When Eight Bells Toll

For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…

Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More

Spook Street

Hurrah! Jackson Lamb and the Slow Horses are back

Spook Street by Mick Herron A new Jackson Lamb novel from Mick Herron is a cause for celebration. Spook Street is the fourth in this fabulous series. (See my reviews of the first, Slow Horses and third, Real Tigers.) Every person who works in the secret service backwater of Slough House is a character, from Lamb, their farting, Read More

travelers

More thrillers from Anne Holt and Chris Pavone

Two more slightly shorter reviews of recent thriller reads… The Travelers by Chris Pavone They don’t come much more multi-layered than this complex thriller, published in March and now available in paperback. Will Rhodes is an award-winning, globe-trotting journalist – writing features for Travelers, a top travel magazine and travel agency. He and wife Chloe live Read More

Clara Vine 4

Clara Vine 4 – War Threatens…

Faith and Beauty by Jane Thynne I was so glad that Jane Thynne extended her Clara Vine series of books beyond the original planned trilogy. This series, centred in 1930s Berlin, with heroine Anglo-German actress-spy Clara, are so thrilling – each addition becomes a must-read for me. You can catch up on my thoughts about the previous Read More

1938 club

An Ambler for ‘The 1938 Club’

Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler This week Simon and Karen are hosting their second selected year reading club – and after 1924 last time, 1938 was the year they chose. 1938 is particularly interesting because of the political situation building up to WWII , and the novel I chose to read encapsulates those worries perfectly. Eric Ambler was Read More

real tigers

The Slow Horses meet the Real Tigers

Real Tigers by Mick Herron This is the third of Mick Herron’s ‘Slough House’ spy novels, following Slow Horses and Dead Lions. Previously, I’d only read the first, Slow Horses (reviewed here), but found that it was alright to jump to the third; the references to the second novel are few and don’t affect the Read More

stiastny 1

The case of the missing disk…

Acts of Omission by Terry Stiastny Thrillers set in the world of modern British politics are not that common compared with those led by the spies who report to the politicians; Acts of Omission is mainly the former. It is the debut novel by a former BBC News reporter who worked in Berlin in the late 1990s and is Read More

flowershbpick

The Return of Clara Vine

A War of Flowers by Jane Thynne I am a big fan of the wartime adventures of Anglo-German actress and British spy Clara Vine’s first two outings in Black Roses and The Winter Garden, so I was delighted to get stuck into the third volume of Jane Thynne’s series to see what happened next to Clara. In the Read More

Beatlebone

A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former Read More

slow horses

Echoes of Le Carré with a sense of humour …

Slow Horses by Mick Herron The other night I was meant to be going to my local bookshop Mostly Books for an event with Mick Herron, winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger for his novel Dead Lions. Instead I ended up in MIU with my daughter who managed to break the fifth metatarsal in her left foot when she Read More

winter-garden-hb-jacket

Back to Pre-WWII Berlin…

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne Last year, I was thrilled to read Jane Thynne’s novel Black Roses, actress/spy Clara Vine’s first outing in 1930s Berlin, in which she became accepted in the high social circles of the First Reich’s wives. This was the story of how Clara came to Berlin to act in the Read More

janethynneheadshot

Q&A with Jane Thynne, author of ‘Black Roses’

Back in March, I reviewed a fabulous romantic thriller set in pre-WWII Germany. Black Roses by Jane Thynne is the story of Clara Vine, a young actress who goes to Berlin to pursue a film career and ends up as a British spy and confidante of Magda Goebbels, the infamous First Lady of the Third Reich. Read More

thynne-black-roses

A Tale of Two Women in 1930s Berlin

Black Roses by Jane Thynne Remembering Jane Thynne’s columns and reviews in the Daily Telegraph, and having read that she is married to thriller writer Philip Kerr, I had high hopes of her new novel, set in Berlin during the years preceding WWII. I wasn’t disappointed, for Black Roses is a brilliant historical thriller based Read More

Spy Who in From the Cold

Cold War espionage feels so real in this book

The Spy Who Came in from the Coldby John Le Carré This was the October choice for our book group and I must say it proved to be a popular one given that several of the group had moaned ‘not a Le Carré’ when I suggested it; however this one’s relative brevity, tautness and utter plausibility Read More

Beatlebone

A true story of the Russian Revolution

Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick There has been renewed interest in the beloved children’s author Arthur Ransome lately due to the publication of a new biography: The Last Englishman by Roland Chambers. What many people don’t know is that years before he wrote the children’s classics, including Swallows and Amazons, for which he Read More

Beatlebone

Good Clean Spy Fun – with a spot of murder, and a good dose of drugs …

The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler When I saw that Penguin were reissuing five of Ambler’s novels in their Modern Classics series, the choice of which to read first was easy – I picked The Mask of Dimitrios. Apart from having been published during the same year as Chandler’s The Big Sleep, this novel Read More