Category Archives: Thriller

Review of The Blood Card (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery #3) by Elly Griffiths

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Another solid very readable atmospheric crime thriller from Elly Griffiths

This is the third outing of the “Magic Men” and I’m really enjoying the characters.

It is May 1953 and England is on the cusp of crowning a new Queen. The murder of a gypsy fortune and the stabbing of their old boss from the Magic Men days are linked as DI Edgar Stephens investigates.

Loads of strong characters here and excellent period details that provide and enjoyable and compelling British whodunit.

Elly Griffiths continues to capture the seedy, down at heel feel of the English South Coast expertly creating another highly readable atmospheric crime thriller, with a great sense of time and place. I can’t wait for the fourth instalment of the “Magic Men”.

My thanks go to NetGalley and the Publisher for the chance to read an advance copy of this book.

Review of The Wall Between by Jesper Bugge Kold

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A gripping and moving story of the former East Germany.

Andreas lives in Copenhagen and receives a letter informing him that his father who he has never met has been stabbed to death in Berlin, and that he has inherited his flat. Keen to understand more about the father that his mother wouldn’t speak of he travels to Berlin to discover more.

Jesper Bugge Kold combines multiple timelines and characters to produce a brilliant story of the GDR, the Stasi and relationships. This book reminded somewhat of the film “Life of Others” and anyone who liked the film or is interested to the former East Germany should read this.

It’s tautly written but with some almost cinematic descriptions of Berlin. I found it an absolute page turner and read it within a day which is unusual for me.

Highly recommended.

I received this book free from Netgalley and was not required to write a positive review.

Review of ” The Woman in Blue (Ruth Galloway, #8)” by Elly Griffiths

Another great labyrinthine Norfolk murder mystery.

Book 8 in the Ruth Galloway series and this centres around Walsingham, site of a popular religious pilgrimage & shrine. A young woman is found dead in a ditch and as always archaeology and history play a significant part in the story.

Having read previous books in the series this is like a comfortable pair of shoes as I’m already familiar with the great cast of characters and their complicated personal lives. New readers will find it easy to pick up, but best to start from the 1st book in the series.

The character of Ruth works really well. She’s strong, but with the human frailties we all have and prefer to keep hidden and the book captures the beautiful Norfolk coast well with a blend of fictional and real locations sprinkled through the story.

There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing and I for one didn’t guess the culprit at all!

I’d recommend the whole series for fans of Midsomer Murders, Morse, Endeavour, etc.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of ” Stasi Child (Karin Müller #1)” by David Young

Excellent and unusually located police procedural set in the former East Germany.

I can’t think of many English language detective novels set in the former East Germany and David Young has created a fascinating character in the damaged but tenacious Oberleutnant Karin Müller.

In most countries she’d be just a regular cop in charge of the murder team, however this is communist ruled East Germany and she’s a card carrying party member believing in “real and existing socialism”.

Investigating a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the Berlin wall Karin has to walk a political tightrope that adds an extra frisson to the story as she deals with her superiors and the Stasi, the East German secret police.

Whilst many police procedurals have conflict with superiors in East Germany conflict with superiors can mean at best dismissal then demotion to a menial job or at worst death.

David Young’s research is impeccable with fantastic attention to detail from the procedures in the Stasi remand prisons to the uniqueness of Volvo tyre tracks as well as capturing well the feel of 1970’s East Germany.

If you like police procedurals, strong female characters, along with an Orwellian landscape then read “Stasi Child”.

Review of ” Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street” by Heda Margolius Kovaly, Alex Zucker (Translation)

A dark brooding and haunting novel of life in Communist Prague.

More like a novella Heda Margolius Kovály wrote this based on her own experiences and details the claustrophobic early days of Communist Czechoslovakia during the 1950s.

She portrays a country soaked in fear where the slightest wrong word or mis-interpretation of even a simple act could result in a prison sentence.

Whilst the book could be read as a simple murder mystery, the multiple layers that the author adds to the story make a very dark tale as well as documenting the realities of life under communism in 1950s Prague.

Review of ” Snow Wolf” by Glenn Meade

Exciting and believable story of an American spy sent to Russia to execute Stalin.

It’s not often I say I can’t put a book down, but this is one of them. Full of suspense, period detail and non stop thrills.

Meade has obviously done his research making this a terrific read for fans of alternative history and historical thrillers.

Highly recommended.

Review of ” Fall of Man in Wilmslow” by David Lagercrantz

This not your usual police procedural, but it’s much the richer for it.

World War 2 codebreaker Alan Turing’s death has always been somewhat of a mystery and this novel from Swedish author David Lagercrantz uses his death to tell a story of 1950s Britain gripped by the paranoia of KGB espionage.

Young policeman Leonard Corell is charged with investigating Turing’s death and finds himself drawn into one of the
most closely guarded secrets of the war.

Lagercrantz has created a thriller that combines science, history and gripping psychological tension. Corell evolves from the classic procedural police detective to someone who begins to question his core beliefs through the information he uncovers.

Be prepared for some intellectual stimulation such as the “liar paradox” amongst others. This not your usual police procedural, but it’s much the richer for it.