Book Review: Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

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I came across Caroline Mitchell’s writing when I picked up her first book, ‘Don’t Turn Around’, which I absolutely loved, so when I saw this book on Netgalley, I had to request it.

Detective Jennifer Knight is on the trail of a serial killer who calls himself Raven. Raven is no run-of-the-mill serial killer, he is guided by dark forces, a tarot card reader and there is a method in his madness which is spine chilling. Jennifer is not just a detective, she has some special psychic powers herself. As the investigation progresses, Jennifer knows that Raven has a target and it is her. Jen has to use all of her powers to protect herself and her family.

The second in the Jennifer Knight series, this book does not disapppoint. Another un-put-downable book from Caroline Mitchell. The author keeps the narrative fast and full of suspense. To be honest, I kind of figured it out towards the end, but even that did not detract from the book. A thriller, through and through.

I’m not a big fan of paranomal themed books, however, Caroline weaves in the paranormal element so well, that I love them. She builds up the atmosphere of the unknown, the terror and the ruthlessness so very well, I almost don’t want the book to end, even though I’m desperate to know how it all turns out. I have also enjoyed the characters. Jen in particluar is a protagonist, who I end up rootimg for. I know for a fact that I will be looking forward to picking up the next in the series.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Caroline Mitchell is the author of Amazon best selling true story ‘Paranormal Intruder’, and her recent debut crime novel ‘Don’t Turn Around’.

Originally from Ireland, she now lives with her husband, four children and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.

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Book Review: A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

This is the first year that I’ve not successfully completed the Review Challenge. Given the roller coaster that this year has been, I’ve got to say that I don’t even care. Life takes over, priorities change, hearts are broken, mended, silver linings glimmer in the distance.. and you know that things might never be the same but… But different might not be the end of the world either.

And picking up my virtual pen to review one of those 20 odd books which are screaming for a review might just be the way back to my new normalcy.

The Banquet of Consequences ( Inspector Lynley #19) by Elizabeth George.

I’ve been reading Elizabeth George for about 11 years. It was in 2004 that I read her for the first time and it had me hooked. I can’t remember which one it was but I fell in love with Barbara Havers, the quirky, policewoman. Although these were called Inspector Lynley series, it was all about Barbara for me. So when I saw this book on Netgalley, I had to request it.

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Barbara Havers is under a cloud. She’s not the favourite person of her boss, Isabelle Ardery, at the moment. It could be argued that she never had been, but this time she had gone just too far. She knows that she has to lie low and do everything to get in the good books of Ardery, even if it means changing the way she dresses. The new docile Havers is a sight which her colleagues and friends find tough to stomach. And when a murder happens, Barbara wants to grab the opportunity to throw herself into the work she does best.

Clare Abbott, a well known feminist author is found dead in her hotel room. It was considered a heart attack until investigations revealed that she was actually poisoned. Havers, having run into Abbott a few days ago, is intrigued. Abbott had a rather bossy assistant, Caroline Goldacre. There is something not quite right about Clare and Caroline’s relationship and Havers has her job cut out for her.

An murder mystery, with a selection of characters, some charming, some normal, some totally dysfunctional, George, weaves an interesting story. I’ve always liked the flavour that George imparts to her stories, and she doesn’t disappoint in this one either. Some elements of the book felt forced, I would have been happy to have less of Lynley and more of the colourful Dorothea. 

As a book, I’d recommend it to old fans of the series. It might not work so well as a standalone book if one doesn’t know the background, especially Lynley’s. I think I have missed the last two books in the series, but from what I gather from reviews, I haven’t missed much. So if you are new to the series, I would recommend that you start from the beginning. 

My rating : 3.5/5

About the Author

Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels, featuring her character Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. She was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was eighteen months old. She was a student of English, receiving a teaching certificate. While teaching English in the public school system, she completed an advanced degree in psychology. Her first published novel was A Great Deliverance in 1988, featuring Thomas Lynley, Lord Asherton, a Scotland Yard inspector of noble birth; Barbara Havers, Lynley’s assistant, from a very working-class background; Lady Helen Clyde, Lynley’s girlfriend and later wife, of noble birth as well; and Lynley’s friends Simon and Deborah St. James. 

Book Review: Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell

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DC Jennifer Knight had been investigating a routine stabbing in Haven, a quiet, relatively crime free town, when she gets what sounds like a personal message from the grave, referencing her dead mother, Elizabeth.

Unable to understand what to make of this, Jennifer continues her normal routine when more killings take place. Jennifer knows, instinctively that there is more than meets the eye. Her own premonitions tell her to dig further. She soon discovers that there is indeed a link. The spate of murders mirrored those of the notorious serial killer who called himself ‘The Grim Reaper’. Her mother Elizabeth had been part of the team which convicted him, and now it looked as if a copycat Grim Reaper was back. Jennifer knew in her bones that it was more than a copycat, this was someone who had a connection to her.

The author does a brilliant job, setting the atmosphere. I felt Jennifer’s terror. I found myself wondering if I could hear footsteps in a house where I knew everyone else was asleep. A book that gripped me completely. The character are brought to life beautifully. Jennifer’s troubled, neglected childhood, her relationship with her sister, Amy, her memories of her mother. Frank’s childhood which scarred him for life, little aspects have been explored and well thought out. The characters felt real. I could empathise with what Jennifer was going through. The author has also brought out beautifully how some things are so different from what we perceive from our row of seats in life. For years, Jennifer has an understanding of her mother which was quite different from reality. The extents to which people go, for various reasons, some because of their sick minds, some because they will do everything to save their loved ones. The book, for a paranormal crime thriller, it was so much more than just a thriller, which is the reason I enjoyed this book so much.

One of those books, whose blurb I hadn’t read in quite as much detail as I should have. However, I have to say, I’m glad that it didn’t disappoint me at all. If anything, it made the book even better for me. A book I would recommend, but if you are wary of paranormal books, then be warned, this one has plenty of it. Having said that, in normal circumstances, I’m not too fond of paranormal books, but this book was one I would recommend. First in the series, I’m quite looking forward to reading the next one, when it comes along.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy of this book.

So, have you read this already? How did you find it?

About the Author
Caroline Mitchell is the author of Amazon best selling true story ‘Paranormal Intruder’, and her recent debut crime novel ‘Don’t Turn Around’.
Originally from Ireland, she now lives with her husband, four children and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).

Book Review: The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

I came across this book on Cleo’s blog. Her review intrigued me enough to get hold of this book.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the review copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. image

A box addressed to Captain Edgar Stephens is found in the Left luggage section of the Brighton Railway Station. It contained a body of a girl cut in three, reminiscent in an extremely gruesome way of a magic trick Edgar had once known.

Edgar had been part of a secret mission during the War called the ‘Magic Men’, one of whom, Max Mephisto was the creator of this trick. Edgar was still in touch with his old friend Max, who had gone back to his life in the show business. All his efforts to involve Max to help solve the case falls in deaf ears, as Max didn’t want to get entangled in the world of uniforms, until Max discovers the identity of the girl who died.

Another murder follows and it becomes very clear that the murders are definitely connected to the Magic Men, and Edgar and Max have very little time to find out who is behind this. The plot gets more and more intriguing as the mystery deepens, murders pile up and we follow Edgar and Max into their past, to the time when the Magic Men were active. The time when they had been tasked to trick the Germans into believing that the Allies had more resources and better protected than they actually were, using illusions and magic. All the Magic Men had to be tracked down if they had to get to the bottom of the case.

We follow Edgar and Max as they track down their motley crew of show men and army folk who came together in a secret mission. The most unlikely of people to be part of a team, but which of them were the reason for these murders, if not actually responsible for them?

An interesting murder mystery, an old fashioned one, set in 1950s, with lots of reference to the War times, it was a charming read, which can’t often be said of a murder mystery. The characters were so well drafted. You can’t help love Edgar Stephens. Max, the world-weary, hardened magician was charming in his own way. Each of the characters had depth and nuances that added to the story.

A fast-paced read, with the final unexpected twist that takes you by surprise. I haven’t read Griffiths before, and this was a really good introduction to her writing. I haven’t read this genre in a while and was fun to revisit. I am now tempted to check out other books by the author.

The author meant this book to be a tribute to her grandfather, and I have to say, it is a great one. She has brought out the flavour of those times so beautifully, you can’t help be transported to the post war Britain.

A 4/5 read for me. A book I would definitely recommend.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).

Book Review: The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall

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Vish Puri, the famous detective of India’s ‘Most Private Investigator’ hasn’t been having a good time. His ongoing investigations haven’t been met with any success. To add to it, his biggest rival, Hari Kumar, seems to be doing rather well, indeed, if his clothes and style were any sort of indicator. Puri is about to set off on a holiday or rather a pilgrimage with his family, to Jammu, to visit the famous Vaishnu Devi Shrine. Unlike most people, Puri hates going on holiday, or taking a break, but is finding it tough to wriggle out of this one. Even his secretary is determined to send him on a break.

Ram and Tulsi a love-crossed couple. Their families are dead against their union because they are both from different castes. Ram is a Dalit, and Tulsi’s high caste father would rather see him killed than married to his daughter. One day before they were supposed to get married, Ram disappears and it fell to the Love Commandos to trace him down. Love Commandos are a group of people in India, who help couples who are ostracized and threatened by society for falling in love with someone from a different caste. They help couples get married, and even change names in some cases when their safety be compromised. It is a dangerous thing to do, falling in love, when it could result in death.

Ram and Tulsi had approached the Love Commandos for help. When Ram mysteriously disappears, Laxmi, the Love Commando who was protecting Ram and Tulsi, knew she had only way to go. Vish Puri. Laxmi was also known as ‘Facecream’, a trusted aide of Vish Puri.

Puri had been unaware of Facecream moonlighting as a love commando, and her involvement came as a surprise to him. Moreover, he has his own reservations about young people falling in love and chipping away at ‘family values’, but he still agrees to help Facecream out, after all, a mystery is a mystery. And of course, this meant that he could wriggle out of his family trip as well! Puri sets out on the trail, and comes across all sorts of obstacles including his arch rival, Hari Kumar being on the case too. Now, he has to work doubly hard to solve the mystery before Hari does. The case turns out to be far more complex than he thought, but he gets there in the end, of course.

It’s a delightfully book, although that’s not something one would say, of crime fiction, but that’s what this book is – delightful! But Puri’s antics and idiosyncracies, make it such a fun read. He fondness of food, as usual, figures prominently in the narrative. Although I have to say, I start craving for samosas or Frankies, whatever it is that he is having. I love the way the author writes. You can vividly picture the lanes of India, flavour of the setting, the people, especially Puri’s wonderfully resourceful Mummyji.

About the Author
About the Author
Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has lived and worked throughout South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is the author of The Case of the Missing Servant, dozens of articles, and three works of non-fiction, including the highly acclaimed Salaam Brick Lane, an account of a year spent above a Bangladeshi sweat shop in London’s notorious East End.

This book is available from Amazon(UK) and Flipkart(India).

Book Review: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken by Tarquin Hall

This book was recommended by Smita and Pixie, and luckily for me, I found it in my library, that very day! That never ever happens to me!

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I picked it up only to realize that it was the third of a series, but that didn’t retract in any way from the book, I have to say.

Vish Puri is the famous detective, who has been solving mysteries while gobbling up delicacies of all sorts. He is extremely fond of food, butter chicken is one of his favourites, and he tucks in, albeit surreptitiously to avoid his wife when he chances upon a mysterious meeting with two individuals, one of whom ends up dead on the floor as soon as he eats the butter chicken, Puri had just enjoyed. The dead man is the famous Pakistani Cricketer Kamran Khan’s father.

Vish Puri ends up involved in the case, but of course! And eventually solves it with the help of his Mummyji, who despite her son’s pleas refuses to accept that detective work is not for mummies! It’s a fun journey with Vish Puri as he goes about his job, eating his way through situations. The author does an incredible job portraying India, it is as if we are there. His words transport you to the places, the alleyways and the journeys that protagonists embark on. It was all spot on. The mystery was well handled, and the suspense was maintained well.

So would I recommend it? It’s an interesting book, for sure. The story as well as the setting is well etched out. Keeps you engrossed, a complete page turner. I have to say that if I have to choose a favourite character, it would the feisty Mummyji! I absolutely love her! She was so much fun! If the other books feature her as well, I’m definitely picking them up. Some of the things that niggled at me was the use of Indian-English. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using the local language, but I felt that in some places, it felt forced, didn’t feel natural. As if the author was trying too hard. Either that or I’m out of touch with India. Might be the latter, if I’m honest.

I wasn’t too taken by the secondary plot of the missing moustaches. The book would have been just as great without it, in my opinion. But these are minor quibbles at most.

I would rate it a 3.5/5.

And before I forget, I found a non-fiction book by the same author which feels like something I would love to read! And what makes it doubly exciting is that I have gotten hold of it too! It’s just waiting to be read, as soon as I finish the one I’m currently on.

About the Author
Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has lived and worked throughout South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is the author of The Case of the Missing Servant, dozens of articles, and three works of non-fiction, including the highly acclaimed Salaam Brick Lane, an account of a year spent above a Bangladeshi sweat shop in London’s notorious East End.

This book is available from Amazon(UKand Flipkart(India).

Cut Like Wound by Anita Nair

I’ve always liked Anita Nair’s writings, and this book that has been on my wishlist for a while. I knew I just had to read it when I saw Wanderlustathome rate it highly on Goodreads.

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A young male prostitute is found murdered and burnt in one of the many alleys in Shivajinagar in Bangalore. The case lands on the desk of Inspector Gowda and his new subordinate, SI Santhosh. Gowda is distracted, with personal issues crowding him. Not the most social person even normally, Santhosh finds him even more grouchy and grumpy than he expected. As they start investigating, they realize the case is more complex than they thought initially, it has all the indications of being a serial murder. The only clue they have is the modus operandi and a solitary pearl earring that they found on one of the victims. They have to use all their investigative skills and intuition to solve the case, while fighting bureaucratic bosses along with clever criminals.

A page turner, it is a wonderful book. I especially like the flavour of Bangalore that comes through so strongly in the book. It was like Bangalore was another character in the book, genteel and sophisticated at times, seedy and shady at others. Anita Nair’s writing reminds me of Elizabeth George’s crime books. Complex crimes, beautifully interwoven snippets of local life, and complex characters, interesting, and different practices, it was a very interesting book to read. I had an inkling of who the murderer might be, and yet the ending was very impressive. A book that I enjoyed till the last page.

Since this book ‘introduced’ Inspector Gowda, I, for one, am looking forward to more of Inspector Gowda thrillers from the author.

I would definitely recommend this book.