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

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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 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

The Lost Child Patricia Gibney

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You know the saying “You can’t put a good book down”. Well I literally spent every spare waking minute I had reading this book. From page 1, I was hooked and only came out of it when I had to.

After the last page, I was left sat in stunned silence, wondering how I was going to wait for the next instalment of life in Ragmullin. Whatever I write below will never do this book justice so please, bear with me and while I try.

The book starts in the 70’s with a drug addled, alcoholic woman, locking her toddler twins in a cupboard before starting a fire in her house. The woman and one of her twins are committed to St Declan’s Asylum.

October 2015 and DI Lottie Parker is back. Her family has grown, by one, as her oldest daughter has had a baby, and the house is more chaotic than ever. No matter how busy Lottie’s work life is, her kids expect her to be the domestic goddess when she gets home. This is having a bad effect on her, and she is back on the booze at night, and is popping Xanax to get her through the day.

Parker and her team are tasked with investigating the horrific murder of a woman in her own home, discovered by her daughter. The investigation quickly establishes that the dead woman is not who they thought, but her mother; and that the person they first though had been killed is missing.

And so, it starts. This investigation leads the team down all sorts of paths. Why was an elderly woman killed and why is her middle-aged daughter missing?

2 days later a cottage is found burning with 2 men inside, the body count is rising, but is this crime related to the murder of the old lady.

Shock events keep occurring piling more pressure on Lottie, so much so she turns to an old friend, Dr Annabelle O’Shea, in the hunt for more Xanax. In return Annabelle tries to reach out to Lottie about her own problems; but Parker is to immersed in her work, and family, to notice her friend needs help.

As the case continues Parkers own team start to wonder about her ability, but the ever-faithful DS Mark Boyd backs his boss and tries to give her professional and emotional support.

As the body count rises, and drugs are found at one of the scenes, a DI from the National Drugs Unit is drafted in from Dublin, piling more pressure on Parker and her team.

Can the murders be drugs related, or is this another blind alley the team are being pushed down.

Do the crimes of the past have anything to do with the happenings of 2015

As the book progresses the reader learns more about the Ragmullin of the past and I think this quote from the book sums it up nicely

In the 70’s The Priests and the Nuns ruled the roost. The Guards were as twisted as the Priests, and Health had crooked people in every organisation you can think of.”

But what effect is that having in 2015. How many of the crimes are related to each other? Is it possible that Ragmullin is just in the grip of a random crime wave?

The book twists and turns to a fantastic final chapter, which is the biggest surprise I’ve ever had reading a book.

Patricia Gibney first came to my attention last year and this is the 3rd Book in the Lottie Parker series. I have no hesitation in saying they are without doubt my favourite books at the moment.

This story is complex with a plot which has many strands in its 483 pages, but Gibney has a great way of keeping the reader up to date with the plot. She uses staff briefings, and chats between Parker and Boyd, or between Parker and one of her family or friends to review the plot. The reader never gets left behind, but neither do they feel patronised.

In the same way, this book can be read as a stand-alone novel. But why should it. It’s the third book in the best series of Crime Fiction Thrillers there is, and they just keep getting better.

Yes I liked it.

Pages: 483

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 27th October 2017.

Available to pre-order on Amazon And why wouldn’t you.T

A Deadly Game Joanne Griffiths

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This book is one of the best I’ve ever read in crime fiction.

What makes it stand out?

This book looks deeper at the families of the victims than any other book I’ve read.

There is only a short lead up to each victim and the reader hardly gets to know them, but the detail put into the effects on the family which are left behind is mesmerising.

Joanne Griffiths has written about a murderer who she manages to keep anonymous right up until his arrest; but its only his name we don’t know.

We know everything he thinks, we know his wife and child, we know that he is an egotistical, sociopathic, wife beater.

The book follows the investigation into a series of sexual assault murders in the Aston area of Birmingham.

As each victim is murdered the Investigating team seem to get nowhere near identifying the killer.

In turn the killer starts to mock the Police through letters sent to the local media.

As in all investigations there are wrong turns, and the frustration of the Police is reflected in the main Police character DS Jim Wardell

Wardell is a transferee, too West Midlands Police, from Yorkshire via Nottingham, and is escaping a failed marriage. He is a decent man but the frustrations of the investigation are beginning to bear down on him.

The scenes in which he and his partner DC Angela Watkins attend the crimes, and then have to interview families, are written in a way that it is hard not to feel the emotions the officers go through.

The story follows the investigation as the Police openly admit that they are nowhere near catching the killer, only for him to kill again. The phrase “waiting for a lucky break” plays a part in every major investigation and it is no different in this book.

But, will that break ever come…

I highly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys crime fiction, or anybody that just enjoys a well written story.

 

Pages: 322

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

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

The Surrogate Louise Jensen

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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.

Available to pre-order on Amazon