September 2014

Thrillers Of The Month – September 2014

The Thrillers Of The Month are:

- Cold Winter In Bordeaux by Allan Massie, published by Quartet

- The Spider Catchers by Mariynn Larew

- Death Reveals All by David Foster

- Smokescreen by Khaled Talib

- The Medusa’s Skull by Jonathan Whitelaw

We are always open to new submissions from authors/publishers – click here

    Cold Winter In Bordeaux by Allan Massie
Review by RR Gordon, author of the bestselling Gull Rock

We have featured some of Allan Massie’s work in previous months and all reviews have been extremely positive. I picked up Cold Winter In Bordeaux with optimism and I wasn’t disappointed.

Allan Massie’s Bordeaux series which is set in France during the second world war featuring a French detective attempting to solve a murder case.

Cold Winter in Bordeaux is the third in the series and it is just as good as the others. Superbly located in the grim war years this novel captures the minutiae of day to day life after the surrender. Dark and grim, this is an extremely well-crafted thriller with intricately drawn characters.

Superintendent Jean Lannes is summoned to the scene of a murder: a woman appears to be the victim of a crime of passion but Lannes is not convinced. The case attracts the attention of the Vichy Secret Service, the Germans, and members of the French Resistance and Massie expertly weaves in a series interesting side-plots: the main character’s family problems – his wife sinking into depression and his daughter falling in love with a boy of whom he disapproves – and also
the on-going deportation of the city’s Jews.

Superficially this is a crime novel, but Cold Winter in Bordeaux is really about the struggle of a decent man against the forces of corruption, idealism and fanaticism. The books offer a fascinating insight into the horrifying life in occupied France during the war and leave you wondering what our own lives would be like today if history had turned a different corner.

Rating: Captivating, intricate, well-crafted

Where To Buy:

Click here for Amazon USA

Click here for Amazon UK

 The Spider Catchers by Marilynn Larew
Review by Leslie Gardner …

Despite some flat dialogue here and there, this is an authentic and action-packed thriller – personalities are developed fully, and the irritating woman – Alicia, anti slave trafficking activist has been kidnapped.

Lee Carruthers, agent and central figure is sent to find her, and comes up against a world she is accustomed to but that Alicia had been meddling in over her head. We share her inability to figure out if this naive do-gooder young agent is worth it or not.

The authenticity is persuasive and we appreciate the stakes are high – on the ground, the internecine fighting as each group scrounges for money and perpetrates violence all happens in back alleys and brothels – until a new group, Pure, comes along, a group dogmatically right and who will do anything to attain power – courting Al Qaeda. Lee’s agency boss knows her well, despite her kvetching – and defends himself when she returns having been beaten, kidnapped and having watched her unlikely lover get killed … all in a day’s work – the last line of the thriller shows us that she is not shaken from her duty and somehow she is getting ready for another foray into the underworld. really fine entertainment and launch of a new series.

Rating: Authentic and action-packed

Where To Buy:

Click here for Amazon USA

Click here for Amazon UK

 Death Reveals All by David Foster
Review by Jane Brown …

This is a fascinating storyline with lots of twists, mystery and intrigue thrown into the pot. The author has an interesting style of writing which I enjoyed. David has researched the places within the book and has a good way of informing the reader throughout the story.

The multi-faceted plot changes from the UK to the States and there is murder and mystery intertwined. This does not distract the reader as the author writes so well that they will find this difficult to put down with twists and turns throughout. A great page turner.

I found this a really absorbing read and it worked so well. This is David Foster’s debut novel and what a first for this new author who is hoping to publish another book in 2014 – I certainly hope so.

Rating: great page turner

Where To Buy:

Click here for Amazon USA

Click here for Amazon UK

 Smokescreen by Khaled Talib
Review by Leslie Gardner …

What informs this thriller is its authenticity; sure, the characters are ones we’ve seen before (sometimes dipping into cartoonishness) but that only helps in its way to allow us to focus on the credible complexities of the betrayals and plotting.

Needless to say, also, the flavour of the places are genuine and startling; the in depth knowledge of the local cultures in these places which are exotic to most of us (and likely to remain so) is a genuine attraction and raises the fascination level.

What seems an outpost in Asia figures at the centre of the story, and we begin to understand the dependencies of the main players on using ‘smokescreens’ to wield their state-craft (so to speak) – we get to the heart of the heart after many twists and turns in a variety of countries – it is hard to follow at times, but i think that reflects the way of the world, and so it works. You will want to track the violence and tragedies of what is finally international crime right to the end. i note this author is a journalist turning to fiction probably frustrated he cannot tell what’s really happening out there – and I truly hope he produces more works of fiction to tell the truth.

Rating: Authentic and compelling

Where To Buy:

Click here for Amazon USA

Click here for Amazon UK

 The Medusa’s Skull by Jonathan Whitelaw
Review by Jane Brown 

I read the previously released Morbid Relations first as Jonathan Whitelaw was not an author I was familiar with, who has made a successful transition from journalist to author. Now I am hooked and the cherry on the top: he is a fellow Scot.

Whilst Morbid Relations is a dark comedy of family life, The Medusa’s skull is an action packed thriller. The author has used themes from books and films, so there is a bit of Dan Brown, Indiana Jones, Robert Goddard and Agatha Christie to name a few in the mix.

The characters are real and there is a good helping of baddies too. There is suspense, evil and Greek mythology in there too  The pace is fast, this is a real page turner- Jonathan Whitelaw’s style of writing is good. It is a roller coaster of a thriller.

I thoroughly recommend and cannot wait for the author’s third book. This is an up and coming author to look out for.

Rating: a roller coaster of a thriller

Where To Buy:

Click here for Amazon USA

Click here for Amazon UK