Cover Image: Plague


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Another great and unexpected find!
Cassie has a chequered past working for GCHQ and now relegated to the Office of the Deputy PM, in this role she finds herself, unbeknowingly, at the discovery of one of London’s ‘plague pits’....but also discovered there are signs of recent murders and torture, this looks like it is linked to a recent young Danish mans death in London, it starts to point to Parliament and some of the wealthiest men in the Country being involved 
With her prior knowledge and links to high Govt officials ( as asked to by Govt Ministers re her previous work) she starts on a no holds barred investigation into what could be the biggest scandal for many years, all this with the press insisting there is a new ‘plague’ thrashing its way through London ( it was interesting to read mention of Covid as something of the past ) 
Having worked at the House of Lords for 8 years this was a fascinating read as many of the places and protocols I saw daily were re-visited, also fascinating were the visits to ‘underworld London’, the lost rivers and systems below us all here in the Capital
I liked Cassie and her ‘thoughts’ as she spoke ( kinda answering herself but saying what she meant and not what she had to say ) and I enjoyed the story telling that went from dark and grim to adventurous and exciting, often on the same page
I guess the book reminded me of Hostel with a 24 edge and a big helping of political drama
As said another unexpected find and one I really enjoyed and glad read, roll on Book 2 ( and Book 3 which I believe is already written )

5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
This book was a real page turner. It's a cliché but in this case true - the plot was fast paced, intelligent and intriguing.  The setting was different and obviously well researched.  It would be mean to go further into these settings as the story revolves around them.  This book was a pleasant surprise to me as I did not know the author before.  Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Action, adventure disease and corruption ( and that is just in Westminster and British politics!)
A page turner of a thriller that is well timed in our currant situation. Wonderfully written characters that are completely believable and some interesting insights into the corridors of power
Was this review helpful?
Very tense and suspenful. Edge of your seat reading. Very strong story voice. Will have you feeling as if you're there with them trying to figure out the puzzle. Highly recommend. Happy reading!
Was this review helpful?
I reached 60% before deciding to quit as I didn't want to waste my time. It could have been a gripping story but it was slow paced and nothing really seemed to be happening. 

You've also got the main character who's just been given another chance to do what she loves but there's no information (from what I'd read so far) about her past. She's also involved in an investigation which seems quite dangerous, involving dangerous, wealthy and powerful men and yet she thinks it's ok to go on dates with them?
Was this review helpful?
During excavation works an ancient burial pit is unearthed and work is stopped for inspection by officials, it is identified ss a plague pit which gives rise to panic by the workers; however quick imposition of authority and reassurance by the civil servant supervising the inspection averts a stampede. When an earth fall occurs a further chamber is revealed full of bones and a human body, seemingly tortured and with his throat slit. The female civil servant a well-drawn out character, perverse, stubborn, and impetuous is assigned as a watching brief when more bodies and a murder investigation is set in motion. Rather than a serial killer it becomes obvious that a high-level organisation is involved that is linked possibly to politicians and business interests. During the investigation the civil servant with experience from her former role as an investigator into politically sensitive issues suspects that further crimes were due to be set in the commons and their suspicions being apparent, causes those involved to get the investigators killed with the lady barely escaping with her life before that the case is finally cracked. A most interesting story set in the houses of parliament and its culture and environment and how false news and media manipulation can be used as a tool to stir up public hysteria to hamper the criminal investigation.
Was this review helpful?
I found parts of this book really interesting. The details of London were fascinating and I enjoyed finding out more of London’s history. I didn’t like Cassandra. She did not have any depth and some of her actions seemed out of place. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
A great read.  I really couldn't put it down hence finishing it at 1am.
Cassie, a civil servant is teamed with DI Rowland to investigate a series of murders that could involve Parliament.  I did have to concentrate at the beginning as there is a lot of ministers, MPs and Lords to keep track of. It was an interesting concept that the villain stirs up the public and press about the risk of the plague to waste police time and divert from the killings.  It is a clever plot with great characters; even Cassie, the heroine is a selfish power seeker.  A really enjoyable, well researched book.
Was this review helpful?
Casssie is a former GCHQ investigator who has been scapegoated and reduced to a lowly civil service job.  By chance she is present when a body is found in a plague pit unearthed in the Crossrail works..  Another body emerges, killed by the same hand and Cassie is seconded to work with the police because there seem to be links with the Houses of Parliament. She is further asked to report on whether there is any whiff of corruption about the leading contender to take over as P.M.  A cracking tale of corruption intrigue and violence ensues. Its action packed and will keep you turning the pages.  Julie Anderson is a former civil servant , clearly knows her way around Whitehall, and uses that knowledge to tell a convincing story.
Was this review helpful?
A highly entertaining and well written mystery that kept me hooked and guessing.
Good character and plot development.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
Set in modern day London, Plague (Claret Press) by Julie Anderson is a really exciting thriller, the title suggests a novel set against a background of a plague but what this really is a gripping murder mystery and political intrigue. 

The story begins when workmen discover a plague pit while working on the London underground network, but there is also a grim discovery of a body that has recently been placed there. How? And who committed the murder? Cassandra Fortune who as a civil servant has a past that he is trying hard to overcome, is there. A day later another body is discovered and there are similarities and also discovered in a plague pit. This victim has connections to the Palace of Westminster and government officials are nervous. Mention of recently discovered bodies in plague pits and there is a media frenzy and the public are now very nervous. Is this the plague returning and are there more victims to be discovered? 

 The killing is not over and time is running out, high ranking civil servants want answers before Parliament closes and there is pressure on both Cassandra and Detective Inspector Rowlands to find the killers before they strike again and strike fear into the public about the return of the Black Death? Meanwhile someone really is going after Cassandra and it is not only her career that could be ended if the killers are not found and quickly. The pressure is mounting.

Running under central London is the forgotten underground River Tyburn that plays a significant role in the storyline as do some extremely dangerous people who will not stop at anything for power and they have eyes at the very top. 

This is a fast moving thriller that has political intrigue as well as money and greed at the very heart of the story and dark secrets of London’s underground. I really enjoyed Julie Anderson’s writing as she creates some interesting characters for the plot and creates a storyline that is tense and you are not sure what is coming next and you feared for Cassandra Fortune at every turn of the page. 

288 Pages.
Was this review helpful?
If underground sewers, plague pits, murder, London history, political intrigue and dangerous obsession appeal to you, this may be your read.  

Cassie, a civil servant with a mundane job and past secrets finds herself enmeshed in a murder case, at first reluctantly.  But the excitement entices and beckons to her familiar past of detecting before her disgrace.  She and a policeman, Andrew, are assigned to the case.  This novel follows the time sensitive investigation which also has its share of political twists.

What riveted me most were the historical aspects of underground London which were clearly well researched.  I've been in underground cities and could easily envision the details.  Also, the title is clever in more ways than one.

However, the characters were not believable to me so I didn't connect. Cassie was silly and shallow, as were the romances.  A few scenes didn't seem to belong.  Some happenings were predictable but there was one turn I didn't see coming.  I appreciate that in books.

Though the characters weren't as engaging as hoped, the underground history was absorbing.  I appreciate the opportunity to read Plague.  Thank you, Claret Press.

Possible trigger warnings...,rape, torture, sex and violence are mentioned.
Was this review helpful?
Very good read. Started with action and this continued all the way through. There was always something going on that keeps you saying “just one more chapter”. I finished this quite quickly as it was an absolute page turner. I think Cassie was amazing and shows the intelligence of women in the world of normally powerful men. Spoiler alert!! I kept thinking that what happened didn’t actually happen and it would just be a ploy to bring Lawrence and the rest of the group out into the open, sadly I was wrong and it did happen and I was gutted for Cassie. Was very happy to read that there will be a series of books spanning from this one.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating story that keeps you interested and involved from start to finish. The places and scenarios involved are a revelation. Definitely recommended to those readers who enjoy reading this type of book.
Was this review helpful?
This novel is told from both the point of view of the female lead and the male antagonist.  It is based in London and Is the story of an ex government agent who has fallen from grace and ended up working in a procurement department and gets the opportunity to get her career back on track by working with the police in trying to a bring down a crime ring who are kidnapping victims off the streets to order.  

I really enjoyed the first three quarters of the book, finding it very compelling but there was a section of the book towards the end that I didn’t enjoy but the actual ending of the book was good and sets things up nicely for another book.
Was this review helpful?
If you've read the blurb, then you'll know that Julie Anderson's "Plague" isn't about a plague... well, not in the obvious sense, anyway. This book definitely has the "ooh" and "leaning forward in your seat" factors - both when it comes to the plot and character development. There's a touch of horror with the plague pits, recent corpses, and underground London which really spiced up the story for me. The writing flows really well, making this an easy book to read. I hear there are 2 books to follow this one... Yay!

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advance copy to review. This review is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Plague is a political thriller revolving around a fallen British government official, Cassandra Fortune, who is looking to climb back to the top to get her career and her reputation back. While I was intrigued by the pairing of a thriller with British government, this book didn't quite hold my attention. 

I truly loved the concept and the murder mystery/detective aspect behind it. It was enjoyable to read something a bit different from everything out there currently; however, the romance aspect of it was something I just couldn't get behind. As a reader, personally, I tend to find romance distracting in suspenseful thrillers, and if a heroine seems to be more focused on finding a partner then the crime itself, I have trouble as a reader. 

The author's writing was smart and sharp with an interesting concept, but the focus and storyline were where my own personal preferences diverted.
Was this review helpful?
I requested this originally because of the mysterious cover and the title. The Plague during the time of a pandemic? Yes please! I opened it up and it had an intelligent, confident female as the lead, we start up immediately in a plague pit – which collapses! – and reveals a body. Throw in the underground river system flowing underneath London and some nods to places in London very close to my heart and I was SOLD. 

I loved this book and thought it was very well-crafted. With most thrillers, you can tell very early on who is behind everything and it is very predictable. Anderson did a fantastic job of keeping everything hidden and even when it became obvious who the key players were, you didn't know all of them and you didn't know what the link was and why they were doing it. I just HAD to know what was going on, so I motored through the last half of the book today because I just needed to know!

I will warn people now that if you are after a tidy happy-ever-after at the end of this book, then you will be sorely disappointed. That twist absolutely gutted me and I was convinced it was all going to be a hoax to flush Lawrence out,.

The reason why I did not give this 5 stars is because:

1) During times in the book, things were a little repetitive or stale. There was no movement in the story and, therefore, became a little dull.

2) I didn't find Cassie's emotions believable regarding the two love interests. She switched with absolutely no hesitation a number of times and the way she acted with love interest #2 so quickly was just so out there. It was like they had known each other and dated for months.

This is the first in a three-part series. I cannot wait for Oracle and Opera!
Was this review helpful?