January on AustCrime

January, being a month in which we took a break from computers, meant a lot of reading and then a scrambling review catchup - which is still not caught up.

Read / To be Reviewed:

Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

The Lion's Mouth, Anne Holt

Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge?

That Empty Feeling, Peter Corris

An unexpected obituary takes Cliff Hardy on a trip down memory lane to a case he's been trying to forget for twenty years: oil, fraud, boxing, racing - and murder.

Waterfront, Duncan McNab (True Crime)

Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia's ports have been a breeding ground for many of Australia's most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas crime syndicates. From the rum trade of colonial times to modern-day drug smuggling and alongside the rise and dominance of waterfront unions, a criminal element has always found ways to survive and thrive. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia's ports remain organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable.

Fall, Candice Fox (to be reviewed at http://www.newtownreviewofbooks.com.au)

If Detective Frank Bennett tries hard enough, he can sometimes forget that Eden Archer, his partner in the Homicide Department, is also a moonlighting serial killer ... Thankfully their latest case is proving a good distraction. Someone is angry at Sydney's beautiful people - and the results are anything but pretty. On the rain-soaked running tracks of Sydney's parks, a predator is lurking, and it's not long before night-time jogs become a race to stay alive. While Frank and Eden chase shadows, a different kind of danger grows closer to home. Frank's new girlfriend Imogen Stone is fascinated by cold cases, and her latest project - the disappearance of the two Tanner children more than twenty years ago - is leading her straight to Eden's door. 

The Kolkata Conundrum, Kalyan Lahiri

The mysterious and alluring Pramila, resident of Avantika Heights, is brutally murdered. Sudhir Das, the security guard from the Golden Red Security Agency, is caught red-handed. In steps Sudhir's boss, young Orko Deb, the hesitant avenger. His cautious sleuthing, all over Kolkata, throws up more questions than answers. Who is Pramila? Was the National Bank involved in money laundering? 

Nowhere Girl, Ruth Dugdall

When Ellie goes missing on the first day of Schueberfouer, the police are dismissive, keen not to attract negative attention on one of Luxembourg’s most important events. Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home.

Someone Else's Skin, Sarah Hilary

Called to a woman's refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder. Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons.  Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . .

Ash Island, Barry Maitland

Detective Sergeant Harry Belltree, back on the job after a near-fatal confrontation with corrupt colleagues, has become a departmental embarrassment. The solution is a posting away from Sydney and a quiet life in Newcastle. Or maybe not so quiet. A body’s been found buried just offshore on Ash Island; there may be more. There's also Harry's unfinished business. The car crash that killed his parents and blinded his wife happened not far from Newcastle. And Harry knows it was no accident. The other unfinished business is Jenny's longed-for pregnancy. Which means that now the stakes are higher than ever.

All These Perfect Strangers, Aoife Clifford

You don’t have to believe in ghosts for the dead to haunt you. You don’t have to be a murderer to be guilty. Within six months of Pen Sheppard starting university, three of her new friends are dead. Only Pen knows the reason why. College life had seemed like a wonderland of sex, drugs and maybe even love. The perfect place to run away from your past and reinvent yourself. But Pen never can run far enough and when friendships are betrayed, her secrets are revealed. The consequences are deadly.

Read / Reviewed:

American Blood, Ben Sanders

After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall's instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.

Helldiver, Chris Allen

A ghost from the past, an omnipotent billionaire, loyalty tested to the limit and all roads lead to RENEGADE. Morgan commits to the toughest mission of his career and his chances of survival are slim at best. Trust has become little more than a commodity to be bought and sold and old friends re-emerge as the very heart of INTREPID faces destruction.

Dark Murder, Helen H Durrant

Detective Stephen Greco has just started a new job at Oldston CID and now he faces a series of murders with seemingly no connection but the brutal disfigurement of the victims. Greco’s team is falling apart under the pressure and he doesn't know who he can trust. Then they discover a link to a local drug dealer, but maybe it’s not all that it seems. 

Nations Divided,  Steve P Vincent

Jack Emery is happier than he has been in a long time. Nobody has shot at him or tried to blow him up for years, and he's learned to love the job he thought he'd hate: Special Advisor to the President of the United States. 

Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty

It’s just the same things over and again for Sean Duffy: riot duty, heartbreak, cases he can solve but never get to court. But what detective gets two locked-room mysteries in one career? When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. Yet there are just a few things that bother Duffy enough to keep the case file open. Which is how he finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: Who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?

Reviewed:

Give the Devil His Due, Sulari Gentill

When Rowland Sinclair is invited to take his yellow Mercedes onto the Maroubra Speedway, renamed the Killer Track for the lives it has claimed, he agrees without caution or reserve. But then people start to die. The body of a journalist covering the race is found in a House of Horrors, an English blueblood with Blackshirt affiliations is killed on the race track. and it seems that someone has Rowland in their sights. A strange young reporter preoccupied with black magic, a mysterious vagabond, an up-and-coming actor by the name of Flynn, and ruthless bookmakers all add mayhem to the mix. With danger presenting at every turn, and the brakes long since disengaged, Rowland Sinclair hurtles towards disaster with an artist, a poet and brazen sculptress along for the ride. 

Robert Goodman's Reviews:

Coffin Road, Peter May

A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it. A detective crosses rough Atlantic seas to a remote rock twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. With a sense of foreboding he steps ashore where three lighthouse keepers disappeared more than a century before - a mystery that remains unsolved. But now there is a new mystery - a man found bludgeoned to death on that same rock, and DS George Gunn must find out who did it and why. A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father's death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist's suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that others were behind his disappearance.

Fall, Candice Fox

If Detective Frank Bennett tries hard enough, he can sometimes forget that Eden Archer, his partner in the Homicide Department, is also a moonlighting serial killer ... Thankfully their latest case is proving a good distraction. Someone is angry at Sydney's beautiful people - and the results are anything but pretty. On the rain-soaked running tracks of Sydney's parks, a predator is lurking, and it's not long before night-time jogs become a race to stay alive. While Frank and Eden chase shadows, a different kind of danger grows closer to home. Frank's new girlfriend Imogen Stone is fascinated by cold cases, and her latest project - the disappearance of the two Tanner children more than twenty years ago - is leading her straight to Eden's door. 

Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty

It’s just the same things over and again for Sean Duffy: riot duty, heartbreak, cases he can solve but never get to court. But what detective gets two locked-room mysteries in one career? When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. Yet there are just a few things that bother Duffy enough to keep the case file open. Which is how he finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: Who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?

No Mortal Thing, Gerald Seymour

Two young men - Jago and Marcantonio - both studying business and finance: Jago is a kid from a rough part of London who has worked hard to get a job in a bank and is now on a fast-track secondment to the Berlin office. Marcantonio is one of the new generation in the Ndrangheta crime families from Calabria, Southern Italy. He is in Germany to learn how to channel their illicit millions towards legitimate businesses all over Europe.When Jago witnesses Marcantonio commit a vicious assault and the police seem uninterested, the Englisman refuses to let the matter drop.But by pursuing the gangster to his grandfather's mountain lair, Jago is stepping into the middle of a delicate surveillance operation, which sets alarm bells ringing in Rome, London and Berlin.It also leads him to Consolata, a young woman who sees in Jago the chance to turn her non-violent protest campaign against the crime families into something altogether more lethal...NO MORTAL THING is novel of relentless power and mounting suspense, a brilliant portrayal of organised crime in Europe and the under-resourced men and women who fight it.

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