The Firemaker (China Thrillers #1) by Peter May

Author’s Synopsis

Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane—nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English. But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse. Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

My Views

I’m a fan of May’s work and I prefer the audio versions read by Peter Forbes who gives May’s beautiful language a melodic voice. His books are usually set In Scotland and the Hebridean Isles but these stories centre on an American woman in China and I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. I soon changed my mind.

The story unfolds and the detective element is balanced nicely with a hint of romance but not enough to put the book in the romance genre. Margaret is a strong female lead but she has very little power in China where, the moment she opens her mouth, every conceivable faux pas pops out resulting in loss of face for anyone nearby.

Li’s reluctance to get involved with Margaret is palpable but when they’re thrown together, he slowly begins to warm to her. Li’s innate innocence is endearing but his current case takes a turn for the personal.

May’s beautiful description and eye for the aesthetics in life still shines through even though the difference between his portrayal of China and that of Scotland are worlds apart and that is what makes his books so addictive.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Firemaker

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The Alamo (John Milton #11) by Mark Dawson

Author’s Synopsis

John Milton has finally found a place to escape the bloodshed: off-season Coney Island. No tourists. No special ops. Just peace and quiet. But when a local boy witnesses a grisly murder, Milton can’t resist investigating.

Milton uncovers a vicious drug kingpin and a group of crooked cops from a notorious precinct known as “The Alamo.” Against such dangerous foes, Milton’s quest for redemption could come to an end.

My Views

No matter where John goes he always runs into trouble and this time is no exception. Wanting to help a family suffering from a bad neighbourhood he begins to root out the evil but pretty soon he’s the one being questioned and he’s not sure who he can trust.

I’m a big fan of the John Milton series but my favourite of the stories are the ones which involved children. John Milton maybe a hard-arsed killer but there’s still a soft centre in there and the innocent bring it out. Milton is a strangely likeable character and I am kind of hoping he gets some romance further down the line – hint, hint Dawson…

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Alamo.jpg

Cursed City (Shadow Detective #1) by William Massa

Author’s Synopsis

My name is Mike Raven, and the weird and supernatural are my life. Monsters murdered my parents when I was eight. Turns out my folks were paranormal investigators and Hell always settles its debts. Naturally I decided to join the family business. For two decades I’ve studied the occult and traveled the world hunting nightmares. Vampires. Shifters. Demons. Wraiths. I’ve faced them all. But my greatest challenge still lay ahead…

From the moment Celeste stepped into my office, I knew she was in trouble. Black magic trouble. Her father had promised her soul to a powerful demon on the day she was born. Now, twenty-one years later, the forces of darkness were gathering to collect their long-awaited prize. Guess who’s about to pick a fight with the Devil himself?

My Views

This story is all action to the point where I was feeling a little exhausted at Raven’s exertions. The plot is good and the demon action and fight scenes are just right so I followed Raven to some seriously dangerous places. The hint of a possible romance in the future had me intrigued, if he can possibly stop fighting demons for long enough to date.

This book is the beginning of a very interesting series and it reminds me a little of the series with good old Sam and Dean in but with less humour and hotness. Don’t let the lack of humour stop you because there’s a darkness in this series that’s just waiting to be explored.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Cursed city

 

Miss Frost Saves the Sandman: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost #3) by Kristen Painter

Miss Frost saves the sandman

Author’s Synopsis

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost’s daughter, Santa Claus’s niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now… private investigator. Sort of.

When the Sandman comes to Santa’s Workshop, the shop Jayne manages, to do his first ever book signing, it’s a major event. He’s kind of a supernatural celebrity and she needs to keep him happy. All is well until trouble shows up at the party thrown in his honor. Trouble in the form of Luna Nyx, the Mistress of Nightmares and his creepy counterpart. The Sandman’s assistant says Luna is dangerous, and Jayne believes it when her dreams turn dark. Can Jayne keep the Sandman safe from this gothic goddess? Or will Luna’s threats put them both to sleep for good?

My Views 

Jayne Frost is back along with a few friends including the adorable Spider, her talking cat. Not only is she dating two of the best-looking men in town but she’s also right at the heart of yet another crime. Who knew a winter elf could have so much fun?

I am a little addicted to Spider. Jayne is great fun, but the cat is my favourite character. This story is yet another easy read mystery with a light and breezy feel. The magic and mystery are charming as are the characters. I must admit that I can’t wait to find out who Jayne chooses out of her eager dates but my money is on the vampire.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Sixth Window (DCI Tom Douglas #6) by Rachel Abbott

Author’s Synopsis

After eighteen months of grieving for her husband Bernie, killed in a horrific hit and run accident, Natalie Gray has found love with her husband’s best friend – Ed Cooper – and has moved herself and fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, into his home. But Natalie begins to suspect Ed has a dark side – and even darker intentions.

Desperate to get her daughter to a place of safety, she and Scarlett move to a new home that holds secrets of its own. But has removing Scarlett from one potential threat placed her in far greater danger?

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth, as his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the peril they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

 

My Views

Natalie’s weakness at a crucial time puts her in the capable hands of Ed Cooper but something doesn’t sit right with her. Not knowing who to trust she runs to a safe house but the term ‘safe’ doesn’t apply to her teenage daughter Scarlett.

This book was terrifying. It had me on the edge of my seat but I do enjoy Abbott’s timely telling of events. She can keep the reader guessing right until the end and that is exactly what I’m looking for. This is a brilliant series and you don’t have to read the books in sequence to thoroughly enjoy them.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Sixth window.jpg

The Cop Who Stole Christmas (Tall, hot & Texan #2) by Christie Craig

Author’s Synopsis

It’ll take a tall, hot Texan and a little holiday spirit to mend a broken heart and catch a Christmas killer…

Savanna Edwards is feeling downright Scrooge-like. Who can blame her? A truly unjolly Santa—suit, beard and all—just repossessed her car because of her ex’s shady business dealings. She’d like to murder the no-good lying cheat, but somebody already did that for her—and left him right in the middle of her kitchen, wrapped up with a bow.

Detective Mark Donaldson has a rule against getting involved with his neighbors. He can look—and he’s studied every sweet curve of Savanna from across the street—but he can’t touch. So when she lands on his doorstep in need of help, he finds himself torn between being naughty or nice, and fights every urge to unwrap her like a shiny new Christmas present.

Trouble is, even Mark can’t resist a little holiday magic… and there’s definitely something magical happening between him and the girl next door.

Continue reading The Cop Who Stole Christmas (Tall, hot & Texan #2) by Christie Craig

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Tara’s life is turned upside down when she wakes in her neighbour’s bed. The fact that he has been brutally stabbed to death makes matters worse and Tara does the only thing she can to protect her family; she runs. When the lies begin to flow, it’s hard to know who to trust but the desire to protect her family remains her priority.

Tara is a very ordinary woman with easily relatable conflict within her family but her daughter Rosie’s antics threw me off the scent every time. This thriller tricked me by constantly making me think I could solve the mystery only to dash my hopes and produce new or conflicting evidence. The brilliance of bringing a new suspect into the light at intervals kept the story fresh and interesting. Croft has a unique style, and I found it refreshing.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

While you were sleeping