Cumbria County Council Celebrate Crime Month With Library Staff Favourites

As we come to the end of May and The Crime Writers’ Association’s annual festival of crime writing, that takes place nationwide, Cumbria library staff have recommended four books where murder and mayhem stalk the streets – or the page at least.

If none of these appeal, try browsing our online Borrowbox service for another criminally good read.

Fool Me Once- Harlan Coben

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier.

A good thriller which, as can be expected from Coben, twists and turns right up until the final pages. The story follows Maya, a battle-weary veteran whose home life is turned upside down when her husband is murdered. Now a single parent, Maya gets suspicious when she sees something strange on a nanny cam. The image looked like her dead husband — how could that be? One of Coben’s story trademarks is that you never know who to trust, and he really uses this here.  As Maya tries to figure out what is going on it becomes apparent that she, and therefore we, can’t trust anyone. Not the nanny. Not her husband’s wealthy family. Not her sister’s husband. Not her fellow combat veterans or her therapist.  Not even the police. Further Maya is haunted by the decisions she made during her service years and we see her struggle to find peace in her home life. 

It is also a nice change to have the main character in Fool Me Once be a female combat veteran rather than male ex police. Coben books are always difficult to review because the thrill is in reading them for yourself and watching the story unfold; this one is excellent in keeping you on the edge of your seat and leads you by the hand through the mystery and all the surprises to the totally unexpected ending.  Did I like the ending?  It’s definitely unexpected.  I certainly enjoyed the ride. Alice

Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister the Serial Killer

Sharp, Shocking, Intelligent, a real page turner –

Set in Nigeria, the book revolves around two sisters with childhood trauma which turns into a troubled adulthood!

One sister is a serial killer, the other goes to extreme measures to protect her.

The writing style is compelling and for a first novel, a triumph. It’s witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously ,although dealing with a serious subject. A gripping read overall.


Partners in Crime” by Stuart MacBride

This was my first introduction to Stuart MacBride books. Two short stories- “Bad Heir Day” and “Stramash”. The stories move at a fast pace that make for an easy read. The characters are larger than life and DI Roberta Steele is a force to be reckoned with. The dialogue between her and her partner Logan McRae is often hilariously funny! From a missing person to major drug smuggling gangs, the stories were action packed. Reading these two stories left me wanting to find out more about the two main characters. I can’t wait to start reading a full length book by this author.


The Picasso Scam – Stuart Pawson

Introducing DI Charlie Priest, “Yorkshire’s answer to Inspector Morse”, according to The Bookseller.

What drew me to this book is the fact that it is set in Yorkshire, including trips over the border to Lancashire, and occasionally Cumbria. Amusing, attention grabbing, believable without too much of the police procedural, Pawson tells a riveting tale among normal folk that could be around the corner with a very likeable protagonist in Charlie Priest, who is the longest serving Inspector in the Heckley force. His unorthodox methods and persistence lead him into the dark world of art fraud. Witty and compelling, I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in this series.


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