The Girl Without Skin Mads Peder Nordbo

IMG_2818

I have found myself getting more and more into Scandinavian Noir, both in books and in TV Series.

I have to say this is one of the best I’ve read so far, and hopefully will make it to the screen because the plot is fantastic.

Matthew Cave is a Danish journalist living in Nuuk, Greenland.

Sent to cover the discovery of a mummified body in the wilds outside the city he finds a body that may be of historical significance. So why, when it is left in-situ, does it disappear overnight; and why is the Police Officer that is left to guard it killed in a grizzly manner that reflects four murders which occurred 4 decades earlier.

Matthew and his photographer, Greenland Native Malik, begin to look into both sets of murders and it soon become obvious to Matthew that there is some connection.

Nuuk may be the capital of Greenland but it’s like a small town, everybody seems to know everybody, there are no roads in or out of the city. Secrets and alliances abound, as do illicit relationships which encourage abuse.

Then there’s Matthews own past, his American Father that disappeared when he was young, and whose presence always seems to be a shadow in the background.

When Matthew forms a partnership with a young woman, who has just been released from prison for Killing her family, when she was only 11, his life comes under more scrutiny from the Police and Politicians.

Is somebody trying to stop him from getting to the bottom of the murders? Or is it just that they don’t like outsiders.

This book has everything I like about Scandinavian Noir; crimes in close communities, introvert characters, fantastic settings, and hideous crimes.

The book had me reaching for the internet on more than one occasion. The City of Nuuk was an unknown to me, the use of a special tool for skinning whales and seals was new to me, the Greenland folk law was new to me.

So as well as being very entertaining this book educated me. What more can you ask from a good read.

Pages: 352

Publisher: Text Publishing

Available now.

Gallowstree Lane. Kate London

IMG_2765 2

The Gallowstree Lane in the title refers to a Road in London where street kids on push bikes selling drugs, and of women selling their bodies because they are hooked on the same drugs.

The book is about a gangs and the Police, but it is so, so, much more than that.

It’s about two sets of politics.

When a young boy Spencer, a foot soldier in the Buds, a drug seller, is stabbed in front of his friend and dies before he can be got to hospital, it looks like the start off the usual tit-for-tat crimes.

For the Police this is a problem, politics and territory kick in.

DI Sarah Collins is the Senior Investigating Officer for the murder, and she is determined to catch the killer before the tit-for-tats start.

DI Kieran Shaw is the head of an undercover operation that is hours away from making its big arrest, which will take some heavy duty weapons off the street and take out the head of the Buds gang. He doesn’t want to jeopardise his operation by sharing information critical to Sarah’s case.

The bosses are on both their cases but have to consider whose crime trumps whose. Is the death of one more street seller worth compromising an investigation which is about to take death off the streets.

DC Lizzie Griffiths is caught between to camps. Stationed on Sarahs team at the start of the investigation, but seconded to Kierans’ almost immediately, her alligencies are torn.

Meanwhile gang politics kick in. Why was Spencer killed and who set him up. Gallowstree Lane is Buds territory and it looks like somebody new is trying to muscle in.

As much as the story focuses on the police investigations it also follows the gang members. Ryan, the in-too-deep teenager that was with Spencer when he was killed.

Lexi a £10 street whore who is full of good intentions, but whose life is controlled by the need for the next fix.

Shakiel, the head of the Buds, and somewhat of a father figure to Ryan.

The politics of the street kicks in. Shakiel doesn’t want to lose face, or territory, or trade. Ryan wants instant revenge but Shakiel sees the bigger plan.

This book is absolutely stunning in its authenticity and one look at Kate London’s bio will tell you why.

She did her time in the Met dealing with the crimes she writes about. That experience is what elevates this book to a whole other level above most of the people writing crime fiction.

Pages: 368

Publisher: Corvus

Publishing date: 7thFebruary 2019

Available to pre-order on Amazon

The Last Lullaby. Carol Wyer

IMG_2764

The second book to feature DI Natalie Wood, a middle-aged woman trying desperately to be a good wife, and mother, at the same time as leading a Major Investigation Team.

When the body of a woman is found brutally murdered in her bedroom suspicion is immediately placed on the husband.

The more the team look into him the more lies and untruths are uncovered but are they anything to do with the murder.

The victim was an entitled woman that thrived on playing people off against each other. The husband is an ex-con who has set up a gym in an underprivileged estate.

The investigation is set spinning in circles by the stories told by locals, and by the mixed messages they are receiving about the victim.

With the investigation going down one cul-de-sac after anther the team are getting nowhere. Then another woman is found dead in very similar circumstances and it becomes clear that it’s the same killer.

The investigation is still going nowhere quick until………you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is a great story. The frustrations of the police are laid bare as they are sent on one false lead after another by people trying to protect their own back, or simply deciding they don’t want to help the Police.

The main character, Natalie, and her team are flat out. Carol Wyer writes about the affect their career has on their relationships better than any other writer at the moment.

She looks at the almost selfish attitude they have towards keeping the investigation going, usually at the cost of their nearest and dearest.

And the transient characters are equally as good

The first murder victim Charlotte is a woman that wants everything everybody else has, then once she’s got it, she gets bored and gets rid of it. The book could easily have been called Marmite Girl, because people in the book either love her or hate her.

Her Husband is a thug that makes it easy for the reader to want him to be guilty. The people he hangs out with are all rouges that think themselves above the law.

It’s not often that a Police Procedural is based around one murder, and although this one isn’t either, it very nearly is. And its brilliant. It allows the characters to be explored fully and develop. I have a feeling that some of them may make appearances in future books.

A great read and I can’t wait for book 3

Pages: 333

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date: 7thDecember 2018.

The Liars Wife. Samantha Hayes

IMG_2740

 

Samantha Hayes has a way of writing that gets the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, and has me turning the lights on at the first hint of darkness.

Imagine being in a desperately abusive relationship and finally having the courage to escape. That is what happened to Ella, and now she is building a new life.

Having dodged the dreaded works night out she is on her way home when she’s involved in a hit and run that leaves her in an induced coma in hospital.

When she wakes up she’s told how lucky she is to have such a wonderful husband as the man that’s been by her side since just after she arrived in hospital. The only thing is she has no recollection of being married, until she sees him. Her ex has the hospital staff wrapped around his little finger and is going to take Ella home and look after her.

If she tries to escape, or raise the alarm, he has a video of something from her past which he will give to the Police. She’s trapped.

All that in the first few chapters, and what follows is a fast paced psychological thriller of the finest order.

Ella needs to get away, her ex isn’t going to let her and if she does he’s going to ruin her. There’s one ray of hope. Liam, a person she has been working with in her new life, is missing her. But if he pokes around too much is he going to put himself and Ella in danger.

The story of what is happening now, is interspersed with events that lead up to what is captured on the video that Ella is being threatened with. Both make compelling stories on their own but woven together they are chillingly good.

Pages: 372

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 22ndNovember 2018.

Her Final Confession. Lisa Regan

IMG_2741

This is book 4 in the Detective Josie Quinn series, my favourite American crime series of the moment.

Quinn is career Detective working in the Denton Police Department. Denton is a small City with a small Police Force, but enough crime to keep everybody busy.

Quinn picks up the worst of the cases, with good reason, she solves them.

But this case is going to tax her and her team to the limits.

One of the other detectives on her team is missing, and a young man has been found dead at her home, shot in the back.

As much as everybody wants to think Gretchen is innocent, and that there is a good explanation, nobody except Quinn is really convinced she is not responsible for the young man’s death.

When Quinn begins to look into the case she realises just how little she knows about Gretchen, even though she hired her, and she had become one of her closest confidants.

The investigation leads Quinn to New York where she finds out more about Gretchen than she imagined. The woman had lived a nightmare for years and nobody knew.

The investigation takes in historical murders, under-cover cops and outlaw biker gangs.

The threads of this web weave one hell of a story that gradually leads to an outcome that I never saw coming.

Lisa Regan writes great stories. I love the character Josie Quinn. She is tough but vulnerable. Her back story is laid out in the first 3 books in the series and I can’t recommend reading them highly enough.

It’s no secret that I love crime series books that have underlying stories for the characters. This is one of the best, and as usual when I finished it, I wanted to read what Quinn is up to next.

Pages: Ebook 2145KB

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 28thNovember 2018

The Songbird Richard Parker

IMG_2984 2

DI Tom Fabin returns for the second instalment of this Police Procedural series.

Never Say Goodbye promised a lot from this series, The Songbird doesn’t disappoint, in fact, it raised the bar.

With his nemesis, the mass murder Christopher Wisher, in prison things are looking good for Fabin on the work front.

On a personal level he is separated from his wife and his daughter Tilly has just started University.

Things are running along quite smoothly until his boss sends him to visit Wisher in prison. Wisher hands him his journal and asks him to read it.

When Fabin starts to read the journal, he realises it starts on the day that Wisher was sent to prison.

The cryptic entries in the journal mean nothing at first. Then the murders start, all with the same MO and signature that Wisher employed. These details were never released so who is copying Wisher.

As the murders continue it becomes apparent that they are reflecting the entries in the journal.

The crimes start to add up and Fabin tries to make sense of the journal entries. Whoever is carrying out the crimes is escalating, and the end game is getting closer.

This is a brilliant book. Richard Parker has moved away from the stereotypical cop character. Yes, Fabins family life isn’t great, but there are a lot of broken marriages out there. He has created a cop that cooks as a form of stress relief, he’s not a big drinker, or a womaniser. In fact, he’s pretty normal, not boring, just normal

But that’s where normal ends.

The Songbird follows on from the first in the series, Never Say Goodbye, and I really would recommend you read that one first.

When I reviewed Never Say Goodbye, I said the last hundred words made the hairs on my arm stand up. Well he’s done it again and ended on another cliff hanger that has me impatiently waiting for the next instalment.

 

Bring it on Richard.

Pages: 264

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 19thDecember 2018. JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

A link to my review of  Never Say Goodbye

https://nigeladamsbookworm.com/2018/08/19/never-say-goodbye-richard-parker/

Where The Truth Lies M.J Lee

IMG_2979

The story starts  in 2008 with new constable, PC Tom Ridpath, taking part in a vehicle stop which leads to the arrest of a man who is wanted for the kidnap of a prostitute. When the man runs off Ridpath follows him to a lock-up unit where he is in for a nasty surprise.

Ten years later and Constable Ridpath is now probationary DI Redpath. Returning to work after a serious illness Ridpath is tasked to work as the Coroner’s Liaison Officer.

The job as the Coroners Officer is not one Ridpath wants but he is given very little choice by the Senior Officers of the Manchester MIT. Take it or take a job somewhere else. If he can stick it out without any health relapses, then he can return to MIT.

What he, the Coroner, and the MIT don’t realise is the first case he is asked to deal with will bring everybody into conflict.

A recent spate of murders has the MIT baffled. Somebody is taking vulnerable women of the streets and killing them in some horrific ways before dumping the bodies.

The conviction, of the man Ridpath caught in 2008, has been brought into doubt and the Coroner reopens an inquest into the death of the one person they charged him with murdering.

Ridpath is a pariah to his old colleagues when he acts on the Coroners requests. They see him as an outsider for  bringing doubt on the original investigation, but there is one young DS who starts to look on Ridpath as a voice of reason.

As the two investigations inevitably head for a head on collision a truly captivating story unfolds.

This is the first book I have read by M.J. Lee, and to be honest I cannot understand why I haven’t heard of him before.

This book had me drawn in from the beginning. The character Ridpath is flawed. Like most people that work in the Police he is target focused, to the point that his family come a distant second priority.  His wife is driven to distraction by his attitude towards his ongoing treatment, and check-ups, following his illness.

He is split between wanting to do the right thing by the Coroner and doing what his ex-colleagues expect, which will allow him back onto the Major Investigation Team.

The murders that take place in this book are brutal, but are written in such a way that the narrative cuts away just when it’s getting too bad. M. J Lee has struck the balance perfectly.

The crimes and the investigations are multi-layered but not beyond comprehension. In fact the story is woven together brilliantly, and at no time are there any of those “I don’t believe it” moments.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s another one that is listed as “Book 1” so I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a series. If it is, what a start!

I can’t wait to read what happens next, especially after the last chapters little cliff hanger.

Pages: 352

Publisher: Canelo

Available now.