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.