Tag Archives: Crime

All You Need Is One Killer Track

The latest movie that my wife and I have watched was the latest offering from writer / director Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”, “The World’s End”) – the action / crime film “Baby Driver”.

Ansel Elgort

As the movie opens we meet young getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort – “November Criminals”, “Divergent”) as he drops a crew outside an Atlanta bank.

Eiza González, Jon Hamm & Jon Bernthal

While the three robbers – Buddy (Jon Hamm – “Keeping Up With The Joneses”, “Mad Men”), Darling (Eiza González – “Almost Thirty”, “True Love”) and Griff (Jon Bernthal – “Sicario”, “Pilgrimage”) – hit the bank Baby sits in the car grooving to “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – the first of numerous tunes that are an essential part of this film.

Kevin Spacey

Following the raid there is a superb car chase scene as Baby successfully evades the police, before we move on to meet the mastermind behind the robbery, Doc (Kevin Spacey – “The Usual Suspects”, “Casino Jack”). This follows on from another brilliantly choreographed scene set to Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” – where the background of each shot is just as important as the foreground, so careful watching is definitely rewarding.

Lily James & Ansel Elgort

Other characters that show up as the story unfolds include diner waitress Debora (Lily James – “Darkest Hour”, “The Exception”), criminal Bats (Jamie Foxx – “Sleepless”, “Miami Vice”) and Baby’s deaf foster-father Joseph (C. J. Jones – “Lincoln Heights”, “Frasier”).

Jamie Foxx

Baby is indebted to Doc for one more job, then dreams of hitting the open road to freedom with his love interest. Will he manage to extricate himself from Doc’s clutches and stay one step ahead of the authorities while driving the crew?…

Ultimately the story kind of plays second fiddle to the action scenes and set pieces on show here. The stunt driving is impressive, with some neat twists thrown in. There is plenty of humour to be found (watch out for the Halloween mask gag), and the visuals are great throughout.

Baby Driver – Music From The Motion Picture

As mentioned earlier, though, it’s the music that is vital to the success of this film (and makes the cool soundtrack album a necessary addition to my collection). During the movie Baby almost always has music on the go, to combat the tinnitus that he suffers from. There are classic numbers from the likes of Dave Brubeck, Queen and the Beach Boys amongst many others (including Sky Ferreira who also portrays Baby’s mother in flashback scenes), and they all play major parts in the action.

Eiza González & Jon Hamm

Of specific note, apart from the previously noted “Harlem Shuffle”, is another fantastically choreographed scene involving ex-banker Buddy and his younger wife Darling) later in the film to accompany “Hocus Pocus” by Dutch legends Focus.

Ansel Elgort

I saw a review that said “Baby Driver” was a bit like a mix-tape with a film added, and there is certainly some validity to that. The fairly routine storyline and a central character that doesn’t have a great deal to say, however, do not detract from nearly two hours of great fun and entertainment. Highly recommended viewing!…

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The Forest Holds Many Secrets…

“After losing her job and her partner in one fell swoop, journalist Elspeth Reeves is back in her mother’s house in the sleepy village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, wondering where it all went wrong.

Then a body is found in the neighbouring Wychwoods : a woman ritually slaughtered, with cryptic symbols scattered around her corpse. Elspeth recognizes these from a local myth of the Carrion King, a Saxon magician who once held a malevolent court deep in the forest.

As more murders follow, Elspeth joins her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw to investigate, and the two discover sinister village secrets harking back decades…”

The latest book to be read via my Kobo e-reader is a crime thriller with a sort of pagan / supernatural edge to it. Penned by young Darlington-born author (and comic writer) George Mann, this is something of a departure from his previous work which has seen him writing a number of books including adventures for famous characters Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes as well as his own Victorian crime books featuring London detectives Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes.

George Mann

“Wychwood” uses the author’s imagined legend of the Carrion King, a mythical figure who used occult rituals during the Saxon era to obtain supernatural power. In modern-day Oxfordshire people are being killed in ways that are in keeping with the stories of the Carrion King. When Elspeth, newly both single and unemployed, moves from London back to her mother’s home in a small village backing onto the titular Wychwood it takes her journalistic instinct no time at all to get herself involved in the investigation – handily enough being able to hook up with childhood friend (and now police detective) Peter without anyone raising any real objections.

I enjoyed this book, which I believe is set to be the first in a new series for Mann. That said, a certain suspension of disbelief was required. Not in relation to the magical / supernatural elements (though these are never really resolved one way or the other), but in terms of how the actual story unfolded. As hinted above, I found the ease with which Elspeth was able to get herself involved in the police investigation – and in truth her friendship / relationship with Peter wasn’t convincing (but makes a good bridge to further books I guess).

The identity and motivation of the baddie was also obvious pretty early on, though not quite like an episode of TV’s “Columbo” as our crime fighting duo were often quite slow at putting the pieces together. Despite this I did, as I said, enjoy the book – largely I think because of the mixture of modern-day police procedural and historical ritualistic elements. Certainly worth a look…

Maria Wants To Be Friends. But Maria’s Dead. Isn’t She?

“1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria – or whoever’s pretending to be her – is known to all…”

The most recent book that I’ve read is “Friend Request”, the debut novel from British author Laura Marshall a book that is a probably best described as a psychological crime thriller.

The tale is told almost exclusively from the perspective of Louise Williams. In 2016 Louise is a forty-something divorced interior designer living in a flat in London. Mother to four year-old Henry, she’s still wrestling with some latent feelings for her ex-husband Sam and has a very small social circle – best friend Polly being just about it. When she receives a Facebook notification that someone wants to be friends with her she is utterly shocked as that person, fellow schoolgirl Maria Weston, disappeared during their leavers’ party in Norfolk back in 1989, presumed drowned having fallen from a cliff edge near the school.

What makes the request even worse for Louise is the fact that ever since that night she has felt guilt for her role in Maria’s disappearance. Now Maria is back – or is she? If not who is it really and what do they want?

Laura Marshall

Louise reconnects with her best friend at school, Sophie Hannigan, through Facebook, to find out if she’s also had a friend request from Maria. Sophie, along with Sam and his pal Matt were the only other people who knew what Louise had done on the night of the leavers’ party.

An imminent class of ’89 reunion gives the reluctant Louise chance to try to discover what’s going on, but if the meantime she gets ever-more creepy Facebook messages from Maria and she begins to really feel the stress of her guilty secret more than ever…

The action switches between 2016 and 1989 as we slowly uncover the layers of secrets and lies that have affected everything since Louise’s final months at school. In between there are occasional streams of thought from an unknown source, describing the relationship between a male and female – though the identity of those concerned doesn’t become clear until the climax of the book as there are a number of possible candidates.

Marshall has written a vivid and compelling story which touches on themes including peer-pressure and bullying at school, the nature of distant and superficial “friendships” via social media with those we haven’t seen for many a year and how we view / they present their lives as well as how well we can ever truly know anyone and whether, at heart, everyone is really just looking out for themselves – even within intimate relationships.

In some ways reading this book reminded me a little of “Weirdo” by Cathi Unsworth, with the flitting backwards and forwards from present day to school days and the particular pressures of secondary school life. That said it a very different tale and one that’s been told very effectively. Highly recommended reading…

It Was Their Worst Nightmare. Now It’s Their New Home.

“A young woman wakes up in a cold, dark cellar, with no idea how she got there or who her kidnapper is. So begins her terrible nightmare.

Nearby, the body of another young woman is discovered buried on a remote beach. But the dead girl was never reported missing – her estranged family having received regular texts from her over the years. Someone has been keeping her alive from beyond the grave.

For Detective Inspector Helen Grace it’s chilling evidence that she’s searching for a monster who is not just twisted but also clever and resourceful – a predator who’s killed before.

And as Helen struggles to understand the killer’s motivation, she begins to realize that she’s in a desperate race against time…”

The most recent novel that I’ve read (just finished, in fact) is “The Doll’s House”. This is the third book in the crime thriller series starring lead detective DI Helen Grace from London-born author M.J. Arlidge, and follows on from “Eeny Meeny” and “Pop Goes The Weasel”.

I must confess that I’m falling behind the author a little here, as he has already had books four, five, six and seven published – so I’ve got some serious catching up to do at some point!

MJ Arlidge

When I read the second novel I felt that the standard has slipped slightly from the debut, so I’m glad to say that overall I think the quality has improved once more with “The Doll’s House”. That’s not to say that it’s perfect. As the book raced to its conclusion we found our heroine in a life-or-death situation that had distinct echoes from “Eeny Meeny” and aspects of Grace’s internal battle with her superior officer were again somewhat familiar.

In addition, some of the sub-plot stuff relating to the Southampton-based police officers’ personal lives, just didn’t really grab me – oh, and we are still no closer to finding out what happened to the character Robert from the previous book, despite the suggestion that we may get somewhere with that during the story.

On the plus side the baddie is convincing and his motivation – which takes some time to uncover – is believable for a clearly damaged individual with the issues described. Also, the clever way in which he manages to keep his victims “alive” after he has dispatched them is a neat twist that one can imagine being all too easy to replicate in this day and age where folk can conduct that majority of their communications via text and social media platforms.

Despite the above-mentioned reservations I found the plot of the story to be very good and the delivery of it generally very good too and so would recommend it to previous readers of the author’s work and other fans of good British crime fiction…

That Night. The Calls. The Guilt

“If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside – the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her… “

The latest book that I’ve read is titled “The Breakdown”. This is the second novel from France-based author B.A. Paris.

I was intrigued by the synopsis, as above, but it didn’t really prepare me for just how gripping the book was to become. The story’s narrator is the character of Cass Anderson – a teacher just starting her six-week summer break. She passes a seemingly broken-down car on a dark lane on her way home on late at night on the last day of term and sees a woman sitting inside it. The weather is awful and although she stops to see if the woman needs help when said woman gives no indication of needing any assistance Cass decides to drive on home to her husband, and puts it out of her mind.

When she hears the next day that a woman has been found dead in her car on that exact stretch of road she feels guilty for not stopping. As more details of the circumstances of the death and the identity of the dead woman – Jane Walters – emerge, Cass’s guilt only increases and it becomes an ever-present stress on her mind. However, that’s not the only breakdown that will trouble Cass as she notices that she appears to be becoming more and more forgetful, leading her to worry that she is suffering from early onset dementia – which her mother was diagnosed with in her mid-40s.

Husband Matthew does his best to reassure Cass but as her behaviour grows more erratic she naturally worries that she will eventually push him away. Luckily she can also rely on best friend Rachel for support and has the whole summer break to try to get her head straight again. But, of course, things aren’t what they seem at all…

B.A. Paris

Some reviews that I have seen complain that the answers in this particular puzzle were too obvious and too easy to figure out. I don’t agree although it’s certainly true that you know the who and why by about the 80% mark – but that’s because Paris has told us by then and she spends the final fifth of the novel filling in the blanks etc. as the tale reaches its conclusion (which I didn’t expect anymore than our narrator did).

I’ve not read the author’s debut novel “Behind Closed Doors”, which I believe is scheduled for the big screen treatment but I would definitely recommend “The Breakdown” for anyone that enjoys psychological crime thrillers and can see that it, too, would make for a good movie…

What Makes A Killer?

“Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalisingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined…”

“Need You Dead”, the thirteenth entry in Peter James‘ police procedural series centred around Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his team based in Brighton, finds the main man busy with case files for trials relating to Jodie Bentley and Dr. Edward Crisp – characters involved in the previous book “Love You Dead”.

On top of that Grace is having to arrange for his late first wife Sandy’s funeral (she committed suicide in Germany) and preparing for the ten-year old German son that he didn’t know existed, Bruno, to come and live with current wife Cleo, baby Noah and him in their quiet Sussex home.

Grace’s usual sidekick is away on holiday with his girlfriend so when a suspicious death – that of home-based hairdresser Lorna Belling – is referred to his team Grace decides to use acting DI Guy Batchelor to lead the investigation under his supervision.

The case is one that constantly shifts focus as the number of suspects increases – did Lorna kill herself? It’s possible but then her husband has a history of abusive behaviour. So does a man who wanted to buy Lorna’s car, and then there’s the man (or men?!) that she was having an affair with in an attempt to escape her marriage. So many possibilities and precious little clarity mean that the team struggle to make meaningful progress.

Peter James

I thought I’d figured it out soon after the half-way point, only to realise about three pages before James made the revelation that I’d fallen for one of his red herrings!…

Some reviewers have complained that the book is rather dry, with too much detail in the police procedures. Personally I find that this makes the whole story feel more authentic. I have previously written about my reservations over the Sandy storyline. Well, with her death that could have come to a conclusion, but the introduction of Bruno as a new part of Grace’s family means that effectively the remnants of Grace’s first marriage will stay with us as the series progresses. Whether that will be a positive or not remains to be seen.

In terms of this book I would say that although I enjoyed it immensely I can see that readers new to James and this series might have issues due to the number of references to past events. If you haven’t followed the series then you might find yourself rather puzzled over some of these.

For the future, there is presumably something to come from Grace’s nemesis ACC Cassian Pewe’s conversations in German with young Bruno, as well as from the suggestions that the boy may have mental health issues. No doubt James will expand on these as Grace’s adventures continue but, again, would mean little to anyone reading “Need You Dead” in isolation from previous stories.

I was slightly perplexed at the end of the book with – SPOILER ALERT – the  deadly spider crawling up Noah’s cot, as that plot element seemed to come from nowhere and just got left unresolved. Overall however I must say that this is yet another excellent novel from the very reliable Peter James. Most definitely recommended reading for lovers of great crime thriller fiction…

Sticks And Stones May Break Your Bones

“Corinne Woodrow was fifteen when she was convicted of the ritualistic murder of her classmate in a quaint seaside town. It was 1984, a year when teenagers ran wild, dressed in black, stayed out all night, and listened to music that terrified their parents. Rumours of Satanism surrounded Corinne and she was locked up indefinitely, a chilling reminder to the parents of Ernemouth to keep a watchful eye on their children.

Twenty years later, private investigator Sean Ward — whose promising career as a detective with the Metropolitan Police was cut short by a teenager with a gun — reopens the case after new forensic evidence suggests that Corinne didn’t act alone. His investigation uncovers a town full of secrets, and a community that has always looked after its own…”Just recently finished reading “Weirdo”, a novel by London-based author Cathi Unsworth. Unsworth began her career with music weekly Sounds and has subsequently worked on other music magazines including Uncut, Mojo and Melody Maker.

The reason that her music journalism background is relevant is that each chapter of the book is titled after a song from the early eighties, when the original action in the story takes place. It is 1984 and in Great Yarmouth (which has been re-christened as Ernemouth for the purposes of the book) where Corrine Woodrow, a fifteen year old schoolgirl from a very troubled background, finds herself caught up in a series of events that will lead to witchcraft and murder.

Cathi Unsworth

Interspersed with the original action is the 2003 re-investigation by ex-police officer Sean Ward into the crime and the various characters involved.

I don’t know Great Yarmouth, so really cannot comment on how accurate a picture the author paints of the less salubrious side of the town thirty-odd years ago but having been at secondary school in the early 80s I could certainly identify with the music and fashions, not to mention friendship issues, described for the then-teenagers in the novel.

As Ward digs deeper into the events of the past in Ernemouth we come across all manner of odd, dysfunctional and just plain nasty individuals that are somehow connected to the web of secrets that he needs to uncover to get to the truth.

This is a crime thriller that doesn’t have a great deal of lightness, and there is an awful lot going on within the community under the spotlight. Corruption, magic, politics, prostitution, music, art, fashion, relationships, family dynamics and pornography – not to mention murder and conspiracy! It is, however, very evocative of a time and place and makes for a great read…

A House Full Of Secrets. A Life Full Of Lies

“When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds her mother missing, the house covered in blood. Everything points to murder, except for one thing: there’s no sign of the body.

London detective Maeve Kerrigan and the homicide team turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage daughter and Chloe Emery definitely have something to hide. Then there’s William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighbourhood’s favourite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat, or is there more behind the charismatic façade?

As a body fails to materialise, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of testimonies and accusations. Who is lying, and who is not? And soon Maeve starts to realise that not only will the answer lead to Kate Emery, but more lives may hang in the balance…”

The latest book that I’ve read is “Let The Dead Speak”, by Irish author Jane Casey. It turns out that this is the seventh novel in a series centred around DC Maeve Kerrigan, a London-based police officer, now promoted to DS.

Not having read the previous six books I was oblivious to Kerrigan’s back-story, but although that meant that the reasons for her complicated work relationships were unclear it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the tale.

Jane Casey

I tried to outline the story to my wife after finishing the book, and found it rather tricky. This is a book with multiple strands to the plot, with connections all over the place and I found myself having to keep going back to add in things that I’d missed because they didn’t become clear until the latter stages of the novel.

The story is told almost exclusively from the perspective of Kerrigan as she interviews various characters and gets stuck into the police investigation surrounding the disappearance of Kate Emery. There is plenty for her to get to grips with. There is a ready-made suspect living on the same road, in the shape of William Turner, a young man previously accused but not charged with a near-fatal stabbing. Across the road from Kate’s house lives Oliver Norris and his devoutly Christian family – wife Eleanor and daughter Bethany – who take 18-year-old Chloe in when her home becomes a crime scene, and Oliver’s sleazy brother Morgan. Then there’s Chloe’s dad and his new wife and her two teenage sons, not forgetting the head of their Modern Apostle Movement, Gareth Selhurst.

All of these characters have something for Maeve to uncover and it takes some unravelling I can tell you. The ending was a nice surprise twist, too, just when you think the final secret’s been let out!

Highly recommended for all lovers of crime fiction and police procedurals…

One Body. Six Victims. And A Detective Coming Apart At The Seams…

“A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed the ‘Ragdoll’ by the media.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?…”

“Ragdoll” is the first book in what I believe the author Daniel Cole intends to be a series featuring the character of police detective William Fawkes. According to a story in the Guardian last year, Bournemouth-based Cole was signed for a three book publishing and TV deal for the fledgling series – at which time the detective’s name appears to have been Nathan Wolfe. Now that the first book is out the Wolfe has become “Wolf” and is the nickname for the Fawkes character.

Wolf is a detective with a lot of baggage – more than your average crime fiction detective in fact. Said baggage includes his spell in a psychiatric hospital following a brutal attack, in court, on accused killer Naguib Khaled when a case falls apart. As well as this there is a complicated relationship with fellow police officer DS Emily Baxter and the existence of his TV journalist ex-wife Andrea.

When a stitched-together “Ragdoll” is discovered in a flat opposite the one in which Wolf now resides he finds himself on the case along with Baxter. When Andrea receives a list detailing the killer’s intended targets – as well as the dates on which they are to die – the investigation becomes increasingly personal.

Daniel Cole

Unfortunately Wolf doesn’t work well with the investigating team, preferring to work alone and keeping Baxter and her trainee partner Edmunds at arm’s length as much as possible.

Somehow, despite the police taking elaborate precautions, the killer manages to find his victims and dispatch them in a variety of ingenious ways. Who is this mysterious killer and where does he get his inside information from?

Although I found Wolf to be perhaps a little too larger than life I did enjoy the way the story and relationships between the main characters were portrayed. Cole has obviously got a great imagination when it comes to clever killings and did a very good job in plotting the whole tale so that you never really get a handle on what’s going on until the end.

The climax of the book does make me wonder quite how Cole will take the series forward with Wolf and Baxter in tandem but I look forward to finding out when the second book hits the shelves…

Best Friends For Life, And For Death…

“A killer that the police are calling ‘Billy Dead Mates’ is murdering pairs of best friends, one by one.

Before they die, each victim is given a small white book…

For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or work out what the white books mean. And then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy, and does he want to kill her? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how – and why – could she possibly be Billy Dead Mates’ next target?…”

OK, where to start with this one? This is the tenth full novel in Sophie Hannah‘s “Culver Valley” series featuring police detectives Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse and follows on from 2014’s ninth entry to the series, the excellent “The Telling Error”.

In the meantime, Zailer and Waterhouse appeared in Hannah’s Quick Reads novella “Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen” during 2015.

Published back in 2016, “The Narrow Bed” finds us back in full novel-length territory as we catch up with the two police officers, their colleagues and their caseload.

Sophie Hannah

This particular tale is told from a variety of angles. There are those of both Zailer and Waterhouse and they make their investigations – in Charlie’s case it’s largely to do with finding out what’s going on with her sister Liv and her supposed ex Gibbs, whilst Simon is involved with the “Billy Dead Mates” case. In addition, there are chapters told from the perspective of Kim Tribbeck who may be a target for the killer, extracts from Kim’s to-be-published autobiography which looks back at the case, and various blog posts, emails and letters from other characters. Whilst this may seem, on the surface, to be confusing the author has done a very good job of making the tale easy to keep up with, without giving away any more clues than she wants to.

There is a quote from one of the book’s characters where they say “books are everywhere in this investigation” and that is very true. Whether it be the small white books given to the murder victims, Waterhouse’s dog-eared but beloved copy of “Moby Dick” or Tribbeck’s own book there are indeed plenty of books littered throughout the story, and they play a part in the motivation of the mysterious killer too. And that latter point is perhaps where I felt this book fell down slightly, as the rationale for the baddie to be killing the pairs of friends etc. just didn’t come across as convincing or likely – even allowing for some mental instability. That said, however, there is certainly some food for thought in terms of the advantages / disadvantages that come with the never-ending march of technological progress.

Not her strongest novel, then, but as always Hannah’s writing is clever, witty and insightful and her characters get plenty of room to develop. Whilst Waterhouse is always one step – at least – ahead of his wife and colleagues in determining what’s going on, most readers don’t have his unnatural abilities and so the secrets are kept back until the author wants us to uncover them, making this a jolly good read…