More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘suspense’

British satire about misfit spies in MI5

Slow Horses (Slough House #1 of 4), by Mick Herron @@@@ (4 out of 5) The spies who work out of Slough House are “a post-useful crew of misfits [who] can be stored and left to gather dust.” Every one of them. MI5 has dumped them all there after they screwed up royally. Now they… Read More ›

An outstanding sci-fi series

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga #1), by Lois McMaster Bujold @@@@@ (5 out of 5) For some time I’ve known that Lois McMaster Bujold is one of best of the contemporary science fiction writers. She’s won the Hugo Award five times and the Nebula three times. Somehow, though, I’ve managed not to read any of her… Read More ›

A spy story that will keep you guessing

The Travelers: A Novel, by Chris Pavone @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In his third novel, The Travelers, Chris Pavone weaves a tale so baffling that you’re likely to be shocked again and again as the truth at the heart of the story gradually floats to the surface. Once again, as in his previous books,… Read More ›

Going undercover for the CIA in ISIS

The Prisoner (John Wells #11), by Alex Berenson @@@@@ (5 out of 5) To uncover the identity of a mole in the CIA, John Wells must go undercover again. A long time earlier, he had spent years with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, he was the CIA’s only source of first-hand… Read More ›

The joy of San Francisco noir

Dead Irish (Dismas Hardy #1), by John Lescroart @@@@@ (5 out of 5) San Francisco bartender Dismas Hardy was briefly a patrol officer in the SFPD while he worked toward a law degree. He left the law shortly after the death of an infant son and divorce from his wife. But when his boss and… Read More ›

The original hard-boiled detective?

Red Harvest (Continental Op #1), by Dashiell Hammett @@@@ (4 out of 5) Maybe he wasn’t the original hard-boiled detective. But he was certainly among the first. His creator, Dashiell Hammett, called him “the Continental op.” And the New York Times termed Hammett “the dean of the… ‘hard-boiled’ school of detective fiction” in its obituary… Read More ›

A captivating tale of religious fanaticism, blackmail, and serial murder

A Conspiracy of Faith (Department Q #3), by Jussi Adler-Olsen @@@@@ (5 out of 5) The bestselling Danish thriller writer Jussi Adler-Olsen ranks among Scandinavia’s very best literary exports. A Conspiracy of Faith, the third entry in his Department Q series of detective novels,  matches the first two books in suspense, intensity, and complexity. It’s… Read More ›

Solving a cold case in post-war England

The Death of Kings (John Madden #5), by Rennie Airth @@@@ (4 out of 5) South African author Rennie Airth has written seven novels, five of which feature Detective Inspector John Madden. The Death of Kings is the fifth. Set largely in southern England in 1949, The Death of Kings brings John Madden’s story well… Read More ›

An entertaining if puzzling sci-fi novel

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1 of 2), by Sylvain Neuvel @@@@ (4 out of 5) Every once in a while you come across a work of fiction so puzzling that you simply can’t put it down. No matter that the story seems not just farfetched but downright silly. The narrative drive, the sheer suspense, keep… Read More ›

The 1960s: sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll

The Big Fix (Moses Wine #1), by Roger L. Simon @@@ (3 out of 5) It should not have been such a surprise. A murder mystery I’d found hilarious shortly after its publication in 1973 left me cold in 2016. The Big Fix was the first of seven novels in Roger L. Simon‘s series featuring… Read More ›