Category Archives: Police Procedurals

A Review of Trail of Echoes by Rachel Howzell Hall

Trail of Echoes: A Detective Elouise Norton Novel

Trail of Echoes by Rachel Howzell HallTrail of Echoes: the latest Elouise Norton mystery novel from critically acclaimed writer Rachel Howzell Hall.

On a rainy spring day in Los Angeles, homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton is called away from a rare lunch date to Bonner Park, where the body of thirteen-year-old Chanita Lords has been discovered. When Lou and her partner, Colin Taggert, take on the sad task of informing Chanita’s mother, Lou is surprised to find herself in the apartment building she grew up in.

Chanita was interested in photography and, much like Lou, a black girl destined to leave the housing projects behind. Her death fits a chilling pattern of exceptional African-American girls–dancers, artists, honors scholars-gone recently missing in the same school district, the one Lou attended not so long ago.

Lou is valiantly trying to make a go of life after her divorce and doing everything she can to avoid her long estranged father. She races to catch a serial killer, but he remains frustratingly out of her reach, sending cryptic cyphers and taunting clues that arrive too late to prevent the next death. This one is personal, and it’s only a matter of time before he comes after Lou herself.

Book Details

Series: Detective Elouise Norton (Book 3)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Forge Books (May 31, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765381176
ISBN-13: 978-0765381170
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Rachel Howzell HallRACHEL HOWZELL HALL is the author of Trail of Echoes (Forge), the third novel in her new mystery series featuring LAPD Homicide Detective Elouise Norton. The first, Land of Shadows, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and was included on the Los Angeles Times’ “143 Books to Read This Summer” and the U.K Telegraph’s “Top Ten Crime Books for Summer.” Rachel was also a featured novelist on NPR’s acclaimed ‘Crime in the City’ series.

Her first novel, A Quiet Storm, was a featured selection of Borders’ Original Voices program, as well as an alternate selection of the Black Expressions book club. She is the marketing manager of individual giving at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Rachel lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, the land of exceptional drought.

Excerpt from Trail of Echoes

Chapter 1

At twelve thirty on a rainy Wednesday after noon, I was breaking one of my cardinal rules as a homicide detective: Never eat lunch with civilians. But on that Wednesday in March, I sat at a Formica- topped table in Johnny’s Pastrami with no ordinary citizen.

Assistant District Attorney Sam Seward had eyes the color of mint leaves, hands that could palm Jupiter, and a mind agile enough to grasp the story arc of Game of Thrones.

I had a crush on Sam.

He liked me, too, even though I associated “bracelets” with “handcuffs” and smelled of gun oil more than lavender. And so when he had asked if I wanted to grab a pastrami with him, I had immediately chirped, “Sure. Why not?” I wanted to have Normal People Lunch with ketchup that squirted from bottles and conversations about March Madness instead of murders, bodies, and blood. More than that, I wanted to have Normal People Lunch with Sam.

And now he smiled at me like the secret goof he was. And I futzed with the belt of my cowl- necked sweater like the nervous virgin I hadn’t been in twenty years.

Outside, clouds the color of Tahitian black pearls and drizzle softened the crimson glare of car brake lights. Inside, the diner smelled of meat and onions, and George Harrison crooned from hidden speakers about the way she moves.

“Elouise Norton,” Sam said, shaking his head. “I cannot believe it.”

I nibbled a sliver of pastrami. “Why not? I do violence all day.”

“Which is why I can’t believe you’d watch a show on your downtime that’s all decapitations and grit for an hour and three minutes.”

I gasped. “You made me watch it.”

He smoothed his slate- blue tie. “ Couldn’t talk to you about the Darson case forever.”

Sam was prosecuting Max Crase, the man who had murdered high school cheerleader Monique Darson, her sister Macie, and my sister Victoria. Now recovering from a brain tumor, Max Crase had pled insanity. And well . . . “insane” was just one word I’d use to describe him.

“Nor do I want to talk about the Darson case now.” I smiled at Sam, then pointed at his face. “You have mustard . . .”

He squinted at me. “Get it off, then.”

My heart pounded— I loved challenges.

I waited a moment . . . then leaned forward.

He moved aside sandwich baskets and almost- full glasses of Diet Coke, then leaned forward but only a little. “Closer,” he demanded.

I waited . . . then obeyed.

His butterscotch- colored cheeks flushed.

With his face an inch away from mine, I parted my lips.

And the bell tower tolled: the ringtone for Lieutenant Zak Rodriguez.

Sam crooked his neck, going for the kiss.

But the bell tower tolled again— louder and crankier this time.

“Sounds official,” Sam whispered.

Going cold, I sank into my seat. “It’s my boss.” I reached for Sam’s hand as my other hand grabbed the phone from my purse.

“Where you at?” Lieutenant Rodriguez asked.

“Having pastrami and soda pop.”

“With Taggert?”

Sam kissed my hand before he let go.

“Nope.”

“Pepe and Luke?”

I pushed my bangs off my flushed forehead. “Nuh uh.”

Lieutenant Rodriguez sighed. “Please say you’re not with your ex.”

“ Don’t worry. I’m not.”

“Hate to break it up, but you’re on deck. Some joggers found a body up in Bonner Park.”

My ankle holster, stuffed now with my lunch gun, pinched my skin— death had a way of yanking you from Wonderland. “ Really? This early in the day?”

“And whoever left it there is one cold son of a bitch.”

“ Aren’t they all?”

“He put it in one of those large duffel bags, the kind soldiers carry. And he left it there on the trail. In this weather.”

Outside our window, the wind had picked up, making palm fronds frantic and street signs swing. Back in the calm mustiness of Johnny’s, someone had dropped a quarter into the tabletop jukebox and had pressed E6: Olivia Newton- John asking if I’ve ever been mellow.

“Yeah,” Lieutenant Rodriguez was saying, “and where he left it? Up on that trail? It ain’t the typical boneyard. Anyway, I’ll call Taggert and we’ll meet you over there. Maybe you shoulda had one of your salads today. Edamame and shit instead of all that meat.”

Martha Bonner Park. Hills, trees, valleys— a beautiful jewel in the city’s crown. I jogged, hiked, and fed ducks there whenever I wasn’t watching divers pull guns and bodies out of its murky- green fake lake.

“Gotta go?” Sam asked, eyes on his iPhone.

“Yep.”

“Same here. I’m helping to plan Congresswoman Fortier’s jazz funeral.”

“Saturday, right?”

He nodded. “A second line down Crenshaw. A horse, a brass band, all of it.”

I dug in my purse for the car keys. “How many permits did you all have to pull for a New Orleans homegoing in the middle of Los Angeles?”

He rubbed his face. “You have no idea. And I hear all of NOLA is coming to usher her into the great beyond.” He emerged from behind his hands with a smile. “But I’m glad we had a moment to ourselves.”

I blushed. “Me too.”

Even though this was our first date, nothing else needed to be said or explained. I gotta go. No apology, no weird hostility. He, too, had to keep LA from exploding.

Oh, how I liked Sam.

Hand in hand, we walked to the parking lot, stopping at the light- blue Crown Vic that would stink of mildew until August.

“So you owe me.” Towering over me, Sam rested his hands on my waist.

I tensed, aware of my bulky ballistics vest, hoping that he didn’t think that was all . . . me. “Owe you? For what?”

“For ending our lunch so soon.”

I shivered— not because of the forty- degree weather. “Bullshit. We were basically done.”

“I wanted pie.”

I straightened the collar of his black wool overcoat. “Fine. You’ll get your pie.”

Then, my freakin’ iPhone caw- cawed from my pocket: the ringtone for Colin Taggert, my partner of nine months.

Sam dropped his hands and backed away from me. “If your case is a dunker, come over to night and watch something other than a basketball game. You could bring pie.”

“Maybe.”

“You’ll call me?”

“Yes.”

And the eagle caw- cawed again: America was calling.

I plucked the phone from my pocket. “I’m on my way,” I told Colin, slipping behind the Ford’s steering wheel. In the rearview mirror, I watched Sam climb into his black Bimmer.

“The body in the—” Colin sneezed, then sneezed again. “The body in the park. Prepare yourself: it’s a girl.”

Just when you’re trying to be mellow.

Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Howzell Hall

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A Review of Gone Again by James Grippando

Gone Again (Jack Swyteck #12)

by James Grippando

Mr. Grippando completes the circle with Gone Again. Jack Swyteck is back where he started in the first book in the series, The Pardon. He is back at the Freedom Institute. He says that he isn’t joining the team, just renting an office, but he gets drawn back into a death row case, when the victim’s mother, Debra Burette, talks to him when everyone else is down at the Florida State Prison. She is convinced that the man who is scheduled to die for her daughter’s rape and murder shouldn’t be executed because she is sure that her daughter, Sashi, is alive.

This is just the beginning of a book that is full of twists and turns. Many of the people in this book have secrets, and just when you think that you have them figured out something else happens to change your mind. As the story progresses, layer after layer of lies are torn away, until you reach the truth, a truth that you never expected, and could not have anticipated.

I like the Jack Swyteck series. I read The Pardon a long time ago, and I’ve read another couple since then. I like the Freedom Institute members. I hope that Jack sticks around there. He is a good fit. You don’t need to read this series in order, since each of the books stand on their own; but once you read Gone Again, you probably will want to read some of the earlier books.

I give Gone Again 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up. If you like multilayered legal mysteries, I think you will really like Gone Again.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Gone Again by James GrippandoIn this electrifying and fast-paced tale of suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Cash Landing, Cane & Abe, and Black Horizon, Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck takes on his first death-row client since The Pardon in a case as twisty as it is shocking.

Sashi Burgette vanished three years ago on her way to school. The night after the teenager’s disappearance, ex-con Dylan Kyle was stopped for drunk driving. An article of Sashi’s clothing was found in his truck, and a police videotape of his drunken explanation under interrogation sealed his fate at trial. Now, just days from Kyle’s execution, Sashi’s mother visits Jack Swyteck, doing pro bono work at the Freedom Institute, and delivers shocking news: “Sashi called me.”

The police dismiss the call as a cruel hoax. The State Attorney refuses to consider the new evidence, insisting the case is closed. The governor has already signed the death warrant. An innocent man may be executed and time is running out—unless his lawyers can locate Sashi.

A man of principle who believes in justice, Jack jumps into the investigation. But the deeper he digs the more he discovers that nothing is what it appears to be. Not the victim. Not her alleged killer. And definitely not Sashi’s parents, whose grief ruptured their marriage, each openly blaming the other for what happened to their daughter.

As their gut-wrenching and hopelessly conflicting version of events unfolds in a Miami courtroom, it becomes clear there is something even more difficult to find than a long-missing girl . . .

The truth.

Book Details

Series: Jack Swyteck Novel
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062368702
ISBN-13: 978-0062368706
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Monica Hopkins photography
Monica Hopkins photography

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels. He was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and now serves as counsel at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP. He lives in South Florida with his wife, three children, two cats, and a golden retriever named Max who has no idea that he’s a dog.

A Review of No Cure for Love by Peter Robinson

No Cure for Love: A Novel

by Peter Robinson

This book was first published in 1995, and is set during that time, so in many was this is sort of a period police procedural. The tech is 25 years old, but that’s OK. The detectives can’t check the traffic cams or try to find someone using their cellphone’s GPS chip, they have to use old-fashioned police work. California has changed a lot in 25 years too, but nothing feels too dated.

Most of us know Peter Robinson as the author of the Inspector Banks series, which are set in northern England, near Yorkshire. The southern California location of No Cure for Love is quite a change for Mr. Robinson, but he pulls it off quite well. It never feels artificial. He gets it right, but he does keep some of his Britishness in his writing. He tones down the gore, and keeps the characters more civilized. His main character, Sarah Broughton, is a British actress  and the lead detective, Arvo Hughes,  isn’t a California native. He grew up in the Detroit area and only had been in LA three years. The minor characters have an LA feel to them, but they really aren’t very developed.

Since this is a stalker type story, it has many things that you have seen before. There are a series of letters written by the stalker. Some of the chapters are the first person thoughts of the stalker. The stalker wants to impress Sarah, so he sets up a scene near her house. That sort of stuff. There are a few twists, but this isn’t a Jeffery Deaver book, by any means.

This was an easy book to read. I enjoyed it. I liked Sarah and Arvo. It could have been a decent start to a series, but was probably more of an experiment for Mr. Robinson. He was sticking his toe into the American book market. It probably didn’t sell well enough to warrant continuing. After all he had DCI Banks. He had published his seventh Banks book in 1994 and No Cure for Love was just a diversion.

I give No Cure for Love 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up. If you feel like a mild psychological thriller set in sunny LA, give it a try. This won’t give you nightmares.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

No Cure for LoveOriginally published in 1995, No Cure for Love is being reissued this year, with an introduction by Michael Connelly. This relentlessly suspenseful thriller from the New York Timesbestselling and Edgar award-winning author of the Inspector Banks novels marks the first time that Peter Robinson has set a novel in America.

Sarah Broughton has come a long way. She’s the star of a hit cop show on TV. She lives in a beautiful California beach house. And—most importantly—she’s put her dark past behind her… as well as her old name, Sally Bolton. No need for anyone to know about that.

When Sarah begins receiving letters mysteriously signed with the letter “M,” she thinks they’re from a harmless admirer… until her real name appears in the third letter. And then she finds that name inscribed in the sand near her home – next to a body.

The message is clear: Someone is watching Sarah’s every move. Someone so obsessed with her that he won’t stop at just one murder in order to prove his love.

Panicked, Sarah turns to Detective Arvo Hughes of the LAPD, a man who specializes in hunting down the most dangerous stalkers. But nothing in Hughes’ experience has prepared him for the mastermind he’s up against. For the killer, there’s no cure for love. And for Sarah and Hughes, there’s no way out.

Book Details

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 16, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062405101
ISBN-13: 978-0062405104
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

About the Author

Photo © Pal Hansen
Photo © Pal Hansen

Peter Robinson is the bestselling author of the Inspector Banks series, two short-story collections, and three standalone novels, which combined have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Among his many honors and prizes are the Edgar Award, the CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award, and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award.

A Review of What You See by Hank Phillippi Ryan

What You See (Jane Ryland & Jake Brogan #4)

by Hank Phillippi Ryan

4,0

Sometimes people think they know what you are going to say before you finish telling them something. They may jump in and finish your sentence for you, or even worse they may just assume that they understand what you are trying to tell them, and then not really listen to you. They may be on their phone or watching something on TV, or thinking about their hot date for Saturday night. Communication seems to be suffering in these fast paced days that we are living.

Ms. Ryan highlights this phenomena in What You See. Everyone cuts off each other. They are trying to multitask and therefore can barely single-task. Too much is going on, and too many worries and problems get in the way, so everyone thinks that they are getting the whole picture, but really they are missing crucial facts.

All of this churning around frustrated me. I wanted to yell at Detective Jake Brogan. He needed to follow-up. He had to do one thing at a time, but of course he couldn’t. He was pulled every which way and didn’t even have time to sleep, which just made everything worse. Laid-off Reporter Jane Ryland wanted to find a new job. She had her sister’s wedding to deal with at the same time. Then her sister’s future step-daughter goes missing. She is offered a temporary job with a local TV station. Everything happens at once. I wanted to yell at Jane too. Everyone just needs to calm down and complete what they are doing!

This book is very fast paced. It’s hard to feel comfortable while reading it, but that’s what the author wanted to convey. She wanted to make you feel what all of the characters were feeling, the hectic pace and the confusion. The feeling like you were being pulled in multiple directions, never able to compete anything before having to switch tasks and work on something else. The struggles of dealing with other family members. Trying to keep feeling from being hurt. She did a very effective job.

I give What You See 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up! If you are ready to put up with the fast-paced challenge of modern multitasking along with the struggles that dealing with the secrets that families keep, then this book will keep you up all night.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

What You See by Hank Phillippi RyanWhat You See: another thrilling installment in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s award-winning Jane Ryland mystery series.

Why would a father abduct his own child? A wedding is planned in Jane Ryland’s family, but there’s a disaster instead. Nine-year-old Gracie-supposed to be the flower girl-has been taken by her stepdad. Where are they? Is the girl in danger? Reporter Jane Ryland learns there’s a limit to the bonds of family-and learns to her peril what happens when loved ones are pushed too far.

Meanwhile, Detective Jake Brogan’s got a doozy of a case. At Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, a man is stabbed to death in front of a crowd of tourists snapping photos of the murder on their cell phones. Solving the case should be easy, but the pictures and surveillance video lead him to a dark conspiracy of extortion and stolen lives.

Jane and Jake must explore where their loyalties lie-to each other? To their families? To their careers? If they make the wrong decision, the consequences could be fatal.

Book Details

Series: Jane Ryland (Book 4)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Forge Books (October 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765374951
ISBN-13: 978-0765374950
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

hank-ryan-crop-pressHANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. A television journalist since 1975, she has won 33 Emmys and thirteen Edward R. Murrow awards for her work. Her work has resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution.

A best-selling author of seven bestselling novels of suspense, Hank’s first Jane Ryland novel,THE OTHER WOMAN won the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award! It was nominated for the Anthony, Agatha, Daphne, Shamus and Macavity Awards. THE WRONG GIRL won the Agatha for Best Mystery, the Daphne for best suspense. It spent seven weeks on the Boston Globe Bestseller list.

Her current book TRUTH BE TOLD also won the AGATHA for Best Novel of 2014. it is also a Library Journal Best of 2014.

WHAT YOU SEE (Oct Forge 2015) is already an RTBR TOP PICK! Reviewers say “Ryan is master of her craft” and say the book offers “exceptional suspense!”

Reviewers have called her “a superb and gifted storyteller” (Booklist), ” a master of crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “Stellar!” (Library Journal.)

Ryan has won the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards for her short stories.

Hank is on the national board of directors of Mystery Writers of America (and a founding instructor at MWA-U) and is 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.

She’s been a radio reporter, a political campaign staffer, a legislative aide in the United States Senate, and in a two-year stint in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Washington Bureau, worked on the political column “Capitol Chatter” and organized presidential campaign coverage for Hunter S. Thompson. She began her TV career anchoring and reporting the news for TV stations in her home town of Indianapolis and then Atlanta.

She and her husband, a nationally renowned criminal defense and civil rights attorney, live just outside Boston, Massachusetts. http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com

 

A Review of Icarus by Deon Meyer

Icarus (Benny Griessel #5)

by Deon Meyer

4,0

I really like this series. All of the detectives are quirky. They each have their traits that define them. The only problem you may have with this series is the sprinkling of South African words and phrases. Most of them are just what they sound like, but every once in a while you may be stumped. Thankfully, Mr. Meyer does include a glossary at the end of the book, so you don’t have to search the web.

In Icarus, Captain Benny Griessel, who is an alcoholic, falls off the wagon after nearly two years of sobriety. Mr. Meyers handles the struggles that he is going though very realistically. I could really identify with Benny. I could relate to the messed up thinking that is what an alcoholic has to fight against every day. Hopefully he will be able find his way.

This is a Police Procedural. There is a murder to be solved. The victim was the head of a software company that wrote an app that facilitated marital cheating. It produced alibis for its subscribers. At the same time as the investigation is proceeding, you are sitting in on a meeting between a lawyer and her client. This series of interviews gives you the history behind the South African wine industry, which then ties back into the murder.

Icarus is a serious book, with humor sprinkled in, not a cozy mystery. Even though everyone in the book has their funny side, it doesn’t get in the way of the story, but it does allow for a bit of comic relief.

I give Icarus 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up! If you are ready to explore a different culture, and don’t mind having to jump to the glossary once in a while, then you should give this unique South African mystery series a try. I think you will like it.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the Publisher.

Book Description

Icarus by Deon MeyerSouth Africa’s preeminent crime fiction writer, Deon Meyer is internationally acclaimed for his razor’s-edge thrillers, unforgettable characters, and nuanced portrayals of contemporary life in his native country. The fifth pulse-pounder starring Captain Benny Griessel, a lead detective in South Africa’s priority crimes unit, delves into the country’s burgeoning tech and wine industries.

A week before Christmas, a young photographer discovers a plastic-wrapped corpse amidst the sand dunes north of Cape Town. The only thing found on the corpse is a dead iPhone, but it doesn’t take long for the police to identify the body as that of Ernst Richter—the tech whiz behind MyAlibi, an internet service that provides unfaithful partners with sophisticated cover stories to hide an affair. Meanwhile, Benny Griessel is called to the scene of a multiple homicide involving a former colleague, and four years of sobriety are undone on the spot. He emerges from his drunken haze determined to quit the force, but the take-no-sass Major Mbali Kaleni, now his boss, wants Griessel on the Richter case. The high-profile murder has already been the subject of fierce media speculation, with questions swirling about the potential for motive: could the perpetrator be one of the countless jilted spouses? An aggrieved client?

Before the week is out, an unexpected connection to a storied family winery comes to light, and Griessel’s reputation is again on the line. Mounting towards a startling conclusion, Icarus is another exceptional novel from the “King of South African Crime.”

Book Details

 

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Tra edition (October 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802124003
ISBN-13: 978-0802124005
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Deon MeyerDeon Meyer’s books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages. THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa – the first time in the prize’s 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold. Deon has also written two television series, and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film The Last Tango. Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Visit the author’s website at http://www.deonmeyer.com and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

 

A Review of The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

The Drowned Boy (Inspector Konrad Sejer #11)

by Karin Fossum

4,0This is another book with a disturbing subject. A 16 month-old toddler is found drowned in a pond. The boy had Down syndrome. Was it an accident?

Ms. Fossum does a great job with this difficult subject. She doesn’t let the story go too dark. She brushes up against the darkness, but never really crosses over. She lets you feel what the mother and father are feeling, but keeps them at a distance. The Drowned Boy will keep you engaged. It will make you question your own morality. What would you do?

I give The Drowned Boy 4 Stars out of 5. I like the way Ms. Fossum handles this. I intend to read more of her books.

Book Description

The Drowned Boy Karin FossumA new addition to the captivating Inspector Sejer series, the first since The Caller, from Norway’s finest crime writer

Carmen and Nicolai failed to resuscitate their son, Tommy, after finding him floating in their backyard pond. When Inspector Skarre arrives on the scene, Carmen reports that Tommy, a healthy toddler with Down syndrome, wandered into the garden while Nicolai was working in the basement and she was cleaning the house. Skarre senses something is off with Carmen’s story and consults his trusted colleague, the famed Inspector Sejer. An autopsy reveals Tommy’s lungs to be full of soap.

When Sejer and Skarre revisit the couple, Carmen, an epileptic, changes her story, confessing that she’d been knocked unconscious by a seizure while bathing Tommy. When she came to, she found him drowned in the tub and, horrified and frightened, threw him into the pond.

But Skarre and Sejer’s doubt is not appeased and the case is reopened. What more could Carmen be hiding? And what lengths will she take to cover her guilt? As Carmen’s own family starts to doubt her, Skarre and Sejer work to find the truth.

Book Details

Series: Inspector Sejer Mysteries
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (August 25, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0544483960
ISBN-13: 978-0544483965
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces

About the Author

FOSSUMKarin Fossum is a Norwegian author of crime fiction,often known there as the “Norwegian queen of crime”. She lives in Oslo. Fossum was initially a poet, with her first collection published in 1974 when she was just 20. It won the Tarjei Vesaas’ Debutant Prize. She is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer series of crime novels, which have been translated into over 16 languages. She won the Glass key award for her novel “Don’t Look Back”, which also won the Riverton Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger in 2005 for “Calling Out For You”.

 

A Review of Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

by Karin Slaughter

This was another of those very hard to read books. I felt overwhelmed. Let me describe what I mean. I’ll set the stage by giving you a rundown of the back story of the book.

Claire and Lydia are sisters. Their older sister, Julia, went missing when they were young. That event devastated their family. Their dad was obsessed with finding Julia. The marriage ended. He committed suicide. Nothing was ever right.

Claire married Paul. Lydia says that she was raped by Paul. Claire didn’t believe her. This split the sisters.

At the beginning of Pretty Girls, Paul and Claire are making out in a dark alley. A man stabs Paul and tries to abduct Claire. She gets away. Paul dies. During the funeral Paul and Claire’s house is broken into. The burglars are scared away by the caterers. Claire needs Lydia’s help. They feel that something is wrong. The cops are acting strange. Why is the FBI agent there? What is so important on Paul’s computer? Why does his business partner need those work folders so badly? What is going on?

Claire finds horrible, realistic, brutal, snuff videos on Paul’s home computer. After that she doesn’t know who she can trust. Claire and Lydia feel threatened by everyone. They realize that the girls in the videos are actually being tortured and killed.

Hopefully you get an idea of how hard it was to read this book. I don’t like to think that there could possibility be an underground market for films like that. Real torture and murder, no special effects. Where people abduct and hold pretty girls. Then slowly, over a period of time, rape, torture and finally murder them for money.

Ms. Slaughter knows how to make me squirm. Her portrayal of two sisters coming together, trying to work out how to find a way out, was very believable. She is a talented thriller writer. This book may not be for everyone, but if you are up for it, it is one hell of a ride!

I give Pretty Girls 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready for an intensely dark thriller, this should fit the bill.

By the way, the prequel short story Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, that I reviewed previously (A Review of Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter) does add something to the story, but isn’t necessary. It would be best if you read them back to back.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Pretty GirlsSisters. Strangers. Survivors.

It’s been more than twenty years since Claire and Lydia last spoke. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire; Lydia, a single mother dating an ex-con, struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the disappearance of their sister Julia two decades earlier—and the shocking murder of Claire’s husband brings the horror and heartbreak of the past roaring back into their lives.

The vanishing of a teenage girl and the killing of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: What could connect them? As they form a wary truce, the surviving sisters unearth the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and find the astonishing truth they least expected.

Book Details

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062429051
ISBN-13: 978-0062429056
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Photo by Alison Rosa
Photo by Alison Rosa

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestseller Cop Town. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print around the world.