Fool Moon by Jim Butcher book 2 in the Harry Dresden series.
Harry’s back and thrown right into the mire when a series of murders seem to have be perpetrated by werewolves. The fall out from the previous book leads to a somewhat frosty relationship with the police, putting it mildly!
Big business, gangsters, biker gangs and a mysterious youth cult are all in the frame but with Harry’s powers faltering can he get to the bottom of it whilst the full moon is still in the sky?
It’s another cracker from Jim Butcher and he somehow gets you to suspend disbelief and have you thinking this world is entirely plausible. It’s a fast paced thriller with a good dose of whodunnit thrown into the mix. I’m rubbish at guessing endings and this was no exception. I can’t recommend this series highly enough up to now and can’t wait to carry on the roller coaster ride with Harry and the rest. I’d quite like to go for a pint or two in McAnally’s too!
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The Moor by LJ Ross book 12 in the DCI Ryan series.
We’re back in the present for the latest installment of the popular series. This follows on from Longstone and sees Ryan and the team prowling around a travelling circus encamped on the outskirts of Newcastle city centre.
A disappearance from the past comes to light when a feisty young girl presents herself at Ryan’s house. There’s also a sub-plot concerning the ongoing blossoming love story between the junior members of the team, Jack Lowerson and Melanie Yates and their investigations into the spiralling gang wars in the city.
Again it would be possible to read this as a standalone novel, but there’s so much character development from the preceding books that you’d be missing out severely. LJ Ross weaves an engrossing tale once again and no doubt will be well into her next installment*. Get on it before it’s snapped up for a television series and you can be the authority in your workplace!
* Edit: Penshaw is available for pre-order and will be released on the 27th of July!
Beyond the Point by Damien Boyd book 9 in the DI Nick Dixon series.
Set in Somerset, these books began with As the Crow Flies and follow Nick Dixon and his team as they patrol the towns and villages around Weston-super-Mare and Bridgewater. Nick Dixon lives in sleepy Burnham-on-Sea with his dog Monty and drives around in his clapped out Land Rover. The series progresses at a fast pace with the characters developing nicely.
As with most books in this genre, it’s best to read them in order. Indeed, book nine follows on from the previous one and would be quite confusing read as a stand-alone novel.
A serial killer is on the run and DI Dixon has a vested interest in capturing him. Things get rather twisty when a civilian police worker is found to be missing and her house is covered in blood. The team are stretched to the limits with political pressure from on high making a tense situation almost unworkable.
The series has yet to disappoint and this book is up there with the best in the series. Roll on number ten!
A Man Walks On To a Pitch by Harry Redknapp
I can count the number of football books I’ve enjoyed on the fingers of one hand. Odd Man Out by Brian McClair, Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton and Kicked into Touch by Fred Eyre just about completes the list. Harry Redknapp’s book isn’t your usual story of a footballer’s life, instead it’s a journey from the 1950s to the present day with the author picking his greatest team of each decade and giving anecdotes along the way.
There’s plenty of funny stories peppered throughout and a little of his life and career through the decades. Each decade is broken down into eleven short entries on each player making it very easy to pick up and put down. His teams aren’t bad either, although Brian McClair is notable by his absence.
It’s an easy read and well written with a light hearted style that draws you in. I think it’s made it onto my very short list of enjoyable football books and may well consider his proper autobiography at some point in the future. Not too soon though, I don’t want to overdo it…
Next up is Beyond the Point by Damien Boyd, book 9 of the DI Nick Dixon series.
The Bat by Jo Nesbo book 1 in the Harry Hole series.
It had been a long time on my virtual shelf, but keeping up with my recent delving into new authors I thought I’d give this a go. I bought it as I was going to holiday in Norway and thought it’d give me some local flavour. How wrong could I be! Whilst the lead character Harry Hole is indeed a fictional Norwegian detective, this book takes place in Sydney, Australia and is full of Aboriginal culture and folklore.
A Norwegian national is brutally murdered and Harry is sent over to liaise with the local police. He soon ingratiates himself with the locals and is paired up with an Aboriginal detective who shows him the ropes, the sights and some unexpected spots such asa travelling boxing troupe and a transvestite club.
It’s a fast-paced thriller that quickly morphs into the hunt for a serial killer. There are clowns, guillotines and sharks peppered through the tale. Harry Hole is a complex character and his backstory is nicely filled out throughout.
I found it to be an enjoyable read and will definitely be revisiting the series. As is (quite often) usual with this genre it’s a little unbelievable, but the writing is good and the action keeps on coming.
Next up is a departure from fiction with Harry Redknapp’s A Man Walks On To a Pitch. I’m not one for football books despite being a fan of the sport, but Redknapp seems a likeable character so I thought I’d give it a go.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher book 1 in The Dresden Files series.
I’m on a reading group social page on the intranet at work and this series is constantly mentioned. I’d been meaning to start the series for ages and as I was going away for a week camping in Somerset decided it’d be a good time to start.
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a private investigator in modern day Chicago, and also a wizard. It’s an odd setting, but I was drawn in from the start. The group at work largely say that the series takes three or four books to get going but I loved this book so should be in for a treat further down the line.
When a gangster and his “date” for the night are found in a sleazy hotel with their hearts exploded the local police turn to Harry as they suspect magic has been employed. From the off Harry is a likeable character. The story is told in the first person and Harry struck me as a cross between Fletch and a cooler, grown up Ron Weasley. It’s written with humour and considering the gruesome nature of the crimes is tastefully done and an easy read.
The supporting cast are well portrayed and promise development in the subsequent books. I can’t wait to read the rest of them, and they’ll be on heavy rotation in the coming months. As I was in the middle of nowhere with no Wi-Fi I couldn’t go straight to book two, but instead chose The Bat by Jo Nesbo, book one in the Harry Hole series. I’d downloaded this for my holiday in 2018 but it had been slipping off the first page of my Kindle for months.
The Devil’s Kingdom by Scott Mariani book 14 in the Ben Hope series.
The conclusion to the two part story that began with Star of Africa picks up where the last book left off and continues the pace and violence with little let up. A few new characters are thrown into the mix and the believability levels continue to descend.
As I said for the first part, it’s far from my favourite in the series, and now after finishing it I can safely say it’s my least liked. The tale takes so many twists and literally unbelievable turns as to have it bordering on the impossible. Saying that, if you can stomach the casual attitude to life it’s an enjoyable read. I won’t say too much about the plot, but the quest for the fantastic treasure continues apace. It’s well written and a quick read due to the continual action as the cast tussle over the prize.
It suffers from the James Bond baddy syndrome in my eyes though as the lead wrong un kills someone on every other page, but keeps Ben alive despite him obviously being a great threat to his plans. Hasn’t he seen Goldinger and the laser scene?
I’m taking a break from this series for a while now, and hopefully the next in the series, The Babylon Idol goes back to a more believable narrative. How many billionaires can one person know? I struggle to meet people with five figures to hand, but Ben bumps into numerous fabulously wealthy individuals at the drop of a hat!
My next book is a new author to me and a series I’ve heard good things from on a reading group website at work. Storm Front by Jim Butcher is the first book in the Dresden Files series which follows private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he investigates supernatural occurrences in modern-day Chicago.
Backwash by Bill Rogers. Book 8 in the DCI Tom Caton series.
The eight book in the series sees an upturn in the tale and a definite upturn in the proofreading, although there are still some jarring mistakes such as the town of Stalybridge being jumbled and one of the victims being called Qureshi, Quereshi and for the last half of the book Coreishi! Baffling.
The story follows Caton and the team on the trail of a killer who is seemingly targeting unrelated victims. Or are they? High tech help is required when it emerges that the victims are all part of a sinister bullying ring.
The characters develop nicely and we get to learn more about the families of the team and much more about Caton’s impending marriage. It’s a good story with not too many far fetched elements and back on form after the last far fetched tale The Frozen Contract.
I’m coming to the end of this series (to date there are ten titles) and were it not for my Mancunian bias I may have given up on them by now. I hope I can be made to eat my words and the series wins me round eventually…
Next up is The Devil’s Kingdom by Scott Mariani, the second part to Star of Africa reviewed earlier in the year.
Star of Africa by Scott Mariani. Book 13 in the Ben Hope series.
Another series on heavy rotation with me is the Ben Hope series. It all began with The Alchemist’s Secret and as usual I’d heartily recommend you read them in order. Ben Hope is a troubled character and his story progresses and unfurls with each installment. He’s an ex-SAS major who initially branches out as a “crisis consultant” helping out where the forces of law and order can’t or won’t…
This isn’t the best in the series, far from it, but it’s an enjoyable romp taking in pirates, diamonds and the high seas. It’s a lot more graphically violent than its predecessors and a lot less believable. The series has a lot of “no way would that happen!” moments, but this sees them coming thick and fast. And, it’s the first of a two part story, another new occurrence in the series. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, well written and with plenty of cliffhangers, but I just found it a little too far fetched, even for this genre.
A call for help is received when a fantastical prize is fought over by utterly ruthless parties. Part two , The Devil’s Kingdom is in my to read pile, but I needed a break after the non-stop, action packed tale. Hopefully it’s tied up in the usual way that Mariani has with his tales.
The Ben Hope books are earmarked to become a film or television series and with number twenty due for release later in the year, now is the time to get a head start and get your impression of Ben Hope in your mind before the rest of the country.