Book Review: The Wild One by Nick Petrie @_NickPetrie_ @PutnamBooks

The Wild One
A Peter Ash Novel #5
Nick Petrie
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, January 2020
ISBN 978-0-525-53544-7
Hardcover

This is Nick Petrie’s fifth novel in the Peter Ash series. Ash has been likened to Lee Child’s character Reacher and there are some similarities. Ash, like Reacher, has a Military background. He was a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan but suffers from PTSD, which takes the form of what he describes as white static inside his head, along with a bad case of claustrophobia. But like Reacher, Ash’s efforts to help anyone in trouble often result in fistfights, and gunfights.

In this novel we find Ash on a plane bound for Reykjavik, Iceland. Planes are not his favourite form of transportation…and he grows agitated, feeling claustrophobic and panicky. He manages to fight through it, relieved when the plane finally lands. But his ordeal isn’t over, as he is taken to a small interrogation room, where a man from the American Embassy asks him why he has come to Iceland. After a brief exchange Ash is told he is not welcome in Iceland and must return to America on the next plane. The next flight to the USA, however, isn’t scheduled to leave for several days.

Ash leaves the airport wondering why so much attention is being paid to him. While he’d told them he was simply a tourist, in actual fact he’d been hired by Catherine Price in Washington, D.C. to find her son-in-law Erik Grimsson and her 7 year old grandson, Oskar. The police in America believe Erik murdered his wife Sarah a year ago and ran off with Oskar.

Unfazed by the fact that he has been ordered to return to the USA in a day or two, Ash is determined to find and talk to Erik’s cousin, Bjarni Bergsson. Ash visits the local Bar where Bjarni works and enjoys a drink while he waits. Bjarni doesn’t show and Ash, unaware his drink has been drugged, ends up being beaten and left in the snow.

Stubborn and annoyed at being duped, he continues his search and quickly comes to realize he’s not the only one looking for Erik and Oskar. But who is looking for them and why?

The winter weather in Iceland becomes a big part of the plot when a horrendous snow storm forecast for the area makes an appearance. Ash’s stamina and resourcefulness are put to the test in a plot that is both multi-layered and intriguing. You’ll be holding your breath as you turn the pages to its satisfying conclusion.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, May 2020.

Book Review: Cold Bones by David Mark @davidmarkwriter @MulhollandUK

Cold Bones
A DS McAvoy Novel #8
David Mark
Mulholland Books, January 2019
ISBN 978-1-473-64319-2
Hardcover

Cold Bones is the 8th and latest novel in Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy’s series written by David Mark and set in Hull, East Yorkshire, England. It begins when McAvoy, who is dropping his daughter off at school, is approached by another parent. Knowing he’s with the police, she tells him she’s worried about an elderly lady who lives near her, but who she hasn’t seen for a few days. McAvoy offers to check on the neighbour and discovers the elderly lady, Enid Chappell, frozen to death in her bathtub.

After determining the woman has in fact been murdered, McAvoy calls it in. While he waits for the forensic team, he wanders from room to room in search of something that might give him an idea why this woman was murdered. When he spots a crossword puzzle with only one question attempted, he’s surprised that the letters spell out M C A V. He’s sure he doesn’t know the victim but can’t help wondering if there is a connection.

McAvoy’s investigation grows more complex when two elderly men, both retired trawler fishermen, are found murdered in an empty warehouse owned by Stephen Ballantine a local man businessman whose father, a trawler fisherman, was lost at sea before Stephen was born. McAvoy’s instincts tell him that the murder of Enid Chappell and the brutal killing of the two fishermen are connected. But the Area Commander, David Slattery, doesn’t agree and orders McAvoy to concentrate on the old woman’s death.

McAvoy tries to do as he’s ordered, but as his detectives dig into Enid Chappell’s background he learns she had been a well respected social worker dealing mostly with the close knit community of Trawler fishermen and their families.

Meanwhile McAvoy’s boss Superintendent Trish Pharaoh is in Iceland looking into the loss of a fishing trawler, where the ship’s owner and two crew members perished, their bodies never having been recovered. She hasn’t told McAvoy where she is or what has brought her here, but it isn’t hard to see that their paths at some point will converge.

Aector McAvoy is one of my favourite characters. He’s a big man, around 6ft.5in; a handsome Scot with red hair and a heart of gold. He’s great at his job, but he manages to get himself into dire and often scary situations. That’s because he never gives up, and tries always to do the right thing, even when it gets him into deep trouble.

While some of the violence in this book and in the series might make some readers uncomfortable, the appeal of the characters and the strong plotting make the journey entirely worthwhile. You’ll have to read for yourself how this intriguing tale of revenge and murder reaches it’s dramatic ending.

Check it out!!! You won’t regret it.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, May 2019.

Book Review: The Shadow Killer by Arnaldur Indridason

The Shadow Killer
The Flovent and Thorson Thrillers, Book 2
Arnaldur Indridason
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
Minotaur Books, May 2018
ISBN 978-1-250-12404-3
Hardcover

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, was occupied by British troops even if that country was neutral in World War II, and in the months before Pearl Harbor, U.S. Troops relieved the Tommies [as they were called] so they could return home and face the possible Nazi invasion.  Iceland, of course, was a prominent way station for naval shipping across the Atlantic, with U-boat activity quite active.  In the midst of this activity, a man is found murdered, shot in the head by a weapon commonly used by American troops.

The investigation is undertaken by Flovent, the only detective with the Icelandic CID.  He enlists the help of a U.S. military policeman by the name of Thorston.  Together they center their attention on a family of German extraction, a paralyzed doctor, his son and his brother-in-law, the headmaster of a school, as well as the doctor’s brother who lives in Germany.  The victim remains unidentified, while initially believed to be the resident of the apartment, when it turns out he was a boyhood friend of the resident, the doctor’s son, who is in hiding and becomes the focus of a hunt.

Various subplots complicate the story as Flovent and Thorston delve into possible leads, including any possible role of U.S. Intelligence and a possible visit to the island by Winston Churchill. The sharp prose and excellent translation enhance this second novel in the series.  Mr. Indridason continues to provide us with top-notch thrillers, and we look forward to his next effort.

The novel is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, June 2018.

Book Review: The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason

The Shadow District
The Flovent and Thorson Thrillers #1
Arnaldur Indridason
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
Minotaur Books, November 2017
ISBN:  978-1-250-12402-9
Hardcover

From the publisher:  In the debut of a new series from international mystery giant Indridason, the murder of a woman in Reykjavik during WWII becomes a piece in the puzzle of a contemporary killing.  A retired detective named Konrad remembers the earlier murder from his childhood, and is surprised when, assisting in the case of a 90-year-old man who was smothered in his bed, he comes across clippings that the old man kept of the murder.  It happened in ‘the shadow district,’ a rough neighborhood bordered by the National Theatre where Konrad grew up. But why would someone be interested in that crime now?  Alternating between Konrad’s unofficial investigation and the original wartime police inquiry, The Shadow District depicts the two investigations, separated by decades, discovering that two girls had been attacked in oddly similar circumstances.  Did the police arrest the wrong man all those years ago?  How are these cases linked across the decades?  And who is the old man?  A deeply compassionate story of old crimes and their consequences.

And that this surely is.  This newest standalone from Mr. Indridason will resonate with his many readers, as it did with this reviewer.

The contemporary murder is that of a young woman of about twenty, the body discovered by a local Icelandic woman and her lover, found in a box in a doorway of that same National Theatre in the Shadow District.  The investigation is headed by Konrad and Marta, a young woman with whom he had worked in the CID, and they immediately realize the similarities between this murder and the wartime killing, the two victims and the circumstances of their murders being so similar.  The ensuing tale is riveting, in this author’s distinctive style, and it is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, November 2017.

Book Reviews: Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose and Chilled to the Bone by Quentin Bates

Doing It at the Dixie DewDoing It at the Dixie Dew
Ruth Moose
Minotaur Books, May 2014
ISBN 978-1-250-04638-3
Hardcover

This is a charming little cozy mystery, set in the small town of Littleboro, North Carolina. Beth McKenzie is doing her best to remodel her late grandmother’s Victorian mansion into a charming Bed and Breakfast. But when Levinia Lovingood, an elderly woman from a wealthy family, returns to town after many years, and becomes one of Beth’s first overnight guests, she is murdered in her sleep.

The very next day, the local parish priest is also murdered. What on earth is happening to the peace and quiet in this picturesque little town where everyone knows your name and no one ever locks their doors at night?

In the midst of scraping paint, redecorating the porch into a Tea Room and polishing hardwood floors, Beth is dragged into a nest of intrigue, suspicious notes and harrowing experiences as she attempts to find the answers to the murders.

Quaint characters flit through the story including a crazy bag lady living under a tree and several octogenarians who behave in bizarre ways. Verna takes her rabbit on a leash everywhere she goes and Miss Tempie visits the cemetery daily where she buried her dog next to a mausoleum.

Secrets abound and threats on Beth’s life turn ugly and all too real as she gets closer to the truth.

Miss Ruth Moose has created a fun mystery with just the right touch of humor, plot and suspense. Recommend this as a good summertime read for all cozy mystery lovers.

Reviewed by Elaine Faber, September 2014.
Author of Black Cat’s Legacy.

 

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Chilled to the BoneChilled to the Bone
An Officer Gunnhildur Mystery
Quentin Bates
Soho Crime, December 2013
ISBN 978-1-6169-5330-0
Hardcover

A police procedural is a police procedural, whether it takes place in Brooklyn, Los Angeles or Iceland. And in this, the third novel in the series, Police Sgt. Gunna Gisladottir, gets into a complicated investigation when an elderly retired ship-owner is found dead in a hotel room, nude and tied to the four corners of the bedstead. It turns out he had a heart attack, so no murder, but it is followed by a series of similar attacks at various hotels, during which each victim was relieved of cash, and credit and debit cards, which were milked for whatever they were worth. Moreover, the laptop of one of the victims was confiscated, leading to the knotty issues raised during the plodding investigation, including two murders. It seems the laptop contains information embarrassing to the ministry of foreign affairs.

Gunna is unlike many protagonists: A relatively subdued, ‘normal’ woman, with a home, husband and family, who goes about her business quietly and steadily, snow or ice. The author, who lived in Iceland for ten years before moving back to the UK, writes for a commercial fishing magazine, so he knows the island well and writes about it and its environment with authority.

The novel is recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, July 2014.

Book Review: Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark

Earlier this month, I was supposed to be a host
for the Uncovering Cobbogoth blog tour but, as
sometimes happens, real life got in the way and
I had to beg off due to illness. Here, then, is my
belated review with apologies to the author,
Hannah L. Clark, and the tour organizer,
Nereyda Gonzalez at YA Bound Book Tours.

 

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Uncovering CobbogothUncovering Cobbogoth
Cobbogoth #1
Hannah L. Clark
Cedar Fort Publishing, May 2014
ISBN 978-1462114269
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister.

When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.

 

After months away at boarding school, Norah is returning home to her uncle, the only family she has. This is not an easy homecoming though, because of the strain between her and her best friend, James, but even that awkwardness pales when Norah and James find the police at her home. Why would anyone want to kill an archaeologist? Could his government work have something to do with it? And why is the police detective so eager to have her translate a journal written in a secret code without having an official cryptographer look at it?

These are only a few of the questions that arise and it soon becomes very obvious that much more is at stake than just identifying a murderer. Uncle Jack has always been involved with proving the reality of myths and legends and, this time, he may have gone too far. Unfortunately, Norah and James find themselves at the center of a fable gone rather mad. Fantastical creatures that are both awe-inspiring and frightening, loss of memory, powers that Norah never dreamed she had, a crystal city in the caves of Iceland, secrets that have lasted for millenia, all converge to turn this girl’s life topsy-turvy  while she’s on the run from the law and from what may or may not be gods and demons…or perhaps they’re all just hallucinations.

Uncovering Cobbogoth is an intriguing blend of mystery and fantasy with a heavy dose of mythology and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of particular appeal to me is that the focal point of these myths is Iceland, a country few authors choose as a setting, yet these are not your usual Norse legends. Ms. Clark’s real strength lies in her worldbuilding, down to the details of certain stones and the personalities of the characters both mortal and immortal, and I could envision everything that was happening in Norah’s quest to find the truth. She herself is almost larger than life and I connected with her and with James on several levels.

The pacing of the story is a little slow in the beginning but picks up before too long and, near the end, is close to breakneck. There’s a sort of cliffhanger that isn’t *quite* a cliffhanger as you might expect and the author could easily have a choice facing her; a sequel would fit very nicely but it would also be possible to have the tale end here. After rummaging around on Ms. Clark’s blog, I’m happy to say that she refers to the Cobbogoth series and mentions working on the second book, so I think we’ll be seeing more of Norah. This reader is very happy about that 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2014.

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Purchase Links:

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About the Author

 

Hannah  L. ClarkHannah L. Clark is the author of the YA fantasy-adventure Uncovering Cobbogoth. It is the first book in a planned 7 book series. It was released by Cedar Fort Publishing on May 13, 2014.

Hannah lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with her husband and son.

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Author Links:

 

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Book Review: Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason

Outrage
Arnaldur Indridason
Translated by Anna Yates
Harvill Secker, June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-846-55423-0
Hardcover, 328 pp., 12.99 BPS

[This book is currently available only in/through the UK/Canada; it will be available in the US in September 2012 from Minotaur Books]

At the outset of this newest book by Icelandic author Indridason, the eighth in the series available in English translation, a young man picks up a woman in a bar, slips some rohypnol into her drink and brings her back to his home in an historic area of Reykjavik.  When two days later the police are called to the scene, the body found lying in a pool of blood on the floor is not that of the woman, but the young man who lived there, his throat having been slashed.  The only clues are a woman’s shawl, and a strange smell that lingers in the air.

In this latest entry in the series, Detective Elinborg has the primary role, while her colleagues Erlendur and Sigurdur Oli take on lesser roles, the former only by reference in the early and late parts of the book [referred to as “a failure of a father,” an “irascible loner,” and “an insightful detective” whom Elinborg admires but does not necessarily like].  As the book opens he has apparently taken a leave of absence to travel to the East Fjords, where he had lived as a young boy.  Oli has only a secondary role in the present investigations, with Elinborg taking the lead.

As always, Elinborg has conflicts between her job and her role as a wife and mother, and worries that she is not devoting enough time to her family.  The older of her two sons, 16 years old and increasingly distant, has been a cause of concern lately, and she “sometimes worried about the relationships between parents and their children,” a theme which recurs throughout the book.  In the course of her investigation, Elinborg is drawn into an old case, one involving the disappearance of a 19-year-old girl six years prior, and the possibility that the two cases are tied together.

Having been steadily absorbing reading for more than the first half of the book, it suddenly becomes more intriguing as the plot turns more complex, and maintains that level till the denouement.  This is a powerful book, consistent with all this author’s prior work, and highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, November 2011.

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