Their Frozen Graves. Ruhi Choudhary

The second book in the Detective Mackenzie Price series.

The first book in this series, Our Daughters Bones was one of my favourite reads last year, and it ended on one hell of a cliff hanger.

This book starts where that one left off, with Price opening the door to the surprise of her life.

A thread that starts there runs through the book as a sub plot that was worthy of a book of its own.

At the same time as she’s dealing with that Price has to deal with one of the most original murder investigations I’ve come across for years.

Two bodies are found in melting ice, where a river meets a lake at a local beauty spot. Both women have died from stab wounds, and look so alike that the team speculates whether they are twins.

When one of women is recognised by a police officer, Mack (Mackenzie) and her partner go to talk to the husband, only to have a shock. The woman they thought was dead is at home ill, and yes, she does look a lot like the dead woman.

The post-mortem reveals further shocks as one of the women is found to have undergone cosmetic surgery to make her look like the other dead woman, and they both look like the woman that was ill at home.

The investigation leads the team to the dark web where somebody is putting adverts out for women who look similar to specific other women, and the people who answer adverts are going missing.

The story of the investigation is brilliant, and the backdrop of the book only enhances the story, and adds to the tension.

Lakemore, a town in Washington State was already run down, but it thrives on its college football team and the money brought in by the big games. But that team was wrecked during a previous investigation. Now there is unrest on the streets, and people blame the police for their latest downturn in fortunes, and the loss of their team

Outside of the town the huge wild woodlands, lakes, rivers, mountains, and strange communities, contrast the town and hold many secrets. A stunning and perfect setting for a crime series.

Just as the last book ended with a cliffhanger that had me waiting for this ones publication, Ruhi Choudhary has done it again. Now I’m desperately waiting for book 3

Pages: 381. Publisher: Bookouture. Available now

The Fine Art of Invisible Detection Robert Goddard

Where do I start with this one. The first half of the book is like two helix twisted together with the two main characters of the story spiralling around Japan, England and Iceland, chasing the same goal for different reasons until they come together to form an amateur partnership looking to bring down a shady global conglomerate.

Wada is an assistant to a Private Detective in Tokyo. When a woman comes to the office and says she needs somebody to go to London and pretend to be her Wada is an easy choice, as she is fluent in English.

The reason for the trip is to identify a mystery man ho might throw light on her husbands alleged suicide.

At the same time Nick, a teacher in London is about to find out the man he thought was his father, and who had died before Nick knew him, was not his father. A man who hung around with his mom, and her lesbian partner, in a group house for peace activists, appears to be his real father and he wants answers.

A man has told Nick he’ll meet him to give him information about his father, but he doesn’t turn up

Meanwhile Wada is also in London, to meet a man who says he has information on a man in a photo from the 70’s who will help in her quest. He doesn’t turn up either.

The same man, in both cases, has let two amateur sleuths down and set a chain of events in place that will uncover a plot that stretches across decades and continents.

This is a fantastic read. The main characters of Wada and Nick are perfect for this story.

Both are unassuming but tenacious. The two characters have their own story, and a long proportion of the book sees their paths crossing, and whilst both are aware of each other, and that they are looking for the same person, they don’t meet for a frustratingly long period. However when they do there is fireworks

A lot of stories come along with good plots which rely on improbable situations, that need the reader to suspend reality. In this case everything is not only probable, but also very, very believable

A great read. I just hope it’s not a standalone, I’d love to read more of Wada and Nick, and there’s an opening right in the last few lines that hints they’ll be back.

Pages: 384. Publisher: Bentham Press. Release date: March 2021

Force of Evil. Simon Michael

Every now and again a book comes along that could have been written just for you. For me that book was the first one in this series. Now, all of a sudden we have book six, Force of Evil, and like all of its predecessors it’s raised the bar again. It is stunning.

Charles Holborn is a London Barrister. A man from a strongly Jewish family who has mixed with the wrong people, not always his fault, since he was a child.

Born between the wars he worked as a Lighterman on the Thames at the start of the war, before joining The RAF when he was old enough to fight. He spent a lot of his youth and early manhood in the boxing gyms of 1940s London. Where he started to mix with some of London’s most notorious thugs.

Against the odds of his religion, his upbringing, and the people he has mixed with he gains his law degree, then faces the anti-Semitism which was rank amongst the Law Firms of the 50s and 60s. All of this is laid out in the first five books of the series which have been written around actual occurrences without rewriting history. In fact a lot of the characters in these books will be familiar to most readers, including the Kray’s

So all of that and I haven’t even mentioned this books plot.

Force of Evil see’s Holborne take on one of his most formidable foes yet. When he and a friend, Sloane, stumble across an innocuous incident on a rail siding it quickly escalates and leaves his friend in hospital with a fractured jaw. Sloane is a DS in the Met who has recently been transferred out of Vice, for being one of the only honest cops working in the squad, and is now working under a cloud of suspicion from his fellow officers.

The problem is, the more Charles try’s to find out how the man who hit Sloane got off Scotch free, the more interference Police Officers put in his way.

When another man is killed, and RAF Sergeant, who was looking into crime at a Ministry of Defence stores it starts to become apparent the two cases are intertwined.

There is a lot more to this story than just the investigation into theft form an RAF base. The story looks at the corruption that was rife in some parts of the Police in the 60’s. It looks at the dubious methods employed by some officers in gaining an arrest, and ensuring anybody they wanted out of the way could be sorted out by foul play.

It looks at the influence gangs had on the community, and the effect their “interference” could have even in places that should be sacrosanct.

And as usual there is the story of Charles’s private life. In a twist a lot of people will be familiar with Charles and his brother start to become increasingly worried about the behaviour of their parents.

Balancing his legal work, trying to do the right thing for his client, and trying to appease the gangland, whilst trying to stay in one piece, and on the right side of the law, is challenging for Charles. But it makes an absolutely brilliant story for us to read.

Pages: 404. Publisher: Sapere Available now.

Somebody’s Daughter. Carol Wyer

This is one of those blogs I write with a bit of trepidation.

The thing is I love the series. I love the tribulations that, the now DCI, Natalie Ward has been through, not just professionally but in her personal life.

So why do I write in trepidation, because this is the last in the series for a while whilst Carol Wyer concentrates on a new series, which by the way is brilliant.

So what can you expect from Somebody’s Daughter.

A fantastic story? Definitely

Good Characters? Most definitely

A defining end to suggest the end of the series? Most definitely NOT. The door is certainly left open for Natalie to return.

Yes it is the latest in a series, but this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, in fact it’s almost a fresh start for the main character as she has recently been promoted and is now Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Ward.

The star of this book is the crime and the victims. I try to never give spoilers and this all happens in the first few chapters so I’m not giving much away. Two young girls who fall for the wrong man, a drug addict who grooms girls, then forces them into prostitution to feed his habit, are murdered.

The investigation team is led by the newly promoted DI Lucy Carmichael, but with so many possible strands to the investigation where does she start. Is this case too big for the new boss.

The story looks at, family relations, bullying, grooming, sex work, drug taking, and that’s just the crime.

Then it looks at the problems caused by new dynamics. Lucy’s new dynamic of being the team leader and dealing with the petty jealousies of some subordinates, whilst worrying about what her superiors think.

Natalie’s new dynamic of being the DCI with a less hands on approach whilst mentoring Lucy through being in charge of her first major investigation. All the time dealing with her new dynamic at home.

The way Carol Wyer keeps it real has always let me enjoy her books more than most others.

So, not the end for Natalie Ward, just a break for a while.

I’m already looking forward to see how Carol Wyer reintroduces her. How long it will be till she come back, I don’t know, but it can’t come soon enough.

Pages: 329
Publisher: Bookouture
Publishing Date: 9th July 2020

Somebody’s Daughter. Carol Wyer

Somebody’s Daughter. Carol Wyer

In about 6 weeks I will be taking part in the blog tour for the publication of SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by Carol Wyer, but having just finished it I thought I’d do quick, short, review to let people know just how good it is.

Yes it is the latest in a series but this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, in fact it’s almost a fresh start for the main character as she has recently been promoted and is now Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Ward.

The star of this book is the crime and the victims. I try to never give spoilers and this all happens in the first few chapters so I’m not giving much away. Two young girls who fall for the wrong man, a drug addict who grooms girls, then forces them into prostitution to feed his habit, are murdered.

The investigation team is led by the newly promoted DI Lucy Carmichael, but with so many possible strands to the investigation where does she start. Is this case too big for the new boss.

The story looks at, family relations, bullying, grooming, sex work, drug taking, and that’s just the crime.

Then it looks at the problems caused by new dynamics. Lucy’s new dynamic of being the team leader and dealing with the petty jealousies of some subordinates, whilst worrying about what her superiors think.

Natalie’s new dynamic of being the DCI with a less hands on approach whilst mentoring Lucy through being in charge of her first major investigation. All the time dealing with her new dynamic at home.

The way Carol Wyer keeps it real has always let me enjoy her books more than most others.

Pages: 329
Publisher: Bookouture
Publishing Date: 9th July 2020

Silent Scream. Five years anniversary

Five years ago today the first DI Km Stone book was published. I read that first book a few months later and immediately read the second.

I haven’t stopped reading them since, with book 12, Killing Mind, out soon I thought I’d look back at my first review which looked at both Silent Scream, book 1, and Evil Games, book 2

Silent Scream & Evil Games Angela Marsons

Two books one blog. There’s a reason for that. I read the last page of Silent Scream and immediately opened the first page of Evil Games.

I don’t like giving plots away so I’m not going to talk too much about the story line of each of these, I’ll just talk about the writing and main character.

I enjoyed these books more than most others I’ve read over the last few years. Angela Marsons has created a brilliantly complex character in Detective Inspector Kim Stone and hopefully we’ll have a few more outings with her and her team in the future.

Silent Scream introduces DI Stone in a tale centred on child abuse at a Local Authority Home. Are current day murders linked with abuse at the home? In todays society we are becoming more aware of these abuse cases and it makes the book relevant and up to date.

Stones own history mirrors that of the children who stayed at the home, and her back-story is slowly revealed as the book moves on.

The conclusion of the book is not as easy to predict as some stories of the same genre, and with twists and turn to the very end this book is a great read.

Evil Games follows on, but can be read separately, from Evil Games.

In this book Stone identifies the link between several serious crimes, including a murder. More of Stones back-story is revealed and the reader is given a greater insight into her psyche.

Along the way Stone comes into contact with her nemesis and an intellectual and psychological battle takes place that kept me enthralled right to the end of the book.

Twists and turns throughout show that Angela Marsons has a knack for complex plots without resorting to fanciful and unbelievable stories.

Angela Marsons has set these books close to where I live. Her descriptions of the places and people are perfect. It is a testament to her that at one time in the Evil Games I shouted out loud that she had something wrong, only to realise she was inventing a shop in which a suspect child abuser was working, maybe it is best to use a fictional premises in that case.

Further testament to her research skills is found in the derelict children’s home she uses in Silent Scream. It used to exist, it had a bad reputation amongst the locals, and it had a fire. I know this because I investigated it when I was still in the Fire Service.

I have a feeling that, like many other authors, Angela Marsons is only published locally.

One of the great things about e-books and companies like Amazon is it has allowed me to read books by people I would never have had access to by simply walking into my local shop.

So wherever you are in the world, get a copy of these books. Sit back and enjoy

Stolen. Paul Finch

Any book with a character who is a homeless, drug addicted, ex-nun, who turns turns tricks to feed her habit, and continues to wear her gowns, has to be off to a flying start. You’ve got to read the book to meet Sister Cassie.

But she’s not the only reason to read this book. The lead character Detective Constable Lucy Clayburn is a firecracker of a character. She is relentless in her pursuit of criminals, but hides a dark secret from her colleagues, her dad is one of the leaders of Manchester’s biggest criminal gang, “The Crew”. Not that she’d ever exploit that, in fact she’s only just found out. So a constant throughout is weather she should commit career suicide by telling her bosses, or try to carry on and hope they don’t find out.

The start of this book is a bit of a tough read if you, like me, are a dog lover. Lucy busts an illegal dog fighting club, but amongst the dead and tortured animals she doesn’t find the ones she’s been looking for, the ones which have recently been stolen by somebody in a Black Transit Van.

What she does become aware of, thanks to Sister Cassie, is that some homeless people are also going missing, and the black van seems to be involved again.

Meanwhile there’s an internal dispute amongst the hierarchy of The Crew, including Lucy’s dad, that looks like it will lead to the gang imploding.

Whilst Lucy tries to find the Black Van, and what has happened to the people that were taken, her Dad becomes more embroiled in the infighting in The Crew. Inevitably the two storylines merge, but not in a way I anticipated, and father and daughter have decisions to make.

This is a belter of a book. Tough, and hard hitting, it is a story woven from several strands which knit together perfectly.

The characters in this book are stunning, but ultimately the ones I haven’t mentioned, the perpetrators of the crimes, are the ones that give it that real edge. I defy anybody to guess who they are, or what their motives are until they’re revealed, and then…..then it gets really scary.

Why?

Because they are way to realistic, and they really shouldn’t be.

Pages: 480

Publishers: Avon

Publishing date: Available now

Never Say Goodbye. Richard Parker

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There’s a serial killer on the streets of London, and the investigation is not going well.

When the SIO dies suddenly the investigation is handed to DI Tom Fabian, and his team are tasked to take over after 4t victim is discovered.

The only thing to connect the victims is the way the face is mutilated during the killing. With no links between the victims the initial team have struggled to identify any potential suspects, so how are Fabian and his team going to have any success where their predecessors failed.

When the penny drops, and the link is found, it is almost so tenuous that it seems like a coincidence. But the more the team look at it the more it makes sense.

The problem is, by following the pattern, they can identify any number of potential victims. So how do they prioritise, can they protect the next victim without starting wide spread panic.

Once they’ve identified the pattern it should be easy to identify who is doing the killings. Shouldn’t it?

Richard Parker was a TV script writer, script editor and producer and has written some excellent stand-alone thrillers.

With his pedigree it’s not surprising that this is one of the best books I’ve read, and that’s mainly because of its plot. So many books these days struggle for originality; but I can honestly say that the way the victims are chosen in this book is something I’ve never come across before.

Never Say Goodbye is billed as being the first in a series. All good series need good characters to make you want to find out what happens to them next.

Parker has penned a great little team that it was easy to engage with.

DI Tom Fabian is in his mid-forties, he’s recently divorced and has a teenage daughter. He is what he is, a dedicated Police Officer whose family life has suffered because of the job.

DS Natasha Banner is in her late thirties, she’s married with a son, and is an intensely private person for somebody in the Police

DC Finch, “he’s never going to make DI but he’s good at what he does”

This little team start to develop throughout the book and each one has a story that gets the reader hooked.

But for one of them, there is about to be a very nasty shock.

In a book that kept me turning page after page, until I had read it all  in one sitting, the very last paragraph took my breath away. This book leaves one hell of a cliff hanger.

I can honestly say that the last hundred words of this book made the hairs on my arms stand up.

Mr Parker, please hurry up and write the next instalment.

Pages: 246

Publishers: Bookouture

Available now

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

The Visitor K.L Slater

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The thing I like about novels by K.L. Slater is their subtleness. The stories are almost pedestrian but they are loaded with tension, and this one is fully loaded.

David is a slightly strange middle aged man who lives at home with his mom and her new partner. David has autistic tendencies, he hates change, he’s very methodical, socially awkward, and he’s a bit voyeuristic. He sees himself as a one man neighbourhood watch.

His nextdoor neighbour is the widowed Cora. David counts her as one of, if not his only friend, so when Cora takes in a lodger David becomes worried.

Holly is the lodger. At 28 she has just moved back to her old home city of Nottingham after 10 years in Manchester. As the story moves on it is apparent that Holly moved away because she lived in a home where she felt unwanted and unsafe. But what she found in Manchester was worse, and now she’s run away from there, but why back to Nottingham. As the story unfolds Holly’s Manchester years get told in her memories.

She is paranoid somebody is watching her and that her Manchester life is hunting her down.

Holly and David develop a friendship, but who is helping who. Is one, or the other, actually more of a danger than a friend.

If you want a book that’s going to keep you turning the pages, and keep you guessing right up till the end, you’re going to love this book.

I have tried to find the right analogy to describe this book, but I keep going back to one that sounds negative. It’s like the Chinese Water Torture, but in a good way. There is a constant drip of information, and each drip builds up the tension. The story builds and builds without any specific key moment; but that constant drip is really mounting the tension in one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read.

The end of this book is nothing short of stunning. The last two chapters twist the story in a direction I never saw coming, but it makes perfect sense.

What a book.

Pages: 350

Publishers: Bookouture

Publishing Date UK : 2nd March 2018