Joanne’s Mystery Picks

HEART OF THE CITYheart-of-the-city-9781476740577_hr  by Robert Rotenberg

After the events in Stranglehold Ari Greene distances himself from his life as a cop and takes a job on a construction site for a new condo development in Toronto.  His life has been changed dramatically with the discovery of a 21 year old daughter of whom he had no prior knowledge.  When he stumbles across the body of Livingston Fox, condo developer, he is reluctantly thrust back into his former life, in pursuit of a vicious murderer who does not stop at killing only Fox.

After an awkward reconciliation with Daniel Kennicott, his protégé, Greene and he join forces once again as they follow the money in the high-stakes world of downtown development in pursuit of Fox’s murderer.  Like any case, once you crack the secrets you’ve pretty much cracked the case.  In this case, some of those secrets strike very close to home for Greene.

Rotenberg provides us with a first-class mystery as the suspects start adding up.

It’s Greene who works it all out in the end – to a startling and unexpected conclusion.

THE SEAGULL by Ann Cleeves35963210

When Vera is asked to visit her local prison to give a talk on the repercussions of crime on its victims, she’s confronted by former DS John Brace, now an inmate for corruption and his role in a death.  He wants to strike a deal with Vera. He’s prepared to provide her with information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious figure at the time he disappeared almost twenty years ago.  In return, he wants Vera to look out for his daughter and grandchildren.

Vera’s investigation into this cold case plunges her back in time to her years living with her father, Hector, and brings up disturbing memories of his illegal activities.

Marshall was someone she remembers as having visited their house along with Brace and two others, all friends of Hector.

The more Vera digs into this case, the closer it gets to home. With Hector being one of the last people to see Marshall alive, Vera is forced to consider the possibility that Hector was involved in Marshall’s death.  As Vera reflects on this time in her life we’re given a better understanding of how her past and her years of living with Hector in such a dysfunctional household have formed the person she is today.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

16074348STRANGLEHOLD by Robert Rotenberg

What do you do when you are arrested for first degree murder and the arresting officer is someone who you’ve been mentoring?  That’s what Ari Greene is faced with when he stumbles across a homicide and Daniel Kennicott takes him into custody.  Suddenly all of Greene’s secrets are secrets no more.    And how can he clear his name while he’s confined to house arrest while awaiting his trial?  As Ari fights to prove his innocence, another “fight” is taking place in Toronto – that for the election of the new mayor.

Greene begins to realize that not everyone is as they seem and there are far too many things in their pasts that are coming back to haunt them and those close to them.  The line between politics and his private life is becoming blurred and his situation is becoming more precarious as the days go on.

Rotenberg provides a real page-turner with this fourth book in his Greene/Kennicott series and his clever ending had me almost applauding.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

The Guilty Plea51pnjsr39el-_sx308_bo1204203200_
y Robert Rotenberg

Robert Rotenberg entices us with his second novel in his legal thriller series.

Detective Ari Greene attends the scene of the murder of Terrance Wyler, the youngest son of the major food conglomerate, Wyler Foods.  It looks like an open and shut case when Wyler’s estranged wife, Samantha, walks into her lawyer’s office holding a bloody knife.  But if his first novel, Old City Hall, is anything to go by, we know that it’s not quite as cut and dried as that.

Rotenberg peels away another layer from his returning characters, exposing more of their back story and their motivation.  I like Detective Greene and Officer Kennicott and how they work together, balancing their weaknesses with their strengths, to get the job done.  They both know that to crack this case they’ll have to get to the root of all families – their secrets.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

61vonbd6otl-_sx340_bo1204203200_CRIMSON SNOW: Winter Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards

Cozy up with a hot drink and a warm blanket and immerse yourself in these winter mysteries by some of the best writers of this genre (eg. Margery Allingham), and some not so well known (eg. Fergus Hume).  This seasonal collection serves up a variety of stories from a “locked-room” mystery to the typical “puzzle” story.  Many of these authors belonged to the Detection Club so you can be guaranteed of a good detective story with every page that you turn.

Edited by Martin Edwards, himself an award-winning crime writer, each story has been chosen to bring a frisson of excitement to the reader and succeeds admirably.

old-city-hall-9781451673494_hrOLD CITY HALL by Robert Rotenberg

When Kevin Brace confesses to his newspaper delivery man, Mr. Singh, that he has just killed his wife, his status as Canada’s most famous radio personality is quickly replaced by that of “murderer”.  With his confession it’s an open- and- shut case, isn’t it?  It might appear so, initially, but as Detective Ari Greene begins his investigation, he finds inconsistencies in Brace’s story, and family secrets that lead him to believe that this is anything but an open-and-shut case.

In a legal drama, very much reminiscent of Scott Turow, Rotenberg treats us to the court-side of Toronto.  His characters are richly fleshed out and “real”.

Rotenberg himself is a criminal lawyer, and his knowledge of the law, the court system, and forensics adds the necessary authenticity to this novel to make us believe the story as it’s laid out in front of us.  This gripping novel keeps us guessing right un553px-lib_maple_leaftil the end, and with the little “twist” that we encounter there, we just keep on guessing.

It’s a great read, book 1 of a series and Canadian.  It doesn’t get much better than this!