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Today I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Jackie Baldwin’s latest novel, Perfect Dead.  It’s an honour to be part of the buzz around publication and even more of an honour to share an extract with you from the book.  Before you get the chance to have a sneaky look at chapter one, lets find out a little more about the book.

 

Description:

Perfect Dead - high-res - Copy (1)

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest, DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective,’ a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

 

Extract – from chapter one:

 

7th January 2013

DI Frank Farrell glanced across at Mhairi as the police car slid and bumped its way along an icy farm track towards a small stonewashed cottage. It was 10.10 a.m. and the sky was bright with a pale wintery sun. A young police officer who worked out of Kirkcudbright stood in front of the blue and white tape and walked towards them as they parked alongside the SOCO van.

Farrell exited the car with a feeling of dread in his stomach. In his time as a practising Catholic priest, suicides, in particular, always had a profound effect on him. The thought that someone might be driven to die at their own hand was unfathomable.

‘SOCO nearly done in there, PC McGhie?’

‘Yes, sir, they reckon it’s fairly cut and dried. The police surgeon is in there too. Didn’t exactly have to look for a pulse. Blood and brains everywhere.’

Farrell quelled him with a look.

‘Do we know the name of the deceased yet?’

‘Monro Stevenson, according to the opened mail, sir.’

Silently, Mhairi and Farrell suited up in their protective plastic coveralls and overshoes. Even if it was suicide, care had to be taken not to contaminate the scene, just in case.

‘Right, let’s get this over with,’ said Farrell.

He opened the door and entered with Mhairi.

A middle-aged man in a tweed jacket and cords was packing away his stethoscope in a brown leather satchel in the hall. He straightened up as they approached. Farrell noticed that he had an unhealthy greyish tinge to his face and that his hands were shaking.

‘Morning, Doctor. DI Farrell and DC McLeod.’

‘Dr Allison. Cause appears to be suicide. A terrible business,’ he said. ‘A patient of mine, as it turns out. He was only twenty-seven.’

‘It must be difficult when you know the deceased,’ said Mhairi.

‘Yes, if only he had come to me. I could have got him some help. Anything to avoid this,’ he said, gesturing towards the other room.

‘Any chance you can give us an indication of the time of death?’ asked Farrell.

‘Well, as you know, my role here is restricted to pronouncing life extinct. However, given that rigor is at its peak, I would hazard a guess, strictly off the record, that he died somewhere around fifteen hours ago. However, you’ll need to wait for the preliminary findings from the pathologist for any degree of certainty.’

‘Thanks, Doctor,’ said Farrell. ‘I appreciate the heads-up.’

The doctor turned to leave. Farrell approached the two experienced Scene of Crime officers, Janet White and Phil Tait, who were gathering their stuff together at the rear of the hall.

‘Janet, what have you got for us?’

‘It looks like a suicide,’ she said. ‘Gun placed in the mouth and trigger pulled. We lifted prints from the gun. Gunshot residue on the right hand of the deceased matches that scenario.’

‘There’s a note,’ Phil said. ‘It’s in a sealed envelope. We’ll get you a copy once we’ve done the necessary checks back at the station. We’ve also removed the gun for ballistics analysis.’

‘What was it?’

‘A PPK 380 mm. We recovered the bullet from the wall behind the chair.’

‘How on earth did he get hold of one of those in this neck of the woods?’

‘Your guess is as good as mine,’ shrugged Phil.

‘A suicide note,’ said Mhairi. ‘That means it’s unlikely to be a murder?’

‘Unless he was coerced, or it was staged,’ said Farrell.

I don’t know about you, but that has me really keen to read more!

 

 

About the Author:

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, she now practices in Dumfries as a hypnotherapist which is where her novels are set. Married, with two grown up children, she has filled her empty nest with Golden Retrievers. She can often be found in a forest walking the dogs, covered in mud and with twigs in her hair.

Perfect Dead Blog Tour graphic final

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Hello and welcome to the second post this Friday to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”, I promised you not one but two books, so here is the second book to feature today.  This time we have Death Parts Us by Alex Walters, it was published on 28 September 2017 by Bloodhound Books.


Book Feature:

deathpartsus orange

Description:

A chilling new crime thriller from a best-selling author.

Twenty years ago, Jackie Galloway was a senior cop with a bad reputation. Then he ended up on the wrong side of the wrong people, and his career was ruined. Sacked and with no pension, he ends up eking out his last days on Scotland’s Black Isle, his mind lost to dementia, supported only by his long-suffering wife, Bridie. 

Then Galloway is found dead. The police assume the death to be accidental, until Bridie Galloway reveals that her husband has been receiving threatening letters containing only the phrase: ‘NOT FORGOTTEN. NOT FORGIVEN.’

DI Alec McKay is struggling to come to terms with life without his estranged wife Chrissie, and is living in isolation on the Black Isle. As a junior officer, McKay had been allocated to Galloway’s team and has bad memories of the man and his methods. Now he finds himself investigating Galloway’s death.

But when suspicion falls on him and more police officers are murdered, the pressure is on for McKay to solve the case.

Why would the killer seek revenge twenty years after Galloway left the force?

As McKay fights to link the events of past and present, he realizes that time is rapidly running out…

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I’ve done it again, I’ve broken my rule about reading books in a series out of order, there, I’ve admitted it and we can move on.

In all fairness this book can be read as a stand alone book but if you want to read the series I would highly recommend it.  After finishing Death Parts Us, I headed straight over to Amazon to buy the first book in the series Candles and Roses so that I could find out what really happened before this book and can happily report that these can be read out of order and it’s actually quite nice to have read them out of order.

When I started reading this I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I am a huge fan of Scottish crime thrillers so was keen to try this book.  Certainly the book description grabbed my attention, but I was also intrigued by the setting.  The Black Isle and Inverness are places I’ve visited quite a lot, we recently holidayed up in Fortrose on the Black Isle so I was interested to see if the author could bring the place alive through the book.  He certainly did, so many of the places mentioned brought memories of being on the Black Isle, and I could envision the winding roads and side streets so clearly.

DI Alec McKay is a character that I thoroughly enjoyed  reading about, his cantankerous ways reminded me of a few male members of my family, and I loved his sense of humour.  The sarcastic moments that played out in his head during conversations were hilarious at times and really made me like him that little bit more.  There’s something about the way he is described that brings such a clear image to mind, I found that after I’d finished reading this I was mentally casting actors to play in him a TV series.

The sheer brilliance of the plot caught me off guard, just about when I was beginning to feel smug about working out part of the “whodunit” I was left open mouthed and stunned that I’d got it so wrong, fair play to you Alex Walters, you laid a fantastic trail of red herrings to lead me astray!  The idea of police officers being killed off makes for an interesting twist, you don’t see that played out too often in crime thrillers.  The way that the plot links up and plays out is wonderful, small details you might not think are key suddenly become wee light bulb moments and you find that you’re racing through the book to find out how it all links up in the end.

A fantastic thriller that I would have no hesitation to recommend and will be keenly keeping an eye out for more books featuring Alec McKay!

You can buy a copy of Death Parts Us via:

Amazon

 

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