It says on the cover that “The Seral Killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury”, that’s not a spoiler, and its not even half the story.
This is the story of a diligent defence attorney that’s not scared to chase the truth.
When Eddie Flynn is asked to take second seat on the defence table in the biggest murder trail the state has ever seen, which just happens to involve one of Americas up-and-coming movie stars, it’s not because he’s one of those vain celebrity attorney’s. It’s because he’s known to take on the NYPD, and because he can be sacrificed by the defence team if they seem to be losing the case.
Robert Solomon is the star on trial, all the evidence points to him being the only suspect in the murder of his wife, and his head of security, who were found in his bed.
As Eddie starts to dig into the evidence he starts to realise that the case against Robert is strong but there is one piece of evidence which is wrong, in fact it’s very wrong. That one piece of evidence is enough to get Eddie looking at who else might have committed the crime, and what he comes up with is shocking. Could there be a serial killer on the loose that nobody has yet identified.
As the cover of the book says the killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury. If you have committed the perfect murder how do you ensure that somebody else takes the blame for it. Does the ultimate frame include influencing the jury from within.
The story follows Eddie, before and after, he has taken on the second seat position. We listen in to his thoughts and watch as he starts to suspect that not everything in this case is as it seems.
The story also follows the serial killer, Joshua Kane. This is an unusual path for a crime book. The criminal is known to the reader from the start. Kane’s story unfolds as the story follows him over the days just before, and during, the trail. The big question is, will he get away with it?
This is one of the best court room-crime thrillers I’ve read for years. From the start the reader is aware of what is happening and can see who the bad guy is. So there’s no who-done-it.
The suspense that is built up in the court room scenes is electric and I had real difficulty putting this book down.
I don’t think I’ve ever come across this concept before, and that’s a rarity these days.
But as strange as the concept may seem the story is very believable, and completely engrossing.
Her life did not have the best start. A mother that abused her and her brother in a way that finally led her brother’s death. Pushed from care home to care home with foster families sprinkled throughout her childhood, she has a lot of life experience to fall back on. That is one of the things that make her a good cop.
Nobody really knows her whole story. Friends have been few and far between, and none have ever found out about her complete background.
So when DI Kim Stone attends a murder in a high rise tower block she is mortified to see the scene is staged to mimic the final days of her brother’s life.
It must just be a coincidence.
Of course not.
Crimes start to happen on her patch that she can’t help but think are connected to her in some way. Or is she finally cracking up, is this paranoia a sign that she needs help.
As the investigation into the murder gets underway another murder mimics a traumatic event in her life.
Ok no coincidence, somebody is playing with Kim’s head and murdering people in the process.
What is the killers end game, kill more people, or destroy Kim???
The team need to catch the killer before they lose their boss, one way or another.
Ten books ago Angela Marsons introduced us to a series of characters based in the Black Country.
The main character is DI Kim Stone. A DI in the Major Investigation Team in Halesowen Police Station in the West Midlands.
Halesowen is a small town on the outskirts of the urban sprawl that makes up the Metropolitan Borough of the West Midlands. Its right on the border of what most people would call the area of greater Birmingham, and the sprawling countryside of Worcester.
It’s actually in the borough of Dudley, one of the seven boroughs that make up the West Midlands, but more importantly it’s part of the Black Country.
That is what makes it such a special place to set crime stories.
Dudley has some of the most affluent parts of the West Midlands, close to the country, and some of the poorest parts where it borders Sandwell. It has rich gated communities, run down industrial areas, and some of the poorest social housing estates in the UK. Its population commute into Birmingham City Centre to sit in smart offices and high end retail shops, or work in the manufacturing, scrap metal, or haulage business.
The black Country has a hard working history, and this ethic is seen daily in its population; but just like everywhere else there are the freeloaders who never intend to do a day’s work as long as the state will give them benefits.
Then there are the people who pray on both ends of the community. Drug sellers target the rich with designer drugs and well cut class A drugs, and at the same time pray on the vulnerable with less well, and dangerously cut, class A drugs and marijuana.
Addicts are addicts and once hooked will look to fund their next hit. The desperate will turn to crime.
Prostitution has been forced indoors over the last decade with sex being sold in private flats or thinly veiled massage parlours. This has led to illegal immigrants being forced into the sex trade alongside some desperate local people.
Illegal immigrants are also being used as slaves in retail and manufacturing.
Street kids are turning to violence.
Post code gangs are frequently a problem, fighting for territory to sell their wares, both human and chemical.
But most of its population are just your average family members trying to get along with their neighbours.
So, as you can see, Angela Marsons has chosen a great area to set her crimes. Just about anything that could make up a serious crime happens in the area, and so can be portrayed realistically in her books.
The characters she writes about are just as real as her crimes.
Kim Stone is epic. A kid-from-care made good.
In the first few books her character is established as one of the best cops in British Crime Fiction, her back story is slowly revealed showing how her life has evolved and how she has become the successful detective she has.
Her team also have good back stories. The ever reliant Bryant, her Detective Sergeant is every bit as fundamental to these stories as Lewis is to Morse, or Watson is to Holmes. He acts as her stabiliser and suffers the frustration of seeing Stone struggling through some investigations, but more significantly her personal life.
DC Stacy Wood, the quiet detective that is really good at information trawling and working on a computer, but not so good on face to face encounters. Watching her develop through the series, as she finds her confidence, and becomes a tour-de-force of a cop, is something that would not ever be achieved this well in a single book, or short series.
DC Kev Dawson, young, handsome, cock-sure, but an integral part of the team. His character changes as much as Woods, but in a totally different way.
Then there’s the fringe characters that keep recurring, Keats the pathologist with his love hate relationship with Stone. The Forensic Teams, and Senior Police Officers
Then there’s reporters. One in particular, that has a strange relationship with Stone, to say they use each other when they want something is an understatement. But they both know they need each other and their fraught working relationship is entertaining throughout the series.
Of course, there’s the criminals. A vast array of them over the ten books, all realistically written, all with back stories to help the reader engage with them. Some of them recurring through several stories; and for every criminal there’s a victim who is equally well portrayed, often eliciting as much empathy as sympathy from the reader.
That brings us back to this book. DEAD MEMORIES finds Stone and the team looking at some of their past investigations as a murderer appears to be using Stone’s history to set their crimes. Is it a message to her, or is it the prelude to an attack on her. Is somebody trying to ruin her reputation, her life, or kill her.
What a book. This series just keeps going from strength to strength.
When a couple of young women are flagged down to help a motorist stranded in a winter storm the nightmare begins.
One of the girls escapes and makes it to Black Rock Falls but the other wakes in what she thinks is a hospital. That illusion lasts as long as it takes her to realise that she is tethered to the bed and that the person in the next bed is being threatened with unspeakable pain an death.
Ella, the girl who has escaped, tries to convince the local police that they should take her seriously, but it takes more disappearances until they realise they have a serial killer on their hands
The investigation is headed by Sheriff Jenna Alton and Deputy Dave Kane. Both of these investigators have hidden pasts and are living new lives.
Jenna has given evidence against one of Americas biggest gang leaders and is living under a new identity, but has it been blown.
Dave is still recovering from injuries he sustained in a previous investigation and his budding relationship with Jenna is under threat as his recent memories are being overtaken by the grief he felt when his first wife was killed.
Against the backdrop of the investigation into the serial killer the investigators go on their guard against a possible attack on Jenna, and try to rebuild their relationship
As Jenna conduct the investigation she uncovers similar crimes in which young people go missing on the same stretch of road and are never seen again. The pure amount of missing people is astonishing and the evidence given by Ella is the only clue they have to what is going on.
This is a small community and somebody must know what is happening. In fact it’s that small there is every possibility that everybody knows the killer, they just don’t realise it is who it is.
This is a good book with at least 3 strands to a story that weaves its way to a climatic end.
There is no time to switch off. Even when they are at home off duty Alton and Kane have to be on guard.
There is no time in this book when somebody is not in danger.
I like stories like this, they keep the pages turning, in fact they kept the pages turning so much I read the whole thing over two days.
Matthew Farrell is a new name to my reading list. In fact, I only found him because of a suggestion from his publisher’s twitter.
A quick look at the synopsis for I Know Everythingon a bloggers review website and I knew this was a book I wanted to read.
When a car runs of the road, and over a cliff, the woman inside is found dead behind the wheel. A rich and generous philanthropist Amanda had everything to live for, she had just been given a prestigious award and was on her way home to her husband.
Her husband, Randall, is devastated at her death, but this quickly turns to confusion when a stranger arrives and tells him his wife’s death was no accident, and that she had secrets. But he won’t tell Randall what the secrets are unless he confesses to his own.
Shortly afterwards the Police investigation, led by Investigator Susan Adler, uncovers the fact that Amanda was dead before the RTC and begin their own investigation with Randall as one of the main suspects.
What follows is a complex story that follows some extraordinary characters.
Susan Adler, the Investigator, is a single mom recently divorced from her husband and relying heavily on her mother to help bring up her young twins.
Her new partner Tommy Corolla a recent transferee from out of town.
Dr Randall Brock, a research Dr who is looking at ways treating people with psychopathic fantasies.
Plus, many more who I can’t mention without somehow spoiling the story.
It has to be said that throughout this book I had opinions on who I though was the killer, and, thanks to the wonderful writing of Matthew Farrell, I kept changing my mind on who that was. Right up to the end of the very last chapter he had me second guessing myself.
That is what makes this such an interesting, and compelling, book to read.
Each chapter had me second guessing, in the best way, and that meant I wanted to read the next one to find out if I was right.
That kept the pages turning and I ended up reading this book over two days.
It was one of those books that had me hooked so tight I didn’t realise I was devoting so much time to it, until I came up for air and realised that another few hours had passed me by.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is original, it is well written, the characters are great, the story is amazing and I think there may have been a very subtle little cliff hanger in the last two lines of the epilogue.
I hope so, because I want to read more from Matthew Farrell, using some of the same characters that are in this book.
This book has the best opening chapter I have ever read. In that one chapter the story of a young fell runner with everything to live for, until she gets injured and becomes hooked on prescription drugs, which leads to her taking illegal drugs until she can’t take it anymore and kills herself, is laid out and sets the tempo for the whole book.
The book looks at the pressures put onto children at secondary schools and sixth form colleges. The on-line bullying, we all hear about, but more surprisingly the often ignored on-line peer pressure. The pressure that is not just put on impressionable youngsters by their immediate peers, but also by the new breed of celebrity, the “Influencers” on sites such as Instagram.
It looks at the boredom of the youths in smaller countryside towns and the way the drug dealers are moving into the countryside to target these kids.
Rachel Lynch has written some great books in this series. DCI Kelly Porter is a great charter and easy to engage with, but for me it’s the crimes and the locations which make these books so stunning.
Everybody would have an idyllic view of the towns around the Lake District, but I suspect that Rachel Lynch’s version is much closer to the truth.
In this book Porter investigates the sudden deaths of students from the same school. She is convinced that somehow the suicides are linked, and her and her team start to uncover a tale of bullying and drug taking. One teacher is suspended following a complaint by a student which leads to the discovery of some illicit images on his computer, but is he being set up.
The head teacher lives in ignorant bliss, whilst teachers are losing control of the school. Rumours are rife and the investigation is sent off in all directions, but is there any truth behind the rumours, they can’t all be lies.
As the investigation continues a girl goes missing and the team fear she is going to be the latest in the long line of suicides, or if Kelly is right, the latest murder victim.
As well as carrying out the investigation Kelly’s personal life is in turmoil following revelations about her mother and father. Her Mom is battling a terminal disease and trying to find peace in her life before it’s too late.
All of this takes place over Christmas which seems to give an added poignancy to the story.
I started this review by saying the opening chapter was the best I’d ever read. It had me hooked into the book straight away.
The rest of the book?
It certainly didn’t disappoint. There were times when I couldn’t put it down, and there were times when I had to put it down, and just take a breath.
This book could be read as a stand-alone.
It’s the 4thin the series and I would recommend reading the others first, just to get the full impact of this one.
Perfect Crime is the fifth book in the DI Luc Callanach, DCI Ava Turner series.
Luc is an ex-Interpol detective who transferred to Scotland when he was wrongly accused of assaulting a female partner.
He has found solace in the company of DCI Ava Turner, both on a professional level and as a friend, but he is still a bit of a closed book to everybody else. Respected for his work everyone on the team like him as a cop, but some of the men see him as a threat to their manhood.
In this book more of his back story comes to light in a way that puts him at the forefront of the suspects in a murder inquiry, and he finds out who his true friends are.
As the senior officers isolate him, from the investigation he is a suspect in, he carries on working with Ava on an investigation which is looking at the suspicious deaths of people with a history of depression and attempts at suicide.
The investigation against Luc puts the pressure on his relationship with the Scottish Police and even worse may compromise Ava professionally.
This series is really good Police Procedural with the undercurrents of a will-they-won’t-they relationship between Luc and Ava.
In this book that relationship is stretched to the limit. Maybe Luc isn’t the innocent man he has been portraying himself as.
The crimes investigated by Ava, looking at the deaths of people who had previously attempted to take their own lives, is compelling in its own way.
Helen Fields has found a group of vulnerable people who make ideal victims for a serial killer. She explores the reasons these people are depressed and what has led them to the place they now find themselves in.
She looks at the people that attempt to help them; and uncovers the nasty side, the people that pray on their vulnerability.
This book can be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend reading the first four in the series first. They are stunning crime novels, and once you’ve read this one you will want to read them anyway. So why not do it in order