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October 2015

Bloodstream by Luca Veste

Luca Veste is back with Bloodstream, the third book 51ATKketKTLfeaturing the team of Detective Inspector David Murphy and Detective Sergeant Laura Rossi. Reality TV stars Chloe and Joe are found murdered in an abandoned house in Anfield, near to the stadium, and with a distinct lack of evidence, there is a race against time before the perpetrator strikes again. At the outset, the search proves futile, as the body count soon starts to mount. Coupled with the diappearance of eighteen-year-old Amy Maguire (who just might be Murphy’s daughter), it looks like busy times ahead for the Liverpool North Major Incident Team.

As in the previous novels, Dead Gone and The Dying Place, there is a strong relationship between the characters of Murphy and Rossi, and Veste manages to make them appear ‘real’, by avoiding so many of the cliches prevalent in so many books of this genre. This, alongside the very real setting of the city of Liverpool, gives the storry a gritty, edgy feel.

Veste deals with some extremely topical issues in this book, not least the subjects of cyber crime and the public’s fascination for all things celebrity. Indeed, it also serves as a cautionary tale to make sure your wifi security settings are tight!

Although not essential, it is advisable to read the previous books in the series as references are made to earlier plots and characters. You will not be disappointed! Hopefully, the fourth installment won’t be too long!

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

51f3We1-dVLI received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

How much would you pay to have your abducted child returned? Would that change if you realised that by paying a ranson, your daughter’s friend, a fellow abductee, would be killed? These are questions that DI Kim Stone has to come to terms with as she heads the investigation into the taking of two young friends, Charlie and Amy. What is more disconcerting, is that this is not the first time this has happened. The previous year, two other girls were abducted, one of them never to return. DI Stone is determined that history is not going to repeat itself, vowing to bring both girls home safely…

To confuse issues further, Kim is an aquaintance of one of the girls’ mothers, stirring up memories of her time in the care system as a child. This, teamed with other revelations in the book, means that Kim and her team are treading on eggshells throughout the investigation as they try to find the culprits before the inevitable happens.

There is a running theme throughout the book concerning the love of a parent (or carer) for their child as opposed to the sheer bloodlust we experience from the character we become to know as Symes. Also, it soon becomes apparent after an incident outside the ‘war room’ that one of the members of Kim’s team is not all they seem. Throughout the book, I found myself looking for telltale clues but Marsons succeeds in keeping this well hidden and the reveal is a genuine surprise.

This is the first time I have read an Angela Marsons book but it definitely won’t be the last. If you enjoy a fast-paced, tense thriller that has you on the edge of your seat, this is the book for you!

Tennison by Lynda La Plante

For me, the first series of ‘Prime Suspect’ will always be one of 912VEK4xaGLthe greatest pieces of television ever made. Lynda La Plante’s writing and the performance of Dame Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison made the character one of TV’s iconic images. When I found out that La Plante had written a prequel to the series, detailing the beginning of Tennison’s career, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Set in 1973, we first meet probationary, Jane Tennison, in her first posting in Hackney. A stark contrast to her obvious middle-class upbringing, she soon finds herself in a male-dominated police station, showing the desire to overcome the discrimination that we know she eventually manages to do. Her talents are soon noted and she manages to become involved in the investigation into the murder of a young prostitute. A chance meeting on the street also pulls Jane into another investigation where she is able to show her worth.

‘Tennison’ gives a good insight into police strategies of the day and also paints a clear picture of the main character – it was easy to imagine Helen Mirren playing this part on TV, just a pity that she is several decades too late! This book will transfer easily to TV and, hopefully, its success will spawn several sequels – it would be good to see what happens to Jane next as she climbs the promotional ladder.

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

24I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Laurie Smith is dead. Or is she? To the outside world, she has perished in a hotel fire but Laurie knows that the true identity of the corpse is actually her best friend, Emily. Convinced that she was the intended victim, Laurie embarks on a race against time to get to her six-year-old daughter, Polly, before the perpetrator does. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before the body is correctly identified, she heads back to London using any means possible.

24 Hours is told in two time frames – the twenty-four hours following the hotel fire, and the weeks leading up to the incident. We meet numerous characters from Laurie’s life and Claire Seeber succeeds in making them seem guilty one minute and innocent the next. Even as the book was nearing the end, I was still unsure as to who the guilty party was!

The book is a very tense affair and was one that I did not want to put down. The ending was satisfying and I was pleased that the subplot involving what could have become a throwaway character in Saul, was also resolved.

A superb psychological thriller.

The America Ground by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier, returns and this time he’s America Groundready to delve into his own past. Keen to discover the identity of his biological father, he is soon sidetracked however, when he is commissioned to investigate the history of Eliza Lovekin, the subject of a nineteenth century painting. In true Morton Farrier style, the case is not as straightforward as it may seem and soon he finds himself part of a race against time to avoid something untoward happening…

‘The America Ground’ is the third of Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s novels featuring Morton Farrier (a novella, ‘The Orange Lilies’ was published last year) and continues in the same vein as the previous books. It is not essential to have read the first two parts of the series although they do come highly recommended!

The author weaves fact and fiction together seamlessly and also gives good advice for anyone wanting to research their own family history. Despite the timeshifts throughout the book (the Lovekin story occurs in the early nineteenth century while Morton Farrier is very much of the present), the story is easy to follow and the numerous twists and turns make it an exciting read.

I am now eagerly waiting the fourth book of the series!

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Haynes

I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

A child going missing whilst on holiday must, surely, be on the list of parents’ worst nightmares. For the Rainsford family, however, nightmare becomes reality as they return to England from Greece minus their fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to this case than meets the eye, hence the title ‘Behind Closed Doors.’

Fast forward ten years, and Detective Inspector Louisa Smith, an officer involved in the original case, is shocked to discover that Scarlett has reappeared back in her hometown, alive although obviously severely damaged. It soon transpires that she has been forced to work as a prostitute in various brothels around Europe after falling prey to a gang of human traffickers. Scarlett’s experiences are truly horrific although the author does a good job in not making the descriptions too graphic.

‘Behind Closed Doors’ is the second novel in a series by Elizabeth Haynes although it can be treated as a stand alone book. A well-told, gripping story, my only concern while reading it was trying to remember who the minor characters were and their purpose in the narrative. Happily, by the end of the book, all of these loose ends were tied together.

Definitely recommended.

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