Josie Quinn is a detective, her partner Noah Fraley is not just her work partner, they are also in a relationship.
So, when the pair go to his mothers, and find her dead in the back garden, it begins an emotional roller coaster of a ride for Josie.
Noah’s mother was Mrs Perfect, she kept a beautiful house, cooked, baked and was generally accepted as being a pillar of the community. Mainly the opposite to Josie.
So when her death is found to be a murder, and it looks like she has been keeping secrets for years, Noah has difficulty believing the evidence. In his sister he has an ally who really doesn’t like Josie.
Noah’s moms house had been searched by whoever killed her, but nobody knows what they were looking for.
When the garden is examined the investigators find a set of Rosary Beads and a file with a name on it. The file is labelled with the name of a famous missing person.
What is Noah’s mom connection with Drew Pratt, an Assistant District Attorney who has been missing since 2006. Is this what the murderer was looking for.
The investigation continues with Josie and her team, minus Noah, trying to solve the murder and re-examine the disappearance of the ADA.
The trail leads them through historic crimes and looks at who is trying to tidy up the mess from years earlier, and why do it now, what has happened to make somebody start to kill people to cover a crime from over 12 years ago.
It’s not just the case that makes this story a good read. It’s the strain it puts on the relationship between Josie and Noah. Both have guarded pasts that not everybody knows about. They rely on each other to keep themselves safe both physically and mentally.
Josie isn’t used to working without Noah, and is less used to him putting up barriers, but as long as she is insinuating his mother knew something about the crimes of the past, the more distant he becomes.
With Noah’s sister feeding the increased fire that is coming between him and Josie it is hard to see the relationship lasting, and if it does fracture can it ever be repaired.
This is a cracking series of books. I love the relationship between Josie and Noah. I love the big city investigations in what is little more than a big town, with a small town Police Force.
The crimes are always realistic and are set in a great area.
This book takes the series to a whole new level. The investigation of a crime that involves a family member has brought a tension to the text that is palpable.
I really could not put this one down, this is the book they invented the phrase “page turner” for.
Roll on the next book in the series. I really need to know what happens next.
I have rarely read a book which has so many possible motives for one crime.
When two people are killed in a shop fire on Brick Lane the possible motives are endless, bigotry, jealousy, hatred, anti-Semitism, racism, revenge, anti-gentrification all of them could be the reason the shop was torched, and worryingly they are all realistic motives in today’s society.
So, DI Maya Rahman has her work cut out, but she is the ideal Officer for the job. As a 41 year old Bangladeshi who grew up on, and around, Brick Lane she is used to the mixing pot of a society that live and trades on the famous street. She even knows some of the residents who live near the fire.
The investigation is hindered by the damage at the shop. The fire has destroyed everything and the bodies are not easy to retrieve.
The fire happened as a Flash Mob descended on the street dancing to loud house music. Could this be a coincidence or are the two things related.
The investigation follows Maya and her team as they track through the world of young people who follow a cause on line, for no other reason than the promise of a bit of cash and some free drugs. Are they being manipulated to cause a distraction or are they responsible for the fire.
They encounter homeless refugees, some of which are young orphans, and see the way they are used by some of the lower forms of life in the community who are either too clever, or too scared, to do their own dirty work.
The story revolves around the investigation into the fire and the deaths that occurred in it, but the main story for me is the story of life on Brick Lane.
I have a feeling this book gets very close to the truth of some of the matters that involve the people of Brick Lane, and other suburbs of the bigger cities in the UK.
Generations of traders struggling to make a living in an ever increasing society that buys into the latest fad of “artisan” traders and over inflated property prices.
And of course, where money is the driver crime is not far behind.
I really enjoyed this book and was surprised to find it’s is the second in a series. I’m off to find the first now and then I shall look forward to the third.
Her life did not have the best start. A mother that abused her and her brother in a way that finally led her brother’s death. Pushed from care home to care home with foster families sprinkled throughout her childhood, she has a lot of life experience to fall back on. That is one of the things that make her a good cop.
Nobody really knows her whole story. Friends have been few and far between, and none have ever found out about her complete background.
So when DI Kim Stone attends a murder in a high rise tower block she is mortified to see the scene is staged to mimic the final days of her brother’s life.
It must just be a coincidence.
Of course not.
Crimes start to happen on her patch that she can’t help but think are connected to her in some way. Or is she finally cracking up, is this paranoia a sign that she needs help.
As the investigation into the murder gets underway another murder mimics a traumatic event in her life.
Ok no coincidence, somebody is playing with Kim’s head and murdering people in the process.
What is the killers end game, kill more people, or destroy Kim???
The team need to catch the killer before they lose their boss, one way or another.
Ten books ago Angela Marsons introduced us to a series of characters based in the Black Country.
The main character is DI Kim Stone. A DI in the Major Investigation Team in Halesowen Police Station in the West Midlands.
Halesowen is a small town on the outskirts of the urban sprawl that makes up the Metropolitan Borough of the West Midlands. Its right on the border of what most people would call the area of greater Birmingham, and the sprawling countryside of Worcester.
It’s actually in the borough of Dudley, one of the seven boroughs that make up the West Midlands, but more importantly it’s part of the Black Country.
That is what makes it such a special place to set crime stories.
Dudley has some of the most affluent parts of the West Midlands, close to the country, and some of the poorest parts where it borders Sandwell. It has rich gated communities, run down industrial areas, and some of the poorest social housing estates in the UK. Its population commute into Birmingham City Centre to sit in smart offices and high end retail shops, or work in the manufacturing, scrap metal, or haulage business.
The black Country has a hard working history, and this ethic is seen daily in its population; but just like everywhere else there are the freeloaders who never intend to do a day’s work as long as the state will give them benefits.
Then there are the people who pray on both ends of the community. Drug sellers target the rich with designer drugs and well cut class A drugs, and at the same time pray on the vulnerable with less well, and dangerously cut, class A drugs and marijuana.
Addicts are addicts and once hooked will look to fund their next hit. The desperate will turn to crime.
Prostitution has been forced indoors over the last decade with sex being sold in private flats or thinly veiled massage parlours. This has led to illegal immigrants being forced into the sex trade alongside some desperate local people.
Illegal immigrants are also being used as slaves in retail and manufacturing.
Street kids are turning to violence.
Post code gangs are frequently a problem, fighting for territory to sell their wares, both human and chemical.
But most of its population are just your average family members trying to get along with their neighbours.
So, as you can see, Angela Marsons has chosen a great area to set her crimes. Just about anything that could make up a serious crime happens in the area, and so can be portrayed realistically in her books.
The characters she writes about are just as real as her crimes.
Kim Stone is epic. A kid-from-care made good.
In the first few books her character is established as one of the best cops in British Crime Fiction, her back story is slowly revealed showing how her life has evolved and how she has become the successful detective she has.
Her team also have good back stories. The ever reliant Bryant, her Detective Sergeant is every bit as fundamental to these stories as Lewis is to Morse, or Watson is to Holmes. He acts as her stabiliser and suffers the frustration of seeing Stone struggling through some investigations, but more significantly her personal life.
DC Stacy Wood, the quiet detective that is really good at information trawling and working on a computer, but not so good on face to face encounters. Watching her develop through the series, as she finds her confidence, and becomes a tour-de-force of a cop, is something that would not ever be achieved this well in a single book, or short series.
DC Kev Dawson, young, handsome, cock-sure, but an integral part of the team. His character changes as much as Woods, but in a totally different way.
Then there’s the fringe characters that keep recurring, Keats the pathologist with his love hate relationship with Stone. The Forensic Teams, and Senior Police Officers
Then there’s reporters. One in particular, that has a strange relationship with Stone, to say they use each other when they want something is an understatement. But they both know they need each other and their fraught working relationship is entertaining throughout the series.
Of course, there’s the criminals. A vast array of them over the ten books, all realistically written, all with back stories to help the reader engage with them. Some of them recurring through several stories; and for every criminal there’s a victim who is equally well portrayed, often eliciting as much empathy as sympathy from the reader.
That brings us back to this book. DEAD MEMORIES finds Stone and the team looking at some of their past investigations as a murderer appears to be using Stone’s history to set their crimes. Is it a message to her, or is it the prelude to an attack on her. Is somebody trying to ruin her reputation, her life, or kill her.
What a book. This series just keeps going from strength to strength.
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.