Category Archives: Murder

A Review of Good as Dead by Mark Billingham

Good As Dead (Tom Thorne, #10)
Review by: John H Glen
Date; 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback
ASIN: 0751544973 (ISBN13: 9780751544978
My rating: 4  stars
Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

The Hostage Police officer Helen Weeks walks into her local newsagent’s on her way to work. Little does she know that this simple daily ritual will change her life forever? It’s the last place she expects to be met with violence, but as she waits innocently at the till, she comes face to face with a gunman. The Demand The crazed hostage-taker is desperate to know what really happened to his beloved son, who died a year before in youth custody. By holding a police officer at gunpoint, he will force the one man who knows more about the case than any other to re-investigate his son’s death. That man is DI Tom Thorne. The Twist While Helen fights to stay alive and the body-count rises, Thorne must race against time if he is to bring a killer to justice and save a young mother’s life.

What Do I Think?

Once more Mark Billingham is to be commended for the absolute readability of this finely woven story for me he has steered clear of falsely pushing Thorne into an atypical behaviour, and has faith in the readers that we will understand the dialect and speech used which is as usual delivered powerfully

This is a masterful story a real page turner and yes I found myself unable to put it down until I had finished, I just can’t wait for the next outing from the masterful story-weaver.

At the start though, “Good As Dead” look as if like it’s planning a somewhat standard state of affairs, when the Indian owner of a corner shop, apparently sick and tired with the day after day aggravation and aggression from a gang of youths.

I found the story captivating the description of all the characters is simply outstanding and Mark makes sure that Tom Thorne is not a hero, but a man attempting to do a demanding job.

“ Good as Dead” has a couple of things that facilitates its ascent to being one of the best woven crime thrillers I have read.

This is the 10th Tom Thorne book and the progression shows no slowing down or tiredness the growth of the Tom Thorne character over the last few books is great and to keep to this intensity of superbly woven stories is a demonstration of the gift that this master story weaver mark Billingham has.

To finish I cannot recommend Mark Billingham’s books enough and I await the next instalment with great excitement.

Review: From The Dead

From The Dead
From The Dead by Mark Billingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Review of From the Dead by Mark Billingham


Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

A man is burnt to death in a car in Epping Forest, the victim of professional hit men. The evidence suggest that the dead man’s wife, Donna Langford, hired the killers, and she is found guilty of conspiracy to murder. A decade passes, and just before her release from prison, Donna is sent a photo: it is that of her supposedly murdered spouse. Is he, in fact, dead? And if not, whose was the charred body in the burnt-out Jaguar? Shortly after, DI Tom Thorne is contacted by a woman, Anna Carpenter. Anna is making a living (and hating it) by working for a detective agency that cynically uses her as a ‘pretend prostitute’ to trap men into sexually compromising set-ups in divorce cases. Anna is on the side of the worried Donna Langford, and asks a reluctant Thorne for help. The detective is not to be persuaded – until he realises that the supposedly late Alan Langford is very much alive, and wants payback – in the worst way.

What Do I Think?

Mark Billingham is to be commended for the absolute readability of this finely woven story for me he has steered clear of falsely pushing Thorne into an atypical behaviour, and has faith in the readers that we will understand the dialect and speech used which is as usual delivered powerfully
I don’t know the plot could seem a little passé, a gangster believed dead who isn’t really, but there is some maturity of the usual characters, The creation of Anna Carpenter is wonderful as she brings a vulnerable character to the story.
I found the story absorbing the portrayal of all the characters is superb and Mark makes sure that Tom Thorne is not a hero, but a man attempting to do a demanding job as well as trying to continue a relationship that he is not convinced is going anywhere, nevertheless he is still hanging in there.
What is pleasant on the subject of Thorne as a fundamental character is that he is imperfect I really do not like central characters to be flawless and Mark Billingham has got Thorne just right
This is a masterful story a real page turner and yes I found myself unable to put it down until I had finished, I just can’t wait for the next outing from the masterful story-weaver.

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A Review of Edge by Jeffery Deaver

Edge by Jeffery Deaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

When Washington D.C. police detective Ryan Kessler is targeted by Henry Loving, he and his family are immediately put under government protection. Loving is a ruthless ‘lifter’, hired to extract information from his victims, and he will use whatever means necessary including kidnapping, torturing or killing their family.
Assigned to the Kessler’s is protection officer Corte: uncompromising, relentlessly devoted to protecting those in his care and a brilliant game strategist. He also knows just how brutal the lifter can be – six years earlier, Loving killed someone close to him.
As tension increases between the families, the situation escalates into a deadly contest between protector and lifter as each tries to outwit the other. And as the lifter closes in on his prey, Corte must decide whether to protect his charges, or expose them to a killer in the name of personal revenge . . .

What Do I Think?

In this book from Jeffery Deaver you will find twists and turns which will have you burning the candle at both ends until you finish this wonderfully woven story.
This faultless tale will fill you with delight as well as welcoming you to see in your mind’s eye the fantastic imagery from this story-weaver as his hero Corte and the baddy Henry Loving play cat and mouse games with each other
The plot is fascinating as the two central characters are as two chess grand-masters moving their pieces in a world-class match, some of the twists and moves are easy to spot but others are nigh on impossible to see.
This is a fast paced story with an intenseness that gets your heart racing and as the plot slowly unfolds you find yourself turning each page to find that there is yet another gripping page and this continues to the very end.
This is my first outing with this story-weaver and I can’t recommend this book highly enough and can’t wait to read more from him.

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A Review of Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

Ken Follett‘s “World Without End” was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man’s world in the Welsh mining pits…Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House…two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…Billy’s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter Von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London…

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

What Do I Think?

Ken Follett without doubt lays down his reputation as a master story-weaver of the historical classic with “Fall of Giants,” this the first part of an incredibly large-scale piece of story telling, he has called “the Century Trilogy” as the series title signifies, it narrates the unruly times of the 20th century.

Set alongside this chronological view are the tangled lives of nearly a hundred characters but don’t worry this story-weaver has at the front of this book given us a cast list of the characters involved, a whole six pages.
This tale begins in 1911 when the giants of the title, the crowned heads of Europe, are powerfully established in their palaces, when it ends in 1924 they are all gone except King George V of Britain.

Between the 1911 and 1924 we have the various upheavals that were to restructure the world, the world that my great grandparents and grandparents knew.

Offered with plenty of possibility for action by these somewhat turbulent times Ken Follett takes full advantage of this occasion to weave a story that must surely touch the lives of each and every reader.

Apart from the destinies of the reigning crowned heads of Europe we follow the entangled destinies of five families, in Wales, England, Germany, Russia, and America.

Ken Follett has a thorough understanding of the history of this period and his skill to incorporate his research and his fictional characters into an animated, appealing story is masterful.

He’s exceptionally successful in relating the build-up to the 1914-18 war, when all hopes of a peaceful resolution steadily disappeared because of the conceit, belligerence, and epic lack of forethought of the powers that be led the way for the devastation that would overshadow the following decades.

This is a gigantic book; however, it was quick to read what with love stories, industrial unrest, political dramas, battlefield awfulness, class struggles it is presented to us in instalments, setting out on the journey first with one section of the story, and then another, at times joining together in unforeseen ways.

I loved the way the characters are eyewitness’s to such historic events which include; The Battle of the Somme (My maternal great-grandfather fell on the first day), Germany signing the Treaty of Versailles to name but two of many historical events and the way that Ken Follett is so adept to be able weave fact with fiction is inspiring and enlightening.

I really got a sense of how these events had an effect on the lives of so many of my very own families, and as I read this book I found myself thinking that what my great grandparents and grandparents had to go through is why they fought so hard for the vote, women’s equality and a living wage and why the first world war maybe had to happen.

In conclusion this is book that is unquestionably worth reading, it’s competently researched, effortless to read, and keeps the reader’s attention throughout, and I guarantee that If, like me, you enjoy historical novels you’ll take pleasure in the masterly woven stories of Ken Follett for his ability to make history come alive.

A Review of The Third Secret by Steve Berry

The Third Secret
The Third Secret by Steve Berry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, The Third Secret is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion.
Fatima, Portugal, 1917: The Virgin Mary appears to three peasant children, sharing with them three secrets, two of which are soon revealed to the world. The third secret is sealed away in the Vatican, read only by popes, and not disclosed until the year 2000. When revealed, its quizzical tone and anticlimactic nature leave many faithful wondering if the Church has truly unveiled all of the Virgin Mary’s words–or if a message far more important has been left in the shadows.
Vatican City, present day: Papal secretary Father Colin Michener is concerned for the Pope. Night after restless night, Pope Clement XV enters the Vatican’s Riserva, the special archive open only to popes, where the Church’s most clandestine and controversial documents are stored. Though unsure of the details, Michener knows that the Pope’s distress stems from the revelations of Fatima.
Equally concerned, but not out of any sense of compassion, is Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Valendrea desperately covets the papacy, having narrowly lost out to Clement at the last conclave. Now the Pope’s interest in Fatima threatens to uncover a shocking ancient truth that Valendrea has kept to himself for many years.
When Pope Clement sends Michener to the Romanian highlands, then to a Bosnian holy site, in search of a priest–possibly one of the last people on Earth who knows Mary’s true message–a perilous set of events unfolds. Michener finds himself embroiled in murder, suspicion, suicide, deceit, and his forbidden passion for a beloved woman. In a desperate search for answers, he travels to Pope Clement’s birthplace in Germany, where he learns that the third secret of Fatima may dictate the very fate of the Church–a fate now lying in Michener’s own hands.

What Do I Think?

I think Steve Berry is a remarkable writer and having read nearly all of his books I think I can say with all honesty that they continue to take me to a world of adventure and mystery a world filled with wonderful characters, plots, twists and turns, and world famous locations.

An out-and-out story weaver who weaves stories and plots of all you could want in a genre that is so difficult to write.
Everybody appears to be writing books on the subject of the Catholic Church ever since the Da Vinci Code was written, I liked the Da Vinci Code unlike a few others but then again I am a catholic and I do like conspiracy theories.

Steve Berry can weave a story which includes some of the best conspiracies you could ever want and the Third Secret is one of his best examples, yes it’s a work of fiction but there’s nowt like a bit of truth to make you question exactly where the fiction ends and fact begins, a real testament to his research.

This was an extremely compelling thriller that involves the story of the third secret of Fatima, in addition to the political machinations in the Vatican; it is a high-speed plot focused detective story
I found myself compulsively turning the pages as the story evolved just to see what happened next, the story may upset some readers this is owing to the portrayal of some of the priests who are shown to be as corrupt and able of murder as the worst of criminals but, one should consider that in the past we have had some quite nasty popes, cardinals etc in the church more to the point, priests are people, and, as such they like us are subject to temptation.

The focal point of the story is the third secret of Fatima, and even though the third secret of Fatima was released to the world by Pope John Paul II this secret was so unlike the other two secrets as well as being so enigmatic that loads of people believe there was more to the secret than was published.

This master story-weaver has taken advantage of this and has woven a story that is interwoven with historical facts, world events, along with his very own plots, twists, and turns.
I believe this is a story that will be enjoyed by fans of “The Da VInci Code” and “Angels and Demons”, as well as by those who enjoy well written thrillers.

In conclusion “The Third Secret” has it all, travelling in Europe, homicide, deception, and excitement, it is compelling and provocative read it and enjoy.


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