Ann Cleeves: Wild Fire Friday, Sep 7 2018 


Ann Cleeves final book in her Shetland Island series is Wild Fire. Just having to write “final” makes Auntie M sad to see this fabulous series end, it goes out on a high note with Jimmy Perez’s team investigating their most interesting and complex case yet.

There are multiple personal storylines at play that add texture to what is a startling case, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Shetland Islands that Cleeves has brought to life for readers.

Helena and Daniel Fleming moved to remote Deltaness to escape the clog of London life and make a fresh start for their two young children, Ellie and her older brother Christopher, a high-functioning autistic lad. Renovating Hesti, the home they’d bought and enlarged, has kept architect Daniel busy, while Helena’s design business in knitted sweaters has taken off.

Shortly after moving in, the former owner of Hesti hanged himself in one of their outbuildings and was found by Daniel, whose depression has clouded the family’s new life.

Then Helena receives drawings of a hanged man, underlining the gossip and resentment some of the locals feel towards the incomers, and she informs Jimmy Perez. Helena knew his dead fiance, Fran, and this brings a connection between the two.

When a second body is found hanged at Hesti, Jimmy and his team must sort out just how many dysfunctional families there are in Deltaness.

While all families are dysfunctional, there are varied levels of degree. It will take Jimmy, his boss and sometime lover, Willow, as well as newer detective Sandy, to uncover the startling truth.

Intricately plotted, with Cleeves well-developed sense of character, this is a stunning end to the series, one Louise Penny calls: “Nothing short of riveting.” Highly recommended.

Stuart MacBride: The Blood Road Tuesday, Sep 4 2018 

Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series features some of the most creative and original characters written, mixed with twisted plots that keep readers flipping pages. He’s back with the 13th, The Blood Road, a wild ride that takes the Professional Standards detective back to investigation.

DI Bell is found stabbed and dead in the driver’s seat of car that’s crashed. Sad it might be, but shocking is more like it, as they buried the man two years ago after a suicidal fire. Or thought they did.

Reopening the investigation into the original incident brings with it so many secrets of the past, including just whose remains were buried in Bell’s casket, leading to an exhumation.

Given a few of his irregulars to help, Tufty and Steel, (it wouldn’t be the same without them), there’s also a raft of missing young children occupying the rest of the department. Rumors of a “livestock mart” where children are auctioned off are rampant.

And DI Fraser, running that investigation, has put in a complaint to Logan about DS Chalmers, supposedly working on the case but frequently off doing her own thing. Now what would this thing be?

It’s a twisted plot, as usual, because nothing is ever easy in Logan McRae’s life, even trying to advance his new relationship.

Reading a Logan McRae procedural is like coming home to old friends–some of whom you hope don’t drop in too often–but still, you’re fond of them . . . until things get out of control.

Readers won’t be able to stop flipping pages once they start htis newest addition. It’s like Christmas and Easter rolled into one, just missing the chocolate. Highly recommended.

Matthew Hall: A Life to Kill Sunday, Sep 2 2018 

Matthew Hall’s Coroner Jenny Cooper series returns with A Life to Kill, where Cooper finds herself in strange territory on and off the case.

The last British combat soldiers are leaving Helman province to return to their waiting families in Highcliffe after a 6-moth deployment.

But disaster strikes only a few hours before they leave, when a young private is abducted. The officers sent to locate him come are taken by surprise after trusting locals, an ambush that leaves one dead and two severely injured.

it’s a somber return, complicated by trying to figure out how this could have happened. Jenny Cooper’s inquest will stir up the army as much as the secrets the families hold.

Add in a grandstanding group of lawyers and she has her hands full with trying to get to the bottom of her toughest case yet.

With the military breathing down her neck and affecting her private life, Cooper must decide whether to follow her instincts or cave to an outcome where the truth will never be out.

A strong entry in a continued complex series.

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