Cover Image: Plague

Plague

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Member Reviews

A murder mystery set in government circles with the first murder victim found near a plague pit. There is some discussion of the old sewer system under London which is about the only interesting thing.
The female lead, Cassandra, is a completely obnoxious person with an emotional maturity ranging between toddler with tantrums to hormonal teenager, i.e. completely self-centred. It is al "I, I, I, me, me, me". On top of this, all she can think of is that she wants power - just power for its own sake, not the power to do anything in particular.  Sounds familiar at the moment right enough.
There is no back story to her, apart from the fact that she got fired from a job in GCHQ because she mucked up big style. There is no explanation as to what sort of job she might have been doing. She then lands a job in government, which suggests very well-connected family as I really can't think why she would have got this otherwise. Disqualifying oneself from the code-breaking part of the state is not exactly a recommendation for a job near government. (It actually sounds like the author picked GHCQ because she had heard of it, not because she knows what it is about.)
The story itself is not bad, but I kept getting distracted by wishing to shake some sense into the woman.
At the end the good guy gets murdered, she gets herself promoted, the villain gets away, and the sequel beckons (not me though).
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This is a political thriller set around Westminster, rather than a story about death from the plague, but there are deaths which need to be investigated.
I'm not sure why Cass was asked to help the police to investigate these deaths and prevent more, but since she was, then the story worked and I enjoyed reading about the lost underground rivers under London.
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This was an okay read. It didn’t blow me away, in terms of plot, pace, or characters. Nothing in particular stood out, and the mystery/suspense portion wasn’t all that mysterious or suspenseful.
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When I saw that Plague was still on my TBR list when the UK Lockdown hit I must admit I was a little apprehensive about reading it. Although one of my favourite books is Stephen King’s The Stand, I read to escape, and anything Plague related seemed to hit a little closer to home than I would have liked. I shouldn’t have worried though, Plague is actually not a disease apocalyptic thriller but more a crime thriller with a loose connection due to a few of the murders taking place in plague pits.

Although I also usually love crime thrillers, this one fell a bit flat for me. One of my main problems was the main character of Cassie. Cassie is a government minister who is tasked to help the detectives on a recent murder case and ensure that the reputation of the government is not harmed in doing so. I found her character a little one dimensional; she used to have a job in government that she enjoyed more but this isn’t really explored and I didn’t feel like I knew what it was or why she had to leave it in enough detail, despite the fact it is mentioned a lot, particularly at the beginning. I also didn’t really understand Cassie’s role at the present and why she would be drafted in to help a murder enquiry with absolutely no prior experience or qualifications. I understand a minister would perhaps take daily briefings with the police to check what had been found but her doing the physical work such as wading through the sewers felt very unrealistic.

Cassie’s character also felt very naive and she made some truly bad decisions which could surely be seen as such from a mile away. She ends up sleeping with someone she knew to be a suspect and then the actual romance plotline felt so cringy, with the dialogue stilted and cliché. 

The crime itself was quite interesting but there wasn’t really enough red herrings or suspects. The reader can guess who all the main players are the moment they are introduced to them and two of them actually get named very early on which takes all the fun out of guessing ‘whodunnit’.

Overall Plague fell flat for me with an unrealistic and annoying main character and a very predictable plot. Thank you to NetGalley and Claret Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Plague - Julie Anderson

This seemed an apt title in the current times. Although the title is more aimed at a cultural plague rather than one of a virus. 

I really like this book. It’s not a long book (about 300 pages), it was quick paced story too, so for that reason it seemed to fly by. 

Cassie is an ex investigator for GCHQ, having left under a cloud, she is now working as a government advisor. She is thrown a new opportunity to get her career back on track, being placed on a police investigation by a MP. A couple of bodies of foreign nationals have turned up which could loosely be connected to the government. 

Cassie is a character who is likeable and relatable. She forms a bond with Andrew, the detective in charge of the investigation. Although not immediate, it doesn’t take long for a friendship and maybe something more to form.  This may have been one part that felt a little off kilter at the speed things happened.

This is a dark, but somewhat realistic political thriller / who done it storyline. With the political figures feeing extremely true to how you would perceive them to behave. As I mentioned the pace is pretty quick and keeps you moving along. This wasn’t at all predictable and throws a pretty large shock into the mix nearing the end.

This I believe is the first book in a trilogy, which, for me I am pleased about. Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for this free advance copy. I give this book 4.5/5 (rounded up to 5)
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Started off interestingly enough, but didn't really think that the main character was developed enough. Also didn't really like the constant self analysing views of the main character.

Bit of a weak ending , albeit with a surprise twist and not surprised that  it looks like we're in for a follow on book, but I won't be reading it.
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You might think that a book by the name of Plague by Julie Anderson is about disease. In these days of pandemic and worry, the title can be misleading. Not to worry, this is a break from today’s worldwide bad news. In London, two hundred feet below street level, a group of experts are inspecting an ancient burial chamber. They accidentally stumble upon a body in an old plague pit, used centuries ago to dispose of diseased bodies. However, the body is recently deceased and it appears that the young man has been brutally murdered. A civil servant is in the group and the deputy prime minister gives her an assignment to report results of the investigation in order to avoid scandal in high places. More bodies are subsequently found and she joins forces with a police investigator to gain knowledge about the crimes. Powerful people are suspected and the duo are anxious to prevent the murders of more young people. Plague by Julie Anderson is a book that has everything to keep the reader satisfied and interested: mystery, history, suspense and even a little romance. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Claret Press and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I had imagined I was going to read a very different book, so unfortunately I was a little disappointed when I realised that the ‘plague’ of the title is the plague of power, greed and political advancement rather than anything to do with contagion. 

I was looking forward to getting to know the strong, female protagonist, but again I was a little disappointed. She seems more interested in her love life than the crimes she is investigating. 

Having said this, the writing is good enough and there is a lot to be said for the book. With a slightly more kickass main character I would really have enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for a stand-out, strong female lead. 

Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read the advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This book took me by surprise and was interesting due to the subjects that it touched on like power and wealth,

The setting is interesting and hearing about subterranean London made it stand out.

Interesting page turner ,
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When I started reading this book it caught my interest, murders were being committed close to various plague pits in London.  It was a murder/mystery.  Then it was a tour around the Palaces of Westminster.  Not really anything to do with Plague as expected.  The story of Cassandra (a very shallow lady) who has been demoted but we don't find out why, who helps a police inspector to investigate the murders.  She is then promoted again.  The characters really don't shine in my opinion and the story is over shadowed by the descriptions of Westminster.  I didn't really enjoy the plot it was neither one thing or another and I found the title misleading,
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An intriguing mystery in modern day London. As bodies start to show up in ancient plague pits, disgraced civil servant Cassie investigates in this slow-moving but intelligent book. Recommended reading, worth the slow start.
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When several bodies are discovered on the sites of ancient plague pits, the public, boosted by the media, begin to panic that the plague is back. But civil servant Cassandra Fortune and Scotland Yard DI Andrew Rowlands believe that there’s something more sinister involved. Can they track down the criminals and prevent further deaths?

Plague is a good story, with an interesting link to Parliament and the corruption of senior politicians. I wasn’t expecting the ending, and am still not totally sure I liked it, although I can see that future Cassie stories will work better because of it. In spite of, or possibly because of, this ending issue, Plague is a pacy story which keeps you guessing as to who is involved and how. Cassie is a strong character, who manages to deal with dead bodies, corruption and torture without too much bother.

An enjoyable book.
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In current day London, bodies have been found in centuries old plague pits.   The victims have obviously been tortured and used for other purposes.   Is there a serial killer in town?  Or a group of sadistic killers?  There is a link to Parliament and the Palace of Westminster which is how Cassie Fortune ends up involved with the investigation.   Cassie is at a rut in her career working at Westminster and hopes that working the case will help redeem her in the higher ups' eyes.   She's teamed up with Andrew, a police detective and the two follow trails that lead them into the depths of London's sewers and long buried rivers.  

This was definitely an adventure.  Cassie is relatable and I like her interactions with Andrew.   I loved the setting of London and the involvement of what lies beneath the city.    The author based much of the info about the sewers, buried rivers etc. on actual fact, so I actually got to learn some cool new facts about London.   

This is the first book in a trilogy, so I am curious to check out the others.  

<b>What to listen to while reading...</b>
Hiding Tonight by Alex Turner
Knives Out by Radiohead
No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine
Way down We Go by KALEO
Glory and Gore by Lorde
Lost River by Murder by Death
Blue Moon by Chromatics
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A political thriller set in and around and under the palaces of Westminster. Disgraced civil servant Anna is seconded to help the police after the gruesome discovery of a body during an excavation. Intended as a three part series of novels, I found the title lent nothing to the story and the main protagonist too emotional and lightly drawn to be believable. However, I enjoyed the setting of the novel in particular the description of the lost rivers and I would enjoy reading the next novel in the sequence.
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Timely novel to read in our crazy times.  Author paints an evocative picture of a world caught up in the perils of plague.
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"Plague. Ciuma. Pest. Plaga. In any language, a word of power and fear."

Alas, I selected this to read because when I skimmed the synopsis, I thought this was actually about a plague in London. The "plague" in this mystery thriller is about proximity to power and control of money markets, government, and media. 

Cassandra Fortune, drummed out of her former job as investigator at GCHQ, has a chance at redemption when she's asked to work with the police after several bodies are found that appear to be linked and discovered in unusual places in the subterranean areas surrounding Westminster. While the press has a field day with reports of plague pits and corruption, Cassandra and DI Andrew Rowlands track down a shadowy organization that is connected to the highest levels of government. NO SPOILERS.

This turned out very different to what I was expecting and that has led to me being disappointed in the overall story. I was not anticipating the protagonist to be such a hot mess nor was I ready for the romantic entanglements that would ensue. I did find the descriptions of the underground and subterranean tunnels and river to be quite interesting and there was a lot of that. I understand that this is the first in a planned trilogy featuring this character and I may or may not be reading those. I was not particularly thrilled by the last third of the book or the conclusion. The writing style was interesting though it got annoying when Cassandra's thoughts would be interspersed with her interactions and printed in italics. The reader learns very little about the other characters and it was easy to guess the bad guy. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Claret Press for this E-book ARC to read and review.
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🌟🌟🌟.5

It was an interesting read. The main character, Cassie was unlikeable. I don't like her obsession with power and her job. Her relationship with Andrew is the only thing that I like but then shitty things happened to Andrew. Shit! The way Cassie act after that make me realize did she really love him? Wth duh

There are two point of view which is from Cassie and the criminal. I don't know who is the bad guy lol

Thank you Netgalley, publisher and author for Plague ARC!
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Unfortunately, I didn't get on with this book on many levels and found myself unable to finish it.  First issue was the "clickbaity" title, which has very little to do with the storyline at all.  I found the "heroine", Cassandra, really quite annoying, and if she'd spent as much time on resurrecting her political career as she did on her love life, she might have been a lot more believable.  I couldn't connect with any of the characters, or the storyline, and found it really hard going.

I am giving it 2* despite being unable to finush it, because I have in the past, read far worse books.
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Plague by Julie Anderson is a recommended procedural mixed with a love story.

Cassandra (Cassie) Fortune is one of the attendees visiting the site where an ancient plague pit was discovered during work on a London tube line. A sudden collapse reveals another room with a body that is obviously a recent corpse. Then, a day later another body is discovered, killed in the same way, and also in a plague pit. This victim is linked to the Palace of Westminster, where rumors swirl around the Prime Minister and his rivals. Cassie, who is a civil servant trying to recover from an incident that left her in disgrace, is assigned by the Deputy Prime Minister to shadow Detective Inspector Andrew Rowlands who is investigating the case and is sure it is tied to previous deaths. Cassie and Rowlands begin to work together and uncover clues in the case. To make matters more complicated due to the deaths and the ties to a plague pit, the media is inciting fear and there are riots breaking out.

This is both a whodunnit and a love story, although the investigation into the murders and the reason behind them is much more interesting and compelling a plot element than the love story, which seems a bit out of place, way too rushed, and too convenience for the plot. Setting all aspects of romance aside, the actual details and pattern of the murders and rapes of victims is exposed and the case is clearly made that there is a definite ring of people involved in the murders. They need to uncover why these people are doing this, for what purpose, and who is involved. The fact that the media gets involved indicates someone is using them and leaking information to distract people and change the narrative and focus. The characters are interesting although not particularly well-developed. Cassie's disgrace is never revealed.

The plague and plague pits are only a distraction to the real plague of murders occurring. I was a little disappointed that during this time of plague that this wasn't a real plague story, but once the plot got moving it was clear Plague was going to be a complicated tangled web of evil actions which needed to be uncovered in order to stop the plague of murders and, quite frankly, torture of the victims by those in power. The description of all the sewer tunnels, rooms, and hidden rivers, etc. underground in London was fascinating and I may have to look for a book on that. (I want to see the maps.) This is a very good mystery/procedural that was diminished by the whole love story which made no sense.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Claret Press.
The review will be posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Cassandra Fortune (Cassie) is a civil servant moving in the high echelons of political elites. She carries about the burden of her previous, badly imploded, career and tries to rebuild it in her new role at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. It is at this point that she uncovers a body of a young Polish man among the remains in one of London’s old “Plague pits”. Another body, this time of a young Spanish man, is found together with Cassie’s pass to the Palace of Westminster. Links begin to form between the deaths, Cassie, the Whitehall and commercial lobbies. Cassie embarks on an investigation alongside Detective Inspector Andrew Rowland.
Plague is a tight, fast-moving and absorbing crime drama. The theme of the resurging plague is particularly relevant in today’s reality as is the exploration of political power and influence, corruption and dodgy dealings. Cassie’s romantic interest in Andrew Rowland (which doesn’t quite take off) adds that extra human touch to the story, which is both believable and nuanced. The plot picks up pace as it moves towards the dénouement and becomes quite impossible to put down.
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