I have borrowed Frankie's rating system for 2019:
1/5: I didn't like it
2/5: It was okay
3/5: I liked it
4/5: I really liked it
5/5: It was amazing
I'm new to the site so here's a quick recap of my reading this year.
Operation Certain Death by Damien Lewis 2/5
I don't usually read this type of book but as one of my friends was one of the soldiers captured in the tale I thought I'd give it a go. It tells the true story of a patrol of Royal Irish Rangers taken prisoner in Sierra Leone in 1999 and the combined SAS/SBS operation to rescue them. It's quite detailed and gives a lot of background on the history of the country and its political climate. It would be very good reading for anyone with a passion for the subject, but not for me I'm afraid.
The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani 3/5
A troubled ex-SAS major, Ben Hope ends up sleeping rough in the French Alps before being saved by a secluded monastic order. Think Robert Langdon with guns, although I think Mariani is a better writer than Dan Brown. This is the eleventh outing for Ben Hope and whilst it could be read as a stand alone book I wouldn't recommend it.
Bluebell Hollow by Bill Rogers 3/5
Another of the current serial books I'm reading, this follows the career of a Manchester police detective, DCI Tom Caton. Bodies begin to emerge on a former mining area and Caton and the team are tasked with finding the killer before they strike again. It's the fifth DCI Caton book and one of the better ones in the series. The characterisation is good and the development of the main players handled well.
Longstone by LJ Ross 4/5
Another series I'm deep into (I really need to read a book with a beginning, middle and end soon!) and one of my current favourite authors. Another DCI saga, this one being set in the North East of England in and around Newcastle. LJ Ross is a much better writer than Bill Rogers in my opinion, and whilst I enjoy his books I suspect my bias is affecting my ratings as Rogers' Caton tales are set in my home city of Manchester. Longstone is the tenth of the DCI Ryan books and is set in the town of Seahouses. It sounds like a lovely place, but when a local academic is found dead shortly after announcing his long search for an almost mythical shipwreck has been successful, the locals are all suspects. A complicated family unit add to the muddle and Ryan and the team have to call on help from all quarters of the UK.
A Trace of Blood by Bill Rogers 2/5
Number six in the series and a bit of an oddity. A distant cousin of DCI Tom Caton gets in touch with a seemingly tall tale. Niamh Caton lives in Manchester, New Hampshire and is seeing her family being bumped off at regular intervals. Her genealogy leads her to Tom Caton, a police detective in Manchester, England and a bond is forged. It's not a bad story, and is quite well told, but it's just all too far fetched. Billionaires, fourth cousins eight times removed etc. Not bad but...
The Cassandra Sanction by Scott Mariani 3/5
The twelfth Ben Hope book sees him wandering aimlessly through Spain when a fight erupts in a quiet bar. Hope becomes embroiled in the suicide of a prominent scientist who became a media star (a female Professor Brian Cox was in my mind), a sinister gang chasing the scientist's brother and a billionaire with a private island. Now I know how far fetched it sounds, and how I criticised A Trace of Blood for the same thing, but I expect it in this type of book. I don't in a Manchester based detective yarn!
The Infirmary by LJ Ross 3/5
This is a prequel to the DCI Ryan series and brings back a few characters no longer in the series. I would definitely recommend new readers to start with this book as you'll know the ending otherwise! I won't say too much here just in case others are starting in chronological order rather than published order. A brutal killer is stalking Newcastle and terrifying the city.It's a bit more gory than the rest of the series, but nothing too bad. I'd have given this 4/5 if I'd read it prior to the rest of the series.
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves 3/5
A new author for me, the first in a good while. Not a new genre though. Another police detective and another location. Raven Black sees DI Jimmy Perez investigating the death of a young woman on the Shetland Isles. A reclusive old man with learning difficulties becomes the chief suspect when links to a missing girl emerge which saw him as the chief suspect. It's well written, descriptive and fast paced. I've got the sequel in my "to read" list and am looking forward to the characters developing.
The Frozen Contract by Bill Rogers 1/5
Where to begin? An utterly implausible story with the most horrendous proofreading I've ever encountered! The tale concerns a fictional Premier League football club in Manchester and the death of their star striker in a cryotherapy freezer unit on the forecourt of the ground. Hmm. Fantastical enough before the deaths start to rack up. But the main problem is the proofreading. The names of characters are swapped about with a victim suddenly coming back to life as an agent with the National Crime Agency! Speech marks are scattered throughout at a seemingly random manner, numerous spelling mistakes and punctuation haphazard at best.
Star of Africa by Scott Mariani 2/5
The thirteenth Ben Hope installment is also the most brutal. It's not the most violent book I've ever read, far from it, but it's a step up from this author. It's also a two parter. Anyway, Ben Hope is pulled from his wandering life again when his son is onboard a cargo ship that is attacked by pirates off the Somali coast. Or are they? It's not a major spoiler as the truth is unveiled very early in the book, as disparate groups attempt to get their hands on the glittering prize. It's probably my least favourite Ben Hope book up to now, but I'm only part way through. I've just started the second part so let's see.
Backwash by Bill Rogers 2/5
Another DCI Tom Caton novel and another series of brutal murders hits the streets of Manchester. Caton and his colleagues are baffled by the murders of seemingly unrelated people. The murders are most definitely linked but the problem is finding out why before they can find out who. The characters are developing more with each book and thankfully the proofreading on this is much better. Stalybridge is incorrectly spelt and one of the victims has three different spellings of his surname, but it's a huge improvement on the previous book.
As you can see, I'm a bit stuck in my ways at the moment. I'm also reading another DCI series but am up to date with those. I do intend to branch out when I finish the series or catch up with the authors output to give my brain a rest from DCIs, DIs, DCs and DSs!
I've got a blog with slightly more content on the books I've read (link below) and a few more from the end of 2018 when I started it.
Feel free to comment on her and there. All recommendations and help gratefully received!