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***BLOG TOUR*** Her Last Move by John Marrs

DS Becca Vincent is struggling to juggle her work and personal life but has just landed the biggest case of her career. A serial killer is stalking the streets of London, each kill becoming more hideous than the last. Working alongside facial recognition expert, Joe Russell, the killer always seems to be one step ahead of them. Could he have someone on the inside working for him? Will Becca and Joe manage to catch him before he completes his mission and eliminates each of the people on his list?

I am going to start by saying how much I enjoyed this book and the way it was written. By having two protagonists instead of the usual one main character, we get to see the investigation from different branches of the police force. Becca, a no-nonsense detective was a complete contrast to Joe who, in the course of his work, was thorough and methodical due to his role as a facial recognition expert. I enjoyed how the relationship between Becca and Joe changed and how, although she was originally sceptical of his work, she began to see its value as the case progressed.

The case itself is a fascinating one and is more of a ‘whydunit’ than a ‘whodunit’. The first murder seems almost casual when we see how the killer escalates his crimes, each killing being more grisly than the last. It is apparent quite early on that the victims are connected in some way but we do not know how. This culminates in a huge twist that I definitely did not see coming! It’s not often that an author completely wrong foots me but John Marrs certainly did in Her Last Move. I was so taken aback that I had to go back and re-read a whole section to make sure that I had read it correctly!

In addition to the main storyline, there are subplots featuring the two main characters. I particularly enjoyed Joe’s backstory and, yet again, was thrown by how this ended. Joe was probably my favourite character and I felt great sympathy towards him as he battled with his past but also as he tried to come to terms with what was inevitably going to happen in his professional life.

Her Last Move is a thoroughly entertaining read that kept my attention right until the final page. This is the first book by John Marrs that I have read but it will definitely not be the last.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for my ARC and also to Emma Welton for organising the blog tour.

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Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson

When Jefferson Tayte is tasked to find the identity of his client’s long lost 4x great-grandfather, the genealogist finds himself drawn into the search for a ruby that has been missing for generations. What is already a challenging case takes a murderous turn when others with knowledge of the ruby suddenly start turning up dead. With letters from 150 years ago being left for Tayte after each murder, each providing more information about a horrendous event in the past, can he solve his client’s mystery before he, too, suffers the same fate?

For some years I have been a fan of Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte books, and I look forward to each one with great anticipation. Once again, the author has managed to produce a tense story that will appeal to fans of mystery, historical and genealogical fiction and has definitely become one of my favourite Tayte novels.

If you thought events in previous books would have made Tayte consider the potential dangers of the cases he takes on, you’d be very wrong! Once again, he finds himself taking on a deranged killer in a story that, at times, had more than the touch of an Agatha Christie about it. There was certainly a hint of And Then There Were None as we see each family member getting bumped off one by one, and the gathering of all the suspects in one room was definitely classic Poirot!

Letters From the Dead, in addition to being set in modern Scotland, also takes place in colonial India. Steve Robinson has certainly done his research to paint a vivid picture of life at this controversial time in British history. The characters were realistic and managed to show the contrast between life at the Residency for the British and the Indians. I enjoyed the slow build-up as we finally discovered just what secrets had been covered up and how this continued to affect people today. This gradual retelling of the story complemented the high octane closing chapters as the plot drew to a close.

If you have not read any of Steve Robinson’s work and are a fan of historical and genealogical fiction or merely just love a good mystery story, then you won’t go wrong with this series which is going from strength to strength.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for my advance copy.

Dying Games by Steve Robinson

51oXpj-8ZILWhen twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box in Washington D. C., and a family history chart is left at the scene, the police realise that this is one of several recent murders with a link to genealogist Jefferson Tayte. Knowing that his experience will be invaluable, Tayte is summoned by the FBI to assist in catching the ruthless killer who always seems to be one step ahead. With his reputation at stake and the body count rapidly rising, will Jefferson have to pay the ultimate price to stop the sadist in his tracks?

I have become a big fan of Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte books over the years and I await each new instalment eagerly. I was excited, therefore, to receive Dying Games through Net Galley, telling myself that I would wait until nearer publication day before I would read it. This resolution lasted a whole day before I found myself clicking on it on my kindle!

The book begins in a very macabre fashion as a woman is burned to death inside a dolls’ house. This sets the tone for the rest of the book as the twisted killer re-enacts deaths that have appeared in the family trees of the victims. From quite early on, JT realises that the killer is someone he has encountered in his professional life but is finding it impossible to convince the FBI that the man cannot be working alone. In Frankie Mavro, JT has the perfect sidekick – someone who provides him with the necessary authority to undertake his research but who is also genuinely on his side.

Like the rest of this series, once I started on this book, I found it difficult to put down. I do feel, though, that this one is different to the others as it had an almost Dan Brown feel to it with our hero solving clues against the clock in order to prevent a tragedy. The ‘race against time’ element made it a very fast-paced, exhilarating read and I really liked the fact how, in many of the cases, there was no happy ending, as this helped JT to develop a true hatred of the unknown man.

Dying Games is a superb addition to the Jefferson Tayte franchise and I hope this is a series that continues to run and run: the ending of this book has certainly changed the direction of any future plots!

With thanks to Net Galley and Thomas & Mercer for the ARC.

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