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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Brother Kemal by Jakob Arjouni

Brother Kemal
(translated by Anthea Bell)

This book was a little different from the things I usually get asked to review. Firstly, it is a translation, from German. Secondly, the author is sadly no longer with us, having died of pancreatic cancer, aged only 48. This is therefore, unfortunately, his last book.

Although I found the first chapter slightly slow to get started, once I'd got into the story, I was gripped. And, incidentally, once I got to the end of the book, it became clear why some of the information at the beginning of the story that felt superfluous actually needed to be there.

Private investigator Kemal Kayankaya gets involved in two investigations in the course of this novel and although one involves a missing teenager, and the other involves the protection of an author at the Frankfurt Book Fair, it's only a matter of time before the two enquiries overlap and cause chaos.

By the end of the book, I felt that I was in very good company with Kemal Kayankaya, and all the other well-conceived characters, and would have been happy if the book had gone on longer.

The story has humour, grit and suspense and I found it an interesting read. It is actually the fifth in the Kayankaya series, so there are plenty more to read if you wish!
Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.
You can find out more here.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Hunting Shadows by Sheila Bugler

Hunting Shadows

This is a dark tale, and the darkness works on a number of levels. Firstly, it's about a missing child and the terrible repercussions on her family that her absence causes. But it's also dark because the main character, DI Ellen Kelly is battling to cope with the death of her own husband and the damage this has done to her family.

It also turns out that Ellen has to live with the fact that she took the law into her own hands and confronted her husband's killer. There's a lot of back story here, and I assume it will continue to be explored in future Ellen Kelly mysteries. I hope so, anyway.

Possibly one of the most moving, and disturbing, aspects of the story is that concerning Rob York, father of Molly - a previous missing child whose story had the most tragic of endings. Rob's misery, and the extremes it leads him to, become instrumental in the case, and yet another thing Ellen has to deal with on top of her family problems and the, sometimes equally serious, issues of her colleagues.

On top of this we have a twisting and turning plot, and a genuinely gripping race against time.

I recommend this book to thriller lovers, and look forward to more in the series.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.