Tag Archives: books: crime-procedural

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by @RobertBryndza

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster, #4)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

One-Sentence Summary: A serial killer is targeting young girls and Erika must stop him

Review: One of my favourite crime authors is back with the latest book in his fantastic crime series and it is everything you’ve come to expect from an Erika Foster novel: the detective forces herself on a case and will stop at nothing to solve it.

I love her relationships with Moss and Peterson and they were at the forefront of this novel just as much as her battles with her superior officers.

Like I’ve said before, the fact that most of the story takes place in familiar locations to me of South East London and Kent is a real added bonus and Bryndza’s descriptions certainly make me feel like I’m right there with the characters.

Now we’re four books in, I can’t help but wonder when the case that killed Erika’s husband is going to come back to haunt her ….

‘It’s your bed… I’m not used to sleeping on such a soft bed,’ she said, tipping her head back and enjoying the release on her tense shoulders.
‘Erika, that’s a really expensive memory foam mattress.’
There was a knock at the door and Moss entered, just as Erika said: ‘Well, it’s not hard enough for me…’
‘Sorry, is this a bad time?’ said Moss, looking between them. Peterson dropped his hands.
‘No, we were… It’s fine,’ said Erika, sifting through the papers in front of her.
‘And we were talking about my mattress, my mattress not being hard…’ said Peterson, moving back around the desk.
‘It’s memory foam. The mattress. Very soft,’ added Erika. There was an awkward pause.
‘Thank God for that,’ grinned Moss. ‘Although I do have a friend who’s tried Viagra, and he says it’s changed his life… Another friend thinks laughter is the best medicine, but I suppose that’s not very helpful when it’s things going soft.’
‘A soft mattress is very good for you,’ said Peterson, a little defensively. Erika and Moss started to laugh. ‘It is!’
‘Come on, I’m only teasing,’ said Moss, giving Peterson a nudge.
‘Idiot.’ He grinned. Erika was pleased they’d had the opportunity to laugh, even for a moment. It had broken the tension.

Nothing Stays Buried (Monkeewrench #8) by P.J. Tracy

Nothing Stays Buried (Monkeewrench, #8)In retrospect, she probably could have been more tactful, but that was another thing she considered a deplorable waste of time.

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

One-Sentence Summary: The Monkeewrench crew Versus a Cartel serial killer

Review: The Monkeewrench series is without a doubt my favourite crime series out there and P.J. Tracy never disappoints.

This plot in this book revolves around Magozzi and Gino’s hunt for a serial killer targeting female joggers and leaves a calling card next to the bodies. At the same time, the Monkeewrench crew are looking into a missing person’s case as a favour to a sheriff out in the country. Needless to say, it soon becomes apparent that their cases are linked leading to a manhunt out in the middle of nowhere.

In addition to the serial killer manhunt, Tracy throws in a tornado to amp up the action and I was riveted by the last quarter of the book which read like something out of Twister the film crossed with Criminal Minds the TV show.

As ever though whilst the whodunnit element is interesting, what really makes this series the best is that the mother-and-daughter writing team have created such a fantastic family in Magozzi & Gino and the Monkeewrench gang that it is an absolute pleasure coming back to them time-after-time. There are also a number of secondary characters in this book, like Walt and Jacob, that you warm to and you’re on tenterhooks hoping and praying that the serial killer’s latest victim will be found alive.

It saddens me to hear that P.J. has passed away. I only hope that Traci will continue writing this series in her memory.

“Lesson number one—don’t ever argue with a pregnant woman, or she’ll take a pound of flesh, and it’s not the flesh a man wants to lose.”
Magozzi crawled out from under the crib. “That’s kind of a generous weight estimate, isn’t it?”
Gino smirked. “Speak for yourself.”

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by J.D. Robb

Echoes in Death (In Death, #44)Eve angled her head. “Good. That’s good. Either way. If Mira’s right, we’re looking for a schmuck with an Edison thing.”
“Edison? Like Thomas?”
“Who’s Edison Thomas?”
“I mean Thomas Edison. The inventor?” Peabody explained. “The lightbulb?”
“No, for Christ’s sake, this isn’t about lightbulbs. Like the sicko guy who married his own mother, then whined about it.”
After a moment’s confusion, Peabody’s own lightbulb went off. “That’s Oedipus. I’m pretty sure that’s Oedipus.”
“Edison, Oedipus, platypus. Whatever.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

One-Sentence Summary: Dallas hunts a serial killer targeting rich married couples

Review: 44 books into this series and J.D.Robb is nothing but consistent in her greatness.

For those trying out this series for the first time, you will enter a world that despite being set in the future and having all the benefits of superior technology (Autochefs, gliders, droids …), there are still some things which have never changed from the present day: humans still kill each other and human detectives are still needed to solve these crimes. Dallas and her tightknit team, including her billionaire husband Roarke, will always make sure justice is served.

For those who are familiar with Eve and Roarke then whilst the case does not involve or directly affect Dallas or her small circle of family and friends, it hits a little too close to home given what she went through as a child and it is interesting watching her try to solve the case whilst keeping those memories at bay.

As ever some of Dallas’s banter with Peabody and Roarke is one of my favourite things about the book, as is the ever faithful cat Galahad.

I think it’s fair to say that this is an all round welcome addition to this solid series.

“I thought we’d dive right in to The Avengers rather than take you through the individual vids establishing the characters.”
“Exactly.” He went to her, took her hand. “Ironman, for instance.”
“Like Cal Ripken, Jr.?”
“Ha – got you on one. Cal Ripken, Iron Man Ripken – late-twentieth-century baseball player, Baltimore. Third base, shortstop. Still holds the record for most consecutive games played.”
“You often amaze me,” he said as they started out.
“Well, it’s baseball. Ironman, but not like Ripken.” Her eyes narrowed. “Is this porn?”
He laughed. “It isn’t, no.”
“Ironman sounds suspicious to me. What are the others?”
“There’s Thor, the Hulk,” he began.
“Sounds like porn.”

2016 Love Is … Book Awards

What better way to celebrate my birthday and kick off the flood of end-of-year posts then picking out my favourite books of 2016:

2016 Crime – Procedural
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Crime – Thriller
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Non-Fiction
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Non-Fiction – Biography
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Cop
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Enemies To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Fake Relationship
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Festive
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Firefighter
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Friends To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Friend Of Sibling
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Novella
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Reconciliation
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Sport
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Suspense
Winner & Runner-Up

In order to qualify all books have to have been published in 2016

Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3) by @RobertBryndza

Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

One-Sentence Summary: A girl’s skeleton found in a quarry brings the old team back together

Review: There’s so much to love about this crime series: the combination of the fact it is set in towns near me that I am familiar with – Lewisham and Bromley, the very Britishness of it with mentions of Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Deal or No Deal, the amazing characterisation and of course the gripping whodunnit element. When I’m reading, I really feel like I’m there with Foster crime-fighting on the streets of South East London.

There was just one scene – that scene between Crawford and Amanda Baker – that I could have done without imagining thank you very much.

Best crime series of 2016!

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by J.D. Robb

Apprentice in Death (In Death, #43)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

One-Sentence Summary: Dallas and Roarke stop at nothing to stop a couple of snipers targeting New York City

Review: Even though I am far from caught up with this series, tuning into a new J.D.Robb book is like coming home. The characters, relationships, setting, future, technology, Galahad (<3) all become familiar after a couple of outings with this series and it’s as comfortable to read as it would be to slouch on your settee watching the latest episode of a CBS procedural crime drama.

If you are a fan of such TV dramas, then the crime in this book is not necessarily a new one but where Robb does continuously well is the characterisation and dialogue that makes it all seem so real, even if it is set 40 years into the future.

Whilst the main characters in the book obviously have history with each other built up in the 40 preceding books and there are small mentions of events that have happened previously, this should not stop the casual reader from giving this a go.

As for me, I’m just waiting for my personal AutoChef to arrive to provide me with a steady stream of coffee before I start work on getting up to date with this series.

The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster #2) by @RobertBryndza

The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster, #2)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

One-Sentence Summary: Detective Erika Foster is back in action tracking down a serial killer in South East London

Review: I love the second book in a series– the first book lays all the groundwork with the characters, the setting and relationships so the second book always feels like you’re coming home to a familiar world but there still many layers of the main characters to peel back and discover. That’s the reason why I have no hesitation to say that I enjoyed this latest Detective Erika Foster offering even more than the first.

I go past those bits of the tracks just outside London Bridge twice a day on my commute to/from London and every time I see those houses mentioned in the opening of this book, I always wonder to myself who on earth would live there?! Definitely not me after reading this book! Is there anything scarier to coming home to realise that your sanctuary has been invaded and someone is waiting in the dark for you?

Bold move going against the “white, male” stereotype of serial killers and it worked well. The plot had me hooked from the beginning and even after it was revealed to the reader who the killer was, I was just as interested in finding out how Erika was going to catch them. The only loose end that I could see was that it was never really explained how the killer was finding out where all her victims lived, or more importantly Erika who I am guessing is definitely not in the phone book? I suppose the perp had some hidden hacking skills.

As to the ending, I was angry on Erika’s behalf at the way she was passed over for promotion and, dare I say it without sounding like a raging feminist, in real life it would probably have a lot to do with being a woman (and a foreigner to boot!)! I love the world created in Lewisham though and Erika’s friendship with Moss, Isaac and Petersen so whilst I’d like to see her start over in another station on principle, an ideal solution might have her moving somewhere else and then a case (Jerome Goodman?) brings her back? Which brings me onto wondering just how long we have to wait before Erika’s showdown with the man who killed her husband? Any clues Robert Bryndza?

2015 Love Is … 5* Books

Congrats to all my 2015 5 Star authors …..:

5Star Reads


2015 Love Is … Book Awards

2015 Crime
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Non-Fiction
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Animals
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Cop
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Cowboy
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Enemies To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Fake Relationship
Winner & Runner-Up

Fake Relationship

2015 Romance – Festive
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Firefighter
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Friends To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Novella
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Reconciliation
Winner & Runner-Up

Past Love

2015 Romance – Sport
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Suspense
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Entangled Publisher
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Harlequin Publisher
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Favourite Romance Series
Winner & Runner-Up

Lauren LayneSarah Morgan

In order to qualify all books have to have been published in 2015

Devoted in Death (In Death, #41) by J.D. Robb

Devoted in Death (In Death, #41)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Cover: Yay

Review: Hmm, I never know what to shelve the “In Death …” books under: crime or romantic suspense? I figure since they’re heavily procedural crime-based then it has to be crime, especially since Roarke/Eve starting doing it in Book #1 (granted, they’re still doing it 41 books later – that must be love!) but then they keep appearing under ‘romance’ when it comes to Goodreads Choice Awards. Hmm, a conundrum.

A bit like this gem of a conundrum that confuses Eve in this book (and one that I find myself asking of every unfortunate American which crosses my path):

“Up from southeast Texas, hit Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas. Why is S-A-S pronounces S-A-W? It should be Ar-KANSAS. Did Kansas object?”
Oddly enough, he found the question perfectly just. “I can’t tell you.”

Anyway, here we are 41 books down the line and still going strong. Whilst I have read a few of the earlier books, I can’t claim to have read even close to half of them and I usually loathe to read a series out of order but when I got an ARC of Robb’s latest masterpiece, I had to dig straight in.

And good news, not much prior knowledge required! There are mentions of an event, which I can only assume happened in the previous book, but this book hardly dwells on it which is convenient for the casual reader.

For those who need the basic 411 then here goes: Eve Dallas is a crime-fighting cop in NYC. In the future. She works mostly with her sidekick called Peabody. Eve also has a gazillionnaire, incredibly good-looking hubbie in the form of Roarke. There are a multitude of secondary characters who drift in and out of the books and who you will grow to like. Especially Gallahad the cat.

The crime in this book is something which I am 99% sure I’ve seen in an episode of Criminal Minds or some other crime drama I’ve been known to gorge on: a madly-in-love couple takes a roadtrip across America, killing people because the excitement enhances their lovemaking. Nothing too original. What makes this story original is the fact that it is Eve and her lovable crimefighting team that are intent on taking them down: the cops make this book interesting, not the crime itself.

No doubt hardcore fans will enjoy this book but if you’re a first-timer looking to get into the series, then this book is as good a place to start as any.

“Take Banner,” she told Roarke, then walked over to poke Peabody’s shoulder.
“Not now,” Peabody rolled over. “We can do it in the morning.”
“Ick,” was Eve’s opinion, and gave her partner a firmer poke.
“Uh-uh, in the morning.” But her eyes blinked open, stared blindly at Eve. Then cleared. “What? You? Where?”
“Get McNab up, go to bed, and I don’t want to hear about the morning.”