Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Dead Lions Synopsis
London’s Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted any more. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle-not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there — even if it means having to collaborate with one another.
Now the slow horses have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. The despicable, irascible Jackson Lamb is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade’s circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?
I was an unabashed fan of the British TV series Spooks and will admit to having enjoyed an episode or two of the slightly less cool but charming TV series New Tricks. Add to that my penchant for satire and humour on the darker side, and it seems Mick Herron’s latest novel Dead Lions was made for me.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Dead Lions by Mick Herron is set for release on 7 May 2013 from Soho Press.
This is Herron’s seventh novel, and the second of his titles to feature the ‘slow horses’ in London’s Slough House, a place where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers.
“The Spooks’ Zoo was Berlin, back when the cages had just been unlocked, and frightened thugs were pouring from the woodwork like beetles from an upturned log. At least twice a day, some sweating would-be asset was at the door claiming to have the crown jewels in a cardboard suitcase: defence details, missile capability, toxic secrets — and yet, for all the flurry of activity, the writing was on the newly dismantled Wall: everyone’s past had been blown away, but so had Dickie Bow’s future.”
I was a huge fan of the British TV series Spooks and I love a good spy novel.
Find out more about this book, Dead Lions by Mick Herron ( Amazon | Booktopia | Kobobooks )
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
The Start of Everything Synopsis
In this stunning psychological thriller for readers of Tana French, Kate Atkinson, and Donna Tartt, Emily Winslow has crafted a literary prism told through the eyes of her many intricately drawn characters. Masterly and mesmerizing, “The Start of Everything” will captivate until the very last page.
“If you don’t want to see me again, say so. But it’s not right to say nothing. It’s not right to go silent. You know what to do.”
Cambridge, England: Outside the city, the badly decomposed body of a teenage girl has washed up in the flooded fens. Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene, must work quickly to identify the victim before the press takes off with the salacious story. Across the hallowed paths and storied squares of Cambridge University, the detectives follow scant clues toward the identity of the dead girl. Eventually, their search leads them to Deeping House, an imposing country manor where, over the course of one Christmas holiday, three families, two nannies, and one young writer were snowed in together. Chloe Frohmann begins to unravel a tangled web of passions and secrets, of long-buried crimes and freshly committed horrors. But in order to reveal the truth–about misaddressed letters, a devastating affair, and a murdered teenager — she may have to betray her partner. (The Book Depository)
Emily Winslow opens The Start of Everything through the eyes of an intriguing character, a young woman named Mathilde Oliver. It quickly becomes apparent that Mathilde has some form of autism, given her hypersensitivity to the people and objects around her. This viewpoint is utterly captivating and before you realise it, this book becomes impossible to put down.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
The Amber Amulet Synopsis
Please find enclosed this AMBER AMULET. That must sound unusual to a citizen, but you will have to trust me on this count because the science is too detailed for me to outline here. All you need to know is that the AMBER AMULET will eliminate your unhappiness by counteracting it with POSITIVE ENERGY. This should see you straight. Fear not, you’re in safe hands now.
The Masked Avenger
Meet twelve-year-old Liam McKenzie, who patrols his suburban neighbourhood as the Masked Avenger – a superhero with powers so potent not even he can fully comprehend their extent.
Along with his sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle, he protects the people of Franklin Street from chaos, mayhem, evil and low tyre pressure – but can he save them from sadness?
This perfect jewel of a book by the award-winning author of the 2009 Book of the Year Jasper Jones will hold all readers in its irresistible power. (Booktopia)
At only 96 pages, and only 65 minutes in the audio format I consumed it in, The Amber Amulet is the most recent literary offering from talented Aussie author Craig Silvey. Although told from a child’s perspective, the mature vocabulary and the humour and poignancy of a child’s observations will be best appreciated by an adult audience.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Harlequin’s Costume Synopsis
The year is 1871. Prince von Ahrensburg, Austria’s military attaché to St. Petersburg, has been killed in his own bed. The murder threatens diplomatic consequences for Russia so dire that they could alter the course of history. Leading the investigation into the high-ranking diplomat’s death is Chief Inspector Ivan Putilin, but the Tsar has also called in the notorious Third Department – the much-feared secret police – on the suspicion that the murder is politically motivated. As the clues accumulate, the list of suspects grows longer; there are even rumors of a werewolf at large in the capital. Suspicion falls on the diplomat’s lover and her cuckolded husband, as well as Russian, Polish and Italian revolutionaries, not to mention Turkish spies. True to his maxim that “coincidence and passion are the real conspirators,” Putilin seeks answers inside the diplomatic circus as well, which leads him to struggles with criminals and with the secret police itself. When the mystery is solved, the only person who saw it coming was Putilin.
Harlequin’s Costume is the first volume in a series whose main character is based on the real-life Ivan Putilin, the Tsar’s Chief of Police in St. Petersburg from 1866 to 1892. The entire trilogy, Chief Inspector Putilin, appeared as a mini-series on Russian television in 2007.
Brilliantly translated by Marian Schwartz, Harlequin’s Costume is now for the first time being published in English.
BOOK REVIEW by Tony Ziemek
Successful detective fiction creates a landscape (often an unfamiliar one) into which the reader is drawn and allowed to wander a little. The landscape is often strewn with incidental (or are they?), atmospheric details inviting our gaze, as we hunt for clues alongside the central character. Harlequin’s Costume exquisitely recreates 19th Century St Petersburg and is rich in such details.
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore Synopsis
A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life — mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone — and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra.
The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day. (Amazon)
Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore reminds me of a cult movie classic combo – Hackers meets The Goonies – with a helping of Gen Y style thrown in.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
The Art of Leaving Synopsis
Leaving has always come naturally to Eva Elliott. The daughter of a pilot, she spent her childhood leaving schools and cities. Now an adult, she enjoys the thrill of saying goodbye much more than the butterflies of a first smile or kiss. There’s so much more potential in walking away, and Eva has always had a dangerously vivid imagination.
During a rainy summer in Soho, when a golden eagle escapes London Zoo to prowl the city and a beguiling stranger begins appearing around town armed with a conspiratorial smile and a secret, Eva discovers that endings just aren’t as easy as they used to be. Is it a flirtation playing out amongst the crumbling offices, clubs and alleys of Soho, or something much darker? The line blurs in this haunting story about saying goodbye… (Booktopia)
The Art of Leaving by Anna Stothard, is an enigmatic novel. Its beautiful prose clearly comes from a mind with a deep and genuine appreciation for the individuality of people and places – someone who sees additional detail and merit in the seemingly mundane. Despite this, the overall mood of this story is one of intense melancholy and detachment.