My three reviews for Euro Crime during October were of very different books: the latest exciting journalism-crime case for Swedish reporter Annika Bengstrom; a detailed and (seemingly) realistic Scottish police procedural with a senior female protagonist; and a Jack Reacher adventure thriller set in Nebraska. From my reviews:
Red Wolf by Liza Marklund: I found the novel a completely absorbing read and continue to regard this series as second to none in contemporary crime writing. Annika is both a serious-minded, determined protagonist, and a brave heroine for our strange, mixed-up times. *****
Shadowplay by Karen Campbell: Of all the UK police series being written today, I think Karen Campbell’s has rapidly become my favourite, mainly for its authenticity and for the character of Anna, a convincingly portrayed woman who is ambitious yet not prepared to sacrifice any of her own personal principles in order to smooth her path. For this reason, she’s probably admired by her colleagues more than she realises. I think this series is so far impressively varied (each of the three books has had a very different focus) and well written. I am looking forward to more. ***
Worth Dying For by Lee Child: As usual, my verdict on this novel is that if you like Jack Reacher stories, you’ll like this one. It contains all the ingredients that make this series such a success: tough hero adhering to his own moral code and standing up for the “true” American values that transcend officialdom; some exciting set-pieces; easy to read – the prose is not as simplistic as is found in some other bestselling novels but is pretty easygoing; a plot that provides a bit of mystery and suspense without taxing the brain too much; and plenty of wish-fulfillment concerning ethics and values that we’d all like for our society but which are unlikely ever to happen. Don’t go looking for holes in the plot as there are very many of them indeed. *
At Petrona I posted 14 reviews, with a pretty good global spread. Some of these books I enjoyed more than others, but there were at least some things to like in all of them, and a lot of things to like in some of them! I’ve given them one, two or three stars here, to indicate my own relative favourites among this particular batch.
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay (USA, Canadian author)**
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer (England)***
The Guards by Ken Bruen (Ireland)***
Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave (New Zealand)*
The Reversal by Michael Connelly (USA)***
Kittyhawk Down by Garry Disher (Australia)***
Black Ice by Leah Giarratano (Australia)*
The Build Up by Phillip Gwynne (Australia)***
Gone by Mo Hayder (England)***
Sister by Rosamund Lupton (England)***
Audition by Ryu Murakami (Japan)*
Let the Dead Lie by Malla Nunn (South Africa)**
Experimental Heart by Jennifer L Rohn (England)**
Silence by Jan Costin Wagner (Finland, German author)***
Although I very much liked many of these titles, my book of the month has to be Red Wolf by Liza Marklund, translator Neil Smith. Don’t let this put anyone off from trying some of the others, though, as there are some very good novels in October’s selections.
My reviews so far this year.
My Euro Crime review archive.
Archive of all my book reviews.