harry porter

Book Review: A Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter

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A Mersey Maiden (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #3)A Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Mersey Maiden is the third book in Brian L. Porter’s clever and complex ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series set in England in modern times. I’ve read all six novels that have been written to date and am looking forward to the seventh when it’s published in the near future. While the books focus on Detective Inspector Ross and his special investigation team in and around Liverpool and the River Mersey in England, this story takes us from the end of WWII to modern Germany and the USA, covering at least 4 murders that happen during the crux of the story. (There might be others in history, but those are not the direct focus, and I’m not giving everything away!)

What stands out most in this book is the sheer volume of research and planning that went into the story’s production. Of course, there are the normal red herrings, clues, and interesting twists, but the details are intensely thorough and well-plotted above his norm (which is quite high). To develop a story of this caliber, Porter had to carefully lay small and discrete elements that collide together like a fireworks explosion near the end. But it’s not just once or twice…. the levels and layers keep popping in the last 10% showing what we think we understand isn’t fully fleshed out until the finale and then some. It’s like a wonderful roller coaster ride where you think you’ve hit that last and final mega-drop, but then you get the jaw-dropping surprise of yet another one!

From the precise use and design of submarines to life-threatening diving techniques, Porter challenges readers to navigate the murky English Channel and how it’s changed in the last ~70 years. What if a small watercraft was sunk but never found? What if it contained secrets Hitler wanted to keep hidden? What if information had been passed through generations until love was questioned between people who knew nothing of the past? Porter handles it all adeptly and provides a bevy of side stories about each of the detectives or investigators working on this case. Many of our favorites have big steps in their personal lives or moments that clarify how good they truly are.

This was a very well-rounded and easy-to-read installment in the series. It might be my favorite, but I’m neck-and-neck with another that also gave me all the amazing reader feels. Looking forward to the next one with great excitement.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: All Saints – Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

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All Saints: Murder on the Mersey (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #2)All Saints: Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder is always an awful way to go, but when your killer is bent on revenge and has a taste for the thoroughly vicious and insane, it won’t be pretty. Such was the case for several men (who deserved it) in the second installment of the ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series by Brian L. Porter. All Saints: Murder on the Mersey is a graphic tale where violent deaths are brilliantly depicted and religious hypocrisy is exposed. Kudos to Porter for making his characters come alive and his story stand out in the series.

In this book, Ross, Izzie and the rest of the gang are called to a cemetery when the naked, mutilated body of an unknown man is found. Certain parts have been cut off and stuffed in his mouth. Obviously, the crime is going to be of a sexual nature, but this is only the beginning. More bodies surface and none have a connection to one another — at first. Then the chapters begin to alternate with the murderer(s) discussing the crime, events from ~40 years ago coming to light, and hidden dreams of a priest who’s suddenly appeared back in town after a very long time. What do they have in common and how will they eventually lead to discovering the true intentions of a killer with a taste for the macabre and gory endings?

Porter’s imagination is explosive. He balances horrific crimes with poignant steps in the main characters’ lives (marriage, love, children). Each book handles a gruesome social issue vividly and with a punch to leave you thirsting for the next one. The way in which the victims die reminds you of thrilling and suspenseful horror films where a serial killer goes mental / berserk. Watching it unfold, realizing the relationships, and experiencing the connections to various gospels and names is entertaining and page-turning. I finished this one in just a few hours over a quiet afternoon. It’s gotten me very psyched for his upcoming release in which a haunting image is on the cover – can’t wait til he shares it. Bring it on soon, Porter! For now, I’ll be content to finish the one remaining in the series I haven’t gotten to… six in total so far — you’ll enjoy them all.

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

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Last Train to Lime Street (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 6)Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you were to look over my previously read book list, you’d notice ~75% are mysteries that are part of a book series. I enjoy getting to know a group of characters in a realistic setting who work together (or sometimes against) trying to discover what secrets led to a murder. Brian L. Porter’s ‘The Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series provides all that and more. I’d finished reading three of five previously written when his latest was released this month. Although I try to read in order, these can be read out of order as they’re stand-alone mysteries based on the fictional Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team. If you read out of order, you might find someone married in a later book and single in an earlier book, but otherwise, it should be okay. Kudos to the author for building a great atmosphere and backdrop to tell his stories about the bizarre and nasty murders his special investigation team handles.

In Last Train to Lime Street, a train engineer making one of his final stops before retirement is navigating between stations when he sees something fall from a bridge. He tries to stop the train, but a collision is inevitable. He thought it was a body, but when he stumbles from the train car, it’s way more than he expected. Porter viscerally describes the impact of the train scattering body parts everywhere, and we soon realize, the body was naked and its severed head was actually cut prior to the collision. Who is the victim? When he’s got no identification and several parts are still missing, this won’t be an easy case. Enter detectives Izzie Drake and Andy Ross who quickly find a connection to a man recently reported as missing — an American transplant who runs a very successful adult entertainment company. Readers learn all about the porn industry through the victim’s business partners and three wives (1 current, 2 ex). Was he killed for something related to the mob-connected film company, a trick gone wrong, or some other more personal connection few knew anything about?

Our key detectives have to trace the path the victim took in the 2 days since leaving his wife and home for a business meeting. No one will admit to anything. Everyone says he was a good guy. Porter’s highly adept at creating a fine balance between educating readers on how the porn industry works versus what may or may not have contributed to the death. At times, the material can be a bit graphic, which for me was completely okay. It’s handled well, and it’s necessary to paint a full picture of the lifestyle and potential areas for clues. Not for the faint of heart, it delivers a powerful punch when you find out who the killer is and why (s)he felt the need to dispose of this well-known film star and business owner.

I’ve not read many UK police procedural series, but I love Agatha Christie’s books and the Midsomer Murders television show. I get the same traditional British feel in Porter’s books as I do from these other treats, but Porter’s are set in the early 2000s so they feel more current and urban. This is not your quaint little town that has a murder every so often. Drake and Ross handle only the intense! I love being able to get inside the head and actions of the entire team… we get the perspective from ~10 police members including a German transplant visiting for 2 years and those from other part of the UK who contribute to researching the case. Porter drops in a few wonderful personal stories for the primary detectives on the case so we know what’s going on in terms of marriages, children, relocation, and family death. It makes you feel like you’re reading about old friends when you stick with a series like this one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest edition and am looking forward to reading the earlier two I hadn’t gotten to yet. I have a goal: to be current before Porter releases book #7 in this series in early 2019. Why don’t you hurry up and read them so we can buddy read the next together?

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: A Very Mersey Murder by Brian L. Porter

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A Very Mersey Murder (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 5)A Very Mersey Murder by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One thing’s for sure, I’m a fan of mystery series. When I find a new one I like, such as the Mersey Murder Mysteries, I have to devour them all. I usually read in order, but I found this one after several books had been published, so now I’m backtracking to catch up before #6 comes out soon. Today, I’m reviewing A Very Mersey Murder by Brian L. Porter.

The series focuses on a core group of British policemen and policewomen who handle special crimes–usually ones with complexity and longevity. In this edition, the first series of crimes happen in 1966 when three women were brutally attacked and killed. We read in the first few chapters what happens to one of the victims after she leaves a pub to walk home in a very quiet town. It’s not so quiet anymore. Then we jump 39 years later to when the murders start happening again in the same exact method and order. If what happened in the past rings true again, the third victim will be a policewoman. Will one of our beloved Mersey heroines say a final goodbye? Add in a few chapters where someone in the current time frame has found the killer’s old journal… and shares a little about the creepy nut’s imagination and emotional state. Is it the killer reading from the journal, or just someone else who found it? You’ll never guess until the very end!

Of the three I’ve read, this is by far my favorite in the series. Porter adeptly creates a believable and charismatic set of characters who work together to solve major crimes. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they bond. But they always try to find the killer in as little time as possible. When we meet some of the victims and her friends, colleagues and acquaintances, we feel a connection to the story and the lives being impacted by the crime. Add in some side stories with adoption, illegitimate children, gender identity issues, unrequited love, and friendship, the entire book is so well-rounded, I found it hard to put down.

At times, Porter’s story is visceral and graphic, but also tasteful. Some readers may shy away from the gory details and delicate topics being covered, but if you can handle them, you’ll be thrilled with how this comes together. Just when you think you’ve figured out who the culprit could be 39 years ago and who it is today, you’re thrown another curveball. Up until the very end, you’re not sure if it’s the same person, two different relatives, a copycat, or just a random series of events. That’s good writing, plot development, and suspense!

I encourage everyone to read Porter’s books, but I must say… I’m old-school and traditional — read them in order so you can cherish and enjoy all the little nuggets along the way. It’s not necessary, as each is a standalone mystery novel, but you’ll get to know the characters even better if you see them age and understand their relationships. Regardless, they’re well-drawn, complicated, and full of life. You know their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Kudos to Porter for continuing to push his readers and deliver quality story with powerful messages and imagery. And if you just want a standalone murder mystery, this will still be a fantastic one to enjoy.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: A Mersey Killing by Brian L. Porter

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Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to download the fourth book in the Mersey Murder Mysteries by Brian L. Porter. I enjoyed the book a great deal, and so, I’ve decided to go back to the beginning of the series and read them in order, starting with A Mersey Killing: When Liverpool Rocked, And The Music Died. Porter has kicked off a fantastic collection of novels involving the various detectives and police beginning with Detective Inspector Andy Ross and Sergeant Izzie Drake. If you’re a fan of British crime fiction and methodical investigation, you’re sure to love these books.

In this series debut, a body is found in the Mersey River. It’s often difficult to obtain clues when the water can wash away evidence, but what about if the body has been there for over 35 years? Izzie and Ross have their work cut out for them, but as readers, we’re privileged to know a little bit more. Porter’s weaved alternating time periods in this story by showing us what happened in the past to a group of Liverpool musicians in the 1960s. As we get to know about 6 to 8 talents, we wonder… which one falls prey to a killer? As the story unfolds, we learn who it is, but there’s also someone else missing, too. Did they escape to America to form a band? Are they hiding out from someone dangerous? Izzie and Ross solve the case but not before tearing apart a family who’s been devastated one too many times in the past.

Porter’s a definite talent. While his books are mysteries with a touch of suspense, love and thrills, they often wisely focus on the relationships between characters as the catalyst to drive the story. Whether it’s getting to know the current day investigators, the past musicians, or who they’ve all become today, the plot and writing forces readers to care about what’s happening to everyone. We see them going thru their days on all levels — sometimes focused on the investigation, sometimes dealing with a personal issue. As the stories all begin to intersect, we begin to develop our own instincts as to who’s guilty of murder and who’s guilty of leading us astray.

Porter’s style is very strong, clear and direct. His main investigator team works with different departments to determine the murder weapon, to check passports from 35 years ago, and to learn how to interpret clues that no longer make sense. We see the leads meet with their colleagues and form their own opinions, but hold back a bit of reserve knowing they haven’t unearthed everything they still need to know. And when it all comes to a crashing finale, we worry whether the punishment fits the crime. That’s the sign of a good storyteller — to make us think critically.

Kudos to Porter for proving why building the right characters and setting can lead to a very promising and worthy book series. I’m looking forward to picking up the next one this fall… and getting invested in a series with 5 books already in the author’s pocket. I’m sure there will be more just as sure as I am that I’ll love them all!

 

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.