Ripper – The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

Ripper The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

Ripper The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

The enigmatic and eccentric painter, Walter Sickert, had an air of mystery about him. In more recent times the accusatory finger of suspicion has been levelled at him. It is now widely believed that he may have been either, Jack the Ripper or his accomplice.

The New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell spent millions researching the case and has uncovered important new evidence. Her book Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, is a detailed account of the Ripper atrocities and the failure of the Victorian police force to solve this dastardly series of crimes.

Sickert’s art had a strange quality about it, verging on the ghoulish. He had a deep interest in the Jack’s crimes and claimed to have lodged in a boarding house where the landlady said she believed the Ripper had also lodged previously. Sickert even painted a picture depicting the Rippers room.

Patricia Cornwell’s research has been tirelessly executed and she has brought forth archival material which has not been seen before.

Ripper, The Secret Life of Walter Sickert follows on from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper further expanding the depth of research and knowledge.

Patricia Cornwell has greatly added to this most gruesome of mysteries and her book is a must read for any sleuths among us.

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.

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.

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

 

Absolute Power was written by David Baldacci.

The novel opens when a professional burglar named Luther Whitney, breaks into the home of a billionaire in an upmarket Virginia suburb.  While trying to rob the house he sees the United States President and the wife of the billionaire having wild sex. While Whitney is watching their passionate sex becomes violent ending in the woman being killed as the Secret Service burst in on them. Whitney saw the killing through a large two way mirror door that concealed a closet room. In this hidden room the billionaire would sit watching as other men had sex with his wife. Whitney made his escape, but the Secret Service had already found out that someone had been watching. The Secret Service orchestrates a campaign to implicate Whitney in the murder of the billionaire’s wife. The agents try to track down Whitney, who goes on the run – though he wants to make sure the real culprit is exposed.

A very clever, believable plot that is a real page turner. David Baldacci is a master of his craft.

Absolute Power was made into a film starring Clint Eastwood.

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The Perfect Murder by Peter James

The perfect murder by peter james

The perfect murder by Peter James

The Perfect Murder is a novella by Peter James the bestselling author of the Roy Grace series. Committing the perfect murder and getting away with it is a recurring theme in the crime genre.

Victor Smiley is an unhappy man. His wife, Joan, passes her time ridiculing him and he has for years had no love for her.  He sees a local prostitute, called Kamila, to bring some excitement into his otherwise increasingly pointless life. He has no interest in his work at a factory and dreams only of escape. Joan has her own issues, the marriage is falling apart. She hardly sleeps with the grating sound of Victor’s snoring. Victor is oblivious to the fact that Joan is frittering away large sums of money building up credit card debt. She has her own secret amour, Don and she likes to impress him in constantly evolving sexy outfits.
Victor loses his job and riddled with debt he begins to formulate an escape route to a better life with Kamila. Joan, who he now loathes, has to be removed from his life, permanently. Victor is about to get a shock as he finds murder is also on someone else’s mind.

The Perfect Murder is a top notch novel that is tightly plotted and keeps the reader glued to the page.

Peter James is a very popular novelist who has had several of his novels made into films. He was educated and Charterhouse school and followed this with film school. Born in the UK Peter James lived for several years in North America where he worked as a film producer and screenwriter. He now lives in the UK.  His Roy Grace series was a Sunday Times number one bestseller.

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Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying by Lee Child

Die Trying, a novel featuring Major Jack Reacher, written by Lee Child.

 

Lee Child’s second novel, Die Trying, was published in 1998 featured Jack Reacher, centre stage, once more.

Whilst working as a doorman in Chicago Reacher becomes caught-up in the kidnapping of Holly Johnson, an FBI agent. She is also the daughter of a US Army general who is serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  They are both bundled into a truck and driven across the States for a reason and to a location unknown to them. Holly’s FBI colleagues take some time to notice her missing but then begin to try to piece together her movements and what has happened to her.

Reacher and Holly find on arrival in a remote part of Montana that they are being held by  the Montana Militia, whose leader is Beau Borken.

The intricate plot involves not only an FBI mole in the militia who has infiltrated them, but also a traitor within the FBI who supplies Borken information.

The President, fearful of another Waco type media catastrophe, does not want an outright assault and wishes the matter to be handled sensitively and carefully by the FBI and Army.

The novel is very well plotted and has the ability to keep the reader hooked and guessing. Lee Child is a true master of his craft. I found the novel immensely difficult to put down.

The Jack Reacher character, first introduced by Lee Child in Killing Floor, is sure to become an enduring hero in the mould of James Bond.

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Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon, was a bestseller when it was published in 1969 and who among us will not remember the Hollywood film of the same title which starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Papillon, the French for butterfly, was a nickname that was given to Charrière and it also referred to his tattoo. It is a novel about the recollections of Henri Charrière and it describes his conviction, incarceration on and subsequent escape from a prison on Devil’s Island, which was a French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana.

The author, Charrière claimed that all of the events that he wrote of were true but this was later called into question. Though some of it clearly is true it is thought that some of the scenarios and adventures may have been distilled from the lives of his fellow inmates.

The book opens with Charrières conviction in France for murder of a pimp named Roland Le Petit and following a period in prison in Caen he was sent by ship to South America and onward to the notorious Devils Island. Papillon met a fellow inmate Louis Dega who had previously been a banker prior to conviction for counterfeiting. Papillon liked Dega and protected him from other inmates. The book spans a period of fourteen years of Papillon’s life up to 1945 and covers his hardships and various escape attempts.

Papillon a fascinating tale, particularly if it was all true, and gives a real insight into the brutalities of the time and the incredible tenacity and will power of Charrière. Well worth reading, even if you have seen the film which differs in part.

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A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson

A small death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson

A small death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson

I was recommended to the works of Robert Wilson by a friend of mine and I am glad I was. The espionage thriller, ‘A small death in Lisbon’, intrigued me and so, along with a love of all things Portuguese, I bought it.

Wilson is a British writer who currently lives in Portugal. He is the son of an RAF fighter pilot, and has a degree in English from Oxford. He was written crime novels based in Benin in West Africa, and also a series set mainly in Seville, in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. Born in 1957, the son of an RAF pilot,  he finished his studies with a degree in English at Oxford University which was clearly a good grounding for what was to come. Wilson won the CWA Gold Dagger for this book  and the German Crime Prize and rightly (or is it writely?) so.

 

A Small Death in Lisbon is an excellent novel by Robert Wilson and well worth the read. The story has several threads which intertwine into a lush tapestry a la finRobert Wilson sets the story in Portugal, which gives a wonderfully exotic air. It involves SS officers during the war and ranges through to sexual intrigue, murder and the contemporary investigations of Inspector José “Zé” Coelho.

Well done Robert!

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