Good Reading : July 2007
JULY 2007 ı goodreading 35 crime fiction word of mouth The Killing Hour Paul Cleave Charlie’s having a complicated week. First, he rescues two distressed damsels from the clutches of Cyris the psychopath. That seems to work out pretty well – until he wakes the next mor ning to discover that they have been mur- dered after all. His shorts are covered in blood, he has a bump on his head and he’s being visited by the dead women’s ghosts. Hmm … He goes to his ex-wife for help. When she’s less than excited at the prospect of being an accessory after the fact, he ties her up, bundles her into the boot of his car and drives out of Christchurch. Hot on his trail is cancer-ridden detective Bill Landry, deter mined not to let Charlie get away with his brutal crime. But, dear readers, is mild- mannered teacher Charlie a killer? Is Cyris the murderous half of his split personality or is he a flesh-and-blood madman? And if so, how’s Charlie going to explain the fleshy contents of the box found on his bed? I haven’t read Cleave’s first book, The Cleaner, but it was well received, ear ning plaudits for its black humour and directness. The Killing Hour seems cut from the same cloth. Cleave’s punchy writing style is a blessed relief from the overblown psychological thrillers of the modern era. Good luck to him. ★★★ Random House $32.95 Reviewed by Guy Mosel Water Like a Stone Deborah Crombie Blended family Duncan Kincaid and his son Kit, Duncan’s partner Gemma and her son Toby, leave London to spend Christmas with the Kincaids senior in Nantwich, Cheshire. But the moment they arrive, a phone call infor ms them that Duncan’s sister Juliet has discovered the mummi- fied body of an infant built into the wall of a barn she is restoring. Duncan – or Superintendent Kincaid of the Yard, as he is better known – sets off to inves- tigate. Meanwhile, on her narrowboat on the Shropshire Union Canal that meanders by the town, for mer social worker Annie Lebow is contemplating the future with her estranged husband Roger when two odd encounters set in motion a series of events that will end in murder. Darkly atmospheric, this highly eadable crime novel is set in part of England not often eatured: brooding, mist- wirled canals and an historic market town with medieval half-timbered buildings, picture-postcard perfect during a snowy Christmas. I hadn’t read any Crombie before, although she appears to be reasonably prolific, with another ten titles listed on the ‘also by’ page. I look forward to reading more of her work. ★★★ Macmillan $32.95 Reviewed by Alison Pressley Jacquot & the Master Martin O’Brien Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot of the Cavaillon Regional Crime Squad in Provence is called to a luxury hilltop hotel, the Hôtel Grand Monastère des Évêque, where one of the guests appears to be missing, her bed a mess of bloodstains but no body in sight. The hotel guests are an inter- esting mix: a party of aspiring painters, mostly American, a couple of smooth French busi- nessmen, and two film industry luminaries: an actress on the brink of stardom and an award-winning documentary maker. And in the tower of the hotel precinct lurks, like a spider in a web, one of the last remaining old masters of French painting,Vilotte, once friend of Dufy, Bonnard, Dali, Matisse. Most of the hotel guests are there to inveigle their way into his presence – but Vilotte nurses a deep, dark secret, one that is about to manifest itself again in a very brutal way. Then the weather sets in, the road is washed away, and the hotel guests are stuck, like sheep in a pen, as not one but two bodies are discovered. A pleasantly ldfashioned, atmospheric whodunnit, this, with a ood sense of place, a entle romance, and some mouthwatering descriptions of fine Provençal fare in the hotel dining room. ★★★ Headline $32.95 Reviewed by Roz Everett www.goodreadingmagazine.com Find a bookshop that stocks the books YOU LIKE TO READ! Find out what book events are HAPPENING NEAR YOU! Let us help you find an OUT-OF-PRINT BOOK! SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE E-NEWSLETTER!