October 25th, 2014

crystal ball

Book 185: The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher

Book 185: The Oversight (Oversight Trilogy #1).
Author: Charlie Fletcher, 2014.
Genre: Historical Fantasy. Victorian England. Folklore.
Other Details: Hardback. 448 pages.

Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. 

Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their number can be tallied on a single hand.  When a drunkard brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled - but the girl is a trap, her appearance a puzzle the five remaining guardians must solve or lose each other, and their society, for good. 

As the borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, brutal murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow. This dark Dickensian fantasy spins a tale of witch-hunters, magicians, mirror-walkers and the unlikeliest of heroes drawn from the depths of British folklore.
- synopsis from author's website.

This proved to be a wonderful fantasy set in Victorian England. It reminded me a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in its atmosphere and vivid sense of place. I knew almost from the start that I was going to love it and returned the library copy and bought my own. The characters are very memorable and Fletcher skilfully blends historical figures with fictional ones. It came as a delightful surprise that the Great Wizards of the North and South did actually exist. He also draws upon British folklore and legend. Each of his settings: London, the countryside and the circus were well realised.

Given that this is a trilogy it is hard to comment too much on story although this was a strong start and I've pre-ordered the second in the trilogy due next summer.
life on mars

Books 186-188: Skin, Gone and Poppet by Mo Hayder

I had a bit of a Mo Hayder marathon this last week.

Book 186: Skin (Jack Caffrey #4).
Author: Mo Hayder, 2009.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Paperback. 460 pages.

When the decomposed body of a young woman is found near railway tracks just outside Bristol one morning, all indications are that she's committed suicide. That's how the police want it too; all neatly squared and tidied away. DI Jack Caffery is not so sure. He is on the trail of someone predatory, someone who hides in the shadows and can slip into houses unseen. And for the first time in a very long time, he feels scared. Police Diver Flea Marley is working alongside Caffery. With the traumas of her past safely behind her, she's beginning to wonder whether their relationship could go beyond the professional. But then she finds something that changes everything. Not only is it far too close to home for comfort - it's so horrifying that she knows that nothing will ever be the same again. And this time, no one - not even Caffery - can help her ... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This proved an excellent book for a 24-hour read-a-thon as it was impossible to put down. The story carries on a few days after 'The Ritual' and elements of that story are still impacting upon Flea and Jack. I was biting my nails through most of it due to the issue that Flea has to deal with. Talk about a nightmare situation. As I closed the last page all I wanted was to continue on to Book 5. Having a Kindle made it so so easy to have it at my fingertips within seconds.

Book 187: Gone (Jack Caffrey #5).
Author: Mo Hayder, 2010.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: ebook. 560 pages.

Night is falling as murder detective Jack Caffrey arrives to interview the distraught victim of a car-jacking. What he hears horrifies him. The car was taken by force, and on the back seat was a passenger. An eleven-year-old girl. Who is still missing. Before long the jacker starts to communicate with the police. And Caffrey becomes certain that he is planning to take another car. And another child. Who is the car-jacker? How is he choosing his targets? And - most urgent of all - can Caffrey find the child? Before it's too late ... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Another nail-biting crime thriller in this excellent series. I read most of it for last week's 24-hour read-a-thon and certainly could not abandon it even though I'd been reading for hours. Some aspects of 'Skin' continue here and I've quickly lined up Book 6 for later in the week.

Book 188: Poppet (Jack Caffrey #6) .
Author: Mo Hayder, 2013.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: ebook. 378 pages.

The patients at Beechway High Secure Unit are terrified. Unexplained power cuts have lead to a series of horrifying incidents. And now fear has spread from the inmates to the staff. DI Jack Caffery is called to investigate, whilst working the most impossible case of his life. Will he be able to stare pure evil in the eye, and survive? - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Mo Hayder has quickly become one of my favourite crime writers. I can't get enough of this series. While I did not quite feel this was as strong a story as the previous two in the series, it still was quite engaging. It takes place about a year after the events in Gone and sees a resolution of events that began with Skin making a loose trilogy in terms of Jack and Flea's story.

On completing it I went on to re-read Wolf so I could appreciate it in light of the information provided by reading the first six in the series to see how things play out with various character and plot arcs. Certain elements did slot into place with that re-reading, which again reinforces my desire to read books in order.