Tag Archives: detective

Vermin by William A. Graham

The prologue introduces low-level, low-brow politician Henry Lewis, who’s interrupted in his back alley business when his intended victim Davie is rescued. Allan Linton fell into the PI business after a newspaper takeover, and he pulled strong, silent street avenger Niddrie in as his “and Associates.” A mysterious man calling himself Carter hires them to find a woman in a photograph whose name is likely an alias. Then dear reader goes through a flashback on the rise and fall of Allan’s marriage to the daughter of a top dollar barrister, then back to the present where his daughter asks his help with the entitled son of her grandfather’s partner and he explains his love for the Hollies. He seeks help on the case from his best friend Michael, who just happens to be the main drug dealer in town, and dear reader goes through another flashback chapter on the origin of their friendship. There are aliases and backstories galore in this novel, with each flashback its own fascinating short story. If you like backstory woven into the fabric of a novel, this format might confound you. The unusual names and behaviors of the characters make this whodunwhat feel a bit out of time and place, like a cheeky noir film. I received a digital copy of this fantastic story from Black & White Publishing Ltd through NetGalley.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

PI Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott share a moment right after her vows to Matthew, coloring their detective partnership. A disturbed young man caroms into Strike’s office to exclaim about a child murder committed decades ago. Being hired by a politician to spy on a colleague distracts them, but the possibility weighs on Cormoran’s mind, as Robin goes undercover in Parliament. The non-case of the wild story becomes entangled within the political investigation and a dubious suicide. Meanwhile, Robin’s husband shows his true colors, but her desire to be independent only prolongs the sexual tension between partners.

Galbraith keeps a fast, at times frenetic, pace throughout the story, with the main characters exasperatingly and credibly human in their complexity. It’s fun to see inside the heads of the good guys when they have fleeting thoughts that are unrealistic / unreasonable, such as when Robin finds herself drawn in by the charm of their client’s tall, dark, and handsome “bad boy” son, a person of interest. Fourth in the Cormoran Strike series, it’s easily a standalone for the case story, but adds layers of nuance to the partnership. The inevitable transition in the nature of the relationship will change the dynamics and sadly may be the beginning of the end, unless Galbraith finds a way to pull it off. Let’s hope she…whoops, “he” can do so!

I received a copy of this latest release in the series from St. Martin’s Press for an honest review.

Coffin Scarcely Used by Colin Watson

Councillor Harold Carobleat has died, having succumbed to a lingering illness. Soon after, his neighbor and solicitor are found dead under mysterious circumstances. As both are colleagues of Carobleat, and one suspected to be intimate with Carobleat’s wife, Inspector Purbright investigates Harold’s passing as a possible murder as well, eventually connecting it all to a shady business deal.

Often throughout the story, complicated sentences obstruct meaning just as characters obstruct justice in their attempts to thwart Inspector Purbright. It’s worth it in the end, though. The last line is killer!

I received this delightful cozy mystery through NetGalley.

Edinburgh Twilight (2017 Thomas & Mercer) by Carol Lawrence

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton seeks a serial killer in Edinburgh. DI Hamilton is a quick study of character, clever, and compassionate towards those considered “dregs of society.” A tragedy and unanswered questions spur him toward justice.

Lawrence carefully weaves backstory into the contemporary tale. I wish she had done the same with side characters, instead of introducing each one as they were needed to move the story forward, which makes those chapters feel cleaved from the main story even as they contribute information. All of her characters have distinctive traits, many of them delightfully quirky.

Readers who love mysteries, parallel storylines, complex family characters, and / or 19th century Scotland will like this book.

I appreciate receiving an advanced digital copy from Net Galley at netgalley.com.