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Books 66-70: Five Crime Thrillers

Book 66: Play to Kill (Monkeewrench 05).
Author: P.J. Tracy, 2010.
Genre: Crime Thriller
Other Details: Hardback. 325 pages.

Published in the USA as Shoot to Thrill, this was a welcome return after a three year hiatus of the Monkeewrench computer geeks and their allies, Minneapolis homicide cops Rolseth and Magozzi.

The Monkeewrench crew are invited to assist the F.B.I. in solving a series of murders that are being filmed and posted onto the Internet. When a body is discovered face down in a stretch of the Mississippi river, it first appears to be a case of accidental drowning. However, a link soon emerges between this and the other murders and there is a race against time to discover who is behind this disturbing trend as well as to prevent more murders.

I read this in a single day. It really was so compelling and over far too quickly.

Book 67: Black Fly Season (John Cardinal 03).
Author: Giles Blunt, 2005.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Large print edition. 484 pages.

This third thriller featuring Detective John Cardinal and his partner, Lise Delorme, opens dramatically as a young red-haired woman enters a bar acting in a very disoriented way. It turns out she has been shot in the head with a small-calibre weapon though she cannot remember her name, where she's from, let alone why anyone would want to hurt her. Then a body of a local biker turns up, horribly mutilated and there appears to be some forensic links between this death and the woman's shooting. The biker gang is one known to the police as being involved in local drug traffic but there is a new group in town headed by 'Red Bear', a man claiming to be a Native American shaman.

In this fast-paced novel Blunt has incorporated a good use of forensics as well as traditional police procedural. He also is doing a great job of developing his characters. The relationship between John and his wife highlights how difficult it can be for family members to deal with the extreme emotions of the manic phase of bi-polar disorder. I found it a very gripping novel.

Book 68: Play to Kill (Anna Travis 03).
Author: Lynda la Plante, 2007.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Large Print Edition. 504 pages.

At the opening of the novel, DCI Langton is in pursuit of a gang of illegal immigrants believed responsible for the murder of a young prostitute. One of them attacks him and he is severely injured. While he is recovering, DI Anna Travis is assigned to another case, the senseless killing of a studious young woman. Then this case becomes unexpectedly linked with Langton's and Anna finds herself threatened by those who had almost destroyed his career and his life.

This highly readable book combines topical issues and includes some very dark and disturbing scenes. I didn't find it quite as enjoyable as I did the previous works in this series but still a strong crime thriller.

Book 69: Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh 04).
Author: P. D. James, 1971.
Genre: Police Procedural. Mystery.
Other Details: Paperback. 336 pages.

Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate the deaths of two student nurses at the nursing school of Nightingale House.

The novel follows the investigation very much in the old style of interviews with Dalgliesh slowly unravelling the facts in the case and uncovering the identity of the murder.

It was a satisfying whodunit and it was also interesting to see how over the course of the series there are changes indicating new social trends in Britain as well as P.D. James evolution as a writer.

Book 70: A Season for the Dead (Nic Costa Book 01)
Author: David Hewson, 2003
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Large Print Hardback, 538 pages.

This is a series I've been meaning to read for a while. The first book introduces Nic Costa, 27, a young detective in the Rome Questura. He's a straight-laced health conscious vegetarian who is the son of an infamous Communist party political organizer. He also has a passion for the works of Caravaggio.

The plot revolves around a series of gruesome murders that are based on the death of martyrs. There appear to be links between the murders and a disgraced cardinal that complicates the case given the diplomatic relationship between the Rome Questura investigators and and the Vatican security forces.

I found it a solid fast-paced police thriller, which was quite harrowing in parts and provided an excellent introduction to the series.
Tags: canada, canadian lit, crime fiction, mental health, murder mystery, police drama, thriller
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