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.

Where They Found Her Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her   Kimberly McCreight

I have to say I usually like a complex plot that challenges me as a reader, but on this occasion it was too complex for me.

The story begins with the discovery of the body of a small child on a University Complex.

Molly Sanderson, an ex lawyer who is in therapy following a still birth, and who is now working on the local newspaper as the arts and designs correspondent is despatched to cover the story, because all the other staff have personal issues they are dealing with.

The story evolves to introduce different people; all of who seem to be interrelated throughout and all have personal issues and problems that also all seem to be interwoven into the plot.

As the story progresses random transcripts of therapy interviews with Molly and her psychiatrist appear and although relevant in the end just add to the confusion of the story.

As Molly post her reports online the story starts to include readers comments, which may eventually prove relevant, as may the social media posts, which are included into the book.

For me what could have been a good story has been overly confused. The plot jumps around and too many characters have too much going on.

Death at Whitewater Church Andrea Carter

Death at Whitewater Church     Andrea Carter

Set in rural Ireland this story follows Ben (Benedicta) O’Keefe, a Lawyer practicing in the small town of Glendara.

The story starts with Ben and a local Surveyor acting for a local businessman who is selling a disused church for development. Whilst looking around the church they discover a crypt, and inside the crypt a skeletonised body. Not only is the body too recent to be there legitimately but it also appears that whoever it is, was locked in and left to die.

Rumours begin that the body is that of a man who has been missing since the morning of his wedding day.

Missing for nearly seven years is the body that of local man Danny Devitt.

Although O’Keefe has been living in the village nearly as long as Devitt has been missing she is unaware of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Glendara is a typical Celtic rural village, family histories interweave, and everybody knows everybody else’s business As the local Lawyer, and member of the local dramatics group, O’Keefe comes into contact with various characters, all of who seem to have an insight into the mystery but nobody has a definitive answer.

To help with identifying the body the local Garda enlist the help of a Forensic Anthropologist, a face from O’Keefe’s past who brings back memories O’Keefe would rather be left forgotten.

O’Keefe deals with the past whilst working on the present day crime in a semi-professional manner.

A series of break-ins in the town may be related to the body in the crypt but how. During her research O’Keefe becomes aware of a terrorist incident in which a ship was sunk just outside the local docks. The sinking of the ship was attributed to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Is this also related to the body in the crypt?

The last few pages reveal the answers, and they’re not easy to anticipate.

This debut novel is a really good read. From start to finish it kept me enthralled.

The story is set at a pace that makes it easy to read but very hard to put down.

The characters are all fascinating without being overpowering.

The description of the settings makes Glendara feel real, yet it is a place made up by the Author Andrea Carter.

Set in the winter the isolation of the area seems more sinister, perfect for the plot.

I can only hope this is the first book of many from Andrea Carter.

The Girl Who Broke The Rules Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Broke The Rules   Marnie Riches

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George McKenzie is back, the story picks up four years on from the end of The Girl That Wouldn’t Die and from the first page I knew it would be an excellent sequel.

The story is again set in the seedy underworld of prostitution and pornography and takes place in Holland and the UK.

George has returned home and is working to make ends meet as she researches for her PHD. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen is still working in the serious crime department in Amsterdam.

As George interviews a convicted violent sex offender in prison in the UK the dismembered bodies of sex workers start to be discovered in Amsterdam. Van der Bergen has not forgotten George since she left, in fact far from it, and the discoveries are an ideal opportunity to become involved with her again.

Van der Bergen is suffering his own demons and his ill health is not helped by his hypochondria. He needs to have George in his life not just to help him with the crimes that are taking place but also to get his life together.

George’s personal life is also a mess; her PhD mentor is over bearing in her control, her family is a dysfunctional group who skate along the edges of legality, and she is in a failing relationship with her boyfriend who still lives in Holland.

As the bodies pile up and George begins to work with Van der Bergen they find themselves conflicted with van der Bergen’s superior officer and a detective on his team. Who is making the right decisions George and Paul, or his boss and the detective?

The book rattles along a fast pace and every time I thought I had a handle on who was the culprit, and why they were doing it, I realised I hadn’t.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die was the Winner of a coveted Dead Good Reader Award (2015) – The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location.

It has to be the first of many that will be won for what I hope is a long series.

The locations are well described but in more than a panoramic way. Riches manages to capture the atmosphere of the scene. From an empty strip club to a rural train track, from a pot café to a morgue each scene is perfectly realistic and perfect for the story.

I cannot wait for the next installment.

The Next to Die Neil White

Next To Die     Neil White

I have seen Neil Whites books on bookshelves for a few years now and can’t believe I’ve only just got around to reading one.

The Next To Die is set in Manchester and uses the diversity of the city to its full.

The two central characters in the book are two brothers: Joe Parker a defence lawyer, and Sam Parker a Detective Constable in the Greater Manchester Police.

I’m not giving much away when I say that the brothers have chosen their career paths, for different reasons, following the murder of their sister. They could not be more different in their life; Sam is married with a family, where as Joe is single. Both of them have back-stories, which begin to be told during the book, and it looks like both will make good characters for future books.

Neil White has written a great thriller around these characters. Joe is called to represent a man accused of killing his wife and daughter, but there are no bodies.

Sam is seconded from the Fraud team to work with the Major Investigation Team on the same case.

This inevitably leads to conflict between the brothers which at times tested my moralistic streak; I couldn’t quite decide which brother was right.

As the case continues there is no relaxing for the reader. Unlike some current authors there is no guarantee of the safety of a character. There are some vicious twists and turns in this book, all the way to the last chapter.

If you are looking for a realistic gritty crime book this is for you.

Who would I compare White to. I don’t know but if you are a fan of British Crime Fiction at its best and read people like Mari Hannah, C.L Taylor, and A.D Garrett you will love it.

There are 2 more books based around the same characters The Death Collector and The Domino Killer. I have already started The Death Collector and it is no disappointment so far ………….

Look out for more blogs about this Author. I’m Hooked

Silent Scream & Evil Games Angela Marsons

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Silent Scream & Evil Games     Angela Marsons

Two books one blog. There’s a reason for that. I read the last page of Silent Scream and immediately opened the first page of Evil Games.

I don’t like giving plots away so I’m not going to talk too much about the story line of each of these, I’ll just talk about the writing and main character.

I enjoyed these books more than most others I’ve read over the last few years. Angela Marsons has created a brilliantly complex character in Detective Inspector Kim Stone and hopefully we’ll have a few more outings with her and her team in the future.

Silent Scream introduces DI Stone in a tale centred on child abuse at a Local Authority Home. Are current day murders linked with abuse at the home? In todays society we are becoming more aware of these abuse cases and it makes the book relevant and up to date.

Stones own history mirrors that of the children who stayed at the home, and her back-story is slowly revealed as the book moves on.

The conclusion of the book is not as easy to predict as some stories of the same genre, and with twists and turn to the very end this book is a great read.

Evil Games follows on, but can be read separately, from Evil Games.

In this book Stone identifies the link between several serious crimes, including a murder. More of Stones back-story is revealed and the reader is given a greater insight into her psyche.

Along the way Stone comes into contact with her nemesis and an intellectual and psychological battle takes place that kept me enthralled right to the end of the book.

Twists and turns throughout show that Angela Marsons has a knack for complex plots without resorting to fanciful and unbelievable stories.

Angela Marsons has set these books close to where I live. Her descriptions of the places and people are perfect. It is a testament to her that at one time in the Evil Games I shouted out loud that she had something wrong, only to realise she was inventing a shop in which a suspect child abuser was working, maybe it is best to use a fictional premises in that case.

Further testament to her research skills is found in the derelict children’s home she uses in Silent Scream. It used to exist, it had a bad reputation amongst the locals, and it had a fire. I know this because I investigated it when I was still in the Fire Service.

I have a feeling that, like many other authors, Angela Marsons is only published locally.

One of the great things about e-books and companies like Amazon is it has allowed me to read books by people I would never have had access to by simply walking into my local shop.

So wherever you are in the world, get a copy of these books. Sit back and enjoy