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

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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

Cold Blood Robert Bryndza

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A Police Procedural Thriller with a bit of everything, and all of it good

DCI Erika Foster is the head of a Major Investigation Team in London. When a body is found, in a suite case, on the banks of the Thames,  her team is assigned to the investigation. Or more to the fact, Foster Bullies her way forward to get her team on the investigation.

The body in the case has had his head removed, and his legs chopped off, so that he would fit. When a second body is found under the same circumstances, with the same damage to the body, Foster knows she is dealing with a serial killer.

As the bosses above her try to move the case to a different team Foster digs her heals in and insists her team are in the best to continue the investigation.

Following  a betrayal by somebody she trusted Foster is injured in an attack and is off duty for nearly a month.

The case is passed to another team and eventually pushed to one side as unsolved.

On the day of her return to Duty, a third body in a case is found and connected to the first two. Her team are reinstated as the lead and Foster continues her investigation.

Foster is the main protagonist in this book but the story also follows the killers. As well as a tale of a police investigation it is also the story of how easy it is for an innocent person to become so infatuated with somebody they will end up committing hideous crimes.

This story moves at a fast pace, hardly allowing the reader any respite between crimes scenes.

This tied in with well written characters, all of who are easy to love, hate or empathise with makes this book a great read.

This book will resonate with real Police Officers. Bryndza has captured the frustrations of the front line Police Officers who are dealing with the effects of austerity.

 

Pages:378

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 20th September 2017.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

Kill the Father Sandrone Dazieri

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This book should come with a health warning. At 528 pages, it’s  a bit big to sit and read in one go; but it kept me so gripped I only put it down when I had to.

Set in, and around Rome, the story centres on an investigation into an abducted boy whose mother has been found brutally murdered.

When the boy disappears, the Senior Investigator calls in Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a friend and colleague who is on leave having sustained an injury during an investigation.

She is told to contact Dante Torre, who will act as a consultant in the investigation.

And so, the two most compelling characters I have ever read meet to conduct an off-the-books investigation.

Columba is very much an amalgamation of some of the top female protagonists in modern fiction, and is very much in the mould of Marnie Riche’s George McKenzie and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Sandler, except she is a Police Officer.

Dante reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock.

Columba is direct and tireless, and although she is obviously suffering from PTSD manages to function bravely throughout the story.

Dante is a complete freak, and justifiably so as you will find out when you read the book (no spoilers) he is a claustrophobic, drug and caffeine dependent, highly intelligent, man, who got me totally engaged, from the moment he appeared on the page.

The two are thwarted in their investigation by the complexities of the Italian Police and legal systems; the politics of the region, and the fact that they are up against one of the most original crimes I’ve come across in a work of fiction.

From the start the Police investigation focuses on the fact that the woman was killed by her husband, and that he has killed his son and hidden the body.

Columba and Dante disagree and think the mother was murdered by the child’s abductor, and that the father has been falsely imprisoned.

But why are the Police so convinced that the father is the killer, why are they so loath to investigate further.

Columba and Dante battle to prove their hypothesis, at huge psychological cost to both.

The characters in this book are second to none in any fiction I have read; the story is up there with the best I’ve ever read; the writing is brilliant.

The last line, of the last page, in many books can be described as a cliff hanger. In this book the last line, of the last page opens a door. This story is very much finished, no cliff hanger required, but I defy anybody not to want to walk through that open door when the next book is published.

This book has just gone right into my top 5 of all time reads.

As a post note. There is one section of this book which describes the seconds leading up to an explosion, and the things that happen during the split second of detonation. I have no words to describe how good this piece of writing is.

Pages: 528

Published by: Simon and Schuster UK

Available now

The next in the series: Kill The Angel to be published 5th April 2018

Buried Secrets T.J. Brearton Blogtour

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I must admit I hadn’t come across C.J. Brearton until I read this book. Now his back catalogue is at the top of my to-be-read pile.

The quote below is from his bio on his own website;  www.tjbrearton.com

After fiddling around with college, pursuing a range of subjects including psychology and philosophy, Brearton went to film school and worked in industry for a few years. He’s also worked construction, demolition, carpentry, and bartending; he’s waited tables, managed a non-profit, and once cleaned the moss off tombstones. Now he lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and three children where he writes full time, takes out the trash, and competes with his kids for his wife’s attention.”

I have used this quote because it shows the life experience Brearton has. Like all the best authors he has lived a life, and brings a reality to his books.

He not only creates good characters but he can put the right fears and emotions into them. They make choices we would make, not always the best ones, and not always the right ones, but choices which are understandable, and justifiable.

In this book, the main protagonist discovers human remains in the grounds  on his property. He helps the Police, he does everything expected of him, but he sees a chance. As a failed writer with an inquisitive mind he can’t help following up on the discovery in the hope of writing the elusive Best-Seller

I think I would probably have done the same thing.

That’s why I think this book is special.

Its believable

This is my original review of Buried Secrets

A happy young couple, Brett and Emily, buy their dream small holding in upstate New York.

Digging an area of garden, close to the edge of some woods, Brett uncovers some human bones.

Meanwhile reformed criminal James Russo is arrested for failing to pay his fines for driving whilst uninsured. With no means of paying the fines he is sent to the famous Rikers Island Jail in New York. His cell mate is an ex mixed martial arts fighter Nate Reuter. Nate is in jail for being part of a lame group of bank robbers the press labelled “The fighting Bandits”

The Police Investigators seem to be going through the motions with the investigation into the buried bones but one of the Officers casually shows the mug shots of the Fighting Bandits to Brett, stating it’s an unrelated inquiry.

As a failed journalist/writer Brett sees an opportunity to resurrect his career and write a book and starts his own investigation. Unfortunately, he reaches out to his ex-girlfriend Meg to help him, much to Emily’s frustration; but is Meg really helping, or is she in it for her own gain, journalistic or personal.

In jail Reuter is attacked and Russo steps in to his aid. Because of the fight his jail time looks set to increase until a visit from a female prisoner changes everything. She will post his bail if he does one job for her, and just as an encouragement she sends a psychopath to his wife and daughter.

And so, begins a story which kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. The two storylines are obviously connected but how and why. Who do the bones belong to, and why are they buried with a cryptic note.

 This story doesn’t hide anything, there are no surprises. Its hook is the naive innocence of Brett; the attempts of Russo to stay on the straight and narrow and still protect his wife and daughter; the conniving drive of Meg. To have captured all of these characters so well is a testimony the writing of T.J. Brearton

Pages: 328

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’m off now to start downloading his Brearton’s back catalogue

The Walls Hollie Overton

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I’m going to say this right at the beginning of this blog. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read.

Kirsty Tucker is a Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She has one of the toughest jobs in the prison, dealing with death row prisoners, and the press who want to talk to them as their execution approaches.

In her private life, she is a single mom bringing up her teenage son, Ryan, whilst looking after her ill father.

When Ryan gets into a fight at school Kirsty can’t believe what she sees. Her usually studious son has beat up one of the school jocks. When she finds out Ryan has been taking secret martial arts lessons she goes to confront the instructor.

The instructor is Lance. He’s attractive, fit, attentive and single. The obvious relationship soon blossoms and Kirsty and Lance become inseparable.

Everybody loves Lance, but what are his secrets and what type of person is he really.

Meanwhile Kirsty is developing an unusual friendship with a death row inmate, Clifton Harris-The Baby Killer. Nobody likes, or trusts, Clifton so why does Kirsty connect with him so well.

This plot is full of twists and turns. Not everybody is who they seem to be and, as a reader, I found my allegiances, and suspicions changing throughout the book.

Kirsty and her family are put in danger, she gets hurt, but who can she turn to.

How is she going to ensure the family’s safety, can she bring herself to deal out her own justice, or should she turn to somebody else.

There are very few books that have made me exclaim out loud, but there was at least twice when my wife looked across at me and asked me why I was shouting out loud.

The characters in this book are fascinating. I defy anybody to not connect with Kirsty.

There is no way I could see the way this book was going to end, there were times when I thought just end now why things are going well, there were others when I wanted it to keep going.

This book goes beyond the usual victim-revenge story. It covers the ethics of thought. Can a victim become an aggressor?? Will the normally law abiding, placid person, manage to take things into their own hands, and if they do, do they think they can live with the consequences, legal and moral?

Most authors would have been happy to end this book at an earlier stage of the story, but Hollie Overton has done a masterful job of continuing a story beyond where many would have placed the last full stop (period).

In the Acknowledgements Hollie Overton said writing this book challenged her in ways she’d never imagined. Well she met the challenge well and has produced one of the books of the year.

Clear the number one spots on all the book sales and download charts, The Walls is published this week.

Pages: 385

Publisher Digital: Cornerstone Digital

Publisher Hard Copy: Century-Penguin Random House

Available on Amazon: 10th August 2017.

The Night Market Jonathan Moore

 

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Set in the near future, I don’t think it would be right to label this book as Sci-fi, more like an anticipation of how things will be in 50 years time.

Carver and Jenner are two Inspectors in the San Francisco Police Department. On Thursday night they attend a grisly murder scene with two uniform cops.

The body is decomposing before their eyes, but not in a way they have ever seen before. As they begin to examine it a HazMats team burst into the room and usher them through decontamination.

Sunday morning Carver wakes up in bed with no memory of anything since Wednesday.

His neighbour, the hermit like Mia, is reading a book at his bedside and informs him she saw some people bring him home on Friday, and that she had looked after him ever since.

Carver is the main protagonist of the book and most of the narrative is told from his point of view. As he battles to regain his memory he starts to put together what happened to him and his partner; but who can he trust, Jenner is back at work as though nothing had happened, and he knows nothing about Mia. There is nobody else.

His investigation links to the murder he and Jenner had been investigating for some time. Somebody was killing people in China Town. They were having their faces carved open and then being cut in half. How is this linked to Thursday nights body.

His discoveries will put him in danger, test his relationships and see people die.

All of this in the first 15% of the book (on an e-reader) and what follows is a good old fashioned conspiracy theory set in a slightly futuristic San Francisco.

The story is compelling, and I found myself totally engrossed in it. Jonathan Moore has set the story in a time which is not unconceivable, and his descriptions of the City, its population, its crimes, and its utter deterioration are as addictive as the characters.

I don’t usually read Sci-fi, and I haven’t seen anything in the blurb for this book to suggest it is, but the story is so well written that I didn’t realise it was set in the future until I was hooked by it. Then there was no putting it down.

I will be looking up more of Mr Moore’s books. This one is very good.

Pages: 272

Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 11 January 2018.

Available to pre-order on Amazon