Search

Go Buy The Book

Tag

Michael Joseph

Return of the Magi by P J Tracy

Emil Rice is a habitual thief, promising, each time he is caught, that he will never steal again. When he is arrested for the twenty-third time, he is ordered to carry out community service at a secure mental health facility, where he will have to live-in for a whole year. While he is there, he is befriended by two elderly female patients  who have been waiting for the arrival of Emil for a long time having convinced themselves that he is the third wise man and that he will help them to find the Christ Child.

This is not the sort of book I would usually read but, as a fan of P J Tracy’s Monkeewrench series, and as the festive season is approaching, I thought I would venture into the unknown. What I found was an easy to read, humerous, short story that restores your faith in human nature.

Despite Emil being a career criminal, it is impossible not to like him and his carefree attitude. We are aware from the start that he has not had the happiest of childhoods and so, for much of his life, has been devoid of a conventional family. In some ways, he finally finds this at the facility, even if his new family consists of two elderly women who think he is one of the Magi! Underneath all of his bravado, Emil is an extremely caring man, a trait we see in his dealing with Ralph, another of the patients, and also when he embarks on his journey to ‘the City of David’.

Edith and Gloria, the two elderly women provide a comic touch to the book and although they are clearly deluded, their resourcefulness is a lesson in not to underestimate the aged. The way they take Emil under their wing is a joy to read, even if Emil does not always share their enthusiasm!

If you are looking for a short, heartwarming read, then Return of the Magi is the book for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin UK Michael Joseph for the ARC.

 

Nothing Stays Buried by P. J. Tracy

Minneapolis has another serial killer for Gino and Magozzi to apprehend and this one shows no sign of ending his reign of terror. Leaving a playing card at the scene of every brutal murder, the detectives wonder whether his aim is to complete the deck. Meanwhile the Monkeewrench team have travelled to the countryside to help a father search for his daughter who has vanished without trace from the side of the road. When the two cases become entwined,  it is a race against time to stop the killer before even more lives are ruined.

Nothing Stays Buried is the eighth book in the Monkeewrench series and is a very welcome addition. For the uninitiated, this series of books is based around a team of computer experts who have, in the course of their work, developed a program that has become vital to the police in aiding their investigations. This program, and the expertise of the team, is the reason they are on the trail of Marla, the missing woman. As in other books, detectives Magozzi and Gino are working closely alongside the Monkeewrench team and it is inevitable that their cases will eventually collide.

One of the things I like most about this series is that each book is so different and this one  is certainly no exception. What looks like being a straightforward serial killer story was actually a multifaceted tale of murder, cartels and undercover investigations and I enjoyed how each of the plots linked together to provide a satisfying and suitable ending.

As in all of the books, the characterisation is brilliant and I loved the interaction between the Monkeewrench team. I also really liked the addition of Walt, the father of the missing woman and willed him to have some good news by the end of the book. Throughout the series, it has been particularly satisfying to see the development of Grace’s character and I can’t wait to see what any future installments bring.

I was saddened to read that this book was one of the last ones to be written by the mother and daughter team of P. J. Tracy due to the untimely death of P. J. Lambrecht and I hope that Traci can continue the series.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Net Galley for the ARC.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

514-fU+PfcLLibby Hall, the school teacher who saved a child from a burning building, should be revelling in her new-found hero status. Instead it has brought back memories of what took place nine years ago – the last time she saw her friend, Karen, alive. So when she has the opportunity to put it all behind her and undergo a holiday house swap with a couple in picturesque Cornwall, it seems like the ideal way to solve the problem. All is not what it seems, however, and soon Libby feels that she is being watched and she begins to mistrust even the person closest to her – her husband, Jamie. Just what is happening to her and is it linked to the terrifying events of nine years ago?

From the start, I was suspicious about the circumstances behind the house swap. It was plain to see that the couple had been targeted but we do not find out why or by whom until much later in the book. Although Libby and Jamie are spending time in a spacious house in the vast Cornish countryside, the author has created a setting which is extremely claustrophobic and unsettling as we learn to anticipate that something untoward is about to happen. There were several times when I was urging Libby to trust her instincts and get away from a potentially dangerous situation and I could understand the reasons behind her falling suspicious of her husband as he tried to convince her that all was well.

In books of this genre, you become accustomed to there being a twist involved and, indeed, there was one in Last Seen Alive. I was convinced that I had the plot all worked out, only to find that I could not be more wrong! There was a certain point in the book where I had to completely reevaluate everything I thought I knew, making me think carefully about everything that I had already read. Just when I thought I finally had it all worked out, another curveball was thrown, making me gasp once again!

I thought that the previous book from the author, Local Girl Missing, was good but Last Seen Alive even manages to eclipse it! A gripping, claustrophobic delight of a book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my ARC.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑