January 25 2014

Do you get thrown out of a book by a glaring error, or do you shrug and let it go? Both your editors will confess to having been so wound up by errors in the past that they telephoned organisations' press offices to check …

Kevin Brooks' Wrapped in White falls foul of John Cleal, who is an absolute stickler for accuracy. John's a former crime journalist who worked in London, so he knows what he's talking about! The irony, says John, is that Brooks's characterisation is good and he can certainly write.

Elsewhere, John, our resident history buff, was mollified by S G Maclean's historical knowledge in The Devil's Recruit, set in 17th century Scotland. And he was totally bowled over by Stuart Neville's Ratlines, which shows a side of Irish history that the church and politicians would have you forget. Also on the historical front, Arnold Taylor admires Dan Smith's Red Winter, set during the Russian revolution.

Chris Roberts had a double dose of Italian crime fiction this week. He says Gianrico Carofiglio has moved away from his prosecutor character to an undercover cop in therapy in the engaging The Silence of the Wave. He wasn't so sure about Marco Vichi's Death in Florence, set in 1966, which he reckons is perhaps too much of a period piece.

Linda Wilson found plenty of West Country flavour this week. She ventured into cosy territory and found that Jean G Goodchild's Something in the Blood captures the atmosphere of Bath very well. Fergus McNeill's Knife Edge also kept Linda close to home with its Bristol setting where a serial killer has told his girlfriend that he's a murderer … Maddy Marsh sneaked over the border into Wales with Harry Bingham's Love Story With Murders, which stars Welsh cop Fiona Griffiths. She says there's a lot to like, but that the story would make two or three books!

On the thriller front, new reviewer Laura Parkin enjoyed The Jerusalem Puzzle by Laurence O'Bryan, which hurtles between the UK and Jerusalem. Linda Wilson says JB Turner's Hard Road contains a likeable main character in Jon Reznick, and plenty of vivid action.

We've a handful of books from the other side of the Pond. Chris Roberts says that The Execution of Noa P Singleton by Elizabeth L Silver, told in the first person by a young woman on Death Row, is extremely dark in tone. JD Robb's long-running Eve Dallas series is still as strong as ever and revealing new facts about our heroine in Thankless in Death, says Sylvia Wilson. And Sylvia Maughan admires Laura Lippman's And When She Was Good, which she describes as an unusual psychological thriller.

This week's Countdown victim is Neil White – who has some interesting locations to run away to. We'd go to Perpignan with him, but can hear our friend Joe who lives there saying that he might want to rethink Bridlington! And as for the things Neil can't live without, we'll agree on internet and books. Sharon will join him for the rugby league and chocolate, whilst Linda will be there for cinema and meat!

We'll be back in a fortnight. In the meantime, make sure you've checked out American and Canadian reviews over at Reviewing the Evidence.
And if you're not already following us on Twitter, you can find us at  .

Linda and Sharon

Countdown with
Neil White

Neil White was born in a small South Yorkshire mining town, moving later to Kettlethorpe. After leaving school he drifted between various jobs before moving to Preston in Lancashire to obtain a law degree. He then became a solicitor. His early love of mystery books has stayed with him and, on holiday in the Canaries in 1994, he started writing.  Twelve years later, Fallen Idols was accepted for publication and appeared in 2007. He still works full time as a prosecutor and his latest book, Next To Die is published by Sphere in 2013.

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

An endless trudge through the wrecked lives of other people.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

Television; sofa; my car; pile of unread books; printer; empty coffee cup; empty chocolate wrapper; Ipod shuffle; notebook.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Mushrooms, sliced and stir-fried in olive oil, with chopped garlic and red chillis, with sliced spring onion. Noodles in boiling water for four minutes. Throw in raw king prawns In with the mushrooms at the same time. Voila.