No Cure For The Dead Christine Trent

 

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Another new name to me but by no means a new author. I looked Christine Trent up and found out she is a prolific writer of historical fiction based in the Victorian era. I should not have been surprised, No Cure For The Dead is a well written book that was both engaging and intriguing.

Set in 1853 the story’s main protagonist is the 33 year old Florence Nightingale. Before her well known exploits during the Crimean War Nightingale was the Superintendent of a Women’s Establishment for Temporary Illness. A home for women suffering all sorts of illnesses both mental, and physical; imagined and actual.

It is during her time at the Establishment that this book is set. At the end of Nightingales first week she finds a young nurse hung in the library. As convinced as the police are that this is a suicide, Nightingale is equally convinced that the nurse was murdered.

Embarking on a good old fashioned mystery, in the manor of Sherlock Holmes, Nightingale investigates the crime against the threat of one of the male Committee Members wanting her removed from her post.

 

As the investigation takes place Nightingale gets to know her small staff, and even smaller group of patients. Each has a story, and each seems to have a reason to see the unfortunate nurse dead.

 

This is a proper old school murder mystery that will keep the reader guessing up to the last couple of chapters.

 

When I read a biographical book I often find myself hearing the voice of the subject in my head as I’m reading. That was never going to be the case with this book because I have no idea what Nightingale sounded like. However, it is a testament to the writing skills of Christine Trent that there was a voice narrating this story in my head from the first to the last word. I couldn’t place it at first but then it came to me. The upper-class tones of Jenny Agutter, specifically when she is doing the opening and closing dialogue for the TV Series Call the Midwife.

 

I enjoyed this book. In fact I enjoyed it a lot.

 

Pages: 326

Publishers: Crooked Lane Books

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The Cover Up Marnie Riches

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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

GONE MISSING BLOG BLITZ

Gone Missing - Blog Tour

Today is the Blog Blitz day for the publication ofT.J Brearton’s fabulous new book Gone Missing.

I posted my original blog a few weeks ago and have been reading other bloggers  reviews, there is not a single dissenting word written.

T.J Brearton has spent weeks at the top of the Amazon book charts for other publications and I can see no reason why this book shouldn’t have its time at the top.

 

My review of Gone Missing

A good stand-alone novel, from a well-established author. What could go wrong? Absolutely nothing. This book has a hook that got me straight from the start.

Katie is the daughter of a wealthy family that owns a chain of restaurants and hotels. Her and David, her husband live a happy life on the outskirts of New York.

When Katie goes out for a jog she chooses 1 of 3 routes, all of which start and end the same way, on a pathway into a park.

Finishing her run one morning Katie hears a baby crying in a van. Texting her husband what she has found, and jokingly saying if she goes missing call the police, she opens the van and leans in to comfort the baby. Then it all goes horribly wrong for her as she realises, too late, that the baby is a doll, and that its bait to trap her.

The book then takes two main strands. The story of Katie and her kidnappers, and her attempts to regain her freedom; and the story of the investigation into her disappearance.

Investigator Justin Cross is a complex character, and when he is tasked with finding Katie, or identifying the people responsible for her kidnap, he throws himself at the investigation with no regard to his own wellbeing.

The story alternates chapters between Katie’s existence and the investigation into her disappearance. I must say, as much as I enjoyed the whole book, I really enjoyed the chapters covering Katie’s story

Her Husband helps with the investigation but all the time he is growing frustrated with the lack of progress, and at the same time becoming more and more worried that he will never see his wife again.

Fans of C.J. Box will love this book. Katie fights for survival in the woods of New York County. She has to make decisions that nobody should ever have to make. All the time her own ethics make her second guess each decision. Decisions she knows she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

The story never lets up in its breath-taking pace, from start to finish something happen on every page.

Pages:395

Publisher UK: Bookouture

Publishing date: 16th November 2017.

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Dying Day Stephen Edger

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Before you read any further this is a really good book so bear with me till the end.

The main protagonist in this book is DI Kate Matthews, and what a pain in the arse she is. A more infuriating person it is hard to imagine.

However; most of the problems with Kate are based on her stubborn theory that she is right, about almost everything.

Moving on from events in the past DI Matthews is now part of the Major Investigation Team in Southampton. She moved there from London following the death of a young DC, Amy Spencer, who was killed whilst undercover as Matthews Team investigated a series of murders in London.

Not only does Kate blame herself for the death of the young detective but so does the Met Police, and the move to Southampton is the only way Kate can carry on with her career. To make matters worse the case they were investigating, the death of the 3 women and Amy, is still unsolved; and Kate is the only person that is sure that all 4 deaths are connected.

At the beginning of the book Kate disobeys a direct order form her Superintendent to pull out of a high-speed chase. She doesn’t listen and ends up in hospital following a serious RTC.

The injuries lead to her having to take time off but; as soon as she hears that a body has been found in the boot of a car she tries to go back to work, only to suffer the wrath of her superiors.

Pig headed as she is she manages to convince one of her team to feed her information on the case. In her own mind she starts to see connections between the London deaths and those occurring in Southampton. Becoming target biased she starts to carry out her own investigation.

The story is told with Kate as the main character, but there is also chapters written from the dead Detectives point of view, starting about 6 months before her death and leading upto the night of her death.

Amy is another flawed character, a young officer on the new detective program she is badly affected by the sight of a body at her first murder scene. One of the victims in the series Matthews is investigating. Promising the dead woman she will do all she can to catch the killer, whilst battling her own shyness in the team, she sees Kate as a role model and starts to take risks

With both parts of the story heading for a big reveal at the end of the book I can almost guarantee nobody will see the end coming from very early in the book.

In fact, I changed my mind on who was responsible for the deaths all the way to the last couple of chapters, and there was still a twist at the end that had me surprised.

As much as I found Kate Matthews a pain in the arse, as a person, I really enjoyed her character. The story is so well written that it had me turning page after page, half in the hope that I was right and that Kate was wrong, but mainly because the plot was gripping.

I shall be looking out for the next Stephen Edgar book, and maybe even reluctantly to the return of pain-in-the-arse Kate Matthews.

Pages: 326

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: November 17th 2017.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

Looking back


In 2014 I posted my first blog, My Life In Books. It was written as an introduction to me and why reading is so important to me.

I read a lot. Fiction and Biographies are the main stay of my reading, but in my professional life I read a lot of Journals and Articles covering Fire Forensics, Firefighting techniques, and Fire Service procedures.

This weekend I’m going to write the second part of my life in books but as I have a lot more readers now than when I started, I thought I’d put a link on to the first blog for anybody who’s interested.

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/my-life-in-books/

The Death Messenger Mari Hannah

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The Queen of Northern Crime Fiction is spreading her wings.

Mari Hannah is back with the second in the Ryan and O’Neil series.

Following on from the Silent Room, this book can comfortably read as a stand-alone novel without the reader feeling like they have joined the party half way through.

Detective Superintendent Eloise O’Neil, formerly of Professional Standards, is back in Northumbria, but this time she has been asked to form her own Unit to investigate high profile serious crimes.

The first person she brings in is Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan, formerly of Special Branch, and one time person of interest to O’Neil when she was in her former role.

The chemistry between the two is electric; but whereas Ryan is a heart on your sleeve type of person who finds it hard to hide his emotions, and is usually quite prepared to share what he is thinking, O’Neil is almost a split personality. She swings from happy and flirtatious, to moody and brooding in a split second and, more often than not, half way through a conversation.

O’Neil also holds secrets. Why was the Unit formed and who is funding it? It is legitimate, it is legal, but is its ultimate boss as above board.

The team form to investigate their first crime, the disappearance of a Scottish Judge who is about to start Hearing a high-profile case.

When a DVD, showing the apparent crime, scene arrives at the Units HQ it quickly becomes obvious that this is not the first DVD that O’Neil is aware of. Tensions between her and Ryan almost ruin the newly formed team when he finds out. Especially as he suspects O’Neil is trying to protect somebody outside of the team.

As more DVD’s start to arrive, and as bodies start to be discovered, the team needs to expand; but the right people have to be taken on. Both O’Neil and Ryan have their reasons for choosing some very specific people. Will either, or both, get their way.

When the new members come on board they bring with them some exceptional skills and experience, and they are great characters for the book.

Along with them Ryan recruits his blind twin sister. Caroline excels at hearing things that other people miss. Usually a CPS Prosecutor Ryan is particularly protective of her because of her blindness. Will she be put into danger by helping the investigation?

The crimes are being committed by somebody with skills in the use of making movies, or so it seems. The recordings are professionally done, and there is a narrator common to all of them. Why would somebody film the scenes, and why taunt the team by sending them to them?

This story is nothing but top fantastic. Mari Hannah has set most of her books in the North East but by forming this cross boarders National Response Team she has opened the doors to let her team roam across Britain and Europe.

The characters are great. Each one brings its own mix to the chemistry which is so much a part of Hannah’s books.

The story explores the trials and tribulations of a criminal investigation.

It explores the frustrations of the team as they build hypothesis after hypothesis only to see them all smashed. Suspects are identified, then discarded. Will the team find the perpetrator?

This is writing of the highest quality and the reader is left wanting more at the end of each book.

This one is no exception.

Pages: 350

Published by Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 16th November 2017

Murder Game Blog Tour

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Caroline Mitchell writes from experience. Her biography, on her own website, tells us that she was once a Police Detective who worked on cases involving high risk victim of domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. This is a woman that’s “been there and got the T-shirt”, and it shows in her writing.

Rarely do I read books as realistic as the ones Caroline writes, and even more rarely does an author hook me with her stories from the very first page, but she does.

Murder Game Description

 A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die…

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one…

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

 My Review

Everybody loves a good serial killer story, and this one is really good.

Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston, and her team, are back.

Years ago Mason Gately was caught in the act of murdering his 6th Victim. Nicknamed by the press The Lonely Heart Killer, he found his victims through the personal adds in local papers, Gately had a very specific way of killing the women over several days.

When Melissa Phillips, the wife of a high-profile BBC News Journalist, goes missing; and he starts to receive images of her, similar to those sent by Gately of his victims to their families, alarm bells begin to ring.

Ruby’s boss, DI Downes, had worked on the original case and knows that some of the details of the original murders had never been released to the public. So how does the new killer know how to recreate the murders in such detail? Is Gately actually the Lonely Hearts Killer, or is the wrong person in custody.

As more people go missing the similarities between the murders continue and each case is a rush against time to save the victim.

Meanwhile the killer is contacting a confidential telephone help line and talking, in a round-about way, about his crimes. Will the call handler understand who they are talking to?

Ruby is still dating her first love, who she is only recently become reacquainted with, Nathan. Just to add spice to the story Nathan is part of one of the biggest crime families in Shoreditch.

This relationship opens doors for Ruby to interview Gately, and so begins a relationship very similar to that of Starling and Lecter.

What sacrifices will Ruby have to make to get the information she needs, and how many people will suffer before she gets it.

This is another great story in this series by Caroline Mitchell. Each book gets better, and as ever I was left wanting to read the next one straight away.

I suppose I’ll just have to be patient.

Amazon Links for Murder Game

UK: http://amzn.to/2v1l8v5

US: http://amzn.to/2umrDqp

Caroline’s website

www.caroline-writes.com