The Death Messenger Mari Hannah

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The Queen of Northern Crime Fiction is spreading her wings.

Mari Hannah is back with the second in the Ryan and O’Neil series.

Following on from the Silent Room, this book can comfortably read as a stand-alone novel without the reader feeling like they have joined the party half way through.

Detective Superintendent Eloise O’Neil, formerly of Professional Standards, is back in Northumbria, but this time she has been asked to form her own Unit to investigate high profile serious crimes.

The first person she brings in is Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan, formerly of Special Branch, and one time person of interest to O’Neil when she was in her former role.

The chemistry between the two is electric; but whereas Ryan is a heart on your sleeve type of person who finds it hard to hide his emotions, and is usually quite prepared to share what he is thinking, O’Neil is almost a split personality. She swings from happy and flirtatious, to moody and brooding in a split second and, more often than not, half way through a conversation.

O’Neil also holds secrets. Why was the Unit formed and who is funding it? It is legitimate, it is legal, but is its ultimate boss as above board.

The team form to investigate their first crime, the disappearance of a Scottish Judge who is about to start Hearing a high-profile case.

When a DVD, showing the apparent crime, scene arrives at the Units HQ it quickly becomes obvious that this is not the first DVD that O’Neil is aware of. Tensions between her and Ryan almost ruin the newly formed team when he finds out. Especially as he suspects O’Neil is trying to protect somebody outside of the team.

As more DVD’s start to arrive, and as bodies start to be discovered, the team needs to expand; but the right people have to be taken on. Both O’Neil and Ryan have their reasons for choosing some very specific people. Will either, or both, get their way.

When the new members come on board they bring with them some exceptional skills and experience, and they are great characters for the book.

Along with them Ryan recruits his blind twin sister. Caroline excels at hearing things that other people miss. Usually a CPS Prosecutor Ryan is particularly protective of her because of her blindness. Will she be put into danger by helping the investigation?

The crimes are being committed by somebody with skills in the use of making movies, or so it seems. The recordings are professionally done, and there is a narrator common to all of them. Why would somebody film the scenes, and why taunt the team by sending them to them?

This story is nothing but top fantastic. Mari Hannah has set most of her books in the North East but by forming this cross boarders National Response Team she has opened the doors to let her team roam across Britain and Europe.

The characters are great. Each one brings its own mix to the chemistry which is so much a part of Hannah’s books.

The story explores the trials and tribulations of a criminal investigation.

It explores the frustrations of the team as they build hypothesis after hypothesis only to see them all smashed. Suspects are identified, then discarded. Will the team find the perpetrator?

This is writing of the highest quality and the reader is left wanting more at the end of each book.

This one is no exception.

Pages: 350

Published by Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 16th November 2017

Rattle Fiona Cummins

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A story of two families; neither of which are particularly happy, both of which have a child with a bone deformity, and a killer who collects bones, the rarer the better.

The Frith’s son, 6-year-old Jakey is suffering from a condition that sees him growing bone spurs and extra bones. He’s fragile and mollycoddled, but he’s also adventurous and is often on the verge of disaster.

The Foyles daughter, 4-year-old Cara, has the middle three fingers on each hand missing due to a birth deformity.

When Cara goes missing on her way home from school Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy is part of the team tasked with investigating her disappearance. Fitzroy has recently worked on a disturbing child abduction that was never solved, and gradually begins to think that the two cases might be connected.

The story centres around the two families, Fitzroy, and the Bone Collector

The Frith family are torn apart by the fathers drinking, Erdman tries to give his son as normal a life as possible whilst his wife panics at everything that Jakey is involved in. Meanwhile nobody notices a man in a suite who is gradually ingratiating himself with Jakey. Is this the Bone Collector, or is it somebody else with other motives? Will anybody notice in time to save Jakey.

The Foyles are distraught, their daughter is missing. So why is her father, Miles, not helping the Police. Why has he been seeing prostitutes. Is there any truth in the accusation that he held a young office worker captive in his office? Why will he not tell the police where he was when his daughter went missing.

Cara is alive. She is being held hostage, and the man that is holding her has an unhealthy fascination with her hands.

This story is so well written that it manages to entwine 3 or 4 story threads around each other, and still keep the reader guessing as to how different people are involved.

At times, I was not sure whether there were 1 or 2 villains. Will Fitzroy make the connections and catch the Bone Collector whilst Jakey is safe and Cara is alive?

Fiona Cummins employed a lovely technique at the end of some chapters. It’s simple but I don’t think I’ve read it before. On a chapter that ends a day, she gives each character a small paragraph where she describes what they can see and their emotions. That kept me engrossed throughout.

Fans of psychological thrillers will love this. It original and its good.

Hello Fiona Cummins and welcome to my MUST READ LIST

 Pages:495

Publisher: Macmillan

Available on Amazon