Tag Archives: Crime

Kross Kill by J.M. Edwards

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Kross Kill
Author: J.M. Edwards
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This was… disturbed. Which is not surprising considering the collection that I found this in. And the fact that it had the word “kill” in the title. Although, I was expecting more of a twist in this tale. It was actually a pretty straight forward, kill and murder kind of story…

I do like that although all of the bad in this happens through sheer stupidity, the guy who is a dumbass does get his comeuppance. It’s probably a little bit extreme and not necessarily poetic justice… but, still, I liked the just desserts at the end. Actually, both the dumbass bad guy and the bad guy bad guy got a pretty horrible / good ending.

Actually, I completely expected the uncle to be more of a bad ass. Certainly a determined man, but not anywhere near the level of challenge that I was expecting. Which was a little bit sad.

You know how when you read a story, there is one image that just seems to stick? For this one it’s blood splatter…

<- Nice Guy TypeLoose Lips ->

Image source: Amazon

The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman

Overview

Title: The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines and Murder Most Foul
Author: Eleanor Herman
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, History, Science
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Year: 2018

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I’ve stopped and started multiple times. It’s incredibly interesting and informative. But, it’s a little bit dry throughout. There’s good wit, humour and sass. But it’s also a lot of information in a short amount of time.

I enjoyed how this book first talked about the different (and many) caused of death in the past. How many of these deaths were often attributed to poison… but in fact were just poor hygiene and pure insanity. Of nothing else, this is a great reminder of just how far we’ve come. And how damn lucky I feel to have been born in the modern era.

Then there’s the section on historical figures which were reported to be murdered by poison. I love how Herman not only talks about those final moments, but also a little about their lives, the reasons for their apparent murder and finally the modern evidence that does or does not support poisoning. It’s very interesting reading about well known historical figures.

This is definitely one of those books that I’ll need to read again and again. It’s filled with information that I probably won’t absorb even with multiple reads. And then there’s so much follow up reading to fill my brain with!!!

<- More crimeMore history ->

Image source: Amazon

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Overview

Title: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Series: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Africa, Cozy mysteryCrime
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1998

Thoughts

I was surprised by this story. Mostly in the fact that there really didn’t appear to be any one specific storyline. I thought that there would be one underlying crime that would carry throughout this whole story. Instead, it was a series of short investigations that let you get to know Botswana and Mma Ramotswe.

Although this was very different to what I expected, I absolutely loved reading this. It kind of felt like the African sun (I’ve spent time in South Africa)… that feeling of being relaxed and content. That the world is good just for being itself and worth embracing every moment. It was so relaxed and just downright fun. Although, it also meant that I didn’t race to finish this either…

Although there wasn’t a huge underlying crime that went through as a common thread, there was one crime that had moments showing up throughout. It gave a sense of mystery without being overpowering like many of the crime stories that I’ve read. I love that there was an eventual conclusion, but it wasn’t the conclusion to the story.

This is one of those cruisy books that I look forward to reading again. I will also look forward to adding more of this series to my shelves. It was impossible to put down and look away from. And definitely has pulled me into the glorious nostalgia of the African sun.

<- More Alexander McCall SmithTears of the Giraffe ->

Image source: Kobo

Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood

Overview
Pack of thieves? : 52 Port Arthur lives

Title: Pack of Thieves? 52 Port Arthur Lives
Author: Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Susan Hood
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian history, Crime, Non-fiction
Dates read: 15th – 30th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Port Arthur Historic Sites
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: On the same day he was punished with a beating of one hundred strokes for breaking gaol while awaiting trial – he had been recaptured by the guard at Eaglehawk Neck.

Synopsis

George Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1824-36 is credited with constructing an intricate system of convict management. The idea behind Arthur’s grand plan was that convicts would sink or rise through the tiers of his multi-layered system according to their conduct. Thus, the intention was that the wicked would be punished for their sins and the good rewarded for unerring servile toil. In 1830 Arthur ordered the construction of a new penal station on the Tasman Peninsula named Port Arthur in his honour. This was to be the foundation stone of Arthur’s scheme for regulating the lives of his colonial charges – a place to which prisoners incurred the wrath of the convict administration could be sent as a lesson to all.

Arthur likened his convict system to a prison without walls. This was because the lives of ordinary prisoners were regulated by paper work rather than guard towers and iron bars. Every detail that could be gleaned about a convict was entered into a set of enormous registers which ere used to separate those considered worthy of indulgence from those whose conduct was thorught to merit further punishment. At times Arthur appeared to sit astride his system like a colonial puppet master pronouncing judgement on his charges.

This book charts the lives of 52 prisoners who served time at Port Arthur in the 1830’s. It looks at the impact of transportation upon their lives and charts the ways in which they negotiated a passage through Arthur’s labyrinthine penal colony.

Thoughts

After visiting Port Arthur, this was a fun and easy read. It was also seriously fascinating. If you read it in parts. I mean, most of the stories were someone stole something, they got sent to Port Arthur. And repeat. But then some of the daring just had me smiling… you can’t predict human nature after all.

All in all, this was an interesting journey into the world of Australian history. But, like most Australian history, it was a bit white-washed and turned softer. I remember visiting Port Arthur fifteen years ago, and the stories that you were told were a lot more honest and gritty. Not like the ones that are told now…

<- More non-fictionMore Australian history ->

Image source: Abebooks

Nice Guy Type by Sean Doolittle

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Nice Guy Type
Author: Sean Doolittle
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Ghosts
Dates read: 15th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Take the next block.”

Synopsis

There’s always the “nice guy type”. Even in death, but, as always seems to happen with the “nice guy”, they’re not always that nice…

Thoughts

Oh wow. There are so many layers of devious and revenge in this story. Which is surprising considering how short this story actually is. And, although I don’t agree with ANY of the characters’ actions… I also kind of understand some of them.

I seriously hate that saying “nice guys finish last”. Mostly because those “nice guys” generally turn out to be… Well, not nice. That is definitely the case in this story… not so nice and most definitely not finishing last.

Although this story involved a whole heap of violence and discomfort… I actually found it slightly sassy. In that humorous, but not outright funny way. I may just be a little sick and twisted though…

<- Undying LoveKross Kill ->

Image source: Amazon

Undying Love by Hilary Davidson

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Undying Love
Author: Hilary Davidson
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Ghosts
Dates read: 13th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She lived down the street from us.

Synopsis

He’s got a ferryman trying to take him to the other side. But instead, he wants to find out why there is a knife protruding from his chest. And maybe, just maybe, protect his wife from the same fate.

Thoughts

I kind of guessed that the marriage that takes centre stage in this story wasn’t quite as picturesque as one would hope and imagine. That the murder that takes centre stage probably had something to do with the marriage.  It was not quite what I had expected… but I was still right. Kind of.

I got a pretty serious Ghosts of Christmas feeling from this story. There was just something about starting a story with a man with a giant white beard that made me feel… nostalgic for that great Charles Dickens tale. And it’s always fun to wax nostalgic about things. Alright, it’s all about a murder and there was no Christmas feel to this whatsoever. But it still made me feel somewhat nostalgic.

This really wasn’t quite a romantic story, but I did like the ties that are strong even in death. Even if those ties are kind of what caused your own death… there is still that feeling of consistency even in the horrors that we afflict on one another. It might not be a great story for love, but this was certainly an intriguing one.

<- SliderNice Guy Type ->

Image source: Amazon

Slider by Reed Farrel Coleman

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Slider
Author: Reed Farrel Coleman
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime
Dates read: 6th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: I got a shield to prove it and everything.

Synopsis

A body washes up on the shore, sparking memories of a time long ago. As the tale unravels, the past and present combine.

Thoughts

I loved the disjointed nature of this story. It had “chapters” that were incredibly short (sometimes only 2 sentences). But they added to this feeling of multiple stories, multiple tales that pull you in.

This whole story has an incredibly vague, hazy feel to it. Even when you find out who the culprit is, you’re not entirely sure if it’s the “true” culprit. The one that actually did it. Things aren’t often tied up in a neat little bow… and this story really drives that fact home.

I really enjoyed how everything pulls together at the end of this story. And how you just have so many questions (and much enjoyment) when you turn that final page. Definitely intriguing and engaging.

<- Pattern RecognitionUndying Love ->

Image source: Amazon

The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4) by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)
Author: Caitlin R. Kiernan
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Horror
Dates read: 26th July 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: She wonders how it will affect the sound, those five ancient stones, how they might warp and alter this violin’s voice.

Synopsis

He’s a collector. The only thing? One collection is on public display… and then the other? Well, that one is just haunting.

Thoughts

You know that a story is going to be creepy when the lead character is called The Collector. And when the whole story is written from this eerie birds eye point of view. But, it was kind of much more intense than I had expected….

There is always something a bit eerie about Kiernan’s writing. Yet, I found this one particularly bad. Probably because The Collector is a serial killer. And you spend the whole time wondering who the next victim will be. And what the obsession with the violin is.

Nothing about this story is comfortable. But it was intriguing. And I loved that uncomfortable feeling that lingers at the end. Truly haunting.

<- Nothing Will Hurt YouHaunted ->

Image source: Amazon

Hollywood Lanes by Megan Abbott

Overview
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego: Jordan, Jon & Ruth, Phillips, Gary,  Richardson, Kat: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Hollywood Lanes
Author: Megan Abbott
In: Murder and Mayhem in Muskego (Jon & Ruth Jordan)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Thriller
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Down and Out Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She was talking about Sherry.

Synopsis

Hollywood Lanes is a bowling alley filled with a lot of drama and intrigue. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a positive place to be.

Thoughts

I knew from the collection that I found this short story in that there would be a death at some point in this story. What I didn’t predict was the form of death and the victim. Or how the story would get there. It was seriously enjoyable and a fun little ride.

One of the aspects of this story that I thoroughly enjoyed was the flickering point of views. It made this story a little more difficult to follow in some ways and added to the confusion of the tale. All of which works well for a crime and thriller story.

I’m completely intrigued by this short story. It is one that I will probably read again, find some new aspects that I missed in the last read through. It’s a fun adventure, and one that I found I enjoyed far more than expected, particularly since it’s a genre that I don’t normally read much in.

<- Murder and Mayhem in MuskegoPattern Recognition ->

Image source: Amazon

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Overview
Poirot - Murder On The Orient Express [Illustrated Deluxe Edition]  :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Mystery
Dates read: 10th – 24th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 1934
5th sentence, 74th page: This is where I’m supposed to go all goosefleshy down the back.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

‘The murderer is with us – on the train now…’

Just after midnight, a snowstorm stops the famous Orient Express in its tracks. A passenger is brutally murdered, and the luxurious train is no longer a place of safety. Everyone is a suspect.

This illustrated edition contains the complete text of Agatha Christie’s II Murder on the Orient Express, II together with 200 glorious production paintings and sumptuous photos from the new film, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Thoughts

Wow. This was a pretty, seriously intense novel. I knew that it probably would be, considering it’s so damn well-known and popular. But I really didn’t expect… this level of awesomeness. Now I just desperately want more of these books on my shelves!

Recently, I’ve been watching some Agatha Christie movies with one of my clients. I can never guess who the culprit is in these (all except one thus far have come as a complete shock). This is such a wonderfully new experience for my crazy brain that I was looking forward to trying to match my wits to this storyline. And I couldn’t predict this either, every time I thought that I might be beginning to put all of the puzzle pieces together… Christie threw another curveball my way. It was brilliant and wonderful.

One of the things about this story that I did struggle with was the amount of characters. I actually struggled to keep all of the pieces in my brain and keep track of who was who. What the motives were. What the evidence was… I’ve been assured that that’s unique to this Hercule Poirot story, but it was certainly a little bit difficult. I’m just grateful that I had the movie edition of this book, so there were many pictures to help me sort out what exactly was happening…

The thing that I loved the most about this was that I just couldn’t predict what was going to happen. This surprise, partnered with the humour and Christie’s ability to completely change register and language style completely hooked me. I am most certainly in love with this and can’t wait to get my hands on some more Agatha Christie novels…

<- Lord Edgware DiesThree Act Tragedy ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia