The Coffin Maker’s Garden

The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride is the third in the Ash Henderson series. A storm is battering the Scottish coast and part of the garden of a coastal cottage crashes into the sea exposing a graveyard in the basement of the cottage. Who were the victims, how did they get there, where is the owner of the cottage?

With massive media attention, the senior brass are looking for a scapegoat as the evidence gets washed out to sea and Henderson is determined it will not be him. Filled with tough and disillusioned characters, this is classic dark crime that rattles along at a blistering pace. I highly recommend this and the other novels in the series.

Like Flies from Afar

Like Flies from Afar by K Ferrari is a staccato violent novel based on a single day in the life of Mr Machi. If that sounds like it should be a gritty page turner then you may be disappointed.

Machi discovers a body in the boot of his car and spends the day pondering who planted it and why while endeavouring to dispose of the body. The plot is interspersed with incidents from Machi’s violent rise to power and a catalogue of people who might have a grudge against him.

I found Like Flies from Afar to be tedious and pointless, I didn’t care what the end was going to be, only that it would come soon. Thankfully it is pretty short.

According to his publisher

“Ferrari works as a janitor for the Buenos Aires metro at the Pasteur-Amia station on line B. In the 1990s, he was deported from the United States, where he and his wife were trying to find work.”

I wouldn’t encourage janitors across Latin America to give up their day jobs. This may appeal to some and has been heralded as a sensation by some critics, I’d recommend giving it a miss.

2/5

Bobby March Will Live Forever

Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks is brilliant. It starts off at a cracking pace and doesn’t let up until the last page, it has several overlapping plot threads which you struggle to see how they will get tied together, it has twists and turns and surprises and most of all it is dark. I loved it.

Harry McCoy is a rebellious detective at war with his ambitious senior officer and excluded from the search for a young girl who has been abducted. Instead he is diverted into two dead end cases, the overdose of rock musician Bobby March and a series of unsolved violent robberies – both lead to unexpected conclusions. Meanwhile his childhood friend, protector and Glasgow crime boss is spaced out on heroin and his empire is in danger of collapsing. How does this all work out? Well worth reading to see.

Alan Parks is a newish Scottish writer (at least to me), his Harry McCoy series will appeal to anyone who enjoys Rebus.

4.5/5

The Survivors

The Survivors by Jane Harper has been described as “Outback Noir”. It’s set in a small beachside resort in Tasmania which is haunted by the impact of a massive storm that hit over a decade previously in which 3 locals lost their lives.

Kieran who lost his brother in the storm returns home with his wife and young baby to visit his parents carrying a lot of guilt. On his first night a young waitress is found murdered on the beach with some similarities to a young girl who died in the storm. As the murder enquiry progresses Kieran starts to discover more about the fateful day when his brother died in the storm and that inevitably is intertwined with the more recent murder.

This is dark, quite readable and has a good finish but it didn’t blow me away and I won’t be eagerly anticipating Harper’s next book.

3/5

Sixteen Horses

Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan is dark, very dark.

Set in a windswept isolated English coastal town, 16 horses heads are found buried in a field. As the police investigate dark secrets about the local community start to emerge. The rain keeps falling.

I don’t know where this went as I found it so depressing that I could not bring myself to finish it!

A Little London Scandal

A Little London Scandal by Miranda Emmerson is set in London in 1967. A young “rent boy” is found murdered close to an exclusive gentleman’s club in St James while Nik another “rent boy” wakes up near to the scene of the murder after a battering from a famous client in denial. The police are looking for a quick solution that will avoid any scandal and Nik is the perfect candidate. Fortunately he has a friend and a rebellious police officer who not so sure that Nik is guilty party.

A Little London Scandal evokes the awakening hip culture of 60’s London very well. It is a novel about class and power which portrays the secrecy and denial imposed on gay men at that time. It is atmospheric, pacy and quite thought provoking, particularly if like me you grew up in London in the 60’s – I was surprised how little of this I recognised.

Pretty good, well worth a read, I am going to explore Emmerson’s previous novel soon.

4/5