Devil in the countryside by Cory Barclay

By special request of Cory Barclay

downloadIts 1588, the height of Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside… In a time when life is cheap and secrets hiss amidst whispers of love, betrayal and murder, four troubled souls find themselves entangled in their fight to survive with their sanity still intact…

An intense, almost uncomfortable read, Devil in the Countryside explores the politics and religion of 16th century Germany and the brutal war between Catholics and Protestants that tore the town of Bedburg apart.

Cold, ruthless and almost inhuman, protagonist Inspector Heinrich Franz is tasked with finding the “werewolf” of Bedburg – a brutal killer credited with the gory and sadistic murders of teenage girls and women for decades. Through death, betrayal and war, the inspector and three similarly troubled souls struggle to survive – hunter George Seighart, a disturbed ex-soldier who supposedly lost his family to the ‘werewolf’ and a Priest troubled by his attraction to a young woman who threatens his most basic of beliefs.

I’m not going to lie, this was a little adulty for a person of… ahem… my age, and a little uncomfortable at times. The themes were very strong, and there was a lot of gore -in other words, be prepared! This is not for children, and is pretty intense as it is. The characters were interesting, and the way the author portrayed them not only focused on their faults and their conflicts, but also on their path to become better people, which was a fascinating journey to follow all throughout the book.

A gripping, almost awful story of the largest werewolf investigation in history,  the Devil in the Countryside is one that you will never forget – in the most chilling yet intriguing way possible.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter folks! I’m going to grow positively fat on chocolate, I don’t know about you… but since this a blog about books, I did a quick google search and came up with the following Easter themed books….

1.Easter Bunny Murder, by Leslie Meier

easter bunny murder

When Lucy Stone arrives at an annual Easter egg hunt, the last thing she expects to find is a murder, but when a man dressed in an Easter bunny costume drops dead, she has a feeling that someones been hunting not  just for eggs…and whats more, they’re looking for more…

Mwahaha, an Easter themed murder! Haven’t we all been looking for that in life? I haven’t read it, but if any of you want to try it, tell me all about it!

2. Watership Down

Watership_Down_cover

Maybe not Easter themed, but featuring a band of daring bunnies in their fight for survival, Watership Down is a dark, stirring novel following the desperate journey of several adventurous rabbits in their search for a home.

Originally intended as a children’s novel but later described as a little disturbing and extremely dark, the novel was made into film in 1978. Again, I haven’t read it, so tell me all about it if yo ever happen to come across it 🙂 .

3. Eggs

eggs

There’s nothing really Easter themed about this book, apart from the title. Eggs is a heartwarming novel about an unlikely friendship between orphan David and rulebreaker Primrose, made moving and magical by the characters hardships and differences. This story of grief and belonging inspires hope where ever it goes, and is a must read for ages 9+ (according to a few websites) :>! If you happen to have read it, please tell me about it! 🙂

So that’s the end of my list! Its not much, but I couldn’t find many, so if you have any good ones I can have a look at, mention them in the comments and I’ll have a read 🙂

Happy Easter!!! 🙂

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

and then there were noneTen little soldier boys went out to dine…one choked his little self and then there were nine…

Lured to an island by mysterious hosts Mr and Mrs U.N.Owen, ten people are each accused of a terrible crime, the kind that the law can’t touch…

Nine little soldier boys stayed up very late…one overslept himself, and then there were eight…

And when the first murder is committed, it seems that none of them are going to leave the island any time soon…dead or alive…

Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon…one said he’d stay there, and then there were seven…

Learning more about each others dark and disturbing pasts, they begin to question everything…only the dead are above suspicion…

Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks…one chopped himself in halves and then there were six…

Soon the mysterious riddles hung above the mantelpiece are beginning to make sense…and they all carry sinister meanings that will determine the fate of everyone on the island, all the way down to one…

One little soldier boy, left all alone…he went and hanged himself and then there were none.

Featuring real, and deeply disturbed characters, And then there were none, takes you through a gripping and psychological story that introduces you not only to a world of eerie and sinister mystery, but a whirlwind of lies, suspicion and horror – a world that you’ll find you can never truly leave.

I truly believe this is Agatha Christie’s best – difficult to put down, utterly nightmarish and thrilling. The truth of the identity of the murderer blew me away – it was not only practically impossible to  guess, but it added a sinister element to the story that chills you to the bone.

5 out of 5

Trailer – And Then There Were None, Movie

 

 

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

death-on-the-nile“I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and pull the trigger…”

When a cold blooded murder attempt throws a tranquil cruise along the Nile into chaos, passengers are slowly being eaten away by fear. Luckily, renowned detective Hercule Poirot is on board…but the danger is far from over…

Soon, Britain’s wealthiest woman –  national beauty and ‘the girl who has everything’, Linnet Ridgeway – is found shot dead in her cabin, the morning after a shocking affair that ended in catastrophe. The killer is still on board, and Poirot must discover the identity of the murderer before they strike again…

A shocking and highly unpredictable novel of romance, greed and tragedy, Death on the Nile plunges straight into the world of wealth and love, and what people will do to get it…

Okay, confession time. I may have (accidently! 🙂 ) watched the tv ending about four years ago and never realised ( 😦 it ruined most of it for me) but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Throughout the novel I was trying to figure out if it was indeed the one I had watched a few years ago, but I actually dismissed it when I thought it was impossible for the solution to the murder I saw on tv to actually apply to the book. But as it turned out, it was possible (damn you Agatha Christie!) and I was completely blown away by the ending, even though I had seen it on tv.

I immensely enjoyed how Christie explored the minds of Britain’s wealthiest woman Linnet Ridgeway; tragic, tossed aside by her old best friend  and her would-be husband, Miss Jacqueline de Bellefort; and her ex-fiance who married Linnet, Simon Doyle. Happy Reading!

3.5 out of 5

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

murder-on-the-orient-express_coverJust after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. A passenger lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the prime suspects from the scornful and impatient array of foreign passengers – before the murderer decides to strike again…

When Orient Express passenger, M.Ratchett, is killed in his berth, there is no way the murderer could have escaped from the compartment, or even gotten in, and whatsmore one of the passengers saw a man creep through her compartment on the night of the murder…

Why and when the murder was committed are questions lying unanswered, and even more bizarre is the inconsistent stab wounds that killed Ratchett – some being fatal, some barely glancing off the body.

In a fascinating, jaw-dropping and completely unexpected novel, Murder on the Orient Express is a tale of lies, revenge and grief that will take you completely by surprise. Every detail of the story was equally terrifying and cryptic,and all centred around an appalling crime that both disgusts and horrifies you – and I’m not just talking about the murder. Although some bits are confusing, this story utterly blew my mind – and to just how Hercule Poirot solved this tangle of lies and false identities, I shall never begin to understand.

Enthralling and utterly gripping, this is a classic Agatha Christie – wonderfully terrifying and impossible to put down.

4 out of 5

A Fine and Private Place, by Ellery Queen

47c_fineNine days after millionaire Nino Importuna and his two brothers are murdered in their apartment, 99 East, nine notes appear at Crime Fiction writer Ellery Queen’s doorstep, bearing nine cryptic clues that leave Queen and his father stumped to why and who committed the murder. Soon the whole case is shrouded in a mysterious mist of numbers, and Ellery Queen must fight his way through the incoming wave of  nines in order to save the police department from humiliation and find the murderer…

This was my first Ellery Queen (and my only, but I’m currently reading some more!), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Filled with twists and turns, a Fine and Private Place explores the minds of millionaire Nino Importuna, who had a lifelong obsession with the number nine; brothers Julio and Marco Importunato; unfaithful wife and secret enemy, Virginia White; Secretary Peter Ennis; father Wallace White; and of course Ellery and Inspector Queen.

This mystery was a light, fun read with a few naughty-ish bits, and I found it a refreshing and easy break from more intense books like the Hollow Man. Be sure not to skip to the end though – the very last few words in the book are the name of the murderer! I loved the connections the author made with all of Nino Importuna’s decisions to the number nine – I found it clever, inventive and down right genius.

 3 out of 5

The Hollow Man, by John Dickson Carr

290036d011cbfbd0de2839912bba73afTwo murders are committed in such a fashion that the murderer not only have been invisible – but lighter than air!
When Professor Grimaud is threatened at a nearby pub, he dismisses it as nothing to be worried about. A few days later, however, he buys a painting to protect himself and the next day he is dead, shot through the chest in his study. And whatsmore, the murderer couldn’t have escaped…or even got in to the house!
But then their is the mysterious matter of the painting, depicting three stone coffins and slashed three times across the canvas…
Considered as one of the best impossible crimes of all time, the Hollow Man is a creepy, thrilling and entirely unpredictable novel that chilled me to the bone.
I found the revelation at the end slightly baffling, but the story rooted its way inside me and the mere thought of it sends shivers of excitement shooting down my spine. The last few chapters are impossible to stop reading, and the horror of the actual murder meant I lay awake practically all night basically revelling in the real genius of the story.
I definitely recommend this book to all crime fans – but not as a first one! I found the solution complex and beautifully written, perfectly portraying the barbarity of both crimes and the  constantly changing state of mind in which the murderer faced. This book was equally haunting and terrifying – a perfect impossible crime that was never really impossible in the first place!
4.5 out of 5 (It would have been five, but I didn’t quite follow some of the solution!)

The Crooked Hinge, by John Dickson Carr

download-1Twenty-five years ago John Farnleigh, the heir to an enormous fortune, then a young and wild boy exiled to America, survived the sinking of the Titanic. Its now 1937, two years after he returned to claim his inheritance. Only is he really the heir? Another man has just shown up, claiming to be John Farnleigh, explaining that, as boys, the two men switched identities as the ship was sinking.

When Patrick Gore shows up, maintaining that he is the real John Farnleigh, nobody can figure out whether he is being truthful or just attempting to lay his hands on the Farnleigh fortune. Luckily, his childhood tutor brings along an old set of fingerprints to help clear up the matter once and for all.

But before the finger prints can be compared, a member of the household has their throat slit in plain sight. The whole plot relies on several shocking revelations, that give the book a kind of haunting quality that sends shivers of excitement all down your spine. This mystery introduced me into the world of Gideon Fell, and the ingenious John Dickson Carr. It was the second murder mystery I ever read, and it holds a special place in my heart, despite some negative reviews I’ve read about the book.

This mystery was thrilling, shocking and utterly breath-taking, and I recommend it to all young murder mystery readers who want a gripping, exciting and beautifully written entry into the world of John Dickson Carr!

4 out of 5

Lord of the Sorcerers, By Carter Dickson

51alnzxvr9l-_sl500_sx327_bo1204203200_In the sands of Egypt an archaeologist dies by a scorpion sting amid rumours of an Ancient Curse. The woman of the party, Lady Helen Loring is dispatched back to England by her father, and to safety. But Lady Helen makes the mistake of bringing with her a small souvenir – a priceless bronze lamp – said to have the power to blow to dust all who remove it from its desert resting place…

When Lady Helen Loring disappears on the stairs of her mansion in Gloucester amidst rumours of a deadly curse, renowned sleuth Sir Henry Merrivale is stumped as to how she vanished while in plain view from servants, gardeners and plumbers – and to how an infamous bronze lamp rumoured to be damned by the ancient gods of Egypt has anything to do with the mystery at all.

In a thrilling and utterly baffling mystery filled with oh-no-i-thought-i-had-the-murderer-but-it-turns-out-it-wasn’t’s, The Lord of the Sorcerers was an utter classic. As a first time reading Henry Merrivale, I found him funny and likeable, and was a great character! I found it exasperatingly unclear at times, but as usual, Carter Dickson tied it all up in a nest little bundle in the end, and I found it a refreshing and incredibly hard to put down!

The ending was surprising, and I did not see the last few chapters coming – but in the end it all made sense and I’d be happy to pick it up again and read it!

4 out of 5

 

The False Scent – Ngaio Marsh

ngaioIn a puff of toxic gas, beloved actress and queen of the stage Mary Bellamy meets her end at her own birthday party – poisoned by a deadly gardening spray “Slaypest”.

But when Superintendent  Roderick Alleyn arrives, he smells something fishy…for this case has the distinctive scent of murder…

The idolized British actress is found dead in her bedroom with a bottle of slaypest clutched in her hand, amidst a birthday party where her ‘fans’ are really her worst enemies. The case is dismissed as an obvious suicide, but when the autopsy emerges, it reveals that the poisonous spray was administered from varying distances. Will Superintendent Alleyn discover the truth before its too late? Or will he fall victim to the False Scent?

A wonderfully written novel that immediately got me hooked, the False Scent was my first murder mystery.To all younger readers, I recommend it as one of the easiest mysteries to start out with – its very mild, and has an ingenious plot that will leave you twisting and turning all night, trying to figure out who the murderer is – and all the different twists will leave you stumped about who killed Mrs Bellamy. Some of the plot is pretty easy, so its definitely not the best I read (far from it!) but it was an easy way into crime.

I find Mary’s character commanding, highly strung and extremely sensitive and temperamental to the stage of suffering from full out tantrums and considering herself betrayed by her producer, playwright, management and even fellow actors.

2.5 out of 5