by Sharon Lee
Published by Baen Books
Kate Archer left home years ago, swearing that she would die before she returned to Maine. As plans go, it was a pretty good one - simple and straightforward. Not quite fast enough, though. Before she can quite manage the dying part, Kate gets notice that her grandmother is missing, leaving the carousel that is the family business untended. And in Archers Beach, that means way more trouble than just a foreclosure.
I wanted to love this, and some of the worldbuilding blew me away. Sadly the rest left me cold. Not wanting to give away any spoilers, it was the fairground parts that were wonderful.
by J.S. Cook
Published by Mlr Press LLC
When a series of bizarre murders occur in London's notorious East End, Scotland Yard's Inspector Philemon Raft is called on to solve the crimes, but even he is powerless to explain why the victims are displayed in public places -- or why the killer insists on drilling burr holes in their skulls. With little to go on except the strange red dust found on the victims' palms, Raft must scour the city looking for an explanation. Aided only by his newly-appointed constable Freddie Crook, Raft's investigation takes him into London's most dark and dangerous places, where human predators wait to devour and destroy.But Raft has an even bigger problem: a casual acquaintance is blackmailing him, and what she knows about his secrets could tear Raft's life to pieces.
I had high expectations for this one, based on some stunning reviews, but it didn't quite work for me.
A Conspiracy of Violence
by Susanna Gregory
Published by Sphere
The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is despatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men's minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side.
This one was fun, although I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already listened to a couple of later books in the series. Definitely going to borrow them from the library in order form now on.
by Katy Gardner
Published by Penguin Books Ltd
It all began with a simple game of hide and seek ...Mel Stenning knows her seven-year-old daughter, Poppy requires extra love and attention. In the last year she has had a lot to get used to: a new stepfather, a new baby brother and a new home by the coast in Kent. So a game of hide and seek in the family's sprawling converted warehouse seems an ideal way to bond. But when Mel starts searching, Poppy has completely disappeared. As time passes and Poppy can't be found, suspicion falls on Mel's new husband Si, whose car was heard leaving as the game began. She thought she could trust him, but recently Mel has wondered what Si is trying to conceal. And, as she now learns with mounting terror, only the day before the police accused him of murder.
This one was great right up to the point where I realised who the villain was, at which point it descended into the territory of Hollywood thriller cliches. Another disappointment.