Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina – Book Thoughts

Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Hachette

I previously reviewed the first two books in this series: Still Midnight and The End of the Wasp Season. This review contains no spoilers for any of the earlier books.

Publisher’s description:

It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK-47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. He opens the door and bows his head; the robber fires off the AK-47, tearing the grandfather in two.

DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Yet upon investigation, none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather-a life-long campaigner for social justice-is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she discovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined.

So, lesson learned. Three books in three months is too many to commit to in a genre that isn’t one of my absolute favorites. I absolutely loved Mina’s Still Midnight, but my appreciation of Gods and Beasts is more after the fact. Mina did some things here that really shocked and surprised me, and in a good way. Oh, the revelations! I can appreciate now the way things came together and the intricate process the writing of these books must be. That being said, while reading I just wasn’t captivated, and I think it is largely because it was all just too much for me. Mina’s Alex Morrow series is a gritty police procedural and that is something I rarely read. The first one was a novelty for me and, because it was also extremely well-written, I found it a delight. As the novelty wore off, so did my delight (although, as I said, I can still appreciate Mina’s craft because objectively she’s really quite wonderful), so this was more of a push until the end when things coalesced.

Someone remind me not to read a whole series in one of my non-dominant genres on a scheduled, okay? Still, I hope Mina is continuing with this series because once I get a little space from it, I know I’m going to be more than ready to continue on with Alex Morrow’s journey by the time the next book would come out, especially with those shockers at the end of Gods and Beasts.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher, for BOOK CLUB.

 

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The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina – Book Review

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, an imprint of Hachette

She’s a young woman who misses her mother, a girl who just had to suffer through her mother’s protracted illness, attempting to pay for her care. She isn’t expecting the boys. The boys who come in, shouting about the children they are sure she has, the children she doesn’t have. The boys who are oddly unafraid and – terrifyingly – don’t seem to care whether or not she knows who they are, whether or not she can identify them.

The End of the Wasp Season presents a difficult case for Detective Alex Morrow. The facts of the case are hard enough on their own, with the brutal murder of the young woman, and the situation is complicated by her pregnancy with twins – a pregnancy that makes her particularly nervous after she lost her young son – and the tenuous situation in the office ever since Bannerman was promoted. It is all a bit of a shocking transition from Still Midnight, actually. Alex is in a very different place in this book than she is in the last, which is actually sort of disconcerting, because the reader doesn’t really see her journey, it all happens off screen.

For me, this case had less immediacy than the one in Still Midnight. The victim in Still Midnight had been kidnapped and the case was time sensitive but in The End of the Wasp Season the victim is dead and it doesn’t seem that anyone else is in danger. Still, I liked to see Alex’s growth, as I became attached to her

If you’ve read The End of the Wasp Season, you can join us here tomorrow to discuss it.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

 

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Still Midnight by Denise Mina – Book Review

Still Midnight by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, an imprint of Hachette

It is an unprofessional kidnapping. A teenage girl gets her hand blown off, an old man – the wrong man – is taken. Do the kidnappers even have the right house in the quiet Glasgow suburb? At first it seems quite possible to Detective Inspector Alex Morrow that this whole thing is a mistake, although that doesn’t exactly help get the elderly hostage back. This is a case that gets to Morrow, this family disrupted in the area where she grew up. In order to solve it, Morrow has to revisit some of the people from her past and, in doing so, perhaps put her entire job at risk.

Still Midnight has one of those openings that leaves you going, “huh, what now?” The first 30 pages or so are a bit slow for exactly that reason, as the reader tries to figure out exactly what is going on. Once everything becomes clear, though, Still Midnight becomes an exceptionally engaging book. First, there is the mystery; clearly there is something happening that is not quite what it seems. In addition, Morrow herself is a fascinating character. She is sick with loss and a need to prove herself while also hiding her past.

I ended up really loving Still Midnight, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, The Wasp Season. If you’ve read Still Midnight, we are discussing it on June 11th, 2013 on Nicole’s blog.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

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End Me a Tenor by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review

End Me a Tenor by Joelle Charbonneau
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

End Me a Tenor is the second in the Glee Club Mystery series. I have previously reviewed the first book in the series, Murder for Choir.

After months of coaching the Prospect Glen show choir, Paige is finally starting to get the hang of things, at least a little. So when she’s told that she needs to help her students learn an entirely new number in a scarily short amount of time or risk losing her job, she understandably panics a bit. Of course, things aren’t all bad, Paige is getting an amazing career opportunity singing in a production of the Messiah with an amazing tenor, David Richard. Paige runs into David exactly three times: first, he is being punched in the face by the maestra; second, he insults her; third, he takes a sip from his water bottle and falls down dead. Now Paige needs to practice for the role of a lifetime, try to keep her day job, and do her best to solve a murder before she becomes the next victim.

The first book in this series, Murder for Choir, was very enjoyable, but with End Me a Tenor Charbonneau has really hit her stride. She’s got the cozy thing down pat, while still maintaining some of her own voice, so recognizable from the Rebecca Robbins skating series. It would be quite helpful to read Murder for Choir first, because it introduces Paige and a number of important (and vibrant) secondary characters, but if you pick up End Me a Tenor on its own you won’t get lost, by any means.

If you’re in the mood for a fun new cozy series, I highly recommend Charbonneau’s Glee Club Mystery series.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington – Book Review

Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

Lila is really happy with her new life. She’s moving into a cute new cottage in Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, and being a literary agent seems as if it is her perfect job. Even the men in her life are falling into line. Sure, she hasn’t gotten much time yet with her handsome police officer beau, but there is definite potential there, and her son’s time at the commune up the road seems to be maturing him – which is a relief after how concerned Lila was about him deferring college. Everything seems pretty close to perfect, until the Inspiration Valley Book and Author Festival. First Lila has a run-in with a strange and menacing man, then she finds the body of a dead editor who could be her twin. Now Lila needs to figure out what happened and why, or it could be The End for her.

Every Trick in the Book is the second in the A Novel Idea Mystery series, but I did not feel that I was missing anything significant by not reading the first book, although it seemed as if Lila’s personal life is starting to pick up and it will become progressively more difficult to pick up the series without reading the earlier books as it goes on, so it is a good thing I’m getting in now. Honestly, though, I think the best cozies are the ones where it does matter, at least a little bit, what order you read them in. Like Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef series, where the main character and her relationships with those around her grow and change over time. Every Trick in the Book is very much in that vein, with a very engaging main character and a fun style.

As fun as it is, there is a bit here that seems anachronistic. One is the fact that Lila’s agency still accepts queries by mail, which is not terribly common any longer – although they do seem to communicate mostly by email, which mitigates that a bit. The other is a reference made to the Twilight series, saying that Bella would ‘become a vampire’ by the time something happened. Considering the last Twilight book (in which, spoiler alert, Bella does become a vampire) came out about 5 years ago, and even the last movie came out about 6 months before the book was released, this seems an odd reference. However, I noticed both of these issues towards the beginning of the book and there either were no more after that, or I was having too much fun with the story to notice and care because this is a very engrossing cozy.

This is a very enjoyable read and, seemingly, a very promising series. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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