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A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

I picked up a copy of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying for next to nothing in a recent Amazon Kindle sale. It was a member of an on-line book club who gave me the tip-off, and I’m really pleased that I acted on it. Ira Levin’s novels are probably overshadowed by the successful film versions of his work, such as The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby — A Kiss Before Dying has itself been turned into a film twice — so it was rather ironic that I soon formed the conclusion that A Kiss Before Dying came across, to me it seemed, almost like  reading a Hitchcock film.

Possibly a little old fashioned, and without any of the gore and explicitness that seem par for the course these days, nevertheless it allows the story-telling and plot to carry the day. Something that one or two modern day crime writers and publishers might do well to take note of.

A small, perfectly formed, masterpiece of suspense.

Read on for a full review…


Mozart’s Last Aria by Matt Rees

Mozart's Last Aria by Matt ReesMatt Rees is undoubtedly best known for the series of crime novels set in the Middle East featuring his fictional creation Omar Yussef. Rees gathered the ideas and inspiration for the Omar Yussef series whilst working as a foreign correspondent in the region, but it was during a sabbatical away from the danger and violence, in the more tranquil surroundings of Austria, that the idea for Mozart’s Last Aria started to take shape.

Good historical fiction, whether crime based or otherwise, takes a serious amount of research and it appears that Mozart’s Last Aria is no exception in this respect. So after all that hard work, has the author provided us with a symphony or a jangling dischord?

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The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris

The Hanging Shed by Gordon FerrisAs part of my ongoing quest to uncover fresh and emerging  authors to read and review, Gordon Ferris has been on my radar for some time. I don’t read a great deal of crime fiction, but I decided to give  The Hanging Shed a go since its Kindle version was available at a bargain price prior to the novel’s full release on Corvus Books in March 2011. What really caught my eye was that this early release had already picked up some great reviews. The question remained, would it be good enough to overcome my natural reluctance to read crime novels?

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If I Never by Gary William Murning

If I Never by Gary William MurningGary William Murning’s debut novel If I Never which was published in 2009, is set across a mixture of urban and rural locations mainly in in the environs of North Yorkshire. The Middlesbrough based author has used his obvious local knowledge to good effect as a backdrop to a plot-line bursting with suspense.

Anyone who has ever visited this beautiful corner of the United Kingdom will gain added pleasure from trying to second guess some of the towns, villages and other locations, whose names the author has changed to protect the innocent!

Read on for a full review…. (more…)