Nasty Cutter by Tim O’Mara

Nasty Cutter by Tim O’Mara

Danger gets a little too close to home for ex-cop Raymond Donne . . 

When his fathers’ former law partner, Harry Stover, is murdered while being celebrated as Williamsburg, Brooklyns’ Man of the Year, ex-cop turned schoolteacher Raymond Donne fights his old police instincts and vows to stay out of the investigation. That is until his childhood home is broken into and one of his students is threatened.

Has a decades old case of his father s come back to haunt the Donne family? Could the murder have something to do with the victim s charitable work connecting low-income kids with business leaders in Williamsburg? Raymond never has liked unanswered questions, and when the answers come a little too close to his home and school, he decides he s not above giving the cops a little unwanted help.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Nasty Cutter is a crime novel from author Tim O’Mara and the fourth in the Raymond Donne Mystery series. I first encountered Tim O’Mara thanks to a collection of three short crime novellas by three different authors. I enjoyed his writing then, so when the opportunity to read a full length novel came up I was interested to give it a go.
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When a lawyer known for his voluntary work with underprivileged children is murdered at his own benefit dinner, Raymond Donne does all he can to leave his cop instincts behind him. The questions surrounding who might want to kill this philanthropist capture him early on, leading Raymond and his reporter girlfriend on a race to find the culprit. A decades-old crime from the lawyer’s past rears its head as a factor in the mysterious murder.

Many crime novels ratchet up the tension and the action as the story progresses. Clues are uncovered, suspects put in the frame and the pace progresses. Tim O’Mara brings something different to the genre with Nasty Cutter. Following Raymond Donne, an ex-cop turned school dean, makes for a slower pace. Rather than following the almost scripted police procedural tropes, Nasty Cutter moves at a calmer pace. Research is the name of the game, and uncovering clues is sometimes accidental.

There are numerous moments where tension is built through implied or actual threat, but overall O’Mara keeps things calm and evenly-paced throughout with a likeable, real cast of lead and supporting characters that all help to lend an interesting and engaging dynamic to what is a good, fun crime novel.

My rating:
goodread

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The Warrior With The Pierced Heart by Chris Bishop

The Warrior With The Pierced Heart by Chris Bishop

Monk turned warrior Matthew marches ahead of King Alfred to Exeter, to herald the King’s triumphant return to the city, marking his great victory at Edington. It should have been a journey of just five or perhaps six days but, as Matthew is to find to his cost, in life the road you’re given to travel is seldom what you wish for—and never what you expect. Chris Bishop deposits readers into the middle of Saxon Britain, where battles rage and life is cheap. An early confrontation leaves Matthew wounded, but  found and tended by a woodland-dwelling healer he survives, albeit with the warning that the damage to his heart will eventually take his life. Matthew faces many challenges as he battles to make his way back to Chippenham to be reunited with King Alfred and also with the woman he wants to make his wife. This is an epic tale of triumph over adversity as we will the warrior with the pierced heart to make it back to those he loves, before it is too late.

 

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Taking a trip back in time Chris Bishop transports readers into the heart of Saxon-era Britain. Roving bands of Viking raiders roam the countryside clashing with Saxon warriors and torching and pillaging farms, homesteads and settlements as they go. On his way to bring news of the victorious return to Exeter of King Alfred Matthew leads his forces on a shortcut through the forest which quickly turns into a bloody and fatal Viking ambush. Left for dead, Matthew survives the wholesale slaughter of the men under his command. Found by a Pagan healer, he is taken away to be cared for and nursed back to health.
IMG_0622His recovery is blighted by strange Pagan happenings and capture by a ragtag band of Viking slavers. This early pace whetted my appetite, raising my expectations of a bloody battle-filled tale across the Saxon-British landscape. As events unfold the potential for action is never far away. Unfortunately it never quite materialises. The story moves along well, and definitely gives a taste of what the world was like during the Saxon/Viking times. But I didn’t feel like it moved beyond a flavour.

Matthew, through the course of events in the story has a crisis of faith, calling upon it to help him through the dark times he encounters. His moral compass and his faith certainly seem to guide him through his troubles. Matthew and those he meets along the way find themselves in a variety of situations before he reunites with the King to whom he is fiercely loyal.

While The Warrior With The Pierced Heart is an entertaining enough read, I hoped for more in the way of descriptive, emotive battles where the prose transports the reader right into the thick of things. The ending brought more questions than answers. Presumably these will be cleared up in future books, but as this book worked as a stand alone book, it is a real shame that things were left unanswered.

My rating:
okaybook

We Have Lost The Plot by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Plot by Paul Mathews

London, 2046. The movie industry is coming to town for the launch of the FAB movie awards. But when British president and former actor Zayn Winner loses a screenplay he’s written that parodies fellow world leaders, all Hollywood hell breaks loose. That’s the cue for long-suffering presidential spokesman Howie Pond to be handed a leading role in the hunt for the missing script.

To add to the movie mayhem, British intelligence identifies a possible plot to sabotage the FABs ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Howie’s secret-agent wife, Britt, is tasked with identifying the plotters and averting a real-life Hollywood disaster.

Along the way, Howie and Britt encounter actors, actresses, movie moguls and more, as they’re both sucked into a story that sees them – and the people around them – lose the plot on more than one occasion.

Will the screenplay be found before Britain is embarrassed on the international stage? Can the plotters be unmasked before the dramatic denouement? Find out, in this latest crazy, comedy adventure from British drama king Paul Mathews!

I purchased a copy of this book for my personal reading.

The self-titled Quite Funny Guy Paul Mathews is back with the fifth outing for hapless presidential spokesman Howie Pond and his long-suffering secret service agent wife Britt. Having already lost the president, the pelicans, the coffee and the chihuahuas Howie has the dubious pleasure of unearthing a missing movie plot. But this isn’t any old plot, but one written by ex-actor of questionable talent and current British President of even more questionable ability, Zayn Winner. A movie plot with so many stereotypes it has the power to upset world leaders everywhere.
39809491As if that isn’t enough of a headache, Britt finds herself trying to uncover an unknown plot from unknown aggressors towards the very first Film Awards of Britain. With little to no information to go on thanks to the ineptitude of her colleague Lorraine Grayson, Britt has a race against time to uncover the plot and foil it before it ever gets off the ground.

Mathews’ fifth outing manages to tick all the boxes that have made the previous four books so entertaining in my view. Twists, turns, hilarity and intrigue abound in We Have Lost the Plot with familiar co-stars returning to support Howie and Britt including President Zayne Winner, First Lady Electra and media man Conor O’Brean, along with a new lineup of colourful figures.

We Have Lost the Plot carries on in a familiar vein as the previous books in the series with a glut of 007 references and in-jokes, classic British self-deprecating humour and plenty of jokes at the expense of the movie business. Britt works with her usual dogged attitude to uncover a plot that could very well derail the very first Film Awards of Britain, while Howie works with his usual displeasure and desire to make it to his next meal to try and locate a potentially explosive film script penned by the less-than-diplomatic President Winner.

I have had the pleasure of reading all of the books in Paul Mathews’ “We Have Lost” series. This latest instalment does not disappoint. The characters are true to form, the story is littered with characteristic humour and is brilliantly written. Five books in and the series is as entertaining as it was from the outset!

My rating:
goodread

Bindings & Spines by R. M. Ridley

Bindings & Spines by R. M. Ridley

A fifteen year old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that prey on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear,loss and betrayal.

He will soon discover things aren’t always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Bindings & Spines brings together two genre of books that I am very much a fan of; those being fantasy and mystery. More accurately it follows the urban fantasy genre. R. M. Ridley’s work is the second full-length novel in his White Dragon Black series following private investigator and magical practitioner Jonathan Alvey.
33226908In this world, the use of magic often draws on the life energy of the practitioner. This slowly eats away at their being. As a promise to a close friend, we meet Alvey suffering the withdrawal effects of going cold turkey from magic. A routine case seems to fall his way: a simple tail to prove extramarital activities. Unfortunately for Jonathan, nothing turns out quite so simply.

Aside from dealing with a particularly unpleasant gnome-like infestation in his office, the case itself is anything but what it seems to be. What unfolds is a tale of deceit, jealousy and subterfuge; an attempt to defraud someone of their inheritance. On top of all of his other trials and his ever-changing withdrawal symptoms, the town of New Hades is also suffering from the failed attempts of an aspiring necromancer that Jonathan Alvey is tasked with resolving.

Ridley’s urban fantasy is a fantastic ride with a somewhat dark sense of humour. I loved the character of Jonathan Alvey. He is undeniably damaged and knows it, but will do his best to please those he cares about and to protect those who cannot defend themselves. The world woven throughout the book is grimy and dirty with an underlying threat. So well created it feels alive. And I cannot help but picture the character of Alvey as the version of John Constantine from DC Legends of Tomorrow (actor Matt Ryan) as I read the book. I hope to discover more Alvey stories in the future from Ridley.

My rating:
goodread

Kid to Killer by Paul Elliott

Kid to Killer by Paul Elliott

A fifteen year old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that prey on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear,loss and betrayal.

He will soon discover things aren’t always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kid to Killer follows a 15 year old boy, Paul, from a relatively affluent background. He transfers to a school in a more rough part of Edinburgh. He quickly falls in with a group of boys on the fringes at school, those considered strange. He becomes fast friends with them, and learns about how life works in the darker parts of Edinburgh.Kid To Killer CoverThe streets are riddled with vagrancy and drug abusers, known as zombies. Crime lurks in the darkest corners, waiting to strike. Most residents in the Wester Hailes accept that life is what it is, and not much can be done about it. But Paul feels obligated to help clean up the city. Following run-ins with a known addict, Paul and his friends find themselves targeted once again by a group of “zombies”. An act of self-defence sees the demise of the two addicts and a life changing injury for one friend changes the lives of them all.

This one event sets Paul of on a track of vigilantism, a personal mission to clean up the city with the help of a group of people financing and guiding him to his next kill. The story flows from kill to kill, each target just as despicable as the last. The rest of the book charts one kill to the next, and Paul’s evolving relationship with his co-conspirators.

While the victims for the most part are worthy, the ethics of those giving Paul his targets become muddied over time. My other problem with the book is one of remorse. It almost struck me as though the story is glamourising murder as a means to deal with societal problems. The story is well-written enough, but the sense that there was little remorse from the characters combined with what felt a bit of an abrupt ending did slightly temper my enjoyment of the book.

My rating:
okaybook

Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn

Dead Man’s Badge by Robert E. Dunn

Career criminal Longview Moody, on the run from killers, assumes his dead, twin brother’s identity as the new Chief of Police of a Texas town that’s being terrorized by a Mexican drug cartel. To pull off the deadly deception, Longview desperately works to become the kind of cop and man that his brother was. But when the two lives he’s living converge, he’s forced to embrace the violence within him to get justice…and vengeance.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

I have to confess, I wasn’t certain how or where this books was leading to when I started out. We start out meeting our leading man, Longview Moody, digging his own grave in the Mexican desert in the dead of night. It looks like running money across borders for the drug cartels has caught up with him. I did have a concern though: was Dead Man’s Badge going to end up being a story of how Moody ended up here? Was there going to be a “3 weeks earlier” moment? Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case at all.
Dead Man's Badge CoverWhat I got instead was an intense roller coaster ride of political and agency corruption and powerful drug lords. Longview Moody escapes his early grave but the trouble keeps following him around. The untimely death of his police officer half-brother in his trailer, potentially mistaken for Longview, gave him a chance to assume the identity – a bad guy gone good.

As Moody discovers more about his half-brother, he begins to wonder if the hit really was a case of mistaken identity. In too deep, he decides to keep going and growing into his new, rejuvenated life to root out the corruption engulfing the small border town of Lansdale. The multiple factions vying for control over the area ramp up their intimidation tactics testing Moody and his new identity to the limit.

Dead Man’s Badge makes for a fun read, dark and brooding with a fast pace to boot. What I thought was an obvious direction for this book totally surprised me and kept me entertained until the final page.

My rating:
goodread

The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary

The Truth Will Out by Brian Cleary

The novel is set in Ireland. The friendship of Jamie, Shane and Mary Kate is tested to the limit after Mary Kate is brutally raped and lies in a coma. The evidence against Jamie is overwhelming and is compounded by the fact he maintains he cannot recall what happened that night. However, the one secret that Jamie has never disclosed can prove his innocence.

Corrupt guards, a narcissistic film director and his mercenary private detective, an ex-girlfriend, a serial killer and an inept solicitor all weave a complicated compelling plot with twists and turns right to the end. A gripping read.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Olivia Kiernan’s Irish crime-thriller Too Close To Breathe, I was really looking forward to another Irish book in the same genre. The Truth Will Out follows Jamie Ryan; a troubled boy with a short fuse and a violent, ferocious temper. Something that would normally not trigger more than a flash-in-the-pain argument would trigger Jamie to react with his fists. He struggled to control it throughout the years, attacking friends, school rugby opponents, anyone who angered him.
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As he grew his discovery of religion seemed to help him settle, calm himself and regain control when the rage swept through him. That is, until one fateful night celebrating a 21st birthday. The significant amount of alcohol imbued clouded his judgement, causing him to explode over a minor situation and storm out. Having passed out drunk, Jamie is awoken by police in the apartment of best friend Mary Kate who has been assaulted in the most violent, and ultimately fatal way. Maybe Jamie isn’t so in control of his anger.

Things may not be exactly as they seem in this case, and slowly the intricacies come to late. A major plot twist only serves to confuse this story unfortunately. It becomes unclear who we are following, and even when that comes out it is not immediately clear why. I think the intention was to make a mystery with some plot twists to keep the reader guessing, however it feels a confused jumble.

The Truth Will Out offered up a lot of potential for a thrilling crime mystery, and my hopes were high following my previous crime mystery novel set in Ireland. Sadly, the jumble of story lines made for a somewhat confusing read that really broke my immersion in the story. By no means the worst thing I have read, it was difficult to love this book.

My rating:
okaybook