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Archive for the ‘crime thriller‬’ Category

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Published: 4 April 2017

Description:

A woman’s body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen peninsula. Partially-clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.

Solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is consumed by guilt; Marguerite was her client, and for the second time in her life Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. So when local Sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite’s death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie.

Ben uncovers Marguerite’s strange past as a member of a French doomsday cult, which she escaped twenty years previously but not without leaving her baby daughter behind. Disturbed by what appears to be chilling local indifference to Marguerite’s death, Ben pieces together the last few weeks of the French woman’s life in Inishowen. What she discovers causes her to question the fragile nature of her own position in the area, and she finds herself crossing boundaries both personal and professional to unearth local secrets long buried.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard there was a follow up to Andrea Carter’s “Death at Whitewater Church” I was instantly curious, having thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the Inishowen Mystery series I was keen to see if the second instalment would live up to the standard in place and I should never have doubted the author, once again she has penned an amazing novel that grabbed my attention from the first page.

Solicitor Ben O’Keeffe really should have looked into a career as a rally driver, indeed when we first encounter her in this book she is driving at breakneck pace along the coast roads of Inishowen to where a body has washed ashore.  Fearing the worst, Ben wants to find out if it is her client Marguerite Etienne and sadly Ben is able to identify the body as being Marguerite.  The Guards write it off as suicide, especially after hearing from Ben that Marguerite had been to see her to draw up a will, thinking that she was putting her affairs in order before taking her own life.  Ben is not so sure and demands answers.

Ben is a tenacious character, her determination to do the right thing for those she cares about can often lead her into dangerous situations and at times she seems to have a reckless regard for her own safety.  But her kindness and compassion towards others offsets this, always taking the time to speak to the locals in the village she works and lives in, visiting the bookshop to chat with Phyllis (and rehome a few bundles of orphan books – good lass!), and being an integral part of the local community.
The chemistry between Ben and Guard Tom Molloy is wonderfully scripted, as the reader only sees their interactions from Ben’s point of view it’s hard to tell is the gruff and stoic Molloy feels the same way, but you do get a feeling there is ‘something’ between them, but both have their secrets and won’t open up to each other.

The clever way that the plot is woven means there are links and clues that the reader will try to piece together to preempt where the tale is heading (unsuccessfully in my case),  but Andrea Carter masterfully draws it all together with a fantastic conclusion.

As I mentioned, this is the second instalment in the Inishowen Mystery series, and this book is perfectly readable as a standalone, there are hints to previous events and Ben’s past before she settled in Glendara but the author includes enough detail so that you don’t feel you’ve missed out on anything pertinent.  I would however recommend reading the series in order purely for enjoyment if nothing else.  This is a wonderfully atmospheric setting for a crime thriller, the windswept beaches, the jagged coastal settings and the small villages make for a brilliant backdrop and add to the tension that builds throughout the plot.

Now to wait patiently for the third instalment……….

You can buy a copy of “Treacherous Strand” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

My thanks to Helen at Little, Brown Book Group for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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Hello and welcome along to to my stop on the blog tour for Ice Cold Alice by C.P Wilson, I am so excited to share my review of this thriller with you.

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Published: 12 April 2017

Copy provided by Bloodhound Books

Description:

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

My Thoughts & Review:

“Ice Cold Alice” was one of those books that as soon as I saw the description I just knew I had to read the book.  Granted one of the main themes of the book may not be the easiest of topics to write or read about, I have to say that the author has done a stellar job.
The theme of abuse is explored well and in doing so Wilson has created a character who is ridding the world of abusive men one by one.
Alice is a character that mesmerises readers, we shouldn’t really like her because at the heart of the matter she is a murderer, a cold hearted one at that but there is something about the way that this character has been created that just makes the reader empathise with her and want to succeed at what she is doing.
Cleverly, this book is more than just a thriller, it also makes the reader think about what justice and punishment is and whether the form it takes is acceptable for society.

Without going over the plot too much I will say that Alice is a vigilante, and on paper her alter egos are as far apart as the North and South Poles.  A successful author of YA novels who becomes a stalker and murderer of abusive men at night, and she doesn’t seem overly concerned about people knowing, in fact she blogs about the kills under the name Tequila Mockingbird.   What then follows is a tantalising game of cat and mouse following the vigilante on her murdering crusade and a narrative that draws from past events.  

This was a fast paced read and one that hooked me in from the start, I needed to keep reading to find out what happened next.  A cleverly woven plot with some brilliant characters makes this a must read for fans of crime thrillers.  It’s just an incredibly hard book to review as there are so many things I want to say and have to keep deleting through fear of giving away spoilers.  Take my word for it, this is a book you’re gonna want to read!

You can buy a copy of “Ice Cold Alice” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

 

 

 

 

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Published: 23 March 2017

Copy provided by Headline & Netgalley

 

Description:

 Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s acclaimed series.

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

My Thoughts & Review:

“Blood Tide” is the much awaited fifth book of the Dr Paula Maguire series penned by Claire McGowan.  Having followed this character through the previous four books I was so pleased to receive the opportunity to read an early copy of this to find out what happens next for my favourite forensic psychologist.

For fans of the series, this book goes some of the way to shining light on the mysteries surrounding Paula’s personal life – the tale of her long lost mother and also what’s happening with Aidan.  But this book provides a fresh opportunity for Dr Maguire to test her skills in a case that could prove to be one of the most dangerous she’s investigated.
If you’ve not read any of the series it is possible to read this book without feeling like you’ve missed huge chunks of information.  There is detail aplenty to ensure you are kept in the loop about past events and connections, and Claire McGowan writes in such a way that it’s not repetitive or cumbersome to remind readers about events from the past.

A cleverly constructed plot ensures that readers are kept guessing what will happen next, and the inquisitive Dr Maguire soon suspects that there is more to her newest case than the locals of Bone Island would have her believe.  At first glance it would see that Dr Fiona Watts and Matt Andrews have simply vanished, a bad storm is heading towards the island so an unfortunate accident is the conclusion that the locals have come to.  Paula is not so sure, she feels there is more to this, something about this case doesn’t sit right with her and she is determined to find out the truth.
The darkness of the approaching storm does little to help the claustrophobic atmosphere in this book, menace looms from within the pages.

Narration by Paula is interspersed with narration by Fiona Watts, recounting events leading up to her disappearance.
Running alongside this is the thrilling tale surrounding Paula’s personal life.  Her partner is in jail and she is searching for clues about her long lost mother, whilst juggling motherhood and working.  Hiring a private detective to look into Aidan’s case and also find out details about her mother’s disappearance is second nature to Paula, but what she doesn’t realise is the information is coming from a source she would never have imagined or trusted.  I have to admit, part of me was more hooked by the personal storyline at times, I’ve followed it through several books and cruelly Claire McGowan is holding is captive with the smallest snippets of information, ensuring we are hooked.

I am always impressed with the skill that McGowan possesses in her writing, her ability to simultaneously write in both past and present tenses throughout the novel, with a number of voices narrating and not losing the reader along the way.  The details that are written into the plot give an authenticity to story and the setting – the way in which the Troubles are included give a great insight to readers who may not be familiar with them, but also how the aftermath of it all impacts upon the lives of characters etc.

A superb continuation of the series and one I would absolutely recommend.

You can buy a copy of “Blood Tide” via Amazon here or Wordery here.

About the Author:

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland. After a degree in English and French from Oxford University she moved to London and worked in the charity sector. THE FALL is her first novel, which is followed by a series starring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire. She also writes as Eva Woods.

 

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Published: 26 January 2017

 

Description:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that I stumbled upon “Rattle” quite by accident on social media one day, lots of fellow book bloggers were chattering about an amazing psychological thriller that needed to be read and savoured – what more encouragement did I need to get reading?

Fiona Cummins is a new author to me, and so in this respect I had little idea what to expect when I picked up a copy of “Rattle”, but happily I was hooked from the opening pages.  The plot is intriguing and cleverly woven through the novel, there is a prevailing darkness that leeches from the pages of this book, making this an incredibly addictive and gripping read.

Because I hate giving spoilers I will avoid saying too much about the plot, but I will mention the Bone Collector.  The Bone Collector is a serial killer like no other I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of encountering (perhaps not the best word to use but I will certainly give you an idea of the malevolence of this character).  He’s the sort of character you should only read about in daylight hours, sinister doesn’t begin to describe this psychopath.  Utterly terrifying and lacking in empathy as any decent psychopathic serial killer is, the reader is then given a glimpse into the mind of the Bone Collector through his thoughts – oh how I appreciate a well written killer.
All of the characters are interesting in their own respects and the way in which they are written makes the reader feel empathy towards their fates.

As far as thrillers go, this is definitely one that raises the bar.  Fiona Cummins has written an incredibly sinister debut that moves swiftly and enthrals the reader.  She introduces an unnerving antagonist that creeps out most readers, and creates a cast of characters that readers become so invested in that they are driven to keep reading despite the evil emanating from the Bone Collector.
The writing itself it atmospheric and the vivid descriptions make this book stand out for me.

You can buy a copy of Rattle via Amazon here or Wordery here

 

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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It’s a great delight to welcome you to my stop on Ragnar Jónasson’s blog tour for his latest Icelandic thriller “Rupture” and share my review of this immensely amazing novel.

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eBook Published: 24 December 2016
Print Book Published: 15 February 2017
Reviewed: 23 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

 

Description:

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all … In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them. Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s safe to say that Ragnar Jónasson is a writer who can do no wrong in the eyes of many readers, this one included.
He writes some of the most poetically haunting scenes in his novels with the use of very few words, and yet evokes a great sense of chilling unease from his readers in doing so.  Never before have I read a book that has left me feeling the need to find a thick pullover and a hot water bottle purely because of the way in which a scene is described.  The chilly tendrils of suspense leech from the pages of this book, slowly weaving their way around a reader until it gets to the point that you are victim to this masterfully written thriller, the outside world ceases while you are wrapped up in this.

With numerous threads running through the plot a reader might be concerned about trying to keep track of what is happening but fear not, each thread is succinctly interwoven with the next, coming together to form an immensely clever plot, one that keeps readers guessing and keeps the pace steady.  Although this is the fourth book to feature Ari Thór, it reads well without having read the previous books (Snowblind, Nightblind and Blackout), but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading all of them to immense yourself in this wonderful atmospheric delight.
There’s a sense of danger that lies early on in the plot, that gives rise to a feeling of unease, a foreboding that builds to an uncomfortable claustrophobia which just makes this all the more gripping and enjoyable to read.

I’m desperately trying not to say too much about the plot of this one, there are so many subtle aspects that give things away or may skew your thinking but suffice to say this is definitely a contender for book of the year.  The writing is clever, clear and precise.  Short chapters ensure the pace moves along swiftly without anything superfluous added in for theatrical flair, just the sort of deliciously perplexing read that we have come to know and love from Ragnar Jónasson.

A special note to say a huge hat tip to Quentin Bates, the translator of this magnificent novel, his skills are truly brilliant and has translated this so well that it reads naturally as if it were originally penned in English, losing nothing of the subtle nuances or atmosphere.

My absolute heartfelt gratitude to Karen at Orenda Books for sharing this wonderful series with me and having me be part of the blog tour for Ragnar’s latest book.

You can buy a copy of Rupture via Amazon here.

About the Author:

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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for guest posts, reviews and perhaps a cheeky giveaway!
 

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Published: 19 January 2017
Reviewed: 13 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Bookouture

 

Description:

A perfect family hiding disturbing secrets. A killer who wants the truth to be told.

A teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances.
A millionaire is murdered at a local reservoir.
For Detective Robyn Carter, there’s no obvious link between the men. But as she starts to delve into the cases, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number?

But as Robyn starts to inch closer to finding the killer, Izzy is abducted.

Unless Robyn gets to the twisted individual in time, a little girl will die …

My Thoughts & Review:

From the opening chapters the reader is plunged in to the dark and gritty world of a crime thriller like no other, there are some uncomfortable moments at the beginning, abuse of any kind is never a topic that makes for easy reading but it is handled with decorum and is pivotal to a character’s story.  As a debut thriller I was prepared for an enjoyable read, something that would be “run of the mill”, following a safe pathway through the genre but I was oh so wrong.   This is on course to be a fantastic series featuring the brilliant Robyn Carter, a series that I think crime thriller fans will be eager to get their hands on and devour.

We are introduced to Detective Inspector Robyn Carter, who is on leave from her role with Staffordshire Police and working as a PI in her cousin’s firm.  During her last week in the PI job she becomes involved in a missing person case, a teacher has gone missing and Robyn is determined to find out who Lucas Matthews is and where he’s gone.
But in amongst this we also follow a story of a young girl, Alice who was sexually abused, her narration takes the form of italicised entries interspersed between chapters.  Some of parts of Alice’s tale may make for uncomfortable reading for some, but I would say that Wyer has written these carefully to ensure they remain significant to Alice’s story and her development without becoming gratuitous.
There is also a third key female voice in this story, Abigail.  A new mother who is hiding secrets from her husband Jackson, but she is also being taunted by an unknown menace.  Threatening text messages and phone calls are just the beginning of her nightmare.

Cleverly using different perspectives to tell the story, Carol Wyer weaves back and forth between the past and present to detail lives of her characters.  This not only gives great insight into them but also means that there are several different strands to this plot which taunt the reader until they masterfully come together.  The plot is complex, but it works very well and it’s clear that the author has taken great time and care in her work.

I cannot wait to see where Carol Wyer takes this series next, but she’s definitely snared a new fan, I’ll be keeping an eye out for any future crime thrillers!

You can buy a copy of Little Girl Lost here.

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Published: 3 November 2016
Reviewed: 17 December 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Penguin UK – Michael Joseph in return for an honest review

 

Description:

There’s the lost.
There’s the missing.
And there’s the taken.

She asked me once if we had any secrets, and I shook my head.
‘No secrets between us,’ she said.
‘No,’ I answered. ‘Never ever.’

In a Durham hotel at dawn, celebrated preacher Tristan Snow is murdered as he prays. None of the other guests – not even his daughter, his wife, or her sister – saw or heard anything.

But then again, they all had a motive for murder.

Detective Inspector Erica Martin is confronted by secrets and lies, lost in a case where nothing is what it seems.

With no answers, DI Martin is consumed by questions: Is anyone in this family innocent? When the victim might have been a monster – is there such a thing as justice? And does anyone deserve to die?

My Thoughts & Review:

Despite being the second book to feature DI Erica Martin, The Taken reads well as a stand alone – thank goodness for me as I’d not read Bitter Fruits.

When evangelical preacher Tristan Snow is found dead in his B&B in Durham Erica Martin and her team find that there is more to this case than they first suspected.  What then follows is a dark and twisted case with no shortage of suspects, ones who are determined to keep their secrets and reveal as little as possible.

Despite there being so many characters in this novel, the author takes great care to ensure that the reader gets a clear picture of the vital ones.  Using techniques such as writing chapters in italics throughout the reader is privy to a letter written by the wife of the murder victim.  This gives a fascinating insight into this character and allows the reader more opportunity to try and understand her, as well as give more ammunition to dislike her.  In fact, a lot of the characters in this are quite hard to like but this does not make them less interesting, quite the opposite.

This is a deliciously clever book, the plot is well woven so that there are multiple suspects and even more motives for the killing. This seemed to have an added *something* making it better than the average police procedural novel for me, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was just something about this one.  It’s the sort of book you desperately want to read on to see “who, what and why” but at the same time you don’t want to finish the book.  A very gripping and compulsive read!

You can buy a copy of The Taken here.

 

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Published: 1 November 2016
Reviewed: 14 December 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Legend Press in exchange for an honest review

 

Description:

The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

My Thoughts & Review:

Beneath the Ashes is actually the second book by Jane Isaac to feature DI Will Jackman, but thankfully this can be read without having first read Before It’s Too Late, there is more than enough detail given in this to be able to make connections between characters and events so there is little to detract from the enjoyment of reading this book in that respect.

Jane Isaac has great skill when it comes to being a story teller, her writing is intelligent and gives the reader the feeling that they are as much a part of the investigation as DI Jackman and his team.  I initially began reading this thinking that I would read a few chapters to get a feel for the story, but soon I realised this is not a book to pick up and put down at your leisure.  I found I needed to know who the body was in the barn, I needed to know what the connections were but more importantly, I felt that I needed to know more about DI Jackman.
In any police procedural the lead detective is usually the focal point of interest for obvious reason.  But here we are rewarded with a detective who has a very caring side, a strong work ethic and overall seems a genuinely nice guy – far from the ubiquitous grumpy, chain smoking, heavy drinking miser that we have come to know from this genre.  This in contract with the female lead character makes for interesting reading, while most readers will warm to Jackman, many will feel that Nancy Faraday is harder to connect with.  Her views are somewhat naive at times and she seems to act without real thought – but then as a victim of trauma you can hardly blame her.

The real mastery in this novel comes with the weaving of apparently unrelated threads of plot into one massive and unbelievably brilliant conclusion.  Try as I might, there was no way I would have even guessed half of where the plot went, which was refreshing as many police procedurals seem to follow the same well trodden path.

I look forward to the next book in the series to see where DI Jackman goes from here.

You can buy a copy of Beneath the Ashes here.

 

About the Author:

Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane’s newsletter on her website at www.janeisaac.co.uk for details of new releases, events and giveaways.

 

 

 

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I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Girl Who Had No Fear and share an extract from Marnie’s latest thriller to feature Georgina McKenzie.

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Description:

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

You can buy a copy of The Girl Who Had No Fear here


Extract from The Girl Who Had No Fear:

Chapter Five

‘What do we know about our man in the canal?’ Maarten Minks asked. Neatly folded into his chair, he sat with his pen in hand and his pad open, as though he were poised to take notes. Van den Bergen could deduce from the shine on his overenthusiastic, wrinkle-free face that he was on the cusp of getting a stiffy over the discovery of this fourth body. Waiting for his old Chief Inspector’s words of wisdom, no doubt. Bloody fanboy.

‘Well,’ Van den Bergen began. Paused. Rearranged his long frame in his seat, grimacing as his hip clicked in protest when he tried to cross his legs. ‘It’s interesting, actually. His wallet and ID were still on him. No money stolen, so he couldn’t have been pushed into the water after a mugging.’ He took the smudged glasses from the end of the chain around his neck and perched them on his nose. Wishing now that he’d had the scratched lens replaced when George had told him to. Trying to focus on the handwriting in his notebook. Hell, maybe it wasn’t the scuffing. Maybe his sight had deteriorated since the last eye test. Was it entirely unfeasible that he had glaucoma? ‘Ah, his name was Floris Engels – a maths teacher at Bouwdewijn de Groot Lyceum in the Old South part of town.’

Minks nodded. Pursed his lips. ‘A teacher, eh?’

‘Yes. I checked his tax records. Head of department at a posh school on the expensive side of town.’ Removing his glasses, Van den Bergen stifled a belch. ‘IT Marie’s done some background research and revealed nothing but a photograph of him on the school’s website and a Facebook account that we’re waiting for permission to access. It’s unlikely he was some kind of petty crook on the quiet, as far as I can make out, but I got the feeling he might have been dead before he hit the water.’

‘And the number of canal deaths are stacking up,’ Minks said, lacing his hands together. That fervour was still shining in his eyes.

Van den Bergen could guess exactly what he was hoping for but refused to pander to his boss’ aspirations. ‘I’m going out there with Elvis now to interview the Principal and some of his colleagues. We’re going to check out his apartment too. Marianne’s doing the postmortem this afternoon. She says, at first glance, she thinks maybe there’s been some foul play.’

‘Excellent!’ Minks said, scribbling down a note that Van den Bergen could not read. ‘Lots going on. I really do admire your old school methodical techniques, Paul.’ The new Commissioner beamed at him. His cheeks flushed red and he leaned his elbow onto the desk. ‘Will you be disappearing into your shed for a think?’

Is he taking the piss, Van den Bergen wondered? But then he remembered that Maarten Minks was neither Kamphuis nor Hasselblad. This smooth-skinned foetus had been fast-tracked straight out of grad school. At least Van den Bergen’s long-range vision was good enough to corroborate that there was a raft of diplomas hanging above Minks on the wall behind his desk. A framed photo of him posing with the Minister for Security and Justice, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the bloody Prime Minister. No sign of a naked lady statue or stupid executive toys. This youthful pretender to the policing throne was all business. But he could think again if he thought Van den Bergen was going to discuss the shed. ‘Do you have any suggestions regarding the shape the investigation should take? Any priorities I should know about?’

‘See how the autopsy pans out. But if there are any similarities with the other floaters, I think we need to consider …’

Here it was. Van den Bergen could feel it coming. He shook his head involuntarily and popped an antacid from its blister pack onto his tongue.

‘… that a serial killer is on the loose.’


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, extracts and some fascinating guest pieces written by Marnie.

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Paperback Published: 6 April 2017
Reviewed: 20 November 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Sphere in return for an honest review

 

Description:

TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS… ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE… ONE BECAME A KILLER…

One night changed their lives
Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.

Cries in the fire and smoke
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.

A truth both must hide
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

Discover the gripping, twist-filled start to a fantastic new London-set crime thriller series starring morally corrupt DI Ray Drake – the perfect new addiction for fans of Luther.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I started this book I was grabbed by the story, it was interesting and the explosive first pages really set the tone for the rest of the book.   The description promised mystery, intrigue and murder but this turned out to be so much more,  a brilliantly compelling read that was almost impossible to put down.

Skilfully, Mark Hill weaves together numerous threads to bring the reader an enticing story that tangles along the way with some dangerous and devastating events.  The reader is plunged into the chaotic and desolate Longacre Children’s Home in the 1980s, the details of the goings on there are harrowing reading at times, and the impacts of the abuse towards the children resident there are far reaching, so much so that some are still living in the shadows of their torment.  The tormentor in the home ruled with an iron fist, somewhat drunkenly and never missed an opportunity to exploit his charges for his criminal activities.

The recent promotion of DS Flick Crowley should be a cause for celebration, but for this character she is constantly checking herself, ensuring she is not reading subtle context into remarks of her mentor DI Ray Drake and superiors.  Determined not to show signs she is struggling under pressure or not up to the challenge of leading a murder investigation, Flick looks for connections between the victims not realising that someone is working hard to cover up the evidence she needs to solve the case.

Rich with lies and secrets, this is a well plotted novel, it draws the reader in and builds a level of tension that makes this an incredibly fast paced read.  The characters in this are very well written, each one of them is damaged in their own way, be it Elliot and his time at Longacre which turned him into an alcohol abusing criminal, Flick Crowley with her strained relationship with her father, or indeed Ray Drake who recently lost his wife to cancer and has a troubled relationship with his daughter.  Each character is a victim in their own way, and through clever and insightful writing Mark Hill makes the reader feel empathy towards their plights.  The strong characters really bring this book alive, there are elements of the personalities that readers will connect with,  and will understand but will ultimately feel driven to read on to discover what happens to that character(s). 

The writing itself is impressive, and it is hard to believe that this is a debut novel.  It’s chilling, it’s compelling and it’s brilliant.  The deception and danger in this book are so well constructed that the reader may guess what happens from time to time, but Hill ensures that they are kept on their toes with some of the unexpected twists he throws into the story.

Now I just need the details for the next outing for DI Drake and DS Crowley…….any hints when we can expect book two Mr Hill!?

 

About the Author:

Courtesy of http://markhillauthor.com/about

I’ve been a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer. I worked for about five minutes in PR.

But I write now, which is just as well, because I love writing. It’s my dream job.

It’s nice to see you here, thanks for coming, but you can also find me on social media.

I’m on Facebook right here. If you like The Two O’Clock Boy, if you’re interested in keeping up to date with news, events and giveaways – everything Drake and Crowley, basically – then head to my author page and, you know, ‘like’ the page.

Or if Twitter’s your thing then you can find me there, too, @markhillwriter. I tweet about all sorts: writing, books, movies, games, custard, otters, all the stuff you like. So give me a follow.

But wait, before you do any of that, make sure you buy my book.

 

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