Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by TA Willberg is entertaining although highly derivative – think of a 1950’s Harry Potter inspired detective.

Marion Lane is an apprentice in a very secretive private detective agency, Miss Brickett’s, that aims to right the wrongs that the police cannot solve. The agency hidden beneath the streets of 1950’s London is full of technology and tricks that feel like they were inspired by HG Wells or Jules Verne.

Marion gets called upon by her mentor to solve a murder within the agency of which he is accused. In the process she uncovers a terrorist plot and the dark origins of Miss Brickett’s.

This is complete tosh, moderately enjoyable but I got to the end and breathed a sigh of relief. I won’t be reading the next in the series.

2.5/5

The Whole Truth

The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter is full of surprises.

DI Fawley and his team are called in to an Oxford college when a male student accuses a female professor of sexual assault. In the Whole Truth little is what it initially seems, you keep being thrown of track and the twists and turns run right to the very last page.

Thought provoking, a little edgy and well well worth a read.

4/5

Slough House

Mick Herron is an absolute delight, he combines complex twisting spy plots with dark humour and a razor sharp view of current events. As I wrote that I realised that excluding the humour that could have been a summary of the late John Le Carré although you could not imagine two more different lead characters than Jackson Lamb and George Smiley!

Slough House is the 7th in Herron’s series and they just keep getting better and better. There is a populist movement taking to the streets of London, think Jaquets Jaune, dark money trying to influence the activities and policy of MI6 and someone is ordering hits on ex members of Slough House. Slough House is brilliant, on point and full of surprise, read it now because if you wait some of the most contemporary references may slip from your memory.

5/5

Before She Disappeared

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardener introduces an off beat almost hobo detective.

Frankie Elkin has no possessions, no home, no ties or connections just a passion for finding missing people. She travels from town to town tracking down missing people, up to now she has only found the hidden bodies of victims, is this case going to be any different? Frankie arrives in a rough neighbourhood of Boston on a mission to find a missing Haitian teenager only to discover that neither the family or the police are comfortable with her uncovering what might have happened and the local drug gangs have a few things to say as well.

This is good, it’s twisty and well paced. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to Frankie making a return.

Where Ravens Roost

Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin is a great scandi-crime debut.

Kjeld Nygaard is facing suspension from the police and going through a separation from his partner and child when his estranged father leaves a message for him saying that he has witnessed a murder. The problem is that Kjeld’s father is suffering from insetting dementia and his memory is unreliable. Kjeld travels back to his childhood home in a remote mining village and as he investigates he starts to believe that his father may have seen something but when a body is found it is Kjeld’s father that comes under suspicion. As Kjeld investigates he uncovers his own puzzling family history as he gets closer to identifying the murder.

Where Ravens Roost is fast paced, dark and full of twists. Kjeld is a character that I want to read again and I expect to see in a BBC 4 crime series in a year or two.

Win

Win is a departure for Harlan Coben, Windsor Lockwood the third was the psychopathic aristocratic friend and protector of Coben’s original detective Myron Bolitar, now he gets his own novel as the lead character.

20 years ago Win’s cousin was abducted and held captive during a robbery of the family home. The two stolen artworks were never recovered until one appears in the home of a murder victim. As Win tries to solve the crime and find the other painting he discovers some disturbing family secrets and interest from the FBI related to domestic terrorism in the 60’s.

I liked Win as a sidekick but he lacks the nuance and charm of Bolitar and overall this is rather meh!