Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51kqxes2qalUNDER the HARROW by Flynn Berry

One is “under the harrow” when one is distressed and in danger.  This is certainly the case with Nora who, on a routine visit to see her sister, finds her brutally murdered.  Nora becomes obsessed with finding Rachel’s killer, having little faith in the police to do their job after her experience with them in the past. So much of the action in this novel seems to take place “in Nora’s head” and we have to wonder if Nora’s recollections of events, both in the present and the distant past, are accurate or if they even happened at all.

Flynn Berry has written a riveting psychological thriller that will satisfy the most seasoned readers of this genre.  The killer’s identity and motivation are a clever surprise to this first novel by a very promising new writer.

873670BLACK OUT by John Lawton

The London Daily Telegraph lists Lawton as one of the “50 Crime Writers to Read before You Die” and his Troy series was selected by Time magazine as one of “Six Detective Series to Savor”.

Troy is a tiny bit “Lynley” with a smidge of “Morse” and far better with the ladies than either one of these two.  He’s from money but decided to make his way as a detective with Scotland Yard.  It’s London, February 1944, when Troy is called to a bomb site where children have found a severed arm.  It’s soon determined that a bomb was not the cause of death but that the person was murdered, and soon a link is made to a number of refugees who have systematically gone missing.

This is historical espionage at its finest as Lawton drops names like Churchill and H.G. Wells into this quick-paced and clever story that he’s concocted.  Whether he’s on his way to an interview in his Bullnose Morris or chasing a lead on a tube train, it soon becomes evident to Troy that it’s getting progressively more difficult to know who to trust.  But you can trust that this is a great read, a real page-turner.

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