Librarian’s Choice: Crime Favourites

This blog comes from Lynn, a Senior Community Librarian based in the south of Leeds.

Although I love reading and will read anything and everything I am particularly drawn towards crime, especially those with a psychological edge.
I’ve picked a few of my more recent reads to share, I hope you enjoy them!

Lynn The OneThe One by John Marrs

Oh wow, this book gripped me from the start,  I couldn’t put it down. It features matchmaking with a difference, where a simple DNA test will match you with your perfect DNA genetic match. But of course nothing is a simple as that because of course we all have secrets. What if your match lives at the other side of the world or is a serial killer, what do you do? I felt the confusion, the excitement and fear of all the characters in this excellent read.

Lynn Gone without traceGone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

A brilliant novel of psychological suspense that asks, if the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why? Hannah Monroe’s boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house, images removed from social media, he’s not at work, it’s almost as if he never existed! All is not as it seems.

Lynn CoupleThe couple next door by Shari Lapena

A great debut psychological thriller novel. A dinner party next door is not a good night out. The wife Cynthia is all over Anne’s husband Marco and the birthday boy Graham is his usually boring self. Anne and Marco’s babysitter cancels at the last minute, and Anne is persuaded to leave the baby and to rely on the baby monitor. Hours tick by and Anne’s unease increases – they return home after midnight to find the baby gone and she and her husband are the chief suspects. The twists and turns of the plot will you keep you on your toes.

Lynn Apple Tree YardApple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Yvonne Carmichael is a strong independent professional woman who embarks on an ill-fated affair with a mysterious man she meets at the houses of parliament. They both end up in court charged with murder after many plot twists, lies, and intrigue. This book is both creepy and compelling with devastating consequences for all concerned. The book in my opinion is much better than the tv adaption.

Lynn Something wickedSomething wicked by Kerry Wilkinson

Nicholas Carr disappears on his 18th birthday, the world moves on except for his father, Richard. His last hope is Andrew Hunter, a private investigator. Andrew will need to go back to basics to try and find out what has happened to Nicholas, revisiting the site where three of Nicholas’s fingers were found and talking to friends and family. Andrew and his assistant mysterious assistant Jenny delve further into Nicholas’s life and discover he was getting involved in something dangerous……

And for a crime novel with a very local flavour:-

Lynn Skin Like SilverSkin like silver by Chris Nickson

This book features Detective Tom Harper and is set in Leeds in October 1891. An unclaimed parcel at the Central post office is discovered to contain the body of a baby boy. A fire at the railway station leaves a fireman dead and the body of a young woman is recovered, although it soon becomes apparent her death isn’t as a result of the fire. Tom works with former colleague Billy (now a fireman) to solve the case and during their investigations they find links to the suffrage and socialist causes, votes for women, abusive husbands and much more. The story reveals a lot about the political agenda at the time and the changing role of women including that of Tom’s wife. The plot builds to a violent end.

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Helen Cadbury

This is a short blog to say how sad I was to hear that Helen Cadbury died last week. I was lucky enough to meet Helen several times, when she was talking about her books in our libraries. Helen was the author of two crime novels about PCSO Sean Denton with a third in the series out later this year. Her first volume of poetry is also due out later this year.

Helen was always very supportive of libraries and did events in not just Leeds but many across the country. She had a warmth and a way of speaking to an audience that made it very difficult to wrap an event up as the audience always wanted to linger to talk to her more.

The first time I encountered Helen was at an event in Bramley Library when she was talking about her first book to the Crime Readers group there. We held the event while the library was open. This can bring its challenges and indeed I cringed as one member of the public insisted on browsing the bookshelf just behind Helen’s head while musing loudly about the books to a friend. Helen took this in her stride, dealing with the situation with good grace and humour.

When Helen’s second book was selected for Read Regional for 2016, she visited Pudsey library to talk to the readers group there about the book. Helen’s honesty about her writing and writing process provoked a readers group discussion that I am sure the group will remember for some time.

The last time I saw Helen was at an event she did about writing at Central library in Leeds. Again her candidness about her books and writing and indeed about her recent cancer treatment made the event a memorable one for those that attended.

I will miss Helen, and my deepest sympathy goes to her family for their loss.

To catch a rabbit

Helen To catchTwo young boys stumble on a dead prostitute. She’s on Sean Denton’s patch. As Doncaster’s youngest community support officer, he’s already way out of his depth, but soon he’s uncovering more than he’s supposed to know. Meanwhile Karen Friedman, professional mother of two, learns her brother has disappeared. She desperately needs to know he’s safe, but once she starts looking, she discovers unexpected things about her own needs and desires. In this gripping story of migrants, love and the sex trade, Karen and Sean’s enquiries begin to throw up the same names. While Sean comes up against a corrupt senior officer, Karen finds she’s falling in love. Played out against a gritty landscape on the edge of a Northern town, both of them risk losing all they hold precious.

Bones in the nest

Helen BonesThe Chasebridge Killer is out; racial tension is rising and the mutilated body of a young Muslim man is found in the stairwell of a tower block in Doncaster. As he gets drawn into the case, Sean Denton’s family life and his police job become dangerously entwined. Meanwhile a young woman is trying to piece her life back together, but someone is out there; someone who will never let her forget what she’s done.

 

Librarian’s Choice -Personal Favourites

This blog is from Alli, a Community Librarian based in the south of the city.

alli-ninth-lifeThe Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

This unforgettable book took my breath away, literally. The funniest first chapter I’ve ever read and the rest just such a compulsive read. Louis, 9, is on a family holiday in France with his family, when his life changes. A psychological thriller about a child’s connections to his parents. Fabulously written with well-drawn characters, it’s hard to say more about the plot of this book without giving it away. It’s a much bigger book in every way than the slim volume it is physically. Read it – I’d love to hear what you think of it.

alli-memory-gameMemory Game by Nicci French

First novel of the writing duo Nicci Gerard and Sean French in 1997, it’s a crime novel about the nature of memory and about recovered memory syndrome. I found it exciting and compulsive.

alli-pride-and-prejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I studied this for O’Level, but loved it. For me, an unexpected, understated, delight.

 

alli-the-lion-witch-wardrobeThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

I read this during a spell in hospital when I was thirteen, having missed it when I was younger. I loved the adventure, the different levels of meaning, the imagination it created in me. I read all the books in the series as soon as I could get them from the library (the Mobile Library the used to visit the bottom of Pool Bank). It was so exciting, waiting to see if they had brought me another one!

alli-devotion-of-suspect-xThe Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

A mystery in which you know “whodunit” from the beginning. I suppose it’s a sort of Police crime thriller in which everything you read is a clue and everything is included to help you find out why. It’s like a literary game of chess and is logical, simple and really different.

alli-woman-in-whiteThe Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

This was the first book that I read when I started work in libraries and for me, it had everything. The cover had an Atkinson Grimshaw painting on the front, which immediately evoked an atmosphere of mystery. I was gripped form the beginning and remember being absorbed by its mystery, love and a touch of the sinister.

alli-elizabeth-is-missingElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Maud is suffering from loss of memory, but is convinced her best friend Elizabeth is missing and she believes her to be in danger. No one listens (not her daughter, the police etc.), but Maud is determined to find out what has happened to her.

alli-thirteenth-taleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Novelist Vida Winter wants to get the tale of her life recorded and so she engages biographer Maureen Lea. Maureen also has a story of her own and as she starts work on Vida’s, she starts to find out about her own….

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Best friends Caddy and Rosie go to different schools. A new girl, Suzanne joins Rosie’s school and the dynamic of Rosie’s and Caddy’s friendship begins to change. It’s clear to Caddy that something has happened to Suzanne before coming to Brighton and she begins to find out what. Caddy’s friendship with Suzanne takes her on a journey that challenges her outlook, her upbringing and all that she has experienced so far. Caddy goes out on midnight walks with Suzanne, during which she learns more about Suzanne’s background and her fragile mental state. Caddy listens to Suzanne’s situation, but who is getting more out of this – Suzanne, or Caddy, who experiences being important to someone? When things go wrong and Caddy suffers serious injuries from an ill-conceived trip to an old building, Suzanne finally gets the professional help she needs, but with the consequence that she will have to move away from her “best friends”.
The way it covered friendships and their importance to individuals, I thought was excellent, making clear there is more than one way to support someone who is having a difficult time and that it’s the support that counts. The book was gripping in an uncomfortable way. It was a compulsive but disturbing read at times, with the feeling that all will not end well pervading whilst I was reading it. I was there in the situations Caddy found herself in and felt uncomfortable for her.

Librarian’s Choice – Not for the faint hearted!

This weeks blog is from Julie, a senior community librarian based in the north east of the city.

As a fan of psychological thrillers I have probably read hundreds over the years. – Below is a small selection of some of my favourites…

Julie Crucifix KillerThe Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter

This was his debut novel, and had me hooked. The book introduces Detective Robert Hunter, who the killer taunts; as he believes the Crucifix Killer was caught two years ago….or was he?

His other books are: An Evil Mind, One by One and The Night Stalker. – All equally as gripping.

Julie HeartsickHeartsick by Chelsea Cain

She was imprisoned, but Archie still continues to visit her, to try and persuade her to confess the whereabouts of her other victims. And now there is another killer at large, and Archie needs Gretchen’s help….

At last, a series of novels about a woman seriel killer, – Gretchen Lowell. Detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking her down, but in the end it was him who became the captive, after she kidnapped and tortured him.

If you enjoy ‘Heartsick’, and want to continue to follow the relationship of Archie and Gretchen, the other books are: Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go.

Julie Into the darkest cornerInto the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

 

Having escaped a violent relationship with Lee, Cathy is rebuilding her life. The book takes you back to her past, and you find out just how destructive the relationship was, and how Lee broke her down, little by little. She meets an attractive new man, but is he all he seems…..?   This book kept me enthralled, as I was desperate for Cathy to find happiness.

Julie behind closed doorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

 

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple….or are they? Grace has a sister, Millie, who has Down’s syndrome, who also becomes involved in the deception. There are lots of twists and turns, as Grace looks desperately for a way out.

        ‘Sometimes the perfect marriage is a perfect lie’

In the woodsIn the Woods by Tana French

In 1984 three children go and play in the woods, but don’t return home. The police arrive and find one of the children gripping a tree in terror, but with no recollection of what has happened. Twenty years later the boy who was found is working as a detective, and a twelve year old girl is found murdered in the same woods. He and his detective partner investigate the murder, which has chilling similarities to the unsolved mystery of 1984.

julie the cutting room

 

The Cutting Room by Jilliane Hoffman

 

Two of Florida’s veteran law-enforcers are aiming to lock up Gerard Lunders, a reckless playboy who allegedly murdered a beautiful university student. A routine case soon takes a bizarre turn after the defendant’s mother is anonymously sent a minute-long video clip in which a woman is tortured and murdered

This is part of a trilogy, so if you enjoy The Cutting Room, try Last Witness and  Retribution.

 

Julie SleepyheadSleepyhead by Mark Billingham

 

This is the first novel in the series which introduces DI Tom Thorne. It introduces a serial killer with a difference, – he doesn’t want to kill his victims, just put them in a coma. – The victims can still hear and think, but are ‘locked in’ and unable to communicate.

If you enjoy any of these titles I would also recommend Richard Montanari, Mo Hayder, and Stuart Macbride who are also excellent writers of this genre.

 

 

Summer Reading – new fiction this week

The sun is shining! Maybe you are just like me, and at the first sight of a sunbeam it means cold drinks and something good to read in the garden. Last night it was a glass of elderflower cordial and Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff that I am currently reading for my book group.

If you need a few suggestions here are some new fiction titles that have arrived in our libraries this week. There should be something there to tickly your fancy – maybe you need to match your book to your garden tipple?

blood and inkBlood and Ink by Adam Christopher

The CFO of a secretive NYC hedge fund is found murdered – stabbed through the eye with an expensive fountain pen. Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson discover a link between the victim and a charismatic touring management guru with a doubtful past. But is the solution so clear-cut or is the guru being framed? As secrets are revealed and another victim is found murdered in the same grisly fashion, Holmes and Watson begin to uncover a murky world of money and deceit.

the french lessonThe French Lesson by Hallie Rubenhold

Paris, 1792: Henrietta – an Englishwoman alone amidst the French Revolution. Grace – former mistress to the highest rulers in France. Agnes – the current mistress, who will stop at nothing to keep her place in the palace. Together, the three women will engage in a deadly triangle of rivalry and power play. Who will win, who will lose and who will keep their head?

 

Eden GardensEden Gardens by Louise Brown

Calcutta, the 1940s. In a ramshackle house, streets away from the grand colonial mansions of the British, live Maisy, her Mam and their ayah, Pushpa. Whiskey-fuelled and poverty-stricken, Mam entertains officers in the night – a disgrace to British India. All hopes are on beautiful Maisy to restore their good fortune. But Maisy’s more at home in the city’s forbidden alleyways, eating bazaar food and speaking Bengali with Pushpa, than dancing in glittering ballrooms with potential husbands. Then one day Maisy’s tutor falls ill and his son stands in. Poetic, handsome and ambitious for an independent India, Sunil Banerjee promises Maisy the world. So begins a love affair that will cast her future, for better and for worse.

when she was badWhen she was bad by Tammy Cohen

Colleague, co-worker, killer – you see the people you work with every day. But what can’t you see? Who secretly hates you? Who is tortured by their past? Who is capable of murder?

The infiltratorsThe Infiltrators by Matt Helm

Beautiful, intelligent, fresh out of prison – Madeleine Ellershaw is Matt Helm’s latest case. She may have been imprisoned as a spy, but Helm soon realizes that Madeleine’s story isn’t so simple. He’s got to figure out why she took the rap for her husband nine years ago, what secrets are hiding in her past, and, most difficult of all: keep her alive.

different classDifferent Class by Joanne Harris

After 34 years at St Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its clowns, its rebels, its underdogs, its ‘Brodie’ boys who, whilst of course he doesn’t have favourites, hold a special place in an old teacher’s heart. But every so often there’s a boy who doesn’t fit the mould. A troublemaker. A boy with hidden shadows inside. With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new broom has arrived at the venerable school, bringing PowerPoint, sharp suits and even sixth form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even 20 years on haunts his teacher’s dreams. A boy capable of bad things.

TenacityTenacity by J.S. Law

A sailor hangs himself on board a naval submarine. Although ruled a suicide Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, knows the sailor’s wife was found brutally murdered only days before. Now Dan must enter the cramped confines of HMS Tenacity to interrogate the tight-knit, male crew and determine if there’s a link. Standing alone in the face of extreme hostility and with a possible killer on board, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival. The pressure is rising and Dan’s time is running out!

HawkwoodHawkwood by Jack Ludlow

The Hundred Year’s War is over and newly-knighted Sir John Hawkswood is headed for France to make his fortune as a freebooter. Violence and extortion are rife, and the freebooters will stop at nothing to capture the Papal City of Avignon. But this is only the beginning: Italy beckons, and with it, yet more battles against rival mercenaries, powerful cities and the Papal State.

Pretty isPretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken. Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance. Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past. What really happened in the woods that summer?

Himmlers CookHimmler’s Cook by Franz-Olivier Giesbert

Aged 105, Rose has endured more than her fair share of hardships – the Armenian genocide, the Nazi regime, and the delirium of Maoism. Yet somehow, despite all the suffering, Rose never loses her joie de vivre. Quirky and eccentric, ‘Himmler’s Cook’ is a hilarious picaresque tale of survival, as Giesbert depicts Rose’s unique life experiences – cook for Himmler, confidante to Hitler, and friend of Simone de Beauvoir. The novel tells the epic tale of an inspiring, resilient Marseillaise chef who embodies the sentiment of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

 

 

 

Top 10 – Adult Fiction

Last week we started with children books but this week’s Top 10 features fiction for adults. These are the Top 10 books borrowed from Leeds Libraries in Oct 2015.

  1. Personal by Lee Child

Personal Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down, because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it, and Reacher is the one man who can find him.

2. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson

14th Deadly SinDetective Lindsay Boxer and her three best friends are back and recovering from the events that pushed them all to the edge. After her near-death experience, Yuki is seeing her life from a new perspective and is considering a change in her law career. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy has healed from her gunshot wound and has published a book on the infamous serial killers she helped to bring down. Lindsay is just happy that the gang are all still in one piece. But a new terror is sweeping the streets of San Francisco. A gang dressed as cops are ransacking the city, and leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake. Lindsay is on the case to track them down and needs to discover whether these killers could actually be police officers. Maybe even cops she already knows.

3. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving TimeJenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing. Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants. Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective – and a psychic. Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night.

4. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Gray mountainOne week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third-year associate at New York City’s largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line.

 

5. Thin Air by Ann Cleeves

Thin AirA group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air. It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The following day, Eleanor’s friend Polly receives an email. It appears to be a suicide note, saying she’ll never be found alive. And then Eleanor’s body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge. Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate.

6. The Dandelion Years by Erica James

The dandelion yearsAshcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood. Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

7. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson

Abattoir BluesWhen two boys vanish under mysterious circumstances, the local community is filled with unease. And when a caravan belonging to one of the youths is burned to the ground, and a bloodstain is discovered in a disused World War Two hangar nearby, things quickly become much more sinister. Assigned to the case, DCI Banks and his team are baffled by the mystery laid out before them. But when a motor accident throws up a gruesome discovery, the investigation spins into a higher gear – and in another direction.

8. The Missing and the Dead by Stuart Macbride

The missing and the deadWhen you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal. Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them. Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

9. Mightier than the sword by Jeffrey Archer

Mightier than the swordEmma Clifton, now the chairman of Barrington Shipping, is facing the repercussions of the IRA attack on the Buckingham. Some board members feel she should resign, but Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, is determined that she’ll stay. Sir Giles Barrington is now a minister of the Crown, and looks set for even higher office, until an official trip to Berlin does not end as a diplomatic success. Once again, his political career is thrown off balance by none other than his old adversary, Major Alex Fisher, who, for the second time, is selected to stand against him at the general election.

10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The girl on the trainRachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train.

Featured Library – Oakwood

Another in my random series about the libraries that we have all around the city. This time I am concentrating on Oakwood library as the Roundhay & Oakwood Festival starts soon and we are delighted that Oakwood Library is hosting a number of events for the festival, which runs from the 23rd October until the 1st November 2015.

Oakwood%20Library%20Exterior%201_jpgFirst off though, a bit about the library. Oakwood is one of our more unusual buildings as it is housed in a  converted end terrace house on Oakwood Lane. This makes it a little bit challenging with the book shelves, but on the bright side we have a fantastic big bay window to display books in as well as a lovely garden to hold summer events. Some of you may have been to our reading challenge event held outside in the summer holidays.  The library has a regular monthly readers group and a weekly storytime on Monday afternoons from 2.00 – 2.30pm.

For the festival the first ever Oakwood Library Street Food Festival will be on Saturday 24th October, along with a book signing with Lynn Hill, founder of Clandestine Cake Club; following the success of their first recipe collection the Clandestine Cake Club is back with a second delicious helping of 100 gorgeous recipes to whet your appetite in ‘A Year of Cake’.

skin like silverOn Monday 26th October local author Chris Nickson offers a special, exclusive preview of ‘Skin Like Silver’, the third in his Detective Inspector Tom Harper series set in the Leeds of the 1890s.

death in the dalesThen on Wednesday 28th October we will be joined by another local author Frances Brody, who will speak about ‘A Death in the Dales’ the seventh book in her Kate Shackleton Mysteries series, which is set in 1920s Yorkshire.

On the morning of Friday 30th October we will be joined by Stir Krazy Kids who will be showing us how to make delicious Wonka treats from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’!

 

 

And, if all that wasn’t enough already we will also be celebrating the 65th anniversary of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ on the afternoon of the 30th October with an afternoon of crafty fun – we will be making Narnia snow globes and more!

For further details about these events, and many more please go to the festival website.