September Picks

Galbraith, Robert (2022) The Ink Black Heart. Sphere.

When Edie Ledwell, the co-creator of popular YouTube cartoon The Ink Black Heart, pleads with private detective Robin Ellacott to uncover the identity of Anomie, her online persecutor, Robin turns her away. Then Edie is murdered in Highgate Cemetery. Robin and her partner Cormoran Strike become embroiled in a quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. As they attempt to unmask Anomie by entering a game based on the cartoon, and interacting with obsessive fans, they become engrossed in a complex and misogynistic world of aliases, rape and death threats, and conspiracy theories.  The sixth tome (1,012 pages) in the Strike series. A cautionary wild ride that is superbly plotted by an adroit storyteller (JK Rowling). Big fan, roll on book seven.

Rating: 9/10

Coben, Harlan (2022) The Match. Century.

The Boy from the Woods, known as Wilde, was found as a child living a feral existence. In this sequel he begins the search for his birth parents. When a DNA match identifies his father he thinks that he may be able to solve the mystery of his abandonment. Then a second unexpected match sets him on the trail of a missing cousin which puts him in the way of a serial killer thereby exposing the dark secrets of his origin. Chaotic.

Rating: 7.5/10

Cleeves, Ann (2022) The Rising Tide. Macmillan.

Vera Stanhope, star of TV’s Vera, returns in her tenth novel.  A murder at an old friends’ reunion brings DCI Vera to Holy Island (aka Lindisfarne). An ageing group of school friends return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember one of their number lost to the rising tide of the island’s causeway. Vera and her team must find out what secrets the friends are hiding. How can long-ago events be the catalyst for murder? As they doggedly investigate and secrets are slowly exposed the detectives find themselves in danger. An enjoyable mystery with multiple suspects. Do not expect the Vera of TV fame though.

Rating: 8.5/10

Vaughan, Sarah (2022) Reputation. Simon & Schuster.

Emma Webster is a devoted mother and a respected Member of Parliament. She is ambitious and has sacrificed a great deal for her career. However the glare of the spotlight is unrelenting, leading to threats, trolling and countless insults. As she lobbies for legislation to combat the impact of online abuse and revenge pornography on the lives of women, her own fourteen-year-old daughter is subject to heartless bullying causing their lives to intersect. Then a man is found dead in her home. What is a reputation worth? A twisty psychological thriller about the dangers for women in public life.

Rating: 8/10

Walker, Martin (2022) To Kill a Troubadour. Knopf.

When Les Troubadours latest folk music offering Song for Catalonia goes viral it provokes outrage amongst Spanish nationalists, leading the Spanish government to ban the song. Then suspicion is raised of a potential sniper attack on the songwriter at an upcoming St Denis concert. In a joint operation the French and Spanish governments call on Bruno to track down a group of extremists. At the same time Bruno is protecting a friend from an abusive ex-husband. He has his hands full – but once again Bruno to the rescue! Book fifteen in a wonderful series of meals with crime.

Rating: 8/10

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