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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The Perfect Murder by Peter James

The perfect murder by peter james

The perfect murder by Peter James

The Perfect Murder is a novella by Peter James the bestselling author of the Roy Grace series. Committing the perfect murder and getting away with it is a recurring theme in the crime genre.

Victor Smiley is an unhappy man. His wife, Joan, passes her time ridiculing him and he has for years had no love for her.  He sees a local prostitute, called Kamila, to bring some excitement into his otherwise increasingly pointless life. He has no interest in his work at a factory and dreams only of escape. Joan has her own issues, the marriage is falling apart. She hardly sleeps with the grating sound of Victor’s snoring. Victor is oblivious to the fact that Joan is frittering away large sums of money building up credit card debt. She has her own secret amour, Don and she likes to impress him in constantly evolving sexy outfits.
Victor loses his job and riddled with debt he begins to formulate an escape route to a better life with Kamila. Joan, who he now loathes, has to be removed from his life, permanently. Victor is about to get a shock as he finds murder is also on someone else’s mind.

The Perfect Murder is a top notch novel that is tightly plotted and keeps the reader glued to the page.

Peter James is a very popular novelist who has had several of his novels made into films. He was educated and Charterhouse school and followed this with film school. Born in the UK Peter James lived for several years in North America where he worked as a film producer and screenwriter. He now lives in the UK.  His Roy Grace series was a Sunday Times number one bestseller.

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Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying, a novel featuring Major Jack Reacher, written by Lee Child.

 

Lee Child’s second novel, Die Trying, was published in 1998 featured Jack Reacher, centre stage, once more.

Whilst working as a doorman in Chicago Reacher becomes caught-up in the kidnapping of Holly Johnson, an FBI agent. She is also the daughter of a US Army general who is serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  They are both bundled into a truck and driven across the States for a reason and to a location unknown to them. Holly’s FBI colleagues take some time to notice her missing but then begin to try to piece together her movements and what has happened to her.

Reacher and Holly find on arrival in a remote part of Montana that they are being held by  the Montana Militia, whose leader is Beau Borken.

The intricate plot involves not only an FBI mole in the militia who has infiltrated them, but also a traitor within the FBI who supplies Borken information.

The President, fearful of another Waco type media catastrophe, does not want an outright assault and wishes the matter to be handled sensitively and carefully by the FBI and Army.

The novel is very well plotted and has the ability to keep the reader hooked and guessing. Lee Child is a true master of his craft. I found the novel immensely difficult to put down.

The Jack Reacher character, first introduced by Lee Child in Killing Floor, is sure to become an enduring hero in the mould of James Bond.

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Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock

Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock

Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock

Jon Stock is an English author and journalist and former editor of the Weekend section of the UK’s Daily Telegraph. Dead Spy Running is scheduled to be made into a Hollywood film. Stock has previously worked in New Delhi, India and lived in Cochin in Kerala.

A suspended MI6 agent, Daniel Marchant, while running in the London Marathon notices a reluctant suicide bomber stalking the US ambassador. Marchant cannot stop without provoking the bomber into an early detonation. Marchant had been a victim in the internal wrangling that existed between Britain’s intelligence community, MI5 and MI6. He also had the suspicion of being a traitor hanging over him.

Daniel’s heroic efforts to prevent calamity at during the London Marathon are misconstrued as he is suspected of being in league with the terrorists and they are used to further demean him. MI5 set him up and he is betrayed by a mole. He then falls into the hands of CIA torturers finding himself variously interrogated and waterboarded.
Marchant’s MI6 colleague and lover – Leila and the new chief, Sir Marcus Fielding have come to resent the CIA’s increasing influence in Whitehall.

Marchant goes on the run from the CIA. He then goes on a hunt from Wiltshire, to Poland and on to India to find the terrorist in an attempt to expose the false accusations made against his father and him. It was in India that Marchant’s father once met with a senior terrorist. Proof of treason on his part, or part of an ingenious intrigue?
Stock’s novel is well researched, plausible and utterly contemporary. A well-executed spy novel, from a writer who clearly has his finger on the pulse of the modern, murky world of espionage.
Dead Spy Running is part of the Legoland Trilogy.

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The King of Torts by John Grisham

john grisham the king of torts

John Grisham The king of torts

John Grisham’s The King of Torts is, as one might expect,  a legal suspense novel which was published in 2003 and which remained in the top 15 of the New York Times Best Sellers list for more than 20 weeks having been in first place initially.

The novel centres around a lawyer, Clay Carter and what can be, the sordid world of the class action. Mr Carter doesn’t earn much working for the Office of the Public Defender, though he has high aspirations. Reluctantly, he takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. A random murder in Washington, D.C. sees the case of Tequila Watson pass before Mr Carter who reluctantly takes it on. He does not know why he killed Pumpkin, his friend.

However, the case is set to change Mr Carter’s life and fortunes. A shady individual, oddly named Max Pace, alerts Clay to a conspiracy that has been perpetuated by a pharmaceutical company. They have been conducting medical trials on recovering drug addicts. However, worryingly they have not obtained their consent first. Tequila was one of the unlucky ones to be part of a trial and doubly unlucky in that Tarvan, the drug, does not work in 10% of cases. Though it does not work in those few cases it has an unpleasant side effect in that it leads patients to commit random murders.

Max Pace is used by the drug company to make contact with Clay in an effort to keep a lid on their unsavoury practices and to keep victims quiet by paying them off with muchos dineros. Though Clay is concerned with the process he soon turns into a convert when he sees the vast sums of money to be made. Clay’s fortunes don’t come from winning cases but from forcing the pharmaceutical companies to settle out of court at the earliest point. He departs from the Public Defenders Office taking some colleagues and setting up his own firm.

Clay begins his slide into a murky world as Max Pace gives him insider information on other dangerous drugs that he may be able to profit from.  Clay rapidly reaches the dizzy heights among other established tort lawyers in the city. Clay’s meteoric rise, however, comes to the notice of the authorities and he is soon under investigation for such things as insider trading to name but one.

Clay’s luck rapidly changes as he is badly beaten up and hospitalised and as one of his biggest cases loses and his unhappy clients turn on him and begin to sue. Despondent, he eventually flees to England with his girlfriend, Rebecca.

Though I did enjoy the rollercoaster ride of The King of Torts novel by John Grisham it did in parts seem to lose momentum. The plot is good, the characters strong and the novel flows, but it is just not totally convincing. However, that said, it is still a great read while soaking up some rays on a tropical beach.

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