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Erika Foster

Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

61lypFhIrtLChristmas, the season of goodwill… Someone in London hasn’t had the memo, however, as the blood-soaked body of a young woman is found outside her house by her mother, frozen to the ground. The case takes a sudden turn when a connection is made to the spate of recent assaults by a figure wearing a gas mask. Has the assailant escalated to murder? Detective Erika Foster, still coming to terms with events from her previous case, is thrown straight in at the deep end when a potential witness appears to be a little more involved than was at first thought. With her own personal problems to deal with, Erika must stay focused and ensure that there are no more deaths…

She’s back! It’s hard to believe that it has only been two years since the first in the Erika Foster series (The Girl in the Ice) was published and now we are on to the sixth! In the intervening books, we have seen Erika attempting to come to terms with the death of her husband while throwing herself head-first into her work. In Deadly Secrets, we finally see her making a breakthrough with regards to her past although it comes as the result of a particularly traumatic event concerning her father-in-law. I love the scenes that she shares with him as it gives us the chance to see the softer, more sensitive side of the character as opposed to the work-driven officer we see the rest of the time.

I loved the start of Deadly Secrets and how Robert Bryndza builds up a sense of foreboding. Marissa Lewis, a burlesque dancer, is on her way home when she is approached by two men. I was convinced that harm was going to come to her as a result of this meeting when, in reality, if she had taken them up on her offer, her life may have been spared. When the attack actually took place, it was a particularly violent one and the use of a gas mask made it extremely macabre. This was a great opening and immediately drew me into the plot.

One of the things I really liked about this book was how much of the police work was what would be termed ‘old school’ with the officers pounding the beat, doing house to house calls and interviewing people. This helped to build up the story at a natural pace without ever appearing cumbersome. I particularly liked the old gentleman whose wife does not let him smoke inside the house – a ‘throwaway’ character who brought an element of humour to a sad situation, yet also provided invaluable information.

There was a definite moment towards the end of the book where an even more heightened sense of foreboding was felt. Without giving away any spoilers, this made for very tense reading as I wondered how the character in question is going to emerge unscathed.

I was truly amazed when the author threw in a curve-ball with regards to who the killer actually was. This was an amazing plot twist and was something I had not anticipated at all. Despite not having an inkling, I felt that this was a very satisfying, if shocking conclusion. It is hard to say anything more without giving away too much, but believe me when I say is is very clever!

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Erika Foster series but I feel that Deadly Secrets is a step up from all of the previous books and should prove to be a huge best-seller for Robert Bryndza. A fantastic read!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for the ARC.


Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

51zX2mZDnyL._SY346_Erika Foster has seen many dead bodies but the one that has just been found, dismembered, in a suitcase is particularly gruesome. When a link is made to a similar discovery a few weeks before, the detective realises that she has another serial killer on her patch. With limited clues as to the identity of the culprit, Erika’s task is made even more difficult when she is, herself, the victim of a brutal attack. When the loved ones of someone close to the case are threatened, will the reign of terror end or will another family be mourning a loss?

It is hard to imagine a time when Erika Foster did not exist but it has been less than two years since we were first introduced to her in The Girl in the Ice. During this time, we have grown to love the damaged detective who, since the untimely death of her husband, has made work her focus, often to the detriment of her personal life. In this, the fifth instalment, Erika is struggling to define the relationship she has started with a fellow officer whilst putting all of her energy into finding the killer of the man in the suitcase.

Cold Blood shows, once again, how Robert Bryndza has quickly become one of the writers of police procedural novels with a tight storyline and characters that genuinely come to life. The antagonists in this book are particularly well-written and are probably the most heinous to date. Some of the crimes that are committed are truly horrific but by telling the story, in part, from the point of view of one of the killers, we also develop empathy for what they, themselves, are enduring. Whereas Max was more experienced with definite psychopathic tendencies, Nina was younger and more easily manipulated. I spent most of the book willing her to escape his evil clutches but you will have to read the book yourself to see if she succeeds!

Cold Blood is an unpredictable page turner that you definitely don’t want to put down once you have started. The Erika Foster books are fast becoming one of my favourite series and I hope it won’t be too long until the sixth book!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC.



Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

34368544When the body of a young woman is found, severely tortured, in a residential area dumpster, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first officers on the scene. Horrified by what she has seen, her need to solve the case is hindered by one major fact – it’s not her case to solve. Desperate to get involved, Erika unearths a link to the unsolved murder of another woman some months before. When a tragedy occurs at the station, she gets her wish and is soon trying to trace a killer who targets his prey on dating apps. With another woman missing, Erika knows time is running out before a third body is found.

Last Breath is the fourth of Robert Bryndza’s ‘Erika Foster’ books and we are now seeing a different side to the detective. Known primarily for her doggedness and her refusal to back down, there is now a vulnerability about her as she embarks on her first relationship since the death of her husband. While this does not affect her work, it is clear that she is suffering from a lot of internal conflict – should she allow herself to be happy or will this besmirch the memory of her much-loved husband?

The killer is a particularly brutal one, keeping his victims captive for several days, torturing them until he finally administers the fatal blow. Like many books of this genre, in some chapters we get to see the events from the point of view of the perpetrator. He undoubtedly had a horrible start to his life, but I found it hard to empathise due to the barbaric nature of his crimes. It certainly makes you think about how social media sites such as Facebook can be used for improper means and is another stark reminder of how people should be wary about how much information they share online.

Robert Bryndza’s books just keep getting better and, even though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all, I might have to stick my neck out and say this is my favourite so far! I read this one in a couple of sittings as I was unable to put it down! Hopefully book 5 is in the pipeline!

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for the ARC.

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza

imageDetective Chief Inspector Erika Foster is disillusioned with her job. Moved to a unit where all she seems to do is convict drug dealers only to find them replaced by another, she aches to have something more complex to sink her teeth into. Her wish is granted when, on a search for a vast amount of narcotics, something else is discovered – the remains of a young child. The body is soon identified as Jessica Collins, a girl who vanished without trace twenty-six years ago. What follows is a case that will test Erika’s resolve to its limits. Someone does not want this murder solved and will do anything to stop the detective from doing so.

Dark Water is the third of the Erika Foster novels and is arguably the best of the three! Although this is not as fast paced as The Girl in the Ice or The Night Stalker, Robert Bryndza has you hooked from the first few pages as, once again, we find Erika in danger. Her doggedness is evident from the start, however, and continues throughout the book as she tries to solve a case that left the original investigating team in disarray. In a previous review, I compared Erika to Lynda La Plante’s legendary Jane Tennison and I feel that this is even more apparent here – DCI Foster is certainly becoming a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction!

The subject of the book is a very emotive one as we learn of the family’s despair in never knowing what happened to their daughter coupled with their grief and subsequent unraveling after the discovery of her remains. The scenes with the original suspect and the police officers are particularly well written, as we see Erika being the consummate professional, disguising her feelings well, whilst her colleague’s revulsion is made crystal clear.

Throughout the case, we see Erika doing what she does best – working flat out until the conclusion is reached. Throughout the book, however, we do, occasionally get to see a different side of our leading lady with the arrival of her sister and her family and also when a relationship appears to be blossoming.

This is another fantastic book by Robert Bryndza and one that is screaming out to become a TV series!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the advance copy.

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

When the body of a local doctor is found naked with a plastic ‘suicide’ bag tied over his head, it is, at first, assumed to be a case of auto-erotic asphyxia. Not convinced, DCI Erika Foster heads the investigation into the murder and is soon shown to be correct when a second body is found with the same modus operandi. It is up to Foster to find the link between these men and stop ‘The Night Stalker’ before they strike again…

This, the second book in the DCI Erika Foster series, is arguably better than the first and that one (The Girl in the Ice) was pretty amazing! In addition to the case she is investigating, we get more of an insight into Erika’s personal life and discover exactly how she is coping in the aftermath of the death of her husband. The contrast between her hard professional persona and the vulnerability of her home life is written really well, especially when she comes into contact with the killer. It is not often that you feel empathy towards a serial killer, but Robert Bryndza’s writing manages to make this happen! Several times, whilst reading, I felt that there were comparisons between Erika Foster and Lynda La Plante’s legendary Jane Tennison – this is definitely not a bad thing!

One thing I really liked about this book was that it was clear quite early on who the killer was. It was nice to avoid the usual batch of red herrings that are found in books of this genre and, instead, be able to concentrate on the motives behind the murders.

The Night Stalker is extremely descriptive in parts and, as a result, the content makes your imagination run riot! I imagine there will be many readers carefully checking windows and looking under their beds before they go to sleep at night!

I am really enjoying Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction and I eagerly await the third installment of Erika Foster’s story.

The Night Stalker is due to be published on June 2nd and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

This book was received from Net Galley and Bookouture in return for an honest review.

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