Dying Breath Helen Phifer

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Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin is back in another realistic crime thriller.

When I reviewed The Lost Children, the first book in the DI Harwin series, I said how good it was to read a book that portrayed a criminal investigation properly. The right ranks-to-roles, the correct terminology, the attitudes and ethos’s of the officers and the relationships between departments. It was one of my favourite reads and put Helen onto the list of my favourite authors

This book is just as good.

The story focuses on two eras’: Lucy and her team investigating a series of modern day crimes; and an anonymous boy growing up with his aunty in the 80’s and 90’s.

The boy growing up is obviously a deviant, and it’s not hard to conclude that he is going to be part of today’s crimes; but what part, and who is he?

There are several candidates but I didn’t guess which one was the murderer until it was revealed on the last few pages. Up until that point it could still have been any one of them.

Lucy and her team pick up the investigation into the murder of a woman who is found battered to death and posed in an unlikely position.

She is the first but not the last. Each victim is killed in a way that appears planned but random. Is Brooklyn Bay in the grips of a crime epidemic or a serial killer.

With each murder being committed in a different manner the team are struggling to link them. When the skeletal remains of a woman are uncovered in some woods Helens boss DCI Tom Crowe decides she needs help and drafts in DI Patrick Baker to take over the body in the woods investigation

Lucy conducts most of her investigation with DS Matthew Jackson, her friend and safety net against getting herself in trouble with the bosses. The rest of her team all take an active part in the investigations, and all have their own character that gives the team a great dynamic. The team are good, highly motivated officers, so when DI Baker appears apathetic Lucy soon starts to lose her cool with him.

This book doesn’t look so deeply at the private lives of some books but we know enough about Lucy and her team to build allegiances. I like Lucy and the connection she has with her team so I felt every frustration she had with Baker. That must be the indication of a good writer.

As the two sides of this story headed for a massive collision at the end of the book I found myself sitting for hours glued to the screen of my Kindle.

Helen Phifer has written another great book that has kept her in my top authors list and I cannot wait for the next instalement.

Pages: 269

Published by Bookouture

Publishing Date: 23rd November 2017

Available to pre-order on Amazon

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Now You See Me Kierney Scott

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Introducing Special Agent Jessica Bishop, a name I think we are going to get to see a lot more of.

Five foot two, red-haired, big breasted, and intelligent. She has studied for her PhD in Psychology and is brilliant at analysing every move a person makes and every word they say.

Too good to be true? Yes, she’s flawed, very flawed.

During the book her history becomes known and gives credence to the way she behaves in her social life. She has a very blasé attitude to close personal relationships, she uses men in a way that would have most of us running for the hills.

In total contrast she is fiercely protective to her work partnerships.

When a torso is recovered from a bayou in Louisiana Jess and her Partner are sent to investigate. This is the third body to be found with the same wounds in three months. Working with her new partner Nash she starts to look for connections between the victims.

All is going well until her ex-partner, Jamison Briggs, returns from a two-year undercover operation.

Jess can handle the return but Briggs and Nash don’t get on. The conflict starts to affect the investigation and things start to take a turn for the worse when a forth body is found and Jess begins to see connections to her past. Will keeping the connections to herself, to keep her secret, harm the investigation and put people in danger.

From the muggy, oppressive, murder scenes in the bayou; to the seedy pub washroom stress-relief scenes in Washington, the story thunders to an end which made me hold my breath for way to long.

This book is utterly compelling. The story takes second place to the introduction of the characters for the first half of the book, but comes into its own in the second half.

Those of you that read my blogs know I enjoy the characters and the way they develop through series. I think that Jess and her team are going to be fantastic, if somewhat complex, people to get to know.

Pages:318

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing date: 27th November 2017

Available now to pre-order on Amazon

Broken Bones         Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone Book 7

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It’s here, the 7th book in the DI Kim Stone series. I tweeted, as soon as it became available, that Angela Marsons was the only author that I put other books down for, to read hers when they come out.

Did it live up to my expectations?

Hell Yes!

Detective Inspector Kim Stone and her team are back. The story starts with a young girl sitting on the roof of a Black Country Tower Block on Christmas Day. She gets pushed off, but will anybody ever know it wasn’t suicide?

Over the next few weeks, as the midlands is covered in snow, a baby is abandoned outside Kim’s Police Station, a prostitute is murdered on her patch, and as the team become involved in solving these crimes they become start to uncover  a slave trade ring of forced labour.

The books takes the reader into the underworld of prostitution, drugs, and modern slavery.

With the team  recovering from the events of a few months earlier, Kim pairs-up her young Detective Sergeant Kevin Dawson, with her young Detective Constable Stacey Wood. This partnership is the Yin and Yang of policing. Full-on-Kevin is a typically out-going personality that likes to push the limits, and is full of self-confidence. Black Country-Girl-Stacey, is quiet, methodical, and deep thinking. They both have a positive effect on each other, and bring the best out of each other as people, and as Police Officers. As they investigate the abandoned baby case they are thrust into the world of illegal immigrants and forced labour.

Meanwhile Kim uses her trusted old-hand, Sergeant Bryant, to keep her on the right side of the line that divides pushing Police Procedures to the limit, and breaking the law.

Kim and Bryant look into the death of the prostitute and the investigation takes them to the seedier side of two “titutions” that go hand in hand. Destitution and Prostitution.

Bully boy pimps, gangs, drugs, the horror of street-walking-sex-trade workers, physical abuse, and grooming are day-to-day occurrences  for the prostitutes of the Black Country. Now, just to make matters worse, somebody has killed one of their own. As Kim and Bryant start their investigation they come across some familiar faces and the reader gets to see the other side of the lives of the street girls. The vulnerable women and the desperation that leads them into the life they live.

The investigations of the murdered prostitute and the abandoned baby are only the start of a series of crimes that have the team stretched to the limit physically and emotionally as the book roars to an end on a bleak cold night.

When I first started blogging I said I was dubious about prolific authors who publish more than 1 book a year. My thoughts, and experiences, were that a good book takes time to write, and that anybody who wrote 2, or more, each year was just churning out words and hoping their fans would keep buying.

Angela Marsons has proved the exception to that. 7 books in this series in a little over 2 years; and over 2 million copies sold. Each book raises the bar, each book is better than the last.

The only other author that has kept me hooked on a series, of Police procedural books, for this long is Tess Gerritsen with her Rizzoli and Isles series; and that is not bad company to be in.

As with Gerritsen, Angela Marsons books are as much about her characters as they are about the crimes they investigate. It cannot be a coincidence that readers invest in these two authors. I always look forward to seeing what Kim and her team are up to, in their private lives, and in the investigation.

Angela Marsons remains my favourite author, and there are a lot of good authors out there at the moment.

I can’t wait for book number 8.

 

Pages: 374

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 3rd November 2017

Available to pre-order on Amazon

The Mistake. K.L. Slater Blog Tour

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It’s my turn on the Blog Tour for K.L Slater’s The Mistake.

I blogged about this book a few weeks ago and just had a quick look at my review. I think it’s quite obvious how much I enjoyed it.

But why did I enjoy it so much? Why does K.L Slater grab me more than most authors?

I had a look at her on line Bio, and read a few articles on line to find out more about her.

Kim Slater has been writing for years, and has had children’s books published by MacMillan, no mean feat.

Like so many other authors she has a stack of rejection letters, but undeterred she took herself off to University and gained an MA in Creative Writing.

This shows me that she never gives up, and that she likes to study and improve herself. That is reflected in her writing.

It is not luck that the books she writes are amongst the best psychological thrillers on the shelves. I can only imagine the amount of research that goes into the plot before the first word reaches the page.

The Mistake is the 4th Book she has written for adults. The previous 3; Safe With Me, Blink, and Liar have all been excellent but this one is the best so far.

My Review of the mistake is at the end of this blog, but before you read it I’d just like to say

Thank you Kim L. Slater for a great story.

 I can’t wait for the next. 

My Review of The Mistake by K.L. Slater

Split between happenings 16 years ago and the present day, this psychological who-done-it thriller had me gripped from start to finish.

16 years ago, Rose is an eighteen-year-old girl suffering the angst of college life.

Her younger brother Billy goes missing and is found murdered, but who is responsible.

In the present day, Rose is a slightly awkward, mid-thirties, library assistant, who still lives under the stigma of what happened when her brother was killed.

A discovery whilst looking after her ailing neighbour sends Rose on a hunt for the truth about Billy’s death.

The passages set 16 years in the past are a warning tale of grooming, how a 17-18 girl with low self-esteem can be cajoled into a relationship with an older man, at the expense of her family and friends.

Rose lies to her family, and although her best friend initially encourages her, she too starts to distrust the older and controlling man.

The effects on everybody around Rose are devastating, but who is to blame for the things that start to happen around them.

This book had me second guessing myself from start to finish. Empathy, sympathy and frustration was aimed at all the characters, especially Rose.

The end? I don’t think anyone will see it coming, but it won’t be a “that-would-never-happen” moment either.

A great book written with reality, and emotion in abundance.

Pages: 330

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th October 2017.

The Body in the Marsh. Nick Louth

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A confession to start my review. Nick Louth has escaped my attention in the past. He now has my full attention, and his previously published books have just been uploaded to my Kindle.

This is a cracking book.

Set against the back drop of a Cold Case Review, of the Murder of a young girl known in the press as Child F; in which the Surrey Police are under intense scrutiny, the last thing the Major Investigation Team need is another complex, high profile case.

When Elizabeth Knight is reported missing by one of her friends the Police quickly establish she is the wife of Professor Martin Knight, one of the main protagonists in the attacks on Surrey Police, and the way they handled the Child F case. She is also the first love of Craig Gillard

DCI Craig Gillard is a detective in Surrey, but we first meet him halfway up a rock climb in the Lake District rescuing a damsel-in-distress. The damsel happens to be a PCSO from his own force, and proves a bit of a nice distraction throughout the book.

Returning to Surrey Gillard heads the investigation into the disappearance of Elizabeth Knight, which quickly turns into a murder enquiry as forensic evidence stacks up to indicate she has been murdered.

What’s more Professor Knight has also gone missing. Is this a domestic murder? Evidence soon starts to show the Prof is a bit of a player, and has been having affairs for years.

The investigation finds a link between a property, that Elizabeth owns and rents out, to a suspect in the new investigation into the killing of Child F.

Gillard’s team work on both cases, and struggle to make much headway into either. The frustrations of the investigations are wonderfully portrayed by Louth as the story ploughs its way to a not very inevitable end. But what and end.

There is a lot of crime fiction on the shelves, at the moment. Most book shops have a shelf with their top reads,  top recommendations, or top ten.

This book is destined for those shelves, right at the top. It has Number 1 best seller written all over it.

Pages: 360

Publisher: Cancelo

Available on Amazon

Murder Game Caroline Mitchell

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Everybody loves a good serial killer story, and this one is really good.

Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston, and her team, are back.

Years ago Mason Gately was caught in the act of murdering his 6th Victim. Nicknamed by the press The Lonely Heart Killer, he found his victims through the personal adds in local papers, Gately had a very specific way of killing the women over several days.

When Melissa Phillips, the wife of a high-profile BBC News Journalist, goes missing; and he starts to receive images of her, similar to those sent by Gately of his victims to their families, alarm bells begin to ring.

Ruby’s boss, DI Downes, had worked on the original case and knows that some of the details of the original murders had never been released to the public. So how does the new killer know how to recreate the murders in such detail? Is Gately actually the Lonely Hearts Killer, or is the wrong person in custody.

As more people go missing the similarities between the murders continue and each case is a rush against time to save the victim.

Meanwhile the killer is contacting a confidential telephone help line and talking, in a round-about way, about his crimes. Will the call handler understand who they are talking to?

Ruby is still dating her first love, who she is only recently become reacquainted with, Nathan. Just to add spice to the story Nathan is part of one of the biggest crime families in Shoreditch.

This relationship opens doors for Ruby to interview Gately, and so begins a relationship very similar to that of Starling and Lecter.

What sacrifices will Ruby have to make to get the information she needs, and how many people will suffer before she gets it.

This is another great story in this series by Caroline Mitchell. Each book gets better, and as ever I was left wanting to read the next one straight away.

I suppose I’ll just have to be patient.

Pages 285

Published by Bookouture

Pulishing date 31st October 2017

Louise Jensen The Surrogate Blog Tour

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It’s my Turn on The Surrogate Blog Tour.

Before I started to write this blog, I did a little bit of research. I sometimes get caught up in my own opinions of books, that’s why I never put bad reviews on my blog; just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean everybody else won’t.

So, when I enjoyed a book as much as this one, and Louise Jensen’s previous 2 The Gift, and The Sister, I wondered what everybody else was thinking.

Reading the reviews on Amazon and Netgalley told me everything I needed to know. It’s not just me. This is a brilliant writer writing brilliant stories.

There is a strange reality to what she writes. Not are the scenarios realistic, but they are the sort of thing that will get you thinking, that could so easily have happened to somebody I know.

Her characters are strong but subtle. It’s easy to relate the them and the situations they find themselves in. In this book, I found myself outside the story screaming in “can’t you see what’s happening?”. But was I right. Read the book and see what you thing.

My Original Review of The Surrogate

Louise Jensen has written some of the most original thrillers I have ever read, and this sits right at the top of the pile.

The story starts with a crime scene in which there are two bodies, and then continues to revolve around a few characters, any of which could be one of those bodies, on the lead up to the crime.

The main character is Kat, a 30-year-old woman who is desperately trying to adopt a child with her Property Developer husband Nick.

Kat has a secret, 10 years ago she was involved in an accident and she has moved away to start a new life.

All is going well until she bumps into an old friend from the past, Lisa.

Lisa has been a surrogate mom before, and persuades Kat and Nick to let her be their surrogate.

What is Lisa up to? Did she really just happen to bump into her old-school friend, or was it more by design?

As the story unfolds it becomes clear Nick has his own secrets, and so does his best friend Richard.

Richard happens to be Nicks old business partner, and his solicitor, and is handling the legal side of the surrogacy.

Not one of these people is innocent, any of them could be one of the two victims at the original crime scene; but just as much they could all be the perpetrator of the crime.

This is one of the most complex crime/psychological thrillers I have ever read. At times, I was swayed in favour of all of the main characters, in a sympathetic way. At other times, I hated each one of them. There were times when I was convinced I knew who the victims were and who had killed them, but then I changed my mind; or had it changed for me.

But the end, that comes as quite a shock.

What a great book.

Pages: 374

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: 27th September 2017.