The Mother by J.E. Clarkson

4 stars

The cigarette smoking detective Kate Monroe is back on the scene, investigating a serial killer in this sequel to The Lamb. The book takes us right back to Barnsworth, where Monroe and Halifax are pulled back in with fresh murders, one of which might be the new girlfriend of Monroe’s ex-husband.

The Mother: A Detective Kate Monroe Crime Thriller displayed on an iPad.
The Mother by J.E. Clarkson

I adored that Clarkson included a glossary of characters in the front of the book. As someone who has read several books since reading the first installment in this series, I appreciated the refresher on the cast of characters. I was also glad to get an answer to a major item that the first book left unresolved.

Clarkson’s distinctive writing style is present in this fast-moving tale, which can be consumed in a single sitting or savored at a slower pace. Again, I was able to add a few new British colloquialisms to my vocabulary, which is always fun.

Reading this respectable follow-up to The Lamb reinforced my love for J.E. Clarkson as an author and for Kate Monroe as a character. I continue to be a dedicated Clarkson fan and intend to keep auto-buying all of her new releases.

My review of The Lamb:

To read my reviews of all of J.E. Clarkson’s books, browse her category on my blog.

The Kill Switch by J.E. Clarkson

4 out of 5 stars

Clarkson keeps the adrenaline pumping in The Kill Switch, the third installment in her dystopian, techno-thriller series. The short, action-filled chapters keep the suspense high as the nameless main character known only as The Cleaner and her allies continue to fight against the evils of Stella and Nemo & Co. 

The Kill Switch by J.E. Clarkson

Leaping in where The Ghost Society ends, the book revisits some familiar themes and scenes present in the first book, while adding a political element reaching the highest levels of power. We also get a teaser for the fourth book with references to a parcel of documents labeled Dark Cygnet.

In addition to the fast pacing and endless curves, I enjoy the observations like, “They say you don’t hear the bullet that kills you,” which are present in Clarkson’s writing. Her astute metaphors also keep me engaged. One example: “I felt a bit like I was taking a slow walk into hell and the soles of my feet were beginning to burn.”

These books are definitely written to be read in order, not as interchangeable stand-alones. So, if this review sounds intriguing, and you haven’t read the first book in the Nemo and Co. series yet, do yourself a favor and download it today. You will quickly start to see why Clarkson has her own category on this blog.

As for me, I will be devouring The Dark Cygnet Files, the next in the series, as soon as I can.

Clarkson’s books are available on Amazon.

The Ghost Society by J.E. Clarkson

The Ghost Society

The Ghost Society is the second installment in J.E. Clarkson’s Nemo & Co dystopian techno-thriller series.

Like the first book, The Ghost Society is told from the perspective of a woman known only as The Cleaner. The Ghost Society reveals more about The Cleaner, introduces us to a few new characters, and resurfaces a few others who are pivotal to the story. 

Like its predecessor, what this book lacks in attention to minor editing details, it more than makes up for in plot. This book is genuinely exciting, and a little terrifying, to read. Just when you think you know what is happening, Clarkson tosses in another curveball, and suddenly you are boomerang-ing in another direction. 

“Extraordinary people are sometimes worth extraordinary compromises.”

J.E. Clarkson

I liked that this book added romantic love into the mix of human emotions it explores. As one character observes, “Extraordinary people are sometimes worth extraordinary compromises.”

Love and the compromises we make are just two things in this journey that are infinitely more complicated than they seem on the surface. 

I’m definitely sticking with this series, which has two more books – The Kill Switch and The Dark Cygnet –  to see where it takes us next.

Read my review of The Vanishing Office.

The Vanishing Office by J.E. Clarkson

The Vanishing Office by J.E. Clarkson

The Vanishing Office is the second book I’ve read by Clarkson. The first was The Lamb, a murder mystery. 

While The Vanishing Office, a dystopian thriller, is quite different from The Lamb in terms of genre, subject matter, and tone, Clarkson’s distinctive voice and intriguing writing style are still there.

In The Vanishing Office, an unnamed female protagonist is hired as a cleaner for Nemo and Company, where she receives assignments by text, doesn’t know any of her co-workers, and her work is shrouded in secrecy for unclear reasons. 

I thought I would hate the concept of a story being told from the point of view of a nameless lead character, but it actually worked really well. It forces the reader to almost assume the identity of The Cleaner and feel her emotions as she tries to understand what is happening around her and decipher what is real and what isn’t. 

The reader could really feel her struggle and relate to her realization that “sometimes it’s a good idea not to argue too hard with them. As long as you know what’s going on in your head, that’s all that matters.”

One of the scariest elements of the book is that, with a society that revolves around alternate facts and an isolating, impersonal work environment, there are points where it is easy to forget it is supposed to be dystopian. 

The one drawback to the book is that there are a few typos and formatting issues. Personally, these didn’t take away from the reading experience or the overall message.

I’ve already downloaded and started reading The Ghost Society, the second installment in the Nemo & Co series. To read my review of The Ghost Society, visit this link.

The Vanishing Office is available on Amazon in several formats.

The Lamb by J.E. Clarkson

4 out of 5 stars

“She’d learned long ago that people only see what they want to see and they talk themselves out of being suspicious, even if they have a very good reason to be.”

The Lamb, J.E. Clarkson

Who can resist a good suspense story? I’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi novels lately and wanted a change of pace with a good mystery/thriller. J.E. Clarkson’s “The Lamb” fit the bill. 

The Lamb is the first installment in a  series featuring detective Kate Monroe. Fresh off a breakup with a jazz musician, Monroe has just moved back to her hometown of Barnsworth when a disappearance occurs. Monroe is compelled to investigate. 

While the story relies on a few staples of murder mysteries, such as cryptic anonymous letters, it has several twists. Readers are quickly taken from the disappearance of the sleazy town councillor and catapulted into a full-fledged serial killer drama.

I didn’t guess the identity of the killer, which I always appreciate in a murder mystery. I also learned a few new words, such as summat (British slang for something) and dodgems (British for bumper car). Learning something new is one of my favorite things about reading.

The unconventional, Russian-cigarette smoking Monroe was an interesting enough lead character that I’d read another book in a series headlined by her. With short, fast-moving chapters and just enough detail, I appreciated Clarkson’s oblique writing style.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.