Tony Parsons: The Hanging Club Friday, Nov 11 2016 

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Detective Max Wolfe, his adorable daughter, Scout, and their equally adorable dog, Stan, return in the third in the series, The Hanging Club. This series is a favorite of Auntie M’s for its strong narrative, and the way the author examines the police system and its interaction with society in England.

The title reflects a band of vigilante executioners who are abducting men they have judged evil. and hanging them, then sharing the excruciating videos of the hanging.

Max is troubled. His team’s investigation shows the murdered men all touched off strong feelings by their past actions. The law has dealt with them, but have they been dealt with fairly in the eyes of society?

There are legally correct outcomes and morally correct ones, and Max is sworn to follow the law. Where, he wonders, does the anguish caused to the victims’ family come in?

The media makes these killers seem like heroes, making Max’s job dicey as he tries to investigate. And because the victims cross all stratas of society, so will his probing, with often surprising results.

Max is a man of conscience, perhaps one of his most attractive traits, and these cases will test everything he thought he knew about his beliefs. Highly recommended.

Nele Neuhaus: I Am Your Judge Sunday, Feb 7 2016 

German author Nele Neuhaus’ police procedurals featuring Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff and their team have now been published in fifteen countries with over FIVE million copies in print. Last year’s The Ice Queen is now in paperback, for those who missed the third installment. Each case is solved in a book so you can start anywhere but for readers who like to follow the personal lives of the two main detectives, the first is Snow White Must Die, followed by Bad Wolf.

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I Am Your Judge is the newest and the team will face it toughest case yet. With many out sick with the flu as the holidays approach, Pia is packing to leave for her honeymoon when a phone call will change her plans. An elderly woman out walking her dog has been shot, sniper style. Then a second woman is killed in the same way, this time standing in her own kitchen talking to her grand-daughter. Neither one had enemies and no motive can be found, nor a link between the two victims.

Is this sniper out killing indiscriminate people, or are they targeted?

Then two more murders follow in rapid succession just as Pia and Oliver discover a most unlikely connection–and the sniper starts leaving cryptic messages. It seems the victims are chosen for their relation to some other person the sniper wants to hurt deeply for an issue that happened years ago.

There will be unreliable witnesses, messages sent to the newspaper, and one of the victim’s daughters who starts her own investigation, determined to find out who killed her mother and why. Tightly plotted, with a sense of real police work and frustrations, conflicting personalities, and interfering and sometimes unhelpful consultants.

Meanwhile, Pia’s new husband has gone off on their honeymoon alone, the holidays occur, and Oliver has his own familial and relationship issues. One of the highlights of Neuhaus’ writing is how the lives of this duo overlap with their work and thoughts in a realistic manner that has them one of Auntie M’s favorite series.

It should be mentioned that the book is translated by Steven T. Murray. Highly recommended.