Marked for Revenge by Jennifer S. Alderson

Marked For RevengeMarked for Revenge is the third book featuring art researcher Zelda – now working in the Amstel Modern museum in the Netherlands. I had no idea that there were other books in this series and it did not matter at all; at no point did I feel that not having read the previous books in the series was affecting my understanding.

It is a complex story told from multiple viewpoints and this works really well. We get insight into why the crimes are taking place, and not just a hunt for the perpetrators, which results in a much more nuanced narrative.

It is obvious that a lot of research has gone into this book, the detail is convincing and the author’s love of art history shines through. The vivid descriptions of Venice and Marmaris are a highlight and will make you want to visit them and see the sights for yourself.

It is well written, with believable characters and lots of action. The themes of art theft, forgery and revenge are woven seamlessly into this fast-paced thriller. I look forward to reading about Zelda’s next adventure.

Thanks to the author for a free copy of Marked for Revenge that I review on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Molly Hacker is too Picky! by Lisette Brodey

Molly Hacker is too PickyThis is not like most other romantic fiction I have read; usually, there are just two men trying to win the heart of the heroine, and it is fairly obvious which one she will end up with. The skill is in making the story interesting enough to keep us reading.

Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! breaks that mould; Molly is seeing four very different men, and is still pining for her lost love, so who will win her heart is anyone’s guess. In some ways it’s not important; her journey is fascinating and who she ends up with is not really the point. Everyone seems very keen to find Molly a partner, but, fortunately, she is not going to be rushed into an unsuitable match.

The story is told entirely through Molly’s eyes and we get a real insight into what is going through her mind. The characters are well written and believable, even her cat, Captain Jack. I really liked Molly; she’s strong and feisty and prepared to wait for her ‘soul mate’. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and the scene at the society fundraiser is beyond hilarious. I’ll leave you to discover it for yourself. This is the first book I have read by Lisette Brodey, but it won’t be the last.

Thanks to the author for an arc of Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! which I read as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team  #RBRT

The Red Cobra by Rob Sinclair

The Red CobraThe Red Cobra is a fast-paced thriller by Rob Sinclair featuring Carl Logan, the protagonist of Rob’s previous  ‘Enemy’ series, now living as James Ryker, having left his former  life behind – or so he thought. When he comes home from the local shop one day to find his old boss sitting in his living room, he realises that it’s not that easy to leave the past behind. They want his help to find out who is responsible for the murder of the ‘Red Cobra’, a female professional assassin he used to know very well, an invitation he cannot refuse.

It is well written, with convincing dialogue and a plot that keeps you guessing, marred only by a tendency to overexplain. The Spanish setting makes for a refreshing change of scenery; the violence is realistic with thoroughly nasty villains. The use of flashbacks to fill in the gaps in the story works really well, leading to some unexpected revelations.

I only gave this book four stars as I did not feel completely engaged with the characters. They were well-rounded and three-dimensional, so I can’t quite put my finger on what was missing. In the end it all comes down to personal taste.

Although this is a spin-off from the ‘Enemy’ series, it works just as well as a stand-alone thriller. I have read the first book in the series, but did not feel that I was missing any information by not having read them all. The ending points the way for a sequel (The Black Hornet) to follow later in the year.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy of his book that I review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Picture Not Perfect by DE Haggerty

Picture Not PerfectThis is the second book in the ‘Not So Reluctant Detective’ series set in a high school in Milwaukee. Melanie is the school guidance counselor and her friend, Terri, is the librarian. Although it can be read as a standalone, I think you would understand more about Mel’s behaviour if you read them in order (first book is Terri’s story).

Mel is accused of the murder of a teacher; although he was creepy, and kept asking her out, he was not stalking her as the police claim. Determined to prove her innocence before they lock her up, Mel‘s impulsive behaviour leads her friends into a lot of hilarious escapades, some more dangerous than others.

One thing that did seem over the top was the reaction of her police officer boyfriend, Owen, when she did something stupid and reckless (Terri’s boyfriend was the same in the first book). Mel’s impulsive behaviour is revealed to be because of ADHD; it is unusual to read about it in an adult though it is handled sensitively.

There is a lot of humour in this book, and we laugh and cringe in equal measure at the antics of Mel, Terri and their new friend, Pru. Although Mel can be exasperating it is hard not to like her. I enjoyed this short, light-hearted mystery and have already ordered the next one, Hide Not Seek.

Thanks to the author for a copy of Picture Not Perfect that I review as a member of Rosie Amber’s book review team #RBRT

Shark Bait by Matt Walker

Shark BaitShark Bait is the story of John Steele, a licenced government assassin sent to take out drug dealers, the Carlucci brothers. He was on his way home, his job was done, when Jeremy Peters stumbled into his path, and the situation got very messy, very quickly.

The action moves at a breakneck pace (the whole story happens over a week-end) with no let-up as bad guys are coming after him from all directions. It is narrated in the first person by Steele with alternating chapters by Gary Brooker, small-time crook and loan shark. This lends immediacy to the action; the reader feels as if they are right in the middle of it. So now, not only are the remaining Carlucci gang after his blood, but Gary’s thuggish henchmen are hot on his trail as well. He can’t afford to let his guard down for a second.

I really enjoyed this debut by Matt Walker. John Steele is very likeable despite what he does for a living and that is not an easy thing to pull off convincingly; he is tough when he has to be but not unnecessarily so. I look forward to reading Devil’s Breath, the next one in the series.

Thanks to the author for a copy that I review as part of Rosie's Book Review Team.