Darkness on the Edge of Town

There’s a murder in a small town and the local police require help. Enter Laura Cardinal from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Cardinal is an excellent investigator, but not necessarily the most popular. She soon begins to make inroads into the case. But not even Cardinal could predict where the investigation will lead her.

Darkness on the Edge of Town is the first book in the Laura Cardinal series. It’s a crime thriller in which the case unravels as Cardinal makes progress. As the case develops and Cardinal gets closer to the perpetrator, the pace increases. The book is a good, solid story.

Rating (out of 5): ***

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July Crisis

28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo by Gustavo Princip. One month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Within days, Europe is at war. The bloodiest war to date, with an estimated nine million soldiers killed over the course of the four year conflict. But what happened in the month between the assassination and the outbreak of war?

The month between the assassination and the outbreak of war is the focus of July Crisis. The book looks at the decision making by the key actors across the Great Powers as Europe drifts towards war. As war gets closer, the chapters cover shorter periods of time as relations become more strained and discussions become more desperate.

July Crisis is an excellent study of the the July Crisis and very readable. It’s an outstanding and accessible book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Desert Places

Andrew Thomas is an author of crime thrillers. A successful author, with an enviable lifestyle. But one day, things abruptly change when he receives a note advising there is a body on his property. The instructions in the note need to be followed or else the police will be notified. With little choice, Thomas follows the instructions. But he could never imagine where following the instructions would take him or what he would discover as a result.

Desert Places contains is a story of discovery and revenge. It contains some grizzly murders at the start of the story and becomes more of a thriller as it progresses. The pace doesn’t seem to pick up as the story progresses, whilst the biggest surprise of the book is near the start. The book didn’t really grab my interest at any point and I wasn’t desperate to find out what would happen next.

Rating (out of 5): **

Origin

During the construction of the Panama Canal, something is discovered. It’s taken back to America and kept top secret in an underground facility. The reason? It might be the Devil. So when it awakes, there are questions. But the team inside the facility all want something, which the creature is happy to give them for a price. Which ultimately results in it escaping it’s captivity. The President actions the contingency plan of a nuclear weapon. But can the team escape? And will the creature?

Origin is a horror thriller and the pace increases after the creature escapes. The book was a little different to what I normally read and was ok. I can’t say it was impossible to put down, but it was an easy enough read.

Rating (out of 5): ***

#Tokyo45: The Final Days of World War II

The war in Europe ended in May, but it continues in the Pacific as Japan fights on. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of victory for Japan, but no surrender is forthcoming and America is gearing up to invade the Japanese mainland in what will undoubtedly be a bloody battle. The comes to a quick and sudden end with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what would the key decision makers have been thinking at the time?

That’s what #Tokyo45 looks to imagine. In the form of tweets. Decision makers on all sides are given imaginary Twitter accounts and the narrative of the end of the war is told through tweets on a daily basis. The start of each day contains a short overview of a key decision maker or location. It’s a great way of presenting all sides of the story leading up to the dropping of the bombs and the aftermath of them.

Rating (out of 5): *****

#Havana62: To the brink of nuclear war

October 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The world watches. Waits. The world is aware that it is days, possibly even only hours away from nuclear war. The only way of staying informed is through the newspapers and news reports on the television and radio. But what if the Cuban Missile Crisis had happened 50 years later? The story would dominate round the clock news; it would also be trending across social media. Enter #Havana62

#Havana62 imagines the Cuban Missile Crisis from fictional Twitter accounts from the protagonists, imagining their perspective on the situation as it develops. Accounts often tend to look at one perspective, or examine one side first and then the other; #Havana62 looks at both sides at the same time through the imaginary tweets as the crisis is examined day-by-day. There is also background to the crisis from earlier in the year and short profiles at the start of each day of either those involved or the weapons involved.

It’s a different and interesting take on the Cuban Missile Crisis and I thoroughly enjoyed and strongly recommend the book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Liquidator

British Special Security are tired of embarrassing situations; it inevitably leads to embarrassing questions. It’s decided that action is needed to avoid situations in the future. Mostyn, the second-in-command is entrusted with ensuring that problems are removed before they become a problem and he believes he knows just the man – Boysie Oakes. When Oakes heads off for a weekend away with Mostyn’s secretary, he soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that would result in a situation beyond embarrassing. Can Oakes save the day?

The Liquidator is the first in the Boysie Oakes series and gives the back story as to how Oakes became a secret agent. It also shows what type of character Oakes is and he’s not the standard secret agent/assassin material.

A gentle comedy combined with a thriller, it’s different to what I’ve read before and was an enjoyable read.

Rating (out of 5): ****