What Lies In The Dark CM Thompson

What Lies In The Dark   CM Thompson

The book starts with a young girl running through the woods. She is scared of the woods but she is more scared of the big boys at school who might be on her safe route home. The opening few pages explores and explains her fear. The rest of the book examines the fears of a community.

The main story starts with Detective Sergeants Victoria “Bullface” Bullrush and Aaron Fletcher attending a murder scene. There is a marking on the body which confuses the detectives, and about the significance of which they disagree about.

As the story unfolds it is evident that there is a serial killer in the area and that they are killing women, the attacks becoming more frequent.

Thompson looks at the fear of local people and the affect the crimes are having on them, and also looks at the affect the investigation is having on the Police Officers.

The story rattles to its conclusion with a bit of padding. The author uses case files to remind the reader about each of the victims, and by the time you get to them you need them to bring the story back into line.

I’m tempted to say this book is a series of very small stories linked by some slightly unbelievable main characters. It’s almost a scatter gun approach to a Police Procedural. For the first 2 chapters I wasn’t sure what country it was set in, and I still don’t know where in the UK it was set.

This all led to it being a very frustrating read

In Bitter Chill Sarah Ward

In Bitter Chill           Sarah Ward

It is not often I can say I have found an original plot line. One that I have not come across before, and when I do I usually find them contrived. After all a Police procedural based around a murder can only be done so many ways, can’t it?

From Arthur Conan Doyle, through to Lynda La Plante somebody somewhere must have covered just about every plot, or so I thought until I read In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward.

DI Sadler and his team, DS Palmer and DC Childs, are called to investigate an apparent suicide in a Hotel in Bampton within the Derbyshire Peak District. Not an incident they would normally be involved with, but the dead woman is the mother of one of two girls who were kidnapped in 1978, a case that was never solved.

Their boss Superintendent Llewellyn had been a recruit PC in 1978 and wants his team to re-examine the kidnap whilst investigating the apparent suicide.

One of the two girls, Rachel Jones, was found 3 hours after initially been taken and now works in the same town, as a Genealogist. She has no little of the incident, but the suicide of her friend’s mother starts a turn of events that begins to bring back memories.

As the Police carry out their investigations Rachel starts her own using her skills, and knowledge, as a local historian, but who if anybody will unravel the facts that will bring either case to a close.

The book looks at the effects of the kidnap on the surviving girl. How she has developed into a slightly introvert expert in her field. It looks at the psychological effects it has on her, and how the investigation into the death of her friend’s mom’s suicide makes her question her own family and how they dealt with her disappearance.

The story is complex but easy to follow. The reason its easy to follow is because its hard to put down. I didn’t put it down long enough to come anywhere near forgetting what I had previously read.

The use of a Local Historian/Genealogist as one of the main protagonists in the book is a stroke of genius. It is this that makes this story unique. Interlinking crimes set in the same community but separated by nearly 40 years. The Police investigation is shackled by passage of time and the real expert being one of the victims. How much leeway can they give Rachel without compromising any findings, or her welfare?

I made extensive notes to help me write this review, but I don’t want to give away any of the story so I won’t be using them, I will say that the main characters, and many others, in the book have interesting storylines within the main context of the book. They are all developed as the story moves along and by the end of the book I was left hoping that there would be more to come in future instalments.

Here’s hoping that In Bitter Chill will be the first of many books by Sarah Ward.

When I researched Sarah I found out that this is her first book, and that she has written a lot of reviews for other books in her own blogs at www.crimepieces.com

For me that makes the originality of this book even more impressive. They say everybody has a book in them, and with my experiences I would like to think I had one in me, but every time I sit down to try and come up with a plot I always think “no that’s already been done”, or “no I’ve read that before somewhere”

Well Done Sarah. I look forward to many more tales from the Derbyshire Peak District.

Under A Silent Moon Elizabeth Haynes

Under A Silent Moon     Elizabeth Haynes

This is the second book written by Elizabeth Haynes that I’ve reviewed. It’s the first book in what will hopefully be a long series about DCI Louisa Smith.

The book revolves around the murder of Polly Leuchars, a woman with very loose morals. Living in a small community it seems she has slept with most of the population, both male and female, at some time.

Such a promiscuous person is bound to make enemies but who killed her? Was it a crime of passion, or did somebody kill her because she got too close to the local criminal family, the Maitland’s.

A few hours after Polly is discovered the body of a local woman is found in her car at the bottom of a quarry close to the house Polly was found in. Are the two deaths related?

Freshly promoted DCI Smith leads the investigation. As the reader is introduced to her, and her team, it is quickly evident that Louisa is single, but at one time she has had a relationship with one of her team, DI Hamilton, who had neglected to tell her that he was married at the time. Will their relationship effect the investigation, or will DI Hamilton’s loose morals lead him to become compromised during the investigation.

As the story moves forward it becomes apparent that many of the suspects have had an affair with Polly, or another mysterious woman that Polly had been involved with.

The story looks at the affect that one woman can have on a local community. Some of the relationships she formed were with strong-minded people, but she also allowed the vulnerable to fall in love with her. It leads to a complex who-done-it, who-did-who, and how-many-murders, are there tale.

I love Elizabeth Haynes’s books. She writes real world stories with a no holds barred. She approaches murder scenes with the same manner as she approaches some of the more intimate moments. Everything is written perfectly.

Her experience of working with the Police has given her a wonderful insight into what a real Major Investigation is like.

I love the way she uses a Police Memo, from Louisa’s boss, Detective Chief Superintendent Buchanan as a preface to allow the reader a reference point for all of the characters. Charts at end of the book show the digital tactical situation boards that would have been used during such an investigation, brilliant.

If writing’s all about going the extra mile Elizabeth has gone an extra ten.

If you love reading this type of book, or are interested in the writing process, Elizabeth Haynes has a website worth looking at.

http://www.elizabeth-haynes.com

Little Black Lies Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies   Sharon Bolton

1994 in the Falkland Islands and children are going missing. 3 so far and the community are split. Is there a serial offender on the Islands or are they simply having accidents in the baron wilderness of the islands and not been found.

Catrin is a mother who lost her 2 boys in a car crash two years ago. Her friend Rachel was looking after them when the accident happened. Again the islanders are split, some take Rachel’s side but many blame her for the deaths. Catrin more than anybody else, and she is plotting revenge.

The latest boy to disappear may be hampering Catrin’s plans, from the start of the book the reader is told she is on a tight schedule to kill somebody, it quickly becomes clear its Rachel.

Catrin has separated from her husband who has moved on since his son’s death. An ex-squaddie Calum, haunted by the events of the Falklands war 12 years earlier is now living on the island and is in love with Catrin, but she ignores it.

Calum is adamant that there is a killer on the island but the more he delves the worse it looks for Catrin.

She has a plan to kill Rachel and the sudden interest she is gaining from the locals is making her task difficult.

The missing boy is found but one of Rachel’s children goes missing. Is it the work of a serial offender, or is it Catrin’s revenge.

This story is told from the viewpoint of a grieving parent and a retired squaddie wit PTSD. It revolves around a closed community spread over a huge area. The description of the landscape, along with an appreciation of the life of a Falkland Islander, adds to the darkness of the souls of the main character.

Passenger 19 Ward Larsen

Passenger 19       Ward Larsen

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s, whilst sailing around the world working for Shell Tankers, my favourite genre of book was the suspense novel. I loved authors like Hammond Innes, Frederick Forsythe, Wilbur Smith, and the early Nelson Demille books such as Rivers of Babylon and Cathedral.

It has seemed to me that there are not so many books written in this vane anymore, the modern Authors who attempt this type of work always go over the top with implausible scenarios, and I had fallen out with the genre.

Until now.

Last week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Passenger 19 by Ward Larsen. I will admit I had never heard of Ward Larsen before, maybe it’s a geographical thing and his books are just not high profile in the UK yet, but now I know about him I will be reading his other books.

Passenger 19 is an adventure book, a suspense novel and a fantastic read.

Air Crash Investigator Jammer Davis is enjoying semi-retirement when his Boss comes to see him with bad news. An aircraft has crashed in Columbia. Jammers daughter, Jen, is listed amongst the passengers.

Jammer is assigned to the case and from the start appears to be having too much help from the American Authorities. When he arrives at the scene of the crash he is informed all on board are dead, but that there are 2 bodies missing. One of the missing people is Jen.

What made the plane crash? Is the first question Jammer needs to answer, but his biggest question where is Jen and is she still alive?

Ward Larsen picked a good country to set the story in. He uses the topography brilliantly allowing him to have an isolated inaccessible crash site, but best of all he can use the corrupt infrastructure to add danger to the investigation in a who-can-be-trusted plot line.

The clever US political angel adds to the weight of the book.

The story rushes through the jungle at a fast pace that never slows or gets dull.

Best of all it’s a credible tale. There are no stretches of the imagination; at no time does the reader need to suspend reality.

I’ve been looking for this book for years. Not specifically this book, but one of this genre. I have spent hours in book shops browsing shelves looking at books by Innes and alike and wishing for some modern Author to pick up the baton, sit at their laptop, and write a good suspense adventure novel. Well Ward Larson has.

Thank you Ward, I’m looking forward to reading your others.

Behind Closed Doors Elizabeth Haynes

Not only did I not want to put this book down once I started it, but I didn’t want it to end either.

Unusually for me I have read this book out of sequence. In fact it stands alone so well as a novel that I didn’t realise it was the latest in a series until I started to research Elizabeth Haynes for this blog. I will be reading the first two soon.

Behind Closed Doors is the best split-time book I’ve ever read. Elizabeth Haynes skilfully mixes her two main storylines. In 2013 DCI Smith investigates a series of crimes that appear to be linked to the Maitland-McDonnell’s criminal gangs. Whilst in 2003 Scarlett Rainsford, a 15 year old girl, is kidnapped whilst on a family holiday in Crete.

When a brothel is raided in 2013 England one of the woman found in the premises is Scarlett, missing for over 10 years. What is she doing in the flat, how did she get there, and where has she been in the intervening years.

The book follows the investigation into the crimes in 2013 England, whilst Scarlett’s story progresses from 2003 to catch up. Haynes interlinks the narratives in a way that neither gives away what is about to happen in the other.

Scarlett’s story alone is a great tale of survival, and would have made a fantastic book on its own.

The Police procedural part of the book, in which Smith leads her team’s investigation into the gang world, whilst assisting on the investigation of the reappearance of Scarlett, is written with an insight that can only be gained by someone who has worked closely with the Police. Elizabeth Haynes has, and it shows.

The final few chapters bring the stories together, and keep you guessing right to the end.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anybody

Killer-Lady-Writers

Things are changing, or is it just me?

Those of you who read my first blog will know a bit about my reading habits over the years, and about the types of book and the authors I read.

I honestly cannot think of a female writer whose books I read prior to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. This was not out of choice, they just didn’t write what I wanted to read.

Was it a coincidence that Rowling chose to present herself as a man in the guise of Robert Galbraith, was she trying to completely disguise herself or was she trying to break into, what I thought was a male dominated genre.

People will be saying that there have been women writing detective/ mystery/ police procedural books for years. Agatha Christie being a shinning example.

But over the last 2 or 3 years has anybody else noticed the emergence of some fantastic, British, female, Crime Thriller writers, and wow do they pack a punch.

In no particular order here are some of the women I have discovered in the last year or two.

Mari Hannah

Mari writes the Kate Daniels series. She is a DI in the North East and heads up a squad in the Major Investigations Team. Her stories are gritty; the descriptions of the characters and crime scenes are second to none. The violence in some of the scenes is breath taking and there is a no holds barred approach for the reader; but its not there as a gimmick, every act helps tell the story.

As with all good series there are back-stories to the characters that are always relevant to the main story, but also flow through the series linking them all, yet they are so well written each can be read as a stand alone

If you haven’t read any of these books yet you have missed a treat.

Mari Hannah can be found on Amazon or her own web site www.marihannah.com

Marnie Riches

Marnie is the author of a series of books, only two so far but more to come, in the George McKenzie series.

When The Girl That Wouldn’t Die was released reviewer’s started to compare it favourably with Stig Larson’s Millennium series. Well that is quite something to live up to so I downloaded it to read on my holiday. I wasn’t disappointed the book starts with a bang, in more ways than one. The main character, George McKenzie is a Cambridge exchange student living in the red light district of Amsterdam. Following what appears to be a terrorist explosion in the City she teams up with a local Police Inspector. The unlikely team unravel an amazing plot which twists and turns all the way to the end.

I was lucky enough to get a pre release copy of the second book in the series, The Girl Who Broke The Rules. It was one of the best sequels I have ever read. I find that some authors struggle with the second book, but just like Mari Hannah, Marnie Riches just got even better.

In these two books Marnie Riches tackles prostitution, drug use, and the human trafficking in a no holds barred manner.

I look forward to the next The Girl Who……..book and hope this turns into a long series.

Marnie Riches can be found on Amazon and also on her own web site www.marnieriches.com

Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons has written 2 books so far in the Detective Inspector Kim Stone series.

These books are set close to home; in fact they are set exactly where I live and the surrounding area. The Police Station Kim Stone works from; Halesowen in the West Midlands is my local station. So if ever I was going to notice any flamboyant exaggerations, unrealistic events or characters it was gong to be in these books. I didn’t.

Angela depicts the places and the people of the Black Country perfectly. The crimes she uses in the stories are all too realistic, and unfortunately common. The first book Silent Scream revolves around Child abuse at a Local Authority Children’s Home. The second book Silent Scream deals with the phycology of victims and how their vulnerability can be manipulated.

Angela also uses her characters back stories to enhance the main story and in the second book manages to introduce a nemesis to throw against DI Stone that shows a vulnerability, in the Police Office, that many writers attempt but few manage to convey.

Angela Marsons can be found on Amazon and at her own web site www.angelamarsons-book.com

I have singled out 3 women here because they have written my favourite books over the last 2 years but there are others who have also written brilliantly.

I find myself reading more books written by British women now than by any others.

I think of these Killer-Lady-Writers as a new breed of writer. They manage to combine the personal side of a character with the devastation they encounter better than the men used to.

Or is it todays society, do we as readers need more blood and guts to keep us engaged, and is it just coincidence that there are a lot of female writers coming through at the moment.

Carry on ladies.