The Jackal Man
by Kate Ellis
Published by PIATKUS BOOKS
When a teenage girl is strangled and left for dead on a lonely country lane, by an attacker she describes has having the head of a dog, the police are baffled. But when the body of another young woman is found mutilated and wrapped in a white linen sheet, DI Wesley Peterson suspects that the killer is performing an ancient ritual linked to Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god of death and mummification. Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson has been called to Varley Castle to catalogue the collection of Edwardian amateur Egyptologist, Sir Frederick Varley. However, as his research progresses, Neil discovers that Wesley's strange murder case bears sinister similarities to four murders that took place near Varley Castle in 1903 - murders said to have been committed by Sir Frederick's son. As the Jackal Man's identity remains a frustrating enigma, it seems that the killer has yet another victim in mind. A victim close to Wesley Peterson himself ...
Kate Ellis is back on form! I tend to prefer her Wesley Peterson stories to her Joe Plantagenets, but I was disappointed with the last in the former series.
This story brought back all the elements I love, with some truly creepy suspects, and excellent use of almost all the regulars (some were away from Devon for one reason or another).
My one quibble is that poor Neil just never seems to meet anyone that's a keeper.
Accidents of Fortune
by Andrew Devonshire
Published by Michael Russell Publishing Ltd
No blurb available
Written as a series of anecdotes, the dry style took a little getting used to, but I suspect that was very much the way he was. Sweet and self-depreciating, and not at all what I was expecting. Then again, being quiet would probably have been the safest way to cope with marriage to Debo.
by Katherine Howell
Published by Pan Books
There are worse things than death, though Paramedic Sophie Phillips doesn't think so. She and her work partner constantly revise a list of the worst ways to die, holding the number 1 spot vacant for the death so terrible even they can't imagine it. But Sophie is sure it will cross her path on the streets of Sydney one day. When Sophie's police officer husband Chris is shot and their baby is kidnapped, Detective Ella Marconi has to fight to get to the truth. Is it revenge by a bereaved father for Sophie's recent failure to save his wife and newborn baby? Or was Chris somehow involved in the police corruption that appears rife in the city? When the police fail to trace Sophie's son, she takes matters into her own hands and now that she's realised there are worse things than death, nothing will stop her from finding him.
I borrowed this from the library on the strength of some good reviews, and the twin enticements of a paramedic protagonist and the Australian setting. Sadly I didn't get on with any of the main characters, and felt that the plot hinged too much on people acting illogically and failing to talk to each other in situations that would have been cleared up quickly by a little conversation.
by Susan J. Bigelow
Published by Candlemark & Gleam
Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and fled the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and the mysterious Michael Forward entered her life, dangling the possibility of redemption and rebirth.
Michael Forward can see the future, but all he wants is to escape the destiny he has struggled against all his life. When the moment comes, though, he finds he can't refuse. Now he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may be the key to humanity's freedom.
Monica had a good life with her large family, until two strangers and a baby showed up at her door. Now her family is gone, her life is in ruins, and she's on the run from the law.
In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression have overtaken the world, can three unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?
This story blew me away with the strength of its characters, its world building and the level of thought that went into the background details.
I gather there's a sequel in the offering, and am looking forward to it very much.
The Janus Stone
by Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus Publishing Plc
Ruth Galloway's expertise is called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child - minus the skull - beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? DCI Harry Nelson investigates. The house was once a children's home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing forty years before - a boy and a girl. They were never found. When carbon dating proves that the child's bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is trying hard to put her off the scent by frightening her to death...
I enjoyed the first book in this series, although not quite enough to buy this book. The present tense narrative jars a little, even on audio, although that may be a matter of personal preference. I was also slightly thrown by a minor continuity error. I wasn't 100% convinced by the antagonist's motivations, although their actual deeds had me reluctant to stop the CD and get out of my car at times. The relationship subplots intrigue me, and I'll be ordering the next in the series from the library sooner rather than later.