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 Birthday. Carol Wyer

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2 years after she went missing the body of Ava Sawyer is found buried in the grounds of the Garden Centre she disappeared from during a birthday party.

DI Natalie Wood and her small team are tasked with finding answers the original team to investigate the disappearance didn’t.

But this is no ordinary missing persons/murder investigation. Now that the body has been found it acts as a catalyst for more crimes. More of the girls from the party start  to get killed and are left posed in public places.

The investigation very much becomes a race against time.

The team have to find a killer. There are so many suspects, each one looking like they could be the killer, but each of them ruled out as suspects.

Have the team missed the killer?

Natalie already blames herself for one child abduction and murder case, she worked on, being tragically unsuccessful. She wasn’t the boss on that investigation, but she is on this one.

Has she learnt from others mistakes?

The last case affected her mentally and emotionally. Can she hold it together through this case?

The characters in this book are just what you would expect to find in any police team. DI Wood is struggling to balance her work and personal life. How can she try to keep her marriage going and still conduct such a high profile and emotional case.

Her team are made up of a mix of characters who it are easy to associate with and I’m sure we will get to know as the series progresses. There are friendships and there is conflict, just like the real world.

The best thing about this story is the realism. Carol Wyer hits so many nails on the head with the observations she makes.

She brings to life the frustrations of a real investigation.

The amount of facts that come flooding in and need sorting.

Deciding on what takes priority, and the worry that the decision was wrong.

When is it right to send your team home for rest, when every minute is so vital and may literally mean the difference between life and death.

There is one passage in the book when Natalie is struck by the normality of ongoing life after a traumatic incident.

In my career the thing that always used to get into my head was the disrupted normality. A terrible fire in a bedroom that had claimed lives, yet breakfast places set in the unaffected kitchen downstairs. School coats, which would never be worn again, hanging over the backs of chairs.

Not many authors consider this, and even less describe the feelings and emotions so well. It is only a small passage in the book, but it shows the consideration that has been put into it.

This is the first book in a new series. I think it’s going to be stunning.

Pages: 316

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 27th September 2018.

Nobody’s Child Victoria Jenkins

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The legend at the top of the book says unputdownable, so did it live up to the gumph?

Oh Yes!

What a great story.

Set in a small town in the Welsh valleys a series of assaults and arson attacks are investigated by DI Alex King and her team.

When a body is found, amongst the debris in a fire at a derelict hospital, it could appear to be a homeless person that has been involved in an accident. But when the post mortem confirms he had been killed prior to the fire King and her team have a murder on their hands.

When a local convenience store is torched is it a coincidence?

As the investigation into the two incidents continues the team are confronted with a series of assaults and arsons which have them desperate to find the culprits.

Meanwhile King is struggling in her own life. Somebody is sending her a message and it’s not a nice one.

As is typical in real life the story revolves around 3 or 4 families in a small community that are making life difficult for everybody else.

Internal wrangling’s, and feuds between the families seem to be the reason the crimes are taking place but trying to unravel the threads is proving impossible for the team.

Can they find out who is responsible for the crimes before more people get hurt?

No, the trail of human and property destruction gets longer, and the team follow it to what is one of the most tense climaxes of a book I’ve read for a while.

Ok, so any book which involves fire as part of the crime gets my attention. It’s what I do for a living, so it would do.

Yes, I do get a bit knit-picky and hyper-critical. Not with this book.

This is Book 3 in the series and I hadn’t read the first 2. Did I get the feeling I was joining the party half way through?

Actually, no I didn’t, this is a great stand-alone story which I have no doubt is complemented by the 2 previous books, which I have just downloaded onto my Kindle to read around the pool on holiday.

I’ll be eagerly waiting book 4.

Pages: 277

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 19th June 2018

Dying Truth Angela Marsons

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What a way to start a book. The prologue see’s DI Kim Stone struggling with a broken leg as she tries to warn people not to enter part of a building where she knows they will be in mortal danger. But who are the people running into the building and what exactly is the danger.

Cut to chapter one, a few days before the prologue. The death of a young girl at a posh, private school.

It’s classical mystery writing technique but, I don’t think I’ve ever read it written in a better way.

As the story builds Kim is supported by all her usual crew, trusty Bryant, laddish Wood, and the quiet Black Country Lass Stacey. Will any of these be charging into danger at the end of the book.

The team are investigating a suspicious death at the private Heathcrest Academy. A private co-ed school, where the elite of midlands society send their children to study alongside sporting, and academic, high achievers.

Not surprisingly amongst the students there are secret societies that have seen generations of the same family pass through them. The societies employ horrific initiation ceremonies and even more horrific discipline methods.

When the body of the first victim is found, after she apparently committed suicide by jumping from one of the highest points in the school, Kim and Bryant are the first Officers on the scene.

Kim is not happy with the circumstances of the death and her suspicions are bourn-out when Keats carries out the autopsy and confirms that the girl was murdered.

The investigation is thwarted at every turn by the family, who are trying to hide their own secrets; by the school, whose principle will only entertain suicide as the cause, as murder would be bad for business; and by the students, who are either in one of the secret societies, or are scared of the pupils that are.

As the story unwinds Kim has to turn to an unlikely ally for advice, which itself holds dangers which I’m sure will hold recriminations.

As the body count begins to rise, and the climax of the book gets ever closer, the tension rises. Right up to the end it’s impossible to find out, or guess, who is running into danger, and how it will play out.

When the end comes it is no anti-climax. I had already read quotes on twitter where people said the they were left “broken” at the end, and that it was an “emotional ending”.

I thought I was ready for it, but no. It is emotional, and I was broken.

This is book 8 in the DI Kim Stone series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, and it works well as one, but to get full impact read the others.

I was lucky enough to find Angela Marsons when the first Kim Stone novel was released, and have been onboard from the beginning.

I am a prolific reader and I can think of no bigger recommendation than, every time an new book in this series is made available, I put down whatever I’m reading and read what Stone and her team are up to. This one was the best yet.

Roll on Book 9

Pages: 399

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 18th May 2018.

Dark Lies Nick Hollin

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Nick Hollin has produced two characters which have got me completely and utterly hooked.

DCI Katie Rhodes, once brilliant, smart and reliable; now a promiscuous heavy drinker seemingly bent on self-destruction.

Criminal Psychologist Nathan Radley, a very strange man who has been in self-imposed exile for a year. A man who can get into criminals minds, unfortunately, he also empathises with their dark feelings and lusts for violence.

Why has Rhodes started to self-destruct, and Radley placed himself in exile, because they were both badly affected by the last case they worked together.

When Rhodes is called to the scene of a murder she notices a mark on the body, a mark which is identical to a feature on her own, she starts to worry. Days earlier she had been to another scene where a body also had a mark left on it. A mark that resembled a birthmark that the exiled Radley has on his thigh. Coincidence? Of course not.

The murders are horrific but more than that, somebody is playing with Katie’s head. A head that is full of booze and hasn’t functioned properly for a year.

She can only turn to one person.

Radley has spent the last year living alone in a cottage in Scotland, reading children’s literature because he is too scared to open the boxes in his brain that hold memories of past cases. Scared of the feelings that vicious crime provokes in him.

To say he is unwilling to help his ex-partner is an understatement, but she gets him back to London and they start working on the murders.

What follows is one of the best, and most original criminal psychological thrillers I have ever read.

There are twist and turns as suspects come and go. There are frustrations as the pair are branded mentally and physically unfit to carry on with the Police investigation. But they’ve got to find the killer before he destroys them.

The two main characters are complimented by a cast of fringe characters that bring a credibility to the story.

I loved this book. In fact I have a confession to make. It had been on my to-be-read pile for weeks now. It was only when I remembered, that I was taking part on the launch blog blitz for it, that I picked it up on Saturday morning and started reading it. I put my Kindle down late Saturday night when I finished it. I don’t usually read a book in one day. I just could not put this one down.

Well it says on the cover Detective Rhodes and Radley Book 1. Well bring on book 2, and 3, and 4, in fact Mr Hollin, just keep them coming.

 

Pages: 275

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing date: 26th March 2018

No Safe Place Patricia Gibney

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Shout it out loud, for everybody who loves good Police Thrillers, DI Lottie Parker is back

The book starts with bad news for Parker’s boss which means even worse news for Parker, she’s is in for a hard time at work. Things at home are no better either as she comes to terms with the revelations about her own parents and tries to deal with her own kids.

So, when a case comes along that will test her, and her team, Lottie is already on the edge.

A naked woman is killed as she runs naked from her assailant through a grave yard.

Is she the same woman that has gone missing from the commuter train which ferries people between Ragmullin and Dublin?

Lottie and her DS, Boyd, are looking into the missing woman when a member of the travelling community reports hearing screams coming from a graveyard in the middle of the night. When they go to investigate they find a body in a grave that is about to be used for a funeral.

The case strikes a strong resemblance to an unsolved missing persons case from 10 years ago. Could they be connected?

As the team start to investigate the death a series of suspects come into the frame, and the beauty of this book is those suspects. Patricia Gibney has written a complex who-done-it based around the death of the woman in the graveyard. Three members of the same family; Paddy, the husband of Bridie, the traveller who reported the screaming; an ex-boyfriend, and the strange station manager for the local train station, all get looked at during the inquiry.

Gibney has woven a tale of half-truths and lies, but who is lying about what. Have they all got something to do with the murder, or have they all just got guilty little secrets that they don’t want anybody else to know.

All the time the investigation is continuing another woman is being held captive. The team don’t know it, but they are racing against time to identify the killer whilst the captive is still alive.

While investigation is taking place, Lottie is fighting her attraction to a colleague. She desperately needs some comfort, and somebody to show her a bit of affection, but is he the right person to do it. And as long as she resists human comfort there is always the spectre of alcohol and strong prescription drugs hanging over her.

With her new boss is out for her, a new journalist is in town and she is on a witch hunt which seems to be targeting Parker

Can she function properly?

Can her team solve the case?

Can she keep her job?

This book is a compelling read that kept me turning page after page with an anticipation that bordered on addiction.

Patricia Gibney has created a great cast of characters with DI Lottie Parker at the centre. Her team, her family, the witness and suspects she interviews are all very realistic characters. They all have their own stories that knit perfectly with the main story.

I can’t help investing in the main characters in the book, so much so that at one time I actually felt like giving one of Parkers daughters, Chloe, a good shake.

This book can be read as an excellent stand-alone novel. But to get the best out of it I would highly recommend the other 3 books in the series.

Then, like me, you can sit back and eagerly await book 5.

Book 1 The Missing Ones https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/the-missing-ones-patricia-gibney/

Book 2 The Stolen Girls https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/the-stolen-girls/

Book 3  The Lost Child https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/the-lost-child-patricia-gibney/

 

No Safe Place

Pages: 488

Publishing Date UK: 22nd March 2018

Books 1, 2, and three available on Amazon, No Safe Place available to pre-order on Amazon