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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Four More

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary

I read and reviewed Someone Else's Skin last year and was impressed with the first in a new series featuring DI Marnie Rome.  Sarah Hilary's writing and her ability to turn a textbook domestic abuse case on its head kept me riveted from beginning to end.

No Other Darkness is just as good, just as suspenseful, and once again, just as thoughtful as it takes a deeper look at family dynamics.  (Oh, it is difficult to review this one without spoilers.)

OK -- DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake are investigating a case involving the bodies of two children found in an underground bunker.  Who are they?  How long have they been there?  Why were they never reported missing?  

The plot twists and turns with psychological insights that challenge the assumptions of both the investigators and the reader.  Complex, involved, and well-written-- I couldn't put it down.

Hilary continues to develop the back-stories of both Marnie and Noah, especially in connection to Marnie's difficulties dealing with the murders of her own parents by their fourteen-year-old foster son.  

This is crime fiction at its best.  She's up there with Jane Casey, for me.

Read in July.  Blog review scheduled for Aug. 5.

NetGalley/Penguin Group

Mystery/Crime/Police Procedural.  Aug. 18, 2015.  Print version:  416 pages.

Your Turn, Mr. Moto by John P. Marquand 

"The thrilling 1st installment in Pulitzer Prize–winning author John P. Marquand's classic espionage series featuring Imperial Japan's most skillful spy."

Marquand won the Pulitzer Prize for The Late George Apley in 1938, which is why I decided to read this.  He wrote literary fiction, crime fiction, and the Mr. Moto spy novels with great success.  The Mr. Moto novels are similar to pulp fiction and inspired eight films featuring Peter Lorre in the 1930's.

  • Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937)
  • Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)
  • Mr. Moto's Gamble (1937)
  • Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938)
  • Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)
  • Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939)
  • Danger Island (1939)
  • Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)

Unfortunately, the novel felt dated, had awkward dialogue, little action, and a stultifying conclusion. The most interesting thing about the novel is the early interest in the imperial power and ambitions of Japan.  First published in 1935, the novel has an interesting perspective, especially so many years before Pearl Harbor. 

 Read in July.  Blog review scheduled for Aug. 5.

NetGalley/Open Road Media

Spy/Espionage/Historic Fiction.  1935; 2015.  Print version:  281 pages.

Corridors of the Night by Anne Perry

The back-story of the Monk series involves William Monk and the carriage accident ten years previously that left him with no memory of his past and Hester Latterly, who had recently returned from the Crimea where she was a nurse with Florence Nightengale.  Although the books can easily be read as stand-alones, they are easier to understand if you begin with the first one The Face of a Stranger.  It isn't necessary to have read all of them, but the first one gives some important background information.  You can get The William Monk Mysteries:  The First Three Novels as an e-book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  

Perry's novels are well-researched and well-written,  and she evokes Victorian London in social atmosphere and mood.  Her characters, including secondary characters, all have depth and personality.  The plots usually have complex moral and ethical situations that Perry does not present in terms of black and white; instead, she makes the reader aware of the ambiguity of characters and events and leaves the reader to deal with the ethical questions.  Sometimes this can be a bit off-putting.

Corridors of the Night deals with medical experimentation.  How does science and medicine advance without experimenting?  What is the price of coming up with a new approach that might save, in the long run, millions of lives?  What are the moral obligations?

Hamilton Rand is experimenting with blood transfusions and has found that the blood of three siblings, young children, works when the blood of other donors does not.  He does not, however, know why the blood of these three children can be successfully transfused, while the blood from other donors causes the patient's death.  His goal is worthy.  His methods, however, have ethical considerations that do not bother him in the least.  

Read in July.  Blog review scheduled for Aug. 5. 

NetGalley/Random House/Ballantine

Historic Mystery.  Sept. 5, 2015.  Print version:  288 pages.

The Kill (a Maeve Kerrigan novel) by Jane Casey

I read this one in June after reading the 6th book in the Maeve Kerrigan series and realizing I'd missed the 5th book.  As usual, Jane Casey delivers a tightly plotted police procedural while continuing to add depth to her characters.  She is currently my favorite crime writer, and Maeve and the irascible Josh Derwent are two of my favorite characters.

When a policeman is murdered in puzzling circumstances, Maeve and Derwent are on the case, but with a more personal touch than usual--after all, the man was one of their own.  What they never could have expected is that this is only the first murder of someone who is specifically targeting the police.  If they can find the motive, it may lead them to killer.

Maeve is a great character, but the misogynistic, politically incorrect Derwent provides the perfect foil and gives the series its piquant spice.  Casey does a fantastic job of making each novel complete in itself while subtly adding dimension not only to the main characters, but to the secondary characters as well.  The subplots that are woven from the first novel onward and the intricate relationships of the characters keep me immersed in the world Casey has created.


Crime/Police Procedural.  2014.  464 pages.  


  1. No Other Darkness sounds really good, Jenclair. I enjoy books crime fiction that is complex and thought provoking.

    You have me curious about Your Turn, Mr. Moto, if only because of the time period they were written in. I don't know if I will actually search the books out to read them, but if I happen to stumble on one, I may have to give it a try.

    I have never read any of the Inspector Monk books by Anne Perry. Only her other Victorian mystery series featuring the Pitts. I'm really curious about her World War I series and want to try that.

    The Jane Casey book sounds good too. I really need to dig out the first book and read it.

    1. Jane Casey is always good, and I'm impressed with Sarah Hilary I read several of Perry's books featuring the Pitts and enjoyed them, but I haven't read any of the WWI series, either.

  2. No Other Darkness sounds good; I've been intrigued with Sarah Hilary's first book after reading your review. And the same goes to Jane Casey's series too. :)

    1. Sarah Hilary's books take situations with which we have all become familiar (hopefully, only through the news) and turns them around, looking at them from a different perspective. Makes things interesting to have assumptions inverted!