Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Strange Scottish Shore: Emmaline Truelove #2 by Juliana Gray

A Strange Scottish Shore: Emmaline Truelove #2. Juliana Gray. Penguin Publishing Group. September 2017. 400 pp. ISBN#: 9780425277089.

To begin with, note that there is a selection from an old tome, The Book of Time, before each chapter, telling the tale of a Scottish selkie, who rose from the sea in ancient times and married the Lord of a Castle, had two lovely children but who was swayed to return to her former marine life. Each section parallels the unfolding action in this tale in which it is 1906 which begins with a selkie suit being found. Maximilian Haywood and Emmeline Truelove have traveled to the past to solve other mysteries. Now they discover that their friend, Lord Silverton, has disappeared as well as another mysterious, very suspicious character.

The majority of the action in this novel takes place in the 1300s in a small Scottish country town with a man named Max and of course, Lord Silverton and Emmeline who are transported to that error. It turns out that Silverton has already been there for three years. Emmeline, on the other hand, has quite a period of adjustment to the language, dress, food, and Silverton’s acceptance that he will never return to his former 20th Century life.

Emmeline is quickly accepted and her initial balking at Silverton’s declaration of undying love is slowly eroded and their fiery romance takes off like a rocket. Emmeline, however, believes she has been sent here to complete a mission and that is what gradually evolves. It’s a grand tale indeed (no spoilers here) involving a past legend resembling one of the many selkie legends floating in Scottish folklore. The tension and surprising scenes of violence are inserted in all of the right places, and Silverton, Emmeline and Max the new Lord, conspire to prevent a travesty occurring that would make a past legend fleshed out in the present turn disastrous. The care and concern these characters share is what solidifies a unpredictable, quick-paced plot.

This is a stand-alone novel but there is a prequel to this tale which this reviewer knows readers will want to read after finishing this exciting, romantic, mysterious, adventurous work of historical fiction mixed with paranormal qualities. Nicely done, Juliana Gray!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Scarred Woman: A Department Q Novel Series #7 by Jussie Adler Olsen

The Scarred Woman: A Department Q Novel Series #7. Jussie Adler Olsen. Penguin Random House Publishing Group. September 2017. ISBN #: 9781524702489.  

Get ready for a thriller rollercoaster ride!  Carl Marck, the head of Copenhagen’s Department Q dealing with cold cases, becomes interested in parallel details of two cases, one the murder of an elder woman years ago and a similar present murder.  Department Q is in trouble and in competition with upstairs Divisions, as the politicians and police brass are interested in the number of cases completed and reported on and those begun but never finished. The outcome could be financial cuts. That is until Carl enters the scene.

In a Social Services office in Copenhagen, a social worker, Anneli, is sick and tired of young woman dressed quite fashionably who show up for their unemployment benefits. They can’t or won’t get jobs.  Anneli wishes she could do something about it but doesn’t do anything.  But then disaster strikes when she is diagnosed with breast cancer and decides to not only fight for her life but to make her job meaningful by taking care of these leeches on Dutch society.  From that decisive moment, her portion of the story becomes non-stop riveting, pulse-pushing horror!  Denise, Michelle and Jazmine, predators on society, love their lives but are now the hunted rather than hunters.

Rose, the main character in this novel, starts the ball rolling by being yelled out in Department Q for not completing her reports.  There’s something about one of these cases that completely unravels Rose’s sanity, and the eventual involvement of Carl and Assad turns up Rose’s nightmare past, including twists and turns with murders and familial hatred beyond one’s imagination.

These stories eventually coalesce, with a balanced amount of humor and serious investigation, that is pleasing.  Although many of the actions in these scenes are quite wrong, this author makes the reader root for all the characters involved herein.

This reviewer hasn’t read the other novels in this series but intends to do so soon.  Fans of Stieg Larsson will love this novel as the desire for revenge wreaks its path across the city of Copenhagen.  The Scarred Woman is a remarkable crime thriller highly recommended for all readers!