Ashes to Ashes PaulFinch





I have to say I have never read any of Paul’s previous books, and I really don’t know why I’ve never come across him before. A quick look at Amazon told me this was the 6th book to feature DS Mark Heckenburg; but I must say reading this as a stand-alone, or out of sequence, book didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.

I had only read the first 5% when I sent a tweet out saying WOW what a start to a book. The next 95% did not let me down either. Its fast paced, and intriguing.

It’s one of those books where you keep looking for a point where you can put it down and get on with what you should be doing. In the end, I gave up and just read it straight through.

Detective Sergeant Mark Heckenberg, Heck, works in the Serious Crime Unit, a national resource based in London. It has to be said he is the typical “doesn’t work to the rules” “always in trouble with his bosses-who secretly like him” type of character. A cross between a British Cop and Jack Reacher. Not my preferred type of protagonist but I really did enjoy this book.

His latest investigation is taking him home to Manchester.

A torturer-for-hire has moved from the Capital to Manchester and the SCU team follow him.

Once they’re there another crime crosses their investigation. Somebody is using a flame thrower to kill people associated some of Manchester’s gangs. Very unoriginally the press give this killer the name of “The Incinerator”.

Meanwhile, as The Incinerator piles up victim after victim it appears that The Torturer is also working within the Manchester  Gang Scene.

The race is on to find both killers, who they are associated with, and why they are carrying out the killings.


Vic Ship is the head of a established gang and he has started introducing Russian Thugs into his team to enforce his law.

Lee Shaughnessy is a young man, the head of a breakaway gang. Both have a history of drugs, prostitution and violence. Both want to run Manchester, but is either of them capable of the atrocities that are taking place, or is somebody else trying to disturb the food chain.

The story runs at a very, very fast pace. Every page is a new breathless experience, and maybe, just maybe that could be the only thing wrong with it.

If you like your Lee Child you will love this.

If you prefer a more sedate, and dare I say it, more realistic read then this book won’t be for you.

I have said in previous blogs, and my Bio, I don’t do suspended reality. Yes we have violent crime on the Streets, and yes it is getting worse, but this for me was just a step too far.

However would I read the next one, yes definitely, and not only that I’m going to read the first 5 as soon as I’ve got a chance.

I think I’ve just found my guilty pleasure amongst my usually keep-it-reel reading list.

He Said She Said Erin Kelly





Another book which uses flash backs to a previous crime. Is it me or are these becoming more and more common.

The story centres around Laura and Kit, and their family and “friends”.

Kit is a bit of a strange character, introverted when younger, and not much of a change when he is older. But he has one unique quality, he is an Eclipse chaser. Whenever a total eclipse of the sun occurs, wherever it happens in the world, Kit must be there.

In the present-day Laura is his wife, and she’s pregnant. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but there is an eclipse due and it means Kit is going to travel to the Faroe Isles, not a trip suitable for his wife.

This will be their first time apart for some time, but worst of all, it will mean that both are isolated from each other since the incident they refer to as The Lizard.

The Lizard was an incident that happened during the total eclipse of the sun in 1999. An eclipse that Kit and Laura witnessed in Cornwall at the Lizard.

The flashback crime happens during the festival which marked the 1999 eclipse. Laura witness a vicious attack and becomes a key witness.

Ramifications of her actions ripple out to start to affect the couple in 2015.

The isolation of the Faroe Islands would be an ideal place to get to Kit on his own. Laura is more isolated than she thinks at home, and somebody is out for revenge.

This story is very original, at times for me it’s a bit rambling, but it is worth persevering with for the twists and turns in the plot.

It will keep you guessing till the end, and may even have you a little bit frustrated that you didn’t see the outcome earlier, but that’s never a bad thing.

This is the type of book I like to read on holiday when I have time to luxuriate in deep descriptions and dead-end sub-plots.

However, right now, I found myself skimming through chunks of it that were all a bit unnecessary.

The Cleaner Elisabeth Herrmann




What I love about e-books is that they allow me to find Authors from around the world and read their stories. Stories I would never have heard of, or had just been lucky to come across in an Airport bookshop.

The Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann came up as a book suggestion following another book I had read. A quick look at Amazon, and Herrmann’s own website, revealed that she is a well published novelist in Germany with many German Edition copies of her books available in the UK, but I think this is the first English copy.

That must change.

This is the story of a child victim of the Cold War, and the adult she became fighting to find out the truth.

1985 and a child is taken to a government run children’s home in East Germany, quickly swallowed by the system she suffers years of institutional abuse, which she extends into her private life as she gets older.

Her name is Judith Kepler, and after struggling with drugs, and self-harming, she gradually gets herself together and becomes a cleaner in the reunified Germany. Her specialism is cleaning crime scenes, moving in after the police and forensic teams have finished an investigation and making the building habitable again.

One such scene see’s Judith cleaning up after the murder of a woman, but she realises that she has a link with this woman and wants to know more.

Her investigations lead her into contact with agents working for the German Security forces, old and new. There is a secret out there that somebody doesn’t want discovering. Old allies are now on different sides, and old allegiances have changed, but this secret has to remain buried.

Who is the woman that was killed in the flat, the investigation leads Judith across Germany and Sweden. Judith’s life is put into danger but it only makes her put more effort into finding the truth.


Because until she finds out the truth, she won’t know who she is, why she was abandoned in the children’s home. One thing is for sure, what she knows now is false.

The book starts in 1985 and stays there for just the first chapter, moving on to the modern day the reader follows Judith’s actions as she fights to find out the truth. An ordinary woman battling against the power of agents from agencies with a profound interest in keeping the secret in the past.

As she digs deeper she begins to uncover a story of treason and double cross. She needs to know what would have set the wheels in motion that left her in the home; and what was worth so much, that so much subterfuge was used to hide the past

The characters in this book are good, and believable. Judith is one of us, and acting like one of us. She has no secret skills, she is no super hero, she is just getting on with life when things take a vicious turn. You will love her.

People who have read Marnie Riches’ the Girl Who……… series will love this book.

People who have read Ludlum at his best will love this book.

People who are looking for a new thriller author in the UK, this is your woman.

Most of all, anybody who likes a good story, will love this book.


The Promise Casey Kelleher




Modern day Brixton, with all the drugs and prostitution you expect from it.

Washed out old hags working the streets to feed habits, that are slowly eating them alive.

Attractive young girls, looking to be the next WAG and getting tricked into being High Class Escorts, to feed their addiction to the modern scourge of materialism.

Pimps feeding off addictions and fantasies.

Drug dealers feeding the addictions.

Families that get caught in the mess made by it all.

This story has it all.

Josie, the single mother of two girls, Georgie, 12 and Marnie 5. Living in a stinking flat with no food or clean clothes the girls hear their mother, “earning” money for her next fix.

Josie used to be a good earner, until her looks were ravished by the substances she was putting in her veins. Her dealer has been given a beating once by her pimp, but he keeps coming back and Josie keeps buying.

Delray Anderton is Josie’s pimp. He started running whores like Josie but has moved up in the world and now runs a high end escort agency, but he still looks after his old girls.

So when Josie disgraces herself with a client Delray comes to sort it out but then cuts Josie free. She can’t work within 20 miles of home, that’s his patch.

In desperation for money Josie gets herself into more trouble which ends with her being convicted of murder.

Her Girls are taken into care and that’s when their troubles really start.

Running away they end up under Delrays wing, but he is only interested in one thing. He has a client who likes young teenage girls, and Georgie is perfect.

The girls must escape, or at least try, but do they? can they?


This is a good story and Casey Kelleher does a great job of describing the world we all know exists but try to ignore. The book can be uncomfortable reading at times, but it’s gritty, so maybe its not supposed to be an easy read.



Born Bad Marnie Riches



Manchester has its own Mario Puzo

This book is stunning.

Say hello to the gangland of Manchester.

The O’Brien family run one half of the City. The Boddlington Gang runs the other.

There has to be conflict and, bloody hell is there conflict, very bloody conflict

The head of the O’Brien family, Paddy, is a ruthless gangster that treats those close to him as badly as he treats his enemies; but his family love him.

His brother Frank runs one of Manchester’s top night clubs, at which his son is a celebrity DJ

His enforcer, or Loss Adjuster, ss he calls himself, is Conky McFadden.

Conky is a fascinating character. A man that thinks nothing of beating people to a pulp or carrying out revenge shootings, yet he is into the classics and thinks deeply. He reminds me of Colin Dexter’s Morse gone rogue.

Then there’s Paddy’s wife Sheila. His punch bag and sex toy, when he’s not using younger versions in Franks club. Sheila runs her own cleaning company, a semi legit business she’s quite proud of.

On the other side of the City Tariq Khan and Jonny Margulies run The Boddlington Gang, an operation every bit as nasty as the O’Briens. They traffic young girls and force them into prostitution, make and distribute drugs, run guns, and destroy everything that comes into their path.

Just like the O’Briens, the Boddlingtons are all about family, but unlike Paddy Tariq and Jonny treat their families like human beings, and keep them in the dark about how they actually earn their money. So somebody’s in for a shock.

Just like the O’Briens, the Boddlingtons have an enforcer, Smolensky, The Fish Man. Why is he called the fish man, because he runs a fish mongers, and also because he guts and displays his victims like a dressed salmon, what a character, he even leaves sliced cucumber along the side of bodies.

After a conflict in Franks club, with a young drug dealer from the Boddlingtons, that leaves Paddy in hospital following a heart attack, the last thing I expected was that Paddy would say enough is enough and decide to retire to Thailand, but he does.

And that’s when the problems start, Paddy decides to sell up and he wants to do business with Jonny and Tariq. It is never going to be easy and somebody really doesn’t want him to sell up.

What ensues is a gangland battle that affects both gangs. Both enforcers are chasing around the city trying to find out who carried out the latest attacks, and carrying out revenge attacks of their own.

Paddy’s family is torn apart, so are the families of Tariq and Jonny.

Meanwhile Sheila is suffering in silence, with an admirer who can’t do anything about his feelings for her. Conky, the misfit of an enforcer hates, the way Paddy treats Sheila but his loyalty is to his boss.

There are subplots in this book that will have the reader loving a character on one page, and hating them the next. There are moralistic twists and turns which will see the reader empathising, and having disdain, with a person all at the same time.

The interwoven lives of the gang members earning illicit money through drugs, prostitution, and violence, should make the reader hate them all. But they are human, they have problems and you just can’t help liking them at times.

The book starts of really well, and right up to the very last page, just keeps getting better and better.

Somebody has to make this book into a film. Guy Ritchie, or Danny Boyle this story should be your next blockbuster, just don’t change anything its perfect as it is.

The Missing Ones Patricia Gibney



The Missing Ones        Patricia Gibney

Every now and then something good comes into your life.

This happened to me the other day. I requested a copy of The Missing Ones, a debut novel by Patricia Gibney.

The book was downloaded to my Kindle and I started reading what has turned out to be an absolutely, brilliant book.

Let me introduce you to the main character.

Detective Inspector Lottie Parker.

She is 43 years old, a widow who is struggling to bring up three teenage children, struggling with the death of her husband, struggling with alcohol, and struggling with the arrogance and ignorance of her Senior Officer Superintendent Corrigan.

I think it’s fair to say life a struggle for Lottie.

But Don’t feel sorry for her, all those things just add to a character you can’t help falling in love with. Whilst she’s battling just to keep her life on track, she is a good Police Officer in the midlands of Ireland, and this book could not have been set anywhere else.

There is a murder to investigate, historic child abuse by the clergy, corruption within the town council, good priests, bad priests, nice cops and functioning cops, all interwoven into one fantastic story.

The story is told with Lottie as the main protagonist. She is called to the murder of a 51-year-old woman in a Cathedral.  This is the first of a series off killings which take place over New Year 2014, in the middle of a snowy winter.

Anonymous flashback chapters tell the story of horrific happenings at St Angela’s Children’s Home in 1974. Good luck guessing who is having the flashbacks, it kept me intrigued up to the end.

Are the killings in 2014 connected with the happenings, of 40 years ago, in the now abandoned home?

Can Lottie solve the murders?

She will have to ignore her boss, rely on her team, and hope she can. Why? Because nobody is safe until the killer is caught. Nobody.

I said that every now and then something good comes into your life. Well in this case two things have.

Detective Inspector Lottie Parker and her team; and the author Patricia Gibney who has written a brilliant page turner of a Crime Thriller.

Let’s Hope we hear a lot more from both of them.

The Marsh Kings Daughter Karen Dionne




This book reads like part modern day thriller, part biography.

Helena today is a family woman with a husband and two daughters, but even her husband has no idea of who the young Helena was, and what she went through before her transformation.

The young Helena was the daughter of the Marsh King. Her mother was his victim; she had been kidnapped as a teenager and held in the middle of the swamp lands of Michigan, where she was abused and kept captive, eventually giving birth to Helena.

Helena loved her father; he taught her to survive in the swamp, to track, to shoot, to use a knife and to fend for herself. But his love was tough love, vicious punishments were inflicted on Helena when she got things wrong. Even worse punishments were inflicted on her mother.

As she grows older Helena begins to realise her father and mother are not the only people in the world. The only knowledge she has of the world outside the swamp are some old Geographic magazines. She may be a good hunter gatherer, but she is very naive.

The young Helena had escaped the swamp and started to build a new life for herself. She stands out from other youths of her age. Her naivety is charming but her “its black or white” thinking leads her into a few scrapes with her new family and the community she lives in.

The book starts with Helena having a day out with her youngest daughter. Everything is going well until she turns the radio on. A killer has escaped from the local prison, it’s not just any killer, it’s the Marsh King, her Father.

She knows the only person that is going to be able to track him into the marsh is her, she knows his field craft, he taught her everything she knows………But did he teach her everything he knows.

The story switches between Helena today tracking her father, and through older Helena’s memories, the story of the young Helena.

What a story it is. I hadn’t read a book like this 3 years ago. That’s because nobody in the UK writes psychological thrillers, or crime thrillers, set in the wilderness, or none that I’ve found.

The Kindle has opened a whole new world to me and two of my favourite authors now are C.J. Box and Greg Isles.

It’s time to add another name to my list Karen Dionne has written one of the best crime-psycho-thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It’s almost as if somebody has taken the best of Box and merged it with the best of Isles.

She describes life in the swamp so well, that in the evenings when I was reading it I could have been there.

Helena, her main character had me Loving her, hating her, empathising with her and just about every other feeling an author can take a reader to.

This is a great read, but stand by for a few bumps along the way when you read it.