbery (the best bit) and the trade off for the weapons.
It is almost as if half way through Mills realized he had too much material. Sometimes when you finish one chapter and move on to the next you find the story has moved on a good bit.
On the plus side this means it is pacy with little description but sometimes you feel you could have had more detail.
This will not put me off reading his next novel but it will be in the hope that it is another Fade not Horseman

The Colour Of Law
The Colour Of Law
by Mark Gimenez
Edition: Paperback

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great first novel, 10 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Colour Of Law (Paperback)
This is a an excellent read-highly recommended. Like Grisham, Giminez clearly has a very poor opinion of lawyers and the American legal system.
Scott Fenney is a corporate lawyer who is in it to make money. He makes the mistake of giving an idealistic speech to a group of lawyers. While he does not mean what he says an experienced judge hears him and appoints him to defend a black heroin addicted prostitute who is accused of murdering the son of the Texan senator. The senator is likely to be the next president of America. The first third of the book paints Scott in a very poor light as he wheels and deals, makes money for himself and his firm. He tries to wriggle out of defending the prostitute by getting Bobby his best buddy from law school who is a struggling street lawyer to take his place. Gradually Bobby, Scott's daughter and the daughter of the accused win Scott round and he agrees to take the case.
All the might of corporate America is then brought to bear on Scott and he loses everything.
The book is full of cliches and might not be everyones cup of tea. Would a corporate lawyer take or indeed be qualified to defend someone accused of murder? Gimenez goes on a bit too much about the vagaries of lawyers. He does though get you to like Scott in the second half of the book and by the time the trial comes round you will be just willing him to get the better of the all powerful but corrupt establishment that is lined up against him.

Turning Angel
Turning Angel
by Greg Iles
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith restored, 10 Aug 2007
This review is from: Turning Angel (Paperback)
A few years ago I read Iles WW2 thrillers and enjoyed them. More recently I thought 24 Hours was excellent. Then I tried Sleep No More and Dark Matter and thought they were rubbish as Iles tried to explore the para normal which is not for me.
I liked the synopsis of this book and decided to give Iles another try. However when I started reading one Saturday lunchtime I did so with scepticism. Two hours and 150 pages later I was hooked. This was a true whodunnit set in a southern American town. Racial tension, bigotry, sexual deviation and drug abuse are all inter twined to make a cracking read. As I progressed through the book I realised that it is a second novel involving Penn Cage. He and many of the characters appeared in The Quiet Game. The actual story stands alone although some of the character development refers to the previous novel. Penn's relationship with his daughter and girlfriend has developed as a result of what went before. The animosity between him and the DA is because of what happened in the previous story. However if the Quiet Game is as good as this then it should be a pleasure to read it first.

by Paul Carson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 7.25

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars must do better, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: Betrayal (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read other books by Paul Carson and found them very good. However this time he sets his story in a prison moving away from hospitals and it just doesn't work.
The scenes in the prison are unrealistic and the inmates are caricatures.
Just why the hero the narrator was kidnapped I never really understood.
Throughout the narrator is in a state of confusion. So was I.
In the final chapter he tries to explain it all. However I am still none the wiser as to why he was taken away and drugged in a hospital. By the time I got to the final chapter I did not really care and that is the fundamental problem with the book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2008 1:11 PM BST

The Hard Way: (Jack Reacher 10)
The Hard Way: (Jack Reacher 10)
by Lee Child
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reacher still on form, 12 April 2007
Another great story from Lee Child and his anti hero Jack Reacher. As usual Reacher is chilling, drinking coffee when something happens. This time it is the pay off of the ransom for a kidnap. At first it seems the people asking for his help are the victims. As Reacher investigates with the help of his love interest ex special agent Pauling, he realises he in with the bad guys. In fact the wife of the villain, Lane, has faked her own kidnap to get away from his sadistic ways and to be with her lover, Taylor one of Lane's mercenaries. Reacher almost gives them away and a race occurs between Lane's gang and Reacher to get to the couple first. A couple of new twists are that this time Reacher's love interest is ten years older than him and Child who is English, sends his hero to England, London and then Norfolk, for the climax of the story.

Child ratchets up the tension and while we always expect Reacher to win through the story always holds you as you wonder just how he will do away with all the bad guys in the end. He does it brutally with no mercy as usual. I've read every one of the Reachers stories and I see another is about to be published. Bring it on.

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