We discussed 8 books at our last meeting, and apart from one they are all 4-Stars or more

The Visitor by Lee Child
Clover was surprised and delighted to realise she’d never read this Jack Reacher story and it felt as if she was discovering the books all over again. This is Book 4 in the series and was published way back in 2007. Two ex-army career women are found dead in their own homes, naked, in baths filled with green paint. The FBI reckon they’re looking for a serial killer. Probably a loner, ex-army and smart, who was known to them both. And Jack Reacher fits the bill. There are a couple of red herrings to distract you but the truth is discovered eventually. Even though the book is old, Clover says it’s a cracking read and gave it 4-Stars.

Devil’s Bridge by Linda Fairstein
This is number 17 in a long series about the New York District Attorney, Alex Cooper, and her friend (and now lover) Detective Mike Chapman. In this one, Alex is kidnapped by people unknown. The whole citywide police network grinds into action to find her. The main suspects are a man who is currently on trial, a shady ‘preacher’ with a reputation for extortion, and a man who escaped from prison who during his weeks on the run repeatedly threatened to kill Alex. In the end, of course, Alex is found but the identity of the kidnappers comes as a bit of a surprise. Freyja found it rather too long and convoluted, and the ending predictable. She didn’t think it was all bad but only gave it 2.5 Stars.

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler 
This is a story about a young couple who have moved to Bristol. After their arrival two men are killed and the husband, Danny, disappears. Gemma, his wife, goes to the police and it’s then her perfect life begins to unravel. Nothing makes sense any more. The police are equally baffled and cannot not make up their mind if Gemma has committed one or three murders (there are other murders in London where they have come from). You have to get to the end to find the surprising truth. Norfolk Gal says: “I found this book a bit slow in places but it was worth sticking with, and I give it 4 Stars.”

Slow Burn by Stephen Leather
The latest in the Spider Shepherd series. An ISIS bombmaker is bargaining to be given asylum in the UK with information he has about terrorist cells. So Shepherd is sent to Syria to bring back his wife and son. He’s also charged with interviewing three young jihadi brides who are trapped in a refugee camp having been stripped of their UK citizenship. Shepherd has to discover if they might also have information useful to the security services. So far, so simple. But into this mix you can add Mossad, MI5, MI6 and a terrorist plot in London involving drones. This is another thoroughly entertaining and fast-paced thriller in the Spider Shepherd series. Cornish Eskimo thought it a really great read and awarded 5-Stars.

House of the Hanged by Mark Mills
Having previously read (and reviewed) Where Dead Men Meet by Mark Mills, Freyja chose House of the Hanged which is set in 1935. Tom Nash, a British writer, has been living at the very western end of the French Riviera for 5 years where he surrounds himself with lots of friends. Before moving to France Tom had been a spy but he’s put that life behind him – or so he thinks. One night he gets an unwelcome visit from an Italian assassin. Tom is the one who triumphs in the encounter and before finishing the man off manages to extract the name of the person who supposedly wants Tom dead. The trail leads him to the Soviet Union, a country where he lived and worked just after WW1. So, the question is, which piece of Tom’s past is catching up with him now? Freyja says: “I liked this for the above-normal quality of the writing, for the resourceful Tom, and for its suspenseful story. You can never be sure who Tom can trust but finding out gives the reader a pretty exciting ride.” 4.5 Stars.

The Darkest Place by Jo Spain
Having so enjoyed Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain, Feebs found The Darkest Place, which is Book 4 in the Inspector Tom Reynolds series. Don’t be put off by it being part of a series because you’re given enough backstory in each novel to make you feel that you’re fully up to speed. These are really dark and clever stories, told with humour. This one takes place over one Christmas when a mass grave is discovered on an island that used to be the site of a psychiatric institution. Of course nothing is straightforward, and this is a very satisfying plot with a surprise ending. And like Jo Spain’s other books, it’s full of really human and believable characters. Feebs loved it and awards 5-Stars.

Cold Kill by P.J. Tracy
Published in 2016 this is Book 7 in the Monkeewrench series that features the homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. It’s Christmas and there’s a spate of killings in Minneapolis – all seemingly unrelated. But then the police realise there’s a connection between them all. Clover enjoys these books because the stories build slowly and you feel as if you’re reading about a proper investigation – one clue and one step at a time. The puzzles are complicated which makes the stories satisfying. She gave this one 4.5 Stars.

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
Mo really enjoyed this twisty tale that’s set in Cornwall. Harriet’s mother has recently been killed in a hit-and-run accident, and she’s all alone and living and working in Brighton. Then a letter arrives telling her she’s the granddaughter of a woman called Mrs Westaway who lived in Cornwall and who recently died. Harriet doesn’t think she’s related to Mrs Westaway at all. But she has nothing to lose, so she travels to Cornwall to meet her ‘family’ but mostly to see if there’s anything to be gained financially. There she finds an assortment of ‘cousins’ and other relations who all seem ready to welcome her into the family fold. But nothing is as straightforward as it seems and soon her own life is in danger. Mo says the story was, at one point, unputdownable and she gives it 4-Stars.