The Killing Kind

imageThe Killing Kind was one of those unusual novels where I liked the killer. Mike is a killer, but is unusual in that he kills the contract killers who are paid to kill those who have crossed the people who have power. He is supposed to be dead and if another contract killer gets his way he soon will be.
Told by three very different viewpoints, that of Mike, Engelmann, the contract killer who has been hired to stop him and Charlie who works for the FBI. I did like Mike, he was very loyal to the people he cared about, mainly Lester his only friend and Evie the love of his life who along with many thought that he was dead. He doesn’t always like the victims he decides to help but if they agree to pay what he wants, he does what he needs to do with great precision.
He is being tracked by Engelmann who is a quite nasty, charming but lethal individual. There is nothing good to be said about him. Cold, ruthless and calculating but probably the most convincing out of all of them.
The FBI came across as slightly inept. Charlie, the lead, had guessed what was occurring but with her team were incapable of stopping it.
I did enjoy reading the novel, even though it was much more violent than I’m used to and at times I did feel like I was reading a movie script. It was easy to read though and I like the style of writing. I would be interested in reading the previous novels by Chris Holm.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy received.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches

imageThe Girl Who Wouldn’t Die was one of the many books that I’ve had on my kindle for a while and when I noticed that the second had been released I settled down to read.
George is a student at Cambridge University who is on placement in Amsterdam. When a student is murdered she is approached by Inspector van den Bergen to help identify the killer. When more murders are committed she realises how much danger the people she cares about and herself are in.
I enjoyed this novel very much. Amsterdam is somewhere I have always wanted to visit so it was interesting to read about the city itself. George is very likeable although she does have her faults. Very independent, a bit touchy and also a touch OCD but when you get to know about her past and her relationship with her mother you can understand why she is that way.
I also liked the Inspector, who delighted in frustrating his superior, and Ad although I did find him a bit self indulgent. I totally loathed Vin Fennemans . I won’t say why but it doesn’t take long for him to make a very unfavourable impression.
A fairly quick read, gruesome at times but a very good introduction to George and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better. I received my copy from netgalley so thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy received.
Since reading I have downloaded the first two and pre ordered the third in the series.

Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt

imageI knew that Devastation Road was always going to be a difficult book to read, but after reading the Dynamite Room and seeing a lot of glowing reviews I decided to go ahead and try and put aside any emotional thoughts.
It takes place in Czechoslovakia just at the end of the war. Owen wakes up in a field. His clothes don’t fit him and he has no recollection of why he is there or what year it is. He starts walking, trying not to be affected by the tragedy that he sees along the way. Over the course of his journey he is joined by Janek, a Czech teenager and Irena a young Polish Jew who has a baby. They meet many others on their journey. All who are hoping to get somewhere, anywhere where they can attempt to rebuild their lives.
As the journey progresses more is revealed about Owen, Janek and Irena and why they are in the situation that they are in. Janek, at times has a lot of anger and loses his temper often. Much of this is isn’t in English. Some you can work out but some you can’t, but this is what it would have been like for Owen and it worked well staying untranslated.
The last third of the novel was the most upsetting. Tales that were told by characters who were essential but only minor were very moving.
Devastation Road is easily one of the best books I have read, it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2015.

My Grandfather was a prisoner of war in XXb which was in Marienburg in Prussia. One of the last entries in his diary that he kept says
On March into Germany 10-1-45 to 26-4-45. Just one of many hundreds of refugees walking across Europe at this time.

Stirred With Love by Marcie Steele from @bookouture

Romantic Comedy is not a style of book that I would usually read but I am familiar with the author’s other novels (writing as Mel Sherratt) and love them. Plus I also needed a break from my usual choice of crime fiction.
I was not disappointed. It was very enjoyable reading about Lily, Kate and Chloe. Three different generations of independent women and their determination to open the coffee shop and make it successful. All three had experienced a loss or uncertainty over the future and all three helped each other deal with it. One of the reasons I liked it so much was the relationship between the three. They had their disagreements like everybody does but they were resolved. It’s very much a feel good novel, and even though I did cry a couple of times it was lovely, light hearted easy read and I am looking forward very much to reading the next Marcie Steele. And I would LOVE to visit the coffee shop!
With thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley.image

The Widow by Fiona Barton

imageThe Widow by Fiona Barton is being published as the book to watch in 2016. I received my copy as a limited edition proof (number 22/100) at this years crime festival in Harrogate. Even though it won’t be published for a few months yet I decided to read it early, before any opinion I had was influenced by hype.
It is a good book but one that I did struggle with at times. The narrative switches between different people. That of the widow I did like reading although at times I felt she was older than the age she was said to be. There was also the police officer who failed in the investigation and refused to let go. And then there was the journalist. It was this part of the novel that I struggled with. I found it draining to read and unfortunately it was a fairly large part of the novel. The husband and Bella’s mother also have their turn but not to any huge degree.
It is clever and I’ve not really read anything like it before. Most crime books I have read focus on the police rather than that of a relative of a suspect. Sadly it is the image of the press that I am left with.