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review 2017-09-13 22:54
Giveaway – Detective Madison Knight Series by Carolyn Arnold @Carolyn_Arnold @GoddessFish
In the Line of Duty (Detective Madison Knight) - Carolyn Arnold

 

Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA  /  Goodreads

 

Because In The Line of Duty is front and center, I chose to review it first, but I do plan on continuing with the rest of the series.

 

MY REVIEW

 

In The Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold may not be the action packed, in your face suspense and danger that I love so much, but I do enjoy learning about the step by step procedures of a murder investigation, especially when it is one of their own…and the impact it has on the characters personal lives.

 

Carolyn Arnold has done her research, including the impact the media has on an investigation. I, too, think they dwell too much on the bad, never telling the whole story.

 

Madison is a detective with the Stiles Police Department and Troy, her boyfriend, is a member of their SWAT team. Their relationship takes a direct hit. Both of them were friends of the murdered officer, but Troy had grown up with him, been his best man and was the godfather of his children.

 

Troy’s nickname for Madison is Bulldog. She is tenacious, aggressive and determined, sometimes forgetting to eat and sleep. She’s like the energizer bunny, she doesn’t stop. Just the type of person you would want working your case, if you had one.

 

It takes a real knack to figure out who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, getting the information they need from uncooperative suspects and witnesses and Madison is like a dog with a bone, her mind putting the puzzle together, piece by piece.

 

I think their situation could actually be a benefit to their relationship if they could let the old baggage go, knock down some walls, and use the knowledge of the nature of the beast, their work, to overcome some of the bumps in the road sure to come their way.

 

Imagine if you were the other half and not a police officer…their late nights, not knowing where they are and what they are doing, and the danger, never knowing if the car they pull over will have a criminal that will blow them away rather than be taken.

 

I became invested in the characters, even the most peripheral, because they all had their place in the story. Some were good, some were bad, but they all have a ring of truth to them. The police kept their cool, when they could have gunned down the suspects and got away with it. The bad guys did what bad guys do, lie and muddle the investigation.

 

I do like some humor with my danger and Carolyn Arnold supplied it. Madison and her partner Terry are quite a team and I look forward to more adventures with them

 

In The Line Of Duty by Carolyn Arnold rings of truth and realism, the slow and steady investigation into the murder of one of their own. I loved following each thread of the mystery, unraveling it a strand at a time, veering this way and that, eliminating one thread only to find another.

 

I only figured it out right before she told and I LOVE IT! Carolyn Arnold had to break it down for me. That is so rare, that I can only bow down and say I’m not worthy.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of In The Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Enter the giveaway here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/giveaway-detective-madison-knight-series-by-carolyn-arnold-carolyn_arnold-goddessfish
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review 2017-09-01 14:46
great read
TERMINUS: A thrilling police procedural set in Scotland - Pete Brassett

The fifth book in the series and no less tension and suspense than the others. The detectives have a new case that involves a strange figure from Norway. Can the police finger this man before he commits further grave crimes?

Exciting and in parts funny. One to keep.

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review 2017-07-19 23:01
Recommended to those who enjoy action novels, spy novels, thrillers, and definitely to Baldacci fans.
Zero Day - David Baldacci

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher, MacMillan, for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

David Baldacci is one of these authors whose names a reader (and even a non-reader) cannot escape. His books are widely distributed and he always seems to have a volume or two in the bestsellers list (no, not the Amazon one on a little-known genre, but the real thing). Despite all that (or perhaps because of it, as sometimes some names seem so familiar that I feel as if I had already read/watched or whatever it is they do, them before) I had never read any of his books. I saw that coinciding with a book launch, NetGalley was offering a copy of the first book in the John Puller series, and I decided perhaps it was time I read him. (I don’t have any specific opinions on best sellers as such and I don’t necessarily avoid them as a matter of principle but I do prefer to discover them early on, so I can make my own mind up).

The story, narrated in the third person, mostly follows John Puller, a military investigator that is all you probably would wish for in such a character. He has complex family relations (including a genius brother imprisoned for life for treason), he has seen his share of combat and has the medals and the scars to prove them, he is as skilled at fighting as he is at investigating, and although usually he works as part of a team, he can be a one-man-band when required (as is the case here).  There are some moments (like the first chapter) when we follow other characters, but this is for a very good reason, and we, by and far, experience the events from Puller’s perspective. Of course, that does not mean we know everything he knows, because the book hides information at times and that means there are some surprises (the number of surprises might depend on how close your attention and on how many books of the genre you have read).  The story is a combination of a spy story with highly skilled military investigator/hero in charge, and a more standard police procedural, with big secrets, conspiracies, and environmental issues thrown in for good measure. There are hints of a possible romance, but nobody is up to the task, and the time frame is very tight for such developments.

The investigation is very detailed, and we get to know quite a few of the characters in the small West Virginian town of Drake, a coal mining place that has become almost a ghost town due to the environmental and economic consequences of the exploitation and depletion of its resources by the sole industry in the area. Baldacci shares as much loving detail on the way the coal industry works (or at least some far-from-exemplary companies), as he does on everything else: the way the military works, the different roles of the investigating and security agencies and how they interact, the equipment used, the weaponry… This might be too much for some readers, but I am sure it will make others very happy. I did enjoy more the discussions of the environmental issues and the socio-economic effects of the coal-extracting industry than the details about the equipment, but there is plenty of action and intrigue to keep readers of mystery, and also spy novels, entertained.

My favourite character is Sam Cole, the female police officer in charge of the investigation. She has problems of her own and also a difficult relationship with her family, and seems the perfect match for Puller. I would probably have preferred the novel to be about her, but that is not the genre or the focus of it. In many ways, her character is the one that makes us see Puller as something more than a perfect fighting and investigating machine, all professional, and efficient. Yes, he has a cat, some sort of relationships with his father, and an interesting dynamic with his brother, but she is the only person who is not a relative he seems to relate to at a level beyond the casual, and it is not only because it is helpful to his mission.  

I agree with comments that the novel is formulaic in many ways (Puller survives several attempts on his life, has to subvert orders and get inventive to save the day and manages to pull an incredible feat at the end), although as I haven’t read other Baldacci’s books, I cannot comment on how much better or worse Puller is compared to some of his other heroes (Reacher is mentioned often in the reviews, sometimes agreeing he’s as good, others denying it). I imagine once you have such a following as an author, you know what your public wants and expects, so it is perhaps disingenuous to accuse him of writing to a formula. It is not a genre I read often, and I prefer something more distinctive, less heroic, and with a bit of humour.

The book is well paced, the writing supports the story rather than calling attention to itself (as I said, some readers might find there is too much detail, but I doubt his fans will, and after reading the acknowledgements, it is clear that he is well-informed and has had access to first-hand information not many would have), and if you like lone heroes with a conscience, John Puller makes a pretty decent one. Recommended to those who enjoy action novels, spy novels, thrillers, and definitely to Baldacci fans. I am not sure I’d say I’ve become one of them, but I might try another one of his stories at some point.

 

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review 2017-07-09 19:57
good story and characters
Hidden, The: A British police procedural set in the 1970s (Monika Panitowski Mystery) - Sally Spencer

Chief Constable Ronald Pickering was going to the Backend Woods area. He was only acting as the Chief Constable until George Baxter let go of the position. He was perpetually auditioning for the job he was already doing. So every new crisis was a test and it was more than possible losing one of his Senior Officers might be regarded as careless. A roadblock had been set up about a half a mile from the gate leading in. Beyond the roadblock there was evidence of a serious criminal investigation already underway. There were patrol cars, an ambulance, and a Land Rover which belonged to Dr. Shastri - the police surgeon already there. So it was probable that Monika Paniatowski was still there- Pickering’s Senior Officer. What had Monika been doing there and where were her kids? But the kids were accounted for. Monika was still breathing but was in a coma so she couldn’t say anything as she had brutally attacked. Pickering asked if all the people leaving had been questioned Beresford said they were taking names and addresses as they didn’t have the manpower to question everyone leaving. Pickering said when DCI Dixon got there Beresford and the other officers there were to leave and Beresford felt it would be better if he stayed  but he was told that that the decision had already been made but then Beresford said he and two others would resign and do their own investigation so Pickering decided to reassign three of the officers to DCI Dixon’s team.. Beresford and the other officers said Monika had been their boss. DCI Dixon was known for getting results. Monika could hear everything and knew who her attacker was and that her daughter was in the killer’s sights but being in a coma she couldn’t say a word or do anything about the knowledge she had. Beresford, Meadows, and Crane didn’t agree with Dixon and his team. There seems to be a sinister cult operating in Whitebridge but the police need to uncover this cult. Nearby where Monika had been found the body of a teenage female was also found. Monika wonders what her team and family would do as they always came to her for advice.

This was a well written story that definitely kept my my attention. I really liked this and it had a good plot and pace. This cult was definitely evil. I liked that the officers under Monika were willing to do whatever they had to do as long as they found the person/people who attacked their boss even resign and ruin their career if that’s what it took. It was frustrating that all the information Monika had and could not give. All and all a good read and I recommend.

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review 2017-04-30 20:29
Against the Paw by Diane Kelly
Against the Paw - Diane Kelly

This was an impulse buy. I saw it at the grocery store and was immediately drawn in by the dog on the cover. Even though I knew it wasn’t the first book in the series, it sounded like something a newbie should be able to jump into fairly easily.

Against the Paw is set in Fort Worth, Texas and stars police officer Megan Luz. Megan used to be partnered with Derek Mackey until he made one crude and sexist comment too many and she tased him. Megan was assigned a K-9 partner named Brigit, and Derek’s job was saved by his friendship with the chief of police. In this entry in the series, Megan and Brigit are investigating reports of a peeping tom at Berkeley Place. There’s a possibility these incidents may be connected to Ralph Hurley, a parolee who recently cut off his ankle monitor.

My latest Booklikes-opoly game roll asked that I read something tagged as a “cozy mystery” on Goodreads or elsewhere. Soon after I started reading, I double-checked that this was indeed marketed as a cozy mystery (Amazon lists it as such), because it had a few features that made me skeptical.

The big one was that one of the book’s three POVs was the peeping tom. I couldn’t recall if I’d ever read a cozy mystery that included the villain’s POV, and I found it to be an unpleasant surprise here (there are things I’m okay with in other mysteries or thrillers that I don’t particularly expect or want in cozy mysteries). Thankfully, for the most part it wasn’t quite as bad as I feared. The peeping tom’s efforts often went awry in some way. Unfortunately, there were a few more distasteful scenes later in the book - for example, one in which the peeping tom spied on a hijabi and got off on seeing her brush her hair, and one in which the peeping tom spied on a woman having sex.

The book’s other two POVs were Megan (first person POV) and Brigit (third person POV). The Brigit POV parts tended to be on the cutesy side but were usually too brief to be annoying, only a page or two long. They were kind of pointless, though. There were only a couple times when Brigit’s POV contributed a little extra information, and it was never anything that wasn’t covered by another POV later in the book. I suppose Brigit’s POV added a bit of extra humor to the book, but I only really laughed at one part.

Megan’s POV wasn’t bad, but she had some blind spots that bugged me. Some examples:

“Anyone who’d served his or her country couldn’t be all bad, right?” (95)

“[Derek Mackey] and Garrett Hawke were cut from the same cloth. Arrogant. Unreasonable. Uncompromising. Still, they worked to protect others. I had to give them that, even if I thought their reasons were less about concern for others and more about basking in hero worship.” (136)

Megan seemed to be prone to the belief that cops and soldiers were unlikely (or less likely?) to be bad people, even if she had evidence to the contrary. Sure, Derek Mackey was a disgusting sexist pig who apparently couldn’t go more than a few minutes without saying something horrible, but hey, he was also a brave cop. Personally, I couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of how Derek probably handled rape victims (female or male) or, hell, female victims in general.

I did really like the partnership between Megan and Brigit, and the parts that dealt with Megan’s efforts to understand what Brigit was telling her were really interesting. There were a couple times when Brigit correctly identified the peeping tom and Megan misinterpreted her actions, but Megan did eventually catch on.

The characters were okay. In addition to Megan and Brigit, there was Seth, Megan’s boyfriend (still working through some personal issues involving his mother), and Frankie, Megan’s friend and roommate. I could tell I’d missed out on some relationship info by starting this series with the fifth book, but the author provided enough background that I didn’t feel lost.

I don’t feel particularly inclined to hunt down the rest of the series, but this was an okay read overall.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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