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The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 10th Bernie Gunther novel from Phillip Kerr. Bernie Gunther is a former Berlin detective who gets sidelined during the Nazi regime in Germany. He is a man who more often than not treads his own path usually comes at personal cost. What makes the Phillip Kerr novels so interesting is the blend of fact and fiction. Bernie Gunther is woven in and around real events from the Nazi era. The earlier novels were set firmly in the pre-war and during the war. However, the hero Bernie Gunther has slowly aged across the series. The evolution of the series now has Bernie Gunther living in a post WWII world where he inevitably encounters people from his past.
In this volume Bernie’s mind is cast back in time whilst in the cinema watching a famous actress. In an imaginative plot Joseph Goebbels features as a tormentor of Bernie. The atrocities that were committed in what us modern Croatia by the notorious Ustaše militia. Throughout this there is time for a wartime romance which is the subject of his reflection. Buried in all of this is a detective novel all very satisfying.
I am an unashamed fan of Phillip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels. The is one more that I am aware of and possibly another in the pipeline.

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Jack of Spies by David Downing

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Jack of Spies (Jack McColl, #1)Jack of Spies by David Downing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to confess to being a David Downing fan I have read all the ‘Station’ novels and enjoyed the attention to historical detail. In some ways Jack of Spies featuring Jack McColl as our hero follows the ‘Station’ series. Set amongst the turmoil and political machinations that in train prior to World War One.
Our hero Jack McColl is working semi officially for British intelligence. The story touches on British – German relations prior to WW1 and has hour hero cruising across the Pacific from China to the US. He is ostensibly a car salesman selling an expensive English vehicle and shipping the demonstration vehicle from town to town. This allows him movement and a comfortable life.

There is an intriguing link to Irish nationalism and unionism in the US. His love interest also cuts across his world of espionage and Irish independence. A life complicated by love.

I enjoyed this read and found the blend of historical fact and fiction engaging and realistic.
When I was reading this I was hoping that there would be more and I am pleased to have discovered there are in fact 2 more books already published.

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The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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The Marco Effect (Department Q #5)The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed The Marco Effect great holiday reading. I have been reading the department Q novels in sequence. This is the 5th in the series and is a well-crafted with the addition of the usual convoluted plot. The Marco effect begins in Africa with a sudden death and before we know it there are senior Danish bureaucrats sweating at their desks.
The focus then switches to beggars on the streets of the Danish capital Copenhagen. What is described is a sophisticated gang of beggars controlled by ruthless family members.
Eventually our hero Carl Mørck comes into the picture. His team which consist Assad and Rose are a quirky bunch. The troubles of the team relate back to the previous volume but are explained enough if you haven’t read any previous instalments of Department Q. Mørck continues to battle with his superiors.
All in all another satisfying instalment of Department Q. Perhaps it would be better if I could read The Marco Effect in its native Danish.

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SWAG Elmore Leonard

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SwagSwag by Elmore Leonard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quick and easy read a great caper. Two men meet one with a foolproof idea to get rich quick the other brought along with the promises of riches. They live by a set of predetermined rules which are meant to make them smarter than other criminals.

The lifestyle that they quickly become accustomed to is what becomes their undoing. Really easy to read and fast paced perfect holiday reading A short sharp review.

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The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q, #4)

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The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q, #4)The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Purity of Vengeance is the fourth in Juri Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series. Like its predecessors darkness abounds . As with other novels the plot is twisted and has its origins as you would expect with a cold case team. This time touching on the rise of minor parties with extreme views and steeped in eugenics. I have come to quite enjoy this series and I am pleased that there are more to come. I have already started the next in the series.
Carl Mörck and his motley crew are in the thick of it again. Carl fighting accusations from his past fending off his ex-wife and the confused state of is his domestic arrangements. Then there is Assad his mysterious assistant who despite no apparent police training has skills and connections. However he does dodge anything to do with his personal life. Last but not least there is the bombastic Rose who rounds out the team. Her personality is always a test for Carl.
The Purity of Vengeance really does draw on the cruelty of the past. A time when the state was only too happy for troubled young women to be dealt with behind the walls of institutions or as in this case the walls are a stretch of water. I would Imagine that most “western” countries did similar things to those of low intelligence , mentally ill or with behavioral disturbance. The vulnerability of these young women is very well portrayed in Purity of Vengeance.
The unravelling of one woman’s life is amazing and a fantastic read five stars from me. I can’t give the plot away you’ll just have to read it yourself. There are films based on these novels but I have held off watching them until I’m way ahead with the novels.

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Redemption (Department Q, #3) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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Redemption (Department Q, #3)Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my third Department Q novel and so far the best in the series. I am trying to read them in order. I am really enjoying the series by Jussi Adler-Olsen.The title in Danish that loosely translates as a note in a bottle from P, which sets the scene for the story. This is another cold case story that is not on the files at Department Q. A convoluted and at time disconnected story involving groups that are separate from mainstream society and therefore isolated.
There is the usual antagonism between Carl Mørck and his right hand man Assad. Then there is the ongoing tensions with Rose the admin person and a replacement called Yrsa. There are all the usual antagonisms with the upper echelons with Mørck and Assad.
The case itself involves a man who has more layers and alibis than can be imagined. His dual life is extraordinary as are his methods, which he employs. It is difficult to write about the story without straying into the plot.  Victims picked to inflict the most terrible pain on their parents.Suffice it to say fans of the Nordic style will be pleased.

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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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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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