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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Other Countries by Jo Bannister and Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills

I've read several, if not all, of Jo Bannister's Brodie Farrell series over the years, but Other Countries is the first I've read in this series which features Detective Constable Hazel Best and Gabriel Ash.

The epigraph provides an interesting and sinister beginning:
"Thou hast committed--"
"Fornication?  But that was in another country; and
besides, the wench is dead."

--Christopher Marlowe
Chapter One follows a young Arab man traveling to Britain from Turkey, and right off the bat, it is apparent that his intentions are not good.  The reason for his entry to Britain is, somewhat unexpectedly, not the typical terrorist agenda; it is intensely personal.  Of course, you can't help but loop back to the epigraph.

DC Hazel Best is one of those people that trouble inevitably finds; in an attempt to keep Hazel free of trouble, her superintendent assigns her to protect a celebrity--the charismatic historian and television personality Oliver Ford.  The best of intentions often go awry.

Saturday, Hazel's young lodger and former street kid, and her friend Gabriel Ash are increasingly uneasy about Hazel's connection to Ford.  (and yes, I wanted to shake Hazel--frequently)

Hazel becomes more distant from her friends as her relationship with Ford grows, and the plot takes off in more than one direction.  Why did young Rachid Iqbal try to murder Ford? Gabriel Ash, who has problems of his own, is puzzled about Hazel's delay in returning to work and the difficulty of getting in touch with her.  Seventeen-year-old Saturday, Hazel's lodger, has taken an intense dislike to Oliver Ford, but is reluctant to reveal why.

I liked the characters (well, the recurring characters) and there were a number of interesting and sometimes unpleasant angles to the plot.  The reader knows early on where the plot is going, the tension is in waiting for each step.  

Read in Feb.; blog post scheduled for May 14, 2017.

NetGalley/Severn House

Mystery/Police Procedural.  June 1, 2017.  Print length:  224 pages.

Where Dead Men Meet is set in 1937.   War is on the horizon, and Europe is full of nervous anxiety.  Luke Hamilton, a young British air force intelligence officer in Paris, is shocked to find himself the target of an assassination attempt.  

Initially, he believes the attempt to be a case of mistaken identity, but that misconception doesn't last long.  Finding an unlikely ally in Borodin (one of the hit men originally targeting him),  Luke ends up on the run.  Borodin sends him to a woman who has been helping Jews escape from Germany, but his welcome doesn't reassure him, and Pippi has a grievance against  Borodin.

Fast paced, this prewar thriller kept me on edge. A little convoluted with all of the mysterious backstory, but a suspenseful romp across Europe during a dangerous time.

Read in Jan.; blog post scheduled for May 14, 2017.

NetGalley/Blackstone Publishing

Suspense/Historical Fiction.  May 30, 2017.  Print length:  448 pages.


  1. Both books sound interesting. Will keep them in mind for my future reads. :)

  2. Both books kept my interest, although I prefer Bannister's Brodie Farrell series. :)

  3. Very different mysteries but both sound like they have good plots and characters! I haven't read anything by these authors so good!