March 13, 2018

Former MI5 Director spins a fascinating tale of espionage

Former MI5 Director: The Geneva Trap by Stella RimingtonThe Geneva Trap (Liz Carlyle #7) by Stella Rimington

@@@@@ (5 out of 5)

Leave it to the former head of Britain’s Security Service (MI5) to serve up a compelling tale of espionage that rockets from Geneva to London to Marseilles. In the seventh entry in her well-crafted series of spy stories featuring MI5 officer Liz Carlyle, Stella Rimington weaves a fascinating story involving not just MI5 and MI6 but also the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, the CIA, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the French Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), and the Korean National Intelligence Service (KCIA) as well as other agencies involved in espionage. Above all else, The Geneva Trap dramatizes the interdependence of these national agencies in an era when borders have been virtually erased by high-speed travel and the universality of Internet access.

When a Russian spy surfaces in Geneva insisting on speaking only with “Lees Carlyle,” Liz is quickly flown to Switzerland to determine what the man might have to offer British intelligence. She is shocked to learn from him that a top-secret British-American defense project has allegedly been infiltrated by a foreign country that, the man insists, is not Russia. She sets out to uncover the identity of the mole, assuming he or she exists. Meanwhile, someone has murdered a senior Swiss intelligence official on a highway from Geneva to Marseilles. And the daughter of the man who is her mother’s lover is threatened by men from the French anarchist commune she had recently fled.

No reader of genre fiction will be surprised to learn that all three of these threads in The Geneva Trap will eventually intersect. But clever plotting by the former MI5 director makes for a fascinating story along the way.

For nearly three decades, Stella Rimington served in MI5, her last four years (1992-96) as Director General. Unsurprisingly, she was the first woman to hold the post. MI5 is often equated with the FBI, but the analogy is inexact. The FBI is principally a law enforcement agency, whereas MI5 is focused on counterintelligence and counterterrorism. The American and British agencies are similar in one respect, though: just as there is friction between the FBI and the CIA, MI5 and MI6 (Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service) sometimes find themselves in competition for resources and recognition.

If you enjoy spy stories, check out my post, My 13 favorite espionage novels. You might also appreciate 17 good nonfiction books about espionage and 53 excellent mystery and thriller series, which includes this series.

March 6, 2018

Russia takes the next step in the latest John Wells spy novel

The Deceivers by Alex BerensonThe Deceivers (John Wells #12) by Alex Berenson

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Is a new Cold War underway between the United States and Russia? Certainly, the signs are emerging. The two countries are at loggerheads in Ukraine and Syria, and the Russian response to deepening US sanctions has seemed increasingly desperate. Russian efforts to upend the 2016 presidential election may be on today’s front pages, but it’s only one aspect of the broadening if still nonviolent conflict. In his new John Wells thriller, The Deceivers, Alex Berenson imagines Russia crossing the threshold into violence.

Former Army Ranger John Wells has retired from the CIA. He lives in rural New Hampshire with a local cop named Anne and their three-year-old daughter, Emma. But when Vinny Duto, his old nemesis, sends word for him to meet him in the White House, he has little choice but to leave his pregnant wife and young daughter. The former CIA Director is now President. Nobody says no to the President, especially this President.

Wells is expecting an assignment connected to a horrific recent attack in Dallas, where 400 people were murdered by a small group of Islamic terrorists outside a basketball arena. But Vinny wants him to travel to Bogota, Colombia, to meet a man who claims to have critically important information about some unspecified matter. Puzzled, Wells heads off southward, beginning a frustrating and dangerous journey to meet the man. His investigation eventually leads him to Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City (now self-styled CDMX), Dallas, southeastern Washington State, and eventually back to Washington, DC, and home to New Hampshire. It’s a whirlwind adventure in high style, and another captivating thriller from Alex Berenson. Along the way, you’ll encounter a convincing portrait of Vladimir Putin in the guise of Russian President Sergei Fedin.

Alex Berenson worked for the New York Times for more than a decade, covering the occupation of Iraq and the pharmaceutical industry as an investigative reporter. He has been writing full-time since 2010. The Deceivers is the 12th novel in his bestselling John Wells series. Berenson has also written three works of nonfiction.

You may also appreciate seeing My 10 favorite espionage novels and 48 excellent mystery and thriller series (which includes this series). If spy stories aren’t enough and you crave the real thing, check out 17 good nonfiction books about espionage.

February 26, 2018

John Sandford’s best Virgil Flowers novel?

Rough Country by John SandfordRough Country (Virgil Flowers #3) by John Sandford

@@@@@ (5 out of 5)

Virgil Flowers is one of the most interesting characters in detective fiction today. He’s the top investigator in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. His boss, Lucas Davenport, gives him only the toughest cases. But he is in no way a stereotype. For one thing, he doesn’t like guns, and he hates shooting people.

Virgil, the son of a preacher, “held unconventional beliefs, not necessarily Christian, but not necessarily un-Christian, either, derived from his years of studying nature, and his earlier years, his childhood years, with the Bible.” He hold a degree in environmental science from the University of Minnesota, reflecting his passion for the outdoors, and especially for fishing. Virgil has parlayed this hobby into a successful sideline as a writer for outdoors magazines. And recently he wrote a two-part series for the New York Times Magazine about a complex case he’d just solved. (That case was the subject of Heat Lightning, the compelling second book in the Virgil Flowers series.) As a result, Davenport says he’s “the most famous cop in Minnesota.”

Virgil has long blond hair and is obviously good-looking. He typically wears jeans and a T-shirt advertising an obscure rock band, seemingly a different one every day. Women are drawn to him, and he manages to fall in love with a beautiful young woman on just about every case. He’s been married, and divorced, three times.

Rough Country opens with the murder of Erica McDill, a partner in a prominent Minneapolis advertising agency at a resort for women-only in the state’s lake country. Because the press and the politicians are all over the case, and because Virgil is on a fishing trip not far from the resort, Davenport assigns him to investigate the killing. It quickly emerges that McDill is a lesbian, as are many of the other women at the resort. Perhaps, then, some love affair gone bad explains the murder. But Virgil also learns that McDill was maneuvering to buy out her principal partner in the advertising agency—and planning to fire many of the staff once she gained control. Rumors about the firing were already making the rounds at the agency. To complicate matters further, McDill had tired of her partner, Ruth, who suspected she would be dumped. But there are also complicating factors involving the ownership of the resort, giving yet someone else a motive for the killing.

Naturally, we have faith in Virgil. We know he’s going to solve the case. But how he gets there is surprising at the least. And the conclusion is a shocker. I’ve enjoyed every one of the books I’ve read in this series. The dialogue is invariably clever and occasionally hilarious. But Rough Country may be John Sandford’s best Virgil Flowers novel.

Dark of the Moon, the first novel in the series, at In Virgil Flowers’ debut, arson, multiple murder, and a right-wing preacher. The second, Heat Lightning, is at “That f—ing Virgil Flowers,” Vietnam vets, the CIA, and a serial killer. You might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series. This series is included.

February 20, 2018

A satirical take on the dysfunctional CIA under George W Bush

The CIA under George W Bush: Intelligence by Susan HaslerIntelligence: A Tale of Terror and Uncivil Service by Susan Hasler

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

Can the CIA really be as clumsy and ineffectual as Susan Hasler portrays it in Intelligence? The dysfunctional agency she dramatizes is a bureaucracy tied up in knots, some of them of its own making, some handed down from a White House bent on pursuing its own aggressive strategy regardless of whether it’s justified by the facts. Granted, the CIA Hasler paints is that of the George W. Bush Administration, five years after 9/11. And we all know what that was like. But can we be confident that today’s intelligence establishment will be able to operate any more independently under Donald Trump’s White House?

Madeline (“Maddy”) James is an intelligence analyst who is still wracked with guilt over not having been able to stop the 9/11 attacks. Not that she hadn’t tried: she and a handful of other dedicated officers had attempted for weeks to focus the White House on their belief that an Al Qaeda attack was imminent. But the White House, and specifically the Vice President, wanted only to hear about Iraq. Clearly, this was a policy failure of the highest order. However, as Maddie keeps reminding herself, “There are no policy failures, only intelligence failures.” So, guess who got the blame for 9/11 in the CIA under George W. Bush?

Now, five years later, history seems to be repeating itself. Maddy is convinced that another major terrorist attack is imminent from Al Qaeda. But everyone in a position of authority over her at the Agency refuses to forward her warning to the White House. As Maddie is told, “The President doesn’t want to hear this.” And the new office created at the Pentagon to develop “alternative intelligence” keeps assigning Maddie and the CIA staffers who work with her to tasks designed to “prove” that Iranian terrorists are about to attack the US. If any of this rings bells, that’s because it’s a fairly accurate summary of the procedures in place in the Administration of George W. Bush. And specifically with respect to Iran.

Intelligence is sometimes funny and always engaging. Hasler writes well, her characters are three-dimensional (if a little overdrawn), and the suspense is palpable.

Hasler has created her own terminology about the Agency. The CIA is “the Mines,” with corridors called “mineshafts.” Analysts are “alchemists.” She calls counterterrorism officers “bomb dissectors.” 9/11 was “the Strikes.” And so forth. (I have no idea whether any of these terms can actually be heard within the CIA.) It’s a little disorienting, but the author helpfully provides a glossary at the end of the book.

Susan Hasler is a 21-year veteran of the CIA. As her bio reveals, “At the Agency, Hasler served variously as a Russian linguist, a Soviet analyst, a speechwriter to three Directors of Central Intelligence, and a counterterrorism analyst. where she served as an intelligence analyst.” So, she would appear to be a reliable source about the Agency. Intelligence was the first of the three novels Hasler has written to date.

If the topic of secret intelligence appeals to you, you might be interested in My 10 favorite espionage novels. You might also like my reviews of 17 good nonfiction books about espionage.

February 19, 2018

“That f—ing Virgil Flowers,” Vietnam vets, the CIA, and a serial killer

That f---ing Virgil Flowers: Heat Lightning by John SandfordHeat Lightning (Virgil Flowers #2) by John Sandford

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

Virgil Flowers has the highest rate of closed cases of all the agents in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). But he’s no superhero. Virgil makes mistakes. He sometimes misreads suspects and jumps to conclusions. He misses clues. And it’s those mistakes that help propel the action forward at a fast clip in Heat Lightning. The novel is the second in what so far have been ten books in John Sandford’s outstanding Virgil Flowers series.

Sandford’s writing is addictive. His characters are unfailingly interesting. The plots in his novels are always complex, and sometimes devilishly so. The dialogue is crisp and sounds natural. And, at least in the Virgil Flowers series, it’s sometimes funny.

Here, for example, is Virgil speaking with a bored young Vietnamese woman he has just met in the course of his investigation into a series of murders.

“‘St. Paul would be a nice place to live if you had something to do. I don’t have anything to do,'” the young woman remarks.

“‘There’s always sex,’ Virgil said. ‘You’re away from home, where nobody knows you. You could indulge all your sexual fantasies and nobody would ever find out.’

“‘But who would I sleep with?’

“‘We could put a notice in the paper, ask for volunteers.'”

Virgil being Virgil, we can be confident that he will end up in bed with this young woman, who is, of course, extremely attractive. In fact, Virgil is likely to fall in love with her. He has a habit of doing that.

When others refer to Virgil, he is frequently called “that f—ing Virgil Flowers.” The man does stand out!

The case that has brought Virgil together with this young woman involves a series of murders connected in some way with an event in Vietnam in 1975, immediately following the departure of the last US troops. Two veterans of the war have been found dead of gunshots, propped up against Vietnam War monuments in small Minnesota towns. They both have lemons stuffed in their mouths. Virgil’s assignment is to track down the killers quickly enough to prevent any further killings.

As the action unfolds, a constellation of powerful forces and other seemingly unrelated players enter the stage. The CIA. The Vietnamese government. The Department of Homeland Security. The Red Lake Ojibwe. And the governor of Minnesota. Even a careful reader is likely to have difficulty predicting the course of events. As I said, John Sandford’s plots are sometimes devilishly clever.

I’ve also reviewed six other Virgil Flowers novels:

You might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series. This series is included.

February 12, 2018

Guilt, the allure of beauty, and murder in an excellent Australian thriller

An excellent Australian thriller: The Dark Lake by Susan BaileyThe Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

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Susan Bailey’s new thriller, The Dark Lake, explores the power of guilt and the allure of beauty in a suspenseful tale of murder and long-suppressed secrets. “‘Everyone in this town has something to hide,'” as one character observes. The plot revolves around those festering secrets.

Smithson is a town of 30,000 in the Australian outback, “a good four-hour drive from Sydney.” There, a 28-year-old high school teacher named Rosalind (Rose) Ryan has been found murdered and possibly raped as well. She was discovered floating in Smithson Lake, red roses strewn across her body. An old school classmate of hers, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock has been assigned to the investigation along with her partner and secret lover, Detective Sergeant Felix McKinnon. Gemma’s 10-year-old connections to Rose run deep. She manages to stay on the case only by downplaying them. Her boss is willing to allow Gemma to head the investigation because he regards her as his best detective—his protege, in a way.

Rose is an enigmatic figure, a woman of great beauty and hidden desires. She is the daughter of the town’s richest man, a developer, and sister to three older brothers. Unlike her brothers, Rose avoids the family’s palatial home. She lives alone in a small cottage in a run-down neighborhood. Rumors swirl about Rose—that she was having an affair with the high school principal, that she was sleeping with one of her students, that something terrible happened to her on a previous teaching job in Sydney.

Men find Gemma attractive, too, but she compares herself unfavorably to Rose. And a minor character observes that “Gemma looks like a bargain basement mannequin.” She has a boyish figure, and she’s careless about what she wears.

Guilt over some unspecified sin in her teen years has driven Gemma to join the police. “‘I didn’t really have another choice,’ she explains to Felix. ‘I needed so badly to work in a world that made binary sense of things. A place where there was good and bad, right and wrong, and where I was in charge of making sure there was more good than bad.'”

The Dark Lake unfolds in chapters that alternate between the present time with Gemma and Rose’s final year at Smithson High School ten years earlier. At first, the connections between the two lines of the plot appear to be incidental. Gradually, as Gemma digs more deeply into her memory, we find the fateful connections that lead to an explosive ending.

I recently reviewed another strong murder mystery from Australia, The Dry by Jane Harper. You’ll find its review at Multiple murder in the Australian outback. You might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series.

February 6, 2018

“The Woman in the Window”: the latest unreliable narrator novel

unreliable narrator novel: The Woman in the Window by A. J. FinnThe Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

The device of the unreliable narrator has been in use since the earliest days of literature, beginning with the ancient Greeks. Modern authors including Edgar Rice Poe, William Makepeace Thackeray, Agatha Christie, and Vladimir Nabokov have famously used the device for dramatic effect. Much more recently, the unreliable narrator has vaulted onto American bestseller lists with such books as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Paula Hawkins’ The Woman on the Train, and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. Among the most recent imitators is the pseudonymous A. J. Finn with his #1 New York Times Bestseller The Woman in the Window.

Though the novel is the author’s first book, it could hardly have attracted more favorable reviews. Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and the New York Times raved about it. And the Washington Post called it “a beautifully written, brilliantly plotted, richly enjoyable tale of love, loss and madness.” But I wouldn’t go that far. It’s well written, all right. And the plotting is extraordinarily clever. But I found the two principal revelations in the book entirely predictable, and I had difficulty understanding the narrator’s actions from time to time. It just didn’t seem to me she could possibly be so stupid at times.

The Woman in the Window is narrated by Anna Fox, a Ph.D. child psychologist who lives in an upscale, five-story townhouse in Harlem. Anna is agoraphobic and a drunk. (The term “alcoholic” just doesn’t get the point across.) Her only human contact is with the physical therapist who visits once a week, the handyman who lives in the basement, and the psychotherapist who has prescribed a battery of heavy-duty psychoactive medications. Sometimes Anna forgets to take the drugs. Other times she doubles up the dosage, always washing them down with the merlot she consumes by the case. She spends most of her time spying on the neighbors through her windows, using a telescopic lens on a Nikon to follow their comings and goings.

New neighbors have just moved into the house across the park—a husband and wife and their teenage son. (“The deed of sale posted yesterday. My new neighbors are Alistair and Jane Russell; they paid $3.45 million for their humble abode.”) As usual, Anna tracks their movements through her camera and checks them out online. Soon after they arrive, she witnesses Jane Russell stagger toward a window, something silver sticking out of her chest with blood all around it. Should you be surprised that when she attempts to report the crime, nobody believes her? Don’t be. That’s the point of the story.

A. J. Finn is the pen name of Daniel Mallory, who left his post as executive editor at the publisher William Morrow to take up full-time writing after his own company unwittingly bought the rights to The Woman in the Window from his agent.

If this is the sort of book you like to read, you might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series. Perhaps you would also enjoy 15 great suspenseful detective novels (plus 23 others) and 15 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers.

February 5, 2018

Maisie Dobbs in “a place seething with those dispossessed by war”

dispossessed by war: A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline WinspearA Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs #11) by Jacqueline Winspear

@@@ (3 out of 5)

Her legal name is now Margaret, Lady Compton, but she still calls herself Maisie Dobbs. Having grown up in the London working-class neighborhood of Lambeth, Maisie is uncomfortable with the title. Widowed shortly after her marriage to the wealthy Lord James Compton, she has been abroad. She is fearful of returning to England, where unnerving memories await her.

It’s now April 1937, and Maisie has alighted in Gibraltar. It’s “a place seething with those dispossessed by war across the border.” The Spanish Civil War is raging.

For years before leaving England in 1933, Maisie had operated as a “psychologist and investigator.” When she stumbles across a dead body shortly after arriving in Gibraltar, she’s unable to resist investigating the death. The police insist the victim, a local photographer who was a Sephardic Jew, had been murdered by a vagrant. Maisie is convinced otherwise. Her conviction, and her compulsion to act, lead her into a tangled mystery involving arms smugglers aiding the Republican forces in Spain’s civil war. The investigation takes her onto the front lines in Madrid, where the loyalist Republicans are valiantly resisting Francisco Franco’s Fascist legions. As the action unfolds, the German and Italian destruction of Guernica takes place.

I’ve read and enjoyed the ten previous novels in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. I found A Dangerous Place less enjoyable because I had difficulty understanding Maisie’s thinking and the motivation of several other characters in the story. Why did she insist on investigating that murder? Why is the British secret service following her so closely? (Her father-in-law’s interest is unconvincing.) Who was the mysterious blond man who appeared in one of the photographer’s photos? Winspear’s answers to these questions weren’t satisfying.

Previously, I’ve reviewed all the Maisie Dobbs novels. One of my reviews is at Maisie Dobbs: living the legacy of World War I. You’ll find another at Class resentment in Depression-era England. For the others, simply search for Maisie Dobbs or the author’s name. You might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series. This series is included.

January 30, 2018

Robert Harris explains why Neville Chamberlain went to Munich

Robert Harris explains the Munich PactMunich by Robert Harris

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Mention Neville Chamberlain and Munich in the same breath today, and you’re likely to elicit a grimace. The agreement in 1938 between the British Prime Minister and Adolf Hitler to dismember Czechoslovakia is regarded as one of the most shameful and tragic events of the 20th century. But is it fair to condemn Chamberlain without understanding his motivation or the context of the times? The British thriller author Robert Harris has been exploring that question for thirty years. The result is his new novel, Munich. The book is not an alternative history like his popular novel, Fatherland. It’s fact-based historical fiction.

Why did Neville Chamberlain go to Munich?

As Harris paints the picture, Chamberlain’s actions in 1938 were not just understandable but possibly admirable. He was not naive about Hitler’s intentions. His rush to sign the pact with Nazi Germany responded to almost universal desire to avoid war, the difficulty of refuting Hitler’s logic about absorbing the Sudetenland Germans into the Reich, and Chamberlain’s passionate desire to avoid repeating the slaughter of World War I. (He had been too old to serve in the military then.)

Harris based his novel on extensive reading about the Munich conference and the principal characters involved in it, which he details in a long bibliography in his Acknowledgements. Moreover, recent research suggests that if Britain and France had gone to war against Germany in 1938, the result would have been devastating. It’s true that the Nazi invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 and the Battle of Britain that followed were disastrous for the Allies. However, the nearly two-year delay Chamberlain achieved at Munich allowed Britain to equip and staff the Royal Air Force just enough to stave off a German invasion of the island in September 1940. Harris implies that Chamberlain was fully conscious that war would come. He sought only to gain time.

An historical novel wrapped in a thriller

Harris builds his story around two central characters, one English, the other German. Hugh Legat is the most junior of Neville Chamberlain’s three Private Secretaries; he serves essentially as a gofer but is pressed into service at times as an interpreter and, even more rarely, as a wordsmith. Paul von Hartmann holds a similarly junior post in the German Foreign Ministry; he despises the Nazis and has joined a conspiracy to depose Hitler. The two young men had been classmates and friends at Oxford. They’d last seen each other in 1932 on a vacation in Germany.

Von Hartmann has secured a document that proves Hitler’s intention to expand Germany’s borders through war regardless of any international agreements. With the help of his collaborators in the anti-Nazi conspiracy, he travels from Berlin to Munich in hopes of delivering the document directly to Neville Chamberlain. Through their connections in London, the conspirators have contrived to arrange for Legat to be assigned to attend the conference, too. Von Hartmann expected Legat to help him get to Chamberlain. Harris builds a suspenseful story around the effort to arrange that.

Historical figures in a fictional setting

Legat and von Hartmann are both fictional characters. However, many of the other figures portrayed in Munich are based on real men. Prominent among them are British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, as well as Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, and French Premier Daladier. The author’s portrayal of these historical figures is solidly grounded in his research.

About the author

Robert Harris is one of the most successful writers in the world today. Most of his work is historical fiction about World War II and Ancient Rome. Beginning with Fatherland in 1992, his novels also include The Ghost (adapted to film as The Ghost Writer) and the three novels in the Cicero trilogy.

I have previously reviewed several other novels by Robert Harris:

Harris wrote five earlier novels in addition to the five listed here. I read and enjoyed them all before launching this blog in January 2010.

If you enjoy reading history in fictional form, check out my post 75 readable and revealing historical novels. My post 17 nonfiction books that illuminate the World War II era may also interest you.

January 23, 2018

From Denise Mina, a courtroom drama set in Glasgow in the 50s

From Denise Mina, The Long DropThe Long Drop by Denise Mina

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Denise Mina’s new thriller, The Long Drop, was a Washington Post Book of the Year for 2017. The book is based on contemporaneous accounts and two later books about the trial of Peter Manuel, who came to be known as “Scotland’s first serial killer.” Manuel was a career criminal who had come to the attention of the police as early as age 10 and was imprisoned at 16 for a series of brutal sexual attacks. The action takes place over the seven-month period from December 1957 through July 1958. Manuel was hanged on July 11, 1958, having been convicted of seven gruesome murders.

Mina’s account of the Peter Manuel story revolves around his relationship with a Glasgow businessman named William Watt. Watt was the owner of a successful chain of bakeries who aspired to high social standing in the city. That possibility was put to rest when he was imprisoned for the murder of his wife, daughter, and sister-in-law. Watt had been elsewhere the night his family was killed, but his social awkwardness and difficulty in communicating had failed to persuade the police of his innocence. He sought out Manuel in hopes of securing either a confession or evidence that would implicate a third man.

Mina tells the story of the long, drunken night Watt and Manuel spent together shortly before Christmas 1957 in short chapters, alternating with chapters based on transcripts from Manuel’s trial in May 1958. Even a reader sated with tales about serial killers is likely to find Mina’s account of the Peter Manuel story compelling.

Both Manuel and Watt come across as such peculiar individuals that I would have had difficulty believing the story had I not known Mina based the book on the facts.

Scottish author and playwright Denise Mina is a prolific and versatile writer. Since 1998 she has written nearly two dozen novels, plays, comics, graphic novels, and radio plays. She is best known as a crime novelist. Two of her books have been adapted to film.

You might also enjoy my post 48 excellent mystery and thriller series.

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