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Madeleine

Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

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Borderlands" by L J Ross - this is book 14 in the DCI Ryan series, and the story is set in Newcastle and right up near and sometimes over the border with Scotland. A young woman is shot dead during a live firing exercise at an Army range near the border, at first it's thought to be an accident but when ballistics show that the bullet didn't come from a soldier's weapon, Ryan and his team have to find out why the woman was on the range in the early hours of a summer morning, and how did she get there in the first place? Then another death deepens the mystery further. Meanwhile, in the city a former soldier is now living in the streets, suffering from PTSD with only a stray dog for company. And the police have their hands full with a series of hate attacks on ethnic minority religions in the city. How these are all connected does eventually become clear, and there's an exciting, if slightly unlikely, final chase across the moorland, in a storm of course! Another snappy, enjoyable instalment in the series, although there is one loose end left dangling. 8/10

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The Silver Collar by Antonia Hodgson - after a long wait, this is the 4th book in the Thomas Hawkins series, and it takes on a darker tone as Thomas and Kitty find themselves caught up in a very personal battle for their own future. It takes a while to get going, and for a while I did wonder when the story would take off, but once it did I was gripped. The book is divided into several sections, and things really start to happen when we get the part featuring Jeremiah, who grows up on the island of Antigua as the child of a family of slaves on a plantation. At first life is inevitably hard, but the horror really starts when the plantation owner comes back from England with a new wife. From here we gradually find out how Jeremiah's story, and his predicament, ties in with the danger faced by Tom and Kitty, for they find they have a common enemy who seems to be undefeatable. Other characters come and go, the Fleets are back and there are several exciting chases, and I found the book gripping, whilst still retaining it's trademark humour. But it looks like Thomas finally grows up in this book! 8/10

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The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths - this is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series, and now Ruth is firmly established back in Norfolk, and has been promoted to Head of Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk. Daughter Kate is doing well back at her old school, and life seems fairly settled. Until..... what looks like a murder/suicide takes place at a remote farm, and the body of a young man is found on a beach, which also turns out to be murder. Both his death and that of the couple at the farm lead back to the Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists who hunt at night, as it's quieter. Then a research facility in Cambridge comes into focus, as the man involved in the murder/suicide incident was in charge of a research programme there, and it looks like everything is connected, somehow. Throw in a mysterious black dog seen around the farm, and Ruth's new lecturer, who is at best shifty despite managing to be vulnerable at the same time, may also have something to hide. DCI Nelson charges around as usual, scoffing at the local legend of the black dog, even when everything seems to point back to Black Dog Farm, and it all builds to an exciting climax with a few chapters ending on a cliffhanger. Another enjoyable read, with it's usual blend of humour and slight cynicism! 8/10

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The Long Call" by Ann Cleeves - this is the first in a new series by the author of the "Shetland" and "Vera" novels, and this time she heads to the south of the Uk, to Devon, where her new detective, Matthew Venn, finds himself an outcast as he attends the funeral of his father; however he watches the ceremony from a distance, feeling unable to join in, as he left his parents' religious sect years ago, when he found he didn't agree with their principles, especially as a gay man. He's now happily married to his husband, Jonathan, who runs a local centre for people with learning difficulties, as well as the community in general, and when a volunteer from the centre is found murdered on a local beach, both men have a conflict of interest. The case becomes even more serious when a Down's syndrome woman, who also attended the centre, goes missing. Worryingly the incidents seem to link back to the charismatic leader of his parents' religious sect, and Matthew finds himself in a very awkward position. This was another solid crime novel from Ann Cleeves, and is a good introduction to a new character and his team, as well as his wider community. The TV adaptation starts next week, meaning that Cleeves is in the enviable position of having 3 book series adapted for TV, with the new series of Shetland just started too, although that's no longer based on her books. 7.5/10

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"The Survivors" by Jane Harper - the latest novel from Jane Harper takes us to Tasmania, and it follows a similar structure to her first hit novel, The Dry, ie a young man, Kieran, returns to the small town where he grew up, with his girlfriend and baby daughter (who is quite a little character in her own right!) to help his mother move his father, who has dementia, into a care facility, and to move home herself. When a waitress who's been employed for the summer at the local diner is found murdered on the beach, old wounds resurface - of a terrible storm 12 years previously, which resulted in the death of 2 local men, including Kieran's own brother - many people still hold Kieran responsible for what happened that night; on the same night, a teenage girl disappeared, and the only trace of her was her rucksack which washed up on the beach a few days after the storm. Suspicion falls on the whole town, and Kieran finds himself wondering who he can trust, especially when even more long held secrets come to light. I enjoyed this, it was a fast easy read, perhaps not quite as involving as The Dry (or maybe its just that this format is becoming a bit too commonplace now) but a good read anyway, and a great setting too. 8/10

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