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Book Review: Night Rounds by Helene Tursten

Book Review: Night Rounds by Helene Tursten

Genre:

International Mystery and Crime Thriller

Synopsis:

The fourth investigation in the nationaly bestselling Swedish detective series

Irene Huss is a former jujitsu champion, a mother of twin teenage girls, the wife of a successful chef, and a Detective Inspector in the Violent Crimes Unit in Göteborg, Sweden. And now she’s back in the gripping follow-up to Detective Inspector Huss. One nurse lies dead and another vanishes after a local hospital is hit by a blackout. The only witness claims to have seen Nurse Tekla doing her rounds, but Nurse Tekla died sixty years ago. Irene Huss has the challenge of disentangling wandering ghosts and complex human relationships to get to the bottom of this intriguing case.

Heidi’s Hot Take:

I absolutely love international detective thrillers. They have a different flow than most USA based detective thrillers. There is a lot of fun details about the culture that bleed through. That is all the case for Night Rounds as well. I can’t say that I adore Irene Huss. I actually kind of struggled with liking most of the detectives in the book, TBH. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but it was interesting to see that women in Sweden seem to run into similar struggles of how their roles are being shifted in culture and that there is kickback there just as we experience here. I will say that Helene Tursten’s red herrings were really quite good. Right until the end, I wasn’t sure who the killer was and she clearly set it up to mislead the average reader into falling into the same trap that most of the male detectives in the book kept falling into, underestimating what women can and will do and why.

While I wasn’t super won over by the detectives, I absolutely loved Tursten’s writing. How she mixes the mundane struggles of balancing life with being a detective, how we get as much of a look into Huss’s family life as her policework, and the ever-relatable feeling of struggling to balance personal and self-care around all the responsibilities of being a woman in modern society. I also felt like one of the reasons the red herrings really stood out is that Tursten makes a very solid effort to show how real police work is not getting a suspect early on and then digging into all of it to prove that they were guilty, but looking at the whole of the evidence and following up a lot of potential leads that would never quite resolve enough evidence to completely dismiss them but also ran cold on being able to follow up further. Like life, the police work wasn’t as linear as we often get in US-based detective thrillers and I really enjoyed that aspect to it.

Want to learn more about Night Rounds? Check it out on Amazon.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

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Book Review: Fool Moon Jim Butcher

Book Review: Fool Moon Jim Butcher

Genre

Mystery, thriller suspense

Synopsis

“One of the most enjoyable marriages of the fantasy and mystery genres on the shelves,”(Cinescape) the Dresden Files have become synonymous with action-packed urban fantasy and nonstop fun. Fool Moon continues the adventures of Jim Butcher’s most famous—and infamous—reluctant hero…

You’d think there’d be a little more action for the only professional wizard listed in the Chicago phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work: magical, mundane, or menial.

Just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise. There’s a brutally mutilated corpse, and monstrous animal markings at the scene. Not to mention that the killing took place on the night of a full moon. Harry knows exactly where this case is headed. Take three guesses—and the first two don’t count…

Heidi’s Hot Take

This is the second book in the Dresden files series by Jim Butcher and I absolutely loved it! I am a huge fan of werewolf mythology and I love how  they added a fun bit of extra world-building by pulling from several different mythos and treating them as separate entities. I also loved the continued tension being built between Dresden and Detective Murphy and how his assumptions of what is causing it keep running him afoul. While I love the flawed hero aspect, I did find it beyond frustrating that he had a lot of self-realizations (I know my being closed off and not sharing information is getting people I care about hurt. I’m gonna do better, I swear!) never actually turned into self-actualization. There were several times where he even acknowledged that Murphy would want to know this but then consciously chose to leave her out of it, to both their detriment.

If the author plays this angle right and we see Harry actually attempt to be better (not perfect, he is human after all, but at least BETTER) then I will be so very happy. But if he pulls a Gibbs and sticks to his bad habits, I might just have to drop him on his head.  I have high hopes it will be the former, and not the latter. If so, I will recommend this series to anyone struggling with personal self-development as a template on how to do it. First, we have to know what is broken and process how we can do better. But then we have to do better!

I also want so much more about werewolves. I loved the sneak peek into these three complex werewolf societies, but that was really all we got. It was totally needed to feed the main plot (IE keep the reader and Dresden guessing on who the big baddies are.) but it didn’t give me enough of a look into each type to be satisfied. I hope to see Dresden come up against different werewolf types in the future so we can see more into the different legends and lore.

All in all, a very fun and satisfying read that I highly recommend to anyone interested in urban fantasy mysteries and alternative lore. Looking forward to getting the next books in the series! Want to give it a try? Check it out on Amazon today! Fool Moon Dresden Files

Until next time,

Keep Reading!

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Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Book Review: Storm Front Jim Butcher

Genre

Mystery Thriller/ Suspense

Synopsis

My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I’m a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I’m the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I’m the only one there.

With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt. Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires, while he himself is under suspicion of the crimes.

Heidi’s Hot Take

I absolutely am loving The Dresden Files, but was surprised to see it was not included in paranormal mystery. My guess is because it created a new genre. It’s a genre I am a big fan of and even wrote my own series for the paranormal thriller/ suspense genre with Clear Angel Chronicles! But Harry Dresden is a trope maker, the self-aware curmudgeon, the sinner with a heart of gold. The guy who could have it all if he would just step on others to get it. Reading the first book in the series has been a delight. I have a hard time connecting him to the Harry Dresden of Legends of Tomorrow or even the Dresden Files TV series (both of which I experienced before reading the books.) I definitely love the author’s version so much more. We get a deeper look into this character who often comes of flippant and tortured, but getting to see his inner thought process is fascinating.

And that was far more interesting than the actual plot, with a magical serial killer on the loose. While that moved the story along, figuring out the killer was just not as interesting to me as trying to figure out our protagonist. That, to me, is so different from the TV series where the plot drove the story more for me. It could be the difference in age from the time I watched the series to the time I read, but honestly I suspect it is more to do with the format as I wrote Clear Angel Chronicles about the same time the TV series came out and yet my focus in the stories is much more on understanding the protagonists and solving the crimes is just a back story to guide the interactions of the MCs.

If you’ve not read the Dresden Files and you are a fan of paranormal thriller/ suspense and deep characters you really want to understand then I highly recommend you give this series a go. I am loving it and have already started on the next book in the series. Keep an eye out for that review coming soon!

You can get a sample read of Storm Front sent to your Kindle reader via Amazon.

 

 

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Book Review: 1st to Die by James Patterson

Book Review: 1st to Die by James Patterson

Hello Lovelies,

Been a minute since I got to post a book review. But I am getting back into a reading schedule and am excited to post a review for 1st to Die, a Women’s Murder Club novel by James Patterson. This has been on my bookshelf for FOREVER as a friend got it at  garage sale and knew I loved cop thrillers so gifted it to me when they couldn’t get into it. I know Patterson has a reputation for being… problematic so there was always something else I’d rather read. But I was in a mood towards the end of February so decided to give it a go.

Genre:

Serial Killer Thriller

Synopsis

Four crime-solving friends face off against a killer in San Francisco in the Women’s Murder Club novel that started James Patterson’s thrilling series.

Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.

But the usual procedures aren’t bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women’s Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving each other a hand. The four women develop intense bonds as they pursue a killer whose crimes have stunned an entire city. Working together, they track down the most terrifying and unexpected killer they have ever encountered–before a shocking conclusion in which everything they knew turns out to be devastatingly wrong.
Full of the breathtaking drama and unforgettable emotions for which James Patterson is famous, 1st to Die is the start of the #1 New York Times bestselling series of crime thrillers.

My Take

Man…. I don’t know where to start. I actually finished this book 3 weeks ago. It took me a couple of weeks to choose which of those three to read and then another week to finally open the sucker up. But only a week to devour this 462-page book. There were some plot points that even when I was deep in the thick of it had me rolling my eyes, but despite that the story kept me moving in part because of the nonstop action and in part because of the team-up of women in male-dominated professions supporting one another.

This book was published in 2001. I was in the thick of college and experiencing sexism on a previously inexperienced scale in my life. This book is problematic, but it was addressing a real issue that happened to women back in the day. While there is still gender bias today, obviously; it was much more blatant and far less policed in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Despite there being tons of laws already in place to address it.) I remember dealing with the “casual sexism” the same way Lindsey did. A caustic teasing remark or brush-off and aggravation to rage depending on the number of times it happened that day.

I remember having to fight twice as hard to be acknowledged as my male counterparts.

I remember having a long conversation with my female manager who was going to promote a male colleague to trainer over me and having to spend far too long to convince her I was the better choice and why.

So yeah, that felt real. The camaraderie between women struggling in male-dominated professions also felt real. It wasn’t just about that, there was some real development of why they liked and connected beyond that they were all slighted by men.

But the eye roll moments are spoilers so here is your spoiler alert warning.

Why did she fall for Raleigh? It is obnoxious how they get caught up in a whirlwind relationship in the middle of the biggest case of her career. And then her response to how it ends? I mean…. so problematic. IDK, maybe it would ring true with other women, but for me it was such an eye roll. I get that romance in the workplace happens. My marriage is a product of it. But I was 21 not 34. It was a temp job, not my career job, and I hadn’t been diagnosed with my degenerative disease yet.

In my 30s when I was diagnosed I had no bandwidth for romance with my partner. Admittedly, mine didn’t have a high chance of death at a young age and I was in a very established relationship so perhaps that accounts for the differences, but IDK. it jut really rubbed me the wrong way because in so many ways I really connected with Lindsay so to have this be so different from how I think I would respond is just… it was weird for me. And the prologue also seemed so incongruent.

Also, it had the perfect Gotcha with the villain and then it proceeded to screw it up. What had the potential to be a very women empowerment story ended up falling flat for me.

Which is a shame because it really gripped me. I could not put it down. I caught myself reading during breaks and pretty much any chance I got.

If you like a good thriller that makes you think, and you can overlook these problems, then this might be worth checking out.

 

I still haven’t decided if I am going to get the next books in the series. Gonna give it time to settle while I read some other books and if I still long to know what happens to the women’s murder club then I will give the next book a try.

 

Have you read 1st to Die? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!