Category: Detective


Midnight is my first foray into the world of Stephen Leather’s character Jack Nightingale, and I doubt it will be my last.  This was a rollicking good ride.  A great whodunnit with a supernatural twist. Midnight is the second book in a trilogy (the first is Nightfall and the final book, due for publication in January 2012 is Nightmare).

In this sequel,  Jack has just discovered he was adopted at birth and that his recently deceased biological father, who by the way has left him with a huge country mansion in the English countryside, had sold his unborn soul to a devil.  That’s gotta suck! But then he discovers not only does he have a younger half sister, but that she has also befallen the same fate. Some fancy footwork has given him some breathing space with the devil soul collector, but now he decides to go into bat for his mystery sister, who he hasn’t met, doesn’t know where she is, and doesn’t even know her name.

Factor in that Jack is an ex cop and negotiator, who left the force under a cloud and is now working as a private investigator and you have all the elements with numerous twists and turns to keep you riveted to the page.  Leather doesn’t get bogged down in lots of extraneous plot, which can sometimes have the effect of slowing down the pace of a story.  Instead he has allowed it to flow and it works really well.  The ending, is not exactly a cliff-hanger, but very definitely leaves the door open and the light showing for the wrap-up to this plot-line in book three.  A definite page-turner and obviously popular, given that this is a two-week, fast-track book at my local public library.  I will now be putting Nightfall on my to-read list while awaiting the release of Nightmare.

Leather’s website is worth a look, particularly the section on Jack Nightingale.  Very well done.  Also, check out the book trailer for Nightfall – but watch it with the lights on!

I am totally in love with this new series by Alan Bradley! The Flavia de Luce Mysteries should be everyone’s top reads or next book to read list.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first in the series, which is very reminiscent of an Agatha Christie Miss Marple mystery.  Set in 1950 in a small quintessential English village, Flavia, our almost 11 year old heroine and budding chemist complete with her own lab, lives in a large, ramshackle mansion with her reclusive, philatelist father, two older sisters (who she routinely plots to poison as retribution for continually tormenting her) and her father’s batman from the war who now acts as the family butler/gardener/gofer and Flavia’s confidant.

Bradley draws a wonderfully recognisable cast of characters that make up the villagers and inevitable policemen who in equal parts help and hinder Flavia’s crime solving prowess.  Flavia is the first truly original character I’ve discovered in a long time.  You will fall in love her and want to join her on her journey to solve the murder.

And once you have reluctantly reached the last page, you will want to immediately reach for the next books in the series, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag and A Red Herring without Mustard. Me, I’m impatiently awaiting the release of Flavia #4 I am Half-Sick of Shadows.