From our reviewers: Mysteries and thrillers

Last updated 13:07 10/03/2014

Murder mysteries and thrillers available now.

The Gods of Guilt
By Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37)

Reviewed by Gordon Hancock

This was my first encounter with the very popular "legal-thriller" genre and so I had no reference point against which to compare it.

After reading The Gods of Guilt, I doubt that it will be my last encounter.

The main character is Mickey Haller, an LA-based defence attorney who comes with the usual "baggage' of two failed marriages, a penchant for alcohol and a Machiavellian view of the law which he justifies by the assertion that "judicial discretion is a big tent".

In addition to this, his practice is not thriving and his office is the back seat of his Lincoln automobile.

Haller has to use all his legal skills in the defence of a client accused of murdering one of his former clients. In the process he becomes involved with the LA underworld involving prostitution, drug cartels and corrupt enforcement officers

Connelly manages to keep the plot (which is not unduly complex) moving along whilst, at the same time, adding depth to the characters and including helpful details of the machinations of the United States legal and justice systems.

A cracking good read and I thoroughly recommend it.

Close to the Bone
By Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins, RRP $20)

Reviewed by F Mulligan

DI Logan McRae has a lot on his plate. His girlfriend is lying in hospital, he is living in a caravan park because his flat has blown up, a local criminal godfather type is wanting his help and, to top it all off, there seems to be a psycho murderer on the loose.

A bestselling novel is being turned into a movie and filming is taking place in Granite City (Aberdeen to us not in the know). It's an imaginary tale of witchcraft, witch finders and ritual killings. Then in a case of life seemingly imitating art, a man is found murdered in the same horrific manner as one of the victims in the book.

The novel has an offbeat mixture of styles. Tight police thriller, black humour interspersed with dashes of wacky repartee. It is the latest in a series of McRae novels and despite the comic spasms the plot is good and most of the characters are agreeable enough to make a sound story.

The Kill List
By Frederick Forsyth (Random House, RRP $38)

Reviewed by Mark Hotton

It's hard to know exactly how much of The Kill List is based on fact. The worrying part is that it could all be based on actual events, because of the way Forsyth has written it.

It's a standard sort of spy thriller, the baddy does bad things, the hero gets sent after the baddy and it becomes personal when the good guy's father gets killed.

So far fairly standard. but throw in a radical Islam cleric whose sermons inspire his followers to kill high-profile Western targets, modern spycatching techniques, and the use of secret military drones and it's as modern- day as it could be.

Forsyth has great pedigree and he has again used his unchallenged talent to create an easy to follow story full of well-crafted action.

A great read for a rainy day - because you'll want to finish it.

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