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The Dirty Dozen

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Detective Jane Tennison is no longer part of the famed ‘Flying Squad’, now finding herself working at Gerald Road, a station not exactly known for its involvement in dangerous crime. Everything is about to change though, when the body of theatrical agent Charlie Foxley is found at his home, brutally assaulted with a cricket bat, dismembered and disembowelled.  Working alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Jane must enter into the unfamiliar world of show business to find the killer before they strike again.

It’s no secret that I am a huge Lynda La Plante fan, in particular of her Prime Suspect/Tennison series and so I always look forward to seeing what she has in store for the detective. I have enjoyed seeing her development from police probationer to a fine detective in the making, the traits of the character in the Prime Suspect television series beginning to shine through. In the previous book, we saw Jane working for the male-dominated Flying Squad, also seeing how abruptly her time there came to an end, and I was pleased to see that this was dealt with in Blunt Force, although I feel that there could still be more repercussions to come as a result of Jane’s actions.

The main plot moves on at a slow pace, allowing the story to develop naturally, giving us a chance to get to know the supporting cast of characters. The investigations concentrate on the world of showbusiness, a world that the detectives are clearly unfamiliar with, and one where they know that they are only being told half truths by many of the people they interview. Like Tennison and Gibbs, I felt that there was something they were missing and when this was finally revealed, it threw the whole case completely on its head. Part of this story is left unfinished and I hope that this is because the author revisits it in a forthcoming book as I feel that this is where we could definitely see some of Jane Tennison’s legendary tenacity.

Although this is very much a police procedural, its 1980s setting makes it different from many of the series around today. It is refreshing to see the police relying upon their wits and investigative skills rather than having them stuck behind a desk, computer-bound like in the present day.

Blunt Force is another great addition to the Tennison series and I can’t wait to see how her career continues to progress. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, here are my reviews:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

The Dirty Dozen

 

 

Monthly Roundup – August 2019

Having more time on my hands, August is the month I manage to read a lot more than I do any other month and this month has been no exception. A couple of books crept to the top of my TBR list as they were on my most anticipated list and, thanks to Net Galley, I was able to get some early copies!

Books I Have Read

The Dirty Dozen by Linda La Plante

The fifth book in the Jane Tennison series sees the detective combating sexism as she joins the famous Flying Squad, investigating a particularly nasty armed robbery. Knowing that she will have to work twice as hard just to gain acceptance, we see the tenacious officer showing off her skills to the max as she shows the men just how it’s done. This is one of my favourite series at the moment.

 

Ice Cold Heart by P. J. Tracy

When a woman is found dead after a clandestine meeting, detectives Gino and Magozzi believe it could be a case of a sex game gone wrong. A chance meeting, however, leads them to think that this is not his first victim and time is running out if they are to save his next… This next installment in the Monkeewrench series is, in my opinion, one of the best.

 

The Perfect Lie by Karen Osman

Claire Carmichael has a great life but something happened a long time ago when she was at school that threatens to change everything. What has she kept hidden all these years and how does it link to what is about to happen to her and her family? This is a great thriller.

 

Daddy’s Girls by Sarah Flint

When an elderly woman is found dead in her bed, D. C. Charlie Stafford fears that the man responsible for a spate of burglaries has escalated his crimes. With another, equally heinous, criminal on the loose, decisions must be made about which avenues to pursue before more victims are found. Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

46801377._SY475_A Pair of Sharp Eyes by Kat Armstrong

Even before she arrives in Bristol, young Coronation Amesbury hears about the deaths of six young boys, all found with their throats cut. Determined to make her own way in life,  she is also determined to find out what happened to these poor children. A great debut for fans of historical fiction, the review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Your Guilty Lies by Ruth Heald

This story of Katie, a mother of young twin girls, had me gasping with shock on more than one occasion! With a husband and a friend who are obviously keeping secrets from her, this is one of those books where you need to keep reading to find out what awful event is going to happen next! Review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

The fifth book in the Stephens and Mephisto series is set ten years after the events of the previous case, and we see a huge change in the personal lives of the main characters. With less ‘magic’ than the rest of the series, we see the police investigating the disappearance of several local women, with some of the characters getting a little too close for comfort.

 

Avaline Saddlebags by Netta Newbound and Marcus Brown

A serial killer is targeting male to female transexuals and it is up to DI Dylan Monroe and his team to investigate in this highly sensitive case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will definitely be making my favourites list this year. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

 

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

The well-known Sherlock Holmes book is given a retelling for a children’s audience. Despite this, I absolutely loved it and feel that this would be a great introduction to Sherlock for any young person.

 

 

The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A Denzil

Ten years ago, young Samuel Murray disappeared, never to be seen again. Now old wounds have been opened and the truth threatens to be revealed. How involved was Rosie Sharpe and will her and her sister, Heather, pay the price for their involvement? A shocking, fast-paced read. My review will be published as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

 

Play with fire, and you’re going to get burned. The unputdownable new Ridpath crime thriller

In Manchester, a block of flats is burning. The only victim is a middle-aged man, sat watching TV. Are the fire and the man’s death an accident or is something more frightening at work?

Meanwhile, DI Ridpath is back with his wife and enjoying work at the Coroner’s Office, his myeloma still in remission. But the quiet life is soon shattered by a new threat.

More corpses start appearing; charred, burnt, silent bodies, strewn in the streets and lodged in buildings. Next to each one is a chilling message sprayed in orange ink.

Fighting on all fronts, Ridapth will be drawn into the dark past of his city and the youth football clubs of the 1990s. He must find the link before any more people die. Before the flames come close to home…

 

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper. For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel Murderer brought terror to London s East End, slashing women s throats and disembowelling them. London s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute. The lives of these five women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.

 

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?

 

A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING
Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS
But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE
Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

 

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder. 

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night. 

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But as Jansen knows all too well, nothing stays buried forever…

 

 

When art dealer Ivan Fielding is found dead of a heart attack in his home, surrounded by the treasures he’s collected all his life, it doesn’t initially seem like a case for Detective Inspector Frost and the Denton police force. But then signs of a burglary are discovered, and Frost senses there’s more to the story than meets the eye – even though the only thing taken was a worthless amateur painting.

Then a young girl is abducted outside the school, an infamous gangster fresh from prison arrives in the area, and dead bodies start turning up in the woods. As Frost and his team dig deeper, everything seems to lead back to Ivan Fielding’s murky lifetime of misdeeds.

Will they find the answers they need before the dead man’s past puts them all at risk?

 

Have you read any of these or are any of them on your TBR list? At the moment, I’m reading The Posing Playwright, the fifth book in the Esther & Jack Enright mystery series by David Field, and my next read is going to be Luca Veste’s, The Six – this is one I’m really looking forward to!

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante

It is now 1980 and Jane Tennison has become the first female to be posted to the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, colloquially known as ‘The Sweeney’. Thrown straight into investigating an armed robbery, Jane is proud of her achievements until she realises that her transfer is part of an experiment to try to tame the male dominated team known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Determined to prove her worth, Jane learns that a gang is about to carry out a multi-million pound raid, the only problem being she doesn’t know who they are and where or when the raid will take place…

The more this series progresses, the more we see Jane Tennison moving towards the no-nonsense detective we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Now part of the famous Flying Squad, she is, again, having to fight the rampant sexism that exists in the police force, discovering that her posting is, in fact, part of an experiment. You can feel Jane’s frustration, a detective who deserves to be where she is due to her competence, yet it is still her sex that is dictating her role.

In The Dirty Dozen, we see the Flying Squad investigating an armed robbery but Jane is sidelined, tasked with the jobs that her boss deems unimportant. Fortunately for Jane, she grabs the challenge with both hands and, working alongside a fellow officer, Dabs, begins to uncover information that opens up the case. When she is sent on a wild goose chase to interview a potential witness, the whole investigation takes a turn after Jane realises that this information is gold dust. It was good to see Tennison trusting her instincts, refusing to give up even when her superiors displayed a lack of interest – this was definitely the tenacious Prime Suspect detective emerging.

Due to its 1980 setting, there is definitely an Ashes to Ashes feel to The Dirty Dozen and I could imagine Gene Hunt ”firing up the Quattro’ at any moment! Some of the vocabulary used in the book, especially to describe people, made me wince, but this is of the time and made me feel glad that this terminology is no longer acceptable. I always enjoy the references to real-life incidents in this series, in this case the Iranian Embassy siege, as it helps to place the book firmly in a particular time.

I am still absolutely loving this series and my only concern is that we are nearing the time when DCI Tennison will cross paths with George Marlow, taking us to the start of the Prime Suspect series. This is a series that I hope will continue for a while yet!

With thanks to Zaffre and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

 

Monthly Round Up – June 2019

We are now into the second half of the year and I am on schedule to meet my Goodreads target although my Net Galley books just don’t seem to be going down – a problem I’m sure many of you share!

Books I’ve Read

The Ghost of Hollow House by Linda Stratmann

The latest in the Mina Scarletti series sees the Victorian author / ghost debunker investigating the ghostly goings-on at the ancient Hollow House. With secrets lurking around every corner, just what will Mina manage to uncover?

Forget My Name by J S Monroe

When a woman turns up unannounced at a house, claiming to live there, the occupants have no idea who she is. With no memory of who she is, it soon becomes clear that there is something strange going on but who is she and what is her connection to the house? A great psychological thriller.

The Sinclair Betrayal by M J Lee

When genealogist Jayne Sinclair decides to bite the bullet and investigate her own family history, little does she know what she is about to uncover. Murder, espionage and Wartime Europe all help to create a thrilling book which is my favourite of the series so far.

The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The second in the Marquess House dual timeline series takes us back to the reign of Elizabeth I. With more revelations which could threaten British History as we know it, Perdita and Piper Rivers must tread carefully if they are to protect their own lives.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Twenty years ago, teenager Flora Powell disappeared. Now, her sister, Heather, stands accused of the bloody murder of a man and his elderly mother. Are the events somehow linked and what actually happened to Flora? This is full of twists and turns – a superb read!

Books I’ve Acquired

Nothing has felt right since she told the lie… 

Claire Carmichael leads a charmed life. She has two beautiful sons, Jamie and Joshua, and a handsome and successful husband who loves her. She has been taught well by her mother – the most important thing Claire has is her good reputation. 

He said, she said… 

Even when she was in school, Claire had it all. She was clever, likable, and after passing the initiation tests, she was welcomed into the society of popular girls – The Queen Bees. So when a scandal threatened to ruin Claire’s reputation, the Queen Bees closed rank to protect her, no matter who else got hurt. 

Never forgotten, never forgiven… 

Claire may have moved on from her school days, but for one person who she hurt irreparably, those memories are as fresh as blood. And all it takes to reap their revenge, is ONE PERFECT LIE.

If only someone had listened… 

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate. 

But something isn’t right. Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry. 

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck. 

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. 

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

April 1980 and Jane is the first female detective to be posted to the Met’s renowned Flying Squad, commonly known as the ‘Sweeney’. Based at Rigg Approach in East London, they investigate armed robberies on banks, cash in transit and other business premises. 

Jane thinks her transfer is on merit and is surprised to discover she is actually part of a short term internal experiment, intended to have a calming influence on a team that likes to dub themselves as the ‘Dirty Dozen’. 

The men on the squad don’t think a woman is up to the dangers they face when dealing with some of London’s most ruthless armed criminals, who think the only ‘good cop’ is a dead cop. Determined to prove she’s as good as the men, Jane discovers from a reliable witness that a gang is going to carry out a massive robbery involving millions of pounds. 

But she doesn’t know who they are, or where and when they will strike . . .

I can’t wait to read the next in the Jane Tennison and Kim Stone series! Happy reading!

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