Auntie M is traveling this week to meet British author Peter James in New York City at a FanFest event that’s part of their Thrillerfest that weekend. Details from that meeting will post at a future date, as she also hopes to connect with him on her stop in Brighton in August when she’s doing setting research, as the city is home to James and to his detective Roy Grace.

This week she’s bringing you four fantastic reads with wickedness in common.  BlackhouseCover

Scottish author Peter May’s The Blackhouse  is from his Lewis series. May’s The Lewis Man is on the shortlist for Crime Novel of the Year to be awarded next week at Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Old Peculiar is a beer. This is the first of the Lewis series and readers may want to start with the first to follow the trajectory of the protagonist’s personal life.

The Blackhouse gives a fascinating look into the life and culture of the Outer Hebrides as it takes Edinburgh detective Fin McLeod back to his native isle of Lewis where a murder bears too many similarities to a serial killer on the Scottish mainland. Has the murderer moved to the remote island and taken his grisly methods with him?

MacLeod must face his own troubled past on the island while coping with his present life choices and the demise of his marriage. Reconnecting with childhood friends and the places he once called home is often painful, yet MacLeod is determined to find the answer to the killings, even as he battles the ancient customs and traditions and his own bitter past, one he thought he’d long left behind.

How past events collide with what is happening now form a brilliant literary thriller from this prolific author of the award-winning China Thrillers and the Enzo Files series.

May’s history as scriptwriter and editor on British television is evident in his vivid descriptions and haunting prose. The contrast of MacLeod’s past remembrances are skillfully balanced with the events driving the present investigation. Book Three in the series is Chessman and Auntie M has it on her TBR pile.

 

Florida author Steve Berry is back in fine form with his newest thriller, The King’s Deception, featuring the eighth adventure of Cotton Malone, a recently retired Justice Department operative who is hoping to leave his past behind.

The Kings DeceptionOn his way back to the Amsterdam bookstore he owns, his son, Gary, in tow for a planned Thanksgiving holiday, Malone is asked to escort teenage fugitive Ian Dunne to England.  Gary and Malone are both reeling from personal information Malone’s ex-wife recently admitted that casts a pall on the trip, and in a startling plot twist, effect actions and outcomes.

The planned quick handover at Heathrow of Ian to the authorities soon turns into much more when the trio are greeted at gunpoint and Ian disappears with Gary.

What follows is a complex plot and a highly compelling read that is a tour de force of mixing true historical events with a twist of fiction that will leave readers breathless.

Balancing Tudor secrets with a startling theory, Malone finds himself running against agents from several countries in an international scheme that goes as far up the chain as possible in MI6, and revolves around a political disaster fueled in part by the release of the Libyan terrorist convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

Operation King’s Deception has the power to change history as it intersects with the Tudor secret. Gary, Ian and Malone must get to the bottom of it all, aided by a few sympathetic women who cross their paths. There are far too many involved, and too many lives at stake, for Malone to fail.

Hats off to Berry for his meticulous research and the weaving of true facts into his plot. This will leave you yearning for a trip to England to see his settings, while turning pages to find out the resolution of his twisted plot. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a bit of history mixed in with a contemporary thriller.

 

Jane Casey introduced DC Maeve Kerrigan in The Missing to rave reviews. The second in her series The Reckoning, shows another well-plotted, suspense-filled novel. reckoning

Still recovering from wounds she received in the prior novel, Maeve is torn not just physically but emotionally, as she’s ended an intimate relationship, yet must face London’s darkest places in her new case.

On the hunt for a killer targeting sex offenders, Maeve and her team find ties to a mobster who may be trying to track down a missing girl. The wicked murders prey on Maeve’s mind as the killings start to mount up.

Complicating the already-intense case is the addition of two new members to her team.

She finds herself saddled with DI Josh Derwent, who has the confidence of her superintendent but a reputation for aggressiveness, and as she soon finds out, a decided lack of tact. He also finds great pleasure in deriding Maeve’s detecting skills.

Their abrasiveness in trying to work together is one aspect of the hard reality of police work, as the team follows up leads on the men being tortured in horrific ways before their deaths.

It doesn’t help that she’s just moved house and her flat is a mess, or that DC Rob Langton and her own extended Irish family add to the complications of her days.

Then a flash drive arrives for Maeve and the pictures make it clear she’s being followed. How does this tie in to the murders, or has she attracted her own kind of nutter?  And will she be forced to move home yet again, just as she’s finished unpacking?

Casey does a fine job of detailing human behavior as well as the politics and squabbles of Maeve’s workplace as she heats up the plot. Maeve is tough to resist as a character, so it’s a treat for readers to know Casey continues her storyline.

400000000000001012418_s4 The Last Girl is Maeve’s next case at The Met, as the police thriller series continues. Still sorting out her confused feelings for Rob Langton and dealing with that stalker from the last book, Maeve and the irascible DI Derwent are called to a crime scene at the house of wealthy defense attorney Philip Kennford.

Kennford’s reputation for getting convicted criminals released makes it difficult for Maeve to summon sympathy–until she views the ghastly scene of the murder of his wife and one of his twin daughters. Her investigation reveals this was a deeply unhappy family, and that the surviving sister was the least favored daughter.

Immediately falling under suspicion, Kennford has secrets he refused to divulge, despite the high stakes of the investigation. The remaining twin, Lydia, is in shock after finding the bodies of her sister and mother. Yet sending her to her mother’s sister only seems to make things worse.

Maeve knows there is far more beneath the surface and that all of her witnesses are holding back information. She worries over protecting Lydia, until Kennford’s daughter from his first marriage arrives and seems eager to help.

Then in the midst of this complicated case, Maeve’s beloved boss, Superintendent Godley, starts acting in what seems an underhanded way, and her entire world seems to collapse. Who is her enemy and who can be trusted?

With a decided theme of wickedness running through the novel’s subplots, Maeve will race against time to save a young girl–and herself.

This series will engage readers who enjoy Tana French’s novels, for the same level of thoroughness in describing the workings of a police investigation, and for Casey’s creation of a host of engaging characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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