Matthew Farrell is a new name to my reading list. In fact, I only found him because of a suggestion from his publisher’s twitter.
A quick look at the synopsis for I Know Everythingon a bloggers review website and I knew this was a book I wanted to read.
When a car runs of the road, and over a cliff, the woman inside is found dead behind the wheel. A rich and generous philanthropist Amanda had everything to live for, she had just been given a prestigious award and was on her way home to her husband.
Her husband, Randall, is devastated at her death, but this quickly turns to confusion when a stranger arrives and tells him his wife’s death was no accident, and that she had secrets. But he won’t tell Randall what the secrets are unless he confesses to his own.
Shortly afterwards the Police investigation, led by Investigator Susan Adler, uncovers the fact that Amanda was dead before the RTC and begin their own investigation with Randall as one of the main suspects.
What follows is a complex story that follows some extraordinary characters.
Susan Adler, the Investigator, is a single mom recently divorced from her husband and relying heavily on her mother to help bring up her young twins.
Her new partner Tommy Corolla a recent transferee from out of town.
Dr Randall Brock, a research Dr who is looking at ways treating people with psychopathic fantasies.
Plus, many more who I can’t mention without somehow spoiling the story.
It has to be said that throughout this book I had opinions on who I though was the killer, and, thanks to the wonderful writing of Matthew Farrell, I kept changing my mind on who that was. Right up to the end of the very last chapter he had me second guessing myself.
That is what makes this such an interesting, and compelling, book to read.
Each chapter had me second guessing, in the best way, and that meant I wanted to read the next one to find out if I was right.
That kept the pages turning and I ended up reading this book over two days.
It was one of those books that had me hooked so tight I didn’t realise I was devoting so much time to it, until I came up for air and realised that another few hours had passed me by.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is original, it is well written, the characters are great, the story is amazing and I think there may have been a very subtle little cliff hanger in the last two lines of the epilogue.
I hope so, because I want to read more from Matthew Farrell, using some of the same characters that are in this book.
Its not often I’m lost for words, but I’ve run out of superlatives to describe this series. 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 meatl, 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.
I love this series, and as I said at the beginning of this blog I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the books in this series.
Safe to say Silent Scream, book one in the series, was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and each book has just got better and better.
My review of DEADLY MEMORIES will be on-line in February as part of the Blog Tour, but if you haven’t found Angela Marsons yet get yourself on Amazon, or down to the bookshop, and treat yourself to what I think is the best crime series out there.
Karl is an ISL leader fighting in the City of Mosul. Realising that defeat is inevitable he sends two jihadists into Europe to wreak havoc.
Meanwhile the Christian Al-Douri family, who have been struggling to survive in the bombed out, war-torn City, are trying to escape to Europe
Another bomber adopts the identity of his dead brother after he is killed accidentally setting of a bomb intended for a busy German City.
Hot on the trail of the terrorists is Police Senior Commissioner Major Max Kellerman.
The contradictions between the ease with which the terrorists move around their elaborate network of helpers, compared to the frantic attempts the Al-Duri’s make to find an illicit path to freedom could not be more stark.
Kellerman’s attempts to find the bombers before they can carry out an attack are frustrating, as he is always several steps behind in the maze of trails organised by their sympathisers.
Will he find them before all hell breaks loose.? You’ll have to read the book.
This story is so topical its frightening.
As with previous stories by Cristopher Lowery the devil is in the detail. Every page paints a picture which can only be the result of hours of research.
Everybody who watches the news will recognise this story for its reality.
Straight off I’m going to say this is one of my Books of the Year.
I was hooked from the first chapter.
In 1993 a girl is drugged and raped.
In the present day a woman is struggling to escape an abusive marriage when she is killed.
DI Gina Harte has just landed after a few days away on holiday and is called in to lead the investigation into the death.
Gina is a good DI with a proven tack history and is well respected amongst her colleagues. What they don’t know is that she was in an abusive marriage for years, and this investigation is going to resurrect memories and take her to a really dark place.
The murder is almost perfect, and it quickly becomes apparent that the team are looking for somebody who is forensically aware and is going to be difficult to identify.
What is the connection to the rape in the prologue, that would be too much of a spoiler, but it’s just one of the strands of this plot that weaves a great story.
Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, not everybody is living in a happy-ever-after way.
The story also shows the consequences of actions taken by the Police, and the perceptions some people have of them on a personal basis.
Gina manages to put herself in mortal danger, as well as the emotional turmoil she is in as she remembers her late husband.
Her emotions lead this to become a very personal investigation and she will have to dig deep to come out of the investigation with her mind and body intact.
This story made me think. There is something about the crime, and the perpetrator, or is it perpetrators, (you’ll have to read it to find out) that is strikingly obvious, but that I’ve never read about or considered before.
Carla Kovach has come up with an original plot with one hell of a twist at the end.
I didn’t see it coming but it gave me one of those “Of Course. That makes perfect sense” moments
The story starts of fast and just keeps going. I have used the phrase, “ I couldn’t put it down” before, and usually it just means I read it in a few sittings over a couple of days. This one I really couldn’t put down. If I didn’t have to sleep it would have been a one sitting read.
This is the second book in the Gina Harte series. Below is a link to my review of the first The Next Girl
This is the 4th Book in the brilliant series set in the Ganglands and Courts of London in the 1960’s
Charlie Holborne is a local man made good, but the journey to good has brought him into contact with some of London’s most notorious criminals.
As one of London’s star Criminal Barristers he is now in high demand following some recent high profile court wins, but that hasn’t necessarily ingratiated him with his peers in the Courts and his Chambers.
Neither has the fact that he has had dealing with people like the Kray Brothers; but no matter what his peers think it’s not a good relationship, and the Krays are at war with Charles.
The death of one of the Krays gang leads to multiple investigations of a series of Gay Sex and Drugs parties held in one of the Krays flats. With politicians involved the press are trying to expose the truth whilst the Police are trying to gather evidence on the Krays. Meanwhile both the press and the Police are corrupt up to the highest levels and both investigations are hamstrung from the start.
When Charles is asked to represent the young lad charged with the murder of The Krays gang member he is determined to get to the truth, no matter what the cost.
In this story, as with the previous three, Simon Michael has woven actual events with some fictional characters and has delivered a story that is more than believable.
He brings the 60’s to life on the page like watching a HD Colour documentary on the TV.
Somebody has to take the rights to these books and turn them into a decent TV series soon.
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.
Every now and again a book come along and stops me in my tracks. Perfect Silence is one of only a handful to have done this in 40 odd years of reading psychological thrillers.
The book starts with a woman crawling along a country lane. Badly injured having been viciously abused by her kidnapper, who has left her to die slowly, and alone, with no chance of anybody finding her in time to save her.
When she is found the Edinburgh Major Investigation Team is tasked with finding the killer.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach make a great team. She is young and ambitious but a great officer, he is the French transferee from Interpol who has adopted Scotland as his homeland, even if it is somewhat reluctantly.
Together with their team they start the investigation into the murder of the woman but quickly realise that another woman has been taken. From then on it becomes a race against time as the kidnapper kills the women before taking the next victim. Every time they take a new victim they leave behind their uniquely grotesque calling card.
But how many women will go missing and be killed before Ava and her team catch the person responsible.
If that’s not bad enough somebody is attacking the drug fuelled vagrants across the City, and Ava is desperately trying to protect them as well as catch their attackers. This investigation leads her into a conflict it doesn’t look like she can win.
Will this distract her and her team from finding the killer of the women.
This book had me hooked from page one. By the end of the book I was breathless.
Helen Fields has a way of writing that keeps the reader turning the page. A lot of authors can do that. But she can do something not very many can. There are chapters in this book where the very last sentence made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up in horror. Not the grislily sort of horror, the psychological sort. Wow
Last year I was lucky enough to read Perfect Remains by Helen Fields, but because it was part of a judging system for a literature prize, I wasn’t able to review it on my blog. It was one of the best books I’ve read.
Well I can shout from the roof tops about this one. It’s the best book I’ve read this year, and right up there in the list of the best books I’ve ever read.