Paper Ghosts Julia Heaberlin

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I was hooked on this book after I read two of the first paragraphs in the first chapter.

“Old killers who roam free have to land somewhere”

And

“The Killers who publicly beat the system and the unseen monsters, where do they go”

Have you ever wondered that?

What happens to those serial killers go who don’t get caught?

Where do they go?

Do they just grow tired of what they are doing, get fed up, and just stop?

If it’s a sexually driven crime do they lose the urges?

This is one of the most original stories I have read for many years.

The main character is a woman, she’s in her mid 20’s and her big sister went missing years ago.

Since her sister went missing she has been running an unofficial hunt for whoever took her. As a 12-year-old girl she started building a murder wall on the back of her wardrobe. Building a list of suspects, linking her sister’s disappearance with others, eliminating suspects where she could.

But now, as an adult, she has found the person she thinks is responsible. Carl

Carl is in a home for offenders who have been released and are suffering from dementia. He has been tried and acquitted of one crime, and he claims not to remember anything of the other crimes he is being accused of.

Our girl takes him out of the home, under the false pretence that she is his daughter, and embarks on a road trip to some of the destinations she has identified as places where he took and killed other girls and women.

Will it jog his memory, if he has even lost it.

Is she putting herself in danger, or will she get her answers?

The story of the relationship between the woman and Carl is fascinating. Why do I keep calling her the woman? Because we don’t find out her name for a long time and I don’t want to spoil a cracking story.

Their journey across a map of murder and disappearance is gripping.

There are a lot of questions in this review. There was a lot of questions raised in my head whilst I was reading the book. As far as the story went, all of the questions were answered, and answered in style.

As for the questions the story raised in my mind, well they may never get answered.

In the States who was, or is, the Zodiac Killer and what happened to them.

In the UK Peter Sutcliff was caught purely by chance. Would he have carried on killing, probably. Would he have been caught, maybe. But what if he hadn’t.

I love books that get me thinking, and boy did this book get me thinking.

Pages: 368

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publish Date: 19th April 2018

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Deathly Wind. Keith Moray

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This is the second book in the DI Torquil McKinnon series set on a remote Scottish Island.

But don’t let the remote small island, with its small community put you off. This is a complex story with many twists and turns.

The story starts with an assassin killing a family, and a missing Police Officer.

At the same time a big-time-Charlie from the mainland takes over the big house and brings with him the threat of erecting a wind farm on the old crofts. The problem is the crofts are still being run as farms by well-established families.

The new Laird is Jock McArdle, a business man from Glasgow, who brings with him two enforcers.

More deaths start to take place on the island but are most of them just accidents.

As the death count rises there are conflicts amongst the small group of residents on the island. Half of them are against the wind farms, the other half are for them.

There is a hedgehog cull about to take place but one resident, Megan, who is fervently against it, starts to cause problems. Could she be responsible for some of the deaths?

Her Boyfriend Nial is a Bird Protectionist, who is very protective of the eagle population on the island. So, when it is claimed one of the deaths is down to an eagle attack he too starts to act strangely. Could he be the murderer?

Then there is the young pretty Megan. She only had eyes for the missing Police Officer but is finding comfort in half of the male population. Is one of her comforters acting out of jealousy.

The small island Police force is headed by DI Torquil McKinnon, the motorcycle riding, bag pie playing, widower, who went to school with most of the main suspects in the crimes. With one of his two full time officers missing he has to run the inquiry with his full time DS, and two volunteer constables. The story of the investigation is brilliantly addictive, and the result is not easily anticipated.

Over the last year I have read a few books set in the remote Scottish Isles. The large open spaces with the small tight knit communities lend themselves to some great stories. In fact, I have come to realise that The Scottish Isles Murder books are the new Closed Room Mysteries of Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie fame.

The two books in this series which have so far been published are brilliant.

If you like a good murder mystery you will love these books.

With summer creeping up on us, people might be looking for a book to read around the pool or on the beach. Get this series. There is only one problem with them. You will be left desperately wanting book 3, and we are going to have to wait for a while for that.

Pages: 224

Publisher: Sapere

Available now

The Lost. Mari Hannah

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Marie Hannah has long been one of my favourite Authors. Until her Kate Daniels series I was not much of a fan of British Crime fiction, but once I read The Murder Wall she had me hooked.

Mari changed tack and started a new series a couple of years ago, with The Silent Room, and I was worried, until I read it, that it wouldn’t be as good as the Daniels books.

Now she is starting a fresh again. This time with the first book in the Oliver and Stone Series.

The Lost introduces us to DS Frank (Frances) Stone. The third generation of Police Officer in her family, following her father and grandfather. She is a no nonsense brash but likeable officer.

DI David Stone is a more complex character. Returning to his home county of Northumbria, after a successful career in the Met, he has taken a reduction of rank to move home. He carries a secret that haunts him to the point of distracting him. Moving up from London he has moved into his late grandmother’s cottage which can best be described as near derelict, but he shows no signs of renovating. Is he here to stay, is he punishing himself, is it an excuse to keep people at bay from his personal life.

Working with Frank Oliver keeping people at bay is going to be very difficult. She is fiercely loyal, but wants to know everything.

The first case they work together is complex. A young boy goes missing whilst his mom is on holiday with her sister. The boys stepfather is supposed to be looking after him. When the au-pair and stepfather both think the other is picking the boy up from football practice he goes missing, and the stepdad has no choice but to report it to the police.

It’s not a case Stone’s team would usually be involved with but Oliver convinces him to take it on.

What follows is a series of crimes based around the family. A family where nobody seems able, or willing, to tell the truth. The mother is a controlling figure who looks down on her business man husband. The husband is addicted to drink and drugs, and his business is going down the pan.

Even the au-pair is not what she seems and leads the investigation team up an avenue that includes blackmailing old clients.

So who is the target of the crimes. The family or the Au-pair.

Before the end of the book more than one life lies in ruins, and at least one person is dead.

This is the start of a great series. Oliver and Stone are fantastic characters and Mari Hannah is one of the very best writers out there. And by “out there” I don’t just mean the UK.

Pages: 416

Publishers: Orion

Available now

The Next Girl Carla Kovach

 

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When I read the synopsis for this book I was expecting another Police Procedural with a twist of Psychological Thriller. There would have been nothing wrong with that, in fact that is my favourite genre of book. But I got much more than that, I got a book that made me think about the affects investigating crimes can have on people, because not all Police Officers are as tough as they make out.

 

DI Gina Harte is the head of a small team of officers. At work she is a strong woman, at home she is having problems in her relationship with her grown up daughter. Harte, a widow, had been the victim of domestic abuse but how does she tell her daughter that. Especially as her daughter is arranging a memorial service for her dad, who she thinks the world of.

 

Harte is also in need of a confidence building bit of TLC, but she is also concerned about starting a relationship, especially one that could interfere with her job.

 

When a baby is discovered abandoned in a small village it is Harte’s team that is tasked with investigating where the baby came from.

 

At the same time a young father is struggling to get over the disappearance of his wife 4 years ago. He too is struggling with his feelings as he starts to slide into a new relationship. Guilty that he has feelings for the new woman in his life, and guilty about being unfaithful to his missing wife, Luke is struggling enough.  When DI Harte knocks at his door his confusion is about to get much worse.

 

As Harte and team look at the case of the abandoned baby, and re-open the 4 year old missing persons case, it soon becomes evident that they are linked.

 

Harte continues to have run-ins with her daughter who has always blamed her for putting her job first. She finds her TLC in an unusual place, and with both these things playing on her mind she tries to lead the investigation.

 

This book takes the reader into the troubled worlds of a Police Officer who has been a victim and is struggling both professionally and personally, and a victim who has never had closure and is struggling to find direction in his life.

 

Those that read my blogs will know I love characters to have a good back story and an element of an ongoing personal life. Well this story has given me that and wrapped around it is a great crime story.

 

I like it when a book I like appears to open up the possibility of a series.

 

Well it says on the Amazon page Detective Gina Harte Book 1.

 

Bring on Book 2. I really enjoyed Book 1

 

Pages: 300

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2018.

Cross Your Heart. Kierney Scott

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Special Agent Jessica Bishop is back, or steal a phrase from my favourite TV show, “Very Special Agent” Jessica Bishop is back. My God is she “Special”

I love quirky characters in books. There is so much similarity out there today amongst fictional crime fighters, and it’s the quirky ones that stand out.

Bishop stands out in a great way. Psychologically she has problems, in this book these problems are confounded as she is still recovering from injuries she sustained during her last investigation. Her mental health is on even more of a knife edge after injuring her friend and FBI partner Jameson during the same investigation.

They are thrown back into work when they are cleared for duty days after each other and re-join their old team.

Bishop thinks she has identified a serial killer who is praying on vulnerable children. At first, she is not taken seriously, but as the body count rises everybody begins to realise she’s onto something.

Partnered with a member of the team that is more interested in hitting on women and avoiding conflict, than actually doing any work, Bishop finds work infuriating. Jameson wants to help but she is keeping him at arms-length.

Her head is completely scrambled and she is fighting inner demons as she tries to find the killer, with an ineffectual partner.

From the very start of this book I was immediately gripped by the story of Bishops internal fights, as much as I was with the story of the crime. Both stories are brilliant but for me it’s the fight Bishop is having with herself that makes this book stand out.

There is no down time in this book. It is full on from page 1 to the full stop on the last sentence. I didn’t see the end coming, partially because I was so engrossed I didn’t realise I was coming to the end. The story is full of twists and turns, none of which are predictable, but all of which make sense.

This book can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I would highly recommend reading Now You See Me the first book in the series.

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Jess Bishop is emerging as one of the great characters of modern crime fiction, and to get the best from her, you need to know her story.

I loved this book, I loved the first one, I really can’t wait for the 3rd.

Pages: 242

Published by: Bookouture

Publishing date: 25th April 2018

Dark Lies Nick Hollin

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Nick Hollin has produced two characters which have got me completely and utterly hooked.

DCI Katie Rhodes, once brilliant, smart and reliable; now a promiscuous heavy drinker seemingly bent on self-destruction.

Criminal Psychologist Nathan Radley, a very strange man who has been in self-imposed exile for a year. A man who can get into criminals minds, unfortunately, he also empathises with their dark feelings and lusts for violence.

Why has Rhodes started to self-destruct, and Radley placed himself in exile, because they were both badly affected by the last case they worked together.

When Rhodes is called to the scene of a murder she notices a mark on the body, a mark which is identical to a feature on her own, she starts to worry. Days earlier she had been to another scene where a body also had a mark left on it. A mark that resembled a birthmark that the exiled Radley has on his thigh. Coincidence? Of course not.

The murders are horrific but more than that, somebody is playing with Katie’s head. A head that is full of booze and hasn’t functioned properly for a year.

She can only turn to one person.

Radley has spent the last year living alone in a cottage in Scotland, reading children’s literature because he is too scared to open the boxes in his brain that hold memories of past cases. Scared of the feelings that vicious crime provokes in him.

To say he is unwilling to help his ex-partner is an understatement, but she gets him back to London and they start working on the murders.

What follows is one of the best, and most original criminal psychological thrillers I have ever read.

There are twist and turns as suspects come and go. There are frustrations as the pair are branded mentally and physically unfit to carry on with the Police investigation. But they’ve got to find the killer before he destroys them.

The two main characters are complimented by a cast of fringe characters that bring a credibility to the story.

I loved this book. In fact I have a confession to make. It had been on my to-be-read pile for weeks now. It was only when I remembered, that I was taking part on the launch blog blitz for it, that I picked it up on Saturday morning and started reading it. I put my Kindle down late Saturday night when I finished it. I don’t usually read a book in one day. I just could not put this one down.

Well it says on the cover Detective Rhodes and Radley Book 1. Well bring on book 2, and 3, and 4, in fact Mr Hollin, just keep them coming.

 

Pages: 275

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 26th March 2018

Firefly Henry Porter

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Recently I have read three of these refugee based, race-against-time terrorism stories.

You know the type, there’s a terrorist on the loose, so find them quick before they wreak havoc amongst the cities of Europe.

They all seem very timely, and frighteningly possible.

Henry Porter has found a unique twist for this tale.

A young refugee has witnessed a massacre. He didn’t see the men who did it but he heard their voices and one of them is very distinctive.

When the boat he is in is wrecked of Greece he makes his way to a camp. Then he hears the voice again but now he’s put a face to it.

The terrorist with the voice becomes aware he’s been identified and must stop the young refugee from telling the European Police and Security Agencies. The boy himself is on a mission to get the truth out.

MI6 become aware of the youth and know he’s on one of the refugee smuggling  routes across Europe.

The race is on. Will MI6 or the Voice get to him first?

And what is the secret mission the terrorists are about to carry out?

As a rule I love this genre of story and this one is as good as any I’ve read recently.

Yes there is a “but” coming.

Why do all Government Officials have to be painted as the typical “Rupert” types. Why does the agent always have to be forced out of retirement, or come back from working in the private sector, just to save the world.

Today’s authors do such a good job of writing stories based on the terrors of today’s world and the threats that exist in it. But please let’s get away from the stereo types

Pages: 400

Publisher: Quercus

Publishing date: 20th June 2018.