Friday, December 27, 2013

Hi ho the cherry o, a hunting we will go.

"Hunting Shadows" is a police procedural in which two murders take place outside of London at the end of WWI. The action is at the end of the war but has connections to the battlefield.

Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is sent to investigate. One death takes place at a wedding where the victim was a guest. The other person shot with a rifle was a politician about to give a speech.

There are many people to be interviewed with both men killed in the same manner. However, Rutledge can't find anything connecting the men. He thinks it might be connected to the war and asks local police to gather the names of war vets.

The story follows Rutledge's investigation and we learn more of the population and habits of the time. At one point Rutledge is in a village and there is a copper, a hurdle maker, and an ironmonger among other occupations and businesses.

The characters are unique and refreshing as is getting a literary picture of the life at that time in history.

The story moves along at a liesurly fashion which is appropriate. In some stories it's easy to guess who the villain might be but Charles Todd keeps the reader guessing to the conclusion. I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to historical mystery fans.

Friday, December 20, 2013

You'll be gone on this tragedy

Details in "Tragic" are what I would imagine if I were reading a New York newspaper and an article about the happenings of a union of dockworkers.

Robert K. Tanenbaum gives a good description of the characters as we learn of three men who were part of a 'hit' on a union official who felt that the last union election was rigged and he wants an audit of union funds.

Gradually, we learn of the victim's life and his wife and infant son. We also learn of the hit men, in particular two men who were talked into joining the third who is a half crazy Russian mob wannabe.

There are many characters in this complex novel and the crooks try to save face and turn on each other when things go badly. We read of the police evidence and justice is served. In developing the characters two of the men who were persuaded to join the Russian are well described as we follow their journey from a small time hood to a part in a murder.  Their descriptions are done so well that it makes them someone the reader really gets to know about their motivation.

The courtroom scenes are also very realistic and filled with legal details but the chief antagonist is described in a way that makes him seem stereotypical.

Because of the temperament of the thieves, there really wasn't much suspense in the story and the outcome was predictable. However, the readers who enjoy legal mysteries should enjoy this book very much.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Police as you've never seen before.

In a suspenseful novel, we find Harry Hole who was seriously wounded at the conclusion of the last Jo Nesbo novel and some readers couldn't tell if he survived.

In this story, someone is killing police officers at the scenes of a murder they had investigated but not solved.

Surprisingly, Harry doesn't make an appearance until well into the story.

He is now a lecturer and in love with Rakel. He seems torn between devoting himself to her or, continuing policing investigations and putting evil people in jail.

The bodies pile up as more police officers are killed. Additionally, these murdered officers are killed in vicious ways. Finally, Harry is enticed to join the investigation.

Also, there is a badly wounded man in a hospital under police guard. It is not until deep into the story that who this man is and why he's being protected by the police.

The story is set is Oslo, Norway with author Jo Nesbo doing an excellent job in keeping the reader guessing as to who is the murderer. We also feel the tremendous tension as a new target is chosen by the killer.

"Police" is an excellent, multi-layered crime story with characters who are well described and an exciting plot. While the story is complex, it is believable and written by an author who is one of the best at his game.
His writing has been compared to the great Steig Larsson and I believe that the comparison is justifiable.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading
Broken Promise