blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series · social media

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Hashtag Killer

The Hashtag Killer

Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?

DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.

Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.

Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SPBY6QZ

Author Bio

Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste.

He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England.

He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream.

Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Social Media Links – Website, Twitter, Instagram, FB page

My Review

An original and timely police procedural with an abundance of twists along the way. The Hashtag Killer, as you might expect, uses the power of social media to bring the killings to the public’s attention, and wannabe influencer Ruby Vasquez cannot resist keeping the story alive with her blog posts.

From the moment Ruby realised she was first on the scene, she was in “detective” mode on the dark web, finding information that a regular internet user would not see about the victim. Her reporting of that info played a massive role in managing the public’s opinion of the victim, and rather than call out for the killer’s arrest, there was instead a sense of justice having been done in ridding society of a rapist. Suddenly, the killer became a vigilante whose actions were appreciated – definitely not the ideal scenario for the police’s investigation.

The story was told from various points of view – DI Jen Flowers, blogger-journo Ruby and the killer him/herself (no spoilers here!) Such an approach allowed the readers great insight into the lives of Jen and Ruby, and how the story impacted their lives. For me, the killer’s chapters were overwritten and full of excessive details that had me skimming ahead. It soon became clear that the person who “claimed” to be the killer couldn’t possibly be, and that aspect made the killer’s chapters a struggle for me to get through.

Things picked up considerably when looking at the investigation from DI Flower’s perspective, and with Ruby’s efforts to remain relevant in the cut-and-thrust world of social media. The friction between the police and the news reporting made for great tension and kept the story moving at a good pace, adding another layer of drama and anxiety to the police’s need to stay ahead of the game if they were to ever catch the killer.

An interesting and original take on a crime investigation, highlighting the difficult job the police have when public opinion is swayed by the force that is social media.

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blog tour · book review · crime · police procedural · series

Book Review – Last Seen

I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

Add to Goodreads

My Review

I’m always delighted to get in on the first book in a new police procedural series. Last Seen has set the bar very high and I’ll be looking out for Joy Kluver’s next book for sure.

Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel is a former Met Police officer and, at first, it’s not clear why she has transferred out of London to a Wiltshire town where the pace of life is decidedly slower. Nonetheless, she soon faces a major investigation when a five-year-old girl, Molly, goes missing from a local park.

Keen to get search parties organised, she is quick to start door-to-door enquiries with locals in the area, only to find them unwilling to get involved in the search. Mystified as to why none of them are interested in a child’s life, she pushes on. When they find a child’s fleece and a pushchair in the bushes with no prints or DNA other than the child’s, it becomes obvious that this was no random abduction.

Whilst this is going on, we learn a little more about Bernie’s past. Having just returned from a family funeral, she seems concerned that her whereabouts as the lead investigator will have revealed her identity. But to whom? On top of that, she fears a hand-delivered note may mean that they have already found her? But who is looking for her and why?

Struggling to move the case forward, Bernie soon finds her position leading the case is at risk. This only fuels her determination to find Molly, with or without the villagers’ help. Aided by a strong team who have the same goals, Bernie is able to double-down and slowly but surely the pieces begin to fit together. But can she find Molly before she is made to step aside?

The investigation soon raises questions about Molly’s family which seems to link her disappearance with another case many years before. As the secrets are revealed, the reason behind the villagers’ reluctance to help becomes known – and it’s a cunning and clever twist, though not one that sits comfortably with Bernie and her team. How can people leave a child’s life in danger as some sort of payback for past events? It is most curious and fascinating.

This story has a compelling mystery at its core but it is the strong cast of characters who carry it through to its conclusion along with family drama, intriguing backstory, and great teamwork and dedication from Bernie’s colleagues.

An excellent start to a new series. I’ll be back for more.

My thanks go to the author, Bookouture and Netgalley for my advanced copy which I have reviewed voluntarily and with pleasure.

As always,

blog tour · book review · police procedural · series · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Dark Memories

Dark Memories

Three letters. Three murders. The clock is ticking…

When the body of a homeless woman is found under Bradford’s railway arches, DS Nikki Parekh and her trusty partner DC Sajid Malik are on the case.

With little evidence, it’s impossible to make a breakthrough, and when Nikki receives a newspaper clipping taunting her about her lack of progress in catching the killer, she wonders if she has a personal link to the case.

When another seemingly unrelated body is discovered, Nikki receives another note. Someone is clearly trying to send her clues… but who?

And then a third body is found.

This time on Nikki’s old street, opposite the house she used to live in as a child. And there’s another message… underneath the victim’s body.

With nothing but the notes to connect the murders, Nikki must revisit the traumatic events of her childhood to work out her connection to the investigation.

But some memories are best left forgotten, and it’s going to take all Nikki’s inner strength to catch the killer…

Before they strike again.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

Author Bio – Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Social Media Links 

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

My Review

Dark Memories is the third book in the DS Nikita Parekh series, and having read the previous one, there was no way I could pass on this one. As expected, it is a thrilling story of murders that all link back to Nikki’s (DS Nikita Parekh) childhood and features a chilling look at child and domestic abuse.

This case is more personal for Nikki as she has to face up to the horrors of her past and also share what happened to her with her children and her work colleagues. Her stoicism and sheer strength are to be admired – she is nobody’s victim. 

Linking the murders to letters personally addressed to her, she soon realises her abusive father is back in town. As a result of her connection to the deaths, she cannot head the investigation team and the reins are handed over to her nemesis – Felicity Springer – which only adds more conflict (but wonderfully so!) As always, her partner Saj has got her back, and even when the grimmest events unfold, he is there to keep Nikki informed. 

Solving the case picks up pace dramatically towards the end and it’s a real screen-scroller that kept me reading right until THAT ending! (Oh my – no spoilers – but there is some unfinished business come the end)

As i received an ARC, I did find the formatting made it difficult to follow in parts as the point-of-view characters ran on from each other with no clear separation, meaning I had to reread the odd passage just to get it clear in my head who the scene was about. Once I got a handle on that strange formatting, it became less problematic but clearly something I hope was sorted prior to publication. 

It’s an entertaining and gripping story, and one I’d recommend to fans of fast-paced thrillers / police procedurals. 

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As always, 

book review · crime · NetGalley · police procedural

Book Review – Dead Perfect

Summary

A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer. The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else. Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger. Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls?

Can Maggie find the depraved killer? Or will Kate become his next living doll?

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My Review

I’d been meaning to read Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten for such a long time, but other books kept creeping into my diary! The struggles of book blogging are real 😉 Finally, I said, “no more!” and I jumped straight in. And now I’m kicking myself for having waited so long. 

This was a fabulous, fast-paced read. Admittedly, I haven’t read the others in the series, but I’ll be putting that right very soon. 

When the body of a woman is found in a local park, Staffordshire police are naturally called in. But, unfortunately for DC Maggie Jamieson, the victim bears an uncanny resemblance to someone she is rather fond of – a colleague and good friend, Dr Kate Moloney. Maggie is attracted to Kate, a fact which often blurs her actions and leads to her overreacting or missing key leads. 

But why would Kate be the next victim? It’s a coincidence, surely?

Maybe not. Because Kate has been on the receiving end of some odd gifts and letters. It would appear she has a stalker. 

And this is not the only victim – another woman is found soon after bearing the same resemblance. Yet, after further investigation, the two dead women are nothing like Kate – who has a penchant for black, Goth-style clothing and makeup. Rather, it seems the killer has changed their appearances to look like Kate. Eek! 

On top of that, he has also performed a rudimentary lobotomy on both victims too. 

Concerns are rife that Kate is his likely next victim, and Maggie invites her friend to stay with her until security measures can be taken at Kate’s own home. 

From here on, Maggie tries not to leave Kate on her own – anywhere. This becomes untenable for Kate, and causes a rift between the two of them. 

The story is a cat and mouse chase to find the killer, but he has hidden his tracks well. Clues come and go, leads vanish into nothing and it seems they will never find him. The pace in the last few chapters picks up even more as the killer seeks his prey, and the police seek the killer.

It’s an exciting read and a real page-turner overall. There are a few inconsistencies towards the end but nothing that prevented me from wanting to know the outcome. 

Thank you NetGalley and One More Chapter for my copy of Dead Perfect. 

As always, 

 

blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · crime · police procedural · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Broken Silence

Broken Silence

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Purchase Links

E book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Silence-absolutely-gripping-thriller-ebook/dp/B083Z3ZZ61

Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Liz-Mistry-2-3/dp/0008358370

Author Bio 

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Social Media Links 

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

My Review

This is a real find! As my first book by Liz Mistry, I know I’ll be reading much more of her work from here on.

DS Felicity Springer leaves the conference centre feeling wiped-out, as though she’d drunk too much when she’s convinces she hadn’t but can barely remember what happened at all. To avoid the likelihood of being stopped by police on her way home she takes the back roads. the weather is awful but she makes out a hand sticking out of the rear light on the van in front of her and, ever the policewoman, decides to pursue. Still not feeling great, she puts in a call to the police but then drops her phone …

The police are alerted to Springer’s call, and when she doesn’t reply they race to track her vehicle …only to find it empty apart from her bag and some blood.

Nikki Parekh and her colleague Saj Malik are charged with finding her, a daunting task given that Nikki and Felicity aren’t exactly bosom buddies. But Springer’s disappearance is not the only crime occurring in Bradford over the coming days. Bodies are found in remote locations, fires break out throughout the city and the emergency services are overwhelmed. It appears there’s a new Mister Big in town and he intends to make his mark.

This is a gritty novel that had me enthralled from the outset. It covers contemporary themes such as homophobia, sexism, racism and the story revolves around modern-day slavery. It’s compelling and utterly addictive. 

Highly recommended! Readers who enjoy fast-paced stories with intriguing and interesting characters will enjoy this tense slice of reality. An amazing story. 

For more news and reviews, check out these blogs: 

As always,

 

blog tour · crime · historical fiction · mystery · Partners in Crime Tours · police procedural

A Spotlight on “Dirty Old Town” – plus a giveaway!

Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan Banner

 

Dirty Old Town

by Gabriel Valjan

on Tour March 1 – April 30, 2020

Synopsis:

Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan

“Robert B. Parker would stand and cheer, and George V. Higgins would join the ovation. This is a terrific book–tough, smart, spare, and authentic. Gabriel Valjan is a true talent–impressive and skilled–providing knock-out prose, a fine-tuned sense of place and sleekly wry style.”– Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of The Murder List

Shane Cleary, a PI in a city where the cops want him dead, is tough, honest and broke. When he’s asked to look into a case of blackmail, the money is too good for him to refuse, even though the client is a snake and his wife is the woman who stomped on Shane’s heart years before. When a fellow vet and Boston cop with a secret asks Shane to find a missing person, the paying gig and the favor for a friend lead Shane to an arsonist, mobsters, a shady sports agent, and Boston’s deadliest hitman, the Barbarian. With both criminals and cops out to get him, the pressure is on for Shane to put all the pieces together before time runs out.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Procedural, Historical Fiction Published by: Level Best Books Publication Date: January 14th 2020 Number of Pages: 162 ISBN: 1087857325 (ISBN13: 9781087857329) Series: A Shane Cleary Mystery Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The phone rang. Not that I heard it at first, but Delilah, who was lying next to me, kicked me in the ribs. Good thing she did because a call, no matter what the hour, meant business, and my cat had a better sense of finances than I did. Rent was overdue on the apartment, and we were living out of my office in downtown Boston to avoid my landlord in the South End. The phone trilled. Again, and again, it rang. I staggered through the darkness to the desk and picked up the receiver. Out of spite I didn’t say a word. I’d let the caller who’d ruined my sleep start the conversation. “Mr. Shane Cleary?” a gruff voice asked. “Maybe.” The obnoxious noise in my ear indicated the phone had been handed to someone else. The crusty voice was playing operator for the real boss. “Shane, old pal. It’s BB.” Dread as ancient as the schoolyard blues spread through me. Those familiar initials also made me think of monogrammed towels and cufflinks. I checked the clock. “Brayton Braddock. Remember me?” “It’s two in the morning, Bray. What do you want?” Calling him Bray was intended as a jab, to remind him his name was one syllable away from the sound of a jackass. BB was what he’d called himself when we were kids, because he thought it was cool. It wasn’t. He thought it made him one of the guys. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop him. Money creates delusions. Old money guarantees them. “I need your help.” “At this hour?” “Don’t be like that.” “What’s this about, Bray?” Delilah meowed at my feet and did figure eights around my legs. My gal was telling me I was dealing with a snake, and she preferred I didn’t take the assignment, no matter how much it paid us. But how could I not listen to Brayton Braddock III? I needed the money. Delilah and I were both on a first-name basis with Charlie the Tuna, given the number of cans of Starkist around the office. Anyone who told you poverty was noble is a damn fool. “I’d rather talk about this in person, Shane.” I fumbled for pen and paper. “When and where?” “Beacon Hill. My driver is on his way.” “But—” I heard the click. I could’ve walked from my office to the Hill. I turned on the desk light and answered the worried eyes and mew. “Looks like we both might have some high-end kibble in our future, Dee.” She understood what I’d said. Her body bumped the side of my leg. She issued plaintive yelps of disapproval. The one opinion I wanted, from the female I trusted most, and she couldn’t speak human. I scraped my face smooth with a tired razor and threw on a clean dress shirt, blue, and slacks, dark and pressed. I might be poor, but my mother and then the military had taught me dignity and decency at all times. I dressed conservatively, never hip or loud. Another thing the Army taught me was not to stand out. Be the gray man in any group. It wasn’t like Braddock and his milieu understood contemporary fashion, widespread collars, leisure suits, or platform shoes. I choose not to wear a tie, just to offend his Brahmin sensibilities. Beacon Hill was where the Elites, the Movers and Shakers in Boston lived, as far back to the days of John Winthrop. At this hour, I expected Braddock in nothing less than bespoke Parisian couture. I gave thought as to whether I should carry or not. I had enemies, and a .38 snub-nose under my left armpit was both insurance and deodorant. Not knowing how long I’d be gone, I fortified Delilah with the canned stuff. She kept time better than any of the Bruins referees and there was always a present outside the penalty box when I ran overtime with her meals. I meted out extra portions of tuna and the last of the dry food for her. I checked the window. A sleek Continental slid into place across the street. I admired the chauffeur’s skill at mooring the leviathan. He flashed the headlights to announce his arrival. Impressed that he knew that I knew he was there, I said goodbye, locked and deadbolted the door for the walk down to Washington Street and the car. Outside the air, severe and cold as the city’s forefathers, slapped my cheeks numb. Stupid me had forgotten gloves. My fingers were almost blue. Good thing the car was yards away, idling, the exhaust rising behind it. I cupped my hands and blew hot air into them and crossed the street. I wouldn’t dignify poor planning on my part with a sprint. Minimal traffic. Not a word from him or me during the ride. Boston goes to sleep at 12:30 a.m. Public transit does its last call at that hour. Checkered hacks scavenge the streets for fares in the small hours before sunrise. The other side of the city comes alive then, before the rest of the town awakes, before whatever time Mr. Coffee hits the filter and grounds. While men and women who slept until an alarm clock sprung them forward into another day, another repeat of their daily routine, the sitcom of their lives, all for the hallelujah of a paycheck, another set of people moved, with their ties yanked down, shirts and skirts unbuttoned, and tails pulled up and out. The night life, the good life was on. The distinguished set in search of young flesh migrated to the Chess Room on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, and a certain crowd shifted down to the Playland on Essex, where drag queens, truck drivers, and curious college boys mixed more than drinks. The car was warmer than my office and the radio dialed to stultifying mood music. Light from one of the streetlamps revealed a business card on the seat next to me. I reviewed it: Braddock’s card, the usual details on the front, a phone number in ink. A man’s handwriting on the back when I turned it over. I pocketed it. All I saw in front of me from my angle in the backseat was a five-cornered hat, not unlike a policeman’s cover, and a pair of black gloves on the wheel. On the occasion of a turn, I was given a profile. No matinee idol there and yet his face looked as familiar as the character actor whose name escapes you. I’d say he was mid-thirties, about my height, which is a liar’s hair under six-foot, and the spread of his shoulders hinted at a hundred-eighty pounds, which made me feel self-conscious and underfed because I’m a hundred-sixty in shoes. He eased the car to a halt, pushed a button, and the bolt on my door shot upright. Job or no job, I never believed any man was another man’s servant. I thanked him and I watched the head nod. Outside on the pavement, the cold air knifed my lungs. A light turned on. The glow invited me to consider the flight of stairs with no railing. Even in their architecture, Boston’s aristocracy reminded everyone that any form of ascent needed assistance. A woman took my winter coat, and a butler said hello. I recognized his voice from the phone. He led and I followed. Wide shoulders and height were apparently in vogue because Braddock had chosen the best from the catalog for driver and butler. I knew the etiquette that came with class distinction. I would not be announced, but merely allowed to slip in. Logs in the fireplace crackled. Orange and red hues flickered against all the walls. Cozy and intimate for him, a room in hell for me. Braddock waited there, in his armchair, Hefner smoking jacket on. I hadn’t seen the man in almost ten years, but I’ll give credit where it’s due. His parents had done their bit after my mother’s death before foster care swallowed me up. Not so much as a birthday or Christmas card from them or their son since then, and now their prince was calling on me. Not yet thirty, Braddock manifested a decadence that came with wealth. A pronounced belly, round as a teapot, and when he stood up, I confronted an anemic face, thin lips, and a receding hairline. Middle-age, around the corner for him, suggested a bad toupee and a nubile mistress, if he didn’t have one already. He approached me and did a boxer’s bob and weave. I sparred when I was younger. The things people remembered about you always surprised me. Stuck in the past, and yet Braddock had enough presence of mind to know my occupation and drop the proverbial dime to call me. “Still got that devastating left hook?” he asked. “I might.” “I appreciate your coming on short notice.” He indicated a chair, but I declined. “I have a situation,” he said. He pointed to a decanter of brandy. “Like some…Henri IV Heritage, aged in oak for a century.” He headed for the small bar to pour me some of his precious Heritage. His drink sat on a small table next to his chair. The decanter waited for him on a liquor caddy with a glass counter and a rotary phone. I reacquainted myself with the room and décor. I had forgotten how high the ceilings were in these brownstones. The only warm thing in the room was the fire. The heating bill here alone would’ve surpassed the mortgage payment my parents used to pay on our place. The marble, white as it was, was sepulchral. Two nude caryatids for the columns in the fireplace had their eyes closed. The Axminster carpet underfoot, likely an heirloom from one of Cromwell’s cohorts in the family tree, displayed a graphic hunting scene. I took one look at the decanter, saw all the studded diamonds, and knew Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would have done the set number of paces with a pair of hand-wrought dueling pistols to own it. Bray handed me a snifter of brandy and resumed his place in his chair. I placed my drink on the mantel. “Tell me more about this situation you have.” “Quite simple, really. Someone in my company is blackmailing me.” “And which company is that?” “Immaterial at the moment. Please do take a seat.” I declined his attempt at schmooze. This wasn’t social. This was business. “If you know who it is,” I said, “and you want something done about it, I’d recommend the chauffeur without reservation, or is it that you’re not a hundred percent sure?” I approached Bray and leaned down to talk right into his face. I did it out of spite. One of the lessons I’d learned is that the wealthy are an eccentric and paranoid crowd. Intimacy and germs rank high on their list of phobias. “I’m confident I’ve got the right man.” Brayton swallowed some of his expensive liquor. “Then go to the police and set up a sting.” “I’d like to have you handle the matter for me.” “I’m not muscle, Brayton. Let’s be clear about that. You mean to say a man of your position doesn’t have any friends on the force to do your dirty work?” “Like you have any friends there?” I threw a hand onto each of the armrests and stared into his eyes. Any talk about the case that bounced me off the police force and into the poorhouse soured my disposition. I wanted the worm to squirm. “Watch it, Bray. Old bones ought to stay buried. I can walk right out that door.” “That was uncalled for, and I’m sorry,” he said. “This is a clean job.” Unexpected. The man apologized for the foul. I had thought the word “apology” had been crossed out in his family dictionary. I backed off and let him breathe and savor his brandy. I needed the job. The money. I didn’t trust Bray as a kid, nor the man the society pages said saved New England with his business deals and largesse. “Let’s talk about this blackmail then,” I said. “Think one of your employees isn’t happy with their Christmas bonus?” He bolted upright from his armchair. “I treat my people well.” Sensitive, I thought and went to say something else, when I heard a sound behind me, and then I smelled her perfume. Jasmine, chased with the sweet burn of bourbon. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them I saw his smug face. “You remember Cat, don’t you?” “How could I not?” I said and kissed the back of the hand offered to me. Cat always took matters one step forward. She kissed me on the cheek, close enough that I could feel her against me. She withdrew and her scent stuck to me. Cat was the kind of woman who did all the teaching and you were grateful for the lessons. Here we were, all these years later, the three of us in one room, in the middle of the night. “Still enjoy those film noir movies?” she asked. “Every chance I get.” “I’m glad you came at my husband’s request.” The word husband hurt. I had read about their marriage in the paper. “I think you should leave, dear, and let the men talk,” her beloved said. His choice of words amused me as much as it did her, from the look she gave me. I never would have called her “dear” in public or close quarters. You don’t dismiss her, either. “Oh please,” she told her husband. “My sensibility isn’t that delicate and it’s not like I haven’t heard business discussed. Shane understands confidentiality and discretion. You also forget a wife can’t be forced to testify against her husband. Is this yours, Shane?” she asked about the snifter on the brandy on the mantel. I nodded. “I’ll keep it warm for you.” She leaned against the mantel for warmth. She nosed the brandy and closed her eyes. When they opened, her lips parted in a sly smile, knowing her power. Firelight illuminated the length of her legs and my eyes traveled. Braddock noticed and he screwed himself into his chair and gave her a venomous look. “Why the look, darling?” she said. “You know Shane and I have history.” Understatement. She raised the glass. Her lips touched the rim and she took the slightest sip. Our eyes met again and I wanted a cigarette, but I’d quit the habit. I relished the sight until Braddock broke the spell. He said, “I’m being blackmailed over a pending business deal.” “Blackmail implies dirty laundry you don’t want aired,” I said. “What kind of deal?” “Nothing I thought was that important,” he said. “Somebody thinks otherwise.” “This acquisition does have certain aspects that, if exposed, would shift public opinion, even though it’s completely aboveboard.” Braddock sipped and stared at me while that expensive juice went down his throat. “All legit, huh,” I said. “Again, what kind of acquisition?” “Real estate.” “The kind of deal where folks in this town receive an eviction notice?” He didn’t answer that. As a kid, I’d heard how folks in the West End were tossed out and the Bullfinch Triangle was razed to create Government Center, a modern and brutal Stonehenge, complete with tiered slabs of concrete and glass. Scollay Square disappeared overnight. Gone were the restaurants and the watering holes, the theaters where the Booth brothers performed, and burlesque and vaudeville coexisted. Given short notice, a nominal sum that was more symbolic than anything else, thousands of working-class families had to move or face the police who were as pleasant and diplomatic as the cops at the Chicago Democratic National Convention. I didn’t say I’d accept the job. I wanted Braddock to simmer and knew how to spike his temperature. I reclaimed my glass from Cat. She enjoyed that. “Pardon me,” I said to her. “Not shy about sharing a glass, I hope.” “Not at all.” I let Bray Braddock cook. If he could afford to drink centennial grape juice then he could sustain my contempt. I gulped his cognac to show what a plebe I was, and handed the glass back to Cat with a wink. She walked to the bar and poured herself another splash, while I questioned my future employer. “Has this blackmailer made any demands? Asked for a sum?” “None,” Braddock answered. “But he knows details about your acquisition?” I asked. “He relayed a communication.” Braddock yelled out to his butler, who appeared faster than recruits I’d known in Basic Training. The man streamed into the room, gave Braddock two envelopes, and exited with an impressive gait. Braddock handed me one of the envelopes. I opened it. I fished out a thick wad of paperwork. Photostats. Looking them over, I saw names and figures and dates. Accounting. “Xeroxes,” Braddock said. “They arrived in the mail.” “Copies? What, carbon copies aren’t good enough for you?” “We’re beyond the days of the hand-cranked mimeograph machine, Shane. My partners and I have spared no expense to implement the latest technology in our offices.” I examined pages. “Explain to me in layman’s terms what I’m looking at, the abridged version, or I’ll be drinking more of your brandy.” The magisterial hand pointed to the decanter. “Help yourself.” “No thanks.” “Those copies are from a ledger for the proposed deal. Keep them. Knowledgeable eyes can connect names there to certain companies, to certain men, which in turn lead to friends in high places, and I think you can infer the rest. Nothing illegal, mind you, but you know how things get, if they find their way into the papers. Yellow journalism has never died out.” I pocketed the copies. “It didn’t die out, on account of your people using it to underwrite the Spanish-American War. If what you have here is fair-and-square business, then your problem is public relations—a black eye the barbershops on Madison Ave can pretty up in the morning. I don’t do PR, Mr. Braddock. What is it you think I can do for you?” “Ascertain the identity of the blackmailer.” “Then you aren’t certain of…never mind. And what do I do when I ascertain that identity?” “Nothing. I’ll do the rest.” “Coming from you, that worries me, seeing how your people have treated the peasants, historically speaking.” Brayton didn’t say a word to that. “And that other envelope in your lap?” I asked. The balding halo on the top of his head revealed itself when he looked down at the envelope. Those sickly lips parted when he faced me. I knew I would hate the answer. Cat stood behind him. She glanced at me then at the figure of a dog chasing a rabbit on the carpet. “Envelope contains the name of a lead, an address, and a generous advance. Cash.” Brayton tossed it my way. The envelope, fat as a fish, hit me. I caught it. *** Excerpt from Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2020 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. Dirty Old Town is the first in the Shane Cleary series for Level Best Books. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. He has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. You can find him on Twitter (@GValjan) and Instagram (gabrielvaljan). He lurks the hallways at crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. Gabriel is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.

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Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Rage and Retribution

Rage and Retribution

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1786156857

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1786156857

Author Bio – When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

My Review
5/5 stars

The long-awaited fourth book in the DI Sterling series is here, and much like its predecessors it’s gritty, dark and unsettling. Which is exactly what this author excels at delivering.

OMG! That opening scene … brutal is an understatement.

Someone is torturing men and leaving their massacred, yet still alive bodies at the scene of their supposed crimes. This vigilante believes he is giving rapists a taste of their own medicine … but he is doing so much more. His latest victim is in a coma and awaiting identification. The attending doctor informs the police that the victim’s injuries are similar to another case he saw some months ago. He warns the police that the man concerned was so traumatised that he feared speaking out would lead to a further assault. Getting answers is not going to be easy.

Meanwhile, DI Sterling is thrilled to be at the opening of the community youth centre, a project close to his heart. The curtains open to reveal the commemorative plaque vandalised; the message scrawled in red lipstick suggests a prominent local councillor has been embezzling the centre’s funds. The opening is attended by the media who instantly see a story. Sterling has no option but to start an investigation. Linking the councillor to a new private members’ club suggests the police should scrutinise the goings-on there, but doing so is easier said than done since the club owner has friends (or rather clients) in very high places.

This story is much darker than the crime fiction I usually read, but it is balanced with insights into Sterling’s private and family life, as well as the obstacles he faces in getting his superiors to allow the investigation to run its course with all the thoroughness that is required.

Suspense and tension run side by side with personal matters. It’s no wonder Sterling has a headache! The ending adds the final twist in this thrilling, graphic, and compelling read.

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blog tour · book review · British · mystery · police procedural

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Geraldine (with UK giveaway)

Geraldine

Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geraldine-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B07YDMX3VQ
https://www.amazon.com/Geraldine-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B07YDMX3VQ

Excerpt

‘She was obviously attractive when alive,’ Matthew noted out loud. Her shoulder length, light brown hair was still wet and clung to the woman’s face, exaggerating the finely drawn cheeks and chin. Her thin lips were pulled back slightly, showing a glint of evenly spaced teeth in the residual of a smile. Not a beautiful face, he thought, but a pleasant one denoting a strong character. The body was slim, narrow hips, with long legs. Her breasts where fulsome and still filled her bodice making him wonder if they had been cosmetically enlarged, as the silicon would preserve their shape even while she was supine. Only her feet were overly large for her size and, without shoes, looked out of place. Her whole, otherwise elegant, appearance in a smart blue, knee length dress was marred by bruising around her neck, the signs of strangulation in her face and the greyish blue colouring of her glistening, wet skin.

Author Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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My Review

Having read the author’s first book – The Fourth Victim – there was no way I was going to miss out on the next story featuring DI Matthew Merry and DS Julie Lukula.

I’ll say this from the outset, the author certainly goes for original storylines, and in doing so presents us with a view of London that we might otherwise not recognise. This time around, the story centres around a body found in the Thames – a Geraldine Driver, female impersonator par excellence. Geraldine (aka Gerald in real life) is about to hit the big-time, with plans for a TV show in her future. So, who would want her dead?

Merry and Lukula begin their investigations by visiting cabaret clubs, the domain of drag acts and impersonators. It’s clear there are some envious of Geraldine’s success while -of course- pretending to be wholly supportive. Add to that there’s a very wealthy and powerful family with secrets aplenty and some unusual connections to the characters working in the clubs and the management company running the acts.

The police line up suspects, only for there to be no evidence. It seems like the case is going nowhere. At the same time as all this is going on, Merry is facing an inquiry into inappropriate behaviour towards a suspect’s mother, and after an attack by a colleague, his wife is struggling both at home and work. Is it any wonder, Merry’s mind is not on the job? Fortunately, Lukula is recognised in her own right and after passing her exams is able to stand in for him.

The dots are finally joined, exposing a world of hate-fuelled attacks and family conspiracies.

However, while the case was indeed fascinating, the story structure was, at times, confusing with a lot of head-hopping which meant I often had to flip back a page or so to fathom out whose viewpoint was in play. There was a lot of side-stepping into Matthew Merry’s personal life, which if he were not such an unlikeable character might have been easier to handle. He has a tendency to objectify all the women he meets, although, he does seem to make more “effort” with his wife as the story develops. Better late than never, but by then my impression of him was set in stone.

If you’re a fan of original police procedural mysteries, this book certainly provides that. Lots of plot twists ensure that the case is not easy to solve, but that only makes it more interesting and will keep you reading to the end.

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Blog Tour – SLOW DRiP with Giveaway

SLOW DRiP

When a beautiful and highly intuitive small town police detective is presented with a third related murder, she tries to follow conventional police procedure, while the teenage boy who discovered the body possess clues of his own that may lead directly to the killer, a mysterious figure with seemingly advanced medical knowledge who like to torture his victims in a particular sick manner. Clues and taunts left by the killer along with the knowledge held by the teenager, cause the three characters to intersect in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Amazon US

https://www.amazon.com/SLOW-DRiP-First-heart-racing-thrillers-ebook/dp/B07N15Z57Z

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/SLOW-DRiP-First-heart-racing-thrillers-ebook/dp/B07N15Z57Z

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gary_Polisano_Slow_Drip?id=ZD2FDwAAQBAJ

Apple Books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/slow-drip/id1450624212?mt=11

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/slow-drip-gary-polisano/1130367137?ean=9781733648714

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/slow-drip

Scribd https://www.scribd.com/book/398207685/Slow-Drip-First-in-a-series-of-heart-racing-thrillers

Odilo https://marketplace.odilo.us/opac/?id=02584946#recordCard

Bookmate https://bookmate.com/books/HhkTzCuh

24Symbols https://www.24symbols.com/book/english/gary-polisano/slow-drip—first-in-a-series-of-heart-racing-thrillers?id=3036174

Author Bio 

Originally from Los Angeles, California, earning an MBA in Business Management. Now, relocated to Northern Utah, Gary Polisano is a baseball fanatic and avid golfer. He currently works in the medical field of pain/spine management. SLOW DRiP is the FIRST in a murder/mystery series with an overtone of the paranormal.

Social Media Links –

WEBSITE – gpolisano.com

Twitter – @polisanoj

Instagram – garypolisano

LinkedIn – Gary Polisano

Facebook – gary j. Polisano – author

Giveaway – Win 7 paperback copies of Slow Drip (USA Only)

*Terms and Conditions –USA entries welcome, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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blog tour · book review · British · corruption · crime · police procedural

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Chloe: Never Forget

Chloe: Never Forget

An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.

A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.

Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner, and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PH2MXQR

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PH2MXQR

 

Author Bio 

Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.

Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.

His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.

He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.

All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Social Media Links – Twitter: @danlaughey – Facebook: fb.com/laughey

My Review

Following on from Chloe: Lost Girl, the story picks up with PC Tanner, now known as Nigel Fleming. Unfortunately he cannot remember the incident about which he is being questioned … well, not at first.

As time passes, the mystery of the ‘are they connected or not’ cases becomes abundantly clear. Of course, Sant was right, but someone is determined to make sure he doesn’t finally join those dots.

This is a speedy read, with the tension escalating as Sant gets closer to solving the mystery and there are plenty of twists and turns on the way.

This is reminiscent of the TV series Line of Duty, with the corruption of high ranking police officials at the core – exciting, frustrating, tense … all those magical ingredients that make a thrilling read are thrown into the mix here. (Though the phrase ‘bent copper’ is not said 😉 the implication is well and truly made)

As Fleming’s memory returns, he wants revenge. The matter of his priming, and who is involved adds more intrigue. You won’t see it coming – it’s sublime storytelling. The far right element is both eerily familiar and scary, and brings an added layer of unrelenting disquiet to the already sombre atmosphere.

Back at base, Sant is being fobbed off, pushed every which way by his superiors to avoid him making the necessary connections. The mood between Sant and Lister is grim, but oh so fascinating. Capstick is growing into his role and has much to offer despite his own doubts and the odd ‘interesting’ mistake. Along with Holdsworth, who continues to be strong and effective, the author has created a very believable working environment and set of relationships. This team are determined to crack the case – regardless of what those higher up might think.

To be honest, as the end drew closer, I began to feel a little disillusioned with the outcome. Wishing that Sant had not let the guilty party get away with it. But, that’s how I was meant to feel because there was another twist to come.

Clever writing, indeed.

This was an engaging read, keeping me totally enthralled, rooting for Sant and his team, and desperate for a solution.  If you enjoy a thrilling police procedural story, then you can’t go far wrong with this.

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