Dying Breath Helen Phifer

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Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin is back in another realistic crime thriller.

When I reviewed The Lost Children, the first book in the DI Harwin series, I said how good it was to read a book that portrayed a criminal investigation properly. The right ranks-to-roles, the correct terminology, the attitudes and ethos’s of the officers and the relationships between departments. It was one of my favourite reads and put Helen onto the list of my favourite authors

This book is just as good.

The story focuses on two eras’: Lucy and her team investigating a series of modern day crimes; and an anonymous boy growing up with his aunty in the 80’s and 90’s.

The boy growing up is obviously a deviant, and it’s not hard to conclude that he is going to be part of today’s crimes; but what part, and who is he?

There are several candidates but I didn’t guess which one was the murderer until it was revealed on the last few pages. Up until that point it could still have been any one of them.

Lucy and her team pick up the investigation into the murder of a woman who is found battered to death and posed in an unlikely position.

She is the first but not the last. Each victim is killed in a way that appears planned but random. Is Brooklyn Bay in the grips of a crime epidemic or a serial killer.

With each murder being committed in a different manner the team are struggling to link them. When the skeletal remains of a woman are uncovered in some woods Helens boss DCI Tom Crowe decides she needs help and drafts in DI Patrick Baker to take over the body in the woods investigation

Lucy conducts most of her investigation with DS Matthew Jackson, her friend and safety net against getting herself in trouble with the bosses. The rest of her team all take an active part in the investigations, and all have their own character that gives the team a great dynamic. The team are good, highly motivated officers, so when DI Baker appears apathetic Lucy soon starts to lose her cool with him.

This book doesn’t look so deeply at the private lives of some books but we know enough about Lucy and her team to build allegiances. I like Lucy and the connection she has with her team so I felt every frustration she had with Baker. That must be the indication of a good writer.

As the two sides of this story headed for a massive collision at the end of the book I found myself sitting for hours glued to the screen of my Kindle.

Helen Phifer has written another great book that has kept her in my top authors list and I cannot wait for the next instalement.

Pages: 269

Published by Bookouture

Publishing Date: 23rd November 2017

Available to pre-order on Amazon

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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

Rattle Fiona Cummins

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A story of two families; neither of which are particularly happy, both of which have a child with a bone deformity, and a killer who collects bones, the rarer the better.

The Frith’s son, 6-year-old Jakey is suffering from a condition that sees him growing bone spurs and extra bones. He’s fragile and mollycoddled, but he’s also adventurous and is often on the verge of disaster.

The Foyles daughter, 4-year-old Cara, has the middle three fingers on each hand missing due to a birth deformity.

When Cara goes missing on her way home from school Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy is part of the team tasked with investigating her disappearance. Fitzroy has recently worked on a disturbing child abduction that was never solved, and gradually begins to think that the two cases might be connected.

The story centres around the two families, Fitzroy, and the Bone Collector

The Frith family are torn apart by the fathers drinking, Erdman tries to give his son as normal a life as possible whilst his wife panics at everything that Jakey is involved in. Meanwhile nobody notices a man in a suite who is gradually ingratiating himself with Jakey. Is this the Bone Collector, or is it somebody else with other motives? Will anybody notice in time to save Jakey.

The Foyles are distraught, their daughter is missing. So why is her father, Miles, not helping the Police. Why has he been seeing prostitutes. Is there any truth in the accusation that he held a young office worker captive in his office? Why will he not tell the police where he was when his daughter went missing.

Cara is alive. She is being held hostage, and the man that is holding her has an unhealthy fascination with her hands.

This story is so well written that it manages to entwine 3 or 4 story threads around each other, and still keep the reader guessing as to how different people are involved.

At times, I was not sure whether there were 1 or 2 villains. Will Fitzroy make the connections and catch the Bone Collector whilst Jakey is safe and Cara is alive?

Fiona Cummins employed a lovely technique at the end of some chapters. It’s simple but I don’t think I’ve read it before. On a chapter that ends a day, she gives each character a small paragraph where she describes what they can see and their emotions. That kept me engrossed throughout.

Fans of psychological thrillers will love this. It original and its good.

Hello Fiona Cummins and welcome to my MUST READ LIST

 Pages:495

Publisher: Macmillan

Available on Amazon

 

 

Kill the Father Sandrone Dazieri

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This book should come with a health warning. At 528 pages, it’s  a bit big to sit and read in one go; but it kept me so gripped I only put it down when I had to.

Set in, and around Rome, the story centres on an investigation into an abducted boy whose mother has been found brutally murdered.

When the boy disappears, the Senior Investigator calls in Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a friend and colleague who is on leave having sustained an injury during an investigation.

She is told to contact Dante Torre, who will act as a consultant in the investigation.

And so, the two most compelling characters I have ever read meet to conduct an off-the-books investigation.

Columba is very much an amalgamation of some of the top female protagonists in modern fiction, and is very much in the mould of Marnie Riche’s George McKenzie and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Sandler, except she is a Police Officer.

Dante reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock.

Columba is direct and tireless, and although she is obviously suffering from PTSD manages to function bravely throughout the story.

Dante is a complete freak, and justifiably so as you will find out when you read the book (no spoilers) he is a claustrophobic, drug and caffeine dependent, highly intelligent, man, who got me totally engaged, from the moment he appeared on the page.

The two are thwarted in their investigation by the complexities of the Italian Police and legal systems; the politics of the region, and the fact that they are up against one of the most original crimes I’ve come across in a work of fiction.

From the start the Police investigation focuses on the fact that the woman was killed by her husband, and that he has killed his son and hidden the body.

Columba and Dante disagree and think the mother was murdered by the child’s abductor, and that the father has been falsely imprisoned.

But why are the Police so convinced that the father is the killer, why are they so loath to investigate further.

Columba and Dante battle to prove their hypothesis, at huge psychological cost to both.

The characters in this book are second to none in any fiction I have read; the story is up there with the best I’ve ever read; the writing is brilliant.

The last line, of the last page, in many books can be described as a cliff hanger. In this book the last line, of the last page opens a door. This story is very much finished, no cliff hanger required, but I defy anybody not to want to walk through that open door when the next book is published.

This book has just gone right into my top 5 of all time reads.

As a post note. There is one section of this book which describes the seconds leading up to an explosion, and the things that happen during the split second of detonation. I have no words to describe how good this piece of writing is.

Pages: 528

Published by: Simon and Schuster UK

Available now

The next in the series: Kill The Angel to be published 5th April 2018

Buried Secrets T.J. Brearton Blogtour

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I must admit I hadn’t come across C.J. Brearton until I read this book. Now his back catalogue is at the top of my to-be-read pile.

The quote below is from his bio on his own website;  www.tjbrearton.com

After fiddling around with college, pursuing a range of subjects including psychology and philosophy, Brearton went to film school and worked in industry for a few years. He’s also worked construction, demolition, carpentry, and bartending; he’s waited tables, managed a non-profit, and once cleaned the moss off tombstones. Now he lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and three children where he writes full time, takes out the trash, and competes with his kids for his wife’s attention.”

I have used this quote because it shows the life experience Brearton has. Like all the best authors he has lived a life, and brings a reality to his books.

He not only creates good characters but he can put the right fears and emotions into them. They make choices we would make, not always the best ones, and not always the right ones, but choices which are understandable, and justifiable.

In this book, the main protagonist discovers human remains in the grounds  on his property. He helps the Police, he does everything expected of him, but he sees a chance. As a failed writer with an inquisitive mind he can’t help following up on the discovery in the hope of writing the elusive Best-Seller

I think I would probably have done the same thing.

That’s why I think this book is special.

Its believable

This is my original review of Buried Secrets

A happy young couple, Brett and Emily, buy their dream small holding in upstate New York.

Digging an area of garden, close to the edge of some woods, Brett uncovers some human bones.

Meanwhile reformed criminal James Russo is arrested for failing to pay his fines for driving whilst uninsured. With no means of paying the fines he is sent to the famous Rikers Island Jail in New York. His cell mate is an ex mixed martial arts fighter Nate Reuter. Nate is in jail for being part of a lame group of bank robbers the press labelled “The fighting Bandits”

The Police Investigators seem to be going through the motions with the investigation into the buried bones but one of the Officers casually shows the mug shots of the Fighting Bandits to Brett, stating it’s an unrelated inquiry.

As a failed journalist/writer Brett sees an opportunity to resurrect his career and write a book and starts his own investigation. Unfortunately, he reaches out to his ex-girlfriend Meg to help him, much to Emily’s frustration; but is Meg really helping, or is she in it for her own gain, journalistic or personal.

In jail Reuter is attacked and Russo steps in to his aid. Because of the fight his jail time looks set to increase until a visit from a female prisoner changes everything. She will post his bail if he does one job for her, and just as an encouragement she sends a psychopath to his wife and daughter.

And so, begins a story which kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. The two storylines are obviously connected but how and why. Who do the bones belong to, and why are they buried with a cryptic note.

 This story doesn’t hide anything, there are no surprises. Its hook is the naive innocence of Brett; the attempts of Russo to stay on the straight and narrow and still protect his wife and daughter; the conniving drive of Meg. To have captured all of these characters so well is a testimony the writing of T.J. Brearton

Pages: 328

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’m off now to start downloading his Brearton’s back catalogue

The Good Sister Jess Ryder Blog Tour

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When I was asked to take part in this blog tour the first thing I did was to research Jess Ryder.

I’m so glad I did, what an inspirational woman. If there is anybody who doubts the need to be flexible as an author, they should look at her writing history.

It turns out that Jess Ryder is a pseudonym, her real name is Jan Page.

Jan Page has written since she was a young girl, for pleasure; and as a woman, has made a living out of writing children’s books a and producing Children’s TV series’.

As Jess Ryder, she is writing a genre of books she has wanted to write for some time, psychological thrillers. Her first one, “Lie to Me” was a big success and her publishers, Bookouture, asked her to write more.

I found this quote from Jess Ryder’s web site

When Bookouture asked me for some more novel ideas, a story about a pair of half-sisters popped into my head. I have no idea why – I don’t have a sister and have no experience of how that relationship works.”

Well, I think there are two half-sisters in their somewhere one named Jan Page, and the other Jess Ryder, they just occupy the same body.

Thank god Jess has emerged and started writing because THE GOOD SISTER is one of the best, and most original, psychological thrillers I have ever read.

What do I think of it?

This is my original blog.

The Good Sister      Jess Ryder

This may be a short book, at 230 pages, but it packs more twists and turns than a Himalayan Mountain track.

When a University Lecturer dies, speeding down a country lane on his motor bike, nobody could expect the secrets that are about to be revealed.

Two women, that could look like twins, born five days apart proclaim to be his daughter.

They could not be any different.  

Josie “A boring young fogey, the easy-care daughter”

Valentina “wild, daring, spontaneous, unrestrained”

Both living completely separate lives, but one of them has been having dreams for years that she has a sister, and that she was hurt by her, badly.

The story sees both girls getting to know each other. The wild Valentina causing chaos in the quiet reserved life of Josie.

The family of both girls dealing with the death of the man, who called himself their dad, but did either family know about the other.

Threatening text messages, from a mysterious person who watches every move Valentina makes.

From the posh houses of a London suburb, to the squalid existence of a derelict pub; from a leafy Derbyshire Cottage, to a run-down student terrace in Manchester the plot unfolds.

Jess Ryder wrote the story in the first person, alternating chapters from Josie’s point of view to Valentina’s. That is what makes this story so good; because at times you don’t know which sister is carrying the narrative. Then oh it’s her, really? 

There are times when I thought, is there only one woman and does she have  split personalities.

Then I wondered if one of the sisters was imagining some of the things that were happening to her.

I felt empathy for Josie, then I felt empathy for Valentina.

I liked and hated both women equally through the story. It’s a testimony to Ryders writing that my loyalty swung from one to the other all the way to the end of the book.

The twists in the plot are brilliantly penned with the last twist coming right at the end; and I didn’t see it coming.

It’s hard to write too much about this book without giving plot spoilers. So much happens in such a short space of time.

All I can say is READ IT!!!!!!!

I promise you’ll love it.

When you make your mind up which is the “Good Sister” let me know; because I still can’t make my mind up.

So, what do you think, which one is the good sister.

Have a look at these two websites and make your own mind up.

Like I said. I’m just glad we have both Janet and Jess, especially Jess, she writes my style of book.

 

www.janpagewriter.com

www.jessryder.com