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review 2015-12-20 00:07
Bryant & May and the Burning Man by Christopher Fowler
Bryant and May and the Burning Man - Christopher Fowler

 

As a scandal rocks the banks of London, and the streets erupt as divergent groups of protesters descend upon the City, a killer strikes, wielding fire in a vengeful plot that will end in flames on Guy Fawkes Night.
The 12th installment of the Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit series, featuring the most enigmatic and entertaining duo in mystery, keeps the bar Fowler raised in book one high, balancing the duos signature old school, sometimes off the beaten path style of detection with a mystery that is "ripped from the headlines" contemporary....and no less off the beaten path.

Highly recommended, along with the entire series.

This was an eARC from NetGalley

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text 2015-12-12 20:26
Reading progress update: I've read 66%.
London's Glory: The Lost Cases of Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit - Christopher Fowler

I don't know of this is me feeling a bit low tonight or the book, but despite loving the humor doesn't the short stories really excite me that much. The last one I read was quite long and frankly quite boring. I will do at least one story till tonight to see if that one will, at last, spark some interest in me. 

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review 2015-11-17 06:10
Bryant & May and the Secret Santa by Christopher Fowler
Bryant & May and the Secret Santa: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Story - Christopher Fowler

I've been curious about the Bryant and May series for a while now and when I saw this short story on NetGalley was it a perfect opportunity to get a small glimpse into Bryant and May's world. Bryant & May and the Secret Santa is a very short story about a child getting scared after visiting Santa at a store. And, fleeing from the store across the street is he run over and dies. Bryant and May are called to the store to find out what scared the boy. 

 

I found the story enjoyable and despite being so short it manage to tell its story very well. I found Bryant and May to be interesting characters and I'm curious about them and I'm thinking about reading the books to get to know them better. I was for some reason expecting a historical crime and was a bit surprised when I realized that the Bryant and May series is taking place in present time. There is just something about the covers to the books that make me think the setting would be perhaps the 50s. That really shows how little I knew about this series. I have to remedy that. 

 

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2015-09-11 20:20
The PCU battles fire, murder, anarchy, corruption–––and time
Bryant and May and the Burning Man - Christopher Fowler

The Peculiar Crimes Unit’s decrepit offices are located in the City of London, that ancient square mile that was home to London’s original settlement and is now jammed full of the skyscrapers housing the metropolis’s financial institutions.

 

Hardly anybody lives in the square mile anymore, which makes the P in PCU seem like it should stand for Precarious at times.  The PCU has very little in the way of modern technology; nothing like the kind of assets that would allow it to combat the financial crimes that are headquartered in the square mile.

 

But as this twelfth book in the series begins, a case arises that is right up the PCU’s alley.  Financial shenanigans in the banking world have led to increasingly large and violent protests in the City.  One bank is firebombed, killing a homeless man dossed down under cardboard boxes in its entryway.

 

The PCU suspects this was murder, not accident, and their conviction is cemented when there are more murders; seemingly unconnected killings, executed in bizarre ways reminiscent of punishments common in more ancient times.  As each day passes, demonstrations against the bankers and other presumed-to-be-corrupt wealthy people escalate.  Arthur Bryant suspects that the mystery killer will take advantage of the upcoming Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day to pull off even more spectacular murders.

 

As always, the PCU gets no support––or even respect––from other police units.  This time, their particular nemesis is Darren “Missing” Link, who hamstrings them, ostensibly to prevent their interference with an ongoing fraud investigation.  Like everybody else, all Link sees in the PCU is a ragtag bunch of misfits, led by the spectacularly untidy and decidedly eccentric old man, Bryant.  Like the rest of the force, he just doesn’t understand that Bryant’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history of London is what will make all the difference in the investigation.

 

Each member of the PCU faces a crossroads in this book, which gives it a bittersweet, elegiac feel.  After 12 books, the PCU members are like old friends.  I hope to see them again, but if not, I wish them well and thank Christopher Fowler for letting us know them.

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review 2015-04-06 08:00
Review: The Burning Man (Bryant & May #12) by Christopher Fowler
Bryant and May and the Burning Man - Christopher Fowler

Publication Date: 26th March 2015

 

Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

 

ISBN: 978-0857522047

 

Source: Publisher copy via NetGalley

 

Rating: 3*

 

Synopsis:

London is under siege. A banking scandal has filled the city with violent protests, and as the anger in the streets detonates, a young homeless man burns to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police.

But all is not as it seems; an opportunistic killer is using the chaos to exact revenge, but his intended victims are so mysteriously chosen that the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to find a way of stopping him.

Using their network of eccentric contacts, elderly detectives Arthur Bryant and John May hunt down a murderer who adopts incendiary methods of execution. But they soon find their investigation taking an apocalyptic turn as the case comes to involve the history of mob rule, corruption, rebellion, punishment and the legend of Guy Fawkes.

At the same time, several members of the PCU team reach dramatic turning points in their lives - but the most personal tragedy is yet to come, for as the race to bring down a cunning killer reaches its climax, Arthur Bryant faces his own devastating day of reckoning.

‘I always said we’d go out with a hell of a bang,’ warns Bryant.

 

Review:

Special thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.

 

This is the first crime novel I've read to feature duo Bryant & May and my first read by this author. I think being unfamiliar with the characters and the style of writing impeded my opinion of this novel. It opens with a memo-style letter and an account of a meeting, both seemed rather a cold and abrupt start, which put me of straight away. There was no gentle introduction to the characters or case, so perhaps I'd have perceived this novel better if I'd previously read other Bryant & May books.

 

I liked the humour of the characters, which was described very well and have a lighter feeling to a disturbing case.

 

My 3* reading is purely my opinion and should not hamper your decision to read this, or any other, B&M novel or anything else written by the author.

 

About the author:

 

Christopher Fowler

 

Christopher Fowler was born in Greenwich, London. He is the multi award-winning author of many novels and short story collections, and the author of the Bryant & May mysteries. His first bestseller was 'Roofworld'. Subsequent novels include 'Spanky', 'Disturbia', 'Psychoville' and 'Calabash'. He spent 25 years working in the film industry.

His collection 'Red Gloves', 25 new stories of unease, marked his first 25 years of writing. His memoir 'Paperboy' won the Green Carnation Award, and was followed by a 2nd volume, 'Film Freak'. Other new novels include the dark comedy-thriller 'Plastic' and the haunted house chiller 'Nyctophobia'.

He has written comedy and drama for BBC radio, including Radio One's first broadcast drama in 2005. He has a weekly column called 'Invisible Ink' in the Independent on Sunday. His graphic novel for DC Comics was the critically acclaimed 'Menz Insana'. His short story 'The Master Builder' became a feature film entitled 'Through The Eyes Of A Killer', starring Tippi Hedren and Marg Helgenberger. Among his awards are the Edge Hill prize 2008 for 'Old Devil Moon', and the Last Laugh prize 2009 for 'The Victoria Vanishes'.

Christopher has achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing a terrible Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, writing a stage show, posing as the villain in a Batman graphic novel, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror, and standing in for James Bond.

His short stories have appeared in Best British Mysteries, The Time Out Book Of London Short Stories, The Best Of Dark Terrors, London Noir, Neon Lit, Cinema Macabre, the Mammoth Book of Horror and many others. After living in the USA and France he is now married and lives in London's King's Cross and Barcelona.

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