The Missing Ones Patricia Gibney

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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.

Angela Marsons Blog Tour Blood Lines

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And Then There Were 5

Blood Lines is the 5th in the Detective Inspector Kim Stone novels set in and around the Black Country.

I reviewed the book a few weeks ago and used the phrase “The best psychological thriller since Silence of the Lambs”. Why did I think this?

Simply because Angela Marsons has built a set of characters I have come to know and care about, Kim Stone being the main one. In Dr Alex Throne she has conceived a homicidal sociopath with many of the same traits as Hannibal Lecter, and she hates Kim with a passion.

Kim has already had one scrape with Dr Alex, and only just survived. In this book Dr Alex is pulling strings whilst in prison, and once again Kim Stone is her target.

Not since Silence of the Lambs’ Clarice Starling and Hanibal Lecture have I felt such a connection between two characters as I have felt between Kim Stone and Alex Throne.

So how did Alex Throne come about. I got to ask Angela a few questions.

 

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I asked her; I compared Alex Thorne with Hannibal Lecture. Where did the character come from and who, or what inspired her?

Angela replied; I wanted to explore how someone who truly had no empathy would think and act. When writing from Alex’s point of view I literally do have to strip myself of emotional attachment and kind of turn off my heart to try to understand the mechanics of her mind.”

So I asked.

Have you studied any sociopaths to help build her personality. Real or fictional

Not any particular individuals but I did a lot of reading on the subject, especially from Robert Hare, who is credited with developing the only reliable checklist in measuring a sociopathic personality. Also, the book The Sociopath Next Door is a true eye-opener.

 This answer shows why Angela’s books are so good. I admire the fact that she has an idea but then sits down and looks into how to make the situation, or character, real.

The next question was about the relationship between Kim Stone and Alex Throne.

Once you decided on the character of Dr Alex what was the next step in forming the complex relationships with the people she controlled.

It was all about manipulation. Not all sociopaths are serial killers, they just want what they want, and see no barriers to getting what they want. Alex wanted a better understanding of guilt, and in effect the ability to control it. This prompted the foundation of characters for Alex to interact with.

 The other thing I like about Angela Marsons books is the setting. I’ve said before the stories are set close to where I live, I have been tempted to go out and photograph where some of the scenes are set and do a virtual tour on a future blog. So how does she identify where she’s going to set some of her scenes.

My next question was based on one particular house in Blood Lines

We’ve spoken before about where you set the crimes. What struck me this time was the house on Mucklow Hill. Without going and being very nosey I think I can almost identify the house, definitely the little road it’s on. Was setting the family home, of the first victim, in such a specific place deliberate.

Angela answered. I didn’t use the location for any particular reason, but I like to use places that I think local readers will recognise. Most locals know where Mucklow Hill is.

One character cannot carry a series of books and Kim Stone has a team of officers around her that appear in every book. The subtle sub-plots they bring into each story help the series move along. My next question was about these characters.

Kim is a great character but it’s the rest of the team and the way they knit together that makes your stories all the more realistic. What made you choose the difference character traits for them?

I wanted each member of the team to bring something unique to the overall picture but I also wanted each member to bring out a different aspect of Kim’s personality. Bryant is her friend, Dawson challenges and frustrates her and Stacey she wants to nurture and encourage.

 So what of the future for Kim and her team

Are there any plans to promote Kim, or any of the others on the team, or bring any new characters into the team? Likewise, do you see her staying in the MIT or moving to something else

No plans to promote Kim yet as she prefers to be on the ground with as little paperwork as possible. Other members of the team will feature more in future books and there will definitely be changes as we progress through the series.

 I’m glad Kim isn’t moving but are you ever tempted to put her in the inner city. I loved the settings and characters in your stand-alone novel The Forgotten Woman.

She may move around a bit as I do want to explore more locations.

 My last question to Angela was a personal one.

I see you talking, and encouraging lots of other authors, on social media. Who do you read when you’re relaxing, and is it hard not to be influenced by other people’s storylines.

I read Caroline Mitchell, Mel Sherratt, Val McDermid and for something completely different I love Renita D’Silva. When I’m reading I have to switch off the writer part of my brain as I just want to enjoy a story written by someone else.  I don’t get influenced by other stories as I normally have the next 3 or 4 Kim books whizzing around in my head.

 Well that’s good news for me because in that last answer Angela mentions having 3 or 4 more Kim Stone books in her head.

Personally I can’t wait for the next one.

Thank You Angela. For the Books and the chat.

 

My review of Blood Lines

 In Evil Games Angela Marsons introduced us to the brilliant character Dr Alexandra Throne.

In Blood Lines she brings her back.

In my opinion this character is the best nemesis to any character since Hannibal Lecter tormented Clarice Starling in the Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.

Incarcerated for her part in previous murders Throne starts to manipulate the people around her. She is a vicious sociopath who has only one target. Kim Stone.

Pulling at strings like a master puppeteer she identifies people’s weaknesses and manipulates them to carry out her will. Each action falling into place like jigsaw puzzle bits until the final picture is revealed.

Angela Marsons writes the sections with Alex Throne very cleverly and although it is obvious from the start who her target is, she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right up till the last page to see if she succeeds.

Meanwhile Kim Stone and her team are faced with several murders in the Black Country. Are the murders unrelated, or is there something which ties them all together.

The first body turns up in a posh car in a layby in a dodgy area, a lady who obviously has money. The second is a drug addict girl found on an urban nature reserve. Surely these people can’t be connected.

Kim is looking into these murders when Dr Alex Throne manipulates circumstances to make Kim visit her.

Kim knows she shouldn’t visit. The last time the two became involved with each other Alex nearly destroyed Kim. But can Kim resist. Even if she can, is Alex back inside her head.

With the investigations into the murders moving ahead Kim has to deal with issues in her team, and Alex in her head.

With two storylines this book moves along so fast that, even at nearly 350 pages, you will wonder where the time has gone when its finished.

I make no bones of the fact that Angela Marsons is my favourite author at the moment.

The Detective Inspector Kim Stones books are nothing short of brilliant. The reason they are so good is that the storylines, the characters, and the locations are so well research and written.

In Kim Stone Angela Marsons has found a main character that sits alongside all of the best Police Officers in modern fiction.

In Alexandra Throne she has found the best, and most fitting, criminal foil for any Detective since 1991.

In doing so she had written not just a good Police Crime Thriller, but in my opinion the best Psychological Thriller since Silence of the Lambs

If you know somebody who loves a good Police Thriller, and they haven’t discovered Angela Marsons yet, the Kim Stone collection would make a magical Christmas gift.

Angela’s books are available in shops, on-line via Amazon, and are published by Bookouture

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A Tapping At My Door

A Tapping At My Door        David Jackson

Detective Sergeant Nathan Cody is a troubled man. Working in the Major Investigations Team in Liverpool he has recently finished a spell as an undercover officer that has left him emotionally wrecked.

Cody pours himself into work and, as it becomes obvious that a serial killer is working the streets of Merseyside, Cody finds himself drawn deeper into the investigation. What he doesn’t need is distractions. Distractions like a female Senior Officer taking way too much interest in her new DS; like and old flame turning up as a DC on his team on the same day they discover a serial killer is on the lose; like an over enthusiastic journalist second guessing his every move; and like a killer with a twist.  But that’s what he gets.

Unfortunately for me there are just too many clichés in this book.

The troubled protagonist, the unrequainted love interest from an older woman, the love he can never have with the ex from the past, and the haunting memories.

The story travels down a predictable path ticking all the boxes with an easily anticipated ending.

The only thing that I found original was the motive of the killer.

This book took me nearly 2 weeks to read, that in itself speaks volumes.

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The Brief Simon Michael

The Brief   Simon Michael

To use a sporting term this is a book of two halves, and both of them are really good.

The first half of the book is set in 1960 introduces the reader to the main protagonist Charles Holborne, a Barrister in a London Chambers. As the only criminal barrister amongst chambers full of corporate law and civil court barristers he is not the most popular person.

In fact Charles is not the most popular person amongst most of the people in his life. His wife is from English gentry and his marriage is on the line as she increasingly turns to her parent’s circle of friends leaving Charles alone at home or working late.

Whilst he’s at work he is constantly fighting the closure of the criminal work and hence his removal from chambers. Simon Michael, paints a great picture of a law chambers in the early 1960’s and the people that work in it, with Holborne having few friends and many enemies.

Charles is from a strong Jewish family and has changed his name to help him get along in a largely anti-Semitic profession. However it was marrying his wife Henrietta that was the final straw and his family have disowned him since the wedding.

The first half of the book sees’ Holborne representing one of two armed robbers tried with job in London, and is a good story in itself, but is no more than a prelude for the action in the second half.

The second half of the book is set in 1962.

Two years later and Charles and his wife are drifting further apart and the other barristers in Chambers are increasing their attempts to drive him out.

With his life in general reaching a tipping point Holborne becomes the suspect in a vicious crime. One of the characters introduced in the first half of the book is Detective Inspector Ronal Henry Wheatly. Wheatly is not crooked but he does like to make the evidence fit the person he is after. He is known to get results, even if he has the wrong person.

When Holborne realises Wheatly considers him a suspect he knows he has to take matters into his own hands, go on the run, and try to solve the crime himself.

The story sits nicely in the sixties allowing Simon Michael to weave a tale that wouldn’t sit correctly in the modern day.

It seems right that the world in which he works is full of anti-Semitic upper class snobs; its right that his wife’s family look down on him; we except that policing was “different” in those days. It wouldn’t have been right to set in in this day and age.

Michael has written a tale that is easily believable and very enjoyable. I hope this is the first of many, hopefully in the same era.

A great book I would recommend to anybody who enjoys a good legal who-done-it.

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Lost Girls Angela Marsons

Lost Girls   Angela Marsons

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This is the latest instalment in the excellent DCI Kim Stone series. All of the previous books have been 10/10 thrillers. This is no exception as Angela Marsons ramps up the tension in her best book yet.

The story starts with a kidnapping, but this is a kidnapping where the ransom will raise moral dilemmas.

Stone is given the task of conducting the investigation into the disappearance of the two young girls who have been taken. The mother of one of the girls is Karen. Karen spent her childhood in care, moved between council run homes and foster parents. As did Stone, and they have met but have very different recollections of their previous encounters. Will this hinder the investigation?

The missing girls are good friends and so are the families. The two families are brought together in one home to wait for news, but secrets in the families are bubbling just below the surface introducing an interesting dynamic that affects both the families and the investigating team.

As the hunt for the girls gets under way it becomes apparent that whoever has the girls has carried out at least one other kidnapping, and that they like to play games.

With the arrival of a text, sent to both families, the game begins.

It is a horrible game. I thought that been the parent of a kidnapped child would be a terrible experience. It is one of the things every parent dreads every time their child leaves the house. But this game will turn each family against the other and the police. It will also turn family members against family members. This is a parent’s worst nightmare.

Can Stone and her team bring the girls home? It doesn’t help that a reporter from a local newspaper is in the middle of a feud with Stone, and seems to be on to the fact that two girls are missing, despite a press blackout.

The race against time that is a kidnap becomes accelerated by the race to solve the crime before the journalist publishes the news of the missing girls.

Marson’s main character, Stone, is backed up by her small team, each of who is a character in their own right. Although this book can be read as a stand alone to get the best out of it, get to know these characters from the start by reading the previous books in the series.

As well as her usual team Stone is given two specialist officers to help, Alison the behaviour analyst and Matt Ward the negotiator. Hopefully we will get to see more of these two characters in future books.

Stone is a Detective Inspector based in Halesowen in the West Midlands. Marsons describes the places and the people of the area brilliantly.

I loved the part of the book where Stone politely explains why she is not a Brummie. This will not mean much to most but it will endear the readers from the Black Country.

Another brilliant book from what I am proud to say, to me, is a local Author.