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Search tags: Thrillers
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review 2020-04-13 09:11
Death in Delft - Graham Brack

The story is set in the beautiful city of Delft during the Golden Age of the Netherlands . Three eight year old girls are missing. One of them is found buried in a field just outside the city. The city council of Delft asks Master Mercurius of the University of Leiden to assist them in recovering the girls and solving this crime. Mercurius is a far from perfect character. For one thing ,he is a protestant minister and an ordained catholic priest which is not always an easy marriage in the 17th century low countries. But he is very likeable, intelligent and disarmingly naive. He also meets some very interesting people among which Johannes Vermeer,the painter,and Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek,the founder of modern microbiology. And there is the city of Delft in the background of course. You know with some books that as soon as you start reading them that they are going to be alright (or more than alright). Historical mystery fiction is not always a perfect blend between the different parts. Sometimes there is not enough historical data,sometimes there is just too much and the mystery story just disappears in a swamp (or in this case perhaps a canal) of titbits and not relevant facts. But here it really ticked off and all the boxes. The setting,in the dead of winter,was both enchanting and a bit eerie. Sometimes it felt as if I was walking through one of Vermeer's paintings. The slippery cobblestones,the dykes,the wind mills and the endless sky hovering over the frost covered fields. Perhaps one little remark,nothing to do with the quality of the story,but the frozen fields,icy sleet and biting wind makes this a perfect read for the winter.

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review 2020-04-02 11:09
Death on a Quiet Day - Michael Innes

David Henchman,a young undergraduate,several other young cubs and their tutor are participating in a reading party. In the morning they pore over texts and in the afternoon they climb hills and discover Dartmoor 's treasures. One morning David visits Knack Tor with its magnificent views. When he finally, after a stiff climb,arrives at the top he is not alone. A corpse awaits him there. He then calls for help and manages to attract the attention of a casual passerby. But this hiker seems to have an altogether different agenda. What follows is a wilde chase through heather ,moors,meadows and country lanes. When David finally finds himself in a more safe environment, Inspector Appleby enters the story... I've read novels by Michael Innes before and it always amounts to the same thing,sometimes the storyline is definitely worthwhile and sometimes it is all over the place. More than one third of the book consists of young David's adventures while being chased by the assailants. It feels as if it never going to end and when it finally does, we are confronted by spies and not very intelligent or successful ones. There is definitely a boy scout feeling about. Fine if you like it but it didn't really work for me.

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review 2020-04-02 05:52
Executive Orders re-read
Executive Orders - Tom Clancy

Given my current country of residence's complete incompetence and the news that my native land is trying to be the world leader in everything including incompetence, I needed to escape to a world where real problems are met and dealt with by leaders with integrity and the skills to think through issues rationally with a view towards the long-term.

 

In other words, a fantasy.

 

I have always been and will always be, an unapologetic fan of Clancy's works - the ones he wrote himself - so falling back into Jack Ryan's world was, if not a comfort, at least familiar and comfortable.  It's been 2 decades since I last read this, and it generally holds up perfectly.  The first half of the book is a bit overly idealistic, but what struck me about it is that Tom Clancy showed a startling degree of prescience not just in some of his major plot lines, but in his story arc.

 

Executive Orders is the story about a non-politician ending up as President of the United States, vowing to eject the political riff-raff out of Washington, and appointing business sector executives to the cabinet to get things done.

 

Sound familiar?  Of course, Jack Ryan wasn't a paranoid narcissist and he was highly educated and qualified regardless of his lack of political savvy.  He also had more integrity than your garden variety black widow spider.  But Clancy imagined the world we live in today twenty years ago, with startling accuracy, albeit in the most idealistic light.

 

His idealism extended to America's response (and only America because his plot extended no further) to the epidemic that grips the country in Executive Orders; his national lockdown works flawlessly; almost nobody ignores the mandate, there are no rushes on grocery stores, and there's no general panic.  Of course, I'd like to think that any country's population would react to an epidemic of ebola exponentially better than they're reacting (or not) to the corona pandemic, so maybe my faith in humanity hasn't been completely snuffed out.

 

Either way, it was good to revisit a world that works, even when everything is pear-shaped.

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review 2020-03-03 23:19
Creeping Beautiful Kindle Edition - 'JA Huss'

OMG ! What and intense and riveting read this was! " I was on the seat of my pants the entire time until the end." Omg ! I am still reeling for this book even after reading it.

Talk about complicated characters "well", this one was loaded with them as they were all mysterious and dangerous and all held mind blowing secrets.

I cannot explain how much I loved this story as it was complicated and intriguing and mysterious and one that you knew eventually would turn into one heck of a complex love triangle. There were parts unraveling throughout the story I did not see coming.All the characters simply amazing,The plot itself was a little unnerving but, drew you in from the very first pages so much so you could not put it down."The ending omg ! what a shocker and had there been another book I would have picked it up a dove right back in again and would have huddle under the covers in bed and not come out until that book was finished too."I can't wait to see what happens next.The story mind boggling at times it was a bit confusing but, when turned the pages and the story start unfolding the players all started making sense.

Final thoughts

"This is the best romantic suspense read for us so far for 2020! " "We didn't want the story to end!"

 

 

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review 2020-03-02 23:24
The House at Sea's End / Elly Griffiths
The House at Sea's End - Elly Griffiths

Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is back, this time investigating a gruesome World War II war crime.  Now the beloved forensic archeologist returns, called in to investigate when human bones surface on a remote Norfolk beach.  

 

Just back from maternity leave, Ruth is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and work. The presence of DCI Harry Nelson—the married father of her daughter, Kate—does not help. The bones turn out to be about seventy years old, which leads Nelson and Ruth to the war years, a desperate time on this stretch of coastland. Home Guard veteran Archie Whitcliffe reveals the existence of a secret that the old soldiers have vowed to protect with their lives. But then Archie is killed and a German journalist arrives, asking questions about Operation Lucifer, a plan to stop a German invasion, and a possible British war crime. What was Operation Lucifer? And who is prepared to kill to keep its secret?

 

This is an example of what I truly enjoy in a mystery series--the combination of the mystery in each book and the relationships between the main characters that carry on between the books. Griffiths is developing a number of the secondary characters too. I am particularly fond of the Cathbad, the druid, with his penchant for showing up unexpectedly but at just the right moment.

The main character, Ruth, is juggling an academic career and a baby and is finding the balancing act difficult. As an older mother and a woman who really didn’t ever spend any time in her life dreaming of weddings or babies, she feels out of step with the other mothers around her. And there are always people willing to judge without knowing the circumstances--just ask any mommy blogger! This is the reality that even married women with careers must face, that they will be judged for going back to work instead of devoting themselves to full-time motherhood. Frankly, I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than get relegated to domesticity, so I’m pretty sympathetic to Ruth’s situation.

Harry isn’t the guy that I would choose. He kind of isn’t the guy that Ruth would choose either, it just happened. But you know, I like him a lot better when I see him trying to bond with this baby! Maybe he’s not the complete jerk that I have been imagining for the first two books.

If you enjoy the setting for this series, I would also recommend A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows. It also takes place in the Norfolk area, with the same darkly looming environment. It’s protagonist, Domenic Jejune is also a specialist, just in birds not archaeology. If it’s the relationships that entice you, try In the Bleak Midwinter, the first book in Julia Spencer-Fleming’s The Rev. Claire Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. Like this series, Spencer-Fleming’s series keeps me reading to find out where Claire and Russ are headed.

I like all three series, so if we have similar reading tastes, I would encourage you to sample them all.

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