Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves – St Louis MO – Dave Lowry

Why a booktrail?

Well the title was enough to get us interested. Sounds fun and is set in St Louis Missouri which was a nice surprise.

Story in a Chinese Fortune cookie

Tucker loves to cook and his dream is to become a chef in a restaurant cooking ‘chinese food. He heads off to St Louis but on the way meets up with the intriguing Corinne Chang and agreeing to give her a lift to Buffalo in New York, they strike up one heck of a relationship and start to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Tucker and Corinne are two of a kind – he loves martial arts, speaks Mandarin and loves Chinese cooking and she is a gemologist from Montreal. will they have the skills and the ability to thwart the bad guys after diamonds, the FBI and a whole lot more?

Place and setting

map of usa showing locations in the Chinese cooking for diamond thieves
1. USA – New Hampshire – Beddingfield – Canal Street
Beddingfield College is fictitious but there’s a nice stroll to be had down by Israel river after having visited one of the cafes in town where Tucker may have worked once.
Tucker is his way to St. Louis, MO,
2. St Louis – Busch memorial stadium
Tucker is his way to St. Louis, MO. There used to be a chinatown downtown which was demolished for the building of the Busch memorial stadium in 1966 and no real chinatown has been replaced due to planning restrictions? The area of Hop Alley bounded by Seventh, Tenth, Walnut and Chestnut streets.
3.  St Louis – olive Boulevard
There are lots of restaurants and food stores up and along Olive Boulevard/Skinker Boulevard today
4. St Louis – Forest Park
Forest park is where shots are fired in the book and is also the site of the World’s fair pavilion
5. USA – New York – Buffalo – University Heights
Where Corinne needs a lift to (she works in Montreal, Canada) she stays with a friend who lives in the University Heights area

If you’ve ever wondered how diamond and Chinese cooking could be in the same story then look no further for this is quite a mix and is all brought together via a road trip like no other.

Having been kicked out of college in Beddingfield College in Lancaster, NH, Tucker is  his way to St. Louis, MO, when he picks up hitchhiker Corinne and offers her a ride to buffalo. Via this parents house in Lancaster MA, their road trip becomes one adventure after another  – all told via chapters headed with one of Tucker’s rules and words of wisdom which he uses to guide his actions along the way –

Rule #8: Hitting people is often bad, but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary to hit first–always.

Rule #19: Never pick up strangers at a highway rest stop unless they speak Mandarin.

Rule #94: When the rules don’t cover it, improvise.

The rules as well as the adventure are as wacky as they come and the  sense of adventure as the couple ride through one town after another and get through scraps and other more serious situations is like being there yourself. The camaraderie and chatter in the car is familiar and real. The suspicions and the involvement with the FBI intriguing and the sense that Tucker is a guy who survives on luck as well as his martial arts skills.

There are many worlds within this book – the sense of adventure, the tasty and aromatic world of Chinese cooking which Tucker is extremely passionate about and the world of martial arts. One minute cookery scenes to make you drool followed by action scenes makes for a very unique and brilliant read.

If you are fascinated by the workings of a Chinese kitchen, how the dishes are invented and prepared, how the chef hones his skills and how the food is much more than something you eat then pick up the chopsticks on the cover and tuck in.

Bookish musings 

Drool! I so need to eat Chinese food now. What a fun, often silly but never boring road trip and immersion into the world of Chinese cuisine. Ahh the rice, noodles and all that preparation. Who knew it was such an art form? and as for Tucker who is passionate about martial arts as well as theMandarin chinese language, then he is quite a character I never expected to meet. Corinne brings him friendship, adventure and trouble but all in all this makes for a fun read. A unique title, a quirky cover and  an adventurous read in every sense of the word!

Magic sometimes happens – UK and USA – Margaret James

magicA transatlantic love story where magic could really happen…

Story

Rosie Denham is a PR girl based in London has just spent a year in Paris and despite her best efforts has not managed to find love. 

Patrick Riley, from Minnesota, also has love issues since his wife has left him for a Brit – so when he meets Rosie, he’s not exactly happy to hear her accent.

Rosie and Pat certainly are from different sides of the tracks – she’s British, privileged whilst he was raised in poverty in Missouri, has wife who’s left him and two kids.

Magic will need to happen for these two!

Place and setting

Minnehaha park - where Patrick and Lexie have a house nearby. Saint Paul - This area is where half the population lives and is a big conurbation The Minnesota Orchestra - where they go to a concert here Paris sorbonne - where rosie had studied London - where Rosie is based.
Minnehaha Park, Minnesota – where Patrick and Lexie have a house nearby.
Saint Paul, Minnesota – This area is where half the population lives and is a big conurbation
The Minnesota Orchestra – where they go to a concert 
Paris: Sorbonne – where Rosie had studied
London – where Rosie is based.

Rosie is the latest member of the Denham family to have her story told – fans of earlier books will know of the other characters of the family but this in no way spoils your enjoyment or understanding of the book for this is a standalone too.

Starting in August with events taking place over a whole year, the dual storyline and the dual UK- USA setting sets the scene for  long distance love, transatlantic misunderstandings and cultural chaos which are all there of course making this a jaunt across the ocean and back again.

Rosie’s  home is London but it’s her jaunts to Paris that we liked – she pictures herself siting on her suitcase in the Gare du Nord sobbing like Linda Raddlett did in Nancy Mitford’s ‘The Pursuit of Love’ and we immediately warmed to the girl. With an imagination like that, who can’t hug her?

Patrick’s stomping ground is Minneapolis where we find him rueing the day he and his wife moved to an apartment with views of the Minneapolis, Minnehaha park and the Mississippi River “so awesome she fell in love with it.”

Accidents, cultural misunderstandings and a girl with a wanderlust filled heart….Will they, won’t they? Well, it’s a fun transatlantic journey to finding out.

magic

Review by Sarah J:

Never having read any of Margaret James books before and unsure of what a transatlantic love story would make me feel – it was  pleasant surprise. Funny and witty dialogue, funny and crazy characters and a warm fuzzy feel to the whole book. Loved the Minnesota settings in particular since most of the action is set there and you really get a feel for the surroundings and in Rosie’s case the view from a visitor who is gradually falling in love in the city. I did and I really want to to now in the fall to eat pumpkins and see the leaves change colour and if I meet a man like patrick so much the better.

There are lots of obstacles along the way when these two characters meet however and it wouldn’t be realistic if there wasn’t. But it was their back story and real life worries and concerns which added depth and made the book more rounded.

Light and fluffy reading not for some but this was a nice change from what I usually read.

Liberty Silk – Hollywood, Finistere, London – Kate Beaufoy

liberty silk

Not a set costume piece as the cover and title might suggest but rather a journey back in time to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood of the 40s and Paris of  1919 and the secrets hidden behind the polished facades

Story in a nutshell

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

Liberty Silk tells the stories of three different women in three different eras, Jessie, Baba and headstrong Cat. Their stories intertwine in unexpected ways and a fascinating account of different lives and different eras unfolds.

Place and setting

From London to Finistere to Hollywood, this is quite a journey!
From London to Finistere to Hollywood, this is quite a journey!

Liberty Silk tells the stories of three different women in three different eras –

Paris 1919 –  Jessie is a newlywed and so when her husband vanishes while on their honeymoon, she is devastated and bereft. In a strange city on her own,

Baba soon finds that the dreams she had of hollywood are not all the are cracked up to be and that the reality behind the glitz is something else entirely. She finds herself in situations that she doesn’t want to be in and has decisions to make but not before she explores some of the hollywood landscape further.

London, 1965 – Cat is a photographer who really believes and wants to make a difference in the world with her work. The reality of being in some of the most shocking and war torn places around the world really show her the brutality of human behaviour and suffering and it opens her eyes to so much.

It’s not just the settings that are evocative of a different time and place. For in which other novel do we ‘meet’  Coco Chanel, the Fitzgeralds and Pablo Picasso?

The landscapes and settings are all so wonderfully evoked so when you realise that the author Kate Beaufoy wrote this based on letters from her Grandmother, Jessie Beaufoy, who fell in love with a painter in France, the authentic touch is something that is invaluable and places the novel on another level.

As an extra treat at the end of the book, Kate has written a beautiful situation involving her Grandmother, as well as a quiz to find out which character from the book you would be – it’s a really lovely little touch to finish off.

liberty silk

After having read TheDress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans and The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, this caught my eye as it seemed to be as sumptuous and fashion orientated as the others. It  unravels in a vintage style theme with letters written long ago about a love affair with a painter during WW1 forming the basis of this lovely winding story. The real inspiration for this story were the letters written by the author’s grandmother jessie Beaufoy a character in the book and this makes for a unique and poignant angle for the story.

The dress – from Liberty’s of London of course – is a feature and is part of the heritage passed down here from one woman to another,coming to mean a lot more than  a simple dress.

It was lovely to read how the author got the idea for this novel from real life  – her own – and how she used this to blend and weave a story of fiction through the ages that all of us could enjoy and take heart in.

If you desire the cover and wish to indulge in the time periods it suggests then you could not do better than to lounge in your finest silk dress and feather bower whilst reading this, a glass of wine in one hand, reclining on a vintage chair.

Its sad, poignant yet full of hope as three different women in different times find their own way of getting through life and doing the best they can. From the glittering streets of Hollywood to the artistic alleyways of Paris, this is a whirlwind tour of some stunning and thrilling locations that you will not have experienced before – well not like this!

Quite remarkable.

Will Poole’s Island – Conneticut/Nantucket – Tim Weed

will poole

New England, 1643. A meeting in the forest between a rebellious young Englishman and a visionary Wampanoag leads to a dangerous collision of societies, an epic sea journey, and the making of an unforgettable friendship.

Story in a nutshell 

Set in 17th Century New England at the time when the fledging colonies had a difficult relationship with the Native Americans, Will Poole is 17 and is living in the Puritan New Meadow Plantation. when he meets and becomes friends with Squamiset, a Native American, he begins to question his own place in life and that of his new friend as well as questioning everything around him.

Blending mixed English and Native American heritage, the conflicts of the early colonial settlements cover a lot of ground such as the rights and wrongs of colonialism and human rights above all else.

But at the centre are two innocent friends who don’t agree with society

Place and setting

“The drummer pounded out a low tattoo. Captain Hooker pulled a black executioner’s hood over his thick head, and an assistant handed Hooker a double-bladed woodman’s axe. A rippling silence fell across the crowd. A flock of ravens had slipped in to perch on the crooked Meetinghouse roof and gazed down at the crowd like scornful, black-robed judges”

Connecticut and the start of the Colonies is the fascinating backdrop to this coming of age novel which explores the landscape and a point in history as well as the Native American culture and provides a mix of history, culture and developing awareness of two young friends caught up in the middle of it all.

As Will discovers just how his future and destiny is tied up with the natives he’s met and the mystical spirits of this new world, he finds that the confinement of his home, his mind and his outlook are something he needs to break free from.

A fascinating period of American history brought to life by two innocents of very different worlds.

Nantucket  - the inspiration for Will poole’s island nantucket beach Brant Point  - to get the feel for the island breeze in your hair and see the lighthouse Jethro coffin house which is the oldest house in the island  - a saltbox house  - to survive from the island’s 17th century English settlement
Nantucket – the inspiration for Will poole’s island
nantucket beach Brant Point – to get the feel for the island breeze in your hair and see the lighthouse
Jethro coffin house which is the oldest house in the island – a saltbox house – to survive from the island’s 17th century English settlement

Will Pool’s Island takes you and throws you head first into the 17th century. So evocative in every sense of the word, it’s as if the scenes surround you as you read  –  the sights, sounds, and smells waft around you as you turn the pages.

What I particularly liked was what I learned about this time period. Who these people were who lived in this time and what they believed in. Can’t say the supernatural beliefs and fears didn’t send shivers down my spine but they make you realise how people lived and acted due to what they believed in. Fascinating insight in to the setting,culture and people of a region.

The Native American angle for me was also the highlight of this book and made it stand out for me as  I find this such an interesting culture and people. There’s not really many novels written that portrays them in such an interesting light and easy to read story. It’s both an adventure story and a coming of age story but it’s the friendship between Will and Squamiset which will linger with me for a long time to come.

The Mother Shadow – Hollywood – Melodie Johnson Howe

mother shadow

A female detective and her female butler solve mysteries in Hollywood

Story in a nutshell 

Maggie Hill    thirty-five with a short-lived writing career and a broken marriage. You might say that things aren’t going too well but she’s keen to stay in California so she finds temporary work.

Her latest employer, the wealthy Ellis Kenilworth, has just asked her to type up his will that states that everything including his rare coin collection is to go to someone named Claire Conrad. Then Kenilworth shoots himself in the head.

Maggie now has to find this Claire and to see the will is carried out. But it’s not going to be such an easy thing to do. She and Claire have to protect the man’s dying wish but the hyenas are circling….

Place and setting

First published in the 1980s, this book contains some lovely items such as mentions of pantyhose and shoulder pads but it merely goes to reinforce the old glamour of LA such as depicted in the tv shows of the same era – Dynasty comes to mind?

There is a contrast in LA  – rich and poor, LA and Pasadena, Maggie Hill, and Claire Conrad – the first seems to be the queen of the temps whilst Claire Conrad is more alert and organised – but when these two misfits at first come together to try and solve the mystery of the Kenilworth case, there is a lot of Hollywood and Californian banter which results.

Pasadena has a highly polished Calvinistic shine that will never tarnish

Pasadena  - where Kenilworth’s mansion is San Fernando valley  - where Maggie says She had not come to LA to live here the Ventura freeway - where she drives each day Los Angeles
Pasadena – where Kenilworth’s mansion is
San Fernando valley – where Maggie says She had not come to LA to live here
the Ventura freeway – where she drives each day
Los Angeles

Claire Conrad is quite a unique character and it made for a refreshing change to have someone like her in a book about mystery and detection.  Her working with Maggie  Hill is  a strange dynamic and at first you might think that it won’t work but it does and its compelling to read. I want to meet this Claire, I think she and I would get along great.

The complicated web of deceit and mystery is good too as it’s a mix of two mysteries circling at once. The second only really happens when people are trying to mask the first. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

There are some humorous and witty moments dotted throughout too – is this the Hollywood irony of the author creeping through? Whatever it is, it worked for me and there were gems of joy amidst the detection work –

Being a detective is a little like being a magician. When you’re doing something devious with your left hand, make sure the audience is looking at your right hand.

The Hollywood landscape, a detective story, two mysteries and a large dose of wit make this a unique read.

The Invention of Wings – Charleston – Sue Monk Kidd

headline

A true story told by weaving fictional characters with the historical shadows of real ones. A heartbreaking story of racism, equality and of the human spirit against the worse excesses of human sorrow.

Story in a nutshell

A difficult story to summarize such is the grand scope and far reaching nature of the story itself.

Handful (Hattie) is a young  girl who is given as a birthday present to her master’s daughter, 11 year old Sarah. Sarah is  in contrast to slave Hetty, a white, privileged and cosseted girl about to launch onto society and start her journey into the best of the wealthy world around her. however a unique and interesting friendship develops between these two girls since despite appearances, Sarah has very strong and firm anti-slavey views and is keen to release her slave, horrified at the thought of owning another human being.

Two girls, born on opposite sides of the fence so to speak but so very alike in their hard hitting and determined ways – Hattie longs to be able to read – and it is this friendship which is the real story.

Place and setting

The journey that the Invention of Wings takes you on
The journey that the Invention of Wings takes you on

East Bay – where the Grimke family live and where you can still visit the house today 

Meeting Street – the market is between here and the East Bay. Home to one of the Charleston museums too – Nathaniel Russell House Museum. 

https://www.historiccharleston.org/Home.aspx

Elizabeth Street  – where another of the Charleston heritage museums is Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Sullivan island – Burke invites Sarah here for horseriding

Bull Street – where Denmark Vasey buys a house

19th century America  at the heart of the anti – abolitionist moment.

This story is in fact based on historical fact and the truth is that the real Sarah Grimke, her sister Nina and brother-in-law Theodore Weld were renowned anti-slavery campaigners. The class society which existed at the time is well-drawn as is the treatment that the owners meted out to their slaves and the daily toil they were expected to do in order for the slaves to survive and avoid punishment.

Shocking to think that this was the landscape so ‘normal’ at the time and you’ll cheer when Sarah lashes out again against ‘her people’ and held her own. Brave and very forward thinking for her time.

The novel illustrates the hard and dangerous work of abolitionist groups such as the Quakers, and the way in which they made quilts to tell their stories. A unique and patchwork landscape with seams that thankfully came apart years later.

Charleston and the main locations in the novel

Look closer..
Look closer..

This is quite a remarkable novel -what with the historical and fictional mixing to really bring out the heartache and utter human despair and depravity caused by slavery, this is story that will sit with me for a long time.

It reminded me of Twelve years a Slave and The Colour Purple in some ways for its serious subject matter and some of the punishments metered out to the slaves. But ‘Wings’ to me was much more a personal story seen from the viewpoint of two young girls – very similar in a lot of ways. this was the beauty of the novel as ti was so different to anything I had read before.

There were some beautiful moments such as when Hattie learns to read and when Sarah deals with facing up to her parents. The art of quilting is also a lovely addition and describes the patchwork of emotions and human efforts in the story which make up the full picture. Heartbreaking and heartwarming.

The author says that in writing the novel, and of bringing Sarah’s  story to live as well as the many Hatties which must have existed to – Kidd says she was inspired by the words of Professor Julius Lester:

“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”

This would be a good way of describing the novel’s core message and something we should all remember.

Bones Never Lie – Charlotte, USA – Kathy Reichs

bones-never-lie

Set in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA – This is grisly and macabre – places best seen from the comfort of your armchair!

Story in a nutshell

Dr. Temperance Brennan is called to deal with perhaps one of he most shocking murders of her career – there have been a series of child murders in the USA – and someone from Brennan’s past is thought to be behind them.

Years ago, Anique Pomerleau kidnapped and murdered a string of girls in Canada, before narrowly eluding capture. He seems to have resurfaced in Vermont and North Carolina.Along with her colleague Andrew Ryan, they hope to finally end this reign of terror and get justice for the families.

This is a dangerous case and a battle of wills with evil itself.

Place and setting – Charlotte , North Carolina, USA

The main working places of Bones Never Lie - plus a nice eating place to try!
The main working places of Bones Never Lie – plus a nice eating place to try!

The murder of children is particularly difficult and harrowing to read about so only the places of work have been mentioned for an indication of where the action of the police investigation takes place. Having said that there is one place  –  a few hours drive from the city of Charlotte which is only breifly mentioned as being near a murder site but is a fab place to go and visit for real. 

Pee Dee national wildlife refuge – a body is found near here but in real life this is a stunning place to visit! See for yourself – http://www.fws.gov/peedee/

There is one more cheerful location we picked out and that was the Penguin Drive through diner. Mentioned by Brennan herself, we see this as a way of eating like a police investigator and seeing a side to the city that the locals do. A nice break from reading about the more gruesome locations in the book and also eating like the characters – http://penguincharlotte.com/ 

The Penguin drive in   A clogged artery waiting to take you out…..a Charlotte institution even before I was born.

bones-never-lie

First thing that I must say here is that you don’t really have to have read the earlier books which mentions the past interaction between Tempe and Anique Pomerleau. It helps as it adds an extra sense of doom and fear but this history and tempe’s experience was all neatly woven in to this book.

Tempe and Andrew Ryan  – now there’s an interesting relationship. Love reading about these two and their interactions add many a new dimension to the overall plot.

Of course the forensics are the star of the show so to speak and while I normally love this, I did find many parts of this books hard to read since the deaths of children are never easy to think about let alone read about. However this does add a different and more harrowing voice to the novel and the strong forensic notes and the strong writing really does the difficult subject justice.

Kathy Reichs’ descriptions are really gripping and if I didn’t know of her forensic background I would say some bits I thought too far fetched and  – really? But that is the horror of this book – it could be real, Kathy writes about forensics from the inside and that depravity knows no bounds. Fiction really is  as strange as fact sometimes!

Meet the lovely Kathy here – http://kathyreichs.com/

and on twitter – @KathyReichs

Hear her on BBC World Service talking about her first novel Deja Dead – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027gcnh 

Before We Met – London and New York – Lucie Whitehouse

before-we-metSet in London and New York –

Hannah sits at Heathrow airport waiting to welcome her husband of eight months, home from New York. But when he doesn’t show, she starts to worry. Particularly as she is unable to contact him. then the next flight arrives and he’s not on that either…

Now the griping premise of this book is making you think wht you would do in the exact same situation in which Hannah finds herself in. Where is her husband? Where has  he been, what has he been up to? And did she ever really know him?

Added to this is Hannah’s fear of turning into her mother – a woman who constantly snooped into her husbands affairs and who ultimately drive him away with her nagging. She is keen not to be at all like her so it takes her longer than most to start questioning things and voicing her concerns.

The tension builds before ending in an ending of the thriller variety and although I had guessed the end it was no less exciting to see it play out. Makes you think about your nearest and dearest and what you think you know…

This was quite the thriller as I really got into Hannah’s mindset and started to wonder just what on earth Mark was getting up to? She seem a bit too paranoid at times especially since she had only known him a short time but this still is a situation that we could find ourselves in so it was still scary and dark as I started to question my own life and surroundings. Yes it does make you paranoid but that is the sign of good writing getting into your head.  By visiting the streets and sights in the book, we got into the alleys and backstreets of Hannah’s search for the truth..

Booktrail through Hannah’s London – and New York…..

Sights of Before We Met in London
Sights of Before We Met in London

Caffe Nero in Parsons Green – see where Hannah took some time out to sit and think about what was going on

Quarrendon Street   – where she and Mark live a “quiet and unassuming life” or so we think…

Parsons Green tube – Hannah passes through here quite a lot

Manbre Road – where Mark’s company Data Pro is located.

As we leave Hannah at Heathrow waiting for Mark to show up…..we fly off to New York….

Locations in Before We Met -New York
Locations in Before We Met -New York

Hannah calls the W hotel near Wall street to try and find Mark – this is the location of the hotel where he always stay and when he’s not there, she starts to panic

Cobble Hill – well she might want to avoid this place as its where she and Mark meet Ant and Roisin at the place where they sell the amazing eggs with paprika and sourdough bread

Mulberry Street – Best to avoid this place Hannah – you had a date with Mark here – well it all seemed so plausible here didn’t it?

Westville – one of New York’s best places for hotdogs and Mark and Hannah both eat here and remember it well

So – which ever city you decide to visit – just be careful if you sit in Caffe Nero, Parsons Green or eat a hotdog at Westville’s New York – for if you meet a man called Mark, you might want to run for the hills…

Meet the author here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucie-Whitehouse/206588889395112

Watch Me – Louisiana -James Carol

download (2)

Set in Louisiana

Jefferson Winter used to be a FBI profiler in their famous BAU Unit, but now works freelance. He’s still as thirsty as he was in book one – determined to hunt out the truth. His work as a profiler is much sought after but his most distinguishing feature? His father is one of America’s most prolific serial killers.

The book opens as he is  in Charleston,North Carolina finishing up one job and deciding whether to take his next one – in Hawaii or Louisiana.

Louisiana wins the day and soon he is on a plane to Eagle Creek to look into the case of a local lawyer whose death – he is horrifically burned alive – and

its all filmed and put online. It’s Winter’s job to find those responsible but he’s against the clock…just thirteen and a half hours to track down the killer, before he strikes again.

Louisiana showing Monroe and Shreveport
Louisiana showing Monroe and Shreveport

Eagle Creek

Louisiana and particularly a small town such as Eagle Creek is the perfect place for keeping secrets – the atmosphere is one of a harsh exterior, remote locations, a winding river..and isolation in all its forms –

Shreveport and Monroe are the closest big cities. Nothing much happens in Eagle Creek so I doubt the media fools there could even find us on a map.’

True enough – and Winter arrives there his first impression of the town and state are just as revealing –

Every state claims to be unique, but some are more unique  than others, and Louisiana was right up there in the top three. The state wears its differences like a bade of honour. For a start, it’s the only state divided into parishes rather than counties. Louisiana was formed from a mix of Spanish and French colonies, and the carve-up into parishes reflects those Roman Catholic roots.

The job of profiling the killer soon gets underway and to succeed, Winter knows that he has to really get to know the people of the town as well as how they tick. The town also seems to wear a hard protective shell that Winter as an outsider, finds hard to crack.

Dayton Parish

Winter spends much of his time here during the investigation –

The first thing that struck me about Dayton was the lack of swampland. Think of Louisiana and you think of swamps.

Dayton was two  hundred feet about sea level. New Orleans was six feet below

Jasper Morgan a multi-billionaire has spared no money to ensure that the town and the people in it are save from the monster who has killed Sam  Galloway. He appears to be hiding in plain sight making the search for his all the more perilous –

It had been ten years since the last murder happened in Dayton. In the last century there had only been twenty murders, an average of one every five years.

The one thing those murders had in common was that the victims were killed by someone they knew.

Sam Galloway’s murder was a whole new ball game.

The real Eagle Creek seems to be in East Texas and around thirty miles from Shreveport, Louisiana 

The town has a weekly paper – the Eagle Creek Courier, It’s pretty much a one-man show. Harry Spindler, the fellow who runs it, prefers drinking to writing.

This is certainly the side of Louisiana that you have never seen before – its one where death lurks in plain sight and where the FBI profiler, son of a serial killer starts his search for a monster. Not having read many books where a FBI profiler is the main character this was interesting but despite the race against time, it’s not so much the big thriller as the slow burning one which builds – however the ending was not the one I was hoping for – for reasons I obviously won’t go into here. All seen through the eyes of the profiler Winter yes, but for me the real star of the show was the setting and and the insight into the work of a profiler and not so much the character himself.

A nominee for ITV3’s Crime Thriller Awards  – sponsored by Specsavers – see the full list here – http://www.crimethrillerawards.com/award/specsavers-crime-thriller-book-club-2014/ 

Visit James Carol here – http://www.james-carol.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Carol-The-Jefferson-Winter-Series/717319364960497?ref=hl

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JamesCarolBooks