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Jules – :
This author is an all-time favourite of mine and she proved again that I was right about it. I love this book! It’s already a favourite of mine and I really can’t wait for the second in the series. Because what makes a brilliant book even better? Knowing it’s the first of a series.
And really, what’s not to love? It’s everything I was looking for: crime, a brilliant setting, sassy British characters and actual British orthography – thank Goddess and mainly the author and publishers for that one.
However, there is one thing that prevented me from giving this five stars: there were some problems with grammar in some places – ie 2nd person sg/pl possessive vs short form of to be 2nd person sg/pl active indicative.
There was also a wee bit of a lexical problem in one paragraph where a word had been confused with one that is written almost the same but makes no sense in the context, but I can easily overlook this.
Of course, I got an advance copy (thanks again, Ylva publishing, you have no way of knowing how much this meant to me), so this might have been changed when it’s really published, but I still think the editor should have caught this.
I’ll check when the hard copy arrives, because I will be ordering this. And then, this book will be 5 stars. 10 if I could give it that much.
Now I only need to wait for the second book. I’m already giddy for it.
AB – :
Whenever I turn to a new Andrea Bramhall book, I have high expectations. This one does not dissapoint. I could not put it down and interupting my reading for eight hours of work was toruture.
A cute kid, a cute dog and an entertaining mystery keeps you guessing along with the police until the end.
rebeccakbarrus2 – :
*Note: I was provided with a free copy of the book by Ylva Publishing in exchange for a fair review
Collide-O-Scope may have a bewildering title, but it’s definitely a perfect book to read while you’re curled up in a cabin or laying out on the beach this summer. (I’m hesitant to point out my favorite parts of the book because I don’t want to spoil it for potential readers.) It has a strong plot with a good number of twists that make you work your brain, but not too hard. And best of all, it has a lovely romance between women. Kate Brannon is a smart and charming main character, one who really makes you root for her in all aspects of her life. Her complicated relationship with Gina is both familiar and fresh. And *SPOILER ALERT* there’s a happy ending, which frankly there can never be enough of in lesbian literature.
Lately in the mainstream media there has been an obscene amount of lesbian and bi women who have been killed senselessly. My own heart was broken by the death of Lexa on The 100. I was going to put in my review that no lesbians die in this book, but that isn’t true. The whole mystery is hinged on the murder of one lesbian and, again I don’t want to spoil things, the reason that she gets murdered could be quite rough on lesbians/bi women who’ve been told their whole lives that their love isn’t good enough or as powerful as heterosexual love. Personally I prefer my lesbians to be alive, unless they’ve lived a long and fulfilling life and die in their sleep. That said, the main murder of Collide-O-Scope isn’t used for shock value and even though Connie does die, her death eventually brings about powerful, positive change. So take that for what it’s worth.
For me, it was a very comforting book. I love murder mysteries, I love ladies who fall in love with ladies. My only critique is that the grammar isn’t always tip-top. However, I was glad to overlook it for the good storyline. I would definitely read it again.
Emma Sterner – Radley – :
The setting and the plot of this book felt very realistic and well researched. The book kept me reading and I basically finished it in one gulp – always a good sign!
lexxigynoid – :
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This is my second book by this author. I rather enjoyed the first book I had read. It has been more than a year, though, since I read that book. I hadn’t read another in between because of a ‘trap’ I sometimes fall into – if I love the first book that I read by an author (or, at least, really like), and I do not immediately read something else by them; I fall into the trap of fearing reading something ‘less than perfect’, which would seemingly, somehow, undermine my previous read. Yeah, I know, not logical.
A small village, Brandale Staite, in North Norfolk England. A place of 39 year round residents (there had been 40, but Connie’s dead now). The village swells to four hundred ‘in season’. ‘The campsite holds six hundred people per night.’
Note: there is a map at the front of the book. It shows King’s Lynn (where Kate lives and where a second murder investigation takes place off-scene), Hunstanton (where the police work out of while investigating) but does not show Brandale Staite (unless that is also called Brancaster?).
There are two points of views in this book.
Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon is relatively newly promoted to her position (three weeks before the beginning of this book), and relatively newly arrived in the area (moved to Kings Lynn from Norwich at same time as promotion). Though she grew up in a small village like setting near the sea. Nearish to an oil rig. This is important since her pop worked on one. Before it burned – it and him on it. Mother died when Kate was young. So she was raised by her grandmother, but she’s passed on now as well (when Kate was 17). Kate is currently 35. Drives a BMW Mini.
Of Importance: There is a question that Gina asks Kate, something like ‘will someone miss you when you die?’ the answer is ‘no’.
Georgina ‘Gina’ Temple is a woman who works as the second in command at Wells campsite (the manager). She is a mother of 9 year old Sammy, who she had when she was 17, making her 26 when the book opens. Had liked drinking a bottle of Shiraz with Connie. Also drinks Rioja.
Of Importance: Sammy (daughter), Matt Green (father of her child), and Connie Wells (boss and friend).
NOTE: Since this is a mystery and ‘everyone’s a suspect’ I’ve attempted to add people as their names came up the first time. Not by order of importance.
Inspector Savage is the person in control of the crime scene where Wells body was found. He is meet at the beginning of the book, and mentioned several times thereafter but has little to no interaction with the story after the beginning.
Detective Inspector Timmons is Kate’s direct boss and would have normally lead the investigation of Wells death but for a slightly higher priority murder investigation involving three women in a ‘the middle of King’s Lynn.‘
Dr. Ruth Anderson is the medical examiner.
Sergeant Stella Goodwin is ‘an experienced sergeant’ who will handle the inside the office stuff, while Kate handles the outside the office investigation. Technically she has been ‘left in charge’ when Timmons goes off to attempt to solve some other ‘more important’ case. I say technically because Goodwin and Brannon more often work together than have Goodwin dictate what Brannon will do.
Detective Constable Jimmy Powers is Kate’s assistant. ‘A guy in his late twenties.’
Police Constable Collier is a newbie partnered up DC Brothers. Both working on the investigation.
Detective Constable Tom Brothers works on the investigation. Makes jokes a lot. He ‘looked a little like a panda in reverse.’
Len Wild is the head of the forensics team working on the murder investigation.
William Clapp is a worker at Wells’ campsite. He is a ‘thin, blonde guy’ with a ‘diamond earring . . . in his left ear.’
Leah Shaw is Connie’s ex. Described as being the people person of the relationship, though that is not in evidence in the book. Leah is currently bunking with Ally Robbins.
Matthew ‘Matt’ Green is the father of Sammy Temple, and works for Sands. Lives in ‘Pebbles Cottage, Brandale Staithe.’
Ally ‘the Cat’ Robbins works on a lobster boat (or a fishing boat at least). Has a reputation of being ‘a tramp who’ll sleep with anything that doesn’t say no.’
Edward and Rupert Sands are the people that own half the village. Something like bitter rivals of Connie Wells.
Connie Wells is/was a woman who ran the successful camp site in the village – the one that, in season, provides a great deal of support to the rest of the business in the village. The campsite is called ‘Brandale Backpackers and Camping.’ She was formerly attached to a woman named Leah, but sometime in the past, prior to the start of the book, they had split apart (six months prior?). Everyone, including the ex, but not including Gina and Sammy, describes Connie as being a bitch. And kind of disliked her. Medical examiner gave an approximate age for Wells of between 30 and 40.
Of Importance: Merlin (dog), Leah (ex.), workers of her business, villagers
The book opens with a prologue. One that I see occasionally and kind of dislike for one specific reason. It allows the reader to see the character alive and bouncing around as a fully realized character. Then kills them. There’s a reason I stopped reading so many mysteries. Gets depressing – that.
Well, so, the book opens, and a woman is out walking her dog along a particular path near a marshy flood plain. She has her camera with her and is taking pictures. Unlike most of her times taking pictures, she is less focused on nature and the like, and more on what is happening involving some lobster traps.
Gun shots go off. Merlin, Connie’s dog, squeals in terror. The birds flee. Connie shrugs. The noise makers have gone off – sounds that are made in the morning by farmers to drive off birds.
Connie raises her camera and focuses. Another shot goes off.
Chapter one finds a Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon heading to a crime scene. There’s a frantic dog being held by a police officer, a crime scene inspector, and police. The police do not yet know who the victim is, since she does not have any identification on her, and she is missing her face.
The book proceeds with following Brannon as she investigates. Timmons, her boss, would normally be the lead investigator, but another case comes up of slightly more importance.
Relatively quickly, like in the first chapter (I think I recall), the identity is revealed to the police, though, of course, the reader already knew. Connie Wells has died. By gunshot.
Wells, it turns out, has a business in the village, or on the outskirts, that involves a seasonal campsite. That campsite adds a ton of business to the village, and, as some note, the village itself would greatly suffer if that campsite were to close. Which, as it turns out, Wells was within a week of doing. And the whole village knew about this issue.
Meanwhile, Wells has an ex-girlfriend who has made threats against her.
The richest family, or at least the one that owns half the village (I rephrase as I do not know how wealthy Connie might have been), also despise Wells. It was mutual.
So – everyone wanted her dead. Well . . . not exactly. One at least wanted her dead. The rest? Baring a few here and there (including Gina and Sammy Temple, and possible one or more of her other employees), just thought she was a bitch.
So Brannon must first determine who the victim was, then who killed her.
There are many types of police books – a few of the varieties include (1) those that are mostly about the crimes and the people who investigate them (emphasis on investigation – police procedural – ‘just the facts’); (2) those that are like 1, but include a heavier emphasis on characters; (3) similar to 2 but injects romance while still focused mainly on the investigation; (4) like 3 but focus is mainly on the romance, while the investigation takes something of a back seat; (5) those which are mostly romance in nature, maybe mixed with danger, but the focus is heavily focused on the romance; plus a million and one other variations.
This book is one that leans between 2 and 3 above – the book is heavily into the murder investigation (Kate), with some character development stuff (Gina), while having a bit of romance floating in the air . . . lightly in some places (beginning), a lot heavier in others (80%+) (Kate, Gina).
I was thinking, while reading this book, that it reminds me of reading a Peter Lovesey book. I did not have a fully developed thought when I was thinking of Lovesey – beyond the idea that, unlike many/most lesbian fiction mysteries that involve the police, this specific book had a Lovesey vibe. This means nothing to those who have no idea what I’m talking about, of course. See, not fully developed thought. My point of thinking of him, had to do with emphasis – a lot of the lesbian fiction mysteries I’ve read have had romance be something of much greater importance than the mystery (at least those that include the police – there are many wherein it seems as if the characters in the story forget that there’s actually a mystery to solve, in favor of . . . um . . humping); while this book here gives greater importance to the mystery.
Still, no inherent reason to bring Lovesey up. It was just a thought that had crossed my mind at some point. Lovesey’s books, specifically those that involve Peter Diamond, are ones that involve murder investigations set in England which is a more leaning 2 (depending on book and scene) with occasional dips into injecting romance. As in there is a lot of importance on characters.
Right. No idea why I had that thought. Let’s move on.
This book was a rather thrilling exciting mystery that included the right mix of romance. Granted, those who look for romance, as in capital R Romance, should probably look elsewhere, but there is a flavor of it here.
There is one slight issue I have with the book. Though it is hard to indicate my ‘issue’ when it occurs so late in the book that I can’t really mention it. I’ll just say that there is something of a cliche in lesbian mystery books that pops up near the end. Though, to be fair, I’ve seen the scenario play out similarly in ‘mainstream’ fiction. I’ve just seen it more often in lesbian mystery books for whatever reason. Also, to be fair, this “cliche’ is handled quite well in this book.
Despite my ‘issue’, this a rather good book. Quite enjoyable. I would probably give the book a relatively solid rating of 4.70.
May 4 2016
jane shambler – :
This book is excellent. Also having it based in the UK adds even more appeal. It’s a book with a murder and mystery to be solved. There are a few dead ends to contend with but the outcome was not one I had guessed until the end. It’s really well written. Made me laugh more than once. I literally could not put this down. The author’s style makes it really easy to read and become involved with both the plot and the characters, including Merlin. Read it you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!