Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Joanne's mystery picks - 3 book review

Having read these three mysteries, back-to-back, I thought I’d do a comparison of them.  Robinson’s latest centers on the discovery of the body of a teenage boy, stuffed into a wheelie bin.  A secondary story-line involves Zelda, Annie’s father’s partner, who is a victim of human trafficking.  Banks comes across as arrogant, pompous, and acting as a lone wolf as he interviews suspects and reveals details of the cases to the very suspects that he’s investigating.  His constant references to musical artists and obscure songs has now become tiresome and boring. The rest of his team are seldom present during this overly-long story. Banks and the other characters have no personality, no individuality, and are wooden and cold.

One would never be able to pick them out of a line-up, having no real sense of what they even look like.

Crombie takes her characters out of London and into the country as Duncan, Gemma, and family are guests at the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant.  But the quiet weekend that they’d all hoped for is not to be when a tragic car accident, followed by a series of mysterious deaths, draws Kincaid and Gemma into the investigation.  The complex relationships between the characters are fully explored, giving the reader a true picture of each participant in the story. I felt that I really knew these people and understood their motivations.

Logan McRae has a particularly gruesome case to tackle, in McBride’s fourth installment of this intense series.  A legal appeal has released a convicted serial killer back into the community 20 years after his crimes. Now people are going missing again and human meat is being found in butchers’ shops.   McRae, along with DI Steele and Insch literally jump off the page as they go about the grisly task of finding the killer, leaving the reader laughing at the gallows-humour and eccentricities of these colorful, well-formed characters.   McBride’s ability to bring his characters to life is second-to-none, and even the dead victims have more life than any of the characters in Peter Robinson’s latest.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Garden of Lamentations27213092 by Deborah Crombie

The reader would do well to refresh their memory of previous events by reviewing the book that precedes this one (To Dwell in Darkness) before beginning Crombie’s latest in the Kincaid and James series.  Kincaid’s investigations center around many of the events that took place in the previous book and remembering those details goes a long way to understanding what happens in Garden of Lamentations.

While Kincaid is immersed in an investigation that easily puts him in danger, and could affect his job on the force, Gemma is thrust into another that has personal implications.  A young nanny has been murdered and the tension between neighbours where the murder took place is palpable and frightening.  And at the center is a young child whose life could very well be at risk.

As they tackle their respective investigations, Kincaid and James seem miles apart in their personal life.  It’s as if one is reading two separate books entirely, and the only common denominator is that work is taking a toll on them and their family.

Fast-paced and well-plotted, this is a great read for the most enthusiastic of mystery lovers.