Tag Archives: #PoliceProcedural

Gilman, Laura Anne: Hard Magic (Paranormal Scene Investigations I) (2010)

Sharon looked at him as thought he’s just suggested she take up pole dancing. “You think the five of us, here in an unmarked office, with no reason to be here except a mysterious phone message, and a dead body just happens to be in the other office, aren’t going to become the immediate persons of interest to the cops, no matter how he died? You think they’re going to believe how we all ended up here on the basis of some strange phone message from god knows who, for an unspecified interview for an unnamed, unknown company none of us sent a résume to? I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that shit in my life.” (p. 61)

Nesbø, Jo: Police/Politi (Harry Hole X) (2013/2014)

I read Police/Politi in Norwegian.

Some reviewers felt Police was too violent for them. All of Jo Nesbø’s mysteries are dark literature. He delves into the murky and seedy side of people and society. Police deals with consequences and corruption. This time Nesbø looks at corruption within the Norwegian police force. Not only the leaders seem to have trouble staying within the framework of the law. Some of its officers define the law in a manner that allows it to make sense to them. Justice, is after all not the purpose of the law. The purpose of the law is the law and how to define it.

Police was in no way a philosophical work. Entertainment and commentary seems to have been Nesbø’s purpose in writing it. However, I do not have a clue as to what his purpose was because I have read none of his interviews only some of the reviews out there. But it does raise some questions. The nature of corruption being one of them.

What we are willing to sacrifice on the alter of power? If there is one subject that keeps on popping up in stories and research papers, power seems to be it. Sometimes in the form of helplessness – as that poor gay kid must have felt when he came out to Bellman and got beaten up for it. At other times it comes in the form of wanting more power over others. Having power over Berntsen was never enough for Bellman. And sometimes power is portrayed as something we hope to get through others, kind of like the hope Ulla was left with once she and Michael had met in the hotel.

Nesbø also takes a closer look at another reason people kill. Love can influence people’s choices. My definition of love might not fit your. When the love of one person was killed many years ago, that person felt a need for revenge. Revenge took a long time coming, but once it arrived it was certainly thorough. Harry Hole came back to policing due to the path revenge wandered on.

Jo Nesbø is sneaky. Not until seconds or minutes before the culprit was revealed did I figure out who the killer was. No wonder with all the shady characters in the land of Nesbø’s imagination. Just as when I watch magicians, I was fooled by Jo Nesbø’s misdirection. Every time an author manages to trick me I am both pleased and annoyed at the same time.

What I like with police procedurals like Police is that there are no magic solutions to finding a culprit. Harry Hole certainly has Poirot-like qualities in his intuitive ability to see what others cannot. However, Harry makes mistakes and depends on his crew to find the data needed to draw his conclusions. My enjoyment of a mystery/thriller increases with the type of craftsmanship that Nesbø shows.

Warning: Descriptive violence

I had fun. Definitely recommended.


Police is available at bokkilden.no / amazon (various countries) / others

Translations (Original language Norwegian – my edition) Politi:

Sagara, Michelle: Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra I) (2005)


My son and I just finished reading Michelle Sagara‘s Cast in Shadow. Reading Michelle Sagara’s writing out loud is a completely different experience to the one we have had reading together lately. She has a lot more dialogue and Cast in Shadow reads more like a play than a novel. Realizing this has made me even more aware of the importance of reading my own posts before I put them on my blog.

… she added softly, remembering. The way they had huddled together in a room that was warm because it was small and it held so many of them. The way Jade had come to her side, had put a skeletal arm around her, …

Poverty stinks. There is the physical stink that comes from not being able to afford all of the things a lot of people (myself included) take for granted. Even stinkier is the unfairness of it all.

When Kaylin at the age of 13 moves out of the fiefs and becomes a hawk, one of the first things she notices is how different the two sides of the river are. Yes, there is poverty. Yes, there is crime (hence the Hawks, Swords and Wolves). Yes, there is inequality. But in the fiefs life was worse to such a degree that we might compare the fiefs with the slums anywhere in the world. The other side of the Ablyn would be more like Norway.

Moving from the fiefs (in her case Nightshade’s) to the Emperor’s side of the Ablyn is no simple matter. In Kaylin’s case she was helped/hindered by the magical marks that appeared on her arms at a younger age. The decision was to either kill her or to let her be under control of the Hawks. The Hawklord felt she deserved a chance to prove herself, now that the danger seemed to be over. Kaylin’s marks represent a danger to both Elantra and the fiefs if the process that was once begun is completed. (Hah, hah not going to tell you more about that).

Because I am practically 50 and perhaps because I happen to be autistical I understand the choice Severn made seven years ago. Kaylin’s rage/sorrow/hatred against him is also something I understand. Now that she is 20 rather than 13 she slowly begins to see Severn’s role in another light.

I also get why Kaylin was so pampered by the Hawks. She was 13 when she was allowed life and given the position of maskot and private. With the immortal Barrani she will always be a child age-wise although her knowledge and understanding has increased. Marcus, the Leontine, loves her dearly because of what she did for one of his wives. The same goes for the Aerians. You see, Kaylin has decided that she needs to use her magic for certain things.

Even though reading out loud was more difficult this time, Kaylin, Severn and Nightshade all captured my heart. My son must have felt the same way for he has stated that he wants to hear book number two of the series: Caught in Courtlight.


Cast in Shadow on Amazon •  ChaptersBorders •  Indiebound
Books A Million •  B & N •  Powell’s • Book Depository • Vroman’s

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Audiobook on Audible US • iTunes US / CA

Cornell, Paul: London Falling (James Quill I) (2012)

London Falling

I think the novel actually has a few things in common with Mary’s Glamour books, that, while not realising it at the time, I’d been influenced by her in the writing of it. The force our heroes encounter is ‘the paramilitary wing of feng shui’, something similar to the Psychogeography of the Situationist movement, the power of buildings and landscape (in this case, London) to ‘remember’ beings and events. In other words, it looks and feels like magic, but my inclination (and the police instinct of my leads) is to pick that concept apart, to ask what that means. So, actually, rather as becomes clear of Mary’s series in Glamour in Glass, London Falling is an SF novel wearing another genre’s clothes. It’s actually a ‘clever people solve a problem’ book, in the tradition established by SF editor John W. Campbell. (Paul Cornell)

There is a section in London Falling where Sefton explains the whole concept of “remembering”. You should read it. The concept is rather thought-provoking and essential to the character of Mara Losley and her cat.

Mara Losley is a person whose road was paved with the best of intentions. Then the rule of unintended consequences stepped in, and Mara was drawn onto a much darker path than she had started out on. We meet her at her darkest. As with all good gruesome characters, Mara lets nothing stand in the way of her goals and her beloved team West Ham United F.C.

I feel the need to get this off my chest right away, however small that chest might be. Football fans are insane. Each and every one of them. Completely and utterly bonkers. Seriously. Insane. It doesn’t matter if we are talking US sissy football or European proper football. ALL football fans are deranged. Mara Losley just takes her fandom to another level. She shines in her madness. There is no doubt in her mind that WHUFC is the bestest team in the universe and any player daring enough to challenge that belief is in for a rough time. The player and the sacrifices needed for his punishment.

Paul Cornell has written a wonderfully gruesome antagonist. Mara Losley has spent years upon years honing her creepiness and people’s forgetting and remembering when it comes to who she is. Now all of that work is in danger. And all because of the Smiling Man and his shenanigans.

I loved DS Quill. He heads his team of four and the four of them have to solve the riddle of what happened to Rob Toshack, the crime lord supreme of London. All of a sudden the guy exploded in a shower of blood. Blood everywhere in the interrogation room. On the officers, Mr. Toshack’s brief and the furniture. Four liters can cover a lot of space. Mr. Cornell’s goriness is perfect in its gooey, disgusting and awful description. I’m guessing some of the readers out there will find it too much.

Back to DS Quill. Why him and not one of the others? At the beginning Quill seems like an utter piss-pot. Then Cornell begins opening the cover of Quill’s head. Suddenly I find myself slowly but surely driven to accepting that my suspicions about him are about to come true. Shudder. What a fate! He isn’t the only one to have a terrible shadow hanging over him but he is the one whose remembering/forgetting I understand best. And poor Harry. What a father to have.

Second Sight is something a lot of people think they want to have. As London Falling demonstrates, the reality of Sight is not the blessing some might believe it to be. When the foursome of Quill, Ross, Costain and Sefton receive their curse all at the same time, they will have to dig deep into themselves to manage the trauma that follows. That trauma is intense and it takes a while for each of the four to realize that they are not going mad.

A thanks to Paul Cornell for writing London Falling and another thanks to Suzanne McLeod for recommending this series.


London Falling

  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230763219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230763210
  • ASIN: B00AER81ZU

Bellet, Annie: Avarice (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division I) (2012)

avarice with text
Cover art: Nathie
Cover design: Greg Jensen

Avarice: excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain (Merriam-Webster)

Avarice was not what I expected. Now that I have read it, I do not know exactly what I did expect. Perhaps something along the more traditional lines of paranormal police procedurals. Avarice is that, but to my relief there were no vampires or werewolves. Sometimes it is nice to read something different.

Avarice had humans interacting with Kirgani (somewhat catlike people) and Anuran (more humanlike in appearance, but with scales and weird eyes). Due to the interaction of these three races we get a sniff of racism. As Avarice is a police procedural we also get a bit of police bias from some of the public – guess which part of the public.

I got a clearer sense of who Cordonate Zhivana Nedrogovna was compared with Cordonate Parshan Koury. Perhaps that had to do with Parshan dealing with his grief and guilt connected with the loss of his previous partner (and lover). The two have one thing in common. Somehow they seem to get more or less unscathed through pretty severe situations. Something is up with that.

The mystery was straight-forward. Some things were clear to the reader early on in the story while others revealed themselves later on. In fact I would say that Avarice is a good old fashioned story of crime and punishment placed in a world of swords, magic and strange creatures.

I’m trying to decide if I deem Avarice a young adult novel. It is dark, but not too dark. There is no sex and the violence is pretty safe. If you can handle Agatha Christie and her likes, you can certainly handle Avarice. I really enjoyed this meeting of minds.