#Bookreview – Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon

What Amazon says

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction. Author and former detective Roger A Price says: Undercover: Crime Shorts is the ideal companion for the crime fiction fan’s daily commute. You’ll run out of journey before you run out of book with this cleverly crafted mix of crime fiction short stories. Beware as you might miss your stop! Reader Gloria Clulow says: As with all your stories I find them intriguing and unpredictable, leaving me wanting more; I don’t want them to end. Margot Kinberg, Associate Professor and author says of Undercover: What a gripping story, so well written. You’ve packed so much ‘punch’ into it, loved it. I really felt the rising tension and suspicion! You’ve captured the suspense of it beautifully and it is such a great set-up with good characters. Reader Tina Jaray says of Undercover: Wow, I could hardly breathe while I read this. Glad it was short or I would’ve joined the corpse! Author Dave Michael Prosser says of Murder by Christmas: What a fantastic story. I was glued to the screen and stopped work which means another late night (thanks). Author Jeff Lee says of The Honey Trap: Great story. You completely blind-sided me with your twist at the end. I didn’t see that one coming. Loved it. Jane is an awesome writer and an author of exceptional talent. Author Stacy Margaret Allan says of Undercover: Wow, Jane, this is one of the best stories I have ever read. It doesn’t matter that it is so short, I was right there with her and this blew me away. You are such a good writer!

My review

I take my hat off to this author. Jane Risdon has taken the genre of murder mystery short stories to a new level with this collection of six superbly different and unique stories. Each story is complete and stands alone with a proper story line which I really liked as I have read a number of short stories that feel incomplete, as if they are intended to be part of a larger work. There is also an excellent extract from a forthcoming novel included at the end as a bonus.

My personal favourite story was The Watchers which starts off on a horribly creepy note with the main character, Candice, being stalked telephonically by an unknown someone. The tension as she stands there with the telephone in her hand following the latest call is almost unbearable. “Her heart was making her blouse shake as it thudded faster and faster. Sweat ran down between her breasts and her legs felt as if they were going to give from under her. The constant ringing vibrated through her hand and up her arm.” Wow! I was shaking with Candice. This story certainly is not your standard peeping Tom tale and the twist at the end is clever and unexpected.

It is difficult in a short story to get your reader to really connect with your characters as you have such a short time to do this in. Jane Risdon has done it seamlessly in this collection and I really felt for all her characters. Sweet Sable – also known as the Red Siren, a gorgeous woman with her own agenda and the determination and ruthlessness to achieve it; China, the writer next door, who gets pulled into a very strange situation involving her neighbours and the Russian Mafia; Candice the seemingly innocent victim of a stalker but who has a past; the photographers who both had “the look”; a wealthy deceased woman with an extraordinary sense of justice and humour and a successful British diplomat whose encounter with a prostitute doesn’t go according to plan.

If you enjoy the murder mystery genre and like stories that are fast paced, exciting and unique, you will love this book.

Purchase Undercover: Crime Shorts

50 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon

      1. The story I still remember as making me angry for not playing fair was written by Ellery Queen. After pages and pages of clues and eliminations for multiple female suspects, the murderer turned out to be a cross-dressing homosexual.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I went through an “Aggie” phase and read a number of her books in a row. It got to a point where I could work out the murderer. Now I only read them now and again and that way, they are more enjoyable and less predictable.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thanks so much. I am thrilled to bits. I have about 100 short stories and was put off publishing them because short stories seem to get a bad press and my traditional publisher told me a writer needs to have a name to put them out successfully. But keeping them on a computer isn’t much fun and so I got permission to find a smaller publisher to put it out for me. I have been heartened by the reviews and reactions they have generated and am toying with putting some more out when time permits. Novels are still my bag, but it is fun trying to put a whole novel into a smaller space. Brain teasing I call it…brain-ache is what I end up with. I really appreciate you reading and reviewing my collection, it means the world. xx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Mae Clair, thanks so much for your bravo. It was hard work writing them. I prefer novels, so much easier to write. Double-checking the plot lines and the methods of murder and detection – or not – and getting them written with a smaller word-count is challenging. Building tension and creating believable characters with fewer words than one has when writing a novel is a headache I can tell you. If you venture into Undercover: Crime Shorts, do please let me know. I love finding out what readers think. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacqui, thank you for commenting, and I am chuffed with Robbie’s review. Such a fab surprise at a time when a little joy goes a long way. And yes, an excellent article showing how much attention Robbie was paying to the stories. Always satisfying to know. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on Jane Risdon and commented:
    To say I am chuffed is an understatement. Over the moon and thrilled to bits – indeed I am. Thanks for this unexpected but totally awesome review of Undercover: Crime Shorts, Roberta. Reviews are so important and when they arrive out of the blue they are so very welcome and I am really pleased you enjoyed my short crime collection so much. I have another review…Yay!! I’ve another reader – double Yay!! Thanks so much, your rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robbie, I didn’t get chance yesterday when you posted this, to thank you. I am in the middle of moving house and finding time/internet etc to get online has been and is, challenging to say the least. So forgive my delay in responding to your fabulous review. I feel quite tearful reading it. It came at just the right moment and lifted me back up again. I am so happy you enjoyed the book and that the stories were ‘complete,’ as I know what you mean about being left dangling – unless of course, that is the intention. So much harder to write than novels. I even find flash fiction easier. Thanks so very much and I hope you won’t mind me sharing it. I am so made up. Every review I have so far on Amazon, GoodReads, etc has been a joy and delight and lifts me no end. I cannot tell you how excited I was to read yours. Love it. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, I am so glad you like this review. Your stories are very good. As I mentioned, I don’t read a lot in this genre and that is because I often find murder mystery books predictable. Yours most definitely are not that. I hope your move goes well. I know how exhausting moving is having moved in excess of 21 times during my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know how you feel. Being an Army brat I moved many times, then working all over the world in the music business home was a suitcase more often than not. But as you get older the mind may be willing but the body just aches and complains LOL. I am so pleased you enjoyed my stories, I love crime and espionage and mysteries and I try to write what I like reading and pray others enjoy it too. Talk about brain ache trying not to tie myself up in knots with plots…insanity. However, I know I could never be able to write poetry, that is class and always amazes me how anyone can make it all come together and say so much with so little. My hat is off to you there. It is a special talent. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with the novel as well. It is a huge commitment. My Ms Birdsong is 3 books so far and editing the first for an agent is taking up time between everything else. If only we all had more time…good luck. xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. True,. I agree experience makes us better writers I am sure. I wanted to write since I was able to read. Life and a career in music got in the way, but now I can use that experience for my writing. Full circle guess.

        Liked by 1 person

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