Songs of Innocence Anne Coates

IMG_2312

 

Hannah Waybridge is back in this great series set in the 1990’s

The London based investigative journalist has had some success with recent investigations, but when she stumbles across the Police recovering a body from a local pond she doesn’t realise she is about to be thrown into another.

The body is of a young Asian girl. Although the Police originally think the death is an act of suicide her family are convinced it is anything but that.

They attempt to hire Hannah to investigate the death but as a journalist she insist on doing it as research for an article, and refuses payment.

From then on she is thrown into the murky world of “honour killings” within the Indian community. The story looks at the expectations and limitations placed on some Asian girls, and their families. She identifies the fact that girls in their early teens are sometimes sent to India to marry much older men, often under false pretences.

But what happened to the girls that refused, or who were married but failed to meet the in-laws expectations of a wife.

As Hannah begins her investigation  more bodies are found. Young girls start to come forward with their own accounts and worries.

As Hannah digs deeper problems start to surface in her private life. The father of her child is in prison having been arrested as part of a people smuggling ring Hannah helped uncover in a previous investigation. As he tries to contact her it becomes apparent that she is being followed.

Is it something to do with her current investigation, or something to do with the pervious one. Is this why her ex is trying to reach out to her?

The story has plenty of twists and turns, both in the investigation into the deaths of the Asian Girls, and in Hannah’s private life. As the book races to an end the Hannah is in increasing danger. The end is brilliant.

This book highlighted problems within some sections of the Indian community in the 1990’s. These problems didn’t go away, and throughout the of the 2000’s I  have worked on numerous investigations involving Honour Killings, arson attacks, and Suicides linked to the problem. Anne Coates has painted a very realistic picture of the issues faced by some of the girls, and young women, in that community. She has captured the terror felt by some girls, and their families, and the very real dangers they faced from within the community and their own extended families.

The story is stunningly realistic.

Pages: 320

Publishers: Urbane Publications Ltd

Publishing Date: 24th May 2018. Available to pre-order now on Amazon

Advertisements

Deep Fear Rachel Lynch

 

IMG_2310

 

Earlier this year I reviewed Dark Game by Rachel Lynch. The book in which she introduced us to DI Kelly Porter. It was one of the best debut crime thrillers I had read for a while so when I saw the second one was about to be published I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Deep fear see’s the unassuming DI Kelly Porter still living at home with her mom and suffering harassment from her sister, who has her perfect life of Husband and family. But things are about to change Kelly’s Mom is ill, and spending a lot of time in hospital.

Meanwhile somebody is killing people in the Lake District and the pressure is on Kelly and her team to find the murderer.

People are being targeted then killed. The killer is posing their bodies to suggest the failings that lead them to be killed. Along with the murder, mutilation, and posing of the bodies, the killer is leaving cryptic clues in the form of quotes from the Lakes poets.

As the body count rises, in a very short period of time, the team struggle to find the connection between the victims which would help them identify the killer.

All the time Kelly is working hard on investigating the murders the pressure is on at home as her sister and her argue constantly bout their mothers care.

Will the duel pressure of work and home life be too much for Kelly? Can she devote enough time to both?

The story rattles along and has a terrific ending that left me open mouthed for a good few minutes after I’d finished it.

I have often heard the expression “the difficult second” usually attached to music artist and records, or actors and TV series. I always wonder if the second book in a series will live up to the promise of the first.

Well this one has, and more. This is a cracking book and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one after the trauma of the end of this one.

Pages: Kindle size 1184KB

Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date UK: 14th May 2018 available to pre-order on Amazon

The link below is to my review of Dark Game, the first in the Kelly Porter Series

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/dark-game-rachel-lynch/

Dying Truth Angela Marsons

IMG_2300

 

What a way to start a book. The prologue see’s DI Kim Stone struggling with a broken leg as she tries to warn people not to enter part of a building where she knows they will be in mortal danger. But who are the people running into the building and what exactly is the danger.

Cut to chapter one, a few days before the prologue. The death of a young girl at a posh, private school.

It’s classical mystery writing technique but, I don’t think I’ve ever read it written in a better way.

As the story builds Kim is supported by all her usual crew, trusty Bryant, laddish Wood, and the quiet Black Country Lass Stacey. Will any of these be charging into danger at the end of the book.

The team are investigating a suspicious death at the private Heathcrest Academy. A private co-ed school, where the elite of midlands society send their children to study alongside sporting, and academic, high achievers.

Not surprisingly amongst the students there are secret societies that have seen generations of the same family pass through them. The societies employ horrific initiation ceremonies and even more horrific discipline methods.

When the body of the first victim is found, after she apparently committed suicide by jumping from one of the highest points in the school, Kim and Bryant are the first Officers on the scene.

Kim is not happy with the circumstances of the death and her suspicions are bourn-out when Keats carries out the autopsy and confirms that the girl was murdered.

The investigation is thwarted at every turn by the family, who are trying to hide their own secrets; by the school, whose principle will only entertain suicide as the cause, as murder would be bad for business; and by the students, who are either in one of the secret societies, or are scared of the pupils that are.

As the story unwinds Kim has to turn to an unlikely ally for advice, which itself holds dangers which I’m sure will hold recriminations.

As the body count begins to rise, and the climax of the book gets ever closer, the tension rises. Right up to the end it’s impossible to find out, or guess, who is running into danger, and how it will play out.

When the end comes it is no anti-climax. I had already read quotes on twitter where people said the they were left “broken” at the end, and that it was an “emotional ending”.

I thought I was ready for it, but no. It is emotional, and I was broken.

This is book 8 in the DI Kim Stone series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it works well as one, but to get full impact read the others.

I was lucky enough to find Angela Marsons when the first Kim Stone novel was released, and have been onboard from the beginning.

I am a prolific reader and I can think of no bigger recommendation than, every time an new book in this series is made available, I put down whatever I’m reading and read what Stone and her team are up to. This one was the best yet.

Roll on Book 9

Pages: 399

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 18th May 2018.

Paper Ghosts Julia Heaberlin

IMG_2294

 

I was hooked on this book after I read two of the first paragraphs in the first chapter.

“Old killers who roam free have to land somewhere”

And

“The Killers who publicly beat the system and the unseen monsters, where do they go”

Have you ever wondered that?

What happens to those serial killers go who don’t get caught?

Where do they go?

Do they just grow tired of what they are doing, get fed up, and just stop?

If it’s a sexually driven crime do they lose the urges?

This is one of the most original stories I have read for many years.

The main character is a woman, she’s in her mid 20’s and her big sister went missing years ago.

Since her sister went missing she has been running an unofficial hunt for whoever took her. As a 12-year-old girl she started building a murder wall on the back of her wardrobe. Building a list of suspects, linking her sister’s disappearance with others, eliminating suspects where she could.

But now, as an adult, she has found the person she thinks is responsible. Carl

Carl is in a home for offenders who have been released and are suffering from dementia. He has been tried and acquitted of one crime, and he claims not to remember anything of the other crimes he is being accused of.

Our girl takes him out of the home, under the false pretence that she is his daughter, and embarks on a road trip to some of the destinations she has identified as places where he took and killed other girls and women.

Will it jog his memory, if he has even lost it.

Is she putting herself in danger, or will she get her answers?

The story of the relationship between the woman and Carl is fascinating. Why do I keep calling her the woman? Because we don’t find out her name for a long time and I don’t want to spoil a cracking story.

Their journey across a map of murder and disappearance is gripping.

There are a lot of questions in this review. There was a lot of questions raised in my head whilst I was reading the book. As far as the story went, all of the questions were answered, and answered in style.

As for the questions the story raised in my mind, well they may never get answered.

In the States who was, or is, the Zodiac Killer and what happened to them.

In the UK Peter Sutcliff was caught purely by chance. Would he have carried on killing, probably. Would he have been caught, maybe. But what if he hadn’t.

I love books that get me thinking, and boy did this book get me thinking.

Pages: 368

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publish Date: 19th April 2018

Deathly Wind. Keith Moray

IMG_2289

This is the second book in the DI Torquil McKinnon series set on a remote Scottish Island.

But don’t let the remote small island, with its small community put you off. This is a complex story with many twists and turns.

The story starts with an assassin killing a family, and a missing Police Officer.

At the same time a big-time-Charlie from the mainland takes over the big house and brings with him the threat of erecting a wind farm on the old crofts. The problem is the crofts are still being run as farms by well-established families.

The new Laird is Jock McArdle, a business man from Glasgow, who brings with him two enforcers.

More deaths start to take place on the island but are most of them just accidents.

As the death count rises there are conflicts amongst the small group of residents on the island. Half of them are against the wind farms, the other half are for them.

There is a hedgehog cull about to take place but one resident, Megan, who is fervently against it, starts to cause problems. Could she be responsible for some of the deaths?

Her Boyfriend Nial is a Bird Protectionist, who is very protective of the eagle population on the island. So, when it is claimed one of the deaths is down to an eagle attack he too starts to act strangely. Could he be the murderer?

Then there is the young pretty Megan. She only had eyes for the missing Police Officer but is finding comfort in half of the male population. Is one of her comforters acting out of jealousy.

The small island Police force is headed by DI Torquil McKinnon, the motorcycle riding, bag pie playing, widower, who went to school with most of the main suspects in the crimes. With one of his two full time officers missing he has to run the inquiry with his full time DS, and two volunteer constables. The story of the investigation is brilliantly addictive, and the result is not easily anticipated.

Over the last year I have read a few books set in the remote Scottish Isles. The large open spaces with the small tight knit communities lend themselves to some great stories. In fact, I have come to realise that The Scottish Isles Murder books are the new Closed Room Mysteries of Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie fame.

The two books in this series which have so far been published are brilliant.

If you like a good murder mystery you will love these books.

With summer creeping up on us, people might be looking for a book to read around the pool or on the beach. Get this series. There is only one problem with them. You will be left desperately wanting book 3, and we are going to have to wait for a while for that.

Pages: 224

Publisher: Sapere

Available now

The Lost. Mari Hannah

IMG_2272

Marie Hannah has long been one of my favourite Authors. Until her Kate Daniels series I was not much of a fan of British Crime fiction, but once I read The Murder Wall she had me hooked.

Mari changed tack and started a new series a couple of years ago, with The Silent Room, and I was worried, until I read it, that it wouldn’t be as good as the Daniels books.

Now she is starting a fresh again. This time with the first book in the Oliver and Stone Series.

The Lost introduces us to DS Frank (Frances) Stone. The third generation of Police Officer in her family, following her father and grandfather. She is a no nonsense brash but likeable officer.

DI David Stone is a more complex character. Returning to his home county of Northumbria, after a successful career in the Met, he has taken a reduction of rank to move home. He carries a secret that haunts him to the point of distracting him. Moving up from London he has moved into his late grandmother’s cottage which can best be described as near derelict, but he shows no signs of renovating. Is he here to stay, is he punishing himself, is it an excuse to keep people at bay from his personal life.

Working with Frank Oliver keeping people at bay is going to be very difficult. She is fiercely loyal, but wants to know everything.

The first case they work together is complex. A young boy goes missing whilst his mom is on holiday with her sister. The boys stepfather is supposed to be looking after him. When the au-pair and stepfather both think the other is picking the boy up from football practice he goes missing, and the stepdad has no choice but to report it to the police.

It’s not a case Stone’s team would usually be involved with but Oliver convinces him to take it on.

What follows is a series of crimes based around the family. A family where nobody seems able, or willing, to tell the truth. The mother is a controlling figure who looks down on her business man husband. The husband is addicted to drink and drugs, and his business is going down the pan.

Even the au-pair is not what she seems and leads the investigation team up an avenue that includes blackmailing old clients.

So who is the target of the crimes. The family or the Au-pair.

Before the end of the book more than one life lies in ruins, and at least one person is dead.

This is the start of a great series. Oliver and Stone are fantastic characters and Mari Hannah is one of the very best writers out there. And by “out there” I don’t just mean the UK.

Pages: 416

Publishers: Orion

Available now

The Next Girl Carla Kovach

 

The-Next-Girl-Kindle

When I read the synopsis for this book I was expecting another Police Procedural with a twist of Psychological Thriller. There would have been nothing wrong with that, in fact that is my favourite genre of book. But I got much more than that, I got a book that made me think about the affects investigating crimes can have on people, because not all Police Officers are as tough as they make out.

 

DI Gina Harte is the head of a small team of officers. At work she is a strong woman, at home she is having problems in her relationship with her grown up daughter. Harte, a widow, had been the victim of domestic abuse but how does she tell her daughter that. Especially as her daughter is arranging a memorial service for her dad, who she thinks the world of.

 

Harte is also in need of a confidence building bit of TLC, but she is also concerned about starting a relationship, especially one that could interfere with her job.

 

When a baby is discovered abandoned in a small village it is Harte’s team that is tasked with investigating where the baby came from.

 

At the same time a young father is struggling to get over the disappearance of his wife 4 years ago. He too is struggling with his feelings as he starts to slide into a new relationship. Guilty that he has feelings for the new woman in his life, and guilty about being unfaithful to his missing wife, Luke is struggling enough.  When DI Harte knocks at his door his confusion is about to get much worse.

 

As Harte and team look at the case of the abandoned baby, and re-open the 4 year old missing persons case, it soon becomes evident that they are linked.

 

Harte continues to have run-ins with her daughter who has always blamed her for putting her job first. She finds her TLC in an unusual place, and with both these things playing on her mind she tries to lead the investigation.

 

This book takes the reader into the troubled worlds of a Police Officer who has been a victim and is struggling both professionally and personally, and a victim who has never had closure and is struggling to find direction in his life.

 

Those that read my blogs will know I love characters to have a good back story and an element of an ongoing personal life. Well this story has given me that and wrapped around it is a great crime story.

 

I like it when a book I like appears to open up the possibility of a series.

 

Well it says on the Amazon page Detective Gina Harte Book 1.

 

Bring on Book 2. I really enjoyed Book 1

 

Pages: 300

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2018.