The Cover Up Marnie Riches

IMG_2102

 

This is the second book in the Manchester series by Marnie Riches and follows on shortly after the end of the first book Born Bad.

With Paddy O’Brien, the main gangland boss, gone Manchester is up for grabs, but who is going to take control.

Paddy’s wife Sheila is trying to assume his roll, but will anybody take her seriously. They should, she has his old Henchman Conky close at hand, very close at hand, and he is quite happy to dispense violent retribution on anybody who crosses his new girlfriend.

She is also aided by the scripture quoting grandmother Gloria.

Gloria is the “straight” business partner of Sheila who helped her set up a legitimate cleaning company; but now things are getting dodgy, she is wondering around Manchester with a shopping trolley loaded with a gun and ammunition. This oxymoron of a woman is probably one of the best fictional characters I’ve read for a long time.

Sheila’s main threat is coming from a new quarter. Nigel Bancroft is a Brummie who, as well as running a legitimate, and successful property development business, is also the gangland boss of the Midlands.

Brummie Nigel wants to move into Manchester and goes about trying to muscle into O’Brien territory to get a foothold in the north-west city.

Meanwhile the O’Briens main rivals in Manchester, the Boddington Gang, is also trying to take control. This gang is in the mist of an internal struggle as the two head men, Tariq and Jonny, are at loggerheads about everything except taking over the O’Briens business.

All the time the Police are watching and waiting for any crack to appear in the gang’s armour. Detective Ellis James is determined to bring the gangs to task, but how far will he go to get that vital piece of evidence.

Just to throw a spanner in the works somebody else is watching from a distance. Somebody with an axe to grind, somebody who wants revenge, somebody who wants back what he considers his property, and he is prepared to go to any lengths to get it.

This book is written in a way that at times had me laughing at its dark humour, and at other times has me wincing with its violence.

The storyline is a masterful journey of twists and turns with the occasional surprise that had me thinking “no way” and at the same time “brilliant”.

I loved the story, I loved the characters, I can’t wait for the next instalment.

 

Pages: 400

Published by Avon

Publishing date: 11 January 2018

Advertisements

Blood Rites David Stuart Davies

IMG_1992

 

This is the book that takes all the Police Procedural Novels stereo-types, rips them up and throws them in the bin.

 

Set in 1985, when being gay was still seen as being taboo in the Police, the main protagonist is Detective Inspector Paul Snow.

 

Paul is gay, and to protect his professional “credibility” he keeps it to himself. In fact, to protect himself, he has been celibate for 10 years.

 

As the story starts Snow is dating a recently divorced Headmistress from a local Catholic school; and to convince himself he has changed, he even sleeps with her.

 

If this book hadn’t been so well written some people might find this story line insulting, but it isn’t. It highlights the struggles people had and the book is set right in a time when bigotry was rife.

 

The book starts with a killer washing a blood-soaked knife in his kitchen sink, and then regresses 3 months to the start of a killing spree.

 

Whilst Snow is on a date with Matilda, the Headmistress, a man is mugged and the mugger is later knocked over and killed in a hit-and-run. The mystery killer of the novel loves the instant karma that has served justice, and a seed is planted.

 

It’s not long before the killer starts his spree.

 

Snow and his team investigate the first murder, the victim is a drunk wife beater.

 

As more murders take place Snow and his team make very little headway. Pressure is starting to mount on Snow; both professionally to catch the killer, and personally as he struggles with his sexuality and a conflict in his relationship with Matilda.

 

The plot moves quickly, and realistically, showing the investigation from Snows perspective. His frustrations with the lack of a break in the case multiply with every new victim. The only apparent connection between the victims is the manner in which they are killed.

 

When he does begin to realise there is a connection he has no proof of it, leading to more frustrations.

 

The book crashes to an unbelievable climax that actually had me utter an expletive out loud, luckily, I was sitting in the lounge on my own. What an ending. I honestly cannot think of another one like it.

 

There has to be a sequel, and I can’t wait to read it.

 

Pages: 304

Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited

UK Publishing date: 9th November 2017.

Available now on Amazon

Broken Bones         Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone Book 7

IMG_1972

 

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

 

IMG_1936

 

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

 

IMG_1900 2

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

IMG_1880

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

fullsizeoutput_a7e

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