Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Gorky Park, the novel by Martin Cruz Smith which introduced us all to the delights of the that most enigmatic of Russians, Arkady Renko.

Gorky Park takes its name from the amusement park of the same name in Moscow. Three corpses, their faces and fingertips missing, are found buried in the snows of the park. The body parts had been removed to hide their identities.

Renko, a chief investigator for the Militsiya, is tasked with solving the case.

Renko falls foul of the authorities as he relentlessly exposes the charlatans within the Russian hierarchy, regardless of the power they may have over him.

The story unfolds in a surprising manner, with many plot twists.

Martin Cruz Smith is a wonderful writer, who really catches the mood and the flavour of Mother Russia and who keeps the reader endlessly guessing.  Gorky Park is a must read.

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Kolymsky Heights Paperback by Lionel Davidson

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

Hidden deep in the never-ending darkness and solitude of Russia’s Siberia lies, Kolymsky Heights. Ultra-secret and hidden from the world.

Here in the wilderness the Russians have a top-secret research station where scientists, once there, cannot leave.

However, one scientist risks all in an effort to get a message to someone who can uncover Kolymsky Heights true purpose. His coded messages are meant for the one man who can help.

A superb piece of story-telling, by Lionel Davidson, at the highest level which has garnered praise from many quarters including:

‘Sensationally good. Cleverly conceived and brilliantly executed. One of the great thrillers of the last century.’ Charles Cumming

‘Hugely thrilling, brilliantly written, perfect for the beach. Like all the best holidays, I didn’t want this book to end.’ Anthony Horowitz, Telegraph

Lionel Davidson was a fantastic writer and Kolymsky Heights is a true tribute to a man of immense talents. Truly un-put-downable….

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Ripper – The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

Ripper The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

Ripper The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

The enigmatic and eccentric painter, Walter Sickert, had an air of mystery about him. In more recent times the accusatory finger of suspicion has been levelled at him. It is now widely believed that he may have been either, Jack the Ripper or his accomplice.

The New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell spent millions researching the case and has uncovered important new evidence. Her book Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, is a detailed account of the Ripper atrocities and the failure of the Victorian police force to solve this dastardly series of crimes.

Sickert’s art had a strange quality about it, verging on the ghoulish. He had a deep interest in the Jack’s crimes and claimed to have lodged in a boarding house where the landlady said she believed the Ripper had also lodged previously. Sickert even painted a picture depicting the Rippers room.

Patricia Cornwell’s research has been tirelessly executed and she has brought forth archival material which has not been seen before.

Ripper, The Secret Life of Walter Sickert follows on from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper further expanding the depth of research and knowledge.

Patricia Cornwell has greatly added to this most gruesome of mysteries and her book is a must read for any sleuths among us.

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Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

The novel Along Came a Spider written by James Patterson is a great introduction to this prolific and hugely successful writers work.

This book by Patterson introduced us all to Alex Cross and the series which followed. A great thriller which is well plotted and the Alex Cross books have dominated the detective novel lists for years.

Washington, D.C. Alex Cross, the renowned Washington D.C. forensic psychologist and homicide investigator, is tasked with looking in to the violent murder of two black prostitutes and a child in the projects.

Cross is furious when he is removed from the case to investigate a kidnapping of two white children at an expensive private school. He feels that there is a sense that the colour determines which case is the more important. The kidnapper is Gary Soneji, the school maths teacher.

The evil Soneji, buries Maggie Rose Dunne and Michael Goldberg alive, in a coffin made for the task, at a remote farmhouse.

Alex Cross and the FBI make a detailed search of Soneji’s apartment. They find a wealth of information about kidnappings and master criminals. In particular it appears that Soneji has a more than passing obsession with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932.

Soanji clearly has a warped desire to become infamous.

Cross hooks up with Jezzie Flanagan, the first female supervisor of the Secret Service and the head of the Secret Service investigative team, in a secret liaison which complicates matters.

During the investigation Roger Graham, an FBI agent, is killed by Soneji who disguises himself as a reporter.

A missing little girl named Maggie Rose . . . a family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. . . . the thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher . . . a psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him – even after he’s been captured.

The police, FBI and the Secret Service are pitted against a true adversary in the guise of the violent psychopath, Soanji.

I don’t want to ruin the plot for you in this cleverly plotted and intricate game of cat and mouse where the stakes are the very highest.

Other authors have spoken very highly of James Pattersons work:

“An incredibly suspenseful read with a one-of-a-kind killer who is as terrifying as he is intriguing. One of the best thrillers of the year.”
Clive Cussler

“The best thriller I’ve come across in many a year. It deserves to be this season’s NO.1 best-seller.
Nelson  DeMille

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson is a superb read.

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Moskva by Jack Grimwood

Moskva, written by Jack Grimwood

Jack Grimwood is a British writer who was born in Malta. His novel, Moskva, is a taut serial killer thriller and a magnificent piece of fiction.

In the mid-1980s a body of a naked man is found, it’s right hand little finger missing. It’s location, just beside the exterior of the wall of the Kremlin.

Shortly afterwards a fifteen year old girl vanishes. It is particularly concerning because she is the daughter of the British Ambassador.

Recently posted to Moscow, the disgraced military officer, Tom Fox, is entrusted with finding her. He sees a chance to redeem himself. However, the Soviets will not acknowledge the serial killer and cannot identify him and they do not want Fox poking his nose in.

The Soviets are determined to keep a lid on things and to hide the evil that lurks within their system.

Fox is on a race against time to prevent the girl from becoming the next murder victim.

This Cold War thriller is cleverly plotted and beautifully written, evoking another time and another place.

If his novel, Moskva, is anything to go by then Jack Grimwood is a man to watch….and most definitely to read!

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Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is a highly successfull American author of thriller and mystery novels thrillers with multiple threads woven into them. Many are set in and around New York and New Jersey.

Deal Breaker was written in 1995 and features a former basketball player turned sports agent, ports agent Myron Bolitar. He is about to cash in with Christian Steele, a quarterback, who is one of his premier clients. Bolitar is utterly engaging though hotheaded.

However, things begin to turn sour when the quarter back is contacted bey one of his past girlfriends. Particularly surprising as both the police and he had her as dead.
Myron is faced with the ugly back story of his industry where the façade is everything, especially the gateway to untold riches.

Trying to unravel the truth about a family’s tragedy, a woman’s secret, and a man’s lies, Bolitar is up against the dark side of his business where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

Deal Breaker is a superb novel which is a real page turner from start to finish. Harlan Coben is a superb writer.

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Portrait Of A Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

Portrait of a Killer Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

Portrait of a Killer Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

How strange it is, that Jack the Ripper should, even now, still excites such horror and fascination. Many of the streets and locations of the crimes can still be found huddled among the modern city of London. On a recent evening walking tour of the area, where some of the crimes were committed, I felt a slight unease and sadness as we traced the route through the hushed side streets. We ended as darkness fell at the notorious Ten Bells public House in Spitalfieds, which had associations with the case.

The horrors that were meted out to those women in London’s East End in the late 1880’s have never had closure as ’Jack’ was never conclusively identified…or was he?

However, the gruesome crimes and the man who committed them may well have met their match.

Patricia Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author has turned her considerable skill on to solving this appalling mystery. Cornwell is a master in the field of plotting a crime – now she shows that she can solve one too. Using modern day forensics and meticulous research she puts forth an utterly compelling case.

Has she done enough to conclusively prove her theory and to give us closure at last with the true identity of Jack? You will have to read the book to decide for yourself. However, for me this was a fascinating, detailed journey through one of the most infamous crimes set against the Victorian era Patricia Cornwell has proved her case to me.

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Defender by Chris Allen

Defender by Chris Allen

‘Turner got rough, forcing them to respond. He tore at their hair and at their skintight lingerie, clawing at their perfect bodies.’

Well that certainly got your attention!

But there is much, much more to the works of Chris Allen than steamy interludes.

This author, him self has lived a very exciting life. Among other things he was a former paratrooper and served as Security Manager for CARE, the international aid agency in Timor Leste. He was also Head of Security for the Sydney Opera House and as the Sheriff of NSW.

The novels are a fascinating mix of James Bond and Jason Bourne, the gun to rent. Alex Morgan is an agent of Interpol’s Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division – Intrepid.

The Australian Army Newspaper wrote, “Allen knows his weapons and aircraft particularly well, and his immense attention to detail shows he has obviously walked the streets of the cities where his character’s actions take place.”

In Defender, Morgan is ordered in after an intelligence agent is cruelly murdered with the life of the president of a small African country put at risk. Morgan is in part, soldier, spy and policeman who along with his colleagues puts bad things right.

The country is racing towards civil war and he enlists the help of the beautiful Arena Halls while operating under his cover of evacuating a group of aid workers. A façade to hide his actual mission – a rogue spy.

The action races between Africa and Australia, the home of the author. The finale, a fight to the death which uncovers a truly dark conspiracy.

A great well plotted novel, which is certainly not for storage, from, Chris Allen, a novelist who we will hear much more from in the future.

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Self Storage by Gayle Brandeis

Self storage

Self storage

Who could imagine that anyone would write a compelling novel about rental space? Well Self storage by Gayle Brandeis, is just that!

The story is set in the year following the September 11 attacks and tells us of Flan Parker, a successful woman who has built up an unusual business. Flan hunts through the auctions of storage units which have been rented and then resells the contents. It suits her nature which is very inquisitive and she is always fascinated what is hidden in the unused rental units.

Flan lives with her husband and two children in the University rooms working hard to pay the bills while her husband writes his dissertation. Her husband is increasingly working less and less on his dissertation.

Flan has the winning bid on a box which is filled with an address and a note saying ‘Yes’ and nothing else. Flan is enthralled and is desperate to find out the meaning and source of this odd message. She also becomes interested in what the ‘Yes’ is in her own life.

This search inward only strengthens her desire to unearth the hidden stories of those around her–in particular,

Flan’s secretive, burqa-clad neighbour who originated in Afganistan begins to spark her interest. However, Flan and her family must pay a terrible price for this interest.

Self Storage puts forth the fears in a society which had been changed dramatically by 9/11.

Self storage is a thrilling novel by a writer with real class.

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Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

 

Absolute Power was written by David Baldacci.

The novel opens when a professional burglar named Luther Whitney, breaks into the home of a billionaire in an upmarket Virginia suburb.  While trying to rob the house he sees the United States President and the wife of the billionaire having wild sex. While Whitney is watching their passionate sex becomes violent ending in the woman being killed as the Secret Service burst in on them. Whitney saw the killing through a large two way mirror door that concealed a closet room. In this hidden room the billionaire would sit watching as other men had sex with his wife. Whitney made his escape, but the Secret Service had already found out that someone had been watching. The Secret Service orchestrates a campaign to implicate Whitney in the murder of the billionaire’s wife. The agents try to track down Whitney, who goes on the run – though he wants to make sure the real culprit is exposed.

A very clever, believable plot that is a real page turner. David Baldacci is a master of his craft.

Absolute Power was made into a film starring Clint Eastwood.

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