The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway #10) by Elly Griffiths ~ Archaeology & Italy #CrimeFiction #Mystery @ellygriffiths

Author: Elly Griffiths

Published: February 2018 by Quercus

Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway leaves Norfolk behind for the hilltop town of Castello degli Angeli in sunny Italy when she receives a phone call from an old colleague and one time lover, Angelo Morelli. Bones have been discovered at a dig in the Liri Valley. They could possibly be Roman, but there are some inconsistencies and Ruth’s expertise is called for. Ruth is feeling an unusual need for a holiday after events lately, and the realisation that DCI Harry Nelson’s wife’s surprise pregnancy has spelled the end of her newly burgeoning hopes, despite the fact there are doubts about the paternity of Michelle’s baby. So, together with her daughter Kate, best friend Shona and Shona’s son Louis, Ruth travels to Italy.

Back in Norfolk Nelson is called to a building site when human bones are uncovered. Asking for Ruth to attend the scene, he’s more than put out to discover Ruth has taken Kate to Italy without mentioning it to him. More unwelcome news involves someone he helped convict and send to prison ten years ago, has been released early. When he was sentenced, Mickey Webb threatened to get even with Nelson but now seems to have found Jesus and become a new man. Not that Nelson believes that for a moment. More worrying however, is the news of an earthquake in Italy.

They have ordered lunch and are chatting in a desultory way when Nelson becomes aware that the TV is on in the background. He’s not keen on televisions in pubs unless they’re showing football, but he takes a glance in case there’s a match on. Instead he sees grainy newsreel shots and the running footnote that he always associates with disasters.

Earthquake in Lazio, Italy. Many feared dead.

Worries about Ruth and Kate increase when the phone goes unanswered, and he and Cathbad, Ruth’s friend and the partner of one of Nelson’s team, book a flight to Italy.

The storylines initially run concurrently, with a marked contrast between Italy and Norfolk . Events are escalating in both places and, despite the sunshine and holiday atmosphere, the seemingly idyllic Italian town has its darker undercurrents and the past rears its ugly head in the form of a nasty murder. Ruth is uncomfortable staying in the apartment Angelo has made available for their use as it becomes obvious someone doesn’t want them there. 

The repercussions of Italy’s role in the second world war and how it affected the descendants of those who were involved in certain roles added an interesting historical thread to the story. 

I love the way Elly Griffiths writes about her characters–the insight, self-deprecating humour and their complicated relationships. This really is a quite a large part of the storylines, especially this one, with the murder/mysteries sometimes taking second place. Engaging and realistic, the characters are well developed, and the mix of archaeology, history and crime make this a very readable and enjoyable series. Nelson is torn between his feelings for Ruth and wanting to do right by his wife. Ruth understands and respects him for that while at the same time feeling down about the whole situation. 

The return of DS Tim Heathfield complicates matters even more, and leads to a shocking twist at the end, which is bound to have consequences for all involved. Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Elly Griffiths was born in London. The inspiration for her books about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway came from her husband who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist. Elly lives near Brighton but often spends holidays on the wild Norfolk coast. She has two children and a cat.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter  

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Wild Inside ~ A Novel of Suspense by christine_carbo #policeprocedural #crime

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

Another audiobook this week, The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo. A debut novel, it was released in June 2015 by Blackstone Audio and narrated by R.C. Bray

Twenty years after teenager Ted Systead witnessed his father being dragged from their tent and killed by a grizzly bear while they were camping, he finds himself back in Glacier National Park investigating a similar crime. Ted is a Special Agent for the Homicide Division of the Department of the Interior living in Denver, and is assigned to the investigation with Monty, one of the park rangers. 

Ted was traumatized by his father’s death and it still weighs heavily on his mind. The difference with the present case is that the victim was a meth addict, bully, animal abuser and generally reprehensible. He was duct taped to a tree, shot and subsequently mauled by a grizzly bear. That a bear is involved brings back horrific memories for Ted.

I squeezed my eyes shut and pictured my ma and my sisters at home in their warm beds. I ached for my mom, for her arms around me. Then I heard the screaming again in my head. Right between my ears, expanding and pushing against my skull. I started to run, first stumbling, then full force. I ran and ran, faltering and tumbling over the hard, lumpy ground, over the edges of buried rocks and exposed roots on the well-maintained trail. I ran until it all went black.

I like Ted as a character, he’s complex and sometimes withdrawn, given to introspection. Because he identifies so much with the type of crime and the place it was committed, the emotional impact threatens to compromise his investigative process. Together with the suspicious, generally less than helpful community and the seemingly uncooperative park supervisor, Ted and Monty are finding it very difficult to close the case.

I very much enjoyed the beautiful and majestic setting of Glacier National Park and the information woven into the narrative on the wildlife and scenery. The genuine love of the Glacier National Park shines thorough, along with the intrinsic dangers, potential hazards and savagery of the natural world.

A really good debut novel, with a compelling storyline. Just one little niggle, it’s a little too wordy in parts for me, with some mundane details unnecessary to the storyline, which I think would have detracted more had I been reading it. There was a lot of the narrative spent with the protagonist’s thought processes too, but this is very much a character driven, procedural mystery, so in the main wasn’t out of place. The characters are distinct and fully developed and Ted’s pysche is explored, it seems to me, with accuracy and understanding. A completely unexpected perpetrator, I would never have guessed. Christine Carbo is definitely an author to watch out for.

RC Bray gives Ted’s ‘voice’ a very human and emotive quality, with a great narration as always, moving seamlessly between characters.

A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death.

Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers—a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness.

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy #1) by Peter May ~ Murder/Mystery on the Isle of Lewis @authorpetermay #BookReview

Author: Peter May

Performed by Peter Forbes

Released on Audible: February 2018 by riverrun

Category: Murder, Mystery, Crime, Drama, Book Review

When a brutal murder on the Isle of Lewis bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. But since he himself was raised on Lewis, the investigation also represents a journey home and into his past.

Set on the Isle of Lewis, the largest island in the Outer Hebridean archipelago off the north-western tip of Scotland, a remote and harsh world where the ancient traditions and way of life are still followed. Fin Macleod, a native Lewis man, now a detective living in Edinburgh, is sent back to the island when a murder is discovered in his own village of Crobost, with distinct similarities to the case he’s working on. The victim is Angel Macritchie, the bully from his schooldays.

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#GuestPost by @RachellAmphlett & #Excerpt from Call To Arms (Kay Hunter Book 5) #NewRelease

I’m delighted to welcome Rachel Amphlett with a guest post and extract from her new book, released yesterday. Call To Arms is the fifth book in the Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series. So without further ado, it’s over to Rachel….

How a character changes through a series

I’m often asked by readers if it’s possible to read the Kay Hunter books as standalones, or whether it’s best to start at the beginning with book one, Scared to Death.

In truth, each of the stories can be read separately and any order because the main crime is always solved, but I think to get a real sense of how Kay Hunter’s character has developed over five books, it is better to start at the beginning.

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Broken Promise (Promise Falls #1) by @linwood_barclay #crimefiction #BookReview #FridayReads

Author: Linwood Barclay

Published: September 2015 by Orion

Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Book Review

The morning it all started, newspaper reporter David Harwood had plenty to worry about. A single parent with no job, forced to return with his young son to the small town of Promise Falls to live with his parents, the future wasn’t looking too rosy. So when his mother asked him to look in on his cousin Marla, who was still not quite right after losing her baby, it was almost a relief to put the disaster his own life had become to one side.

Five years ago, after his wife died, David Harwood and his young son, Ethan, left Promise Falls after David gave up his job as a reporter for the Promise Falls Standard, and accepted an editing position at the Boston Globe. It wasn’t ideal though, as David’s work meant he was out most evenings and missed spending time with his son. When he heard the Standard needed a reporter he opted to return and move in with his parents until he found a place. On his first day back at work the paper closed. Not an auspicious start but things were about to get a whole lot worse.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann #AudioBookReview @SuzBrockmann #Supernatural #Suspense

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week I’m revisiting Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann. The audiobook was released in 2010 by Brilliance Audio and the narrators are Patrick Lawlor and Angela Dawe. 

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Force of Nature by @janeharperautho ~ Thriller Set in Australia #BookReview @LittleBrownUK #TuesdayBookBlog


Author: Jane Harper

Published: February 2018 by Little, Brown Book Group UK

Category: Thriller, Suspense, Book Review


Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

Force of Nature has a measured pace, similar to that of The Dry, except the conditions are the total opposite. Instead of a life threatening, damaging drought, it’s the depths of winter, freezing cold, wet and windy. Set mostly in the rugged wilderness that is the Giralang Ranges, with the unforgettable association to the serial killer, Martin Kovac, the story follows a group of five women on a team building exercise, a corporate retreat, hiking the bush trail over the course of a weekend. Only four came back.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Witness by Nora Roberts #Crime #Suspense @NoraRobertsFans #Audiobook

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This audiobook was released in 2012 and narrated by Julia Whelan. At the time this was one of my favourite Nora Roberts’ standalones and it was also one of my first reviews, before I really knew what I was doing.

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