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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

‘Standstill’ by J.A. Marley

Published by Avacado Books,
15 September 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-9935658-4-7

Danny a successful young thief and rogue is rudely awakened one morning by several policemen breaking into his flat led by Detective Inspector Harkness. To his dismay they find the money he has hidden there.
He soon learns that it is all planned by Harkness who is a bent copper, to coerce him into working for him in such a way that he cannot refuse.

Danny not happy with having to work for Harkness, finds out all he can about him from his friend Dexy who runs a night club. He turns out to be a really unsavoury character with a vicious streak. Meanwhile Flying Officer Christine Chance is getting suspicious of Harkness and together with her colleague Mark Freeth known to all as Freethy, she starts to investigate him.

Christine or C.C. As she is called also has to deal with the fact that her seriously ill daughter is not expected to live much longer and she spends all her spare time visiting her in the hospice.

When Harkness outlines a daring robbery to Danny that he wants him to commit, he is actually quite taken with the idea and begins careful planning, but insists it will be on his terms. The success of the raid depends on being able to make a quick getaway through the London traffic. He will need to bring the transport system to a standstill, hence the name of the book.

It all leads to an exciting climax with many surprises and reveals much corruption within the police force. There is a very satisfying ending after much mayhem.

Once I got passed the prolific swearing, I really enjoyed this tale. It's certainly full of action and some very unpleasant characters. It makes me wonder how much corruption there really is in the police force.

Although the main character Danny is an out and out thief, I found myself liking him and at times he was very amusing, there were many a laugh out loud moments. He also is not the walkover that Harkness takes him for.
As for Harkness himself, he is such a strong and dominant person that he seems to leap out of the page at you.
Very enjoyable reading.
Reviewer:  Tricia Chappell

John A. Marley
was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Following early success as a film journalist and radio broadcaster in his homeland, he embarked on an accomplished career in television production in England. An avid film fan, John is addicted to crime and mystery thrillers and is passionate about walking his two dogs, discovering new music and travel.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

‘The Secret of High Eldersham’ by Miles Burton

Published by the British Library.
ISBN: 978-0-7123-5609-1

High Eldersham is a village in East Anglia where the people have secrets that they conceal from the rest of the world. The brewers that own the Rose and Crown, the pub in High Eldersham, found it hard to find a new landlord: the pub did not bring in enough money to keep a man, let alone a family. The owners were delighted when Samuel Whitehead, a retired policeman with a pension, applied to be the landlord of the Rose and Crown. All seemed to be going well until, five years later, Whitehead is discovered by the local police constable, stabbed to death in the bar of his pub.

Detective Inspector Young is sent down from Scotland Yard to investigate. At first Young is dismissive of the constable's warning that the village has a sinister reputation and that 'strangers don't never prosper in High Eldersham.' Many of the strangers trying to make a home in the village Have become ill or, in the case of farmers, their crops and animals died. Young's scepticism fades when he sees a sinister, mutilated doll in a villager's home and he sends for help to his friend, Desmond Merrion.

Merrion is a wealthy amateur investigator of crime and anything else that interests him. He served with distinction in the First World War, has an incisive mind and Young considers him to be 'a living encyclopedia upon all manner of obscure subjects.' When Merrion arrives he encounters the lovely Mavis Owerton, daughter of Sir William Owerton, the most important man in the district. Merrion falls for Mavis at first sight. He continues his investigation, although he knows that Mavis and her father belong in High Eldersham and may be privy to the mysteries that makes the village such a dangerous place for those outside the village secrets. As Merrion probes deeper he reveals a complex web of machinations and deceit that place him in mortal danger.

The Secret of High Eldersham is the first book to introduce Desmond Merrion. It is a well-paced book with skilfully drawn characters and likeable main protagonists, including an engaging hero. The action scenes are full of vigour and the times when Merrion and his companions find themselves under threat are genuinely sinister. A very enjoyable whodunnit in the best tradition of the Golden Age.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron

Miles Burton was a pseudonym of Cecil Street (1884-1964), a British soldier who became a prolific novelist in the 1920s. He was the author of approximately 140 detective novels, of which the most highly regarded were published under the names Miles Burton and John Rhode.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.

Friday, 23 September 2016

‘Flanagan’s Legacy’ by James Morley

Published by Benhams Books.
ISBN: 978-0-9548880-5-3

Michael Walters is having problems in his boatyard, centring round Quadra, the yacht he’s restoring for attractive Irishwoman Clare O’Dwyer. Soon they’re on the run, with a number of unscrupulous people close behind ...

This action thriller is set at the time of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, and is focused on dangerous papers from the time of the Irish Rebellion that have been hidden by Clare’s grandfather ‘in the boat’. In the classic race against time, Clare and Michael need to find the yacht’s secret before the imposing array of forces after them: MI5, led by Clare’s unscrupulous aunt, MI6, the IRA, the Basque movement ETA, the French, British and Irish governments ... There are chases on land and sea, trips to Brittany and Ireland, fights, surprises, and a lot of twists as to who’s working for whom. Clare and Michael’s relationship is developed convincingly, and the author’s sailing expertise comes across in the particularly vivid sea scenes.

An enjoyable all-action thriller in the style of Sam Llewelyn.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

James Morley sis a local author, writing books under the name Benham's Sea Mysteries. Retired from an agricultural background Jim has been writing books since 2005. He is well known in the local area for his novels, short stories and publicity writing. He is chairman of Petersfield Writers’ Circle and an active members of his local book club. Jim lives in Liss in Hampshire, a widower, in an untidy house filled with books and computers. Jim is a members of the UK Society of Authors.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

In 1996 Jim retired from full-time farming to start a ca

‘Death Deserved’ by L.J. Sellers

Published by Thomas & Mercer,
19 July 2016.
ISBN: 978-1503936843

Detective Wade Jackson is a senior detective in the police department at Eugene, Oregon, and, at the start of the book, he has a lot going on in his personal life: he is still working on rebuilding his relationship with his fifteen-year-old daughter, Katie, who went off the rails after her mother's violent death; he has recently adopted Bengie, an orphaned toddler who bonded with him after Jackson discovered Bengie at the scene of his mother's murder; and he is trying to sort out a new house to share with his partner, Kera, and Micah, the young grandson that she has looked after since Micah's parents' death. Added to all this, he has to deal with a lawsuit against him and has concerns about his health. The last thing Jackson needs is to walk into work one morning and be told by the Chief of Police that he has to take charge of the Violent Crimes Unit as well as working his own job, but when this happens he has no choice but to agree.

Denise Lammers is Jackson's sergeant, the officer in charge of the Violent Crimes Unit, and Jackson and his team are shocked to hear that she is in ICU, desperately ill, apparently having been poisoned. All that the doctors can say is that it appears to be an environmental poison but there is no indication whether Lammers was poisoned by accident or whether it is attempted murder. A cop who has been on the job as long as Lammers has, inevitably made a lot of enemies, and the police have to assume the poisoning was deliberate and that Lammers was targeted.

Jackson hopes for a lull in violent crime while he investigates Lammers' poisoning and juggles his dual role but within minutes he is summoned to a double shooting, one male victim dead and a woman seriously wounded. The state of Oregon has recently legalised marijuana and the two victims were shot at a small, legal, pot growing farm. The possible motives for the shooting are many and varied: a disgruntled neighbour, angry at the smell coming from the farm; or a rival pot grower trying to remove the opposition; alternatively a rival trying to force a take-over of the farm; on the other hand it could be the work of activists opposed to the legalisation of the drug. Jackson also realises that the location could be irrelevant and the reason for the shootings could lie in the victims' personal lives.

The case grows more complicated when it is proved that the female victim has a false ID and she disappears from the hospital. Also Lara Evans, one of Jackson's team, discovers more about Sergeant Lammers' personal life than she or Jackson wish to know and they have to decide whether to conceal this from the Chief of Police. Another death occurs and another person gets sick with the same symptoms as Lammers, and this time the poisoning victim is a child. The links between the two cases grow stronger and, as the ugly fear of product tampering proves ever more probable. Jackson and his team have to work quickly before more people die.
Death Deserved is the eleventh book in the Detective Jackson series but the author introduces the characters and situation with such skill that it works very well as a stand-alone novel. Jackson and his team are all far from perfect but they are decent, likeable people who are doing a tough job to the best of their ability. The author has built a community of characters with whom it is easy to empathise and the plot is intricate and cleverly woven together. An excellent book from an author who never fails to deliver stories with strong characters and thought-provoking situations.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron

L J Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/thriller series, a Readers Favorite award winner, as well as provocative standalone thrillers. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and RT Reviews, and her Jackson books are Kindle bestsellers as well as top-ranked novels. L.J., who resides in Eugene, Oregon where her novels are set, is also an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.