Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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About the book:

Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone – and serendipity, coupled with sheer curiosity, has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behaviour and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore…

Click HERE to get your copy!

My thoughts:

This little gem of a book was hiding on the second last page on my kindle (page 126, so you can do the maths as to how many books are on there!), so I’d obviously had it on there for quite some time. 4 years to be exact, as I’ve just checked my kindle orders and I bought it back in 2013. I fancied cheating on my TBR and Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was what I chose back in late June.

We meet Clay Jannon, who used to be a web designer, but then the recession hit. On the lookout for a new job, he comes across a sign for work in Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore ad he ends up getting the job. Assigned to the late shift, Clay settles in to what he thinks will be a boring and quiet job, but it turns out to be anything but!

Strange customers, an unusual book stock and an enigmatic employer means that Clay becomes very curious about those who visit this bookstore. Upon further investigation, Clay learns that the store holds almost as many secrets as it does books.

What follows is a quest for the truth with elements of mystery and intrigue way beyond what I was expecting when I started the book. There is something about Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore that made me smile many times while I was reading it. The characters, the plot, everything was just so enjoyable that it was hard not to love this one!

Truly a hidden gem, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore will worm its way into your heart. The characters will stay with you as you join them in their quest. A truly wonderful, fun and engaging read, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is definitely one to add to your list.

Highly recommended!

The Detriment by David Videcette

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*Many thanks to David Videcette for my review copy of The Detriment*

About the book:

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

Published in June 2017, The Detriment is out now and you can get your copy by clicking the link below:

The Detriment by David Videcette

About the author:

David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch.

David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch.

As a Metropolitan Police detective, David has worked on a wealth of infamous cases. He’s placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.
Learn more on Amazon
A former Scotland Yard investigator with twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, David was a lead detective on the 7/7 London bombings investigation.

He’s been awarded several police commendations, including one for outstanding detective work and perseverance which led to his discovery of a 7/7 bomb factory during Operation Theseus.
Today he uses that experience as the author of crime thrillers, THE THESEUS PARADOX, and THE DETRIMENT, in the Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan series.

David currently consults on security operations for high-net-worth individuals and is an expert media commentator on crime, terrorism, extremism and the London 7/7 bombings.

The question that David gets asked most often is: ‘How do you pronounce Videcette?’ It’s pronounced ‘Wide-set’, just with a ‘V’. (Vyde-set).

The second question David gets asked most often, is: ‘What really happened?’ To which the answer is, ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’

My thoughts:

Having read and loved The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette when it was released, I as thrilled to be able to read an early copy of The Detriment. David has written another cracking crime thriller, another book that is rooted in recent UK history.

We’re back with DI Jake Flannagan in The Detriment, where he is tied to a desk (not literally!!!) due to his actions on a previous case. (I should mention here, to get the full picture I recommend you read The Theseus Paradox so you know what the background is.) However, Jake doesn’t take being told what to do easily. Needless to say, he plants himself firmly in the middle of the action in this one.

A planted (unexploded) bomb outside a London nightclub, a jeep driven into Glasgow airport and a dead spy are all linked together, and its up to Jake to tease out the secrets that are holding these events together. Back with his buddy Lenny, Flannagan goes on a hunt for information, but what he uncovers has a huge impact on more than just those involved in the investigation.

Returning characters in The Detriment include Shirley, Jake’s therapist, who is trying to break down the emotional barriers that Jake has put up due to the traumatic events in the past. I really enjoyed how the reader got an insight into where Jake was in his head, even if he wouldn’t talk about it with anyone else. Claire is also back in The Detriment. I think she has such great scope as a character, even if she does lead Jake astray. But let’s face it, with him it’s not exactly difficult to make him bend the rules. Or snap them completely.

I don’t want to say much more, because I hate dissecting plots when the fun is in reading them and untangling them for the reader. David Videcette has done a great job in weaving crime fact into crime fiction, A thrilling page-turner with plenty of action, The Detriment will delight Terry Hayes and Lee Child fans. It is an excellent second installment in the series, and I cannot wait to see where Jake goes next.

Highly recommended.

Previous posts:

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Detriment Publication Day Q&A with David Videcette

Big Flies by Keith Hirshland~ Ellen’s Review

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*Many thanks to the author for the review copy*

About the book:

After Chester Daniel David, highly celebrated travel writer and hospitality critic, dies in an automobile accident, his son, Leland, is the heir to his prosperous estate. Among the late writer’s possessions are stacks of magazines hidden in an attic that suggest that his stories about his world travels were less than authentic.

As Leland grew up, it seemed as if his father was never home. If he wasn’t at the exotic locations depicted in the various publications, then where was he? And what was he doing?

In a witty mystery that simultaneously follows the lives of the father and son, clues that Chester leaves behind point to notorious unsolved crimes committed within a fifteen-year span:

    • The D. B. Cooper plane skyjacking and ransom demand in the Pacific Northwest

 

    • The theft from a Caribbean museum of a twenty-four-carat-gold cross recovered from a sixteenth-century shipwreck

 

    • The inexplicable vanishing of $1 million from the Chicago First National Bank

 

    • The theft of a collection of priceless artifacts from a Mexican anthropological museum

As Leland unlocks the mysteries surrounding his father’s true life, he finds himself with even more unfathomable questions that he never anticipated asking about his family—and himself.

Click HERE to order your copy!

Ellen’s review:

“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.”

 

One of the most original books that I have read this year – I enjoyed how the stories of Leland and his father Chester were told in tandem. A chapter from Leland in These Days discovering his father wasn’t the travel writer he had always been told and then a chapter from Chester in Those Days revealing his true activities.

 

I was intrigued and entertained throughout although there was one point in the story where I got a little confused and had to go back to re-read as it seemed a bit “Bobby Ewing”.

 

Chester was my favourite character in Big Flies; his story of heists and derring do really appealed to me. The weaving of real life mysteries onto the narrative really added to the story and left me wanting to know more. I can’t leave this review without mentioning another favourite – Harriet Potter, Leland’s two-year-old Bernese mountain dog. I just loved her!

 

4 stars!

 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my Netgalley review copy!*

About the book:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Published by Hot Key Books in September, you can pre-order your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

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E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Liars site: www.wewereliars.com
blog: www.theboyfriendlist.com
Twitter: elockhart

My thoughts:

Genuine Fraud is garnering comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley from any early reviews I’ve seen. Not a book I’ve had the chance to read but it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read this one. After finishing it, I could see how, from what little I know of Ripley, the comparisons are drawn.

Genuine Fraud focuses on Jule and Imogen and their intense friendship. Seemingly polar opposites, its only a matter of time before they start to become like each other. Genuine Fraud becomes a story of reinvention and deceit the more of it you read. There are murders, fights, disappearances and plenty more going on in this book.

Genuine Fraud is a compulsive read, in that you have to keep reading to get answers to previous events, because it is told in a reversed timeline format. While it is not anything new, it is still a current and interesting read. The characters are also intriguing, chameleon-like in how they shed facets of themselves during the course of the narrative.

This book wasn’t as suspenseful a read as I had hoped, but it is still a steady read. If you’re looking for another We Were Liars, then you’ll be disappointed as this is nothing like it. I think if you’re new to the psychological thriller genre, then you will enjoy this one. If psych thrillers are your thing, you won’t find anything new with this one. That being said, it’s a solid page-turner and definitely one to watch out for.

Recommended!

 

~Mini Review~ Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy*

About the book:

In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Little Boy Lost. Its short chapters make it very easy to speed through half the book without realising it. I am a fan of legal thrillers, and this one was no exception.

There is so much more going on with Little Boy Lost though. Racism, politics, bullying and murder can be found in this book, and the author handles every theme quite sensitively.

I found that at times the flow of the book felt a bit off, in that there was time skipped and I wondered what was missing, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. Packed with great characters, and with some very current themes, it’s a very good read! 

Recommended!

The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork

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*Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy!*

About the book:

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the murder site is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene meticulously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.

Detective Mia Krüger is a woman on the edge – she has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.

But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

Published in April 2017, click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

Samuel Bjork.jpg

Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway. Øien currently lives and works in Oslo.

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I had been waiting to read The Owl… since I turned the last page in I’m Travelling Alone as it was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Something about the authors writing really captured my attention with the first book, so I was really hoping that they would be able to do the same with the second in the series.

In The Owl… we’re back with Holger and Mia. When the body of a troubled teen runaway is found posed on a bed of feathers in the forest, Holger and Mia are called in to investigate the apparently ritualistic killing. What follows takes the whole team off down a very dangerous path.

In this book, Mia is very troubled. Still struggling with her demons after the events in book one, she throws herself into this case in a bid to get herself back on track. Burying herself in solving the case seems to be the only way Mia is able to expend all of her nervous energy. Thanks to this manic energy, she manages to spot vital clues throughout the investigation.

Holger is also having a bit of personal trouble in this one, yet he still manages to keep the investigation moving forward. His daughter, Miriam, also features prominently in The Owl… She has met an activist and seems to be veering away from her marriage towards something that she does’t understand. It turns out to be bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a suspenseful and gripping slice of Scandinavian crime fiction. Packed with creepy and unusual ritualistic elements, with a very dark undertone, it is a crcking follow-up to I’m Travelling Alone.

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

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About the book:

It’s easy to judge between right and wrong – isn’t it?

Not until you hear a convincing truth.

Now it’s up to you to decide…

 

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.

There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:

Did he do it?

Click HERE to pick up your copy!

About the author:

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Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.

He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently plotting a second novel.

My thoughts:

You Don’t Know Me is one book I’d been waiting to read when I’d heard the buzz surrounding it. Essentially, it is a legal thriller, but it is written in a very unusual style if you were to compare it to others in a similar genre.

We meet the defendant, unnamed, and accused of murder. Having fired his lawyer, he decides to give his own account of what happened. Eight pieces of evidence are used in the case, and the defendant talks the jury, and the reader, through each one.

Told in the first person, using his own colloquialisms, You Don’t Know Me is a very different book. The defendant takes us through how he ended up in the dock accused of murder. His tale is an epic one, with so many different characters being brought into the narrative.

Gang culture, morality and murder are all addressed in the defendants speech. How he got to where he is now is just one of the avenues explored in his testimony. The defendant is the only voice (until the end) and the reader comes to know him a little bit more through every monologue he gives.

You Don’t Know Me is different, and odd, but it is very compelling to read. Did he do it? Why is he there? Ultimately, the reader is left with some unanswered questions but the author has written a very clever novel. It is evident that he comes from a legal background.

Compulsive, clever, and more than a little frustrating at times, You Don’t Know Me is divisive, and definitely one to watch.

Recommended!