Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's always exciting to find a new author with an existing series. No waiting!

Jane Casey
St. Martin's/Minotaur
August 2011

London is in the grip of panic after the brutal murders of four young women. The killer, dubbed by the press as "The Burning Man", attacks his victims with a stun gun, a claw hammer and boots and then sets the bodies on fire. Maeve Kerrigan is a young Detective Constable attached to the task force charged with apprehending the killer and has worked long hours in the search, putting her health and relationship with her live-in boyfriend in jeopardy. When a fifth victim is found, Maeve notices enough differences to make her think the new victim might be be a copy-cat. When she presents her doubts to her charismatic boss he assigns the new case to her to investigate separately. The victim, Rebecca Haworth, was a young woman who should have had everything going for her, but upon closer examination was in a downward spiral.

The Burning is a very solid police procedural with extremely well drawn characters. The story is told from several viewpoints, primarily those of Maeve and the friend of the latest victim, Louise. While I had pegged the real killer very early, Casey threw in a few red herrings that kept me doubting my own judgement. Maeve herself is an appealing character, very likable, and very driven to find the answers. I am looking forward to catching up with the next four books in the series. The Burning is a great read for fans of psychological crime fiction.

Thanks to netgalley and St. Martins for a digital copy of The Burning.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Arroooooooooo! Anne Bishop's Murder of Crows Delivers!

MURDER OF CROWS (The Others #2)
Anne Bishop
Penguin Audio
March 4, 2014

Anyone who read my review of Written in Red last year knows that I was blown away by it's originality and thought it was one of the best urban fantasies of the year (or any other). Anne Bishop has a history of building fully realized and entirely believable fantasy worlds, peopled by characters that jump off the page. She succeeded brilliantly with her first venture into urban fantasy and once again with her second, Murder of Crows

Meg Corbyn is settling into her life among the terra indigene; the shapeshifters, vampires and powerful elemental spirits inhabiting The Courtyard. Even though Meg is human, her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her safe among them. She has built relationships and even friendships and they are determined to keep her safe. However, the humans surrounding The Courtyard are becoming more and more aggressive and breaking all agreements. Meg begins to have visions involving blood and black feathers and the dangerous drug, "gone over wolf" is showing up everywhere. "The Controller", the man who kept Meg and other cassandra sangue imprisoned and abused seems to be at the bottom of the the unrest. He is determined to get Meg back, even at the cost of war between the terra indigene and the humans. Simon Wolfgard, leader of The Courtyard, knows that they must move quickly to avoid all out war. The question is, do the terra indigene of other regions feel that the effort is worth it or has trust eroded too far?

The characters we met in Written in Red, both human and "other" are back, along with new characters. Simon, the same aggressive and angry wolf no matter what his form, is finding that his relationship with Meg is very important to him. He is not exactly happy about it and is more than a little confused. Meg is still finding her feet in a world she has only a limited understanding of but retains the spirit that has allowed her to survive so far. I have absolutely no idea where the relationship is going but I certainly am enjoying the journey! "The Controller" is entirely loathsome, as is his associate, Mr. Jones. What has been done to the cassandra sangue is truly appalling and can't continue to stand. All this leads to a very explosive ending.

The ending is the only slightly disappointing part of Murder of Crows. Since the humans are so outmatched I didn't feel much tension about it. One wonders how the human inhabitants of this world can be so arrogant and stupid as to think they could win a war. Conflicts in the past have ended in wholesale destruction of human towns and cities and there is no reason to think a new war will end any differently. The only difference is that The Courtyard's inhabitants are trying to avoid the conflict. Despite this quibble, I highly recommend Murder of Crows.

RATING- 4.5 Wolf Howls