There is Still Crime! My Review of City of Good Death (The Catalan Crime Thrillers Book 1) by Chris Lloyd. With a Mention of Chris Lloyd’s Latest Book, The Unwanted Dead #TuesdayBookBlog #CrimeCymru

There is Still Crime!

Crime Cymru has three main aims.
– To support crime writers with a real and present relationship with Wales
– To help in the development of new writing talent
– To promote Wales, Welsh culture and Welsh crime writing in particular, to the wider world
.

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Book Description:

A page-turning crime thriller set in Catalonia.

killer is targeting figures of corruption in the Catalan city of Girona, with each corpse posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom

Elisenda Domènech, the head of Girona’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but soon finds her investigation is blocked at every turn.

Battling against the press, the public and even her colleagues, she is forced to question her own values. When the attacks start to include less deserving victims, however, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop him.

A gripping series sure to appeal to readers of Val McDermid and the Inspector Montalbano novels

My Review:

I really enjoyed City of Good Death. Chris Lloyd has an easy writing style and, although both Girona and its history and legends of Catalonia were unknown to me it didn’t detract from what is a a clever and intricate plot, It’s also an astute study in human nature, where evil deeds are seen as retribution and values are twisted to justify immoral acts.

The author was recommended to me and I chose this book knowing that it is the first of a series. I was anxious to see if I could relate to the main characters before I carried on with the others. I needn’t have worried; the characters are well rounded and distinguishable despite the names and ranks being unfamiliar (though I must admit that, at first, I needed to go back once or twice to make sure I knew who I was reading about. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book).The protagonist, Elisenda Domenech, the law-enforcement officer leading the investigations, is portrayed as a lonely, yet self sufficient woman. Her background and that of her family are, as yet, to be explored more thoroughly in the next books, I surmise. Nevertheless she is a character with whom one can empathise.

The dialogue is good, with those idiosyncrasies and turns of phrase a reader would expect of a book set in a different country with a mixture of languages.

But it is the descriptions of the settings, especially those of the legendary clues, that give the story so many levels. It is obvious that the author both knows Girona and has extensively researched the country in both its historical and contemporary eras.

As the book description says this is a page turner. Any readers who enjoys a crime thriller in an interesting setting, with characters that evolve as the story progresses, will enjoy City of Good Death as much as I did. Recommended.

Links to buy City of Good Death:

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/3kgJ6ux

Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/3ip8RZ4

I’d also like to mention Chris latest book, which comes out in Sep 2020 and which I’m really looking forward to reading.

The Unwanted Dead by [Chris Lloyd]

Book Description of The Unwanted Dead 

Paris, Friday 14th June 1940.
The day the Nazis march into Paris. It made headlines around the globe.

Paris police detective Eddie Giral – a survivor of the last World War – watches helplessly on as his world changes forever.

But there is something he still has control over. Finding whoever is responsible for the murder of four refugees. The unwanted dead, who no one wants to claim.

To do so, he must tread carefully between the Occupation and the Resistance, between truth and lies, between the man he is and the man he was.

All the while becoming whoever he must be to survive in this new and terrible order descending on his home.

Links to buy The Unwanted Dead :

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/3mnLUI4

Amazon.com https://amzn.to/2FuSWdp

About the Author:

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Straight after graduating in Spanish and French, Chris Lloyd hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia and stayed there for over twenty years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a Catalan and Spanish translator, and returns to Catalonia as often as he can.
He writes the Elisenda Domènech crime series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona
.

Review: The Black and the White, by Alis Hawkins

There is Still Crime!The Black And The White by Alis Hawkins #TuesdayBookBlog

Posted on 

THE WELSH CRIME WRITING COLLECTIVE

Crime Cymru has three main aims.
– To support crime writers with a real and present relationship with Wales
– To help in the development of new writing talent
– To promote Wales, Welsh culture and Welsh crime writing in particular, to the wider world
.

My second review is of The Black And The White by Alis Hawkins

Book Description:

Far from home, in the middle of a frozen and snowy night, a stranger saves Martin Collyer’s life. But is he a good man or a callous opportunist?
A difficult question to answer at the best of times but this isn’t the best of times. It’s the winter of 1349 and England is in the grip of a plague which may herald the end of the world.
Martin has left his home in the Forest of Dean to travel the breadth of England, to Salster, to save his father’s soul. But he is not travelling quite alone. Though no mortal walks with him, Martin has a troublingly lifelike statue of his father’s patron saint under a blanket in his cart.
Does his rescuer, Hob Cleve, know about the saint’s miraculous image? Has he been watching, waiting for his chance? Or is he what he seems, a runaway determined to make a better life for himself?
As Martin and Hob travel through a plague-blighted landscape, sudden death is never far away. Will Martin and Hob find Saint Cynryth’s shrine at Salster or will her cult prove to be nothing more than a tale told by a peddler? Will they enter the city as heroes and saint-bearers or as discredited charlatans?
Will both of them arrive at all?

My Review:

 I have long admired Alis Hawkin’s writing style. I first came across her work when I read None So Blind (The Teifi Valley Coroner Series), my review here,   https://amzn.to/2YQ84J2, and, although The Black And The White is a completely different read, nevertheless it is just as absorbing.

The Black And The White is what I call a slow burner; it took me a while to get into the story. But this didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the reading of it. As always Alis Hawking’s research into creating a world for her characters is impeccable; this truly is fourteenth century England, torn apart by plague, stifled by religion and ruled by those who control; through the ministry of the church and those who own land. The author’s  attention to the smallest detail fills the pages, both before and after the main protagonist, Martin Collyer, begins his slow and dangerous pilgrimage from the Forest of Dean to  Salster.

 Told from the first person point of view of Martin Collyer, the internal dialogue reveals his character.His gratitude that he has overcome the plague juxtaposes his fear that his father has died without confession of his sin, without absolution, and his certainty in Saint Cynryth’s ability (the statue he carries with him),to save his father’s soul. The whole thread of the story is his determination to place the statue in the shrine in the woods outside the town of Salster; the place he believes the saint belongs, where it will do most good for the people who comes to bow before it. The portrayal of his innate goodness and innocent naivety and superstitious innocence, alongside his doubts  and lack of confidence, make him an easy target for evil. The reader is left to puzzle through many pages whether the companion who first rescues him from a violent situation then that joins him on his pilgrimage, Hob Cleve, is a true and caring friend to Martin or a cynical foe.

The descriptions, the details given, of superstition, religion, the charcoal burning, the horse and cart, the clothes, the buildings, all give a brilliant sense of place and era.

 I actually read The Black And The White over two weeks, it was essential for me to read slowly, to take in the atmosphere that pervades the whole story; that of a credulous and mostly illiterate people ruled by a ubiquitous God and yet mostly living on their wits and hard work.

 My only problem, though slight, was the denouement. I wasn’t sure how I thought the book would end. And, as I never give spoilers of any novel I review, I won’t reveal it here. All I can say is that I was surprised (though, on reflection, it was inevitable). I’ll leave that there.

 But, without doubt, I wholeheartedly recommend The Black And The White to any reader who enjoys both historical and crime genres and a good story, well written, that builds in tension throughout.

Buy it from Amazon