George V. Reilly

Review: Gone, Baby, Gone

Title: Gone, Baby, Gone
Author: Dennis Lehane
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 256
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 7 January–3 February, 2017

Four-year-old Amanda McCready has dis­ap­peared. Her aunt, desperate to find her, engages PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro to find the child. The mother, Helene, is drunken, slatternly, and neglectful: in short, unfit and un­sym­pa­thet­ic. Kenzie and Gennaro don't want the case—the odds of finding Amanda alive and unharmed are low. They'll go through hell before they succeed.

This book veers from blackly funny to gutwrench­ing. Kenzie and Gennaro come up against the worst of the worst and against decent people doing wrong for reasons that seem right continue.

Review: Death of a Red Heroine

Title: Death of a Red Heroine
Author: Qiu Xiaolong
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Soho Crime
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 464
Keywords: crime, China
Reading period: 27 December, 2016–6 January, 2017

Chen Cao is an unlikely new Chief Inspector in the Shanghai Police in 1990, as he's a poet, a scholar of T.S. Eliot, and a translator of English detective novels. In Death of a Red Heroine, a national model worker has been found murdered in a canal. The death is po­lit­i­cal­ly sensitive and Chen's in­ves­ti­ga­tion leads him towards the son of a high-ranking cadre, which makes his position even more tenuous.

Qiu is as much concerned with the changes then happening continue.

Review: Hunted on the Fens

Title: Hunted on the Fens
Author: Joy Ellis
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Joffe Books
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 291
Keywords: police procedural
Reading period: 14 August–7 September, 2016

DI Nikki Galena and her team have been targeted by someone with a vicious grudge. One copper is dead, another is badly injured, Galena has been hounded out of her home, and civilians have been hurt too. The cops have no idea who's behind it.

The story is over­wrought but the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion was good and the story was en­ter­tain­ing.

Review: The Murder Road

Title: The Murder Road
Author: Stephen Booth
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 403
Keywords: police procedural
Reading period: 24–31 July, 2016

Detective Inspector Ben Cooper, newly promoted, is leading the team that's in­ves­ti­gat­ing the murder of a lorry driver outside a remote Peak District village. It seems to be connected to a suicide that took place the same day, but how? Cooper and his team manage to peel back the layers sur­round­ing the dual mysteries.

Booth writes solidly plotted, solidly char­ac­ter­ized novels, and this is another good entry in his long-running Cooper & Fry series.

Review: The King's Hounds

Title: The King's Hounds
Author: Martin Jensen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Ama­zon­Cross­ing
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 274
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: 11 June–22 July, 2016

1018AD. King Cnut of Denmark (aka Canute) has recently conquered England, and now must broker peace between the Saxons and the Danes at Oxford. Also in Oxford are Winston, a talented il­lu­mi­na­tor of man­u­scripts, and Halfdan, a roguish half-Danish half-Saxon landless noble. A prominent Saxon has been murdered and Cnut commands Winston and Halfdan to in­ves­ti­gate.

While the mystery was reasonably while done, I found the anachro­nis­tic speech patterns quite jarring. The book is translated from Danish; I presume this is also true in the original.

Review: The Blackhouse

Title: The Blackhouse
Author: Peter May
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Quercus
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 501
Keywords: mystery, scottish
Reading period: 29 May–3 June, 2016

Detective Inspector Fin McLeod hasn't been back to the Isle of Lewis in twenty years, but he's been seconded to the task force in­ves­ti­gat­ing a murder. The dead man had bullied Fin and his friends throughout their childhood. Returning home brings up a lot that had been long buried: secrets and re­sent­ments. Fin's childhood and youth is gradually revealed throughout the book, informing his present-day in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He acted badly in the past and that has not been forgotten.

May skillfully weaves these two tales together, revealing details of character and continue.

Review: The Dead

Title: The Dead
Author: Ingrid Black
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 345
Keywords: mystery, noir
Reading period: 2 April–3 June, 2016

At the end of March, I read an article in the Irish In­de­pen­dent, The girl who stole my book, about a blatant case of plagiarism. A Kindle All Star author by the name of Joanne Clancy had taken two books written by Ingrid Black a decade earlier, and rewritten them in her own words, changing the names and adjectives but preserving the plot. Eilis O'Hanlon, one half of the pseu­do­ny­mous duo behind Ingrid Black, only found out about the plagiarism by accident, thanks to a tweet from a sharp-eyed continue.

Review: A Colder Kind of Death

Title: A Colder Kind of Death
Author: Gail Bowen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Copyright: 1994
Pages: 218
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 27–28 May, 2016

Joanna Kilbourn's husband, Ian, was sense­less­ly murdered along the Trans-Canada Highway six years ago. Now the killer has been murdered in prison. And his vile girlfriend, who was acquitted of Ian's murder, is making threats. Then she's found dead, strangled by Joanna's scarf, and Joanna is the prime suspect. Joanna, who is a quietly competent mother, professor, and political com­men­ta­tor, starts digging and she finds things that alarm her about Ian's past, things that she had missed in her fog of grief after his continue.

Review: The Point of Death

Title: The Point of Death
Author: Peter Tonkin
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 416
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: 8–18 May, 2016

Tom Mus­grave—­Mas­ter of Defence and Master of Logic, friend to Will Shake­speare—is present at the very first per­for­mance of Romeo and Juliet when the actor playing Mercutio is somehow fatally stabbed with an envenomed rapier during an on-stage duel. He uncovers perfidy and poisonings which stretches back for years and rises into the highest halls of the land.

Tonkin has not only created a brilliant and dangerous pro­tag­o­nist, he has metic­u­lous­ly recreated Eliz­a­bethan London, a city that is a stew of ambition, peril, and intrigue.

First Musgrave book; precedes continue.

Review: The Woman Who Knew Too Much

Title: The Woman Who Knew Too Much
Author: B. Reece Johnson
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Cleis Press
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 252
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 5–14 May, 2016

Jet Butler lives on an isolated mesa in New Mexico. One of her few friends is a suspect in a murder. Cordelia Morgan, an outsider, who turns out to be far more than she seems, is also interested in the murder, which seems to be somehow tied up in the sale of water rights.

This never quite gelled for me. Despite the author's flair for de­scrip­tion, I found the plot confusing and I was not engaged with the two pro­tag­o­nists.

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