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Archive for the ‘police procedural’ Category

Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, where I like to shine the light on another book from an independent publisher or author and share some book love with you all.  Today I am delighted to share a review of The Last Thread by Ray Britain, and also a short interview with the author.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location and the discovery of a burnt out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. Short of experienced senior investigators, ACC Steph Tanner has no choice but to take a professional risk. Throwing Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation, Tanner appoints him as SIO to lead the investigation.

But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many ‘loose threads’ as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation?
Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Last Thread is a remarkable debut novel, with a superb plot and some fantastic characters.  There are so many strands to the plot of this novel that I feel that I should take a moment to appreciate how complex it is but at the same time how exceptionally interesting and thrilling a read it is.

The main character DCI Doug Stirling first appears in a very precarious situation, on top of a bridge with a fifteen year old boy who is about to commit suicide, and Stirling is there as negotiator.  Stirling succeeds in getting the boy to talk to him and trust him to take his hand before unfortunately the boy falls to his death.
The subsequent investigation by the Police Complaints Commission into the incident leaves Stirling on restricted duties and at the mercy of a Chief Inspector who has an agenda.
As it this weren’t enough for our protagonist to deal with, he’s then brought into the investigation of a gruesome death, a body discovered in a burnt out car and warned to keep a low profile whilst internal investigations are ongoing.  Once a positive identification is made the case is thrown open and the intrigue ramps up a notch or three.

For me, this book really stood out from the “normal” police procedural with the level of detail included.  It’s obvious from the writing that the author knows British policing and procedures and it’s really quite interesting to see a side of reality we don’t often get to witness.
The characters are interesting and varied, and I loved seeing the office politics play out between certain personalities.  Doug Stirling is a fantastic character that I hope to see more of in the future!

A brilliant crime thriller with realistic police procedural details – highly recommended!

 

You can buy your copy of The Last Thread via:

Amazon UK
Author’s website


Author Feature:

Ray Britain’s debut novel The Last Thread was published September 2017. Following a highly successful career in policing in the UK, it should be no surprise that his story is a complex crime investigation story.

Ray served in the Midlands region of the United Kingdom gaining promotion to a high rank, working in both uniform and investigative roles, but the investigation of crime and the camaraderie of investigators remained his first love. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Ray led many investigations, some of which engaged specialist, national capabilities. For fifteen years he was also a Hostage & Suicide Intervention Negotiator responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily.

In ‘The Last Thread,’ Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader in the driving seat of a complex investigation with all the uncertainties and realities of modern crime investigation.

Ray’s interests include: mountain walking, rugby, skiing, Dad dancing, reading, and sailing.
(Author bio courtesy of Amazon)

 
What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I most enjoy scoping and plotting the story, creating the twists and turns and the faux leads, or red herrings, to intrigue and interest the reader until the end of the story. I also like developing the characters so that they can become friends to the reader or, if not friends, then interesting as to what makes them tick. Having been a professional investigator for many years, studying and analysing people’s traits and characteristics in interview was always a fascinating process, particularly when seeking a confession or some fine witness detail. People come in infinite variables and are endlessly fascinating.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Proof reading and endless editing which is extremely tedious but essential to be sure you’ve made the best use of language and trim away excessive detail. Or, indeed, to flesh out a character to achieve their purpose in the story.

And what is the most challenging part of getting yourself published?

Without doubt, it’s getting yourself noticed. A challenging as the writing is, in many ways it’s the easy part. There are so many books being self-published through Kindle and the like that it’s a challenge to get yourself ‘seen’. Thank fully, we have excellent book review blogsites such as ‘The Quiet Knitter’ which are of tremendous help to new authors like me.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Hmm, I’m not sure. I think that given my background, I should stick with what I know and only if sufficient people like my writing, would I consider branching out into a different genre. Anyway, I have too many plotlines and romantic entanglements for my protagonist, DCI Douglas Stirling, in my head for the time being.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I’ve finished working in the conventional sense of the word and as writing is a very sedentary occupation, particularly when in the throes of the storyline, I try to keep myself sensibly fit by going to the gym a few times each week. I love walking, particularly in the mountains and fell walking and as there aren’t any mountains in the Midlands, the Lake District is my favourite destination in the UK.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you must observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Not really. Having worked in a reasonably disciplined organisation for over thirty years leading investigations and large-scale teams, I’m a ‘self-starter’ anyway. I use a laptop for writing and back up each day’s work to both cloud and to a hard drive in the event of a catastrophic system failure, or theft.
Writing has seen me keeping some very strange hours, though. If I can’t sleep I have to get up and use my time usefully so if I’m wrestling with the plot, or a particularly tricky item in the story, I might get up and write through the night. It can make me a bit grumpy in the mornings, I’m afraid.

What’s on the horizon? What can your fans look forward to next?

Subject to readers enjoying my writing and the characters in it, ‘The Last Thread’ is just the first in a series of DCI Douglas Stirling investigations. The next book is mind-mapped out, I’ve drafted the Prologue and committed the first murder. Most satisfying!

You mentioned mind-mapping?

I’ve been a big fan of mind-mapping for over twenty years. I use mind-mapping software to capture my thinking, any research required, parallel story lines and timelines and my character profiles to ensure consistency and so avoid any mistakes. In short, I aim to treat the reader with respect. I want them to immerse themselves in the story without the distraction or irritation of inaccuracies or inconsistency.

Sounds great! So, where can we buy ‘The Last Thread’?

It’s for sale on Amazon and all good e-readers, or simply visit my website at
http://www.raybritain.com/ where you buy it through there.


My thanks to Ray for joining me today and sharing more about himself, and I am so excited to hear that book two is plotted out …..fingers crossed we can get reading soon!

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I am so thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Hell to Pay by Rachel Amphlett and share a guest post with you about her daily writing habits.  Hell to Pay is the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series, and it sounds like a fast paced crime thriller that will delight readers!


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Description:

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY


Guest Post:

Jamming with words – my daily writing habits

There’s one thing that drives me every single day, and that’s the need to create new words before I lose myself down the social media rabbit hole or become immersed in the business and marketing side of being a writer.

I now write full-time after years fitting it in around first full-time work and then a part-time job as I slowly grew more successful, but that opens up a whole new can of worms: how to write more, without affecting my health? We’ve all heard horror stories of typists with RSI, bad backs and the like, and I didn’t want to end up like that, so about 12 months ago, I took the plunge.

I started using dictation software to smash my daily word targets.

At first, I approached it with a bit of trepidation, I’ll be honest. After all, it’s weird hearing your own voice, and there is a tendency to feel a bit of a twit to start off with.

Nevertheless, I persevered. I didn’t worry about the special commands to make the software do flash things like save my work or anything – I simply concentrated on training it to understand my voice (not easy with a mixture of an English/Australian accent!), then introduced basic punctuation such as speech marks and commas.

I’m not a patient person by nature, but I am determined. I read all sorts of stories in Facebook groups about people’s frustrations with the same software, but I refused to give up.

The real turning point for me was the blog tour for the first Detective Kay Hunter book, Scared to Death. I’d started to find my feet with the dictation software while drafting the book, but it really saved my bacon when it came to all the guest posts I had to provide for that first tour because rather than typing each one, I simply paced about in front of my desk while I dictated the words.

It was so liberating!

For the past 12 months, I’ve probably dictated two thirds of each of my books this year, including Hell to Pay. The dictation is mostly used during the first draft stage, whereas when it comes to editing, I rely on touch typing and good old handwritten notes.

Yes, it can have its issues. The microphone is very sensitive for starters, and there have been a few instances where a loud noise in the neighbourhood has made me jump with fright, with the accompanying swear words having to be deleted afterwards!

These days though, I can’t imagine writing the Kay Hunter series without the aid of dictation – and of course, it means I can produce the books faster for readers, too!

 

A huge thank you to Rachel for joining me today and sharing her writing habits with me, I’m not sure I would manage to use dictation software, I always think I sound like a complete numpty when I hear my voice played back in videos…..It’d probably put me off listening to myself wittering away haha

You can buy your copy of Hell To Pay via:

Amazon UK

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It was a great honour to be able to read an advanced copy of this book, Helen Cadbury creates a fascinating and gripping tale that has readers hooked from the very opening pages, she shrewdly leads them down a path littered with clever subtleties and flags of danger whilst enticing their imagination to run riot.  When a book offers so much you just know you’re going greedily devour it!

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Description:

It is the middle of a long night shift in Doncaster for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. With a sexual assault court case and a missing girl also vying for his attention, Denton and the murder investigation are drawn towards the neighbouring greyhound stadium where all is not as it seems. With the worlds of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse pressing in on all sides, Denton is walking ever closer to serious danger.

My Thoughts & Review:

Part of my enjoyment of this book centred around the main character, PC Sean Denton.  A fresh faced constable who along with his partner PC Gav Wentworth gets pulled into a case that involves so many aspects it might leave their heads spinning.
Denton dreams of becoming a detective, it’s the one thing that he really wants but fears that his dyslexia will hold him back, and it’s something he keeps secret from those around him.  This extra layer to Sean Denton just makes him a little more “real” for readers and makes him stand out at someone who is determined to work hard for his goals.

When I went into this book I was aware that it was the third in the series (yes, breaking my own rules once again!), and I can happily say that this reads well as a stand alone book.  Helen Cadbury ensured that she wrote just enough explanation for events and backstories to be sure that new readers would pick up on Sean Denton’s previous tales but not enough to bog down those already familiar with the series.  And if I’m honest, the wonderful style of writing has me keen to go back and read the previous two books just so find out the details of what went on before this book.

The plot moves quickly and keeps readers engaged, and as the tensions mount and the strands of the plot weave together to form an inescapably brilliant conclusion it becomes harder and harder to drag your eyes away from this book.  It’s one of those books that calls to you and stays inside your head making you wonder about it.   The clever plotting will have readers muttering aloud or commenting in excitement once Helen Cadbury lets them in on the mysteries within the book, but some of the explanations remain just out of reach until Cadbury is ready to share them and boy, it’s worth it!

All of the characters in this are quite interesting, and despite some being less than favourable and their actions being questionable, you still feel somewhat invested in them and their situations.  The exploration of some of these characters was fascinating to read, especially Sarah.  I found that the more I learned about her, the more intrigued I became.  And I think it’s fair to say that Sean Denton has secured a place in my heart with this book, he comes across as very likeable and the sort of character that you could probably cast from your circle of friends.

It’s with great sadness that I have to say that there will be no book four in this series as sadly Helen Cadbury passed away in June 2017.

 

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Hello and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Malcolm Hollingdrake’s latest crime thriller featuring DCI Bennett!  It’s a huge honour to take part in this tour and I am delighted to be able to share a fantastic guest post written by Malcolm.

Description:

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Following his recovery from a personal and professional trauma, Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett has been declared medically fit to resume his police duties. He returns to discover a complex case involving the art world.

Soon Bennett unearths a dark side of the industry where greed, ambition and dubious practices thrive and, where there is money to be made, violence and murder are never far away.

Working their way through a maze of galleries, museums and the internet, Bennett’s team struggles to make sense of the evidence.

Can Bennett tell the difference between what is real and what is fake?

 

You can buy a copy of Dying Art via:

Amazon

About the Author:

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.
Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.

 


Guest Post:

Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett stared at the strange face that gurned back from the misted bathroom mirror; it was far from the face he knew. He deliberately closed his eyes but only one obeyed his order, the right eye continued to study the reflected disfigurement. It had to be said that the toothpaste liberally spread round his lop-sided lips and the fact that it continued its path to drip from stubble on his chin, didn’t enhance his appearance. Three days ago he had been fine. It had been a long day, yes, nothing abnormal in that, followed by a few relaxing drinks in the Black Swan and one or two night-caps once home and this was what he had awoken to.

“Bloody Bell’s pissing, poxy palsy,” he groaned in a strong, Yorkshire accent. “Great!”

 

It seems but a moment ago that I set the ball rolling with this opening paragraph of ‘Only the Dead’ the first in the DCI Cyril Bennett Crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, but on reflection it has been quite a trek!

For one thing it was titled, ‘Keen as Mustard’, and it was self-published on Amazon. I had sent the manuscript to a number of agents and publishers but received the usual, ‘Thanks but no thanks’, response. Not one to give up too soon I wrote the next Bennett book, again self-published and titled, ‘Just above Hades’. I designed both covers. Again I eagerly sent book two out, like Noah sending the dove from the ark. Nothing!

The third book in the series had a working title of, ‘Inked’ and this too was optimistically sent out to a number of publishers but alas nothing. I probably should have given up, thrown in the towel at this stage but I enjoyed the process of writing, creating a parallel fictitious world that was mine. It sounds selfish and personal but the characters I had created had become part of the fabric of my life; I just couldn’t let them go. It was then that serendipity played its hand.  A number of things happened that I’ve detailed before in other posts and as if by magic I had a contact…Bloodhound Books to whom I sent manuscript three.

It’s funny that throughout history there are people who see what others miss and this can certainly be said of Betsy Reavley and Fred Freeman. Somehow they saw something in my writing that was worthy of a more in-depth look, what their expert eyes saw, I know not, but they believed the story to be worthy of a commitment and so it was that they offered me a contract for that book, book three which became, ‘Flesh Evidence’. They then realised that I had self-published books one and two and accepted those plus one other; I suddenly had a four book deal; I had the makings of a series.

From being totally dejected to being ecstatically excited took but a matter of days. It’s funny what effect those few words, We’d like to offer you a contract, can have on an individual. So what happened? Well, the first three books did really very well and book four ended series one. Now you have the beginning of the second DCI Cyril Bennett Crime series set in the beautiful surroundings of Harrogate. ‘Dying Art’ brings together two of my passions, my writing and my love of Northern art. To think that this has happened only since August, 2016. I feel proud to have five books published.

To get this far I have had a great deal of support. My wife, Debbie, never lost faith in my ability to tell a story, friends who have committed time, the bloggers, without whom I’d be nothing and the enthusiasm of the readers. Their support of the Bennett series has been both amazing and humbling. Their positive comments and reviews have generated an even keener appetite to create more of these books. I thank you! My sincere thanks, as always, to Bloodhound Books for their belief in me when nobody else did. There are two other people I must name and thank, Helen Claire who saw something in my work at the same time as Bloodhound. I hope you like your character in the book, Helen, and Caroline Vincent who has been a guiding light and true inspiration.

I would like to leave you with book five, ‘Dying Art’ and hope that you enjoy this latest DCI Bennett case whilst I continue writing book six.


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Hello and welcome along to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing, today I am delighted to share a book from the wonderful Orenda Books, today’s fantastic book featured is “Faithless” by Kjell Ola Dahl and I’m delighted to say that this post is also part of the blog tour for the book.


Book Feature:

Published: 15 April 2017

Description:

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When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her—and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers—and the killer—before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, atmospheric page-turner marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Kjell Ola Dahl was not a name that I was familiar with before I heard about this book, and for those out there that are shaking their heads in shock, horror or disbelief, please accept my apologies.  Kjell Ola is lovingly described as the “one of the fathers of Nordic Noir” by  his publisher Orenda Books, and after devouring this book I can see why.

“Faithless” is actually the seventh book in the series following the Oslo detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda, but happily this book can be read as a stand alone.  I did initially worry that I might struggle to connect with the characters because I came to the series so late but they are written so well that you don’t feel that you’ve missed anything.  The shared history and friendship of the detectives runs in tandem with the main thread of the plot and does not detract from the case at hand, the focus is on the crime and investigation. 

There is something special about Nordic Noir, there’s a realistic simplicity to it, the precise nature of which makes it a joy to read.  This realism shows through in the characterisation, Frølich and Gunnarstranda are time served detectives, they rely on gut instinct and experience rather than modern technology.  The simplicity of doing things the “old fashioned” way gives them an authenticity and fits in so well with the creations I conjured in my head whilst reading.
In keeping with the hallmarks of the genre, there is an unfathomable darkness looming on the horizon.  The tension slowly mounts whilst Dahl masterfully leads his readers on a journey of misdirection and plays with their minds, but all the while the darkness swells until Dahl cunningly stuns his audience and leaves them dumbfounded.  

The plot is clever and the numerous strands of the plot weave so eloquently together to form a conclusion that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

As with any translated book from this publisher, the translation work is superb.  Don Bartlett deserves a huge thank you for taking this wonderful novel and making it read naturally in English.  I will admit that I am somewhat hesitant with some translated books, there is always a worry that subtleties will be lost in conversion into another language, that social or cultural aspects may not comfortably translate but here this is not the case, and I would like to offer my thanks to Don Bartlett for his time and hard work in ensuring that his work is to the highest standard.

You can buy a copy of “Faithless” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery
Orenda Books eBookstore


 

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more reviews, guest posts etc.

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Description:

‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that this was the first book by Simon Beckett that I’d had the chance to read, but soon went back and bought the previous books so that I could devour them all.  Fear not though, this book reads perfectly well on it’s own as there is ample detail given as to David Hunter’s background etc so that you don’t feel you’ve missed anything salient.

The plotting of this novel is absolutely brilliant and keeps the reader hooked.  David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist, his consulting work with the Police has all but dried up and he is questioning whether his contract with his university will be renewed, so when he receives a phone call from DI Bob Lundy from Essex Police to help with the recovery of a body from an estuary he is only too keen to help.

The Police are already presuming the identity of the corpse, or more hoping that it’s the body of a man suspected of murdering his lover and subsequently committed suicide, but need Hunter’s expertise to aid with the recovery and identification due to nature having taken its toll on the body.
Hunter voices his doubts about the identity, and almost immediately finds himself at odds with the local police and the father of the (presumed) deceased.  Sir Stephen Villiers is very influential in the local area and has friends in the highest of places, including within the Police force.
Far from being a quick job, the investigation becomes incredibly convoluted, especially when more remains are discovered.  A conflict of interest makes Hunter’s job much harder, but that’s nothing compared to the family tensions, lies, secrets and local feuds that surround him.  Hunter and the Police have to tread a careful tightrope in order to solve the case.

What I liked most about this book was the fact that I could just become utterly lost within the pages, usually when you first encounter a character mid series there is the awkwardness of not having their full backstory, not knowing them overly well or in some cases not being familiar with the author’s style of writing, but in this case I immediately felt like I’d put on an old glove.  This book read so well as a stand alone story (I did go back and buy the previous books because I wanted to find out more about David Hunter and his life), the way in which the Backwaters are written makes them so incredibly dangerous and mysterious.  I had the delight of sharing a post from Simon Beckett about the importance of setting on the blog tour and I have to say that the detail he includes for his settings is phenomenal.  The plotting is brilliant, well fleshed out characters and the level of detail in this novel make it one of the best thrillers I’ve read so far this year!

You can buy a copy of “The Restless Dead” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Transworld Books for the opportunity to read and review this novel, as well as take part in the blog tour for publication of “The Restless Dead”.

 

 

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Published: 20 April 2017

Copy provided by HarperCollins & Netgalley

Description:

Gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series.

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

My Thoughts & Review:

As a long-established fan of Stuart MacBride’s books, it was only natural for me to excitedly jump at the chance to read and review an early copy of “A Dark so Deadly”.  At over 600 pages this is a hefty book, but the Aberdonian in me approves at the value for money you get with it (yep, my preorder was placed the minute I found out about this book and I’ll be following the local post delivery agent aka ‘the postie’ round the village till it arrives).

Following on the success of his police procedurals with Logan McRae and Ash Henderson, Stuart MacBride brings fans a new set of characters in a thrilling police procedural set in the fictional town of Oldcastle.  Enter DC Callum MacGregor, recently dumped in the Misfit Mob under a rather dark cloud with speculation and rumour rife.  The Misfit Mob named accordingly because the officers assigned there are either trouble(d), damaged, incompetent or do not toe the line as they should and cannot be sacked from the Force.

The opening chapter of this book really sets out how things are going to go for Callum MacGregor – battered, bitten, has an unexpected meeting with “The Claw” which leaves him able to sing soprano and he is mugged by the most unlikely culprits.  He’s not the luckiest of people, and this is nothing compared to what happens next.  But in spite of this, he is quite an endearing soul, his troubled past is enough to make most readers feel some sympathy towards him and indeed once his current situation evolves into chaos…well you’d be forgiven for wanting to give him a hug, a cuppa, and a few words about life going on.

MacBride is a skilled author, and this is clear through his wonderful style of writing.  Not only is the reader treated to his usual brand of dark humour with a gritty edge, there is a seriously dangerous killer to taunt us, one that is horrifically unstable and will cause readers discomfort.   The narration from the perspective of the victims adds an extra sinister edge to this killer and if I’m honest, it really creeped me out, however it gave a fantastic insight into the depths of the darkness that permeate this book.  Just when the reader begins to squirm uncomfortably, MacBride throws in some of the best humorous scenes I’ve read recently, and quirky dialogue between characters makes for some entertaining reading.  Even the poetic DS McAdams was welcomed interruption to the grisly goings on.
As the multiple strands of the plot weave together this changes from a thrilling, fast paced read to a frantic page turner.  In the beginning I did wonder how it would all pull together, and I shouldn’t have worried, MacBride knows how to spin a yarn that will capture the attention of his audience and hold them fast and despite the heftiness of the book I read this over the course of two evenings as I struggled to stop reading.

I cannot wait to see what fates befall the Misfit Mob and Oldcastle next if Stuart MacBride decides to bring these guys out again.  A must read for fans of crime thrillers and police procedurals.

You can buy a copy of “A Dark so Deadly” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of this.

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Published: 12 April 2017

 

Description:

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page.

My Thoughts & Review:

There are a few authors out there that when a new book is announced I will pre order unquestioningly and Robert Bryndza is one of them.  His Erika Foster series has gone from strength to strength since the publication of “The Girl In The Ice” in February 2016 and now with the arrival of the fourth instalment fans are in for a well timed treat.

“Last Breath” highlights the dangers of social media to readers from the perspective of a killer, how one killer in particular stalks his victims, befriends them and lures them in before savagely beating and murdering them.  Erika arrives at a crime scene almost as if by chance, unfortunately for her she’s no longer on the Murder Investigation Team and has no authority to be there.  But knowing our plucky protagonist as well as we do, readers can be assured she will not let this stop her finding the killer and putting a stop to his spree.  Erika makes connections that others missed, and earns the attention of superiors to explain her thoughts and before long she’s closing in on the killer.

It’s ironic that this book is titled “Last Breath”, reading this book the reader is often not aware they are holding their breath, frantically turning pages as the plot weaves around red herrings, cleverly manipulating their mind  as they try to guess ahead.  It’s the sort of book that you want to devour in one sitting, it’s too good to put down.  The characters crackle with energy and the chemistry between them is fantastic to read.  Erika Foster is a special character, and for fans that have followed the series and watched her develop are rewarded with some wonderful scenes in this book.  Equally, the detectives that Foster works with are superb, the dynamic in the team is laugh out loud funny at times, the camaraderie that exists between them feels authentic.
I was so glad to see that Dr Isaac Strong makes an appearance in this book, he’s one of my absolute favourite characters and the relationship between Strong and Foster is so well crafted.

And the killer, well that’s a character that’s so repugnant and makes your skin crawl.  The lengths that he will go to to secure his victim make for compelling reading, relying on vanity or weaknesses for them to fall for his tricks.  As much as I  disliked this character, I  liked how strongly the writing made me feel towards him, a sign of a skilled writer.

A breathtaking addition to the series that I would thoroughly recommend!

You can buy a copy of “Last Breath” via Amazon here

Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review.

 

About the Author:

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, and Dark Water are the second and third books in the series, and you can now pre-order the fourth, Last Breath which will be published on April 12th 2017.

Robert’s books have sold over 1.7 million copies and have been translated into 26 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

 

 

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Published: 9 February 2017
Reviewed: 2 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Bonnier Zaffre in return for an honest review

 

Description:

For me David Young has cemented his place on the bookshelf alongside my Cold War thrillers by John le Carré and Len Deighton.

You can buy a copy of Stasi Wolf here.

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Mel Sherratt’s latest book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series and share an extract with you.

dont-look-behind-you-cover

Description:

She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

You can buy a copy of “Don’t Look Behind You” in the UK here, and in USA here

 

About the Author:

mel-sherratt-photo

Mel writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books have been published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas and Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.

Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.

Website: www.melsherratt.co.uk

 


Extract from Don’t Look Behind You:

He stood across the road, watching from the shadows. There was no point in causing a commotion. It wasn’t worth risking someone calling the police. Besides, he didn’t want her to know he was there just yet. It was the sense of excitement he had missed since he’d arrived in Stockleigh. The chase, the thrill, call it what you may. It never left him.

She was here, right in front of him. He would bide his time before letting her know he was here. It was fun watching her. She was his obsession, yet he could take her down any time he liked, and that was far more rewarding.

He didn’t really need to stand back in the shadows. Even though he wore dark clothes, he was sure she wouldn’t have noticed him anyway. He’d been following her for several days, yet she hadn’t suspected a thing. Which was pathetic, really, given the circumstances.


 

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, extracts etc

dont-look-behind-you-blog-tour-graphic

 

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