Time of Death by Mark Billingham

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Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)Time of Death by Mark Billingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another cruise read and starting at the end of the series because that what was on offer. I was vaguely aware of the Inspector Thorne TV series starring David Morrissey but had never read any of the books by Mark Billingham. Time of Death was very enjoyable and convoluted enough to keep me turning the pages.
Tom Thorne and his girlfriend Helen Weeks also a police officer are on a short holiday’ Whilst away they see a new story about an abducted girl in the village where Helen grew up. After seeing the mother of the abducted girl Helen Weeks is moved to go to the village to support her. Reluctantly Tom agrees to go along  thus ending their holiday.
The story set in the village is almost claustrophobic, police all over the place and the intrusive tabloid press. This along with Helen Weeks trying reconnect with the village that she left a long time ago.
I won’t focus on the crime itself for that you will need to read Time of Death for yourself. I did enjoy the read and may never have looked at if I hadn’t been on holiday.

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The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must confess that it was the title of this book that attracted me the in the first place “The Keeper of Lost Causes”. This is the first in a series by  Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen about a fictional cold case department called Department Q. . Readers of this blog will know that Scandinavian crime fiction is my favourite.
The Keeper of Lost Causes focuses on Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck. He he’s been sidelined  from homicide after a case that went horribly wrong for him and his colleagues. Carl Mørck is irascible and difficult to get along with as we have come to expect from fictional detectives. The new gig is to run the newly created Department Q for cold cases. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead and that it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.
The interactions between Carl Mørck and the other member of Department Q provides some humorous relief to the tense story. I’m looking forward to the next instalments because if the first is anything to go by it will be a great series.

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Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

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Rain Dogs (Detective Sean Duffy, #5)Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a new series to me DCI Sean Duffy in Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty. This is the fourth or fifth installment in the series. I started writing this in the middle of the Pacific whist on a cruise. At home I have this and discovered that this is the 5th in the series by Adrian McKinty. The backdrop to the story is the troubles in Ireland the time 1980s. Central to the story is the death of a young reporter is seemingly impossible circumstances. She is found inside a locked castle with the only other person inside being the caretaker is it murder or suicide.
Aside from the ever present reminders of “the troubles” with references to the IRA and a the protestants there is a contemporary reference. There is a link to the modern operation Yewtree involving pedophiles and the most infamous of all Jimmy Saville. His inclusion is quite bizarre but the novel does touch on historical sex crimes.
I found Rain Dogs  fast paced and a very enjoyable read. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The book is peppered with lots of great one liners which breaks up some of the tension between characters. I will be tracking down the previous installments.

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Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indriðason

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Into Oblivion (Inspector Erlendur)Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indriðason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second inspector Erlendur novel and as far as I can see this completes my reading of this series having started with the third book in the series. Well that is what I thought but after reading Crime Lovers guide to Inspector Erlendur this novel and its predecessor are in fact prequels. The article implies that the author Erlendur Indridason decided to revisit his character Erlendur and explore his beginnings. I can say that have been very pleased about this the previous installment Reykjavik Nights felt like I was back in the saddle.
Oblivion doesn’t disappoint either a body discovered in a lake  frequented by people taking advantage of a lake for therapeutic reasons. The investigation proceeds slowly as they  become stalled by American military personnel. What becomes apparent is the Icelandic people’s dislike of the American presence and the discord that it causes. There are many references to local food and material shortages. This is all compounded by an illicit trade in cigarettes alcohol and illicit drugs.
As is the method of Erlendur novels there is a cold missing persons case that he investigates in his spare time. The unravelling of the missing persons has parallels to the contemporary investigation. In this novel contemporary is 1970’s Iceland.
Of note is Erlendur’s relationship with his boss. Erlendur is conservative and from the country and he likes traditional food boiled sheep heads and fermented shark. That is not for the faint hearted .
I won’t spoil the outcome but I enjoyed this novel. There is according to Crime Lovers another novel written in 2011 that is being translated into English, here is hoping.

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Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

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Children of the RevolutionChildren of the Revolution by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is first DCI Banks novel that I have read. I quite like the TV show but usually try to avoid the books if I have seen the show. I’m on a cruise so beggars can’t be choosers and the ship’s the ship’s library well it’s really a trolley. I took a chance and read it in a day or so. Stephen Tomkinson voice was firmly in my head as I’m reading the yarn he stars in the TV version.
The trouble with books and TV shows and films for that matter is how the stories diverge. I suspect this is to simplify the story or more easily explain a character. Case in point DCI Banks TV version has a very difficult relationship with his father which in many ways shapes his character. DCI Banks book version seems at ease with his parents and his anguish is mostly located within which a book can explore more easily. Anyway enough moaning I did like Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson which had elements of the British class struggles one law for the rich and so on.
The origins of the story go way back traversing through the troubled times of Britain in 1970s. It starts as a curious suicide in a small village emerges as a tragic tale of murder and greed. Sandwiched in amongst all of this a glimpse of romance for the lonely DCI Banks. The dead man is something for recluse and hardly known to the locals. The team start unravelling his life and it leads back in time to the turbulent 1970’s and to the upper echelons of the local elite.
Might be tempted to chance some more of DCI Banks book version. Although this was number 21 in the DCI Banks series it was quite readable as a standalone novel. I do think having seen the TV series provided me with an entrée to the novel.

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Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík by Arnaldur Indriðason

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Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík (Inspector Erlendur, #1)Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík by Arnaldur Indriðason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reykjavik Nights is the first of the Inspector Erlendur series by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason. The story lays the foundation for what is to come in subsequent stories. A young Erlendur is still on the beat and as the name of the story implies he’s working the night shift. Along with his fellow officers they are dealing with fights, drunks ,homeless people and thieves.
Erlendur’s fascination with missing persons drives him to look over cases where there is no resolution and person is not found. His obsession with the missing is almost at the core of his being and once on the case he is unshakeable. This obsessive nature sets him apart from his colleagues and makes personal relationships difficult.
Reykjavik Nights focusses on the apparent suicide of a homelessness man. Erlendur’s pursuit of the circumstances of his death and the reasons for his homelessness uncovers a tragic life. This is an interesting exploration of the plight of homeless people and how their life has evolved or perhaps devolved.
Having read most of the subsequent Inspector Erlendur novels and this is a fine beginning.

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Sail of Stone by Åke Edwardson (Eric Winter #6)

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Sail of Stone (Inspector Winter, #6)Sail of Stone by Åke Edwardson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Eric Winter story is set across Sweden and Scotland. Involving Eric Winters long time English collaborator. The origins of the lie in the past and hark back to the dark days of World War 2. An interesting take on wartime activities.

Not sure if I enjoyed this as much as the others in the series. I could see the ultimate end from quite a distance which hasn’t always been the case with the Eric Winter series.

However on the bright side there are more in the series. I have written this sometime after I finished reading the book. I finished in July 2015 and it is now the end October. I have managed to read the 7th in the series one since then.

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The Twelfth Department by William Ryan (Captain Korolev)

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The Twelfth Department (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #3)The Twelfth Department by William Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third Captain Korolev series by William Ryan. This continues the series but could be read as a standalone novel.. There is enough background explained so that a reader new to the series so you don’t have to read them is order. I have read all in order and enjoyed all three enormously. I have a fascination for the interwar period in Europe. All the plots including the current volume are engaging with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.

What really stands out is the way  creates a sense of the paranoid state of 1930’s Moscow. Who do you trust? This theme pervades the narrative. I really feel that the author had captured the atmosphere of those times.

Our hero Captain Korolev is a determined character whose flaw is having a strong moral compass in a world where political dogma is everything. For fans of the inter war period this will be an enjoyable read.

I look forward to the return of Captain Korolev.

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Room No. 10 by Åke Edwardson (Eric Winter)

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Room No. 10 (Inspector Winter, #7)Room No. 10 by Åke Edwardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Inspector Eric Winter by Åke Edwardson Room No 10 is the seventh installment in this series. As far as I can see there are at least another 5 to come. Unfortunately at the time of writing  no more titles in the Eric Winter series are available in English.

Again another great yarn that weaves its way across time. Providing a reflection on he careers of Eric Winter and his colleagues.  The tale is as much about the relationship between the investigators as it is about the crime. It has elements of a cold case and a current investigation.

This particular installment was slow to start and had I not read the previous installments I may have stopped. Then I would have missed out on what turned out on a great whodunit.

If only the rest of the Inspector Winter mysteries would appear in English because I’m too impatient to learn Swedish.

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Frozen Tracks by Åke Edwardson (Inspector Winter #5)

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Frozen Tracks (Inspector Winter, #5)Frozen Tracks by Åke Edwardson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This felt like the longest of the series so far. I don’t mean that as negative. The story has many angles which are cleverly resolved as the book goes along. The story is set against the backdrop of the Christmas season. The sting is the now familiar city of Gothenburg. This time around the author Åke Edwardson has explored the ongoing characters more. As with any workplace where people are working together there are entwined relationships which bring their own tensions.

I am not sure how the title Frozen Tracks link to the story other than perhaps the season in which it is set. No murders this time around but rather some situations that would put most on edge. Inspector Winter is as always the consummate workaholic with a strong touch of insomnia.

He or should I say his team do crack the case but tensions are fraught as there are competing demands. The end was for my part satisfying and I enjoyed the read. I am reluctant to describe the plot in any detail as this may spoil the enjoyment that others would get from the book.

As I write I have already started the next one Sail of Stone. It is good discovering an author and being able to read several in the series and not be waiting for the next one.

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