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 Mistake K.L. Slater

 

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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 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.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

Hades Candice Fox

 

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A very original crime drama set in the suburbs of Sydney.

The story is spread over two time periods, with the earlier catching up too the later to combine in a frantic finale.

The earlier time period sees a young brother and sister delivered to Hades. The children’s parents have been killed in a botch burglary/kidnap attempt. Hades is an underworld fixer, a violent man who makes bodies disappear, whether he’s killed them or somebody else has and needs the body disposing of. So, when a man turns up with the kids and wants them killed and buried you would expect Hades to do just that. Wrong Hades kills the man, nurses the children, and then brings him up as his own.

In the present day, the police partner up two experienced cops whose partners have recently died. Frank Bennett lost his partner to suicide. Eden Archers partner was shot in the face when he and Eden were chasing a suspect.

Eden is a tough woman with a hard exterior, who works all hours. Frank is a bit more laid back but gets things done. In fact, he’s that good a cop he begins to wonder about his new partner and her off duty activities.

Franks life isn’t made any easier when Eden’s brother Eric, a department bully, takes a dislike to him.

The first crime the new partners are called to turns out to be a serial killer who is farming human organs.

As the begin to get embroiled in the investigation Frank starts to look deeper into Eden and Eric’s activities.

It is revealed early enough in the story that this is not a real spoiler, and it is a bit obvious even earlier, the two children that Hades adopts are the cop brother and sister Eden and Eric.

The fact that a brother and sister have been brought up by an underworld monster, in the full knowledge of who he is, what he does, and how he does it, leads to the creation of two very different cops.

Can Frank live with the people he begins to realise his new colleagues are, and can they catch the serial killer.

I hadn’t heard of Candice Fox before. She is another one of those overseas authors who, without sites like Amazon, I would never have heard of. Looking through her back catalogue there are some great sounding books, which are being uploaded onto my Kindle as I write this.

Treat yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Pages:357

Publishers(UK): Cornerstone Digital

Available now on Amazon

The Accident S.D. Monaghan

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That knee-jerk reaction that changes your life.

How many people have got up in the morning with a completely innocent life behind them, and then walked into a situation which has made them lash out.

One fight, one punch, one totally unexpected outcome, and everything changes.

University Lecturer Dave, and his pretty wife Tara, are about to move into their dream home, a million pound plus refurb on an exclusive street.

The day before they move in Dave goes for one last look at the house and sees his wife sneaking out and kissing Ryan, the head builder.

When Dave sneaks into the house and finds a pair of his wife’s panties, a used condom, a wet tissue and a guilty looking Ryan in an upstairs room he snaps.

During a short fight and Ryan falls through an open French window and falls three floors into the pit dug for foundations of an ornament in the back garden.

As Dave runs to see if Ryan is dead he gets hit on the head and loses consciousness. When he comes around the next morning, the pit is filled and the patio and ornament are laid. There is no sign of Ryan.

Has he woken up and run off? Dave thinks he may have misjudged the injuries and that Ryan has disappeared.

Then the blackmail starts. Somebody saw what happened and wants to ruin Dave.

Is everything as it seems? Why are the Police interested in Ryan for other reasons than his wife has reported him missing? what else is he involved in?

All of this in the first 40 or so pages and what follows is a good story with some interesting twists along the way.

But as good as this story is, it is a bit slow and ponderous. This is not a fast-paced thriller, along the lines of most modern crime fiction, more of a Mid Summers Murder paced plod.

Pages: 260

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 1st September 2017

Available to pre-order on Amazon

 

Two Girls Down Louisa Luna

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One of the best things about e-readers, and the various sites from which you can download books, is that I have discovered authors that I would never have encountered in the bookshops of the UK.

Various holidays over the years have resulted in me finding authors, and then have the frustration of not being able to buy their books here.

Today’s review highlights how good it is to find a good book by a great author, who is published in the UK, but on a small scale, and who I would probably never found.

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna is a gem of a book.

When two very young girls go missing from a Mall in Pennsylvania their single mother is left distraught. Jamie Brandt is a single mom and her two girls, Kylie (10) and Bailey (8) are her life. The small-town Police Department are understaffed and over worked and, as much as they want to find the find the girls, it seems an impossible task.

Jamie’s Aunt contacts a Private Investigator in California with a history of recovering missing children.

A bit like a Female Jack Reacher 33 (but a lot more realistic) year old Alice Vega arrives in town and starts her own investigation.

Realising she need local help, and restricted by the Police, she reaches out for former cop Max (Cap) Capland, a single father with a very forthright 16-year-old daughter.

The investigation into the disappearance of the two girls leads Vega and Cap through the underworld of small town USA. Whilst battling with the underworld they butt heads with the Local Police.

There is the inevitable will-they-won’t-they element to the relationship but it definitely adds to the story.

The twists and turns come fast in the case and it is not a book where you will easily guess what the ending is going to be, but it’s a great ride getting there.

For those of you, like me, who have never read a Louisa Luna book before, I would compare her stories, and writing style, to Marnie Riches. If you like the Girl Who….. series and Born Bad, you are going to love this book.

Pages: 320

Published by: Doubleday

Publishing date: 9th January 2018.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

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