Savage Tide by Glen Chandler

savage tide

Synopsis from Amazon:

This is a Steven Madden mystery. For Steve Madden, Brighton is no longer beaches, fish and chips and amusement arcades. It’s also a place of murder. Estranged from his son and grappling with the jealousy that comes from watching your ex-wife getting closer to another man, his world is thrown into turmoil when he is called to investigate a particularly savage murder. But there is something else, something that will change his life forever. Dragged into the twilight world of nightclubs, drugs and prostitution, Steve is about to realise that being a Detective Inspector in a seaside town is far more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

Steve Maddon is called is called to a murder scene in Kemp Town, Brighton – the place notorious for where the homosexual community live. What he finds in the flat is a shock – and will completely rock his world. The murder is sex fueled and gruesome, and personal. Maddon is taken off the investigation, but unsatisfied with the police work, investigates himself, where he makes some shocking discoveries.

This book is not for faint hearted. The description of the murder was graphic, and horrific. The is a lot of violence, drugs and sex in this book, which aren’t really my cup of tea. That said; it was a good read, with a few twists and an interesting portrayal of the seedier side of Brighton.

Chandler wrote well – it flowed easily, I was able to keep up with the story and remember who all the characters were. It didn’t take me long to read and I was quite surprised by the revealing of the murderer. If you like crime novels, or a good murder book, this is for you.

7/10

Advertisements

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

brighton rock

Synopsis from Amazon:

A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

I picked up this book for part of my dissertation reading (the portrayal of Brighton in fiction) and wow, it certainly portrays life in the town in a dark, horrific way. Brighton Rock follows Pinkie, a heartless man as he tries to become a gang leader. He kills a journalist without any remorse. Just as he thinks this is the start of big things, he starts to be hunted down by Ida Arnold, who wants justice for Hale’s death. As events unfold Pinkie takes all sorts of measures to remain safe and in control, including more death, but he may just have underestimated Ida…

I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, especially as the opening line is:

“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”

I actually enjoyed this book. It was a slow read, and sometimes I got a little bored but overall it was exciting, with murder, fear, love and suspicion. The book shows a dark side of Brighton, with gang wars and dingy hide-outs. The ending was not what I expected either – and probably not how I would have written it, but a good way to end the book.

I liked Ida best. Pinkie was too arrogant and moody for me – he had lots of mood swings, which although fitting for his character, did annoy me somewhat after a while. Ida on the other hand, she was big and brave. She was clever and determined – and not easily scared. I think she was the most courageous character in the book.

Although written in the 1930s, this is a good crime novel, and just as exciting as modern-day thrillers. If you like suspense, and adventure, this book is worth reading.

8/10

Old Court Volume One by William Harrison Ainsworth

This book was published in 1867 and very hard to get hold off – I got it out my local library as a rare book.

The story follows the Chetwynd family. Sir Hugh, the oldest is competing with his younger brother Clarence for the affection of Amice. Having sworn never to speak to each other again, Sir Hugh follows Clarence to Kent with a proposition. However, at their secret meeting up by the famous grave, Clarence is murdered. After his brother’s death, Sir Hugh discovers some distressing news – Amice was in fact Clarence’s wife, and she is with child. He offers her everything, but she flees. Sir Hugh leads a dull, depressing life. He marries and has a daughter, but never loved his wife – who died shortly after their daughter’s birth. He spends his life looking for Amice and his nephew/niece. The story follows Hugh, Clarence’s offspring and Hugh’s daughter. The story is not concluded in this book, and we left with Lucette, the daughter, in Brighton with several marriage proposals, Hugh on a mission to find any record of Amice’s death and the child’s birth, and Clarence’s offspring alone in Hugh’s home with a mysterious French man, who seems to have ulterior motives.

Well, I really enjoyed this book. Considering it was written over 100 years ago, language was not a problem. The book was entertaining and engaging. It did not take me long to read this book at all, and I enjoyed it so much I have reserved the following two volumes as I really want to know what is going to happen.

All the characters were well written. I felt for Hugh. He lost the woman he loved to his brother, his brother was killed, and just as he began to love his wife, she died. Life seemed to deal him a hard hand. His loving side was amazing – and at the end of the book he was going to great lengths to help Amice’s child. I enjoyed reading about Lucette and her adventures in Brighton – all the balls and the attraction she was. The book has proved helpful for my dissertation from that respect.

This book captures the period it was written in magnificently. We are transported back to the 1800s with ease. It gives a vital historical insight into life in this era.

I really enjoyed this book. I can’t think of any faults at all. If you can get hold of it, I recommend you do read this book.

10/10

A Brighton Flirtation by Valerie King

a-brighton-flirtation

Synopsis from Amazon:

Headstrong and independent Katherine Pamberley finds herself drawn despite herself to Captain Evan Ramsdell, a gentleman with old-fashioned ideas about women, but their growing feelings for each other must take a back seat when they stumble upon rumors of a plot to assassinate the Prince Regent.

This is your typical Regency novel. The star is Katharine Pamberley – an independent women who has recently moved from Berkshire, and her home’s stables, to Brighton, to become part of the Prince Regent’s close knit group of friends. Whilst in Sussex she starts to fall for Evan Ramsdell – or does she? As the story unravels we see them examining their feelings and friendship. Alongside this, there is the plot to assassinate the Prince Regent, which Ramsdell is investigating.

There was nothing spectacular about this book. It was an average read – maybe even a little dull. The “do I love him?”, “do I love her?” got old quickly. The exciting bits were the attempted assassinations. Aside from that, the book was unimpressive. I wonder if I would have bothered finishing this book had I not had too. Really it is fair to say that King’s writing technique was not spectacular and her characters were not particularly original.

There was one thing that really bugged me though: when writing about the Regent’s resident King refers to the Marine Pavilion, but when describing the building she describes the Royal Pavilion – the two buildings are in fact not the same thing. The Marine Pavilion was built before the Royal Pavilion, and then subsequently replaced by the Royal Pavilion – which is the building still standing today in Brighton. I feel that if you are going to write a historical novel, it should really be accurate.

Overall, besides my big complaint there is not an awful lot to say about this book. It really isn’t that good in my opinion.

4/10

Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston

murder-on-the-brighton-express

Synopsis from Amazon:

October 1854. As an autumnal evening draws to a close, crowds of passengers rush onto the soon to depart London to Brighton Express. A man watches from shadows nearby, grimly satisfied when the train pulls out of the station…Chaos, fatalities and unbelievable destruction are the scene soon after when the train derails on the last leg of its journey. What led to such devastation, and could it simply be a case of driver error? Detective Inspector Colbeck, dubbed the ‘railway detective’ thinks not. But digging deep to discover the target of the accident takes time, something Colbeck doesn’t have as the killer prepares to strike again.

This is the first Marston book I have read, and I really enjoyed it. Set in 1854, we meet the Railway Detective, Inspector Robert Colbeck. When the Brighton Express collides with a goods train, Colbeck has his work cut out for him. With his partner, Leeming, they have to find the man who instigated the crash, and all the people connected with this horrific incident. There are many lines of enquiry that Colbeck pursues. The adventure and excitement range from the first page to the last, with many suspects being chased, several attempted murders and obstacles to overcome such as unsupportive railway investigators.

I wasn’t excited to read this book, however, I quickly changed my mind. I feared it would be all about trains, but it wasn’t. Although the starting point is the train crash, the investigations take the reader away from the railways and into the heart of Brighton and London. Marston’s writing was engaging, gripping and enthralling. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. It was an easy read, but very enjoyable. Even people who are not fans of the crime genre will enjoy this book. I was guessing right up to the end. I did have my suspicions that were confirmed but with several leads the outcome was not clear.

I think the way Marston portrayed the characters. I was convinced by all of them. My favourite was Tallis, the scary superintendant. He made me laugh in several places. I was also impressed by the historical accuracy. At all times you were in Victorian England, which I appreciated.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I can’t find any faults. A fast, enjoyable read, with several deaths, several leads and some great story telling.

10/10