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A twisty, intricate, and action-packed crime novel based in Scotland full of schemes, intrigue, and shenanigans. This is the ninth book in the DCI Daley series, which started with the truly fabulous Whisky from Small Glasses. Denzil Meyrick has also penned a collection of linking short stories in One Last Dram Before Midnight, and has stepped back into the past of one of my favourite characters in a tale from Kinloch, in A Large Measure of Snow. In other words, there is a fascinating world awaiting you if you’ve not yet visited Kinloch. Kick-starting straight into action, a crash-landing plane heralds chaos and change. Climate protestors, politics, blackmail, and greed all feature and sub-plots run amok, gleefully getting under the feet of Daley and Scott. This pairing is the glue that holds the series together, yet the other characters are wonderful creations in their own right. Hamish and Annie are much loved, and you may find yourself reading between your fingers at certain parts! For Any Other Truth demands that you keep on your toes as it splinters thoughts and catches emotions unawares.
An all-consuming read awaits in this wonderfully crafted, fast and sharp thriller. Colter Shaw wants to take down crooked company BlackBridge, but they will let nothing get in their way. This action-packed series began with The Never Game, and here we are already at the third book in and I’ve particularly enjoyed how the plot has continued and developed through the novels. Dare I say it, The Final Twist is my favourite in the series so far, Colter is really settling in as a must-read character. Jeffery Deaver is hugely adept at setting whip-smart plotlines and characters you care about. The reader is always kept in the dark about one or two things, which lead to exciting reveals that hit the spot at just the right moment. Here, the wow of the introduction and first chapter explodes into being, and that was it, I was as hooked as a hooked thing can be and read it in one glorious sitting. I felt as though I was in the heart and heat of the action right through to the smile-inducing end. The Final Twist is an engaging and enthralling thriller that proclaims Jeffery Deaver as the master storyteller he is.
‘The Spectacular’ by Billy Flynn, is a complex political thriller where three stories intertwine. Focusing on two modern conflicts involving the UK, Flynn’s action packed story is incredibly detailed and shows either his thorough understanding of Ireland and Afghanistan or a great deal of research. I was engrossed in the tense moment and educated on the nuances of both conflicts as I read. Although filled with action and twists, this book is more than a more superficial “all guns blazing” action story. The Author takes the time to introduce you to each storyline, letting you acclimate to each character and their perspective, all the while weaving threads of the storyline together. I was drawn even more into the story as key moments are re-lived from different perspectives, drip feeding extra detail. I felt each story is told objectively, there’s no “good guy vs bad guy” phrasing, as with most real-life conflicts, the perspective and knowledge you have when entering a situation is key. This is an immersive story, with plenty of action and grim gritty reality of warzones. A gripping and tense read from start to finish and a hint of potentially more stories to come. I think ‘The Spectacular’ will appear to anyone with an interest in political/military stories and those looking for a complex and twisting action read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘A Spy In Quarantine’ is a brilliant and unique take on fiction using the recent pandemic as a plot device. When an academic study into coronavirus track and tracing stumbles across a U.S. spy, the named researchers and the ghost-writer who conducted and wrote the thesis, are at risk from more than just the virus. I think this plotline is really inventive and a twist on the “coronavirus fiction” I’ve seen appear that takes on a science fiction or almost dystopian twist. The concept of track and trace and what secrets each individual, each contact could be revealing is really excellent. I found it a really innovative plot choice and couldn’t wait to see where the story took me. We mainly follow Takis, a ghostwriter who is employed by university faculty and students alike to conduct research or write papers. A flawed but likeable character, as the plot starts to escalate this apparent ‘know-it-all’ quickly gets out of his depth, unsure of who to trust and what to do next. Along with Rachel, the girlfriend of one of the murdered grad students, Takis needs to work out whether he can be linked to the published paper and how to stay alive. I liked the characters and the developing relationship between Rachel and Takis as they slowly begin to trust one another as they try to work out what’s going on and why the grad students credited for writing the paper have been murdered. A brilliant concept executed well, with a great cast of characters and twists and turns that kept me immersed in the storyline until the very last page. I would recommend this book for all mystery fans. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Beautifully-written, smoothly-readable, and waltzing with elegance and the intrigue of espionage, Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s The Lantern Boats is an accomplished work of historical fiction. Melding criss-crossing personal stories with the bigger-picture political climate of occupied Japan, it’s rich in details of time and place, with swathes of charisma that make single-sitting readings all but impossible to resist. Adding to the intrigue, the book’s characters are based on real people. The novel opens with an evocative scene describing the swell of the Sumida River illuminated by paper lanterns in a ritual for the dead, of which there are many as a result of the US firebombing raids that ended six years ago. Then we meet Kamiya Jun, a young war orphan with nothing - “no home, no family, no documents, no identity.” Being invisible makes him ideal spy material, and so he’s tasked by the Americans to spy on Vida Vidanto, a beautiful Japanese poet they suspect of being a communist spy. Meanwhile, part-Japanese, part-Scottish Elly Ruskin feels compelled to spy on Vida herself - she suspects her journalist husband, Fergus, of having an affair with the poet, and all while they’re in the process of adopting a child. The worlds of spy and spied-on intermesh powerfully when Fergus finds Vida’s strangled body, and then follows a gripping quick-fire succession of secrets unveiled, a tragic casualty, and hopeful beginnings.