Vaseem Khan- Bad Day At The Vulture Club

The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city: respected, envied and sometimes feared. When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence – where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures – the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced. Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case. But murder is murder. And in Mumbai, wealth and corruption go in hand in hand, inextricably linking the lives of both high and low…

In uncertain times, such as these, I think that the benefits of reading are immeasurable to aid an escape and distraction from global events. Looking for more of a comfort read, I turned to Vaseem Khan’s excellent Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation series of which I have read a few now, and this is the latest in the series.

As much as I love the colourful and whimsical covers on these books, I always worry that readers may avoid them, lumping them in with the more cosy elements of crime fiction. What Khan actually achieves is a skilful balance of the cosy, encapsulated by the home life of Inspector Chopra and his intuitive charge, Ganesha the baby elephant and sharply observed social commentary that really taps into the grinding poverty and political corruption of India as a whole, and Mumbai more specifically. As we are equally amused by some of Chopra’s associates and Ganesha’s uncanny ability to keep Chopra safe from harm, and some truly laugh out loud moments, the true character of Mumbai and its inhabitants is referenced throughout the book. In keeping with the best crime writers who specialise in urban crime, there is a feeling of affection on the author’s part for the city, in all its grime and glory, and a reticence to look away from the darker aspects of it too, giving him a great canvas to create these taxing cases for the indomitable and always focussed Chopra.

I like the way that Khan shines a light on the city both through Chopra’s cases and the social missions that his wife Poppy embarks upon, much to the chagrin of the wrongdoers and their neighbours respectively. In this way, Khan can cover many different issues in the course of one book, keeping the stories realistic and, most importantly, engaging, as we as readers discover so much about this uniquely vibrant, yet sharply contrasting city. I found the background to this particular case incredibly interesting, as I was not familiar at all with the finer details of the Parsee religion, its ceremonies, traditions and how modern practices are beginning to encroach on these traditional rites. I thought that this gave an incredibly solid grounding to the case Chopra becomes inveigled in, and again reflects the prowess of Khan’s writing, both here and in other books in the series, to utterly engage us in a particular aspect of Mumbai society, underscored by a no doubt fascinating research process, and to carefully balance this with a compelling crime plot.

Chopra is a beautifully drawn character, as a former police officer turned private investigator of some repute. He is an incredibly moral man, with a defined code of justice, that instils a trust and respect in him by those who know him best, and those that come to seek his help. He is always completely focussed on the victims he encounters, and no matter how trying or dangerous an investigation gets, he retains a dogged determination to expose the perpetrators and gain justice or clarity for the victims. As Chopra says himself, “For me, each and every case is a personal matter. It is the only way we can be sure to see things through.” This sense of dogged determination seems to carry over to his personal life too, as the logistics of caring for his unusual young charge, Ganesha, and the particular challenges that his tenacious and headstrong wife presents, keep Chopra well and truly on his toes. It can never be said that Chopra is not a practical and pragmatic man though, which stands him in good stead for all the challenges that his life presents. Khan’s characterisation in general is always spot on, with a wonderful supporting cast for Chopra himself, and an innate ability by the author to focus so perfectly on people’s visual characteristics, and quirks of appearance. He does this is in such a way that every character is vividly drawn in the reader’s mind, and compounded by the sharp and perfectly pitched dialogue adds another layer of enjoyment to these excellent books.

Love them! Highly recommended.

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(I bought this copy of Bad Day At The Vulture Club: Hodder Books)

Marion Brunet- Summer of Reckoning #BlogTour

A psychological thriller set in the Luberon, a French region that evokes holidays in magnificent pool-adorned villas. For those who live there year-round, it often means stifling poverty and boredom. Sixteen-year-old Céline and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet. That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of the father Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine’s refusal to name the father of her child, Manuel needs a guilty party and Saïd, a friend of the girls from an Arab family, fits Manuel’s bigoted racial stereotype. In the suffocating heat of summer he embarks on a drunken mission of revenge…

Now onto a slice of French psychological crime from author Marion Brunet, translated by Katherine Gregor set amidst the machinations of a very disturbed family. Brunet is probably better known for her prize winning YA novels, so this is her first adult novel and the first translated into English…

In no way, shape or form could this be described as a comfortable read if you are seeking some respite from the current global events, so prepare yourself for a story of unrelenting misery, peopled by a cast of unrelentingly miserable characters. Without exception, well maybe Celine as she is quite shallow and charmingly dense, this is a family fuelled by anger, suspicion and violence, where everyone is caught up in a self destructive cycle of familial despair. Their torturous interactions and stilted communication is an incredibly powerful central theme of the book, and apart from the daughters, Celine and Jo who have some semblance of a sisterly bond, despite their seemingly different characters, there’s not a whole lot of love and understanding permeating this family. Their father resents his father, his Spanish heritage and Said, the girls’ Arabic friend with violent consequences.Their mother seems to resent pretty much everyone too, including her husband and daughters, in this claustrophobic and oppressive atmosphere of home.  Little wonder that both teenage girls long for escape and adventure in their differing ways, but cruelly seem to find the opposite is true…

I did rather like the character of Jo, the younger daughter, who is sharp and quick witted, and although as physically attractive as her fatuous older sister. uses her intelligence and slightly teasing nature to expand her life out beyond the simmering pot of resentment she calls home, “Jo drinks the poison of a landscape that’s too familiar. Her nonchalance is just a façade; inside, there’s a clash between love and revulsion for these paths travelled thousands of times…Jo is looking for a way out”  She is heartily bored by her surroundings (although she does seem to have more of a connection to nature), her circle of schoolfriends, the company of her sister, and her irritating parents, and anticipates that as her sister’s due time approaches and she still refuses to name the father, things will get a whole more uncomfortable. As clever as she is though, she is still undone at times by her naivety and impetuosity, and at the close of the book, despite interludes of ‘freedom’ we all have call to question how far she has escaped at all from the domestic familiarity she seem to so resent.

Despite the relative slimness of the novel, there are some quite weighty themes addressed in this book, from internal and external racism, jealousy, unfaithfulness, sexuality, murder and domestic violence. As is so typical of French crime fiction, there is a maelstrom of heated emotion in some characters perfectly balanced with the brooding surliness of others, all within the familiar trope of loaded miscommunications, and petty jealousies escalating into more destructive events. I think if I had been reading this in happier times I would have probably being enveloped in this blanket of misery a bit more as I quite like a bit of angst and sadness in my crime reading, but overall it was a solid read with some interesting observations on family cohesion, loyalty and jealousy. Recommended.

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(With thanks to Bitter Lemon Press for the ARC)

Catch up with the blog tour, organised by Anne Cater at these excellent sites:

 

Trevor Wood- The Man On The Street

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight. Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story. The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose…

There is little that gladdens the heart more than encountering a debut novel that absolutely strikes a chord with you as a reader, but also promises that you have discovered an author that will probably remain a firm favourite for years to come. With The Man On The Street, Trevor Wood has achieved just that, with a crime novel that is both compelling and unerringly perceptive…

Up to this point I had only read crime novels that if a homeless person appeared in them, it was always as a periphery character, either as a witness to a crime or as a snout, an occasional source of information to the main investigator. What Wood does is put the character of Jimmy front and centre, a homeless man, deeply scarred emotionally and haunted by his military service in the Falklands, as his main protagonist. Rarely, have I read such a well-formed and utterly believable character, and felt such a deep-seated compassion and empathy as a result of this. Accompanied by his constant companion Dog, Jimmy drifts through the city with a cloak of invisibility, trying to keep anonymous and to not attract the attentions of those who derive pleasure from meting out violence on the homeless community. Estranged from his wife and daughter, Jimmy is obviously suffering from PTSD, tormented by nightmares, and with events from the war being triggered by sensory factors like sound or smell. As he unwittingly becomes involved in a murder investigation, Jimmy proves that the old adage that, “a true hero is not measured by the size of his strength, but the strength of his heart.”  Despite his tough past, Jimmy has a strong moral core, and when weighing up how far to get involved in events, and how this could impact on him, is drawn to doing the right thing, be it tracking a killer, or protecting those he has a personal alliance with. I also liked the way that Wood dialled down the intensity of Jimmy’s character in his interactions with a couple of his homeless pals, giving wonderful little chinks of humour and lightness to the book.

With the book being set in Newcastle Upon Tyne, this obviously struck a note with me personally having lived there for several years. There was a certain particular joy that as Jimmy circumnavigates the city, it evoked a fond remembrance in me of places I am very familiar with. However, thanks to the clarity of Wood’s description of each locale, Newcastle is vividly drawn, capturing the spirit and verve of this unique city, but also unashamedly depicting the more downtrodden and threatening aspects of it too. Psychogeography plays a real part in the book I noticed, where Jimmy’s mood and fight or flight instinct is very much influenced by the areas of the city he traverses, so there are definite spaces of calm or threat for him, and this worked incredibly well. I also found the scenes depicting Jimmy’s traumatic experience within the confines of a naval ship incredibly powerful and so vivid that you were absolutely rooted in the heat, the noise and panic in the midst of an attack. Consequently, the flashbacks that Jimmy experiences throughout the book take him, and by extension us, back to this scene of trauma in an intensely deep way, arousing empathy in the reader. On a smaller scale I grew up in a naval city during the Falklands and the sight of those damaged ships limping back to port and my school friends losing brothers or fathers in this conflict will never leave me either. This makes the emotional depiction of Jimmy’s trauma all the more affecting and poignant for me personally, and certainly for readers generally.

As I like to give nothing away about plots, guess what? I’m giving nothing away about the plot, but suffice to say as you sail along on a story that keeps you utterly gripped, there is an absolutely bobbydazzler of a reveal at the latter end of the book; unexpected, dark and beautifully done. Taking this in conjunction with the characterisation, location, and the wonderful fluidity of Wood’s writing, The Man On The Street is genuinely one of the most unusual and affecting books I have read for some time. A dead cert for my Top 10 of the Year, although it’s only April, and I will be champing at the bit so see what Wood writes next. No pressure…

Highly recommended.

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(With thanks to Quercus for the ARC)

A. Yi- Two Lives- Tales of Life, Love and Crime #BlogTour

Seven stories, seven whispers into the ears of life, where unexpected twists of crime burst from the everyday, with glimpses of romance distorted by the weaknesses of human motive. A Yi employs his forensic skills to offer a series of portraits of modern life, both uniquely Chinese, and universal in their themes. His years as a police officer serve him well as he teases the truth from simple observation, now brought into the English language in a masterful translation by Alex Woodend…

This collection of stories is quite unlike anything I have read before, and takes the reader to some very dark places indeed, and, although not a regular reader of this literary form, I was impressed by the scope of issues that Yi encompasses within them.

Auspiciously, there are seven stories within the collection:

TWO LIVES: ATTIC: SPRING: BACH: HUMAN SCUM: FAT DUCK: PREDATOR

From the incredibly disturbing opening story, through tales of twisted morality, with a broad sweep and consideration of themes like family, loyalty, betrayal, retribution, sex and redemption, there is much to savour here for those stout of heart and strong of stomach. In terms of writing style there is a brevity of writing and pared down use of language, perhaps reflecting an influence of the hardboiled style of early American crime fiction. The stories are peppered with cultural references and differing locations, that to a certain extent seem to reflect the mind-set and motivations of Yi’s cast of characters, all of whom are vividly depicted in terms of appearance, character traits, and, in some cases, plunging us deep into the darkness that lurks at the heart of them. Don’t expect to empathise with his characters and prepare yourself for some pretty damning observations on the worst that humankind can be…

I wouldn’t say that this collection is for everyone, as Yi has no truck with softening the grim motivations of some of his characters, and there are a few genuinely uncomfortable scenes. However, it was interesting for me to read a literary form that I don’t experience regularly, and I enjoyed the way in which Yi provides a piercing insight into Chinese culture and society, and to explore the darker areas of the human psyche.

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A Yi (author) is a celebrated Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-inchief of Chutzpah, an avant garde literary magazine. He is the author of several collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future. A Perfect Crime, his first book in English was published by Oneworld in 2015. He is noted for his unsentimental worldview, and challenging literary style.
Alex Woodend (Translator) is a writer/translator whose fascination with Spanish and Chinese began at Franklin & Marshall College. He continued his studies at Columbia University where he wrote his Masters on early post-Mao literature. Translator of The Captain Riley Adventures , Murder in Dragon City, and other works, he currently lives in New York.

(With thanks to Flame Tree Press for the ARC)

Catch up with the blog tour at these excellent sites: 

Alan Parks- Bobby March Will Live Forever

The papers want blood. The force wants results. The law must be served, whatever the cost. July 1973. The Glasgow drugs trade is booming and Bobby March, the city’s own rock-star hero, has just overdosed in a central hotel. Alice Kelly is thirteen years old, lonely. And missing.  Meanwhile the niece of detective Harry McCoy’s boss has fallen in with a bad crowd and when she goes AWOL, McCoy is asked – off the books – to find her. McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?

Well, here is a book to gladden the heart in uncertain times, continuing on from the brilliant Bloody January, and February’s Son, both of which reached my top 10 reads of 2018 and 2019 respectively. Harry McCoy is back and with some style it has to be said. There is always a slight sense of trepidation as one book develops into a series as we start to form a connection with, and an affection for the central character. I also appreciate that this tension must be a hundredfold on the author themselves, but I’ll tell you something for nothing, I think this is possibly the strongest out of the trilogy to date. Yes. I should coco. Obviously, Parks has hit on the winning formula of writing an instantly recognisable police procedural set in 1970’s Glasgow, but it’s what the author layers into his books that make them all the more sharp and compelling…

Harry McCoy embodies all that we love in our detectives being both flawed but also a man who works by his own code that does imbue in him a real integrity and honesty. Yes, he’s a wee bit damaged emotionally, but for the most part overcomes this, and goes about his business both on and off the books with a steely focus and determination. Adhering to his own moral code naturally leads him into conflict with some of his colleagues, but it is gratifying to see that his immediate superior does know what a rough, and useful, diamond he has in Harry. Equally, McCoy’s long term friendship with one of the criminal kingpins of Glasgow Stevie Cooper, allows the stories to take an additional frisson, and it was good to see that due to one strange turn of events, Cooper is suddenly placed in a submissive position for part of the book as he succumbs to a particular weakness of the flesh.

As usual, Parks’ characterisation is a tour de force from those that work alongside McCoy, in particular his on-off partner the delightful Wattie and McCoy’s nemesis, Detective Raeburn, and on the other side of tracks Cooper’s band of merry and not-so-merry associates. I particularly like the world weary and sharp-tongued brothel madam Iris, and the truly annoying and potty-mouthed local reporter Mary. The book is also interspersed with the stream of consciousness of the eponymous Bobby March, a musician of some talent on a downward spiral of drug addiction and self destruction, that is both bleak but also profoundly touching.  Parks’ characters are unerringly vividly drawn with a nervy energy, and no matter how small or large a part they play in the overall plot, each contributes a pertinent and necessary contribution, putting a real flesh on the bones as the story progresses.

Obviously, being set in the 1970’s and in a rough and ready Glasgow, the book rejects all of the politically correct nonsense which we are so hyper aware of now, and that is a real tonic. In a nod to the more sensitive reader, Parks balances his depiction of the more sexist treatment of women, with characters such as the previously mentioned Iris and Mary, who are often far more intimidating than the male protagonists. The police are less hands off and more fists out in some cases, but context is everything, and fits perfectly with the zeitgeist of the era. Glasgow is depicted in all its grim glory, but Parks balances this beautifully with moments of pure affection for this city and its inhabitants, giving small chinks of light in its grey, downtrodden environs. I always notice this more in Scottish crime fiction, and it warms the cockles every time I encounter this acceptance and honesty about their chosen locations.

So, with no element of surprise whatsoever, you’ll probably have guessed that in Bobby March Will Live Forever, Parks has once again produced a total winner. With its grim, unflinching plot, punctuated by moments of humour, and the acceptance of both the good and the bad, both in his characters, the period, the cultural references and the location itself, I would totally and completely recommend this, and the entire series to you all. Gritty, witty and an absolute must read. Highly recommended.

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(With thanks to Canongate for the ARC and apologies to the author and Anne Cater of #RandomThingsBlogTours for the delay in reviewing)

 

Amy Engel- The Familiar Dark #BlogTour

Eve Taggert’s life has been spent steadily climbing away from her roots. Her mother, a hard and cruel woman who dragged her up in a rundown trailer park, was not who she wanted to be to her own daughter, Junie. But 12-year old Junie is now dead. Found next to the body of her best friend in the park of their small, broken town. Eve has nothing left but who she used to be. Despite the corrupt police force that patrol her dirt-poor town deep in the Missouri Ozarks, Eve is going to find what happened to her daughter. Even if it means using her own mother’s cruel brand of strength to unearth secrets that don’t want to be discovered and face truths it might be better not to know…

I must admit I am rather partial to a journey into the redneck heartlands of America, so it was pretty much a dead cert that The Familiar Dark would be tailor made for this reader. Also every so often a book comes along with such an understated, but breathtakingly powerful, writing style that knocks your socks off, and yes folks, you guessed it, this box is firmly ticked too. Focussing on the character of Eve Taggert, a weary and careworn but devoted mother whose world is shattered by the seemingly unexplainable murder of her young daughter, Engel weaves a tale of simmering violence and deceit that absolutely grabs you by the throat, and at times heart and refuses to ease its grip. As the story unfolds I couldn’t help but think of the quote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive” as Eve edges ever closer to the truth of this senseless crime, and shocking secrets come to the surface.

I absolutely adored the character of Eve, scarred by the physical and mental claustrophobia of a childhood with an abusive mother, and by a series of similarly abusive interactions with men, “here it was still the same old merry-go-round of drugs and poverty and women being chewed up and spit out by men,” in the small town of Barren Springs.  She exhibits a fortitude and strength that belies her previous state of victimhood, and like her hometown itself, whose residents have a “sheer, stubborn wilfulness that kept people breathing when it might have been easier to give up,” so she embarks on an increasingly dangerous, and emotionally testing path to uncover the truth behind her daughter’s murder. What I found incredibly affecting in the book was the way that Engels dissects the very nature of womanhood, and a woman’s part in this incredibly controlling patriarchal community. In one passage the author refers to the fact that women were expected to show weakness and conformity, but anger and any form of challenge to the accepted norms was not acceptable. Hence, as Eve, fuelled by anger and a sense of injustice, begins to routinely challenge the notions of how she should be behaving, and the posturing masculinity she encounters, and as a consequence our respect for, and empathy with her is heightened. Although she cannot evade the pernicious grip entirely of some of the male figures in her life, inch by inch she begins to garner the strength to chew them up and spit them out herself…

I found her relationship with her previously estranged mother, a real lynchpin of the book, as Eve had so effectively distanced herself from this less than stellar influence in her formative years. Where Eve has on the surface of it effectively turned her back on, and grown away from her poor and abusive roots, her mother has stayed rooted in a destructive and criminal life. What becomes increasingly interesting in the book is the enforced return of Eve to her mother’s influence, and what this means in terms of her relationship with her. There’s some surprises in store from our initial perception of this relationship, and none more so than closing chapters of the book. Eve’s relationships with others (aside from her work colleagues) are guarded and defensive, but like her increasing interactions with her mother, Eve, and the reader, make some interesting discoveries along the way. It’s so hard to review this without spoilers…

Engel has a laconic, lean and incredibly rhythmical cadence to her writing style, where the brevity of her prose works to increase every word and image used. Little wonder that I read this in pretty much one sitting, and really appreciated the book as not only a fully formed and compelling murder mystery, but also as the exposure of one woman’s harsh and emotionally isolated existence, outside of the fullness of love for her daughter. As we learn more about Eve, both good and bad, we care increasingly more about her, and her search for justice, however this is to be meted out.

Amy Engel is a new-to-me author, and if The Familiar Dark is anything to go by, one whose previous books are going to be investigated. From its heart-in-the-mouth and visceral opening, to its superb characterisation and beautiful writing style, this book is one that will stay with me for a long time, and I will most certainly read again. Highly recommended.

(With thanks to Hodder Books for the ARC)

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Catch up with the blog tour at these excellent sites:

 

Vanda Symon- Containment #BlogTour

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins. Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead. What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea- a diver who didn’t die of drowning. As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

Right where are we off to now on another global crime adventure- New Zealand that’s where, and into the world of Detective Constable Sam Shephard, where a seemingly simple case of container looting, leads to a whole heap of trouble for this sassier than your average cop…

Containment marks the third outing for DC Sam Shepard (following Overkill and The Ringmaster) and it’s good to see our female cop has lost none of her gumption and slightly gung-ho attitude in the interim. From getting physically assaulted at the opening of the book, Shepard is once again steaming in to perilous situations, getting right up the nose of her superior officer, and having a fairly intense crisis of confidence in both her love life, and with some unwelcome news about one of her nearest and dearest. I think Shephard’s character is what really engages the reader throughout the series, as she is so utterly believable, whether giving as good as she gets with the ribaldry of her mostly male police colleagues, or just going above and beyond in her investigations. What she so evidently displays is that no investigation is black and white, and that a slightly less dogmatic and more considered approach is the most useful way to unlock people and what they may be concealing. She often sees ‘both sides of the coin’ in terms of those she interacts with, be they colleague, friend, victim or perpetrator and a touching affinity with the underdog. There’s a lovely quote in the book, where Sam says, “If I thought about it, I’d spent my entire life trying to save things…Sam Shepard champion to the underdog…Policing was the perfect profession for someone like me. You got paid to save people, fix problems.” I love the close up of her life that Symon seems to blanket us in, be it as a female detective, a friend, a lover, a concerned daughter, and at times just one of the boys, joshing on, and fearlessly (and sometimes thoughtlessly) putting herself into the same level of physical danger as her male colleagues. She is a wonderfully well-rounded character, with an endearing amount of flaws and Symon really connects her to the reader.

Symon’s writing has a real rhythm and fluidity , and carries the reader along on a sea of humour, action and waves of human emotion from the intensely confrontational to the deeply personal, but never at the expense of the natural unfolding of what is essentially a police procedural. The interludes of humour are perfectly placed to connect the reader more with the police protagonists, and to accentuate the fact that these are just ordinary people doing a relatively thankless job, and having their own worries and pressure points. There at petty rivalries but also some deep seated loyalties, and I do like the way that Symon’s plays with the notion of ‘honour amongst thieves’ in terms of the less law abiding characters. Although, I felt some aspects of the plot were a little weaker than the previous books, Symon’s aptitude for colourful, believable characterisation across the board, and sublime dialogue gives the reader a real momentum as the investigation unfolds. If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking this series out yet, I would definitely give it a whirl, as Symon’s writing and in particular her pithy wit is akin to such stalwarts of the genre as Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone and Janet Evanovich with a beautiful New Zealand twist. Recommended.

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(With thanks to Orenda Books for the ARC)

Catch up with the blog tour at these excellent sites: