Rising Tide (DI Jamie Johansson #2), by Morgan Greene

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Morgan Greene for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I have been following Morgan Greene since his fist novel caught my attention. It seems that Greene has a knack for writing that keeps getting better with each story he produces. While Jamie Johansson has evolved, she has never turned into a predictable character, finding strength and grit in every situation. This book takes the story out of the ‘traditional’ police venue and places DI Johansson and her partner in survival mode. When aa murder on a Swedish oil rig requires some investigation, DI Johansson and Kriminalinspektör Wiik are chosen to take the trip over 500 kms off the Norwegian coast to find the killer. What begins as a simple investigation takes a turn for the worse quickly. As no one can get on or off the rig, the killer must be there, but who could it be? Johansson and Wiik become hunted prey as they try to survive until help can arrive, hindered by stormy weather. As the body count mounts, it will be a race to reveal the killer before Johansson and Wiik become victims themselves. Series fans will be eager to get their hands on this novel, as Morgan Greene dazzles throughout.

While DI Jamie Johansson remains seconded to Stockholm Polis, she is eager to keep working leads on who might have killed her father. However, her time to do so is short lived when summoned to begin a daring investigation. There’s been a murder on a Swedish oil rig off the Norwegian coast. Bolstad has called on Stockholm’s best homicide detectives to take the lead and catch the killer, thereby saving their teetering reputation. When Johansson and her partner, Kriminalinspektör Anders Wiik, are shuttled 500 kilometres out to sea, they can only hope it will take a few hours to find a killer, who must be among the crew.

However, arriving on the rig is the easy part, as DI Johansson and Wiik find themselves not welcomed by the crew from the outset. As the detectives try to get a handle on what’s happened, Johansson and Wiik find themselves targeted by someone who wants to snub out the investigation before it gains any momentum. However, with a strong intuitive sense, Johansson and Wiik are ale to dodge a few bullets—literally—while others are not so lucky.

Once DI Johansson learns that there may have been some tampering with the rig, it’s a matter of determining who hatched the plan and how the secret’s been kept. All the while, gale-force winds and stormy seas keep Johansson and Woiok from being able to receive any additional backup. It does, however, permit them a little time to discuss another matter, that being the impetus to see them take the case and how it connects to Johnasson’s own investigation into her father’s death. However, all that will be moot if they cannot make it back to land, something that becomes more unlikely with each passing hour. A chilling story where the hunters become the hunted and police work turns to pure survival!

There is something to be said of an author who can push outside their usual confines and still create a story that matches past publications. It would seem that Morgan Greene can do both with ease, keeping his fans flipping pages well into the night. There is much to learn and even more that remains hidden within these books, though each piece offers some crumbs that point the way to the larger picture. Greene is masterful and anyone curious about a unique take on police procedurals need look no further than this series with a strong protagonist in Jamie Johansson.

Series fans will see the growth that DI Jamie Johansson has made throughout, even if it is incremental. She has her eye on the prize and never strays from finding the truth. While policework is her primary interest, solving the cold case that is her father’s murder (covered up to appear like a suicide) proves to be the added momentum needed to keep the young detective on track. Greene has done well to craft her as both unique and intriguing, with just enough grit to keep her ready to push the boundaries of all that is set out before her. There’s so much more to learn, which I hope Greene will reveal in time.

As with most of Greene’s other works, the supporting cast makes the book come to life, complementing and contrasting with Johansson in equal measure. This is a story unlike many of the others, where the killer is right there, though their identity remains unknown. With nowhere to hide, it becomes a game of cat and mouse, forcing the reader to find clues in all those who grace the pages of this procedural. That adds depth and much intrigue to an already great story.

As Greene admits in his author’s note, the story seeks to reinvent the police procedural by moving the setting away from what many might expect. Like an isolated island or even a moving train, the setting forces the reader to examine all those in the confined space and posit who might be acting and for what reason. Turning the investigators into prey themselves, the dramatic approach is heightened and I am pleased to see Greene has done this so well. The narrative moved along well and there were few moments I felt it lag. Strong characters, witty dialogue, and a plot that kept me guessing are all parts of the overall story that will have me coming back for more. The story arc of the suicide that was murder has me wondering who is hiding something, particularly with that stunning epilogue that left the reader seeing new pieces of the puzzle emerge and fall into place in the closing sentences. Brilliant work… with another novel soon to come!

Kudos, Mr. Greene, for another winner. You have the gift and I enjoy how you pass it along to your readers with such apparent ease.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Fresh Meat (DS Jamie Johansson #2), by Morgan Greene

Nine stars

Having devoured the opening novel in this series, I was eager to get back to it, particularly because Morgan Green left things so wide open with a cliffhanger. This second book is just as good, using another gritty story and spicing it up with strong character development. A dual plot line that keeps DS Jamie Johansson busier than she could imagine helps to propel the piece forward. I was highly impressed with the novel and hope others will take the time to read the series to date. Recommended to those who love a good police procedural where the action never takes a breather.

While the partner pairing of Detective Sergeants Jamie Johansson and Paul Roper is the talk of the London Metropolitan Police, the oddity has been diluted somewhat. DS Johansson is young, lithe, and health conscious, while DS Roper smokes like a chimney, but has curbed his love of drink. The age gap is also quite significant, but somehow they make it work and find a form symbiosis. After a somewhat rocky start in the first novel, they have found their stride and the ever-present sobriety of them both appears to be one factor.

After letting serial killer and illegal organ donor, Elliot Day, slip through their fingers, Johansson and Roper have tried to earn some credibility back. When postcards from around the world begin turning up in Johansson’s personal mailbox, she is curious. Is Day simply mocking her as he galavants all over, killing Interpol agents at will? When Day begins offering Johansson clues as to where she might find some local criminals, she undertakes the missions with much success, but keeps the news from her partner and the police brass.

A postcard arrives with a vague description of a victim, one that Johansson cannot pass up. She discovers the Jane Doe, a young Asian woman who was pregnant and shot in the back. After reading some of the preliminary reports, Johansson convinces Roper that they ought to work the case. However, it’s been assigned to a senior pair of homicide detectives and they have no way of explaining how they came to know of it. Working her magic, Johansson convinces the senior detectives to let her in on the case, though she is to take no credit for anything and must keep it from her superiors. She’s in and ready to ruffle a few feathers.

After learning a little more about the victim, based on a tattoo located on her wrist, Johansson enters the world of underground Chinese casinos. It would seem the victim worked at one called Jade Circle and was used to service clients when requested. Asking too many questions leaves Roper in the hospital and Johansson on the wrong side of the beat down, though she refuses to stand down, wanting to give the victim the justice she deserves. When Johansson discovers a name for the victim, Qiang, it gets the ball rolling and makes the investigation all the more real!

When Elliot Day re-emerges at Johnasson’s apartment, he shares some news that could put the Qiang case into better perspective. Jade Circle is surely much more difficult than it appears on the surface and surely must be stopped. Human trafficking and the abyss that emerges with it will impact Johansson greatly, but she cannot relent, needing to make a difference as only she knows how. Qiang may only be a single woman, but there are so many others who need saving, if only to justify keeping Elliot on the lam and defying every rule the Met has for DS Jamie Johansson. This is where the action picks up and the case gets even more dangerous, with Elliot lurking in the shadows as well.

Morgan Greene is a natural storyteller and lures the reader in with great writing alongside some well-developed characters. Both novels served to keep me pushing ahead and reading well into the night, so as to finish and learn a little more about what was to come!

DS Jamie Johansson is a wonderful protagonist yet again, as her character continues to blossom throughout the story. With a little more backstory about her father, a detective in Sweden before he took his own life, keeps the reader eager to learn more. While she is a young detective, Johansson has the passion her father instilled in her, though she is still fairly wet behind the ears when it comes to certain aspects of policing. When she’s not in the middle of a case, Johansson uses her personal time to burn a little energy with mixed-martial arts, something Greene explores in breakaway moments of the narrative.

The cast of secondary characters remained intriguing for me. Greene develops his supporting cast effectively in this police procedural, mixing people from all walks of life to complement our protagonist. Some are one-offs, which is to be expected, while there are a few who returned for this second adventure. I hope to see more of these characters as the series moves forward, seemingly with at least two more books.

This was a great follow-up novel and Morgan Greene is surely an author worth noting, as his confidence builds. The piece gains momentum throughout with great action and a well-paced set of cases. Exploring more of the darker underbelly of London, Greene offers his readers a piece they will not soon forget. Longer chapters pull the reader in with much plot development, alongside a few teasers to keep the reader forging ahead. There is still a lot to go in the series, as Elliot Day remains on the loose and Johansson cannot simply let that leave her memory. Two more books await the reader, according to the author’s note, which will surely make for some wonderful reading in the coming months.

Kudos, Mr. Greene, for another stellar piece. Keep them coming and let Jamie find her wings!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons