Unstoppable Arsenal by Jeffery H. Haskell: Well, that escalated quickly . . .

Unstoppable ArsenalUnstoppable Arsenal

by Jeffery H. Haskell
Series: Full Metal Superhero, #2

Paperback, 286 pg.
2017

Read: January 28, 2019


This book is just pure entertainment — it’s not trying to be anything else. You’ve got a super-genius whose inventions and investments have made her super-rich (to fund further inventions, primarily) who has used this genius to turn herself into an Iron Man-like superhero. She’s pretty much done all this to enable her to find her parents — which she did at the end of the last book. She starts this book by going to retrieve them from their imprisonment.

But they’re not prisoners — they’re content, happy, hard-workers in a lab with utterly no memory of a daughter. Kate, Amelia’s friend and telepath determines their minds have been altered and the only one who can restore their memories is the one who altered them. Launching Amelia’s next big quest.

She soon discovers that there are a lot of powerful telepaths who are unaccounted for and maybe the conspiracy she’s been theorizing about isn’t a bunch of evil masterminds undermining the super-heroes of the US. Maybe, there’s some mind control shaping the questionable decisions.

As if all this isn’t enough, Amelia meets an actual, no fooling, mythological figure who forces her to realize there’s more than just science afoot in the world, and she’s told that literally the future of the human race depends on choices she’s making.

All this is told in the same fast, dynamic and engaging voice and style that characterized this first book. Haskell can tell a story in a way that seems effortless, which is too easy to overlook and take for granted. I put this down and had to fight the impulse to grab the next installment right away and not stop until I’d run out of books in this universe to read.

Oh, and there’s a killer last line, and I’m excited about what that development is going to bring.

I don’t have a lot to say really — this is just a fun series. Period. Great super-hero action, with just enough depth to satisfy, without going so far that it slows things down. I don’t know what Haskell’s long-term plans are, but I could read another half-dozen of these books, easily.

—–

3.5 Stars

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The Barista’s Guide to Espionage by Dave Sinclair: A Bond Girl à la Amy Sherman-Palladino leads this entertaining action story.

Finally, some original Fahrenbruary content!

The Barista’s Guide to EspionageThe Barista’s Guide to Espionage

by Dave Sinclair/a>
Series:
Eva Destruction, #1

Kindle Edition, 306 pg.
Fahrenheit Press, 2016
Read: February 4 – 6, 2018

All her adult life, she’d dated men who were bad for her. Men who treated her dreadfully and undervalued her worth. She knew that, she’d always known that, and yet she failed to break the cycle. There had only been one man who’d treated her with respect and as an equal. It was a shame he’d also threatened every government on Earth and drawn UN condemnation.

Eva ran her finger around the rim of her pint. Why were all the best kissers hell-bent on tearing down the world?

This is just your typical story of a feminist, stripper-turned-barista, who falls for an super-rich aspiring super-villain, and ends up holding the fate of the world in her hands. I’m going to stop right there — my attempts at synopsizing this just aren’t paying off. Here’s some of the back of the book blurb:

Meet Eva Destruction, the only thing quicker than her mouth is her talent for getting into trouble. It’s true she’s always had an eye for a bad boy but when she falls for billionaire super-villain Harry Lancing, it seems that even Eva may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Eva hurtles headlong into terrorist attacks, assassinations, car chases and the occasional close encounter with a dashing spy who seems as determined to charm Eva into bed as he is to thwart Lancing’s plans to bring down every government on earth.

As the odds begin to stack up in Lancing’s favour the fate of the world lies in Eva’s hands. Luckily for the world, Eva Destruction isn’t the type of girl to let a super-villain ex-boyfriend with a massive ego, unlimited resources and his own secret island get the better of her.

Eva, Horatio Lancing and the MI6 agent are entertaining characters — the action scenes are exciting. There’s a car chase that’s remarkably good. But the banter, verbal sparring and jokes are where the real fireworks are found. It’s almost like Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote an action film.

A few caveats I should issue for some of the regulars around here: Early on, there’s a sex scene that is entirely too graphic, and unnecessarily so. I liked what Sinclair achieved with it and the aftermath. But He could’ve achieved the same (or practically the same) result with a little less detail. There are further references to sex if you can get past this one, but nothing that comes close to the detail of this one scene. It’s probably PG-13 afterwards, actually. Additionally, Evan utilizes some of the more creative swearing you’ve read. It’s not anything you’d care to repeat anywhere near a mother armed with a bar of soap mind you. But creative nonetheless.

Eva is smart, witty and determined — it’s easy to see why men are fawning over her (even without the looks). She’s the kind of character you like reading — she’s sure of herself, and yet really, really not. I love reading about someone who is just awesome with zero self-confidence in certain instances. But when push comes to shove, she comes through in a way worthy of Jason Bourne or Frank Martin.

This book is essentially a cartoon — it’s over the top, exaggerated, and entertainingly hyperbolic. But Lancing . . . I tell you. For a would-be global dictator, there’s something appealing about him. He’s described as “Snowden with an agenda and Assange with charisma,” and truly (often) seems to only want to hold governments/government officials to their word. “You promised the voters X,” he essentially says, “deliver X, or I’ll release the videos of you in a compromising situation with a 14-year old.” A motivation that many people would agree with, and a capability that doesn’t seem that outlandish — especially compared to the rest of the story, Lancing seems realistic — realistic-ish, anyway.

There are so, so many quotable lines in this book — it’s practically impossible to pick one to focus on. This is like early Evanovich — just with the sex, swearing and violence turned up a bit. I think it went on a bit too long, and could use maybe 50 fewer pages. But it was so much fun, I don’t want to complain too much. The Barista’s Guide to Espionage is a big explode-y ball of entertainment and Dave Sinclair is someone to keep an eye out for.

—–

3.5 Stars

Fahrenbruary Repost: The Accidental Detective by Michael RN Jones: A fast-paced and fun modern Holmes

The Accidental DetectiveThe Accidental Detective

by Michael RN Jones
Series: The Victor Locke Chronicles, #1

Kindle Edition, 252 pg.
Fahrenheit Press, 2017
Read: March 23 – 30, 2017

I have this section of my Kindle, a corner area, where I put Fahrenheit Press titles to gather dust after I buy them (I imagine the drive like a big patch of land — I know that’s not how things work, but I like it). Only Jo Perry and Charles Kriel have managed to avoid that area (Duncan MacMaster’s Hack never ended up there, because FP gave it to me to read — his other book, however . . . ). There are a handful of books there, and on adjacent plots, that I was going to actually read in January of this year, but well, that didn’t work. Maybe by July? (feel free to pause for laughter here).

I bring this up because The Accidental Detective was purchased on release and placed their next to the other titles and was only FP’s releasing of HER: The 1st Victor Locke Story back in March that got me to read this one so quickly. I didn’t realize at the time that HER was the first story in this collection, I thought it was more of a prequel to this novel. Whoops. Still, HER was a fun story and I had to find out more about Victor Locke and his buddy, Dr. Doyle quickly, so I was able to rescue this from FP corner.

Essentially, this is a short story collection — or a very episodic novel, depending how you want to look at it — about a convicted hacker and his formerly court-mandated psychologist solving mysteries. The stories are very much in the updating-Sherlock Holmes vein. Basically, the stories are a Sherlock-like update featuring a Holmes (Locke) with a demeanor more akin to Elementary‘s Holmes while living a Mr. Robot lifestyle (at least early Season One Mr. Robot — look, don’t go examining these comparisons too far, all right?). Some of the ways that the Locke stories are updates of/tributes to/etc. the Holmes canon are obvious, some are subtle, and some are blatant — and all work wonderfully. I’ve read most of the Holmes stories and all the novels at least once, but I’m not an expert by any means; still, I’m familiar enough to catch most of them without work. I laughed hard at this version of Mycroft in his first appearance.

All that’s background — now to the book itself, HER kicks off the collection with Locke (and his not-sidekick Doyle) being drafted into working for the FBI. The story doesn’t end the way the FBI agents would like, but it seems to give Locke the idea that he could do more of this detecting thing. Unofficially, of course. So he goes looking for further opportunities like this. Most of his work is for friends and acquaintances from his neighborhood, but he does get pulled into doing some work for the police.

Locke’s personality pretty much demands that he will have conflict with whatever authority/official-types he encounters, but, like every good Sherlock, most will recognize his talents and let him get away with it. Doyle is more than a sidekick and chronicler of his adventures, but he’s no Joan Watson. Yet. I don’t think Brown will leave him in his current role. Doyle is brilliant, he’s a great observer of people and things, he thinks and talks fast and doesn’t suffer fools gladly (unless he likes them). This doesn’t mean that he won’t have a blind spot or two, that he can’t use some help from others occasionally, either. He usually knows when he needs the help, too.

Few of the stories result in any public success — Locke gets the solution, but sometimes he can’t do anything with it, or has to keep it under wraps. I love this — it’s be so easy to make him some publicity-seeking type. Or someone who doesn’t seek it, but gets it nonetheless. But Jones lets his hero have public failures pretty regularly, keeping him as a struggling detective, not a superstar of deduction.

Fast-paced, clever, charming, funny, clever, and I should repeat clever. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and gobbled them up pretty quickly. I know Volume 2 is on the way, and it won’t end up in the dusty and ignored FP corner. You should go grab this one if you’re a fan of Holmes or any of his modern incarnations. Even if you’re not a fan of Holmes, you might find yourself changing your mind after reading Jones’ take on the character.

—–

3.5 Stars

Fahrenbruary Repost: The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter by Charles Kriel

Here’s the first book I read from Fahrenheit Press. It left an impression. In addition to the Kindle copy I bought, I have two paperback versions of this — and ordered the Hardcover last year (not sure what happened there…oh well). I wonder today if I’d given it more stars, I think I would’ve. It’s just weird enough that I didn’t know how to judge it. I’m still not sure I do, but I wish I had time for a re-read, I think I can appreciate more of it now that it’s percolated in the back of my mind for 3 years and change.

More than anything, I really hope that Kriel gives us another book with these people some time.

Be sure to check out the music video of the song FP commissioned to accompany the book.

The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady's Daughter The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter

by Charles Kriel
Series: Mel Barry Investigates, #1Kindle Edition, 250 pg.

Fahrenheit Press, 2015

Read: October 31, 2015


I can’t give this one the discussion it needs with my standard spoiler-free stuff. So…after the break below, I’ll talk about my spoilery-beefs with this book. If you don’t want to read them (I’m not sure I’d blame you for skipping) read on. Otherwise, you can stop when you get to the stars.

Carnival/Freak Show owner Charlie “Lobster Boy” Koontz is being framed for murder, and given his physical appearance, an already ugly situation promises to get much, much worse. So he does the unthinkable — he calls his adopted daughter for help. You’ll have to read to find out why this is such a dumb move. Mel comes to town, starts asking questions, kicking some butt — occasionally getting a name — all while reconnecting with her carnie roots and learning a bit more about her family.

Mel’s a combination of Jack Reacher and Charlie Fox with a more mysterious past than either. Which Kriel teases us with frequently, but doesn’t give us much to go on. I’m fine with that, if we get a sequel that actually explains what happens to Mel post-carnival, otherwise, it’s a problem (one that’s not Kriel’s fault, really). Anyway, she’s good with a gun, good with hand-to-hand, crafty as all get-out and determined to get Charlie out of jail no matter what.

We don’t get much of an idea about the town that the murder takes place in, we get a flavor of some of the leadership — we see that Law Enforcement is a racist joke, and that there’s a strip joint. That’s pretty much it. Kriel comes close to playing the stereotype card, but somehow avoids it. We see almost nothing of the populace, no characters that we can remember longer than the sentence that they’re (outside of the villains, obviously)

We get a good look at The Lobster Boy’s Mermaid Parade, on the other hand. It’s a not just a group of coworkers, it’s a family — admittedly, a strange family. They live together, travel together, perform together, play together — it’s enough to make you want to run off and join them. But you should probably bend a law or two first, so you can fit in. And it’s filled with characters — almost none of which we get adequate time with, but enough to make them people, enough to remember in a couple of cases, at least.

Early on, there is a rape scene that I found to be gratuitously graphic. I get that occasionally for reasons of plot or character, you’ve got to have a scene along those lines — and while I don’t appreciate them, I can accept them. But they need to serve a purpose, this one seems to do little more than demonstrate that the man is a creep, a misogynist, violent with a twisted idea that he’s connected to Mel. Now we already know everything except the violence before things got graphic, and there’re other ways to show that. I’m not saying the guy can’t rape the girl to illustrate this stuff if that’s what an author thinks is best, but we don’t need the details. The fact that he rapes someone alone says that. The details don’t add to that. A couple of chapters earlier, there’s an attempted rape scene (different perpetrators, different victim) — I had no problems with that at all, because it accomplished things that served the story and the characters.

The first two chapters of this were interesting, yeah, but there was something about it that made me think this wasn’t going to be a book for me — no matter how well-written it turned out to be, there was just something that didn’t appeal. I’m not sure if I finished Chapter 3 before I decided I was wrong — I liked Mel, straightaway. I still wasn’t sure about anything else in the book, but if this was her book, I was in.

This was a fast read, a compelling read, and a fun read — and were it not for graphic elements in the rape scene and the stuff coming up below, I’d have rated it higher. Still, Mel Barry is a character I want to see more of, and I’m sure Charles Kriel is an author I will see more of. Especially at a Kindle price, it’s worth the read — would be for twice what Amazon is asking, too.

—–

3.5 Stars
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A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski: A fast, fun, and bullet-ridden adventure

A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken SapsA Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps

by Nick Kolakowski
Series: A Love & Bullets Hookup, #1

Kindle Edition, 128 pg.
Shotgun Honey, 2017

Read: January 17, 2019


Bill is a con man, a hustler, a grifter with a gift — one that has been put to good use by the Rockaway Mob until the day that Bill has had enough. He just can’t keep going the way he’s been going. So he leaves New York and heads off on his secret plan to leave the country. Of course, before he left town, he helped himself to a large amount of the Mob’s money to fund his retirement. Which is as popular a choice as you can expect.

Only . . . his plan isn’t as secret as he thinks and people are on his tail immediately. A pair of employees are sent to take care of Bill and retrieve the cash. And then another is shooter is sent before those first two have even had a chance to fail. And it’s a good thing that happened.

Which is all I should probably say about the plot. Very little goes the way you think it’ll go once things get rolling. What follows is fast, fun and violent. It’s the least subtle critique of civil forfeiture possible — and a whole host of other things.

The backup assassin is our entry into this world, these characters — .he’s notorious, he’s infamous, he’s “that guy.” And . . . he’s kind of falling apart — his wife can’t handle his vocation any more and is divorcing him. His point of view chapters are a mix of attitude, a little snark, mayhem and despondency. Somehow, that mix is a blast.

On the other hand, we have Bill — who you somehow can’t believe was ever brought into the fold by the Rockaway Mob, but he’s clearly good at what he does. But little else, it seems. He has a real knack for moving from fire to fireplace to somewhere hotter yet. One of the other assassins sent after him was the one who brought him to the Rockaway Mob, who vouched for him. Her name is Fiona, and she’s one of the fiercest, deadly, aggressive characters you’ve met recently — and at least until recently, was in love with Bill (not that he treated her too well in his exit, and probably cooled her affections as a result).

This is a novella — and there’s not a lot of space for character development, for fully drawing out a character — and while these three aren’t as well drawn as Kolakowski has in other work, they’re good enough for what he’s wanting to accomplish here. (I hope that doesn’t sound like a slight — it’s not supposed to be). They may not be fully drawn, but they’re a lot of fun — and there’s some intriguing emotional beats between them and some of the other characters in these pages.

This book is primarily an exercise in violence — there’s a hint of torture, just a hint (but most of it happens off-screen). What’s not hinted at are explosions and gunfire. There’s a lot of it — the literary equivalent of so much of the stylized cinematic violence inspired by Tarantino in the 90’s. It’s adrenaline set to music — think Edgar Wright action scenes, but more lethal — to skip a couple of decades (actually, I bet this novella would pair well with much of the Baby Driver soundtrack).

I had a hard time accepting how the last few chapters went, because I had the wrong idea about what Kolakowski was up to with this book (and, I bet, the next two books that follow). But I had a blast with it — even the last chapters, once I gave up my preconceptions.

This is a fast, lean novella — there’s not an ounce of fat, not one unnecessary sentence to this. Kolakowski has a story to tell and he tells it. I knew going in that this was going to be a fast read, but I couldn’t believe how quickly I got through it — between the lean prose, the fast pace of the book and the action scenes, this was just a bullet train of a read (no pun intended).

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. My opinions expressed above are my own. I appreciate the book, but I didn’t sell out my opinions because of that..

—–

3.5 Stars

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The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder: A Gripping Mystery, a Haunted Past, A Strong Novel


The Reach of ShadowsThe Reach of Shadows

by Tony J. Forder
Series: DI Bliss, #4


eARC, 372 pg.
Bloodhound Books, 2019

Read: January 18 – 21, 2019

‘Three days on, are you any closer to finding out who murdered our daughter?’ Tony Coleman asked. His hands were resting palm down on the bed, fingers splayed as if he were about the leap into action at any moment. The shock was palpable in every line of his face, and the man’s glazed eyes told Bliss that so much grief was yet to sink in. It was looking at faces just like this throughout his career that caused Bliss to take his cases personally. He never forgot a murder victim , but it was the expression on the faces of those they left behind that haunted him most of all.

Some time back, I noticed a strong link between how a novelist depicted the grieving of a murder victim’s family (particularly if it features the family identifying the body) and my overall reaction to the book. It’s the little things that are the most telling, right? Now, by the time I got to this father, I was already pretty sure that Forder knew what he was doing with this book, but it was nice to get the confirmation.

There is so much going on in this novel that it’s hard to know where to start. The book opens with a bang, with DI Bliss finding someone prowling around his house in the middle of the night. He pursues them on foot, in totally inappropriate clothing for such a thing. His pursuit is only called off when he’s struck by a car while crossing the road. When DS Chandler, his partner, comes to the hospital to bring him home, she tells him they have a stop to make — at a murder scene. He’s been ordered there despite his need to recover from the injuries sustained by being hit by a car.

Bliss is informed later that the reason he’s being pressured to work on this while recuperating is that the victim, Jade Coleman, had recently filed a complaint with the police about a stalker — and two of Bliss’ detectives had interviewed her. Nothing came of this complaint, and now she’s dead. So did they miss something? What should these two have done better/differently?

So Bliss has quite a few plates spinning right away — recovering from a concussion, broken ribs, etc.; solve a murder; ensure that the stalker investigation isn’t going to blow up in anyone’s face; when a few more plates are introduced: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (a replacement for The Complaints department) is looking into some of his cases — recent, and less-so. In fact, their investigation goes back over a decade, to when Bliss had been investigated for — and exonerated from — his wife’s murder. Bliss’ superiors are supporting him, and encouraging him to defend himself however is necessary — but he wants to find Coleman’s murderer, too. Bliss does keep the more senior members of his team in the loop about the IOPC investigation and they all want to help him as they can. So we have a whole lot of detectives trying to do a whole lot in a very short time.

Now, I haven’t read the previous three DI Bliss novels, and I don’t know what kind of overlap those books have with the particulars of the IOPC investigation — I think if I had more of a history with Bliss I could’ve cared more about this story, I could’ve appreciated the dangers he was in. Now, you never want the protagonist of the book you’re reading to be framed for a crime (especially if you get the sense that they’re one of the good guys in the world), but I just don’t have the investment to really care. So my primary concern was the Coleman case (and it was ultimately Bliss’ too).

The ways in which I wanted to be invested, but couldn’t, in the storylines about Bliss’ past were matched in the ways I was invested in Coleman’s case — there were some very believable red herrings dealt with, and Forder faked me out more than once. I’m not saying I got fooled by the same red herrings that distracted the detectives, but that Forder makes the reader thing he’s doing X with the plot while he’s setting up a Y. I was pretty impressed with the way he kept the characters and readers on their toes with the various stages and phases of the Coleman investigation while dealing with the crisis prompted by the Bliss investigations.

There is a great supporting cast around Chandler and Bliss — all of whom I wanted more time with — either above or below them in rank. I don’t know that if the book wasn’t quite as busy as this one if we’d have got to enjoy more of them, or if this is typical of the series. I can’t think of one of them I wouldn’t mind a few more pages with. Bliss is a very interesting character — he’s a good man and an old-school cop who’s doing his best to adapt and evolve into the modern concept of a detective. Chandler is a loyal friend, partner and sidekick — who could be more, who could (and maybe should) be a DI herself, but it perfectly content where she is. Watching them navigate the challenges of leadership and the pressures from above as tools to solve Coleman’s murder as well as being obstacles to efficient detecting is a lot of fun.

This really is a well-written, well-conceived and well-executed book — I think most of my lack of engagement (not that I wasn’t pretty engaged, I just think the book expected/deserved more on my end) comes from the fact that I was getting to know Bliss, Chandler and the rest. As I’ve said — the novel was just built on a lot of history, and not having any familiarity with that history, I couldn’t care as much as I should have. If I had the foundation, I’d have liked it more — and I already liked it a good deal. I do think this is a fine jumping on point — as long as you go into it knowing that you’re coming late to the party and won’t care about missing some things. Because of the way that this book seems to have wrapped up that stage of Bliss’ life, I’m not sure I want to go back and read the first three books (but I might), but I do want to see what happens in Bliss’ future — I haven’t talked much about Chandler, but I’m very interested in what lies in her future.

So, to wrap up, this is a strong novel that I couldn’t appreciate as much as I wanted to — but I really liked and it made me want to read more about these characters. My guess is you’ll react the same way (unless you’ve had the good sense to try these novels before hand — you are in for a treat).

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

—–

3.5 Stars

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Pub Day Repost: The Burglar by Thomas Perry: A Thief Hunts for a Killer in this Original Thriller

The BurglarThe Burglar

by Thomas Perry
eARC, 304 pg.
Mysterious Press, 2019
Read: August 25 – 28, 2018

Elle Stowell is a thief — a burglar to be precise. She’s careful, methodical, careful — she doesn’t use weapons, she focuses on cash and things that are easy to sell. You really can’t call anyone in her profession “risk averse,” but she’s as close to it as you could possibly be.

She’s a cute, petite blonde working in some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in LA. Her appearance gets her over-looked by those who ought to find her suspicious and her size and athletic ability help her get into places that she shouldn’t be. She makes enough to finance her lifestyle — and a little more. But primarily, she lives this way for the thrill.

All that changes one day when she breaks into a home and finds three bodies in the bedroom, clearly the victims of a shooting. She also notices that a video camera in the room which probably caught the murder — it definitely caught her. So she steals the camera from the scene and runs. She verifies that, yes, it shows the murder and a little bit of what led up to it. After making a few copies — and removing her self from the footage — she returns the camera for the police to use the footage.

Soon after this, she begins to hear of three people looking for her at some of her usual haunts. She’s told that they seem like cops, but she’s not sure. Cops or not, she wants nothing to do with them. Once bodies start showing up — bodies that are related to her in some way — she knows that she has to find the murderers or she’ll never be able to stop looking over her shoulder.

I don’t really think that I got to the point that I liked Elle — she’s a criminal, not one driven to it or forced to steal or anything. She made a choice at some point to steal and has stuck with it. She’s not particularly flamboyant about it — like Jim DiGriz or Nicholas Fox or anything. Her approach is clinical, serious, no-nonsense. So there’s none of the typical fictional trappings that make you like a thief character.

However, it wasn’t that far into the book when I realized that I was really invested in what’s going on with her — how is she going to escape the ramifications of what she’s seen? Is she being paranoid, or is there someone actually after her? Will she be able to bring them to justice without incriminating herself? How did they figure how who she was? Why were the original murders committed? Why isn’t anything happening with that video she left the police?

There are other characters — a couple that you get to spend some good time with, too. But this book is all about Elle. Like I said, I don’t think I ever liked Elle, but I appreciated her as a character. The other characters that are around for more than a few paragraphs are just interesting enough to justify their presence. Some bring out some interesting sides of Elle’s character or past. Others help us understand just what kind of mess she’s fallen into.

This is my third Thomas Perry book in the last year, and I was far more invested in the events of this than I was in either of the others — he kept reeling me in page by page. The pacing of this is great — just like Elle herself, Perry knows when to slow down and let you catch your breath and then when to dash off and leave you hanging on by your fingertips.Perry’s been at this for a while and it shows — he knows how to write a thriller.

Unlike many crime novels (including the other Perry novels), you don’t get to know anything about the murderers until the ending — you have an idea about them before the ending, but it’s not until the closing chapters that you actually learn anything. I loved that, I was just as much in the dark as Elle was. Perry didn’t get into the killer’s mindset or motivation at all. They were just out there, threatening Elle until she’s put the pieces together.

This was a fun read. It was gripping, it was unique, it was complex — and come to think of it, the motive for the killing and the crimes surrounding the murder aren’t like anything I remember in Crime Fiction. That alone makes it worth your while. Perry really delivered the goods with this one, and I encourage you to give it a shot.

—–

3.5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Grove Atlantic via NetGalley in exchange for this post — thanks to both for this.