BENEATH THE WAKE by Ross Pennie
It’s fifteen months since Zol’s fiancé, Colleen, was killed in a car crash and he is desperate for a well-deserved rest. So Zol, son Max, Max’s friend Travis, and Zol’s colleague and new girlfriend, Natasha, are enjoying the high life on the Coral Dynasty, a cruise ship embarking from Perth, Australia, on its way to South Africa. Zol is hoping that the only worries that he’ll have on this trip will be enforcing the boys to wear their suits and ties at supper each night.
However, that’s not to be. When members of the crew start becoming sick with a strange affliction, Natasha is quick to offer assistance to the ship’s doctor, Noah Ferguson. She quickly realizes that the situation is much worse than first diagnosed, and she appeals to Zol to lend a hand. With limited resources to identify the pathogen responsible for the sickness, the team contact Hamish Wakefield back home for help. By coincidence, Hamish and Noah attended med school together and worked well as a team.
While they are racing against the clock to identify the cause of the illness on board, Natasha witnesses other disturbing goings-on. Certain passengers are given “special services” by the medical team and she’s disturbed by what she sees.
Once the pathogen is identified, it’s easy enough to see where this story is leading.
Though not as riveting as Pennie’s other novels in the series, there were some startling surprises along the way. Still worth the read.
THE LONG DROP by Denise Mina
This is the true story of a series of horrific crimes that took place in Glasgow in 1958. We know who the serial killer was – Peter Manuel. Manuel had been on the police’s radar for a long time but they were never able to get “the goods” on him to keep him in prison.
When William Watt is arrested for the murder of his own family but released due to lack of evidence, he is determined to clear his name and willing to pay for any information that will lead to the arrest of the murderer of his wife and children. Peter Manuel contacts him, agreeing to help.
Mina mixes fiction and parts from the transcript of the trial of Peter Manuel to bring this story to life. It is gruesome and the crimes are abhorrent. This novel is a tour de force though most certainly not a story for the faint of heart.