7 October 2015

Review: PAVING THE NEW ROAD, Sulari Gentil

  • review copy supplied by publisher PanteraPress
  • published in 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-921997-07-5
  • Book 4 in the Rowland Sinclair Mystery series
  • 403 pages
  • Kindle version available from Amazon
Synopsis (PanteraPress)

It’s 1933, and the political landscape of Europe is darkening.

Eric Campbell, the man who would be Australia’s Führer, is on a fascist tour of the Continent, meeting dictators over cocktails and seeking allegiances in a common cause.  Yet the Australian way of life is not undefended.  Old enemies have united to undermine Campbell’s ambitions.  The clandestine armies of the Establishment have once again mobilised to thwart any friendship with the Third Reich.

But when their man in Munich is killed, desperate measures are necessary.

Now Rowland Sinclair must travel to Germany to defend Australian democracy from the relentless march of Fascism. Amidst the goosestepping euphoria of a rising Nazi movement, Rowland encounters those who will change the course of history. In a world of spies, murderers and despotic madmen, he can trust no-one but an artist, a poet and a brazen sculptress.

Plots thicken, loyalties are tested and bedfellows become strange indeed.

My Take

This title has sat in my TBR shelves for far too long. In it the author cleverly reminds of what is happening in the world in 1933: Germany rapidly heading into fascism; that there are those who would like to see Australia heading the same way. When Rowland Sinclair agrees to go to Germany instead of his brother Wilfred, Rowland's bohemian friends decide to accompany him. And how else to get there quickly other than in Kingsford-Smith's Southern Cross?

I loved the way some now famous names came to life in this story including Kingsford-Smith, Eva Braun, Hermann Goering and Nancy Wake, just to name a few.

Although the action of the story really is improbable, it makes a captivating tale, and excellent reading.

My rating: 4.7

I've also reviewed

Getting ready to travel - my reading sorted

Something I hate more than anything else when I am travelling is to run out of books.
I like to be well equipped.

So here are the books I hope to read - I suspect there are far more than I will actually get read.
Most of them are on my Kindle so I will read them on that and my iPad, but I am taking just a few printed books too - well, not many - probably three.

from Net Galley
  • KING OF THE ROAD, Nigel Bartlett
  • EDEN, Candice Fox
  • FATAL CATCH, Pauline Rowson
  • PAINTED BLACK, Greg Kihn
from my TBR
  • PAVING THE NEW ROAD, Sulari Gentil
from my Kindle
  • MURDER IN THE FAMILY, Paula Bernstein
  • THE MOTH CATCHER, Ann Cleeves
  • EVIL GAMES, Angela Marson
  • THE HANGING GIRL, Jussi Adler-Olsen
  • THE BLEEDING HEART, Christopher Fowler
  • IN THE DARK, Chris Patchell
  • ASHES TO DUST, Yrsa Sigurdardottir
  • FRISKY BUSINESS, Jill Edmondson
  • THE DEVIL'S CAVE, Martin Walker 
  • SIX DEGREES, Honey Brown
  • THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, David Lagercrantz
review books
  • THE GOLDILOCKS PLANET, Paula Bernstein
  • GOOD MONEY, J.M. Green
audio books
  • VINTAGE MURDER, Ngaio Marsh
  • THE OUTCAST DEAD, Elly Griffiths

4 October 2015

Review: TIME TO RUN, J.M. Peace

  • review copy supplied to me by publisher, Pan Macmillan Australia
  • ISBN 978-1-74353-786-2
  • published July 2015
  • 228 pages
  • Kindle version available from Amazon
Synopsis (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The hunt is on


A madman is kidnapping women to hunt them for sport.


Detective Janine Postlewaite leads the investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Willis, determined not to let another innocent die on her watch.

The killer's newest prey isn't like the others. Sammi is a cop. And she refuses to be his victim.


A stunning, tautly written thriller from police officer turned writer, J.M. Peace.

My Take:

My feeling is the plot of this novel relies heavily on stories from true crime such as the Ivan Milat murders. Certainly that reinforces in my mind that events such as those described in this piece of fiction can actually happen.

I don't mean to detract from the good job the author has done with plot and with character development. I was struck also by the way the tension ratchets up in the second half of the novel. We know that Sammi is racing against time for her life.

This is an impressive debut title.

My rating:  4.5

About the author
J.M. Peace is a serving police officer who would rather be writing about policing. Over the past 15 years, she has served throughout south-east Queensland in a variety of different capacities. Her voice of authority shines through in her debut crime thriller, A Time To Run. J.M. Peace she has also written various short stories, blogs regularly about policing and writing and is currently working on her second novel. JM lives on the Sunshine Coast, juggling writing and police work with raising two kids along with her partner. She blogs at www.jmpeace.com.

3 October 2015

Summary - Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival

September marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of Agatha Christie and so the ACRC Blog Carnival reflects that with more posts than usual.

Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Participants
1. Dress Down Sunday: Agatha Christie Week @ Clothes in Books
2. Agatha Christie Week: A Post-War Gem @ Clothes in Books
3. I Love Her, But She Loves Agatha Christie* @ Confessions of a Mystery Novelist
4. Happy Birthday Agatha @The Game's Afoot
5. Agatha Christie Week: Her Life @ Clothes in Books
6. Agatha Christie Week: A Sharp, Brittle Book @ Clothes in Books
7. Agatha Christie Week: Surfing, an early adopter @ Clothes in Books
8. Review: THE SECRET ADVERSARY @ A Crime is Afoot
9. Dress Down Sunday: Agatha Christie Week : MURDER AT THE VICARAGE
10. 5 non-series Christie @ The Invisible Event
11. Agatha Christie Week: Round the World in Fact and Fiction @ Clothes in Books
12. A Neanderthalian view of Christie @ The Villa Rosa
13. Agatha Christie on her 125th Anniversary @ A Crime is Afoot
14. The Christies That Didn't Make the Cut @ The Passing Tramp
15. The Big Five from the Bottom Shelf @ The Passing Tramp
16. Tuesday Night Bloggers @ Clothes in Books
17. Crime Fiction Top 10s @CrossExaminingCrime

The October ACRC Blog Carnival is now open for contributions.

Review: IN BITTER CHILL, Sarah Ward

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 484 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Crime; Main edition (June 30, 2015)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
Synopsis  (Amazon)

Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins's mother commits suicide.

Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.

This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.

My take

Stories of child abductions strike a frisson of fear into the heart of every parent.

In this case two little girls  are abducted and one turns up a few hours later with little idea of where she has been and what happened. The survivor, Rachel Jones, has fragmented memories that make little sense to her: glossy green leaves, a black door, a tall man, a woman wearing sunglasses in December. There are things that Rachel never tells anybody, mainly because they make no sense to her. Sophie Jenkins' mother never stops looking and hoping.

Until she turns up dead in the Wilton Hotel, over thirty years after the date of the kidnapping. Superintendent Llewellyn was a PC back then and remembers being assigned to going on the house to house search for the children. He is convinced that the original investigative team was thorough, left no stone unturned, and he doesn't want the current team going over the same ground. At the same time bringing fresh eyes to bear may pick up something the original team missed. And they need to find out what prompted Yvonne Jenkins to kill herself after all this time.

Two days later there is another body, this time found in the very woods where Rachel Jones was discovered.

The main investigative team consists of DI Francis Sadler, DC Connie Childs and DS Damian Palmer. The dynamics of the team are interesting, in particular with Childs and Palmer competing for prime spot in Sadler's eyes.

The story is carefully plotted and turned out to be a lot more complex than I had at first thought. From about mid way I found myself hazarding various resolutions and it kept me guessing almost to the end.

This is a terrific debut novel, written with great assurance of style.

See another review at Reactions to Reading

My rating: 4.8

About the author
Sarah Ward is an online crime fiction reviewer at Crimepieces. She is also a judge for the Petrona Award for translated Scandinavian crime fiction. Her debut novel, set in Derbyshire, In Bitter Chill was published in July 2015 by Faber and Faber.

2 October 2015

New to Me authors, July to September 2015

I've continued to read new authors in this quarter.

Some of them I should have read long ago, while others are newly published. As far as I was concerned, only one was a dud.
Many of them I would like to read more of.

The 14 listed below bring my count for the year to 45, which is just under half of the number of books I have read so far this year.
There are four Australian authors in the list. **
  1. 4.5, BLOOD REDEMPTION, Alex Palmer - Aussie author **
  2. 4.6, THE SINS OF THE FATHERS, Lawrence Block - first in the Matt Scudder series 
  3. 4.6, THE ICE TWINS, S.K. Tremayne
  4. 4.4, WYCLIFFE AND THE DUNES MYSTERY,  W.J. Burley - from Mt TBR 
  5. 4.7, SILENT SCREAM, Angela Marsons - British author 
  6. 5.0, THE GHOSTS OF ALTONA, Craig Russell - winner of Scottish crime fiction prize 
  7. 4.2, AUNT BESSIE BELIEVES, Diana Xarissa - cozy set on Isle of Man
  8. 4.7, A SIEGE OF BITTERNS, Steve Burrows
  9. 1.5, THE NAME OF THE ROSE, Umberto Eco 
  10. 4.5, SUMMERTIME, ALL THE CATS ARE BORED, Philippe Georget
  11. 4.3, THIS HOUSE OF GRIEF, Helen Garner - not crime fiction - Australian **
  12. 4.8, THE BANK INSPECTOR, Roger Monk - Aussie author, set in Adelaide **
  13. 4.0, A TRIFLE DEAD, Livia Day - female Aussie author, set in Hobart **
  14. 5.0, THE SILENCE OF THE SEA, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir - translated, winner of Petrona Award 2015 

1 October 2015

What I read in September 2015

Pick of the Month Sept 2015
A productive month with some really good reads,
It covered quite a range of the crime fiction genre.
  1. 4.5, BLOOD REDEMPTION, Alex Palmer - Aussie author
  2. 3.8, THREE-CARD MONTE, Marco Malvaldi - translated
  3. 4.6, THE SINS OF THE FATHERS, Lawrence Block - first in the Matt Scudder series 
  4. 4.6, THE ICE TWINS, S.K. Tremayne
  5. 4.5, THE GHOST FIELDS, Elly Griffiths - audio book 
  6. 4.8, THE SECRET PLACE, Tana French
  7. 4.4, WYCLIFFE AND THE DUNES MYSTERY,  W.J. Burley - from Mt TBR 
  8. 4.4, GIVE A CORPSE A BAD NAME, Elizabeth Ferrars - Vintage Golden Age fiction 
  9. 4.7, SILENT SCREAM, Angela Marsons - British author 
  10. 5.0, THE GHOSTS OF ALTONA, Craig Russell - winner of Scottish crime fiction prize 
  11. 4.2, AUNT BESSIE BELIEVES, Diana Xarissa - cozy set on Isle of Man 
My pick of the month was THE GHOSTS OF ALTONA by Craig Russell, but as you can see from my ratings there were a number of titles that were close behind. 

Jan Fabel is a haunted man.

Head of the Polizei Hamburg's Murder Commission, Fabel has dealt with the dead for nearly two decades, but when a routine enquiry becomes a life-threatening - and life-changing - experience, he finds himself on much closer terms with death than ever before.

Two years later, Fabel's first case at the Murder Commission comes back to haunt him: Monika Krone's body is found at last, fifteen years after she went missing. Monika - ethereally beautiful, intelligent, cruel - was the centre of a group of students obsessed with the gothic. Fabel re-opens the case. What happened that night, when Monika left a party and disappeared into thin air?

When men involved with Monika start turning up dead, Fabel realizes he is looking for a killer with both a hunger for revenge and a taste for the gothic. What he doesn't know is that someone has been aiding and grooming a deranged escapee as his own, personal tool for revenge.

A truly gothic monster to be let loose on the world.

Winner of the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year 2015
Read a free chapter here

I was very pleased to renew my acquaintance with Jan Fabel.

Check what others have chosen for their Pick of the Month.


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