Babylon Berlin

BABYLON BERLIN AW.inddAuthor: Volker Kutscher

Publisher: Sandstone Press

Release Date: May 19, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Netlflix’s newest crime noir has some deep roots from the base novel!

Berlin in 1929 is a dangerous place to be, but for Gereon Rath, it proves to be even less fun than dangerous. He was a rising star on the police force in the Cologne Homicide Division when one case went sideways and he ended up killing man.  Now transferred to vice in Berlin, Gereon finds himself working to shut down pornography factories as part of the health division’s effort to clean up the city.  Even though his new boss is a great guy and confidant, Gereon still wants back in homicide.  When a car is pulled out of a canal containing a corpse that can’t be identified, Gereon believes that he has found his chance to make is way back into his preferred line of work.  But what he discovers can hardly be what he signed up for!

As far as crime noirs go, this one was spelled out pretty well. The scene was done well as was the presentation of the timeframe of political clashes.  I also thought that the flow was great and pushed the story along pretty quickly.  However, I had trouble relating with Gereon.  I just couldn’t find that connection that made me want to see how things were going to work out for him.  Fortunately, several other aspects of the story keep it moving and I really enjoyed it.

There is a lot of language throughout the book as well as sex as it is dealing with pornography. I recommend this book for mature readers and those that want to compare it to the television series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Unclaimed Victim

Unclaimed victimAuthor: D.M. Pulley

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Pulley dives back into Cleveland to tackle a historical serial killer’s story that’s yet to be solved.

Cleveland in 1938 is a rough place to be. Little work, no booze, and a notorious serial killer that keeps leaving parts of his victims, but never the whole body.  The “Torso Killer” has been active for a while and continues to stump the police.  Most of his victims cannot be identified because he doesn’t leave them anything to be identified with, such as a head or hands.  The targets of his crimes are mainly prostitues and drug dealers that live in the less desireable places within Cleveland.  Once such person is Ethel Harding who never asked for this life, but does what she must to get by.  When a young woman from a nearby mission named Mary Alice convinces Ethel to come to the mission, she finds that her life may not be as bad as she thought.

Fast forward to 1999, Kris Wiley gets a call that her father has been killed and she must identify the remains, which there is only a torso. As she goes through her fathers things, she begins to find that he was obsessed with a serial killer from the 1930s that was never caught.  In fact, there is a whole network of people obsessed with the case.  As she tries to uncover what he was messed up in, she begins to receive threats to stop her search and go home.  Can she unravel her father’s death and solve a decades old cold case at the same time?

Pulley’s historical suspense writing is ratcheting her up to a new level of writers. I was hooked in the old story and had to research parts of it myself.  She placed the names of the officers and investigators at just the right place to match history.  And her depiction of Cleveland in the depression took me there to see it in my mind.  There is no doubt that this is a seedy novel, but it is supposed to reflect that era and way of life.  If you can indulge yourself a little, you’ll find that this story is more than face value.  There is a lot of foul language and sexual content, so it is recommended only for mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Crime Fiction/Legal Thriller

Merry Christmas to all!  And for a Christmas treat, we are releasing our top picks for Crime Fiction and Legal Thrillers!

the-trapped-girlClose to Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Trapped Girl and Close to Home by Robert Dugoni

Well it happened again.  We love the Tracy Crosswhite series so much that there was no possible way to choose between the two installments released this year.  Dugoni is a master suspense story teller in this series that keeps us begging for more.

Read the full review of The Trapped Girl here.

Read the full review of Close to Home here.

Crisis Shot

2. Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

Janice Cantore is back in full force with one of her best novels yet. We’ve been waiting for her to write this book for a long time.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

deadly proof

3. Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

When writing a legal thriller, it is the author’s job to find a fine balance between telling the legal aspects of the case without losing the reader in terminology many will have a hard time understanding while keeping the tension tight. Rachel Dylan has done a great job finding the balance between the tension of the case without going too deep into the legal aspect.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

Deep extraction

4. Deep Extraction by Diann Mills

Another great book by DiAnn Mills that will keep readers guessing and turning the pages well past their bedtime.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Justice

Imperfect Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Beyond Justice and Imperfect Fustic by Cara Putman

We just discovered Cara Putman this year and her new legal thriller series has us getting all of her previous novels!

Read the full review for Beyond Justice here.

Read the full review for Imperfect Justice here.

Pigeon Blood Red

Pigeon Blood RedAuthor: Ed Duncan

Publisher: Smashwords Editions

Release Date: February 25, 2016

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Different. Interesting.  Reminds me of Tarantino.

Rico and Jerry are enforcers for a crime boss in Chicago’s underworld. They take care of things, tie up loose ends, and when needed, make people disappear.  So when a debt ridden cheat steals the boss’s priceless red ruby necklace, they are tasked with getting it back.  But things are not always as they seem at face value.  He suddenly skips town to go to Hawaii to patch things up with his wife.  She is traveling with a friend and ready to pull the plug on her marriage.  And Rico?  He just wants to get the necklace back and teach the guy a lesson that he won’t need to remember.  But in Hawaii things go horribly wrong and the necklace disappears.  Can Rico find it?  Or will it be his skin on the line if he comes back empty handed?

So, this little story reminded me of Pulp Fiction in many different ways.  John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson open the story as Jerry and Rico.  Uma Thurman shows up as Jean.  And Ving Rames makes an appearance as Litvak.  So, the characters pretty much all fell into place.  However, there were some other stories that make this one a little more interesting.  Don’t think you know the story until you’ve read it, because it will surprise you.

There is some strong language throughout and some implied sex in several scenes, but nothing graphic. Even so, I still recommend this book for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Catching Heat

Catching HeatAuthor: Janice Cantore

Series: Cold Case Justice #3

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: September 1, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As the final installment in the Cold Case Justice series concludes, Abby and Luke look for closure in the case that has haunted them for decades.

It has been 27 years since the deaths of Detective Abby Hart’s parents and she still searches for answers and justice for them. She can’t prove it yet, but she knows the governor’s wife, Alyssa Rollins, is the one behind her years of pain.  She has teamed up with PI Luke Murphy on the cold case squad and together they head to San Luis Obispo to try and solve the cold case murder of a college student.  Their new investigation will put them near the town where Alyssa Rollins grew up. Hoping to find more information that will help put her behind bars, Abby and Luke try to work their cold case along with the investigation into Rollins.  As they continue to work closer together, their feelings develop even further putting a personal stake into all that they do.  Abby goes over the top in the investigation and Luke is afraid her obsession might be too much to handle.

Janice Cantore has become one of my favorite authors. Her writing is clean, and always keeps me turning the page.  With Catching Heat, I was looking forward to a nice conclusion to the Cold Case Justice series.  While questions were answered, I found this to be my least favorite of the series.  It was still a great read, I just found myself bothered by the amount of time spent focusing on the relationship and romance aspect of the story.  There wasn’t as much suspense as I would have liked.  The end took it up to a nice level but throughout there wasn’t the normal suspense Cantore normally provides.  Abby and Luke were meant to be together, that was obvious, they both spent too much time trying to deny their feelings for each other instead of facing it head on.  There was a lot to this story.  Not only were they trying to solve the murder of Abby’s parents, but they were also looking into multiple other cases at the same time.  It seemed as if Cantore was trying to bring up the suspense with the extra cases but instead it took away from the main focus of the story.  Cantore is a great writer of the police procedural if she sticks with the formula that works and doesn’t try to put too much into the story.  Overall my favorite aspect of the whole series was the way Abby was a female but didn’t have to rely on a male to keep her safe or do any of the dangerous work for her.  Just like all of Cantore’s characters she is strong, and capable of handling whatever she encounters.  I look forward to the start of the next Janice Cantore series for another great read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest and thorough review.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.