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a christmas tree made of books

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year. Again. And for this final post of the year, I thought I would do things differently. Nicking an episode from my Christmas Past crime podcast, I would like to share the following. Book Reviews. Review of a fist-full of crime novels, with crime author G.B. Williams.

JAL: There’s a lot of crime fiction out there, so it’s time to look at some that you might want to give to your nearest and dearest, or even some that you might wish to find in your own Christmas stocking or under your Christmas tree, or you might even wish to buy them for yourself.

JAL: Welcome again, Gail, to Behind the Yellow Tape.

GBW: Hi, Joyanna, thank you for inviting me again.

JAL: Gosh, yes. So where shall we start?

GBW: Right, well, what I’ve tried to do is pick some less usual kind of titles. So, we’ve got a range here. I’m going to start with The Safe House by Louise Mumford. If you like psychological thrillers, this is the one for you.

It’s Louise’s second novel and it’s a standalone. But if I read you the blurb, the house is safe, she says. Esther has been safe in the house for 16 years. She and her mother have lived off the grid, protected from the dangers of the outside world. For 16 years, Esther has never seen another soul until today.

Today, there’s a man outside the house, a man who knows Esther’s name and who proves that her mother’s claim about the outside world is false.

A man who is telling Esther that she’s been living a lie. Is her mother keeping Esther safe or keeping her prisoner? Now, you can tell from that it is psychological and it’s absolutely beautifully written. But yeah, if you like psychological thrillers, this is a really good one.

JAL: Good, lovely. And next…

GBW: Next I’m going to go back in time. This was recommended to me and I wasn’t sure. This is called The Unwanted Dead by Chris Lloyd. This is a historical thriller set in June 1940 in Paris. Now, I was reluctant to read this because generally speaking, I don’t read historical novels.

But this one just caught my attention quite early. It’s about a French policeman who finds the bodies of four dead Polish men. And nobody wants him to investigate. Nobody really cares about them because it is the middle of occupied France. But Chris brings this beautiful touch to it with Eddie Jarrell who is the police officer. He is your damaged goods, but he’s also wonderful. And he’s so determined to find the right answer that he really keeps you guessing. So, if you’re into historical thrillers, this is just wonderful.

The next one’s a bit different.

It’s Natural Causes by James Oswald. Now, I love James Oswald’s books. This is the first of the Inspector Tony McLean’s. It’s based in Scotland, in Edinburgh. And this starts with the discovery of a young girl’s body. What I love about this is you do, again, get that sense of place about Edinburgh. You get the sense of teamwork in this one as well.

Because most crime books focus on one or two leaders. But there is obviously a team behind every police officer. And this one is wonderful. But the thing that I really like about James Oswald and Tony McLean and his books, these books, is they have a supernatural element.

It’s in the background, but it’s there all the time. And you never really know if it’s, is it really supernatural or is it just my imagination going on? And it keeps you guessing, but there’s that element of the something different.

So, if you like your detective fiction with a bit of a scare but without being gory…it’s not horror. So, if you want that tinge of something a bit outside of the norm, definitely would go with James Oswald.

JAL: Good. Good. Okay, so let’s get to the next one.

GBW: Again, something a little bit different, East of Hounslow by Karam Raman. Now, every year I set myself some personal challenges in my reading and I do have that horrible bias of reading white people. So, when I heard about this one, I had to get it.

I’ll read you this, Jabid, call him Jay, is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to Moscow on Friday and he’s just bought his pride and joy, a BMW. He lives with his mum and life seems sweet. But his world is about to turn upside down because MI5 have been watching him. They think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission.

One thing’s for sure. Now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, and Jay’s life will never be the same again. And it does absolutely turn his life on its head. But obviously, he is Muslim. And the things I learned about here, about going to Moscow and what happens, was really interesting. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to read this particular book. And it took me places that I’d never expected a book to take me.

And it made me think in ways of things that I’d never occurred to me to think. Because again, as I say, I’m just that boring white person. So, I like to take a chance with books and to see something different.

And this one came so highly recommended again by everybody that I knew. And I could see why. It was one of those I went through in a couple of days. I’m quite a slow reader. So, it’s very hard for me to read a book a week. But this one I read in a couple of days because I just could not put it down and I wanted to know the ending. He’s a young author and that as his debut was absolutely incredible.


So, there you have it. Rock around your Christmas tree with these incredible crime novels that rock! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y’all!

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