Searching For Pilar Patricia Hunt Holmes

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Wow, what a story.

The book starts with Pilar (19) happily married to Alejandro and looking after their 9 month old daughter. Life in San Jose is perfect for the young, happily married mother.

Then her husband loses his job and struggles to find work. Answering an advert for a well paid clerical job Pilar goes to Mexico City for an interview.

That’s when things go badly wrong. Kidnapped and forced into the sex trade Pilar fights for survival, and not just hers, she takes the young girls kidnapped with her under her protection and swears to get them through the ordeal alive.

Meanwhile the one member of her family who knew where she was going is riddled with guilt. Diego, her brother, gave her a lift and left her in the city to go and watch a football team train. When he returned to pick her up she wasn’t there.

The story splits between Pilar’s captivity and Diego’s attempts to find his sister.

Pilar’s story is horrific, but must be reminiscent of so many poor people.

Diego’s story is a tale of love, dedication, and determination.

No spoilers so I’m not going to say how this ends.

This is a great story and I really enjoyed it. I have seen some other reviews which have mentioned the fact that it includes the rape of two young girls, and sexual violence to the main character aged 19 when we first meet her. Yes, these small paragraphs are in the book, but they are written in a way that is not overly graphic or shocking. Yes, it is a horrific subject, but it is dealt with well by Patricia Hunt Holmes, and in my opinion the story needs this to reflect the true horrors of the people smuggling and sex trade, that unfortunately exists across the globe.

Well done Patricia for using this book to bring it into the spotlight.

Pages: 322

Publishers: River Grove Books

Available on Amazon

Perfect Dead Jackie Baldwin

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When this book came up for review I liked the look of the blurb that went along with it. It was the second in the DI Frank Farrell series, so naturally I downloaded the first in the series and read that first. Thank God I did, I have discovered a great new Police Crime Series.

Frank Farrell is a great character for a book. An ex-priest who leaves the proesthood because he broke the sacrament of the confessional, and helped the police catch a murderer. It was only natural that once out of the Church he would become a cop, and so he started a distinguished career in the Big City and made his way up to DI.

Then he moved back to his hometown of Dumfries, which is where we find him in this series.

I won’t go on about book 1 Dead Man’s Prayer, take it from me it’s a fantastic read, because this blog is about Perfect Dead, which is just as good if not better.

Perfect Dead sees the MIT in Dumfries overwhelmed with 4 cases, murders, missing persons and art forgery, in the small town of Kirkcudbright.

Farrell is one of 2 DI’s tasked with breaking the cases along with his childhood friend DCI Lind, and their small band of Detectives.

The cases all seem to be centred around a small community of artists which provide a great cast of characters for the story. Each one is wonderfully written, and the way they weave into the story is fascinating.

This story is multi-layered and takes loads of twists, but all the time it stays within the realms of possibility.

Jackie Baldwin has created a wonderful set of characters. DI Farrell is still conflicted between his faith and his job, and when it comes to personal relationships he really does struggle. His main sidekick is DC Mhairi McCleod, a young woman that had, until Farrell arrived in her nick, built up a reputation as a party girl, but he sees the potential and relies on her for a lot of his work.

There are many others, all with great side stories, in the cast of police characters. Just as much effort is put into the criminals, with great effect.

The crimes in this book are perfectly written and they all add to the story, but what is the link. I didn’t work it out until the last chapters.

And talking of the last chapters, what a climax to a book.

I started this review saying I read the first book in the series before I reviewed Perfect Dead. That’s because I like to read books in chronological order. But this can be read as a stand-alone-novel, and a brilliant story it is.

Jackie Baldwin is a new author to me, but has gone straight onto the must read list.

 

Publisher: Killer Reads, Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 15th June 2018

Available to pre-order for the Kindle

Grave Island Andrew Smyth

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Have you ever wondered where your prescription drugs and medicine come from. No? Neither had I until I read this book.

Army investigator Philip Hennessey finds himself discharged from the service when evidence is planted on him to suggest he has broken military protocol. Out on civvy street he is asked to use his investigative skills to look into the death of a friend-of-a-friend.

This leads to him digging into the private hospitals of London and where they get their drugs from.

What a can of worms that opens. The illicit trade in drugs is massive. Drugs brought cheap in 3rd world countries and repackaged for the UK market, and sold at UK prices, are making people a semi-legitimate profit. But people who are prepared to do that are one step away from buying out of date drugs, which are worse than useless. People who are prepared to do that are one step away from buying completely illegal counterfeit drugs to supply to hospitals.

It’s not long before Hennessey is embroiled in an investigation which takes him around the world, putting him in danger from more than one quarter.

This is a really good story from a modern day Hammond Innes. Believable and realistic it leads the reader on a race around the globe to stop the trade in illegal drugs.

I loved this story. It took me right back to the thrillers I used to read back in the 70’s and 80’s, but with all the modern twists.

I enjoy books that get me reaching for google to research places and crimes, and this book had me doing that a lot.

A great read for people who are looking for an adventurous yarn, perfect for holiday reading or just sitting down at home and escaping the real world.

Pages: File Size 1899KB

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Available now

The Perfect Silence. Helen Fields.

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Every now and again a book come along and stops me in my tracks. Perfect Silence is one of only a handful to have done this in 40 odd years of reading psychological thrillers.

The book starts with a woman crawling along a country lane. Badly injured having been viciously abused by her kidnapper, who has left her to die slowly, and alone, with no chance of anybody finding her in time to save her.

When she is found the Edinburgh Major Investigation Team is tasked with finding the killer.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach make a great team. She is young and ambitious but a great officer, he is the French transferee from Interpol who has adopted Scotland as his homeland, even if it is somewhat reluctantly.

Together with their team they start the investigation into the murder of the woman but quickly realise that another woman has been taken. From then on it becomes a race against time as the kidnapper kills the women before taking the next victim. Every time they take a new victim they leave behind their uniquely grotesque calling card.

But how many women will go missing and be killed before Ava and her team catch the person responsible.

If that’s not bad enough somebody is attacking the drug fuelled vagrants across the City, and Ava is desperately trying to protect them as well as catch their attackers. This investigation leads her into a conflict it doesn’t look like she can win.

Will this distract her and her team from finding the killer of the women.

This book had me hooked from page one. By the end of the book I was breathless.

Helen Fields has a way of writing that keeps the reader turning the page. A lot of authors can do that. But she can do something not very many can. There are chapters in this book where the very last sentence made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up in horror. Not the grislily sort of horror, the psychological sort. Wow

Last year I was lucky enough to read Perfect Remains by Helen Fields, but because it was part of a judging system for a literature prize, I wasn’t able to review it on my blog. It was one of the best books I’ve read.

Well I can shout from the roof tops about this one. It’s the best book I’ve read this year, and right up there in the list of the best books I’ve ever read.

Pages: 432

Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 23rd August 2018

Available to pre-order on Amazon

The Way Of All Flesh. Ambrose Parry

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Will Raven is just about to start as the new medical apprentice to the renown Dr James Simpson, but just before taking up his appointment he finds a friend dead in her bed. Twisted in death the body looks as though it is in spasm, and Will leaves without telling anybody. He has to, his friend is “just another dead whore” as he latter hears her called.

Moving into his new digs Will cannot forget his dead friend as he sets about his new job. But as more bodies are found, contorted in the same way as his fiend, it becomes obvious that somebody is killing women, but why.

Finding an unlikely ally in a young house maid, Sarah, who is fascinated by Homeopathy, and hankers for a job in medicine only open to men from privileged backgrounds, Will begins to look for who was responsible for killing the women.

Set in Edinburgh in the winter of 1847. A time when Doctors and Chemists are racing to find the ideal Anesthetic. A time when women are turning to prostitution  to make ends meet. A time when illegal back street abortions are killing too many women who have no other option.

This story is not one that races along. It is a bit of a plod at times but it is well worth plodding through it.

Ambrose Parry paints a great picture of the life and times of the upper and lower classes of Edinburgh society, and nicely places his main character Will somewhere in the middle.

He paints a time when peoples egos outpaced the science they were trying to establish.

Pages: 416

Publishers: Canongate Books

Publishing Date: 30th August

Available to pre-order on Amazon

Dying Truth Angela Marsons Blog Tour

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DI Kim Stone book 8

I often look forward to getting my hands on a book I know is about to become available, but there’s only Angela Marsons, at the moment, that actually gets me excited when she is  about to release a new book.

Why is this?

Simple really, in my opinion Angela is the best Crime Fiction author out there at the moment. The books are gritty and realistic. They pull no punches, and cover the world as it is. Prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, murder, they all feature in this series of books.

She has her main character, the wonderful DI Kim Stone and her regular team. They all have a great back story, and at some time have all played a big part in one or more of the books.

She writes about the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes with equal measures, showing the effect crimes have on the victims and how the bad guys became bad guys.

In this book she takes tension and emotion to another level. In fact most of the reviews I’ve read have suggested having a box of tissues handy. They aren’t  wrong.

There has also been a few #DrAlexThrone, Oh yes the ultimate criminal is back.

Here’s my review of Dying Truth

What a way to start a book. The prologue see’s DI Kim Stone struggling with a broken leg as she tries to warn people not to enter part of a building where she knows they will be in mortal danger. But who are the people running into the building and what exactly is the danger.

Cut to chapter one, a few days before the prologue. The death of a young girl at a posh, private school.

It’s classical mystery writing technique but, I don’t think I’ve ever read it written in a better way.

As the story builds Kim is supported by all her usual crew, trusty Bryant, laddish Wood, and the quiet Black Country Lass Stacey. Will any of these be charging into danger at the end of the book.

The team are investigating a suspicious death at the private Heathcrest Academy. A private co-ed school, where the elite of midlands society send their children to study alongside sporting, and academic, high achievers.

Not surprisingly amongst the students there are secret societies that have seen generations of the same family pass through them. The societies employ horrific initiation ceremonies and even more horrific discipline methods.

When the body of the first victim is found, after she apparently committed suicide by jumping from one of the highest points in the school, Kim and Bryant are the first Officers on the scene.

Kim is not happy with the circumstances of the death and her suspicions are bourn-out when Keats carries out the autopsy and confirms that the girl was murdered.

The investigation is thwarted at every turn by the family, who are trying to hide their own secrets; by the school, whose principle will only entertain suicide as the cause, as murder would be bad for business; and by the students, who are either in one of the secret societies, or are scared of the pupils that are.

As the story unwinds Kim has to turn to an unlikely ally for advice, which itself holds dangers which I’m sure will hold recriminations.

As the body count begins to rise, and the climax of the book gets ever closer, the tension rises. Right up to the end it’s impossible to find out, or guess, who is running into danger, and how it will play out.

When the end comes it is no anti-climax. I had already read quotes on twitter where people said the they were left “broken” at the end, and that it was an “emotional ending”.

I thought I was ready for it, but no. It is emotional, and I was broken.

This is book 8 in the DI Kim Stone series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it works well as one, but to get full impact read the others.

I was lucky enough to find Angela Marsons when the first Kim Stone novel was released, and have been onboard from the beginning.

I am a prolific reader and I can think of no bigger recommendation than, every time an new book in this series is made available, I put down whatever I’m reading and read what Stone and her team are up to. This one was the best yet.

Roll on Book 9

News just in. It’s not just me that likes these books. The Australians get the 18th May 9 hours before us; And Dying Truth is already number 1 down there.

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I Never Lie Jody Sabral

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Split between the current day, and diary entries from last year, this is one of the most original plots I have ever read.

Alex South is a 39-year-old alcoholic. She is also a TV journalist who is has already had one “episode” on live TV.

When a woman is found murdered, in a park just around the corner from her house, Alex gets another chance and is sent with her cameraman and producer to the crime scene.

This is the third woman to be killed in similar circumstances in a few weeks and the press are saying there’s a serial killer on the streets.

The book is written in the first person from Alex’s point of view. The struggles of getting through the day without appearing drunk, trying to keep the balance between the sober shakes, and the outward drunk.

She struggles with panic attacks and blackouts. Her memory is shot, and things she did 24 hours ago are hazy at the least.

But she’s functioning, she’s managing to carry herself professionally, and convinces herself that she will get sober……one day. But first she needs to be the investigative reporter on-the-spot for the serial killer murders.

This book is brilliant. Jody Sabral is a journalist and so she knows the business, and it shows in the realism of this story. But what really puts this book above the others is the realism with which she treats the alcoholism of Alex.

The self-destructive cycle of life. Waking up in the morning convinced today will be a sober day, but reaching for wine instead of coffee, and there’s always a justification.

The pure panic when no booze is available. The waking up, sometimes next to a complete stranger, and having no idea who they are, or how you got to bed, and then actually finding comfort in somebody just being there.

The walking out of a shop with a bottle of wine, or vodka, in your bag you had no intention or recollection of buying

The water bottle with vodka in it.

The belief that you’re fooling the people around you.

I loved this book. The story is great, the characters are really well written, and I didn’t get anywhere near guessing the end.

Pages: E-book 951KB

Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 11 June 2018