The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

What’s to say about John Grisham – except SUPERB! Some of my favourite books and films.

The Rooster Bar is another winner and is utterly engrossing.

It’s an ingenious novel relating to a group of third year law students Zola, Mark and Todd who spend much of their spare time in The Rooster Bar where Todd serves drinks.

They realise that they have been conned. They went heavily into debt borrowing money to pay for the courses at a poor law school where the graduates rarely pass the final bar exams and then get low grade jobs when they do.

They find out that the law school is one of a group of them owned by a dodgy hedge fund in New York who also specialise in student loans.

Deciding that they want to get their own back, they realise that there may also be a way to make some cash into the bargain.

The Rooster Club is a great novel by a fabulously inventive writer, John Grisham.

mio

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown.

Dan Brown writes another in the Robert Langdon series following on from Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

It is a novel full of twists and turns which keeps you guessing. Langdon, the well-known Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, is invited to Bilbao in Spain to an event at the Guggenheim Museum. Edmond Kirsch, a former student of Langdon, is to give, what he calls, a major announcement which, ‘will change the face of science forever’ and which will answer two of life’s most enduring questions…’Where did we come from?’ and ‘Where are we going?’

The billionaire is a futurist who puts forth incredible high-tech inventions and who makes spectacular predictions.

The event turns to chaos and Kirsch’s controversial discoveries are at risk of being lost.

Langdon is shocked and is forced to escape Bilbao with Ambra Vidal, the director of the museum who worked with Kirsch to organise the event. In search of a secret password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret, they escape to Barcelona. Two world religious leaders, Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Köves, and Islamic Imam Syed al-Fadl are killed.

Langdon is under constant threat from fanatics and an enemy that will not stop. The Spanish throne is implicated in this race to uncover Kirsch’s incredible discovery.

Dan Brown is a highly inventive writer and Origin is sure to be another success.

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Quantum Spy is the most recent offering from David Ignatius.

Ignatius is a novelist and a journalist from the USA.  He studied at Harvard University and King’s College, Cambridge in the UK. He has been given many awards including, the Urbino World Press Award from the Italians, a lifetime achievement award from the International Committee for Foreign Journalism and the Legion of Honour from the French.

David Ignatius is a best-selling author of such works as Body of Lies, The Bank of Fear and The Director. The Quantum Spy is a story of worldwide espionage, betrayal and high-tech.

In a world where technology races ahead exponentially, the threat of a super-fast quantum computer is ever more real.

CIA officer Harris Chang tracks a Chinese informant who may put the American’s top-secret research laboratories at risk.

The development of the quantum computer would put China or America in overall control for decades to come.

Ignatius has written a spellbinding thriller with action racing across the world, from North America and on to Mexico and Singapore.

This is a cyber thriller which may well foretell the future for us all. Well worth the read!

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

After readying Gorky Park, I couldn’t wait to read the next in the Arkady Renko series, Polar Star.

Arkady Renko had made many enemies. He had been the top investigator in Moscow, but now, his party membership removed, he was forced to work in Siberia, where so many others had perished.

He was detailed to toil on a Soviet factory ship which fished the deathly cold waters between Siberia and Alaska, the Bering Sea.

No longer the great criminal man, but now a second-class seaman with a dark past.

Following an enigmatic death of a crew member, the captain gives Renko the chance of a kind of redemption. The woman’s dead body had been hauled in among the fish taken up by the net. The matter is puzzling but has the feel of murder rather than misadventure.

Renko faces desperate odds and an almost unsolvable crime with implications which go beyond the borders of Mother Russia.

Polar Star is another superb novel by Martin Cruz Smith.

 

‘Impossible to put down . . . a book of heart-stopping suspense and intricate plotting, but also a meticulously researched, ambitious literary work of great distinction.’   The Detroit News

‘Polar Star is not merely the work of our best writer of suspense, but one of our best writers, period’    New York Times

‘Splendid … . the reader will be kept guessing to the end’ Evening Standard

‘Stunning.’   The New York Times Book Review

‘Martin Cruz Smith writes the most inventive thrillers of anyone in the first rank of thriller writers.’   The Washington Post Book World

‘Gripping . . . absorbing.’   The Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Cruz Smith’s ability is to tell both a thriller and a novel at once, without losing either strand. There are whispers of Conrad and Graham Greene in this novel’   Sydney Morning Herald

The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley

The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley

The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley

The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley, was first published in 1928 and is one of Berkeley’s earliest novels.

Born, Anthony Berkeley Cox in Watford in 1893 he attended Sherborne School and University College in Oxford. Like many of his contemporaries he served in the Army during World War I. He honed his writing skills working as a journalist for magazines such as Punch and The Humorist among others. In 1930 the Detection Club was founded in London by various popular mystery writers such as Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts and the great Agatha Christie.

From the 1940s onwards, he wrote for several of the major newspapers including The Guardian, The Sunday Times and the Manchester Guardian.

Anthony Berkeley Cox wrote under various pseudonyms, including Anthony Berkeley, Francis Iles and A. Monmouth Platts.

His novel, the Layton Court Mystery which was published in 1925 was his first novel. The amateur detective, Roger Sheringham, features here first and appeared in many later novels.

His novel ‘Before the Fact’ hit the silver screen as the 1941 classic film Suspicion. It starred Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The Silk Stocking Murders novel is a masterpiece and unusual for it’s time to involve a serial killer.

Roger Sheringham, though a heavy drinker, was a superb, though flawed, detective. Frequently putting his trust, wrongly, in individuals and making repeated mistakes he had a knack of meandering his way to the truth.

The Silk Stocking Murders sees him trying to solve the disappearance of a vicar’s daughter in London. Sheringham is horrified to find that the young woman is dead. The girl was found hanging, her own silk stocking around her neck. Though her death has the appearance of a suicide, Sheringham knows of other deaths throughout London and he sees a pattern developing. He is convinced that it is the work of a crazed madman.

For it’s time this must have been a quite shocking and horrific tale of a psychotic killer lose on the streets of London. The use of lingerie, Ground-breaking and still enthralling after all of these years, the story of a rather unusually flawed sleuth is well worth the read. The Silk Stocking Murders is published by HarperCollins and is available on Amazon or at good bookstores.

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson

The novel Along Came a Spider written by James Patterson is a great introduction to this prolific and hugely successful writers work.

This book by Patterson introduced us all to Alex Cross and the series which followed. A great thriller which is well plotted and the Alex Cross books have dominated the detective novel lists for years.

Washington, D.C. Alex Cross, the renowned Washington D.C. forensic psychologist and homicide investigator, is tasked with looking in to the violent murder of two black prostitutes and a child in the projects.

Cross is furious when he is removed from the case to investigate a kidnapping of two white children at an expensive private school. He feels that there is a sense that the colour determines which case is the more important. The kidnapper is Gary Soneji, the school maths teacher.

The evil Soneji, buries Maggie Rose Dunne and Michael Goldberg alive, in a coffin made for the task, at a remote farmhouse.

Alex Cross and the FBI make a detailed search of Soneji’s apartment. They find a wealth of information about kidnappings and master criminals. In particular it appears that Soneji has a more than passing obsession with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932.

Soanji clearly has a warped desire to become infamous.

Cross hooks up with Jezzie Flanagan, the first female supervisor of the Secret Service and the head of the Secret Service investigative team, in a secret liaison which complicates matters.

During the investigation Roger Graham, an FBI agent, is killed by Soneji who disguises himself as a reporter.

A missing little girl named Maggie Rose . . . a family of three brutally murdered in the projects of Washington, D.C. . . . the thrill-killing of a beautiful elementary school teacher . . . a psychopathic serial kidnapper/murderer who is so terrifying that the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police cannot outsmart him – even after he’s been captured.

The police, FBI and the Secret Service are pitted against a true adversary in the guise of the violent psychopath, Soanji.

I don’t want to ruin the plot for you in this cleverly plotted and intricate game of cat and mouse where the stakes are the very highest.

Other authors have spoken very highly of James Pattersons work:

“An incredibly suspenseful read with a one-of-a-kind killer who is as terrifying as he is intriguing. One of the best thrillers of the year.”
Clive Cussler

“The best thriller I’ve come across in many a year. It deserves to be this season’s NO.1 best-seller.
Nelson  DeMille

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson is a superb read.

Moskva by Jack Grimwood

Moskva, written by Jack Grimwood

Jack Grimwood is a British writer who was born in Malta. His novel, Moskva, is a taut serial killer thriller and a magnificent piece of fiction.

In the mid-1980s a body of a naked man is found, it’s right hand little finger missing. It’s location, just beside the exterior of the wall of the Kremlin.

Shortly afterwards a fifteen year old girl vanishes. It is particularly concerning because she is the daughter of the British Ambassador.

Recently posted to Moscow, the disgraced military officer, Tom Fox, is entrusted with finding her. He sees a chance to redeem himself. However, the Soviets will not acknowledge the serial killer and cannot identify him and they do not want Fox poking his nose in.

The Soviets are determined to keep a lid on things and to hide the evil that lurks within their system.

Fox is on a race against time to prevent the girl from becoming the next murder victim.

This Cold War thriller is cleverly plotted and beautifully written, evoking another time and another place.

If his novel, Moskva, is anything to go by then Jack Grimwood is a man to watch….and most definitely to read!

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is a highly successfull American author of thriller and mystery novels thrillers with multiple threads woven into them. Many are set in and around New York and New Jersey.

Deal Breaker was written in 1995 and features a former basketball player turned sports agent, ports agent Myron Bolitar. He is about to cash in with Christian Steele, a quarterback, who is one of his premier clients. Bolitar is utterly engaging though hotheaded.

However, things begin to turn sour when the quarter back is contacted bey one of his past girlfriends. Particularly surprising as both the police and he had her as dead.
Myron is faced with the ugly back story of his industry where the façade is everything, especially the gateway to untold riches.

Trying to unravel the truth about a family’s tragedy, a woman’s secret, and a man’s lies, Bolitar is up against the dark side of his business where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

Deal Breaker is a superb novel which is a real page turner from start to finish. Harlan Coben is a superb writer.

Portrait Of A Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

Portrait of a Killer Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

Portrait of a Killer Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

How strange it is, that Jack the Ripper should, even now, still excites such horror and fascination. Many of the streets and locations of the crimes can still be found huddled among the modern city of London. On a recent evening walking tour of the area, where some of the crimes were committed, I felt a slight unease and sadness as we traced the route through the hushed side streets. We ended as darkness fell at the notorious Ten Bells public House in Spitalfieds, which had associations with the case.

The horrors that were meted out to those women in London’s East End in the late 1880’s have never had closure as ’Jack’ was never conclusively identified…or was he?

However, the gruesome crimes and the man who committed them may well have met their match.

Patricia Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author has turned her considerable skill on to solving this appalling mystery. Cornwell is a master in the field of plotting a crime – now she shows that she can solve one too. Using modern day forensics and meticulous research she puts forth an utterly compelling case.

Has she done enough to conclusively prove her theory and to give us closure at last with the true identity of Jack? You will have to read the book to decide for yourself. However, for me this was a fascinating, detailed journey through one of the most infamous crimes set against the Victorian era Patricia Cornwell has proved her case to me.

Defender by Chris Allen

Defender by Chris Allen

‘Turner got rough, forcing them to respond. He tore at their hair and at their skintight lingerie, clawing at their perfect bodies.’

Well that certainly got your attention!

But there is much, much more to the works of Chris Allen than steamy interludes.

This author, him self has lived a very exciting life. Among other things he was a former paratrooper and served as Security Manager for CARE, the international aid agency in Timor Leste. He was also Head of Security for the Sydney Opera House and as the Sheriff of NSW.

The novels are a fascinating mix of James Bond and Jason Bourne, the gun to rent. Alex Morgan is an agent of Interpol’s Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division – Intrepid.

The Australian Army Newspaper wrote, “Allen knows his weapons and aircraft particularly well, and his immense attention to detail shows he has obviously walked the streets of the cities where his character’s actions take place.”

In Defender, Morgan is ordered in after an intelligence agent is cruelly murdered with the life of the president of a small African country put at risk. Morgan is in part, soldier, spy and policeman who along with his colleagues puts bad things right.

The country is racing towards civil war and he enlists the help of the beautiful Arena Halls while operating under his cover of evacuating a group of aid workers. A façade to hide his actual mission – a rogue spy.

The action races between Africa and Australia, the home of the author. The finale, a fight to the death which uncovers a truly dark conspiracy.

A great well plotted novel, which is certainly not for storage, from, Chris Allen, a novelist who we will hear much more from in the future.