Two stories are intertwined. First, there’s the story of FBI Agents Roarke, Singh and Epps as they are sent to investigate threats against ‘fraternity’ boys in Santa Barbara. This rich student world was alien to me – full of privileged boys from wealthy families. The boys seem destined for high positions in commerce and government and they feel they can get away with anything during their student days – ie. drugs, rape, wild parties, gang rape etc. The local police are struggling with political hierarchies and all the boys have ‘friends in high places’.
Anyway, cue Roarke and his team – who’ve been called in to find out about threats made against the boys by a cyber-group called ‘Bitch’. Bitch want rapes to be prosecuted. They want the rich boys to pay for their crimes.
The second thread of the story involves Cara Lindstrom who is hiding out in the desert. There’s a price on her head and a group of men are out to hunt her down. I’m not up on all the backstory, but it seems Agent Roarke has fallen in love with serial killer Cara.
Agent Singh (woman) feels great sympathies with Bitch, and her loyalties are going to be tested. Agents Roarke and Epps will have their loyalties tested in other ways.
There is a great deal of bloodshed and throats are cut. The big question is - Are these deaths due to Cara? Or is there a copycat killer? Or is it Bitch?
Cara is under threat and Roarke and his team will find their priorities turned around. Professional principles will vie with personal for all of the FBI team.
This is a great story and well written. I loved the characters and felt engrossed in the plot. Even better, I got the feeling this wasn’t the strongest of the series. This was my first book by Sokoloff and I look forward to going back and catching up on the others.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. This is my honest review.
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My sister came to visit and I took her to lunch at my favourite Creperie in downtown Montpellier. She had a classic savoury crepe with ham, cheese and egg, traditionally from the north of France - yum
This isn't a new series but it is new to me. The main character is Cork O'Connor, a sacked sheriff with Native American and Irish heritage. In this book, he must solve a series of murders threatening to bring out old hostilities.
The author has been recommended to me many times by my American book loving friends and I can see why.
The story has great atmosphere - ice, snow, the winter closing in and the killings piling up.
There is really nothing to fault. I particularly enjoyed our introduction to Cork and his memories of the incident between the town residents and the residents on the reservation. Cork's handling of this incident brought about his downfall as sheriff. We get a great picture of how events made him who he is and how each side views him with suspicion.
There's a nice blending of Native American folklore in this story. In fact, it forms a backbone. The Native American characters are nicely drawn and I especially liked old Mr Melroux, who seemed to me a wonderful mix of old traditions and insight. The 'Windigo' is also a novel concept to me and I liked how this played on Cork's mind all the way from the time he was fourteen years old and went hunting in the woods...
A complex murder mystery with small town politics, big ambitions and the honesty and treachery of ordinary people thrown into the mix. There's something special in how the author blends the landscape with the emotions of his characters. The suspense and tension crank up, as the killer, hiding in plain sight, makes his final moves.
To give you an idea how much I enjoyed it - I shall be reading Cork O'Connor #2 as my Christmas holiday season treat.
Thanks for a great review, Ali!
"This is a slow burn novel that slowly ramps up.
Easy to read chapters that entice you to keep going. I liked all three main characters (Kal, Marty, Sophie)... and wanted the best outcome for them all.
There is a great psychological thread throughout which fascinated me, the mental illness aspect is written fabulously...
I really enjoyed London Noir"
You can find Ali's full book review for LONDON NOIR here
London Noir gets a big thumbs up from JenMed's Book Reviews.
London Noir is getting great reviews. Here's one from book blogger and expert Kate Noble. Thanks so much, Kate!
"Can you remember a book you read last August? I can, it was Good Girl Bad Girl. This was the prequel to London Noir..."
"I want to avoid speaking about the plot too much, the usual fear of spoilers and giving anything too juicy away but I will say that this book features one of the most chilling serial killers I’ve read about in a long time. Girdharry paints a stunning picture of a killer who can charm and beguile, is clever but also..."
You can find Kate's full review here.
Thanks so much Kate, for your lovely comments!
GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL has hit the top spot on Amazon USA - Crime Fiction #1, #2 and #3.
(and #4 in the UK)
#9 Discover Authors of Colour
This collection of essays has highlights that are cutting, provocative and highly entertaining. For those essays, I rate them a five.
These come mostly at the beginning and the end of the book where Gay is talking about her own hobbies and interests and we have an insider-view on how she thinks and how she sees the world.
I found her thinking refreshing, and in some ways it was a relief to hear a woman speaking these thoughts that are so rarely expressed in modern media.
Gay encompasses wide themes in her essays - for instance: race, racism, classism, gender discrimination, privilege, rape culture and feminism. Theses themes are all blended together and Gay was unique for me in being able to do that. I found her thoughts insightful.
There is a large section in the middle of the book where Gay picks out pop culture American television series and American movies. She spends a lot of time critiquing these and I found my interest waning. That's because I've never seen these series. Though Gay writes humorously, the wit was lost on me because I couldn't relate it to the characters and episodes she was describing.
Overall, I'd say the book is worth reading to catch Gay's thoughts and enjoy her wit.
I laughed out loud at her observations of scrabble tournaments and her opponents at these contests. She is daringly honest and anyone who can make scrabble outrageously funny certainly has talent.
When I was reading the book, I often felt I was listening to a stand-up comedienne, who was using humour to better make her points.
Gay is an author I'd like to read more of. I think she would be particularly good at live events/videos.
#5 Best New Crime Suspense Thrillers - Book Review
This is my second Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster book. (yes, you’re right, I haven’t read them in order at all!)
This one is fast, chilling and excellently written.
The hub of the story involves two killers.
We learn how they meet and how their relationship goes downhill. We learn about their obsessions, the pact they make together and the dynamics between them. It’s all complicated and gruesome/noir.
Max is a deranged killer. Nina is hopelessly in love with him and will do all she can to keep him, even to the point of… (well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!)
Then we have the police procedural side. Erika Foster spends large amounts of time battling her police bosses and fighting cut-backs in budgets.
She is let-down by colleagues and feels lonely and middle-aged. I felt genuinely sorry for her.
There didn’t seem to be much light on the horizon for Erika except her sister and her nephew and niece whom she visits in Slovakia during her recuperation.
The passages around Erika and her boss, Marsh, were particularly sad because he is trying to get back with his wife and Erika has no one.
There is also a heart-breaking passage where Erika is recovering in hospital and she has a memory of the child she decided not to have. For me, that passage showed the author’s real strength as a writer.
The plot is addictive.
I have to say, when I finished it, I wasn’t sure that I actually enjoyed the story. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, it really is. I think it’s simply that the killing duo were so ruthless and somehow depressing, and that, combined with Erika’s struggles made it a gritty read.
As I said, it’s fast, chilling and excellently written.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with a copy. This is my honest review.
#6 Discover Authors of Colour #BookReview
I’d heard varying views on this book and wanted to find out for myself.
Coates writes three long letters to his son. They come across as an out-spilling of the author’s own journey as a black man in America and his quest for understanding of the emotions, violence and policies that have come his way.
The book gives us Coates’ honest thoughts on many important issues – on race, racism, poverty, deprivation, privilege and its abuse, police brutality. He documents his own personal experiences. He tells us of the experience of his friends and family.
Above all, Coates is a student of life (he was taught to find his own truths by his mother). He is an observer and someone who wishes to plunge the depths.
He wishes that more progress had been made so that the advice he could give to his son would be more positive - that the issues he struggled with growing up would be less present today. That is not the case. There is little light on the horizon, not none at all, just very little. There has been very little progress.
Coates explains the pervasive fear he has always experienced for his own body – that at any moment his life could be taken on the streets. When his son was born he felt the same terror for his own child.
He discovered the beauty of black heritage, so absent in the media and schools. This was a discovery he made at Howard University, where the diverse black fraternity was alive with debate and dynamism and talent.
He became a reporter and said, “…the softness that once made me a target now compelled people to trust me with their stories…”. I liked that line a lot.
He tells us “…for 250 years black people were born into chains…”
“…transfigured our very bodies into sugar, tobacco, cotton, and gold” – the founding wealth of America
“…the truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear….”
I resonated with much of what Coates had to say. It’s a timely piece, sobering and brutally honest.
Coates himself says that he has struggled with expressing love and softness to his son (my words) because he has been too terrorized by his own inability to secure the safety of his son on the streets, such that, every moment of life, he is fearful of loss and tragedy. This was the powerful lesson I took away from this book.
The flip side, in terms of the writing, is that I had expected more warmth and a more personal nature to the letters. As I was reading, I felt the author was speaking directly to the reader. This was not negative, in fact it was powerful, but it was not the expectation raised by the book blurb.
In terms of presentation, I have to say that I think the publisher would have been better to split the three letters into smaller sections, to give the reader time to breathe. Do not let this put you off!
As I said, a timely piece, sobering and brutally honest.
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