Recently read - SHATTERED by Gabrielle Lord (4.6)

#4 in the Gemma Lincoln series. Superintendent of Police at Manly, Bryson Finn and his sister-in-law Bettina are killed by an unknown gunman when she opens the front door of her house. His 9 year old son Donny, also shot, saw the killer and may die. Gemma Lincoln, private investigator, becomes involved when she helps her friend DS Angie McDonald. The investigation affects a third friend Senior Constable Jaki Hunter, a ballistics expert, in a number of ways. Work has been a bit slow for Gemma in recent months but now three cases arrive at once together with complications in the Finn investigation. And Gemma has personal problems - she is pregnant but the baby's father has left her; her sister whom she has recently located has fallen under the influence of a religious group; and Hugo the Ratbag seems to have moved in with her. I found this a bit difficult to settle into at first but then decided to try to read it a bit more slowly, letting things jell a bit between reads, and it was worth it. In the end the threads are resolved nicely

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COMPANY MAN by Joseph Finder (4.3)

An ABC Audio CD of approx 6 hours read by Scott Brick. CEO of a large company, Nick Conover, is a widower who lives with his two children and housekeeper in a gated estate. It should have been safe there but someone has been climbing over the walls and painting graffiti inside the house. Nick is unpopular in the town because in the past 12 months it has been necessary to slash the employee force by half. When an unknown intruder viciously kills the family dog, Nick decides he has to tighten security. He is just beginning to realise too that there are people on the company board who have their own agenda to discredit him and bring the company to its knees.

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DIRTY LITTLE LIES by John Macken (4)

Reuben Maitland is a respected British forensic pathologist with an invention that, in the right hands, should revolutionise crime detection and crime prevention. His invention uses DNA to predict the physical appearance of perpetrators. But Reuben goes too far when in an unauthorised trial he links these computer generated images with CCTV surveillance cameras on the streets of London. Subsequently dismissal from his position as the head of the prestigious GeneCrime lab means that Reuben has to find other sources to fund his research. He seems less than fussy where the money comes from. Just after his dismissal members of his former GeneCrime team begin to die, murdered after extensive torture. The DNA evidence seems to point to Reuben who is an unlovely character whose marriage has collapsed. He has doubts about the paternity of his own son, rubs amphetamine into his gums, and demonstrates a very blurred set of ethics.

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THE BABY GAME by Randall Hicks (5)

Toby Dillon is an adoption attorney who assists his friends Brogan and Rita to adopt a baby. Brogan and Rita are special, not only childhood friends but film stars. Toby learns of a mother who wishes to put her soon to be born child up for adoption and introduces the mother-to-be Sammy to his friends. All goes well until 30 days after the birth whenthey need to contact Sammy and find that she has disappeared. This is a lively enjoyable read. Despite the serious nature of its central theme and the fact that there are murders, it feels like a light-hearted approach. The central character Toby is engaging, and humour comes through. Randall Hicks has already published a number of non-fiction books but this is his fiction debut. The sequel to this book is already at the publishers. There are some nice touches in this one

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THE STABBING IN THE STABLES by Simon Brett (4.3)

#7 in the Fethering series. Jude arrives at a local stables to work on healing a horse to find the co-owner of the stables, Walter Fleet, stabbed to death in the horseyard. Jude has the impression that someone has just left the exercise yard, as a back gate slams shut. I enjoy these variants on the cozy village theme featuring Carole Seddon, retired public servant, and her neighbour Jude, healer, yoga teacher etc. Jude and Carole can't resist investigating this murder right on their doorstep. In addition there appears to be someone, known locally as the Horse Ripper, injuring mares. Young Imogen Potten is convinced that the horse that she exercises at the stables is a potential target. Jude enjoys introducing Carole to the delights of gambling at the races. Nothing startling about this book - just a comfortable, cozy read.

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