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Carmen (England)

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No Place to Die (DI Mike Lockyer Series)
No Place to Die (DI Mike Lockyer Series)
by Clare Donoghue
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good second book!, 7 April 2015
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Having enjoyed the first in the series I was looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. It starred DS Jane Bennett rather than Mike Lockyer this time and was a fast, engrossing read. One thing I like about following a series from the beginning is watching how the team develops and some of the characters surrounding the Lockyer/Bennett partnership are coming along nicely. However, there is still room for much more banter and humour and characterisation in my opinion. The two officers who played a massive part in the finale had hardly been mentioned previously and it made it impossible to second guess their actions or work out how well, or not, they could be relied upon to save the day. I hope they appear as a major part of the team in the next book.

I look forward to the next outing for Lockyer/Bennett - I hope he gets his mojo back and leads the team again.


A Killing of Angels (Alice Quentin)
A Killing of Angels (Alice Quentin)
by Kate Rhodes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good enough follow-up, 30 Mar. 2015
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My second Dr Alice Quentin book (I'm reading them in order) and I'll definitely come back for more. This didn't quite live up to the promise left behind by the first book. It got a bit bogged down in the middle (a bit like the hot weather that was referred to just a bit too often!) but relieved itself by the end - it was harder to work out whodunnit (unlike Crossbones Yard) as there was a larger cast of characters and, even though I worked it out, I did get wrong-footed once or twice.

Alice's personal/professional situation and the characters surrounding her have remained intact and there seems to be a bit of a pattern to her life emerging. However, with only one exception, the police surrounding her have completely changed and I'm not sure how much I liked this. I hope Kate Rhodes leaves some of these in place now and allows them to develop.

The London setting, as before, is well depicted.

Probably not quite a 4*, 7 out of 10 for me.


The Girl With A Clock For A Heart
The Girl With A Clock For A Heart
by Peter Swanson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Average pulp fiction, 21 Mar. 2015
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To begin with I quite enjoyed this - George bumps into Liana in a bar 20 years after they'd had a 3 month fling at university, after which she'd disappeared. She has a favour to ask of him and as he starts to get embroiled in her latest shenanigans we are given flashbacks to the days of their affair at the start of their university lives.

All well and good. But as the story of the past and Liana's disappearance started to unfold I became less and less able to believe George's infatuation with her. He just came across as naive and stupid to be honest. And the ending was awful.

But 3 stars (just) as I did like at least half of it until I stopped believing in the characters.


A Colder War
A Colder War
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get into., 14 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: A Colder War (Paperback)
I liked the Alex Milius books and also the first Thomas Kell, (hated Typhoon) so thought this would be great too. But, quite honestly, there were just too many characters introduced in the first 100 pages that I sort of gave up trying to keep up and started reading something else instead! Admittedly, some of the characters were in the previous Kell novel, but it has been at least 2 years since it came out, it so I couldn't really remember any of them. I suggest you give yourself a whole afternoon to read the first 100 or so pages - then it may be ok. But reading it in shorter sections, like I did, just made it a chore. I was sorry to give up on it and I may come back to it on a long journey - which is what I would recommend it for.


Crossbones Yard (Alice Quentin)
Crossbones Yard (Alice Quentin)
by Kate Rhodes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a new series., 7 Mar. 2015
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Hooray for Alice Quentin! I've had a run of writing grumpy reviews lately and Dr Alice has cheered me up. Let's be frank - Crossbones Yard isn't a ground-breaking piece of literature, nor will the story stay with me forever; but Alice and the main characters in this new series are plenty good enough for those who like character driven crime fiction. Yes, it's formulaic - Alice is a psychologist with a "Physician Heal Thyself" phobia, she has an embarrassing family member, a curly red headed self-absorbed best friend and there's even the traditional Will-They, Won't-They, For-Goodness'-Sake-Get-on-With-It love interest. But formulae are used because, when done well, they work and I think this one does.

The descriptions of London are nice - Alice does lots of running around its streets. Not quite 4 and a half stars - there weren't really enough characters for me not to guess whodunnit (I was praying it wasn't going to be who it was) and there were odd things that were a little far fetched on the police procedural side of things. But I have already bought the next in the series and welcome Alice Quentin alongside Tom Thorne and Marnie Rome.


Second Life
Second Life
by S J Watson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive Disappointment, 1 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Second Life (Hardcover)
This is the last time I purchase a hardback book on the strength of the previous one by any author (apart from the King and Queen - Mark Billingham and Sarah Hilary that is!)

This was awful - enough has already been said about unlikeable characters and gaping plot holes. There was no blurb to this book, so I wasn't prepared for the main theme. To me it was just a load of cybersex fantasy ramblings that someone had managed to get published on the strength of his previous fantastic novel.

And the inclusion of the name of the person who won the bid to be a character was extremely clumsily done - before I realised this was what it was (acknowledgements at the end mention it) I was furiously flicking back through the book as I thought I'd missed something and that this name was a massive clue to the killer that I hadn't picked up on.

Badly written, badly plotted and just dreadful. Don't waste your money.


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull with unlikeable characters, 18 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Girl on the Train (Hardcover)
Well this started off ok - I liked the idea of a girl seeing something untoward happening from a train window. But. It wasn't really anything happening at all as she'd simply invented a fantasy life about a couple who spent all their time outside on the patio and what she saw wasn't a crime, it just didn't fit in with her fantasy.

Before I deal with the characters I have to mention the fictitious setting. Why? Rachel travels through Buckinghamshire to London. Why why why invent villages and woods? I really hate this. Why not use real ones? It doesn't give a true sense of time and distance and I found the whole thing difficult to place.

Then the characters. For some reason lately I am finding that authors are giving us characters I don't really like and these were no exception. Rachel had sunk into being an overweight lush, sacked 4 months ago for some drunken misdemeanour at work. She hadn't told anyone. Somehow she could still afford the train fare to London every day to keep up the pretence to her flatmate/landlady of still having a job. She kept harassing her ex husband and his new wife and baby. She was completely unlikeable with no redeeming features and, despite having been cheated on by her ex husband, I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for her.

The book was written in the first person by the 3 main female characters - ie Rachel, Anna, her ex husband's new wife and Megan, the girl Rachel watches from the train and fantasises about. One of them goes missing. It all got a bit samey and dull to be honest. I did finish it but I worked out whodunnit very early on and didn't find it remarkable in any shape or form. I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2015 3:08 PM GMT


The Ice Twins
The Ice Twins
by S. K. Tremayne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment, 11 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Ice Twins (Hardcover)
This was all set to be a 4* book. It had all the intrigue and potential to be at least that. What a let-down. I've already commented under another review about the ridiculous use of commas in this book, but it does need a mention again here. If you understand who is standing where, wearing what, in the following sentence after reading it just once then I commend you!

"Now we stand in the last, Victorian church, my mother next to Lydia, just down the pew, with Angus, tall in his dark London suit, between us."

Seriously - what on earth is that about?

Commas, colons and semi-colons are littered all over the place. What is going on with book editors lately? (This was the hardback, not a Kindle.) They don't seem to have the remotest grasp of English - this wouldn't have passed a GCSE in English language.

This seriously spoilt the story for me. A story which began well enough and had me intrigued. But the characters were uninteresting, one dimensional and not particularly likeable. However, I read on as I did want to see all the whys and wherefores surrounding the twin's death. How I wish I hadn't. I can't remember hating an ending of a book more. The last 30 or so pages are just ridiculous and I don't really know how to describe them without spoilering the story. But suffice to say it was the most unsatisfying ending and I wish I'd never read it.


The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
by Jessica Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Strange book, 8 Feb. 2015
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This is just weird and I can't get into it at all. I bought it for the Barcelona setting and because I like crime novels. It's a shame you can't look inside it before buying. It's not the murder mystery it purports to be and I gave up. I suggest you go to a bookshop and have a look at it before purchasing and you'll be able to decide if it's for you or not. Very disjointed.


If I Should Die (Joseph Stark)
If I Should Die (Joseph Stark)
by Matthew Frank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great new detective, 1 Feb. 2015
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I don't think I've ever before reviewed a book that I've felt is 5* in one aspect and yet I've actually failed to finish properly. I absolutely loved Joseph Stark. I thought his character was believable and thought-provoking. The best bit of this book, by miles, was the hilarious banter between him and his brutishly inquisitive female 'Sarge,' Fran Millhaven, who spent the whole time digging into his past and was given a comedian's ringbinderful of brush-off quips for her efforts.

But, oh my! The story. Whilst the actual subject for the story (rough sleepers being attacked) was a worthy one, I just didn't think it was well executed. It went on and on and on and the interviews with the teenage gang and their hideous mothers had me leaping pages and pages to get past them. About halfway through the book I started scanning the bits about the gang as I was only interested in the main characters and wanted to see if I had guessed correctly about the trouble Stark was in with the Military (I had) and also to see if he got the girl (not telling.) The rest I didn't really care about - although there was an interesting, grudgingly respectful relationship forming with one of the injured down-and-outs who was also ex-military.

I've given this 4*s as I loved the characters. But the story is 2*s. I will, however, actually look forward to the next in the series as I would love to read more about Joe Stark et al and hope the next storyline grabs me a bit more.


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