Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

#BookReview Transient Desires by Donna Leon @groveatlantic @PGCBooks #TransientDesires #CommissarioBrunettiSeries #DonnaLeon

#BookReview Transient Desires by Donna Leon @groveatlantic @PGCBooks #TransientDesires #CommissarioBrunettiSeries #DonnaLeon Title: Transient Desires

Author: Donna Leon

Series: Commissario Brunetti #30

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Mar. 9, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

In his many years as a commissario, Guido Brunetti has seen all manner of crime and known intuitively how to navigate the various pathways in his native city, Venice, to discover the person responsible. Now, in Transient Desires, the thirtieth novel in Donna Leon’s masterful series, he faces a heinous crime committed outside his jurisdiction. He is drawn in innocently enough: two young American women have been badly injured in a boating accident, joy riding in the Laguna with two young Italians. However, Brunetti’s curiosity is aroused by the behavior of the young men, who abandoned the victims after taking them to the hospital. If the injuries were the result of an accident, why did they want to avoid association with it?

As Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, investigate the incident, they discover that one of the young men works for a man rumored to be involved in more sinister nighttime activities in the Laguna. To get to the bottom of what proves to be a gut-wrenching case, Brunetti needs to enlist the help of both the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Costiera. Determining how much trust he and Griffoni can put in these unfamiliar colleagues adds to the difficulty of solving a peculiarly horrible crime whose perpetrators are technologically brilliant and ruthlessly organized.

Donna Leon’s Transient Desires is as powerful as any novel she has written, testing Brunetti to his limits and forcing him to listen very carefully for the truth.


Review:

Atmospheric, sinister, and engaging!

In this intriguing thirtieth instalment in the Commissario Brunetti series, Transient Desires, Leon has written a menacing tale that sees quirky Commissario Guido Brunetti immersed in an investigation that seems on the surface to involve two American women who have been beaten, abandoned, and left unconscious on the hospital docks, but which quickly turns into a much darker case involving human trafficking that will require the assistance of both the Carabinieri and Guardia Costiera to apprehend all those involved.

The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are steadfast, intuitive, and a little jaded. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel seamlessly into an entertaining tale of dangerous endeavours, criminal behaviour, deduction, lies, exploitation, and Venetian Life.

Overall, Transient Desires is not especially fast-paced or action-packed but is still another absorbing, multi-layered, solid addition to this much-loved, highly-successful, enjoyable series.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                  

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Donna Leon

Donna Leon, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.

#BookReview Exit by Belinda Bauer BelindaBauerBooks @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #Exit #BelindaBauer

#BookReview Exit by Belinda Bauer BelindaBauerBooks @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #Exit #BelindaBauer Title: Exit

Author: Belinda Bauer

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Feb. 2, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Dark Comedy

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Belinda Bauer is “Britain’s most original crime writer” (Crime Scene), one of the few authors in the genre to be longlisted for the Man Booker prize. Now she returns with a heart-pounding, heartbreaking, and often hilarious new crime novel in which it’s never too late for life to go fatally wrong.

Felix Pink is retired. Widowed for more than a decade, a painfully literal thinker, he has led a life of routine and is, not unhappily, waiting to die a hopefully boring death. He occupies himself volunteering as an Exiteer–someone who sits with terminally ill people as they die by suicide, assisting with logistics and lending moral support, then removing the evidence so that family and friends are not implicated in the death. When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of kindness and charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath.

But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police–after making the biggest mistake of his life. Now his routine world is turned upside down as he tries to discover whether what went wrong was a simple mistake–or deliberate. Murder.

Belinda Bauer continues to redefine the boundaries of crime fiction, with a novel that is part murder mystery, part coming-of-old-age story–however short that future may be. With the compassion and dark humor of Jonas Jonasson and the twisted thriller plotting of Rear Window, Exit is a novel readers will not soon forget.


Review:

Clever, darkly comedic, and touching!

Exit is a twisty, mischievous tale that takes you on a journey into the lives of an elderly widow who likes to help people pass peacefully, a neighbour with good intentions, an unscrupulous loan shark, an accidental victim, a slovenly cleaner, and a police office determined to keep his family full of misfits a secret.

The prose is tight and witty. The characterization is spot on with a whole slew of characters who are eccentric, sharp-witted, and endearing. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine into an irresistibly thrilling tale of deception, compassion, manipulation, moral dilemmas, drama, tragedy, skewed perception, oddball shenanigans, slapstick moments, and unlikely friendships.

Overall, Exit is a fresh, edgy, intricate tale by Bauer that was so much better than I ever expected. It thoroughly entertained me, and I absolutely loved it.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Belinda Bauer

BELINDA BAUER is the award-winning author of seven previous novels that have been translated into twenty-one languages. She won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Crime Novel of the Year forBlacklands, the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award forRubbernecker, and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award for outstanding body of work. Her previous novel, Snap, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in Wales.

#BookReview Still Life by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks #StillLife #InspectorKarenPirie #ValMcDermid

#BookReview Still Life by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks #StillLife #InspectorKarenPirie #ValMcDermid Title: Still Life

Author: Val McDermid

Series: Inspector Karen Pirie #6

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Oct. 16, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 436

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

From internationally bestselling author Val McDermid comes a propulsive new Karen Pirie thriller that delves into a historic missing persons case, fake identities, and art forgery.

Val McDermid is the award-winning, international bestselling author of more than thirty novels and has been hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime. In Still Life, McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring DCI Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem.

When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, Karen is called into investigate. She quickly discovers that the case will require untangling a complicated web—including a historic disappearance, art forgery, and secret identities—that seems to orbit around a painting copyist who can mimic anyone from Holbein to Hockney. Meanwhile, a traffic crash leads to the discovery of a skeleton in a suburban garage. Needless to say, Karen has her plate full. Meanwhile, the man responsible for the death of the love of her life is being released from prison, reopening old wounds just as she was getting back on her feet.

Tightly plotted and intensely gripping, Still Life is Val McDermid at her best, and new and longtime readers alike will delight in the latest addition to this superior series.


Review:

Complex, intriguing, and sophisticated!

In this impressive sixth instalment in the Inspector Karen Pirie series, Still Life, McDermid has written a fast-paced, sinuous, police procedural that has DCI Pirie and her team from the Historic Cases Unit immersed in two investigations, one involving skeletal remains found inside a camper van parked in a residential garage, and the other concerning a newly deceased middle-aged male found floating in the water who seems to have an extremely mysterious, complicated past.

The prose is sharp and tight. The characters are impulsive, secretive, and greedy. And the plot, including all the subplots, seamlessly intertwine and unravel into a gripping tale full of deception, manipulation, misdirection, mayhem, violence, and murder.

Overall, Still Life is another engrossing, pacey, action-packed thriller by McDermid that once again has just the right amount of suspense, well-drawn characterization, and creative storyline to make it a satisfying, highly entertaining read for lovers of this genre.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

#BookReview Broken Ground by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks

#BookReview Broken Ground by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks Title: Broken Ground

Author: Val McDermid

Series: Inspector Karen Pirie #5

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Dec. 5, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, and her gripping, masterfully plotted novels have garnered millions of readers from around the globe. In Broken Ground, cold case detective Karen Pirie faces her hardest challenge yet.

Six feet under in a Highland peat bog lies Alice Somerville’s inheritance, buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally uncovers it, she finds an unwanted surprise–a body with a bullet hole between the eyes. Meanwhile, DCI Pirie is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems. And as she gets closer to the truth, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.


Review:

Engrossing, intricate, and deft!

In this latest novel by McDermid, Broken Ground, we head back to Edinburgh where DCI Pirie and her sidekick DC Murray from the Historic Cases Unit find themselves pursuing new evidence in the case of a serial rapist from the 80s; tasked with identifying a body discovered in a peat bog in the Highlands alongside relics from WWII; and inadvertently involved in a new case of premeditated, cold-blooded murder.

The prose is gritty and descriptive. The characterization is superb with all the usual gang back including the intuitive, tenacious, Karen Pirie who’s still coping with the loss of her lover through nocturnal walks and designer gins. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine meticulously into an irresistible tale full of deception, abuse, deprivation, manipulation, mayhem, violence, and murder.

Overall, Broken Ground is a highly entertaining, gripping, atmospheric thriller that highlights McDermid’s exceptional ability to write police procedurals that have well-drawn characters and edgy storylines. It is the fifth novel in the Inspector Karen Pirie series, and definitely one of my favourites.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

#BookReview Snap by Belinda Bauer @BelindaBauer @PGCBooks @groveatlantic

#BookReview Snap by Belinda Bauer @BelindaBauer @PGCBooks @groveatlantic Title: Snap

Author: Belinda Bauer

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Jul. 13, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE FATAL . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you.

Meanwhile Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.

But the truth can be a dangerous thing . . .


Review:

Ominous, twisty, and unnerving!

Snap is a menacing, creepy police procedural that delves into a cold case involving a murdered, pregnant mother of three and immerses you into the lives of the Bright family as they struggle to cope with their emotional fragility, economic instability, endless grief, and irrepressible desire for justice after the senseless loss of their matriarch.

The writing is descriptive, vivid, and chilling. The characters are desperate, tormented, and resourceful. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel quickly into a compelling investigative tale filled with life, loss, family, survival, heartbreak, misdirection, manipulation, violence, and murder.

Overall, Snap is an intelligent, atmospheric, exceptionally gripping novel that highlights once again Bauer’s ability to create unique stories with a mood and tone that is tense, dark, and eerie without excessive violence or gore that still clearly remind us that even the most heinous of evil is often concealed behind masks of normality.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Belinda Bauer

BELINDA BAUER is the award-winning author of seven previous novels that have been translated into twenty-one languages. She won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Crime Novel of the Year forBlacklands, the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award forRubbernecker, and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award for outstanding body of work. Her previous novel, Snap, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in Wales.

#BookReview Insidious Intent by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks

#BookReview Insidious Intent by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks Title: Insidious Intent

Author: Val McDermid

Series: Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #10

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Dec. 5, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 424

Format: Hardcover, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Widely recognized as one of our finest crime writers, with numerous accolades and legions of devoted readers worldwide, internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is back with the latest installment in her series featuring psychologist Tony Hill and former police detective Carol Jordan. In Insidious Intent, Tony and Carol are on the hunt for a serial killer who victimizes women at weddings without a date–and forces the duo to confront their most haunting moral dilemma so far.

In the north of England, single women are beginning to disappear from weddings. A pattern soon becomes clear: Someone is crashing the festivities and luring the women away–only to leave the victims’ bodies in their own burned-out cars in remote locations. Tony and Carol are called upon to investigate–but this may be the toughest case they’ve ever had to face. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Paula McIntyre and her partner Elinor must deal with a cruel cyber-blackmailer targeting their teenage ward, Torin.


Review:

Dark, meticulous, and menacing!

Insidious Intent is a riveting tale that immerses you into the evidence collection and investigation into the kidnapping and violent homicide of several lonely, vulnerable women and the hunt for a serial killer with a penchant for fire.

The prose is sophisticated and crisp. The characterization is spot on with all the usual gang back including the resilient, determined Carol Jordan whose greatest struggles involve her own guilt, secrets, demons, and addictions. And the plot is a skillfully crafted mix of twists, turns, murder, police corruption, manipulation, obsession, and deception.

Overall, Insidious Intent is nicely paced and has exceptional depth in both the storyline and character development. And even though this is the tenth book in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series, McDermid has written such an intriguing, entertaining tale that new fans will be quickly adding the previous novels in the series to their TBR and long-standing fans will be satisfied, surprised, and eager for book #11.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

#BookReview Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore @PGCBooks @groveatlantic

#BookReview Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore @PGCBooks @groveatlantic Title: Birdcage Walk

Author: Helen Dunmore

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Aug. 1, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Tormented and striving Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants–his passion for Lizzie darkening until she finds herself dangerously alone.

Weaving a deeply personal and moving story with a historical moment of critical and complex importance, Birdcage Walk is an unsettling and brilliantly tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror from one of our greatest storytellers.


Review:

Poignant, ominous, and remarkable descriptive!

Birdcage Walk takes us back to Bristol in the late 1790s when France was full of unrest, war was on the horizon, and the British people struggled with impoverishment, scarcity, impending disaster, and financial ruin.

The prose is expressive and raw. The main characters include the maternal, independent, supportive Lizzie and the jealous, iron-fisted, ruined Tredevant. And the plot, although a little slow in the middle, is laced from start to finish with an underlying feeling of despair and a real, palpable bleakness as the ongoing drama, social strife, economic uncertainty, marital tension, and increasing violence unravels.

I have to admit that even though Birdcage Walk is not my favourite novel by Dunmore, it is still a beautiful, haunting tale that highlights her talent of writing historical fiction that moves, informs, and leaves a lasting impression. The passing of Dunmore earlier this year is certainly a tremendous loss for the literary world and to quote from the inscription on the grave of her fictional character in this novel, “Her Words Remain Our Inheritance.”

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for “The Lie” by Dunmore be sure to check it out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books & Grove Atlantic for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore is the author of twelve books, including The Greatcoat, The Betrayal, a New York Times Editors’ Choice; The Siege, a best seller and finalist for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; and A Spell of Winter, winner of the Orange Prize.

Helen Dunmore (1952 – 2017)

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