Wednesday, 23 November 2016

2017 Reading Challenges - Mystery Series - The Cops et al

It's going to be a noisy old day today. The tree guys are outside the den chopping down the 3 big pine trees there. The branches are huge! The weather is holding off so far. In the long run it'll help our roof and the neighbours and also hopefully the yard will do a bit better without all those pine needles and cones killing it.

Anyway, on to today's 2017 Reading Challenge list. I'm getting into my Individual challenges now. As per 2016, I want to continue to work on my series. I've broken my challenge down to Cops vs. Sleuths. The cops will basically focus on series where cops or DA's or other types of lawful agents are the main protagonists. The sleuths will focus on PIs, that sort of thing. Today will be the Cops. I hope to read at least 25 books in this grouping in 2017 and will divide it between series I've got on the go already and also new series. My initial list will just contain 10 books/ authors. That will allow me to take account of any new books I might buy in 2017 for the remainder.

So here we go. The Cops.

1. Shadow Prey by John Sandford (Lucas Davenport #2). I've only read one of this series up to now and enjoyed. This has been sitting on my shelves for a couple of years so it's about time to give it a try.

"A slumlord and a welfare supervisor butchered in Minneapolis . . . a rising political star executed in Manhattan . . . an influential judge taken in Oklahoma City . . . All the homicides have the same grisly method - the victim's throat is slashed with an Indian ceremonial knife - and in every case the twisted trail leads back through the Minnesota Native American community to an embodiment of primal evil known as Shadow Love. Once unleashed, Shadow Love's need to kill cannot be checked, even by those who think they control him. Soon he will be stalking Lucas Davenport — and the woman he loves...
Never get involved with a cop: Lieutenant Lucas Davenport has been warning women for years, but now he finds himself on dangerous ground with a policewoman named Lily Rothenburg, on assignment from New York to help investigate the murders. Both have previous commitments, but neither can stop, and as their affair grows more intense, so too does the mayhem surrounding them, until the combined passion and violence threaten to spin out of control and engulf them both. Together, Lucas and Lily must stalk the drugged-out, desperate world of the city's meanest streets to flush out Shadow Love — not knowing they are now the objects of his deadliest desires."

2. Open Season by Archer Mayor (Joe Gunther #1) - This is a new series for me. I've found a few of the books locally but only recently purchased the first book on line. I've seen some excellent reviews of it so am looking forward to giving it a try.

"Someone had set up Jamie Phillips. When he walked in Mrs. Reitz's back door, the frightened widow cut loose with both barrels of her shotgun without so much as a hello. Even the police turned their heads when they saw the corpse.
But that was only the beginning. Jamie had been one of the jurors on the Kimberley Harris murder case three years ago. And whoever had choreographed his gruesome death wasn't going to stop - until all twelve jurors had been permanently removed.."

3. The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison (Inspector Shan #1) - This is another new series. I have enjoyed other series set in China and am looking forward to seeing if the Inspector Shan books are as good.

"The corpse is missing its head and is dressed in American clothes. Found by a Tibetan prison work gang on a windy cliff, the grisly remains clearly  belong to someone too important for Chinese authorities to bury and forget. So the case is handed to veteran police inspector Shan Tao Yun. Methodical, clever Shan is the best man for the job, but he, too, is a prisoner, deported to Tibet for offending someone high up in Beijing's power structure. Granted a temporary release, Shan is soon pulled into the Tibetan people's desperate fight for its sacred mountains and the Chinese regime's blood-soaked policies. Then a Buddhist priest is arrested, a man Shan knows is innocent. Now time is running out for Shan to find the real killer."

4. The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker (Bruno, Chief of Police  #4) - This is one of my favourite series, one I like to savour and read one a year.

"It's spring in the idyllic village of St. Denis, and for Bruno that means lamb stews, bottles of his beloved Pomerol, morning walks with his hound - and a new string of regional capers and international crimes. When a local archaeological dig turns up a contemporary corpse, Bruno has a new case to solve. But there are complications: an escalating series of attacks on local foie gras producers; an international summit about to take place nearby; and two beautiful, brilliant women vying for Bruno's affections. Bruno's investigations take him deeper and deeper into Europe's recent history of terrorism and counter terrorism - and, inexorably, toward a dramatic, startling conclusion."

5. A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks #2) - I enjoyed the first book in this series very much and also the TV series. Looking forward to reading the next case.

"Near the village of Helmthorpe, Swainsdale, the body of a well-liked local historian is found half-buried under a drystone wall. Harry Steadman has been brutally murdered. But who would want to kill such a thoughtful, dedicated man?
Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called in to investigate and soon discovers that disturbing secrets lie behind the apparently bucolic facade. It is clear that young Sally Lamb, locked in her lover's arms on the night of the murder, knows more than she is letting on. And her knowledge could lead to danger.."

6. A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller (Bell Elkins #1) - As you can see this is another new series for me. It did sound interesting.

"Acker's Gap, West Virginia. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, visitors see only its stunning natural beauty. But for those living there it's a different story. The mountain roads harbour secret places, perfect for selling the prescription drugs that tempt its desperately poor.
Everyone wants to leave but only a few do. Only a few can.
Bell Elkins left Acker's Gap a broken teenager, savaged by a past she couldn't forget. But, as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, Bell is back and determined to help clean up the only home she has ever known.
As winter sets in and her daughter is witness to a shocking triple murder, Bell finds her family in danger. Can she uncover the truth before her world is destroyed again?"

7. Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope #2) - It's been a long time since I got back to a Vera mystery as I've been focusing on Cleeves Shetland series. It'll be nice to read the second book in the series.

"There was a gale the afternoon Abigail Mantel died and it seems to Emma that it's been windy ever since...
Ten years after Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen - year  - old Abigail Mantel, residents of the East Yorkshire village of Elvet are disturbed to hear of new evidence proving Jeanie's innocence. Abigail's killer is still at large.
For Emma Bennett, the revelation brings back haunting memories of her vibrant best friend - and of the fearful winter's day when she discovered her body lying cold in a ditch.
As Inspector Vera Stanhope makes fresh enquiries  on the peninsula, villagers are taken back to a time they would rather forget. Inevitably, tensions begin to mount; but are people afraid of the killer, or of their own guilty pasts?"

8. Ratking by Michael Dibdin (Aurelio Zen #1) - Heading off to Italy for this one, the first in the Zen series. The missus and I had enjoyed the TV mini-series very much so I hope the books are as good.

"A powerful industrialist, Ruggiero Miletti, is kidnapped. Inspector Zen is transferred to Perugia to take over the case - but finds that there are many obstacles in his way. The local authorities see him as an interloper, and the victim's family, one of the most powerful in Italy, seem content to let Miletti languish in the hands of his abductors. Zen has crossed swords with the establishment before - and lost. Can he succeed this time?"

9. The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis (Wesley Peterson #2) - Another series that I've barely dusted the surface of. I enjoyed the first book very much.

"When archaeologist Neil Watson finds American D-Day landing veteran, Norman Oppenheim, murdered in the ruins of an old chapel, he turns to his old friend, DS Wesley Peterson, for help.
Ironically, both men are looking at an invading force - Wesley the American veterans on a sentimental journey to their wartime base and Neil a group of Spaniards slaughtered by outraged locals as they limped from the wreckage of the Armada.
Four hundred years apart, two strangers in a strange land have died violently. Could the same motives of hatred, jealousy and revenge be at work? Wesley is running out of time to find out.."

10. Listening Woman by Tony Hillerman (Joe Leaphorn #3) - I've enjoyed this series, featuring Navajo Tribal police officer Joe Leaphorn. They've been a nice change of pace. This is the third in the series.

"The state police and FBI are baffled when an old man and a teenage girl are brutally murdered. The blind Navajo Listening Woman speaks of ghosts and of witches. But Lieutenant Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police knows his people as well as he knows cold-blooded killers. His incredible investigation carries him from a dead man's secret to a kidnap scheme, to a conspiracy that stretches back more than one hundred years. Leaphorn arrives at the threshold of a solution - and is greeted with the most violent confrontation of his career."

There you go, my first ten books. Next I'll focus on the sleuths. Have a great day!

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