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Monday, December 08, 2014

Last Week's Reading

Head in the Sand by Damien Boyd.

This is the second in a series of police procedurals featuring DI Nick Dixon.  After the brutal murder of an elderly woman, Dixon and his partner Jane Winters discover a parallel case from 30 years earlier.  Could it be the same killer?  If so, why such a long gap?  Is it a copy cat?

Two murders, thirty years apart, and then a third with the same brutal elements.  

Dixon and Winter must discover all the connections because this killer isn't finished yet. The pace is fast and the investigation is full of interviews, checking facts, making connections, reading files--old-fashioned police work.

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer

Police Procedural.  2013; Jan. 20, 2015.  Print length:  228 pages.

End of Secrets by Ryan Quin.  

An interesting premise involving the loss of privacy that has evolved through social media, CDC cameras, and cyber spying.  Our personal information is out there.  And there are ways to access it, both legal and illegal, for purposes we may or may not approve of.

Kera Michaels is a CIA agent on a special assignment away from the "Company."  Her task is to discover what has happened to a number of individuals, mostly artists, that have disappeared--leaving no digital footprint.  

Entertaining enough, the book does cover some of the risks of living in the digital age.  (I read recently that anyone born after 1985 is a "digital immigrant," an interesting concept, and when one looks at children under six playing on their iPads--one that is easy to accept.)

Somehow the book fails to become anything more than mildly entertaining.  The concept deserves a more complex and detailed investigation, but the book falls short in that regard and remains a pretty typical suspense/mystery with fairly stereotypical characters.

NetGalley/Amazon Publishing

Mystery/Suspense.  Dec. 1, 2014.  Print length:  400 pages.

Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes

Literary hoaxes have always intrigued me, especially the case of Thomas Chatterton, and I suppose that is what I was looking for in this novel.    This, however, is a hoax of a different nature, one involving the supernatural or science fiction.  

The novel is a wild concoction that has the mysterious Cannonbridge visiting Byron and the Shelley's on a stormy (!) night as they are recounting their ghost tales, rescuing Polidori from thugs, rescuing Maria Monk (was Maria the book that Maria wrote another literary hoax?), a brief interlude with the Brontes; oh, and Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Oscar Wilde get thrown in, too.  But did Cannonbridge ever really exist or is he a hoax?

The story moves back and forth from present to past--from Oxford don Toby Judd, who finds himself believing that Cannonbridge never existed (and in great danger because "someone" doesn't want the hoax exposed), to Cannonbridge and his various appearances through the ages.

Huh?  I kept reading, not because the work is really compelling, but because I wanted to find out what the heck was going on.  My initial pleasure at having literary giants included in the plot diminished rapidly.  The conclusion, unsatisfactory.


Mystery?  Feb. 10, 2015.  Print length:  272 pages.

Bonfire Night by Deanna Rayburn.

This is the second offering from Rayburn through NetGalley that turned out to be a short story or a novella.  The NetGalley description doesn't indicate that it is a novella, but.... 

I'm not a fan of short stories or novellas, but I may also just be tired of Lady Julia and Brisbane.  I loved Silent in the Grave, the first book about Lady Julia Grey, but haven't loved anything since in this series.  Doesn't mean that I hated them, just that the what followed didn't live up to my expectations.

I mean, who would not be curious about  a novel that began with this statement: 
 "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."   
--from Silent in the Grave
If you like short stories/novellas, you might be happy with this latest work featuring Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane.  


Novella.  Nov. 3, 2014.  Print length:  56 pages.


  1. Head in the Sand sounds interesting to me. Could this book be read as a standalone, Jenclair?

  2. It worked perfectly well as a stand alone, Melody. If NetGalley offers any more from the series, I'll probably read them.

    1. Ah, that's good to know. Thanks, Jenclair! :)

  3. That's a lot of books to choose from. Been busy reading? :) It's too bad Cannonbridge didn't live up to it's premise...I hate when books that could have been so good end up being less than satisfying.

    1. I read a lot. Maybe too much. :) Cannonbridge was a strange book, but it certainly didn't work for me.