Tell No Lies Lisa Hartley

IMG_2212

 

Internal compartmentation in covert policing makes life dangerous for the undercover police officer; but, are Met and the NCA working with or against each other on this case.

The secrets that are being kept have far reaching effects on the investigation and the personal lives of some of the officers carrying it out.

There is a new drug baron in one of London’s suburbs. Actually, it’s more accurate to say the old one has been arrested and is in prison and some low-level dealers are trying to muscle their way into the big time.

But then a body is found tortured to death, and its linked to a second death that happened a few days earlier, that of a Policeman that died in similar circumstances.

The Met decides to send in a team of undercover officers.

This story follows Detective Caelan Small. At the start of the book she is recovering from a recent undercover operation that has damaged her physically and emotionally. She is given no choice go to work or go away. So, she assumes an identity she has used before and goes in search of information about the new drugs dealers.

She soon establishes that there may be more than one gang involved and that the dead Policeman may have been running his own investigation, “off-the book”

The investigation leads to some of the more salubrious areas of London, and this is where the book really comes into its own.

Lisa Hartley describes the areas and people of London involved in the gang and drugs culture very well. I was hooked by its reality.

The story is very fast paced. In fact I intended to read it over a week and ended up not putting it down, and finishing it in a day.

Its pace is breathless. The story takes place over just a few days and I felt like I was there with Caelan. Feeling her frustrations at her Senior Officers who were making decisions based on facts she could not be told, the frustrations of knowing other officers are working with her, but feeling they are working against her.

I felt the anxiety she feels when she has to make snap decisions, putting herself in danger, but more worryingly potentially putting others in danger.

The story is complex, and right up till the last page I had no idea how it was going to end.

I loved it

 

Pages: 331

Published by: Canelo

Publishing date: 19th February 2018

Advertisements

Next to Die T.J. Brearton

IMG_2181

 

How do you draw up a list of suspects when the deceased has made enemies every time they do their job.

And, what if the dead person is not even the intended target, but it’s a case of mistaken identity by the killer.

Imagine the type of plot line you could write with just those two principles. Well you don’t have to imagine it anymore. T.J. Brearton has taken these two strings and knitted one hell of a story.

The book starts with the killing of a Social Worker who has been working late into the evening and is the last to leave the office. She has made enemies, lots of them, people who have kids taken from their parents often do, but is this what got her killed.

Bobbi, is one of her co-workers, and although a lot younger, bears a passing resemblance to her, and she drives an almost identical car. Was she the intended victim, there are good reasons she could have been.

Detectives Mike Nelson, State Police, and Lena Overton, Lake Haven Police, take on a joint investigation. Working together brings them closer together and there is a definite chemistry between the two but will it hamper the investigation.

As they start to look into the murder they find a unsolved crime from 10 months earlier. If the two are really connected does that mean that there have been other crimes that have not been reported, is somebody attacking Case Workers from Social Services. If they are does that mean that the attacks haven’t finished, who will be the Next to Die, and can the detectives from 2 different agencies work together to stop the killer.

Nobody in this book, except Nelson and Overton, are who they first appear to be. Everybody has something lurking in their past, but does that make them a suspect or a future victim.

I have rarely read a book which kept me as engrossed. Every string of the plot is gripping, the story as a whole is addictive.

The characters are well written; the scenes are well described; the plot is captivating.

T.J. Brearton has quickly moved to the top of my list of authors whose books I look for as soon as they are available. He has gone from the “to be read” pile, to the “Must be read” list

Reading his biography it is easy to see why; he  studied psychology, philosophy, and religion to gain a degree in Social Sciences. He has been a photographer and a film maker.

What does this tell me about him?

As a photographer and a film maker he will have observed people; as a student of psychology and philosophy he will understand the people he observed.

That is why his characters are so good. Those characters make excellent stories.

Its early in the year but I should imagine this will be one of the best books I read in 2018.

Pages: 356

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: TODAY GO AND BUY IT

Available on Amazon

 

The Baby Sitter Sheryl Browne

IMG_2189

 

8 years ago young Grace watches as her house burns down. Her Mom, her sister, and her Moms latest husband are trapped inside. Grace doesn’t care.

When a Police officer finds her hiding in a bush he takes her to the detective in charge of the investigation, DI Mark Caine.

Today, Mark and his family are living happily in a small town. The house next door suffers a fire and the new neighbour, a single young woman, Jade, is left homeless.

Mark and his wife Mel hardy know the woman but when they find out she is a qualified child minder they agree to take her in to look after their children so that Mel can start to concentrate on her art.

What could possibly go wrong

Anybody who has watched a film which includes a “bunny-boiler” will know what comes next, but strangely this book hooked me. Even though I thought I knew what was coming next, most of the time, it was written in such a way that I wanted to carry on reading, and at times its scary reading.

When Jade moves in things start to go bad. At first its little things that could be put down to other people mislaying things, but she is evil and her activity starts to intensify.

Nothing is sacred, pets, kids, wife, husband. What is she after? Why is she doing what she is doing, or more to the point, how will she be stopped and will everybody survive to tell the tale.

There is a lot to like about this book, the plot, the characters, the way it’s written.

There were times when it made me cringe, in a good way. At the beginning I nearly put it down, ten pages later I was glad I didn’t.

I finished it. I enjoyed it.

Pages: 384

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: 8th March 2018

 

Unconvicted Olly Jarvis

IMG_2195

 

Jack Kowalski is a 26-year-old Defence Barrister. Being so young he not only has to navigate the Laws, Ethics, and Traditions of the Court room but he also has to put up with the bullying ways of some of the more senior Barristers and Silks in his own Chambers.

When a man, who is apparently insane, rapes his wife, Jack gets the case and manages to get the man released from custody. A few days later the same man is arrested for murdering his wife.

Jack now has the moralistic dilemma faced by many defence Barristers.  Did he get guilty man acquitted, and did that man go on to murder his wife.

Owing in some small part to his success in that case, and largely because of his Polish heritage, Jack picks up a second rape case to defend; that of a prominent young footballer.

Has the player really raped the girl or is she no more than a tabloid whore who is out to ruin the young man.

This story is so on point for today’s news that it is almost anticipating tomorrows headlines.

Jack is a great character and the dilemmas he faces are very real for people who work on the defence side of a criminal trial. As the story follows Jack through the Court proceedings it brings up things which we are seeing on a daily basis in the news. Men named and shamed, victims anonymity, issues of disclosure, or lack of it and misleading information being tendered to both Prosecution and Defence.

The story looks at the snobbism which is rampant in the Court hierarchy and how difficult it is to be a young Barrister in an old established system. But the most impressive thing for me is the way Jacks thoughts and feelings are established on the page.

Many times I have sat in Court, as a Prosecution Expert, and wondered how the people working on the defence could balance their own convictions and ethics with what was playing out during a trial.

As a work of fiction, this is about the best I’ve read when it comes to modern day proceedings and the people involved in them

 

Pages: 318

UK Publisher: Canelo

Available on Amazon

Cold Heart Stephen Edger

 

IMG_2190

This is the 3rd book in the Di Kate Matthews series, a series that just keeps getting better.

The story starts in the middle of an investigation. 15 year old Daisy has been missing for 7 days and Matthews is interviewing the Head Teacher of her school.  During the interview a member of staff announces that he thinks he has found a body in the derelict school sports hall.

What he’s actually found is a resuscitation doll; but what Kate finds when she’s looking around the building is what appears to be a kill room, with lots of blood and a foot.

And so begins a complex investigation, which has the team going off in many directions.

Like any real Police Investigation the officers are led by the evidence and their own instinct. At times the plot is like a domino rally. Once one domino has been set tumbling it sets of others, at times the domino’s split and two trails set of in opposite directions but eventually all coming back to the same point.

The accidental discovery of the kill room seems to signal bad news for Daisy’s family but are the team investigating Daisy’s murder or has she become involved in something which has led to disappearance.

With corruption, prostitution,  and many other serious crimes on the table maybe Daisy going missing is the best thing that could have happened.

This book is really good and had me turning page after page. In fact I read this in as close to one sitting as any book I’ve ever read.  Roll on book 4 .

Pages: 350

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 12th March 2018.

Motherland G.D. Abson

IMG_2113

 

Set in modern day St Petersburg this is a fast-paced crime thriller will be loved by readers of good old fashion spy books by Len Deighton, as much as lovers of modern Scandinavian Crime by people like Jo Nesbo.

Detective Natalya Ivanova works in the Criminal Investigation Directorate, a police force staffed by chauvinistic, homophobic, racist men, not least of all is her Husband Mikhail and his best friend, and Sergeant, Rogov.

When a young, pretty, and wealthy woman, is attacked in the street before going missing, Natalya is sent to look into her disappearance. It transpires the woman is the heiress to a fortune amassed by her father who is a Scandinavian Businessman, but he is being less than helpful.

The investigation is set against the oxymoron of today’s Russia. Iphones and laptops are aplenty, but the technology for forensics is nearly none existent, unless you work for one of the governments agencies. Natalya’s one true ally is the senior criminologist (CSI) Leo Primakov, who has to buy equipment out of his own pocket and rely on American TV shows to help him keep up to date with his science.

As she begins to investigate the disappearance of the young heiress it becomes apparent that people are trying to steer her away. From gentle suggestions from at first her husband, and her boss, to outright threats by officers of the FSB, the successors of the dreaded KGB, and no less ruthless and corrupt.

Natalya’s investigations lead her to start to suspect those nearest to her, but are they trying to support her or scupper her efforts. Is Mikhail corrupt or worse.

There is a lovely line in the book where Natalya tells her husband “women hate the lie more than what it conceals” This is the whole premise of the book. Natalya is straight, and she hates people who aren’t. That means she is going to find out who took the missing heiress; and hopefully find her alive whilst keeping herself alive.

If you like your books fast-paced, gritty, and realistic this book is definitely for you.

Pages: 258

Publisher: Mirror Books

Available on Amazon

Keep Her Safe Richard Parker

IMG_2073

Never have I read such a complex, and compelling, story based on so few characters.

This book has two protagonists, Maggie and Holly. The fate of both of these women is controlled by the mysterious Babysitter. 

The Babysitter kidnaps women’s young children, and will only return them when they have completed his tasks.

So, when Holly is sent to kill Maggie, it is to save the life of her young daughter Abigale.

The story is that of these two women as they fight for their own survival, and takes place over an 8-hour time frame, Maggie must be dead before sunrise

Maggie is not the innocent woman that Holly though she was, and it soon becomes apparent that she has more in common with Holly than you would expect.

Holly is dead set on killing Maggie; and the struggle between the two women, in Maggie’s house, is one of the most engrossing bits of writing I’ve ever read.

The story sways to and fro, one chapter narrated from Maggie’s point of view the next Holly’s. It’s a struggle between right and wrong, good and bad, but it’s perspective is never black and white.

All the while the struggle is taking place text messages, from the Babysitter, make it obvious he can see what is happening, so there is no escaping the fact Holly needs to kill Maggie or die trying.

At first different readers will want Holly to succeed, others Maggie; but I can guarantee whichever one you start with you will change your mind more than once.

After all what would you do to save your child, alternatively how far would you go to save your life if somebody broke into your house and tried to kill you.

More compelling than most books which have many more characters, and take place over days, weeks, or months, this book had me turning each page with as much nervous trepidation as anticipation. I had not got a clue how the story was going to end, and I was fully engaged with both Maggie and Holly.

I may have made this tale sound simplistic. Two main characters and a short time period, but if you love psychological thrillers you will go an awful long way to find a better book.

Pages: 329

Publishing date UK: 11th January 2018.

Publishers: Bookouture

Available to pre-order on Amazon.