Bloody marvellous

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All my birthdays and christmases came at once recently when I was sent three novels in my favourite genre…it was bloody marvellous. Literally!

First to arrive was Ann Cleeves’ novel Wild Fire, the final chapter in her Shetland series, which is published on September 6.

Cleeves’ easy writing style hooks the reader from the first page – her characters are well developed and her use of nature – sea, mist and the island’s harsh landscape – perfectly play with your emotions as the drama unfolds.

As gutted as I am that this is the last book in the Shetland series – not least because it will mean I will be denied seeing the gorgeous Dougie Henshall in the lead role on my TV screen  – I couldn’t wait to start reading.

An English family has moved to the island with their two young children. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. DI Perez is called in to investigate, with is his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves called back to the island to take charge.

This eighth and final novel featuring DI Jimmy Perez is an intense and emotionally complex story, which I finished in only two sittings. I should have savoured it, but I was enjoying it so much I was reluctant to put it down.

The second book had been eagerly anticipated. Ambrose Parry may be an unknown name but is, in fact, born of crime-writing royalty. Parry is the pseudonym of Chris Brookmyre and his wife Dr Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist and medical historian.

In the first of what I hope will be the start of a series of novels, medicine, murder and money blur the lines between class and gender in this first book set in Edinburgh in 1847.

Young women are dying across the Old Town, all having suffered gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Forging an uneasy relationship with Dr Simpson’s maid Sara Fisher, and with each having his own motive for looking into the deaths, Will and Sarah dive headlong into the dark shadow’s of the capital’s underworld where they will have to overcome their differences to make it out alive.

I loved this first book by the husband and wife team, with its real life characters and events, and a strong female protagonist. You would never have known that there were two writers collaborating on this book, it was so well thought out and written, with one clear writing style.

As well as the fiction, the facts that are seamlessly added to the story, make this not only an entertaining read, but an fascinating and interesting read.

I am definitely looking forward to the next one.

And finally, the queen of crime Val McDermid returns with her new Karen Pirie thriller. Specialising in cold cases, DCI Pirie finds herself trying to unravel the clues to find a killer, while having to watch her back closer to home.

With another strong female taking the lead, McDermid has us travelling seamlessly between 1944 and the present day, the highlands and Edinburgh.

There is not enough space here to write a review that will do these books justice, but suffice to say, all were greedily devoured and this reader was left happy, but impatient for more.

Which is why I’m looking forward to Bloody Scotland 2018, which takes place in Stirling next month.

Running from September 21-23, all three writers will be taking part in events at this year’s festival.

To find out more, visit