Angela Marsons Blog Tour Blood Lines

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And Then There Were 5

Blood Lines is the 5th in the Detective Inspector Kim Stone novels set in and around the Black Country.

I reviewed the book a few weeks ago and used the phrase “The best psychological thriller since Silence of the Lambs”. Why did I think this?

Simply because Angela Marsons has built a set of characters I have come to know and care about, Kim Stone being the main one. In Dr Alex Throne she has conceived a homicidal sociopath with many of the same traits as Hannibal Lecter, and she hates Kim with a passion.

Kim has already had one scrape with Dr Alex, and only just survived. In this book Dr Alex is pulling strings whilst in prison, and once again Kim Stone is her target.

Not since Silence of the Lambs’ Clarice Starling and Hanibal Lecture have I felt such a connection between two characters as I have felt between Kim Stone and Alex Throne.

So how did Alex Throne come about. I got to ask Angela a few questions.

 

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I asked her; I compared Alex Thorne with Hannibal Lecture. Where did the character come from and who, or what inspired her?

Angela replied; I wanted to explore how someone who truly had no empathy would think and act. When writing from Alex’s point of view I literally do have to strip myself of emotional attachment and kind of turn off my heart to try to understand the mechanics of her mind.”

So I asked.

Have you studied any sociopaths to help build her personality. Real or fictional

Not any particular individuals but I did a lot of reading on the subject, especially from Robert Hare, who is credited with developing the only reliable checklist in measuring a sociopathic personality. Also, the book The Sociopath Next Door is a true eye-opener.

 This answer shows why Angela’s books are so good. I admire the fact that she has an idea but then sits down and looks into how to make the situation, or character, real.

The next question was about the relationship between Kim Stone and Alex Throne.

Once you decided on the character of Dr Alex what was the next step in forming the complex relationships with the people she controlled.

It was all about manipulation. Not all sociopaths are serial killers, they just want what they want, and see no barriers to getting what they want. Alex wanted a better understanding of guilt, and in effect the ability to control it. This prompted the foundation of characters for Alex to interact with.

 The other thing I like about Angela Marsons books is the setting. I’ve said before the stories are set close to where I live, I have been tempted to go out and photograph where some of the scenes are set and do a virtual tour on a future blog. So how does she identify where she’s going to set some of her scenes.

My next question was based on one particular house in Blood Lines

We’ve spoken before about where you set the crimes. What struck me this time was the house on Mucklow Hill. Without going and being very nosey I think I can almost identify the house, definitely the little road it’s on. Was setting the family home, of the first victim, in such a specific place deliberate.

Angela answered. I didn’t use the location for any particular reason, but I like to use places that I think local readers will recognise. Most locals know where Mucklow Hill is.

One character cannot carry a series of books and Kim Stone has a team of officers around her that appear in every book. The subtle sub-plots they bring into each story help the series move along. My next question was about these characters.

Kim is a great character but it’s the rest of the team and the way they knit together that makes your stories all the more realistic. What made you choose the difference character traits for them?

I wanted each member of the team to bring something unique to the overall picture but I also wanted each member to bring out a different aspect of Kim’s personality. Bryant is her friend, Dawson challenges and frustrates her and Stacey she wants to nurture and encourage.

 So what of the future for Kim and her team

Are there any plans to promote Kim, or any of the others on the team, or bring any new characters into the team? Likewise, do you see her staying in the MIT or moving to something else

No plans to promote Kim yet as she prefers to be on the ground with as little paperwork as possible. Other members of the team will feature more in future books and there will definitely be changes as we progress through the series.

 I’m glad Kim isn’t moving but are you ever tempted to put her in the inner city. I loved the settings and characters in your stand-alone novel The Forgotten Woman.

She may move around a bit as I do want to explore more locations.

 My last question to Angela was a personal one.

I see you talking, and encouraging lots of other authors, on social media. Who do you read when you’re relaxing, and is it hard not to be influenced by other people’s storylines.

I read Caroline Mitchell, Mel Sherratt, Val McDermid and for something completely different I love Renita D’Silva. When I’m reading I have to switch off the writer part of my brain as I just want to enjoy a story written by someone else.  I don’t get influenced by other stories as I normally have the next 3 or 4 Kim books whizzing around in my head.

 Well that’s good news for me because in that last answer Angela mentions having 3 or 4 more Kim Stone books in her head.

Personally I can’t wait for the next one.

Thank You Angela. For the Books and the chat.

 

My review of Blood Lines

 In Evil Games Angela Marsons introduced us to the brilliant character Dr Alexandra Throne.

In Blood Lines she brings her back.

In my opinion this character is the best nemesis to any character since Hannibal Lecter tormented Clarice Starling in the Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.

Incarcerated for her part in previous murders Throne starts to manipulate the people around her. She is a vicious sociopath who has only one target. Kim Stone.

Pulling at strings like a master puppeteer she identifies people’s weaknesses and manipulates them to carry out her will. Each action falling into place like jigsaw puzzle bits until the final picture is revealed.

Angela Marsons writes the sections with Alex Throne very cleverly and although it is obvious from the start who her target is, she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right up till the last page to see if she succeeds.

Meanwhile Kim Stone and her team are faced with several murders in the Black Country. Are the murders unrelated, or is there something which ties them all together.

The first body turns up in a posh car in a layby in a dodgy area, a lady who obviously has money. The second is a drug addict girl found on an urban nature reserve. Surely these people can’t be connected.

Kim is looking into these murders when Dr Alex Throne manipulates circumstances to make Kim visit her.

Kim knows she shouldn’t visit. The last time the two became involved with each other Alex nearly destroyed Kim. But can Kim resist. Even if she can, is Alex back inside her head.

With the investigations into the murders moving ahead Kim has to deal with issues in her team, and Alex in her head.

With two storylines this book moves along so fast that, even at nearly 350 pages, you will wonder where the time has gone when its finished.

I make no bones of the fact that Angela Marsons is my favourite author at the moment.

The Detective Inspector Kim Stones books are nothing short of brilliant. The reason they are so good is that the storylines, the characters, and the locations are so well research and written.

In Kim Stone Angela Marsons has found a main character that sits alongside all of the best Police Officers in modern fiction.

In Alexandra Throne she has found the best, and most fitting, criminal foil for any Detective since 1991.

In doing so she had written not just a good Police Crime Thriller, but in my opinion the best Psychological Thriller since Silence of the Lambs

If you know somebody who loves a good Police Thriller, and they haven’t discovered Angela Marsons yet, the Kim Stone collection would make a magical Christmas gift.

Angela’s books are available in shops, on-line via Amazon, and are published by Bookouture

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The Woman in Black Kerry Wilkinson

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The Woman in Black

Somebody is leaving severed hands on the streets of Manchester, strange, but there’s more to come. Each hand is missing a finger, stranger still, but there’s even more to come. Somebody is sending the missing fingers to the Police.

If this wasn’t enough when the Police start to check CCTV images they discover the person who is leaving the hands in the streets is dressed in a hooded robe. Not only do they disguise their look with the robe but they are evidently camera savvy, and know exactly how to hide their face from the cameras.

At any other time, this would be investigated with the full strength of the force, but a prominent local politician’s wife has gone missing and the majority of Manchester’s MIT is looking into that case.

Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is given the task of finding out, not just who’s leaving the hands on the street, but also identifying the owners of the hand.

Working with a small team she needs to find a link between the owners of the hands and find out what has happened to the rest of the body’s, if there is any. And of course who is the hooded person.

Daniel’s small team is pushed to the limits but whilst the MP’s wife is missing they have no hope of help.

As the story progresses there are times when it looks like the 2 enquiries are never going to be resolved.

Just to add a bit of spice the book carries a nice little sub-plot. There is a new person in the Major Investigation Team. Detective Sergeant Louise Cornish, a recent transferee from Coventry. Although she’s on the main team she shares a small office with Jessica Daniel. Something is not right from the start and the women tolerate each other, but where will it lead.

This is the latest in the DS Jessica Daniel series and it’s just as good as the rest. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and like the way Kerry Wilkinson has managed to find a crime which is original, yet believably credible. Not an easy feat with so many Police Procedural novels on the shelves.

While You Were Sleeping. Kathryn Croft

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While You Were Sleeping    Kathryn Croft.

Where do I start with a book like this? What a story.

Until recently I hadn’t read a psychological thriller that I enjoyed for some time; but recently the lady crime writers are coming up trumps, and this is right up there with the best.

Kathryn Croft has spun a spider’s web of a story which revolves around the family of the main protagonist Tara.

Tara is married to Noah and has 2 children, 17-year-old Rosie, and 11-year-old Spencer.

It would be fair to say that the family is not a happy one, but they are together, and living in the same house.

The story starts with Tara waking up naked in a neighbours bed, with his bloody body carved open at the side of her. With no recollection of what happened except that she received a text from the man’s wife asking her to go to the house, only to find the husband home alone, Tara panics and runs home to her empty house.

That weekend her son is away for the night, her daughter is staying with a friend, and her husband is on a business trip to New York.

In her panic and confusion, she decides not to tell the Police, her first mistake.

As the story unfolds the reader is introduced to Tara’s immediate family and her sister Lisa; as well as the wife of the dead man Serena, and one of Tara’s work colleague’s Mikey.

Tara’s family and friends are full of lies, deceit and half-truths.

Is anybody above suspicion? No.

Does everybody seem to have a reason to want the neighbour dead? Yes.

This compelling story has twists and turns a-plenty, but they all flow so well.

There are over 30 chapters and I think I must have built nearly as many hypotheses as to who had killed the man, his name is Lee by the way.

I swung from being convinced that Tara was actually guilty to her being totally innocent many times. Each of these was interjected by me thinking, for one reason or another, that one of the others had killed him. Only for my latest theory to be destroyed by the actions of somebody else.

I loved this book.

It is not often I get to the end and think, well I didn’t think they did it; but then look back and think all the indications were there and that I hadn’t missed a clue. There are no real late revelations that made me think, well if I’d have known that earlier.

It is just a masterpiece of masterpiece of writing that managed to keep me in suspense until right up to the end.

This book is not published till November the 16th.

If you are looking for a Christmas gift for somebody who enjoys a good read, look no further.

Safe With Me K.L. Slater

Safe With Me        K.L. Slater

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The story is based around Anna; both today as the slightly strange woman she is, and as a child, and the event that changed her life.

The story of Anna today is given through her eyes and that of her next door neighbour.

The story of Anna the child, is given through the same eyes.

When Anna, the woman, witnesses a road accident the memories of Anna the child come flooding back. As does the wish for revenge.

Following the accident Anna starts to obsess on both the victim Liam, and the person who caused the crash Cara.

Anna is convinced Cara is the woman that is responsible for her disturbed childhood and lonely adult life. Is it the woman she has looked for, for years? The woman she believed has changed her identity.

The only way to find out who she is now is to get to know Liam better.

A psychological thriller which can be an uncomfortable read at times.

None of the characters are the type of people that I could feel empathy with.

Although Anna is obviously a victim, and suffers from some kind of psychological problems, I found it impossible to sympathise with her in any way. In fact I didn’t really like her.

However; it has to be said that although this book might be uncomfortable to read at times, it is a great story and I would recommend it to anybody who likes this genre.

Blood Lines Angela Marsons

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Blood Lines    Angela Marsons

In Evil Games Angela Marsons introduced us to the brilliant character Dr Alexandra Throne.

In Blood Lines she brings her back.

In my opinion this character is the best nemesis to any character since Hannibal Lecter tormented Clarice Starling in the Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.

Incarcerated for her part in previous murders Throne starts to manipulate the people around her. She is a vicious sociopath who has only one target. Kim Stone.

Pulling at strings like a master puppeteer she identifies people’s weaknesses and manipulates them to carry out her will. Each action falling into place like jigsaw puzzle bits until the final picture is revealed.

Angela Marsons writes the sections with Alex Throne very cleverly and although it is obvious from the start who her target is, she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right up till the last page to see if she succeeds.

Meanwhile Kim Stone and her team are faced with several murders in the Black Country. Are the murders unrelated, or is there something which ties them all together.

The first body turns up in a posh car in a layby in a dodgy area, a lady who obviously has money. The second is a drug addict girl found on an urban nature reserve. Surely these people can’t be connected.

Kim is looking into these murders when Dr Alex Throne manipulates circumstances to make Kim visit her.

Kim knows she shouldn’t visit. The the last time the two became involved with each other Alex nearly destroyed Kim. But can Kim resist. Even if she can, is Alex back inside her head.

With the investigations into the murders moving ahead Kim has to deal with issues in her team, and Alex in her head.

With two storylines this book moves along so fast that, even at nearly 350 pages, you will wonder where the time has gone when its finished.

I make no bones of the fact that Angela Marsons is my favourite author at the moment.

The Detective Inspector Kim Stones books are nothing short of brilliant. The reason they are so good is that the storylines, the characters, and the locations are so well research and written.

In Kim Stone Angela Marsons has found a main character that sits alongside all of the best Police Officers in modern fiction.

In Alexandra Throne she has found the best, and most fitting, criminal foil for any Detective since 1991.

In doing so she had written not just a good Police Crime Thriller, but in my opinion the best Psychological Thriller since Silence of the Lambs

Dancers in the Wind Anne Coates

Dancers in the Wind    Anne Cates

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When I requested this book from Urbane Publications I did not realise what a treat I was in for.

I had never heard of Ann Coates before, but I don’t think I’ll forget her. In fact, I think we’re going to be hearing a lot from her. This book is great.

The main protagonist for this story is the single mom, and freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge.

Hannah is struggling to make a living since the birth of her daughter, but is given a job interviewing one of the street walking prostitutes of London, and one of the police officers tasked with sorting out the prostitution problems of the capital city.

The prostitute she interviews is “Princes” the second protagonist of the story. A young girl who has run away from home and ended up on the streets of London.

The Police Officer, and third protagonist, is Detective Inspector Tom Jordan. What Hannah doesn’t know about DCI Jordan is that he is leading an enquiry into the disappearance, and possible murder, of at least three young prostitutes, all from the same area that Princess works in.

Anne Coates has given this story an extra sense of threat and realism by setting it in the mid 1990’s. An era when old school policing was still in the minds of the public, and when there was still a few “old-school coppers” running things how they wanted to, and not necessarily within the bounds of the law.

When Princess turns up at Hannah’s house having suffered a severe assault, she begs Hannah not to get the police involved.

The story the takes a path that finds Hannah getting conflicted by her own moral compass. Does she allow Princess to stay with her and her infant daughter; does she involve DCI Jordan, and it doesn’t help that she is beginning to find him more interesting than she expected but is still unsure of whether he can be trusted.

From her own aspect Princess is not sure how much to trust Hannah. She has to stay off the streets but she also has to make money. What she doesn’t want is to bump into any of her old clients. What she does do is keep journals in notebooks.

The more the story goes on the more intriguing it becomes.

I don’t want to give anything away, so no more about the storyline, but I can say I enjoyed every page from beginning to end. The pace never stops.

Anne Coates has picked a great era to set this story in. It is given more credibility being set in the 90’s than if it was set in the modern day.

Not only that, but when you finish the book you will understand what I mean when I say the storyline is given even more credence by what we now know happened in those times, and who was involved.

An absolute treat of a book. The last few pages are a preview her next book. God it’s going to be a long wait.

X Sue Grafton

 

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X  Sue Grafton

Before I go any further I have to admit I have not read all of the other books in this series, and those I did read were very early in the series.

That may be the reason this book failed to grip me. It was an easy read but I found myself drifting away from some sections as the story was overtaken by the descriptions of people and places that didn’t seem to add anything to the plot line.

I gather from reading other reviews that there are some regular readers that are beginning to think that the author is running out of ideas. I can’t agree with that I found the story itself to be good and original, which is quite a feat these days.

The request by a rich woman to find her ex-con son, that she gave up at birth, was never going to be what it seemed when Kinsey Millhone is first retained.

The request from the widow of a fellow PI, and friend, to help with her tax returns, is also a clever ploy to open up a story line, which sees Millhone plunged into danger as she opens her own investigation into a mysterious man that the dead PI left coded notes about.

There are gentle subplots which I did not get, but judging by other reviews are continuations of similar threads in previous books from the series.

This is a short review because, to be honest, I can’t think of much to say about the book.

Will it make me rush to catch up on the series? No

Will it make me want to read the next book? No

Is it a bad book? No, I just think you need to be a Sue Grafton fan to appreciate it.