Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9781770412767_1024x1024BENEATH 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.

93823THE 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.

 

 

 

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Welcome to the inaugural post of Joanne’s Mystery Picks.  Our crime and mystery afficiando will provide monthly clues to great reads!

burn_cover_optimA Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

Stevie Flint, former journalist, and now employed selling products on Shop TV, fights her way through a London in the grips of a plague that is felling residents faster than she can count. Her boyfriend, Dr. Simon Sharkey, appears to be one of the unlucky until Stevie realizes that things just aren’t adding up.  In pursuing the truth about Simon’s death, Stevie puts her life in danger again and again.  Join her for a ride through a London that is barely recognizable.

 steve burrows booksA Siege of Bitterns by  Steve Burrows

Morse is an opera aficionado (primarily Wagner); Dalgleish is a poet; and Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is a birder.  In this first of a new series (Birder Murders), Jejeune, newly posted to Saltmarsh in Norfolk, investigates the murder of Cameron Brae, an ecological activist.  He is found hanged in the marsh area near his home.  Jejeune thinks that a feud over bird watching lists has led to Brae’s death.  The very clever solution to this murder has me a fan of Burrows, without question.

 A Pitying of Doves by Steve Burrows

When Jejuene is called to a bird sanctuary to investigate the murders of two seemingly unrelated people found murdered in a bird cage, it’s all about the birds to him.  His DCS sees it differently and insists that Jejeune follow her lead.  With both their jobs in jeopardy, Jejuene hopes that his decision to follow his own path is not a flight of fancy.  Some great wordplay here again with collective nouns!

ross pennie booksTainted/Tampered/ Up in Smoke by Ross Pennie

How about a summer mystery binge read?  Then start turning the pages of Ross Pennie’s novels featuring Dr. Zol Szabo, an epidemic investigator working for the Public Health Dept. in Ontario.  In Tainted, Zol investigates an epidemic of deaths due to a new form of mad cow disease.  In Tampered, Zol’s own Grandfather is at risk when the senior’s home that he is a resident of becomes an incubator for a deathly food poisoning.  In Up in Smoke, Zol is called in to investigate the deaths of high school students in Ontario’s tobacco country.  They have all died from liver failure and he suspects contaminated cigarettes that they are buying at cut-rate prices from a near-by Indian Reserve.  Zol doesn’t just rely on his expertise as a scientist to work out the answers to these epidemics.  He has a good back-up team consisting of his young son, Max, infection specialist Hamish Wakefield, and Natasha, his lab technician.  Pennie gives us a nice change from the regular “police procedurals” with his character of Dr. Zol Szabo and borrows from his personal background as an infectious disease specialist.