The Killer In The Choir by Simon Brett – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

When Jude joins the Fethering community choir, she discovers that at least one of her fellow choristers is hiding a deadly secret.

Although she hadn’t known Leonard Mallett very well, nor liked him particularly, Carole Seddon feels duty bound to attend her fellow committee member’s funeral. As she suspected, the hymns, readings and sermon are all very predictable – not unlike Leonard himself. What she couldn’t have predicted was that the deceased’s daughter would use the occasion to publicly accuse her stepmother of murder. 

Did Heather Mallett really kill her husband, as many Fethering residents believe? Deciding to get to the heart of the matter, Carole’s neighbour Jude joins the new community choir – and discovers that amidst the clashing egos and petty resentments lurk some decidedly false notes. At least one chorister would appear to be hiding a deadly secret – and it’s up to Carole and Jude to unearth the truth.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This was the first book I have read in this series but I had no problems getting to know the characters. Cosy crime and village life, its just like Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple. Where life is ruled by gossip and not always revealing the truth. If your neighbour didn’t know everything about you they were invent something and convince everybody that it was the truth.

Carole and Jude, the two amateur sleuths were like chalk and cheese. Carole was reclusive, tetchy and judgemental. Jude was more tolerant, likeable and approachable. How their friendship worked was slightly baffling but they did seem fairly close. Especially over a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.

Like many cosy crime novels you couldn’t take it seriously, but its part of the attraction. Total escapism. I had a lot of fun trying to work out who the murderer was. I will dip into this series again.

Simon Brett is one of the authors who will be appearing at First Monday Crome on Monday 2nd December. Details can be found at https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/

Many Rivers To Cross by Peter Robinson – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

A skinny young boy is found dead – his body carelessly stuffed into wheelie bin.

Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called to investigate. Who is the boy, and where did he come from? Was he discarded as rubbish, or left as a warning to someone? He looks Middle Eastern, but no one on the East Side Estate has seen him before.

As the local press seize upon an illegal immigrant angle, and the national media the story of another stabbing, the police are called to investigate a less newsworthy death: a middle-aged heroin addict found dead of an overdose in another estate, scheduled for redevelopment.

Banks finds the threads of each case seem to be connected to the other, and to the dark side of organised crime in Eastvale. Does another thread link to his friend Zelda, who is facing her own dark side? 

The truth may be more complex – or much simpler – than it seems . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Pigeonhole. Many Rivers To Cross is the latest novel in the Inspector Banks series. I found it slightly different to the previous books. Banks seemed to feature less with more focus on Gerry and Annie. When he does appear though, you still see his love of music and fine wine. My thoughts about his character though are changing with each novel. Maybe because of the TV series but also because his increasing loneliness makes him more vulnerable and a little needy with the women he knows.

There is also more focus on modern day news than in previous books. Politics, particularly Brexit, human trafficking, drugs and racism. All of which is seen daily in the news. One of these topics in particular, is covered more than the others and its heartbreaking and unfortunately very real.

One of the more interesting parts of the novel was Zelda’s story. She was a character I really liked. What she went through before her arrival in the UK was horrific and I can see her appearing in a few novels in the future.

This series has the potential to be successful for years to come. I can see it changing, some characters appearing more as Banks gets closer to retirement age but there are still plenty of stories there.

Peter Robinson will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 7th October .

On My Life by Angela Clarke – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it… 
A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist! 

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was lucky enough to read a short sampler of this book at last years Theakston’s Crime Festival and knew that this would be a book I would enjoy. 

It was one that made me feel tense when I was reading it, not because of the crime which Jenna had been accused of, but because of what she faced in prison. The pack mentality was terrifying and very believable.

You read  briefly about what happened in the past but most of the novel takes place in the prison. Jenna is increasingly isolated. She doesn’t want people to know what she has been accused of, understandably, there are  prison officers she is wary of and most of all there is Gould. 

It is all believable, how cut backs and lack of money have created staffing problems to the extent that there is a risk to life. The overcrowding, fear, hatred, anger, the inmates who everybody finds intimidating, and also the handful of friends who try to stick together. 

I have read all of Angela’s novels and this is my favourite by a long way. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 

Angela will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 3rd June with Tim Weaver, Doug Johnstone and  Peter Hanigton.  Details can be found https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/

First Monday Crime – May – It’s a Tuesday.

Every month, when I get the email from the First Monday team I want to attend the event. This event, next week, which takes place on the first Tuesday instead of the Monday because of the bank holiday looks great. Maybe one day I will make it.

The authors taking part are:

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. 

Chris Carter

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years, during which I interviewed and worked on over one hundred cases involving serial killers, murderers and serious offenders, before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

Deborah O’Connor

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Vanda Symon

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has hit number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

The panel is being moderated by:

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson is the author of thirteen acclaimed psychological crime novels. Two of her novels have been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and the first novel in her historical series, Stratton’s War, won the Ellis Peters Award. She is the Guardian’s crime fiction reviewer, and a member of Killer Women.

May 7th, 20196:30pm College Building, Room A130City University London Come join us for a 'killer' panel, starring bestselling authors Mark Billingham, Chris Carter, Deborah O'Connor and Vanda Symon. ATTENTION: Because of the Bank Holiday, this event will take place on TUESDAY 7th May

Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly – Review – First Monday.

 

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Erin Kelly will be one of the authors who are appearing at First Monday Crime in December. This event always looks interesting,  sadly something I will probably never be able to go to with the distance involved but for those who can the details are
https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/december-panelists

About The Book

You can’t keep the secret.
You can’t tell the truth.
You can’t escape the past…

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home, her family, her boyfriend Jesse and the body they buried.

Now, forced to return, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built; the husband and daughter who must never know. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy…

But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.

Moving back through time to reveal twists you’ll never see coming, STONE MOTHERS is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of HE SAID/SHE SAID.

My Review

When I started Stone Mothers I wasn’t sure what to expect. Erin Kelly always manages to give the reader something different. What I got was a novel based around an asylum in Suffolk. It was one of those books that could have been set anywhere. The old asylums/hospitals were in many towns and their closures would have had the same impact that the closure of Nazareth had on the local community.
It takes a while to get to the horror of what happened in the asylum. The novel was one I struggled to put down at times but this part I was incapable of tearing myself away. Even the name is enough to send shivers down your spine. More so, because I had strong feelings that much of it was based on the truth. This is hard reading, it makes your blood go cold but it’s mesmerising. It’s something that I will be thinking about for some time.And, when you think about it, it’s not that long ago that people were treated this way.
It’s only a small part, other parts renew your trust in family and loved ones. It shows you not to be critical without knowing all the facts. Like I did, I admit that I was quick to pass judgement on certain characters and acts committed.
There is something that should stop me having a book from 2019 in my top ten books from 2018 but it’s hard to miss this one out. It is a book I need to buy for family members, because they told me tales from what they saw from working in a hospital that used to be an asylum.
I can not recommend this book enough. It’s a fantastic story but there is also so much to learn from it.