[Review originally published in April 2010. Reissued due to internet page problems. Note: also now available on Kindle at Amazon.]
‘… [Charlie], you’re one of the most fearless. And the most courageous. You do what most of us dread, what most of us fear. I have never believed that violence was the answer to anything, but giving in to violence is not the answer either.”
Charlie Fox, ex Special Forces soldier and now a bodyguard, is back with a vengeance in this, her eighth outing, going undercover into Californian cult Fourth Day. She and her partner, Sean Meyer, have been given the task of removing Thomas Witney from within the cult, five years after he himself went in with the aim of discovering if the cult and its leader, the enigmatic Randall Bane, were responsible for the death of his son, Liam. Five years is a long time and, while Witney had left instructions to be removed if he had not come out voluntarily within a year, that deadline to try and extract him had come and gone… Why? Struggling with some personal demons of her own, the task is initially successful, but repercussions resound long after Witney is removed from Fourth Day. With more questions than answers for those on both the outside and inside of Fourth Day, Charlie faces a challenge which threatens her professionally and personally. Continue reading
Pain of Death is the third novel in the DI Staffe, London-based series from Adam Creed. My thoughts on the first two can be found here: Suffer the Children and Willing Flesh. The title of the second can be used to take a quirky angle on the unique writing style of this author for Creed’s prose is unwilling to put flesh on the bones. His use of language is so economical that it’s like a series of stripped wishbones rubbing against one another – akin to falling dominoes – in a clickety-clack rhythm. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is James Patterson territory – all plot, chase and tension – because it’s not. Creed’s style is illuminative and those carefully chosen words are crafted well to produce an engaging read of some depth. Continue reading
[Originally published on It’s a crime! on June 27, 2008. Re-issued due to site page issues.]
Review by ScotKris.
Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard, storm-troops into her seventh outing in rip-roaring style, in what transpires to be her most personal of missions. From previous cases, we know that there is no love lost between Charlie and her parents, her father Richard Foxcroft in particular. He has never approved of having a trained killer for a daughter, believing that this will ultimately lead to her own destruction. Indeed, so great has his disapproval been in both her choice of career and of partner, she has long since shortened her name from Foxcroft to further disassociate themselves as family. Continue reading
Review by ScotKris.
The latest adventure for the intrepid Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films, where the pirates are real and the shooting isn’t all done with cameras. In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate the criminal activities that surround Fflytte’s popular movie studio. So Russell is travelling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. But as movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout. Continue reading
Alex Walters is the new pen-name for Michael Walters, the author of the critically acclaimed Nergui novels – a series of crime thrillers set in modern-day Mongolia. Trust No One is the first in a new series about Marie Donovan, an undercover officer. Donovan is a cop, but in Trust No One we find her working for ‘the Agency’, never specifically referred to in the novel as the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), but clearly based on it. Continue reading
William Ryan’s debut novel The Holy Thief was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2010, the Irish Fiction Award and the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year Award. Following his outing in that novel, Captain Alexei Korolev is similarly celebrated, finding himself decorated and hailed as an example to all Soviet workers at the start of The Bloody Meadow. But Korolev is also all too aware that such honours may also last only as long as his most recent action or the actions of others. So he, like everyone else in Stalin’s Russia, lives each minute of the day in fear of deportation to Siberia. But when Korolev receives a knock on the door in the early hours, it is because he has fallen under the eye of Colonel Rodinov of the NKVD security service and he wants Korolev to perform a discreet investigation into a suspicious death that looks like suicide. Out on a film set in the Ukraine, model citizen Alexandrovna Lenskaya has been found dead. Her death cannot pass quietly for fear of reverberation: Lenskaya was of interest to Ezhov, the feared Commissar for State Security, and it is he who wants the matter looked into… Continue reading
In the Brecon Beacons, the Minister for Defence is blown apart by a car bomb and, right under the nose of DCI Ned Bale. The security cameras had been disabled and no one saw the bomber come or go. No one claims responsibility. Bale feels stymied by the work of the intelligence agencies, and an answer is not easily forthcoming. What does this targeted death mean? What does this mean for security? Then one piece of evidence puts a cat amongst the pigeons: the fingerprint of Kate Baker is found on a fragment of the bomb’s trigger device. Kate Baker is a police dog handler currently on attachment to the British forces in Afghanistan searching for bombs with her dog. She’s also Bale’s lover… Continue reading