Perfect Crime Helen Fields


Perfect Crime is the fifth book in the DI Luc Callanach, DCI Ava Turner series.

Luc is an ex-Interpol detective who transferred to Scotland when he was wrongly accused of assaulting a female partner.

He has found solace in the company of DCI Ava Turner, both on a professional level and as a friend, but he is still a bit of a closed book to everybody else. Respected for his work everyone on the team like him as a cop, but some of the men see him as a threat to their manhood.

In this book more of his back story comes to light in a way that puts him at the forefront of the suspects in a murder inquiry, and he finds out who his true friends are.

As the senior officers isolate him, from the investigation he is a suspect in, he carries on working with Ava on an investigation which is looking at the suspicious deaths of people with a history of depression and attempts at suicide.

The investigation against Luc puts the pressure on his relationship with the Scottish Police and even worse may compromise Ava professionally.

This series is really good Police Procedural with the undercurrents of a will-they-won’t-they relationship between Luc and Ava.

In this book that relationship is stretched to the limit. Maybe Luc isn’t the innocent man he has been portraying himself as.

The crimes investigated by Ava, looking at the deaths of people who had previously attempted to take their own lives, is compelling in its own way.

Helen Fields has found a group of vulnerable people who make ideal victims for a serial killer. She explores the reasons these people are depressed and what has led them to the place they now find themselves in.

She looks at the people that attempt to help them; and uncovers the nasty side, the people that pray on their vulnerability.

This book can be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend reading the first four in the series first. They are stunning crime novels, and once you’ve read this one you will want to read them anyway. So why not do it in order

Publishers: Avon Books UK

Publishing Date: 18thApril 2019

The Thin Edge. Peggy Townsend


Right from the off, I am going to say I loved this book.

I loved the main character, a journalist, Aloa Snow.

I loved the little bunch of old men she hangs out with, Tic, Doc and P-Mac, collectively known as the Brain Farm.

I loved the plot.

Right, so what got me so impressed with this book.

The story is based around the murder of a woman, a woman who lives a good life style with her husband, a paraplegic ex FBI Interrogator. 

A man has been accused, a University Professor who is a poet. A bit of a strange bod which every piece of the investigation points at as being guilty. But he has one person on his side, a man he’d rather not be there at all, his father.

His father just happens to be Tic from the Brain Farm. 

Tic and his friends decide to ask the unofficial forth member of the Farm to help them, Ink, aka Aloa Snow.

She is an investigative journalist and has worked with the Farm before.

This time the investigation takes her around San Francisco, where she is drawn into the world of drug users. This leads her into The Jungle, an area under the freeway where homeless addicts live in a tented village. Not a nice place but a place which has a code of ethics, a code which would usually keeps its occupants safe from the outside word. Usually.

She becomes involved with a strange Christian cult, The Church of the Sacrificial Lamb, a cult which would be unbelievable in most countries, but seems strangely believable in America.

The Police are convinced that Tic’s son is guilty and are busily building a case against him. Aloa is not immediately convinced of his innocence, but because of a feeling of duty to the Brain Farm she starts digging.

The deeper she digs the more convinced she is that the Poetry Professor is innocent. Not a nice man, but innocent.

This book is set in San Francisco during an unusual winter fog. The fog makes the city drab and unfriendly, and best of all, the ideal backdrop for the story.

Aloa is a great character, a bit off-the-wall in her methods, she takes chances and makes leaps of faith that would scare a cop, but she isn’t tied by staying on the right side of any procedures.

I think that’s what I liked about the book. Whilst Aloa does think outside the box, it is done in a way that I would like to think I would do it. Yes she puts herself in danger at times, but it’s never an anticipated danger, it’s just the next logical step, and she’s in trouble before she knows it.

I’m not sure how well known Peggy Townsend is in the UK, I have to admit this is the first book of hers I’ve read, and it’s the second in a series, but it won’t be my last. In fact I’ve just uploaded the first book, See Her Run,to my Kindle and it will be my next read.

If she isn’t that well known yet I have a feeling that once people start on this series she’s going to become one of our must read crime fiction authors.

Pages: 237

Publishers: Thomas Mercer

Publishing Date UK: 14thMay 2019

The Dangerous Kind. Deborah O’Connor

Two stories, one in the present, one a from few years earlier, both on collision course for an explosive finale. 

Jassmine Gooch is a radio journalist working for the BBC. She presents a late night radio show about Potentially Dangerous People. Well she does until she’s sacked for an outburst unbefitting of the BBC. 

Jassmine had been approached several times by a woman who is concerned about a missing friend, a friend she feels is being let down by the police who do not appear to be taking her disappearance seriously.

With time on her hands Jasmine decides to look into the missing woman, Cassie Scolari, and stumbles across a juicy mystery that has her considering a new career.

Meanwhile the story that is taking place years before involves Rowena. A girl who is in the care of social services, but who has fallen for a man that grooms her and pimps her out at parties.

Rowena’s story is tragic, a 13 year old girl passed around like a sex toy, but somehow, she is a survivor. She becomes mature before her time and battles to survive.

Meanwhile in the present day Jasmine has decided to turn her investigation into a podcast with the help of a stuttering intern at the BBC. Jitesh is a great character who uses social media to stalk people. He could turn out to be one of the best characters going if this story is the spark for a series.

Between them Jasmine and Jitesh are moving ever closer to finding out what happened to Cassie in a thoroughly enjoyable and very believable story.

It’s hard to review this book without including spoilers.

Deborah O’Connor has found a great character in Jassmine Gooch. A single lady of a certain age that is struggling with the menopause, struggling after losing her job, and struggling with her relationship to her teenage daughter.

Jitesh, a student who has been given an unconditional offer to join Cambridge University, but decides to take a gap year and work as an IT intern at the BBC, is just as good a character. Bullied at school, and suffering from a stutter, he shows a moral strength that leaves the reader no choice but to feel an empathy with him.

The story is original and takes place over a ten year spell. It incorporates the problems that have been uncovered over the last few years about underprivileged children being groomed by certain elements of the community, and the illicit actions of a celebrity.

The story is very on point, up to date, and spine tingling in its reality. 

I have no idea if Deborah O’Connor has any intensions of writing more books involving Jessamine and Jitesh but I hope she does. 

I will be right at the front of the queue to buy the next instalment.

Pages: 448

Publishers: Zaffre

Publishing date: 16thMay 2019

The Taken Girls G.D Sanders

I have to say that this book has really torn me.

The story is brilliant, the crime is committed in a way, and for reasons, I have never come across before.

Ten years apart two girls are abducted and held captive by someone for weeks. Then mysteriously they are found apparently unharmed their clothes cleaned and pressed, and saying there captive had treated them well.

When newly promoted DI Edina (Ed) Ogborne is transferred from the Met, under a cloud, to Canterbury she struggles to integrate into the small CID team. 

The most recent disappearance is her first case and as she struggles with the case, she also struggles with her team and her social life.

With the investigation going nowhere it’s a frustration when a local journalist gets a break in the case and publishes the story without conferring with the Police, another “X” in the column for Jo from her new boss.

The investigations continue and at least one other girl is taken, but why, and why return them unharmed and in apparent good health.

Canterbury is a small City and everybody seems to know everybody and there business. The investigation has a small town feeling in a small City.

To me this is where there is a problem with the story. There is never any urgency in the investigation. A series of kidnappings of teenage girls and there’s just a team of 4 looking at it almost on a 9-5 basis. With the SIO taking time out to go for meals and to fraternise with the locals, something she may come to regret

As much as I liked the story there were too many times when I thought “no, that would never happen”, or “stop faffing about and get on with the investigation”

There are some peripheral characters that take the reader down dead ends, and as entertaining as they are, I struggled to understand why some things happen in the story. Unless this is the building block for a series and the characters are going to reappear.

Would I read them if they did?

Yes, as frustrating as it was in places I actually really enjoyed the story.

Pages: 355

Publisher: Avon

Available now.

In Safe Hands J.P Carter


This book almost felt like I was reading it in real time. 

The main story revolves around the abduction of 9 children from a Playschool in London.

DCI Anna Tate is the SIO and most of the story is written from her perspective.

From the moment the abduction takes place Tate is at the scene and taking charge. The book only covers three days and for those three days we follow Tate, make her observations and listen in on her thoughts.

The sections seen from Tate’s points of view are occasionally interspersed by sections seen from the point of the parents of one of the missing children. Liam suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and his parents are rightly worried. His mom blames herself for the fact he was amongst the kidnapped, as he was only in the playgroup because she was going for a work interview.

For three days the case moves at pace and that pace makes it fly through to the final pages, and a stunning finale.

Carter has woven a brilliant story which takes place at a realistic speed. It examines the thought process of the SIO and looks at the guilt and anxiety of one set of parents.

This is a simple story, with not many strands to follow, and I’m going to borrow a line from all of those cookery competitions on TV 

If you do something simple it has to be done really well”

Believe me J.P Carter has done it really well

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 384

Publishing Date: 24thJanuary 2019

The Girl Without Skin Mads Peder Nordbo

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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

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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