Posts Tagged ‘Priscilla Masters’

Crooked Street: A Joanna Piercy Police Procedural (A Joanna Piercy Mystery)

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

This is the thirteenth book in the Joanna Piercy series.  DI Joanna Piercy and DS Mike Kopanski are asked to investigate the disappearance of a man whose wife describes him as a perfect husband.  But there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage and in any case three hours later in arriving home isn’t regarded as a priority case for an adult.

Joanna and Mike are puzzled by Jadon Glover’s wife as her behaviour doesn’t seem to be quite right for the situation.  As Jadon fails to return home the detectives dig into his background and they find the missing man has been keeping some major secrets from his wife.

The secret of his disappearance seems to lie in the cramped streets of terraced houses but who had sufficient motive to get rid of him?  This is an atmospheric and disturbing police procedural novel with its background fixed firmly in the most poverty stricken section of society and it highlights a serious problem of twenty first century life.

I haven’t read all this series featuring Joanna Piercy but those I have read have been well written with interesting characters and plots and I recommend it to people who enjoy their crime novels without too much violence.


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Dangerous Minds: A New Forensic Mystery Series

I thought this book was a really good idea for something a bit different in crime novels.  I thought it was well written and while I thought the plot was intriguing I was not quite convinced by Claire’s behaviour.  Would an experienced psychiatrist even consider for a moment attending the wedding of one of her patients who she suspects of crimes which have gone undetected?  I would have thought half a minute’s sober reflection would have told her to decline.

That said I did find myself drawn into the story and intrigued by the lives of Claire’s patients and by her own private life.  Claire herself seemed to me to be a strange mixture of intelligence and naivety and I think she was in danger of talking on responsibility for everyone and everything which happened when it was obvious to this reader at least that she had no control over many of the people with whom she was in contact.

The sinister Jerome and his intrigues weaves through the story of Claire’s professional and private life like a dark thread and his antics keep you on the edge of your seat while you’re reading.  Does he mean harm to Claire?  What about his new bride Roxanne?  I thought the insight into mental health was intriguing and that alone made the book worthwhile reading for me.

If you like crime stories which are a bit different then I recommend this first book in a new series.  In spite of my reservations about this book I shall definitely be looking out for the next one in the series as the author writes well and creates interesting characters – even if I don’t always like them! I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

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Recalled to Death: A Martha Gunn Police Procedural (A Martha Gunn Mystery)

A vagrant is discovered murdered in a local tourist attraction – the ruins of a partially built and never completed large house.  He has no identification on him and apparently no possessions at all.  DI Alex Randall is at a loss where to start and Martha Gunn, the  Coroner for the Shrewsbury area, is uncomfortable with the idea of holding an inquest on a nameless murder victim.  Randall turns to the press in desperation to try and find out something about the man.  Gradually bits and pieces of information come in and they start to build up a picture.

This is a well written and well plotted mystery and it is something out of the ordinary run of police procedural crime fiction.  I like Martha as a character – clever and curious – she likes to know all she can about the people she holds inquests on.  I am enjoying the way the author is developing the relationship between Martha and Alex and it will be interesting to see where it goes in future books in this series.

If you enjoy reading about different aspects of the legal process then you will enjoy this series which started with ‘River Deep’.  The series can be read in any order but it is helpful to read them in the order in which they were published as then you can see the relationship between Martha and Alex develop.  I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

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Night Visit

I was a little disappointed with this book.  Having devoured the same author’s Martha Gunn series back to back I was looking forward to something equally absorbing.  Unfortunately this wasn’t it.

Harriet is a GP even though she doesn’t really like people and regards her work as just a job.  Her marriage has broken up because of husband Robin’s philandering and she is left to bring up her daughter alone.  She becomes absorbed by the case of a missing girl from ten years ago when the girl’s grandfather asks her to find out what happened to ‘Melanie Toadstool’ as he is dying.

Harriet is an intelligent woman and yet she makes so many mistakes.  She lets her prejudices override her common sense and her analytical skills and chases off after red herrings when the reader can see clearly she ought to be concentrating on what is under her nose.

I did think the characters were well drawn though I could not quite believe in Harriet herself and did not particularly like her. Not a book for me I’m afraid though it may well appeal to others especially those who like crime stories with a medical background.

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Smoke Alarm (A Martha Gunn Mystery)

A beautiful old house is badly damaged by fire and three members of the same family perish in the blaze. A teenage boy – Jude – is the only survivor. Coroner Martha Gunn and DI Alex Randall feel there is something odd going on. The fire was definitely started deliberately and it seems odd that Jude’s father was conveniently absent on a business trip at the time.


But Martha and Alex will have to look to the past to find the answers as the prologue suggests. If you are afraid of fire and have nightmares about it then maybe this isn’t the book for you as some of the scenes are likely to haunt you. I found this book just as compelling as the rest of the series. It is written in a low key style with believable characters and interesting motivations. I like the fact that personal lives are only gradually revealed – apart from Martha’s – as this makes me want to read the next in the series to find out a bit more about Alex Randall.


This is the fourth book in the series and I recommend it to anyone who has read and enjoyed M R Hall’s Jenny Cooper series.

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Frozen Charlotte (A Martha Gunn Mystery)

A woman is arrives at a busy A&E department clutching what appears to be a baby which she calls ‘Poppy’. Staff get a shock when they realise the baby has been dead for several years and is mummified as well as being male not female. The woman insists she had nothing to do with the baby’s death. Martha Gunn, the coroner, feels there is more to the case than meets the eye as does DI Alex Randall.


This is a fascinating and chilling mystery which will lead the police and Martha herself down some strange byways of human behaviour before the solution is finally unravelled. I found this an absorbing read. Martha and Alex are interesting characters and I like the way, both they and their relationship are being slowly developed through the series.


I’m finding this series to be absorbing reading and this is the second one which has kept me up late into the night because I just had to finish reading it to find out what happened. If you like mysteries or crime novels which are a bit different then try the Martha Gunn series. They can be read in any order but reading them in the order in which they were published gives extra insight into the relationship between Martha and Alex.


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Slipknot (Martha Gunn)

Martha Gunn becomes involved in investigating an apparent suicide in a young offenders institution.  She is unhappy about it for many reasons as she does not believe it is a case of suicide at all.  The victim is a young boy who knifed a fellow school mate in a playground incident.  But the more Martha looks into the case the less likely it seems to her that Callum would have set out to murder the boy nicknamed Dreadnought.

Thanks to Martha’s instincts she and DI Alex Randall[prove that there is more to the death than meets the eye. I found this book compelling and harrowing reading and stayed up into the early hours of the morning to finish it. The writing is low key and the characters all too believable and I found some of the book reduced me to tears.

This is an excellent series and the books can be read in any order.  I recommend them to anyone who enjoys M R Hall’s series featuring coroner Jenny Cooper.

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