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

Broken Bones. Angela Marsons. Blog Blitz. Review and Preview

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On November, the 3rd the latest book in one of the best Police Procedural Series.

Angela Marsons has based her fictional detective in the very real Police Station of Halesowen, in the West Midlands. This is a perfect setting, giving her the opportunity to explore crimes in the urban deprivation of some parts of the industrial Black Country, whilst also having access to some of the wealthier areas of the borders with Staffordshire and Worcester.

The crimes and the people that Angela writes about are realistic and believable. Broken Bones is book 7 in the series but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, but I guarantee that you’ll read the other 6 if you read this one first.

One of the most outstanding things about Marson’s writing is the way she makes the reader invest in her characters. With each book the story of Stone and her team is developed. Along with some recurring peripheral characters, the team become embedded in the mind of the reader. I find myself looking forward to the next instalment to see what is happening in their professional and person lives, almost as much as I look forward to seeing what crime they are going to be faced with next, and how they are going to solve it.

Marsons also deals with crimes prevalent in the modern day; forced labour, the slave trade, drugs and prostitution; and the effect the crimes have on the criminals, their victims, and the families of those involved.

All-in-all Angela Marsons writes the books I want to read.

Realistic, believable, fast paced, criminal physiological thrillers with no promise of a happy ending.

Below is my review of Broken Bones and a preview of the prologue of the book.

The Review

It’s here, the 7th book in the DI Kim Stone series. I tweeted, as soon as it became available, that Angela Marsons was the only author that I put other books down for, to read hers, when they come out. 

Did it live up to my expectations?

Hell Yes!

Detective Inspector Kim Stone and her team are back. The story starts with a young girl sitting on the roof of a Black Country Tower Block on Christmas Day. She gets pushed off.

 Over the next few weeks as the midlands is covered in snow, a baby is abandoned outside Kim’s Police Station, a prostitute is murdered on her patch, and as the team become involved in solving these crimes they become start to uncover a link to illegal Romanian workers.

 The books takes the reader into the underworld of prostitution, drugs, and modern slavery.

 With two main line of inquiry and Kim has to split her small team into pairs.

 With the team are recovering from the events of a few months earlier, Kim pairs up her young Detective Sergeant Kevin Dawson, with her young Detective Constable Stacey Wood. This partnership is the Yin and Yang of policing. Full-on-Kevin is a typically out-going personality that likes to push the limits, and is full of self-confidence. Black Country girl Stacey, is quiet, methodical, and deep thinking. They both have a positive effect on each other, and bring the best out of each other as people, and as Police Officers. As they investigate the abandoned baby case they are thrust into the world of illegal immigrants and forced labour.

 Meanwhile Kim uses her trusted crusty-old Sergeant, Bryant, to keep her on the right side of the line that divides pushing Police Procedures to the limit, and breaking the law.

 Kim and Bryant look into the death of the prostitute and the investigation takes them to the seedier side of two “titutions” that go hand in hand. Destitution and Prostitution.

 Bully boy pimps, gangs, drugs, the horror of street-walking-sex-trade workers, physical abuse, and grooming are day to day occurrences  for the prostitutes of the Black Country.

 Now, just to make matters worse, somebody has killed one of their own. As Kim and Bryant start their investigation they come across some familiar faces and the reader gets to see the other side of their lives. The vulnerable women and the desperation that leads them into the life they live.

 The story covers the investigations into these crimes, and others that get committed, compelling end.

 When I first started blogging I said I was dubious about prolific authors who publish more than 1 book a year. My thoughts, and experiences, were that a good book takes time to write, and that anybody who managed 2, or more, each year was just churning out words and hoping their fans would keep buying.

 Angela Marsons has proved the exception to that. 7 books, in this series, in a little over 2 years; and over 2 million copies sold. Each book raises the bar, each book is better than the last.

 The only other author that has kept me hooked on a series, of Police procedural books, for this long is Tess Gerritsen with her Rizzoli and Isles series; and that is not bad company to be in.

 She remains my favourite author, and there are a lot of good authors out there at the moment.

The Preview
PROLOGUE

Black Country: Christmas Day

Lauren Goddard sat on the roof of the thirteen-storey block of flats. The winter sun shone a grid onto her bare feet dangling over the edge. The cold breeze nipped at her wiggling toes.

The protective grate had been erected some years ago after a father of seven had thrown himself over. By the time she was eleven she had stolen a pair of wire cutters from the pound shop and fashioned herself an access point to the narrow ledge that was her place of reflection. From this vantage point she could look to the beauty of the Clent Hills in the distance, block out the dank, grubby reality of below.

Hollytree was the place you were sent if Hell was having a spring clean. Problem families from the entire West Midlands were evicted from other estates and housed in Hollytree. It was displacement capital. Communities around the borough breathed sighs of relief as families were evicted. No one cared where they went. It was enough that they were gone and one more ingredient was added to the melting pot.

There was a clear perimeter around the estate over which the police rarely crossed. It was a place where the rapists, child molesters, thieves and ASBO families were put together in one major arena. And then guarded by police from the outside.

But today a peace settled around the estate, giving the illusion that the normal activities of robbing, raping and molesting were on pause because it was Christmas Day. That was bollocks. It was all still going on but to the backdrop of the Queen’s Speech.

Her mother was still slurring her way around the cheerless flat with a glass of gin in her hand. Her one concession to the event was the line of tinsel wrapped haphazardly around her neck as she stumbled from the living room to the kitchen for a refill.

Lauren didn’t expect a present or a card any more. She had once mentioned the excitement of her friends. How they had enjoyed presents, laughter, a roast dinner, a chocolate-filled stocking.

Her mother had laughed and asked if that was the kind of Christmas she wanted.

Lauren had innocently nodded yes.
The woman had clicked the television to the Hallmark Channel and told her to ‘fill her boots’.

Christmas meant nothing to Lauren. But at least she had this. Her one piece of Heaven. Always her safe place. Her escape.

She had disappeared unnoticed up here when she was seven years old and her mother had been falling all over the flat pissed as a fart.

How lucky was she to have been the only one of the four kids her mother had been allowed to keep?

She had escaped up here when her mother’s drinking partner, Roddy, had started pawing at her groin and slobbering into her hair. Her mother had pulled him off, angrily, shouting something about ruining her retirement plan.

She hadn’t understood it when she was nine years old but she had come to understand it now.

She had cried up here on her sixteenth birthday when her mother had introduced her to the family business and to their pimp, Kai Lord.

She’d been up here two months earlier when he had finally found her.

And she’d been up here when she’d told him to fuck right off.

She didn’t want to be saved. It was too late.
Sixteen years of age and already it was too damn late.

Many times she had fantasised about how it would feel to lurch forward onto the wind. She had envisioned herself floating to and fro, gently making the journey like a stray pigeon feather all the way to the ground. Had imagined the feeling of weightlessness of both her body and her mind.

Lauren took a deep breath and exhaled. In just a few minutes it would be time to go to work. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, Christmas – nothing kept the punters away. Trade might be slow but it would still be there. It always was.

She didn’t hear the roof door open or the footsteps that slowly strode towards her.

She didn’t see the hand that pushed her forward.

She only saw the ground as it hurtled towards her
Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, out on 3rd November 2017

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2wwkvci

US 🇺🇸  http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

The Mistake. K.L. Slater Blog Tour

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It’s my turn on the Blog Tour for K.L Slater’s The Mistake.

I blogged about this book a few weeks ago and just had a quick look at my review. I think it’s quite obvious how much I enjoyed it.

But why did I enjoy it so much? Why does K.L Slater grab me more than most authors?

I had a look at her on line Bio, and read a few articles on line to find out more about her.

Kim Slater has been writing for years, and has had children’s books published by MacMillan, no mean feat.

Like so many other authors she has a stack of rejection letters, but undeterred she took herself off to University and gained an MA in Creative Writing.

This shows me that she never gives up, and that she likes to study and improve herself. That is reflected in her writing.

It is not luck that the books she writes are amongst the best psychological thrillers on the shelves. I can only imagine the amount of research that goes into the plot before the first word reaches the page.

The Mistake is the 4th Book she has written for adults. The previous 3; Safe With Me, Blink, and Liar have all been excellent but this one is the best so far.

My Review of the mistake is at the end of this blog, but before you read it I’d just like to say

Thank you Kim L. Slater for a great story.

 I can’t wait for the next. 

My Review of The Mistake by K.L. Slater

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 neighbour 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.

Louise Jensen The Surrogate Blog Tour

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It’s my Turn on The Surrogate Blog Tour.

Before I started to write this blog, I did a little bit of research. I sometimes get caught up in my own opinions of books, that’s why I never put bad reviews on my blog; just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean everybody else won’t.

So, when I enjoyed a book as much as this one, and Louise Jensen’s previous 2 The Gift, and The Sister, I wondered what everybody else was thinking.

Reading the reviews on Amazon and Netgalley told me everything I needed to know. It’s not just me. This is a brilliant writer writing brilliant stories.

There is a strange reality to what she writes. Not are the scenarios realistic, but they are the sort of thing that will get you thinking, that could so easily have happened to somebody I know.

Her characters are strong but subtle. It’s easy to relate the them and the situations they find themselves in. In this book, I found myself outside the story screaming in “can’t you see what’s happening?”. But was I right. Read the book and see what you thing.

My Original Review of The Surrogate

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.

The Girl Who Came Back Kerry Wilkinson

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Its my turn on the Blog Blitz to review Kerry Wilkinson’s new stand-alone crime thriller The Girl Who Came Back.

The Book

The main protagonist in this book is a young woman, Olivia Adams, a woman that is about to turn one family upside down.

Why? Because 13 years earlier Olivia had disappeared when she was 6 years old, and nobody has seen or heard from her since.

So, when she casually walks up to her mother in a Café in a small town, and says hello, she starts the expected round of questions.

Is she really Olivia?

Where has she been?

Why has she come back?

What does she want?

Her family and friends all have ideas about the answers to all these questions. Some people are sympathetic to her, and others are outwardly unbelieving and hostile.

The story twists and turns to a conclusion that I didn’t see coming.

There were times when I was happy I could predict the end, only to change my mind to a completely different idea two chapters later.

What I didn’t anticipate is the actual ending.

 

The Author

Kerry Wilkinson writes some very good books. Unusually for a man, he tends to write from a female point of view, but he does it very well. I was shocked to read in his bio that he had only just turned 30. How does somebody come up with such complex storylines and such diverse characters in their 20’s.

 

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this book. I’ve enjoyed all of Kerry’s books, but I have one thought.

How would DI Jessica Daniel handle this, a missing person turning up years after going disappearing as a six-year-old.

Maybe this is a thought for a new idea in books. Establish a long series with a cracking detective.

Then write a stand-alone novel such as this.

In the next book in the successful series, bring the acclaimed detective in to investigate the crimes which may, or may not, have taken place.

I believe the American Drama Series on TV call them cross over episodes.

Maybe we need some cross over books.

A good read, thank you Kerry.

Pages: 302

Publisher: Bookouture

Available now on Amazon