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

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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

The Mistake K.L. Slater

 

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Split between happenings 16 years ago and the present day, this psychological who-done-it thriller had me gripped from start to finish.

16 years ago, Rose is an eighteen-year-old girl suffering the angst of college life.

Her younger brother Billy goes missing and is found murdered, but who is responsible.

In the present day, Rose is a slightly awkward, mid-thirties, library assistant, who still lives under the stigma of what happened when her brother was killed.

A discovery whilst looking after her ailing sends Rose on a hunt for the truth about Billy’s death.

The passages set 16 years in the past are a warning tale of grooming, how a 17-18 girl with low self-esteem can be cajoled into a relationship with an older man, at the expense of her family and friends.

Rose lies to her family, and although her best friend initially encourages her, she too starts to distrust the older and controlling man.

The effects on everybody around Rose are devastating, but who is to blame for the things that start to happen around them.

This book had me second guessing myself from start to finish. Empathy, sympathy and frustration was aimed at all the characters, especially Rose.

The end? I don’t think anyone will see it coming, but it won’t be a “that-would-never-happen” moment either.

A great book written with reality, and emotion in abundance.

Pages: 330

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 4th October 2017.

Available to pre-order 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

Hades Candice Fox

 

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A very original crime drama set in the suburbs of Sydney.

The story is spread over two time periods, with the earlier catching up too the later to combine in a frantic finale.

The earlier time period sees a young brother and sister delivered to Hades. The children’s parents have been killed in a botch burglary/kidnap attempt. Hades is an underworld fixer, a violent man who makes bodies disappear, whether he’s killed them or somebody else has and needs the body disposing of. So, when a man turns up with the kids and wants them killed and buried you would expect Hades to do just that. Wrong Hades kills the man, nurses the children, and then brings him up as his own.

In the present day, the police partner up two experienced cops whose partners have recently died. Frank Bennett lost his partner to suicide. Eden Archers partner was shot in the face when he and Eden were chasing a suspect.

Eden is a tough woman with a hard exterior, who works all hours. Frank is a bit more laid back but gets things done. In fact, he’s that good a cop he begins to wonder about his new partner and her off duty activities.

Franks life isn’t made any easier when Eden’s brother Eric, a department bully, takes a dislike to him.

The first crime the new partners are called to turns out to be a serial killer who is farming human organs.

As the begin to get embroiled in the investigation Frank starts to look deeper into Eden and Eric’s activities.

It is revealed early enough in the story that this is not a real spoiler, and it is a bit obvious even earlier, the two children that Hades adopts are the cop brother and sister Eden and Eric.

The fact that a brother and sister have been brought up by an underworld monster, in the full knowledge of who he is, what he does, and how he does it, leads to the creation of two very different cops.

Can Frank live with the people he begins to realise his new colleagues are, and can they catch the serial killer.

I hadn’t heard of Candice Fox before. She is another one of those overseas authors who, without sites like Amazon, I would never have heard of. Looking through her back catalogue there are some great sounding books, which are being uploaded onto my Kindle as I write this.

Treat yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Pages:357

Publishers(UK): Cornerstone Digital

Available now 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