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November 2015

Next of Kin by Maureen Carter

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

After the body of a teenage girl is found near to her home, it is assumed that a serial rapist who has been terrorising local women has struck again. The case is complicated further when it emerges that the friend of the murdered girl is missing – is she another victim of Birmingham’s most wanted criminal? DI Sarah Quinn finds herself immersed in the murky world of the sex offender but all is not what it seems.

I enjoyed the plot of ‘Next of Kin’ and, without giving too much away, thought that the link between the victims was very clever and plausible. I did, however, find parts of the story hard to read, as the large amount of characters became very confusing. At times, I found myself having to go back to remind myself of where each character fitted in with the story. I also found myself skipping through paragraphs as some appeared unnecessary.

I wonder if had I read any of the previous books in the series (this is the fifth DI Quinn novel), I would have found this one easier to follow. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it – I did – but it was just missing something of the other police procedural books I have recently read.

Skin Like Silver by Chris Nickson

I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.51ggV-gJHTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Ever since reading ‘Two Bronze Pennies’, the second in Chris Nickson’s Inspector Tom Harper series, I had been eagerly anticipating his next offering. I was not disappointed.

Set in Leeds in 1891, Harper is tasked to find the identity of a decomposing body of a baby found in a parcel at the post office. This is soon pushed to the back of his mind, however, with the news that there is a huge fire at the local railway station. Soon, the body of a woman, Suffragist Catherine Carr, is found in the debris. The knife wound, however, shows that she did not die in the fire and a murder enquiry is launched.

Catherine’s murder sets off a chain of events and soon the death count in Leeds is rising. With Harper worried for his wife’s safety due to her connections to the Leeds Suffragist Society, will he find the cuplrit before there is more bloodshed?

Again, Chris Nickson does a fantastic job in mixing fact with fiction, creating a vivid image of what life was like in Leeds during the nineteenth century. It was easy to imagine the stark contrast between the privileged Carr family and the unfortunates dwelling in the crowded back streets.

The ending sets up the next installment nicely; definitely worthy of a five-star rating!

Thicker Than Water by Sally Spencer

51QylBfKttLI received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

After returning from maternity leave after the birth of her twins, DCI Monika Paniatowski is thrown straight in at the deep end when the body of mother of three, Jane Danbury, is found brutally murdered at her own home. Although Paniatowski is convinced from the outset that the victim’s husband, William, is the prime suspect, she faces pressure from those in authority as he is a councillor with friends in high places. The case soon takes a turn for the worse and the whole focus of the investigation shifts from a straightforward murder hunt to something far more harrowing…

Due to not having read any of the previous books in the series, I initially found it hard to get to grips with the characters as I felt that we were given information that was not needed as part of the plot. As the story progressed, however, I found that the story moved on at a quicker pace and I began to get a lot more engrossed. Setting the book in the 1970s is a great plot device as it gives the author a chance to show police procedures at the time when modern forensics was in its infancy. Also, at a time when high-ranking female police officers were very few and far between, Monika Paniatowski is portrayed as a strong character, fighting off sexism as she goes about her every day police business.

Sally Spencer addresses several taboo subjects in ‘Thicker than Water’, not least the issue of domestic violence, and at times you can almost feel yourself wincing as you sense what is about to happen.

I would recommend this book but I feel that it would be advisable to read the previous books in the series in order to build up the back stories of the main characters.

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