Abandoned

Abandoned Book Cover Abandoned
Smoky Barrett, Book #4
Cody McFadyen
Crime, Female Detectives, Mystery, Thriller
Hodder & Stoughton
2009
ebook
448

For FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett, the wedding of one of their own was cause for celebration. Until a woman staggered down the aisle, incoherent, emaciated, head shaved, and wearing only a white nightgown.

No one knows who she is or where she's come from or why she's chosen to appear in a church filled with law enforcement agents. Then a fingerprint check determines that the woman has been missing for nearly eight years that once she was someone's wife, someone's mother and a cop. Imprisoning her in a dark cell, depriving her of any contact with the outside world, her enigmatic captor was a man she didn't know and who seldom spoke, who punished her only when she failed to follow his most basic instructions designed to keep her alive.

Cold, businesslike, seemingly indifferent to his victims, he's a predator with an M.O. as terrifyingly inscrutable as any Smoky has ever encountered. As she fits together the pieces of what remains of his victim's fractured life, a chilling picture emerges of a killer every bit as calculating, masterful, and professional as Smoky and the team she leads a professional psychopath who doesn't take murder personally and never makes a mistake.

There's a reason he let one of his victims go free. And by the time Smoky pierces the darkness of his twisted mind, it may cost her more than she can bear to lose to escape. For a trap snapped closed the moment she took this case too much to heart.

About the book

The start is in slow motion, then the pace picks up. I read the first two chapters in two days (ok maybe the first 4), then I could not put it down.

I read this book in English because kobo does not have the translated version in Italian (not bad, I can read a whole book in English without having problems) and I must say that I like the style of the author. Of course, even in Italian it is his style but being translated, I do not know how much structure the translator changes, so reading a book in English has been different for once.

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The Templar Legacy

The Templar Legacy Book Cover The Templar Legacy
Cotton Malone, Book #1
Steve Berry
Crime, Historic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Random House Publishing Group
February 21, 2006
ebook
514

Cotton Malone, one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, is enjoying his quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen when an unexpected call to action reawakens his hair-trigger instincts–and plunges him back into the cloak-and-dagger world he thought he’d left behind.

It begins with a violent robbery attempt on Cotton’s former supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, who’ s far from home on a mission that has nothing to do with national security. Armed with vital clues to a series of centuries-old puzzles scattered across Europe, she means to crack a mystery that has tantalized scholars and fortune-hunters through the ages by finding the legendary cache of wealth and forbidden knowledge thought to have been lost forever when the order of the Knights Templar was exterminated in the fourteenth century. But she’s not alone. Competing for the historic prize– and desperate for the crucial information Stephanie possesses–is Raymond de Roquefort, a shadowy zealot with an army of assassins at his command.

Welcome or not, Cotton seeks to even the odds in the perilous race. But the more he learns about the ancient conspiracy surrounding the Knights Templar, the more he realizes that even more than lives are at stake. At the end of a lethal game of conquest, rife with intrigue, treachery, and craven lust for power, lies a shattering discovery that could rock the civilized world–and, in the wrong hands, bring it to its knees.

About the book

The Templar Legacy is the first book in the series starring Cotton Malone, a former CIA agent, who retired in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he opened a bookshop of ancient books, his long-standing passion. The book begins when his former boss comes to visit him in Copenhagen and even before she can meet Malone finds herself in a chase through the streets of the city when her purse is snatched. Between blackmail, murder, suicide, betrayal and escapes around Europe, will the former CIA agent solve the mystery?

I like this kind of conspiracies, I like hidden secrets, I like treasure hunts, I like the dark side of people, even the most devoted have one, so the plot intrigued me a lot. Style and details not so much. First of all: if the masters were 66 and have “governed” for 18 years (average) from the XII century onward, something isn’t right in the book, because (66×18 = 1188 years governed in total by the masters) +1150 (year of foundation of the templars) = 2338… and the book was written in 2006…  we are not in 2300 now… Can someone please explain this detail to me? Yes, I’m that kind of person who counts and looks after these details.

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The Black Echo

The Black Echo Book Cover The Black Echo
Harry Bosch, Book #1
Michael Connelly
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Orion
1992
ebook
570

LAPD detective Harry Bosch is a loner and a nighthawk. One Sunday he gets a call-out on his pager. A body has been found in a drainage tunnel off Mulholland Drive, Hollywood. At first sight, it looks like a routine drugs overdose case, but the one new puncture wound amid the scars of old tracks leaves Bosch unconvinced.

To make matters worse, Harry Bosch recognises the victim. Billy Meadows was a fellow 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam, running against the VC and the fear they all used to call the Black Echo. Bosch believes he let down Billy Meadows once before, so now he is determined to bring the killer to justice.

About the book

This is the first book in the series of a Los Angeles police detective called Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. He has no family or life outside of his job, his father left the family when Harry was a kid and Harry’s mother turned to prostitution and was killed when Harry was eleven. After her death, Harry was assigned to the California child protection services. He spent the rest of his youth in a series of foster homes before joining the army. He is a Vietnam veteran traumatized by his experiences of war and after leaving the service, joins the police forces, becoming a leading detective in the Homicide Division.

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Portrait of a Killer: Jack The Ripper – Case Closed

Portrait of a Killer: Jack The Ripper - Case Closed Book Cover Portrait of a Killer: Jack The Ripper - Case Closed
Patricia Cornwell
True Crime
Mass Market
November 11, 2002
Paperback
383

In the fall of 1888, all of London was held in the grip of unspeakable terror.  An elusive madman calling himself Jack the Ripper was brutally butchering women in the slums of London’s East End.  Police seemed powerless to stop the killer, who delighted in taunting them and whose crimes were clearly escalating in violence from victim to victim.  And then the Ripper’s violent spree seemingly ended as abruptly as it had begun.  He had struck out of nowhere and then vanished from the scene.  Decades passed, then fifty years, then a hundred, and the Ripper’s bloody sexual crimes became anemic and impotent fodder for puzzles, mystery weekends, crime conventions, and so-called “Ripper Walks” that end with pints of ale in the pubs of Whitechapel.  But to number-one New York Times bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, the Ripper murders are not cute little mysteries to be transformed into parlor games or movies but rather a series of terrible crimes that no one should get away with, even after death.  Now Cornwell applies her trademark skills for meticulous research and scientific expertise to dig deeper into the Ripper case than any detective before her—and reveal the true identity of this fabled Victorian killer.

In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed, Cornwell combines the rigorous discipline of twenty-first century police investigation with forensic techniques undreamed of during the late Victorian era to solve one of the most infamous and difficult serial murder cases in history.  Drawing on unparalleled access to original Ripper evidence, documents, and records, as well as archival, academic, and law-enforcement resources, FBI profilers, and top forensic scientists, Cornwell reveals that Jack the Ripper was none other than a respected painter of his day, an artist now collected by some of the world’s finest museums: Walter Richard Sickert.

It has been said of Cornwell that no one depicts the human capability for evil better than she.   Adding layer after layer of circumstantial evidence to the physical evidence discovered by modern forensic science and expert minds, Cornwell shows that Sickert, who died peacefully in his bed in 1942, at the age of 81, was not only one of Great Britain’s greatest painters but also a serial killer, a damaged diabolical man driven by megalomania and hate.  She exposes Sickert as the author of the infamous Ripper letters that were written to the Metropolitan Police and the press.  Her detailed analysis of his paintings shows that his art continually depicted his horrific mutilation of his victims, and her examination of this man’s birth defects, the consequent genital surgical interventions, and their effects on his upbringing present a casebook example of how a psychopathic killer is created.

About the book

This book is not fiction but an essay, a summary of the research done by the author on Jack the Ripper. I read this book for the Popsugar challenge prompt “True Crime” and therefore I had no expectations.

I find the book a bit confusing. I liked it as an essay, but it jumps from one period to another without chronology and I think, my personal thought, that if you are writing a report of a real person’s life, you need to chronologically plan the book or at least a little bit more chronologically that it is; you can’t jump from one period to another and then go back. She talked about Jack’s first murders, then she jumped to those who may have been his own murders but that have never been attributed to him, only to return to those attributed to him a few years earlier. I know it is divided into chapters and each chapter has its argument, but even more so, putting chapters in chronological order is wiser in my opinion. And she talks a little bit too much about the watermark of the paper… but I noticed this in her books, too, she is too much detailed on certain things and often the common reader is bored about it (and also it’s boring to those who know about argument because they already know those things).

The Body in the Library

The Body in the Library Book Cover The Body in the Library
Miss Marple, Book #3
Agatha Christie
Mystery
Kindle Edition
February 1942
ebook
224

Colonel Bantry has found the strangled body of an exotic blonde bombshell lying on his library hearth - and the neighbors are beginning to talk! When Miss Marple takes an interest, though, things begin to move along nicely, and its all far more convoluted - and sordid - than the genteel Bantrys could have imagined.

A curmudgeonly financier, his self-absorbed adult children, a couple of pragmatic and clever hotel workers, tons of money and influence, a wild local lad, some smitten girls, the film business, mix into a classic Christie plot filled with twists, turns, and double-backs galore. Plus the glorious settings of A Great House, a fancy Hotel, and an excessively genteel little village, and let's not forget Miss Marple...

About the book

This is a fairly old book, I read it for the Popsugar challenge “a book set in a bookstore or library” and therefore I had no expectations. I’ve never read anything about Agatha Christie and I do not think I will read anything else about the author. I found this story a bit too simple.

I have a question: isn’t the series titled Miss Marple? Because I met her only twice and I’m on page 47…. I thought she was going to be more present… Maybe in the other books she is more present but not in this one and I’m sad about it.

The book is nice, obviously being a dated book is not one of those complicated that exist now and that obviously I like more, but the reading was pleasant, simple even if as I said I hoped for more Miss Marple. All right, she solves the case, but being the protagonist (more or less) I would have liked more presence. It was a little obvious who the killer was, reading the mysteries written nowadays, solving the case before the protagonist of an “ancient” book is common I think, but I did not see the small final twist.

The title, among other things, especially the English one (The Body in the Library) reminds me of an episode of the Bones TV series…

Those Who Follow

Wienerbrorskapet Book Cover Wienerbrorskapet
Fredrik Beier, Book #1
Ingar Johnsrud
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Aschehoug
January 15th, 2015
Hardcover
445

What starts off as a simple case of a missing person soon turns into a hunt for a brutal killer in a drama involving the members of a doomsday cult and monstrous experiments in racial purity dating all the way back to World War II. However, the tie to the past is yet to be uncovered when Superintendent Fredrik Beier is called to the scene of a mass murder in the outskirts of Oslo. The victims belonged to the isolationist doomsday cult "the Light of God". Initially, everything seems to point to a religious vendetta, but Fredrik and his new partner Kafa Iqbal are sceptical and soon another line of inquiry emerges. Fredrik suddenly finds himself in the middle of a murder case, hunting not only for a faceless killer, but also for answers as to what lies hidden in the sect leaders' mysterious pasts.

About the book

A Norwegian Christian sect is brutally attacked on their farm. A lot of the members are slaughtered, while others disappear. The police find a chemical laboratory when they arrive on the scene. Everything points to an Islamic group, but policemen Kafa Iqbal and Fredrik Beier discover that there is a bigger conspiracy, composed by a group of scientists who met in the 30s in Vienna.

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Isle of the Dead

Isle of the Dead Book Cover Isle of the Dead
Isle of the Dead, Book #1
Alex Connor
Crime, Historic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Quercus
January 1st, 2013
Paperback
528

In 15th century Venice it is a dangerous time to be alive. A permanent winter has rolled in over the canals and bodies keep washing up on the banks of the city. These bodies are especially hard to identify, since they have been skinned.

In the present day, a famous portrait by Titian has been discovered. Its subject: the 15th century suspected murderer Angelico Vespucci. The skins of Vespucci's victims were never found, so his guilt was never proven. Although it is rumoured that when the portrait arises, so will the man. And when flayed bodies start turning up all over the world, it looks like this is more than just a superstition. A murderer has been called back to life, and he is hungry for revenge.

About the book

I read this book for the Popsugar challenge of “Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenges”, I chose “a book of a female author”. At first I was convinced to read this book for the prompt “book with a heist”, but I remembered the title uncorrectly, even if there is a robbery in the book, but it is a very small fact compared to the actual robbery. Luckily it’s okay for another prompt (not that I wouldn’t read an extra book).

Of the author I read “The Caravaggio Conspiracy” before this and I really liked it. Sometimes (not always) I like intrigues born in the past and then brought into the present. This book starts in 1500 in Venice and ranges from London, Tokyo, New York and Venice itself.

When Gaspare Reni, an art collector, and Nino Bergstrom, his adopted son, come in possession of a Titian painting portraying the sixteenth-century murderer, Angelico Vespucci, they are alarmed by what might happen. There is a rumor that when the painting emerges, the sixteenth-century killer will also return, and in fact, shortly afterwards the one who found the painting is brutally murdered. Will Nino and Gaspare manage to get to the bottom of the painting legend, or will it be too late for the victims?

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Cause of Death

Cause of Death Book Cover Cause of Death
Kay Scarpetta, Book 7
Patricia Cornwell
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Berkley Publishing Group
August 1st, 1996
Paperback
356

It is New Year's Eve, the last day of Virginia's bloodiest year since the Civil War. Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. What kind of story was Eddings chasing below the icy surface of the Elizabeth River? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone reporting the death before the police were notified? She soon discovers that Eddings' murder is merely the first layer of something much deeper --- a labyrinthine conspiracy that will put all of her criminal and forensic knowledge to the test like never before. For Scarpetts, the real challenge won't be cataloging the growing number of dead bodies, but preventing herself and those she loves from becoming the next victims.

About the Book

Cause of Death is the 7th book in the series of detective stories about Kay Scarpetta,

I liked the book itself, the plot is compelling and when it comes to nuclear, I’m all for it since I’m a chemistry major, the only flaw is Kay, I know that is the main character but I really can not stand her relationship with Wesley or her long speeches with her niece… in all the books I’ve read so far, it is the usual story with Lucy. I liked Marino more here, even if I did not like him in the previous book or at least his jealousy, here I found his character improved with both Kay and Lucy.

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Lycke

Lycke Book Cover Lycke
Ellen Tamm, Book 1
Mikaela Bley
Crime, Mystery
Scribe Publications
March 26th, 2015
Paperback
352

‘Death, death, death,’ she whispered to herself. But it was already too late. The panic was growing inside her.

On a cold and stormy Friday in May, a young girl disappears without a trace from outside Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall.

The missing girl is Lycke, and assigned to report on her story is TV4’s hot-headed crime reporter Ellen Tamm. As the police begin their search, Ellen starts her own investigation, delving into Lycke’s life: her family, the nanny, the kids who taunted her at school.

As Ellen is drawn deeper into a tangle of secrets, lies, and betrayals — and frustrated by the odd behaviour of Lycke’s family, as well as corrupt police, her upstart new boss, and the disturbing threats being made against her — she becomes more and more possessed by the task she has been given, tortured by the echoes of her own past, of the darkness that haunts her.

Will she find Lycke before it is too late for either of them?

Mikaela Bley’s debut, 'Lycke', is the haunting first novel in the Ellen Tamm thriller series, and is an exciting new voice in Swedish crime writing.

About the book

Lycke is a Swedish detective story and the first in the Ellen Tamm series. Ellen is a journalist and has some personal problems, the one that stands out most is that she is a bit obsessed with death. She also has a secret and the disappearance of a child is likely to bring out this tragic part of her life.

I like the fact that the “secret” of the protagonist comes out in the middle and not immediately or at the end of the book. The reader thus becomes curious but does not need to read the entire book to ask what happened.

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2018 Cloak and Dagger Challenge

I have joined the 2018 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge.

I’m a bit late joining but there are still signs up so I think it’s still okay. I don’t know whether the books I’ve already read since the new year are fine for the challenge, I will check back later and modify this post if they don’t count. I will add them for now. If you’re reading this and it’s after April 15 that means it’s fine, if not I will have added an “Edit” note at the end.

I read a lot of mysteries, I pretty much read only them (that’s why I always have trouble finding titles for other challenges) so I’m going for 26-35 books – Inspector.

Reviews for these books will come during this year, I will update this post when they are published.

I need to remember to use #CloakDaggerChal tag when posting…

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