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Books 63-65: Two Evils (aka Off the Grid), A Question of Identity and The Carrier

This past week I caught up with the latest instalments in three crime series that I've been following.

Book 63: Two Evils/Off the Grid (Monkeewrench #6).
Author: P. J. Tracy, 2012
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural. Terrorism. Native American.
Other Details: Hardback. 305 pages.

Off the coast of Florida Monkeewrench's Grace McBride thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent, John Smith. Back in Minneapolis the body of a 15-year-old Native American is found in a vacant lot with her throat slashed. A few streets away police find a house containing the bodies of two men shot execution style and a shocking discovery. A day later there is another shooting leaving three more bodies and another discovery. Homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to discover the links between the crimes. When they learn that there have been similar murders in other cities what emerges is a dangerous conspiracy that puts their city and others on high alert. They and the Monkeewrench crew are forced to go off the grid to confront dangerous adversaries on a remote Minnesota reservation.

I always look forward to getting my hands on the latest Monkeewrench novel as I know I'll find myself totally engrossed in its story and characters. The only downside is that the experience is over far too quickly. Given themes of human trafficking and terrorism the story tackled some serious issues tackled though there was still a sprinkling of humour, especially in the lively banter between Magozzi and Gino.

Book 64: A Question of Identity (Simon Serrailler #7).
Author: Susan Hill, 2013.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural. Family Saga.
Other Details: Hardback. 368 pages.

The peace of the cathedral town of Lafferton is shattered by the murder of an elderly woman. When further murders take place the police become aware that the details of the crimes are identical to murders ten years previously in another part of the country in which the chief suspect was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. However, it transpires that all details of the suspect have been erased from the public record as they were granted a new identity for their own protection. They have to dig deep in order to discover this new identity.

Susan Hill's crime novels do not focus solely on the investigation but also develops the storylines of a number of Lafferton residents. In this novel the first Lafferton murder doesn't happen until about 1/3 of the way in, which seems to have proven frustrating for some readers who are not familiar with Hill's approach. While I was quite confident I knew whodunit quite early on that didn't diminish my pleasure of reading about the developments in various characters' lives including Simon's rocky love life.

Book 65: The Carrier (Spilling CID#8).
Author: Sophie Hannah, 2013
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural. Psychological Thriller.
Other Details: Hardback. 432 pages.

When her plane is delayed overnight, Gaby Struthers finds herself forced to share a hotel room with a stranger: a terrified young woman named Lauren Cookson – but why is she scared of Gaby in particular? Lauren won’t explain. Instead, she blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for a murder he didn’t commit, and Gaby soon discovers that Lauren’s presence on her flight can’t be a coincidence. Because the murder victim is Francine Breary, the wife of the only man Gaby has ever truly loved. Tim Breary has confessed to killing his wife and even provided the police with evidence. The only thing he hasn't given them is a motive: he claims to have no idea why he did it… - synopsis from Sophie Hannah's website.

Sophie Hannah has kept me stuck to my settee yet again with the latest in her Spilling CID series of twisty-turny crime thrillers. She has the knack for capturing extremely dysfunctional relationships and this was no exception.

The thing that always strikes is how poorly her publishers advertise her new novels as part of an on-going series. Certainly the main plots do work as stand-alone but I can imagine readers new to the series are going to be quite confused by the relationships and back-stories of its police characters.
Tags: crime fiction, native american, police drama, thriller
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