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Sefton Park

Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer

41DaNTibw8L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_For months, a serial killer dubbed ‘The Thorn Killer’ has terrorized Liverpool, daubing victims with macabre tattoos over most of their body. With no tangible leads, Detective Greg Carver is living and breathing the case… until he is shot in his own home. Finding him in his armchair, the actions of his colleague Ruth Lake are more than suspicious. Instead of calling it in, she removes the gun, carefully wipes down surfaces and takes away Carver’s case notes. The only problem is, Carver isn’t actually dead. Waking in his hospital room, with few memories of what happened that night, his obsession with the case grows. What exactly is Ruth hiding and will it cause more blood to be shed?

Well, this book certainly grabs your attention from the off! It’s not often you read a book where, right from the start, you are incredibly suspicious of the detective in charge but from the moment Ruth Lake tampers with the crime scene, I was not sure whether she was a reliable officer. This mistrust remained for much of the book and, coupled with the unknown reason behind Carver’s shooting, this made for an interesting read where you don’t know if the police can be trusted.

The modus operandi of the killer was a particularly gruesome and painful one and when we actually experience them in action, I found myself wincing as they used thorns to tattoo their latest victim. Several possible candidates are put forward as to who the killer is and I was pleased to spot a clue whilst reading that steered me towards that person. One part in particular resonated with me as, being from the city where it is set, the locations were very familiar. Let’s just say the Fairy Glen in Sefton Park now takes on a whole new meaning!

I liked the complicated relationship that Lake and Carver shared and feel that there is definitely more to be explored if this book becomes a series. There is a definite respect between the two detectives although, in light of the cases they are working on, there was also a lot of apprehension. Both detectives are very tenacious and probably a lot more like each other than they care to realise.

As the book progressed, I found it hard to put down and I whizzed through the second half at a rate of knots. There were numerous twists and turns that held my attention right until the very end. I hope that a second book will follow.

With thanks to Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my ARC.

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Dead Silent by Mark Roberts

51h+jCAxF8LProfessor of medieval art, Leonard Lawson, has been mutilated and murdered, the attack witnessed by his traumatized daughter, Louise. To add to the horror, DCI Eve Clay must try to discover the significance of his body being arranged into a parody of the art work he has spent his life studying. Despite the professor having no known enemies, Clay knows that this attack was personal and is desperate to find the culprit before they find another victim to exact revenge upon.

I was first introduced to the books of Mark Roberts earlier this year after looking for reads set in my home city and thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Eve Clay series, Blood Mist. Having fully intended to read the series in order, I was given the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for the superb Day of the Dead, meaning that I have actually read the books out of sequence, Dead Silent being the second of the three. This was not a problem, however, as it not completely essential to have read them in order.

If you have read any of the Eve Clay books, you will already know that there is a touch of the macabre about them and this is indeed evident in Dead Silent. The descriptions of the crime scenes were particularly graphic and not for the faint-hearted. It is easy to imagine these novels on the small screen and some of the scenes in this book were reminiscent of the BBC series, Messiah, starring Ken Stott.

In Eve Clay, we have a very likeable, if troubled protagonist. In Dead Silent, we get to find out a bit more about her childhood in the children’s home, helping to explain why she is so dedicated to her job yet neurotic about the safety of her family. It is also good to see a police department where everyone seems to get on well and is just as devoted to solving the case as Clay.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that Mark Roberts drip-feeds you information throughout, allowing you time to try to fathom out what is taking place. Just when you think you have it all worked out, though, he throws a complete curve-ball and makes you reconsider everything you thought. This made Dead Silent a genuinely enjoyable read, and one which makes you think about how important and formative the early lives of children are.

A fantastic read and I can’t wait for the next installment!

 

Blood Mist by Mark Roberts

blood-mistWhen Eve Clay is summoned to the scene of a crime, she is not prepared for what she is about to encounter. A whole family has been slaughtered in their home, their mutilated bodies arranged in a bizarre pattern. With no witnesses and the CCTV in the home mysteriously switched off, the only potential clue is the owner of the phone that called the house after the murders took place. Something seems very familiar to Eve but she is unable to bring the memory to the front of her mind. All she knows is that the killers are not going to stop with one family and they must be stopped before more are dealt the same fate.

When I find a book written in my home city, especially a crime one, I feel compelled to read it and the Eve Clay books have been on my TBR list for a while. The first few chapters are like something out of a horror film – the description of the crime scene had more than a touch of the macabre about it! It soon became obvious that this was not going to be a run of the mill police procedural and was not a book for the faint-hearted!

Like in a lot of police procedurals, though, we are introduced to a damaged main character – Eve spent her early life in a children’s home after being abandoned by her parents as a baby. The story of her upbringing became vital in understanding both the character and the plot and helped to explain the way she handled certain situations. I found Eve a very strong leading character and warmed to her quickly.

Blood Mist is, at times, quite shocking – especially when you know the places the events are happening! The location of the final showdown is an inspired choice and definitely one where I can imagine skulduggery happening!  A great start to the series and the second one has already  been downloaded to my kindle.

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