Kiss of Death. Paul Finch

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When I reviewed Ashes to Ashes, a previous book in this series, I declared it to be my guilty secret. I like my books to be as realistic as possible but I found DS Mark “Heck” Heckenburg to be a little bit too gung-ho. However I did like him.

In this book Heck is back, and is just as gung-ho.

The SCU is under threat. The austerity measures are taking effect and as a specialist team, looking a niche crimes, they are seen as an extravagance that the Police can’t afford.

To try to raise their profile they have taken on an almost impossible task. Split into teams of two they are tasked to hunt down and arrest England and Wales’s 20 most wanted criminals.

Heck is teamed with new DC Gail Honeyford and sent to track a vicious armed robber who is thought to be responsible for a number a robberies where people were killed in the most horrific manner.

Eddie Creeley is a psychopath. Even his one-time associates want nothing to do with him. But what Heck doesn’t know is Eddie has gone missing. That is until his sister gets a video showing what has happened to him.

Heck is now on the hunt for a psychopath who is in danger.

The story concentrates on Hecks investigations, and in typical Paul Finch style this is a real high speed rollercoaster of a story.

These books are more Mission Impossible than Morse on a scale of reality. But for some reason I love them.

If you like your fiction adrenaline fuelled, and on the edge of reality then you will love these books as much as me.

I recommended the Heck series to a friend who is into the Jack Reacher books by Lee Childs, and who would wouldn’t usually read UK Crime fiction. He enjoyed them as much as me.

Paul Finch is managing something most authors don’t. He is crossing two genres, action and crime, and actually coming out well in both camps.

Pages: 464

Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 9th August 2018.

Ashes to Ashes review https://nigeladamsbookworm.com/2017/02/19/ashes-to-ashes-paulfinch/

Truth and Lies. Caroline Mitchell

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Straight off, I loved this book.

Take a sprinkling of Fred and Rose West and add a pinch of Myra Hindley and there you have the main villain in this book.

Lillian Grimes is in prison for being one half of a husband and wife team that went from swinging to killing. Carrying out deprived sex attacks and killing their victims after luring them into their home. The victims were buried in the garden, under the cellar floor, and in the walls.

Lillian’s husband killed himself in prison but had already told police there were three other victims. He named them but didn’t say where they were buried.

Now Lillian is using that to her advantage. She wants to drip the information to detectives, but she has a price.

DI Amy Winter is a pocket rocket of a detective. At 5”2 she is not very tall but don’t ever underestimate her.

Amy’s dad was one of the cops who put Lillian in prison, his recent death has left a hole, but she is determined to carry on.

When Lillian gets in touch and says she will only deal with Amy, and will take her to the first burial site, Amy has no idea of the effect it’s going to have on her.

As Lillian plays her mind games a young girl is kidnapped. Amy and her team should be concentrating on the kidnapping, but Amy’s head is with the missing bodies and the revelations Lillian keeps making.

This book is tremendous. I can’t remember a book ever having me hooked so quickly, and kept me hooked so thoroughly until the very last page.

Caroline Mitchell is an ex-Detective and her experience always shines through in the reality of her books; but this book has taken it to another level.

The tension is brilliant. The inter-weaving of the plot lines make the story play out wonderfully.

The reference to Fred and Rose, and Myra Hindley, at the beginning of this blog are not waffle. The crimes Lillian has been convicted of are Fred and Rose’s crimes, or bloody close to them. The fact that Hindley also tried to curry favour by taking the police to the moors to show where the bodies of some of the victims were buried, is also very reminiscent of Lillian’s behaviour.

But there was something else that Rose West and Myra Hindley had in common, and so has Lillian.

What an utterly compelling read. One that had me doing my own research to see if my thoughts were right. Just my kind of book.

Oh, and there’s a twist right at the end. Please let there be a sequel. I want to know what happens next.

Pages: 348

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publishing Date: 30th August 2018.

The Darkness Around Her. Neil White

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Lizzie has been in an abusive relationship for a while, so when she gets hit, in public, on New Year’s Eve, she decides she’s had enough and runs away. Unfortunately, she decides to run away along a canal tow path where a killer is waiting.

When her body is found the Police quickly make an arrest. The suspect asks for legal representation form only one person. Dan Grant.

Dan is a Barrister who has specialised in representing defendants for the last 10 years, but this defendant is a first for him, a first in two ways. He won’t talk about the crime, even to Dan, and he won’t allow Dan to employ a Queens Council. He wants Dan to represent him in Court.

Dan is left with no choice, if his client won’t give him anything to use in his defence, he will have to find evidence to prove his innocence himself.

Dan employs his usual Private Investigator, Jayne Brett, to start digging around for information on the suspect and the girl he is accused of killing.

Jayne is a good investigator, but she has one problem. Dan. There is a chemistry between them, one that Jayne would love to explore, but Dan has ethics and Jayne was once a client. The chemistry is real and at times both of them are genuinely frustrated to the point of distraction.

As the court case gets closer the investigation starts to uncover more crimes that have occurred on the Canal, can they all be related? Is this the defence? Could they prove that if their client didn’t commit any of the other crimes he can’t be responsible for this murder.

This book takes the reader on one hell of a trip. The parts of the book written about the legal process; the client interviews, the trips to the police station, the court proceedings are fascinatingly written and very realistic.

The investigation into the murder on the canal, and the historic crimes which have taken place are great. Proper Investigations have to take place, there’s not many CCTV cameras on canals, no ANPR cameras. If you’ve ever walked along a canal in a city centre, you’ll know how quickly you feel like you are out in the country.

The canals are a great place to set a modern day crime and have to rely on investigation techniques from 20 years ago.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the legal side of it, the investigation is intriguing, and the relationship between Dan and Jayne is mesmerising.

 

Pages: 448

Publisher. Zaffre

Publishing Date: 9th August 2018

Murder on the Marshes. Clare Chase

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Set in, and around, Cambridge University this is a murder story with a list of characters that are firmly in the “Have” and “Have not” brackets.

Every character is either from a really privileged background, or a working-class background.  But just because they are in these categories doesn’t mean that they are normal balanced people.

The book opens with a mystery of a young girl walking in on a horrific scene, a scene that is alluded to throughout the book, but who is it that’s witnessing the scene and what bearing will it have on the present day.

The present day see’s the body of a young professor, Samantha Seabrook, being found drowned in a fountain in a locked courtyard of one of the colleges in the University, a bit of a locked room puzzle.

Frighteningly a journalist Tara Thorpe is sent a warning on the same night Samantha is killed, it’s the same warning the Professor received a few weeks before she was killed.

DI Garstin Blake is the SIO for the murder but also goes to interview Tara. Together they form an unlikely alliance, and the investigation into the life and death of Samantha Seabrook takes on two lines, the Police investigation and the journalistic investigation.

It’s a good way of introducing information into the story, and allows the author to get away with introducing information which would not be obtained by either the police or the journalist if they were working alone.

Garstin and Tara both have issues, and just like everyone else in the story they are split by the working class, privileged divide. Tara from a very well-to-do background hasn’t had the best of lives, and now something, or somebody, is preying on her insecurities. Garstin, the working class copper, is separated from his wife and is torn apart by not been able to see his young daughter every night. So can Garstin keep his eye on the ball and can Tara stay safe.

The investigation is a bit pedestrian at times but the story is well worth reading.

This book is a bit like two of my favourite TV series combined, inevitably the Cambridge Oxford thing leads to Morse, and the writer and detective leads to Castle. The pace of the book is definitely more Morse.

Will I read the next book in the series, Yes

 

Pages: 322

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 31st July 2018

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

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