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

Keep Her Safe Richard Parker

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Never have I read such a complex, and compelling, story based on so few characters.

This book has two protagonists, Maggie and Holly. The fate of both of these women is controlled by the mysterious Babysitter. 

The Babysitter kidnaps women’s young children, and will only return them when they have completed his tasks.

So, when Holly is sent to kill Maggie, it is to save the life of her young daughter Abigale.

The story is that of these two women as they fight for their own survival, and takes place over an 8-hour time frame, Maggie must be dead before sunrise

Maggie is not the innocent woman that Holly though she was, and it soon becomes apparent that she has more in common with Holly than you would expect.

Holly is dead set on killing Maggie; and the struggle between the two women, in Maggie’s house, is one of the most engrossing bits of writing I’ve ever read.

The story sways to and fro, one chapter narrated from Maggie’s point of view the next Holly’s. It’s a struggle between right and wrong, good and bad, but it’s perspective is never black and white.

All the while the struggle is taking place text messages, from the Babysitter, make it obvious he can see what is happening, so there is no escaping the fact Holly needs to kill Maggie or die trying.

At first different readers will want Holly to succeed, others Maggie; but I can guarantee whichever one you start with you will change your mind more than once.

After all what would you do to save your child, alternatively how far would you go to save your life if somebody broke into your house and tried to kill you.

More compelling than most books which have many more characters, and take place over days, weeks, or months, this book had me turning each page with as much nervous trepidation as anticipation. I had not got a clue how the story was going to end, and I was fully engaged with both Maggie and Holly.

I may have made this tale sound simplistic. Two main characters and a short time period, but if you love psychological thrillers you will go an awful long way to find a better book.

Pages: 329

Publishing date UK: 11th January 2018.

Publishers: Bookouture

Available to pre-order on Amazon.

Dark Game Rachel Lynch

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2017 has seen the publication of some fantastic psychological thrillers, and if this book is anything to go by 2018 is going to see even more.

Kelly Porter is a 36-year-old DI in Cumbria; but that was not where she started her Police career, she has recently moved home from the Met, and she brings with her all the experience of an officer who has served time on an MIT in London.

However; she is not like most protagonists in this situation, she actively tries to not come across as the big-city-girl and is very easy to like. She is struggling with living at home with mom, and having an over-bearing sister living nearby, but as far as her job goes, she’s good and she just lets her professionalism speak for itself.

To start with she is given cold cases to review whilst she is mentored by her predecessor before he moves on to his new job. So, when she digs into the case of a girl who was murdered after being kidnapped during a family outing, and there appears to be a link to a current crime, she is soon thrown into the thick of a serious investigation and takes over as the SIO.

Amongst the small towns of the Lake District there is a growing community of immigrant workers. Amongst these workers are a community of illegal workers held against their will and forced into prostitution and drug abuse.

When one of the local businessmen dies whilst engaging the services of one of these sex workers it starts a chain reaction that uncovers layers of evil that unfortunately do not only exist in fiction.

The young girls forced into working as prostitutes; the human trafficking that gets them into the country, the vicious gangs that are responsible for the trafficking. Then there’s the other crimes that the gangs bring with them. Dog fighting, humans forced into fighting, rape and murder.

This book holds no punches, and certainly has no filters, as it follows Kelly Porters investigation into an ever increasingly serious criminal investigation.

Each new chapter holds another revelation, some of which I didn’t see coming; each of which seems to get more violent as the higher ranking criminals realise that Porter is working her way up the food-chain and is getting close to them.

People who read this blog regularly will know that I place a lot on reality. Rachel Lynch has done her research. The story is frighteningly realistic; the crimes, as they take place are described brilliantly. The crime scenes, and the effect they have on the Police, are stunningly written. The chain of events that transcribe the investigation are logical with no big leaps of faith. In fact, the way the investigation opens up, and the processes the officers go through, are perfectly written.

I hope this is the first of a series. If it is, the next one can’t come soon enough.

 

Published by Canelo

Publishing date: 29th January 2018.

The Vanishing Girls Lisa Regan

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Straight from the start I’m going to say I loved this book. The Plot, the main protagonist, the setting, everything.

The story is based in the small fictional town of Denton Pennsylvania. When a young woman goes missing it attracts the attention of all of the local police department, but the one woman that really wants to get involved in the search is on suspension for hitting another woman.

Detective Josie Quinn is a troubled character, she has recently left her husband when she found out he was having an affair with the local stripper. Her husband, her childhood best friend turned-lover-turned-husband, was not only a cop, he was her best friend.

The towns chief refuses to let Josie back from suspension so she starts to look into the disappearance of the girl herself; and she starts to uncover some terrible secrets.

Everybody she thinks to turn to for help might be put in danger, or may put her in danger. In turmoil and not knowing who to trust Josie uncovers historical crimes that she links to the disappearance of the girl. Her one-woman investigation goes from looking for a missing girl to looking for a serial killer.

This book is brilliant. The story had me hooked from the start and kept me engrossed throughout.

The culmination of the investigation is not at the end of the story. Thankfully Lisa Regan has continued, past the end game of the crimes, to include the inquest that goes on after the perpetrator has been found. But did he work alone, and has Josie identified everybody involved.

Thankfully there are more Josie Quinn books on the way and I, for one, can’t wait for the next.

Whilst I was reading this the style of writing, and the story, reminded me of another of my favourite authors. So, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anybody who likes books by Greg Isles

 

Pages: 345

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing date UK: 17th January 2018

Blood Rites David Stuart Davies

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This is the book that takes all the Police Procedural Novels stereo-types, rips them up and throws them in the bin.

 

Set in 1985, when being gay was still seen as being taboo in the Police, the main protagonist is Detective Inspector Paul Snow.

 

Paul is gay, and to protect his professional “credibility” he keeps it to himself. In fact, to protect himself, he has been celibate for 10 years.

 

As the story starts Snow is dating a recently divorced Headmistress from a local Catholic school; and to convince himself he has changed, he even sleeps with her.

 

If this book hadn’t been so well written some people might find this story line insulting, but it isn’t. It highlights the struggles people had and the book is set right in a time when bigotry was rife.

 

The book starts with a killer washing a blood-soaked knife in his kitchen sink, and then regresses 3 months to the start of a killing spree.

 

Whilst Snow is on a date with Matilda, the Headmistress, a man is mugged and the mugger is later knocked over and killed in a hit-and-run. The mystery killer of the novel loves the instant karma that has served justice, and a seed is planted.

 

It’s not long before the killer starts his spree.

 

Snow and his team investigate the first murder, the victim is a drunk wife beater.

 

As more murders take place Snow and his team make very little headway. Pressure is starting to mount on Snow; both professionally to catch the killer, and personally as he struggles with his sexuality and a conflict in his relationship with Matilda.

 

The plot moves quickly, and realistically, showing the investigation from Snows perspective. His frustrations with the lack of a break in the case multiply with every new victim. The only apparent connection between the victims is the manner in which they are killed.

 

When he does begin to realise there is a connection he has no proof of it, leading to more frustrations.

 

The book crashes to an unbelievable climax that actually had me utter an expletive out loud, luckily, I was sitting in the lounge on my own. What an ending. I honestly cannot think of another one like it.

 

There has to be a sequel, and I can’t wait to read it.

 

Pages: 304

Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited

UK Publishing date: 9th November 2017.

Available now on Amazon