Search

Go Buy The Book

Tag

Zaffre

**BLOG TOUR** Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante

Police are investigating a spate of violent burglaries but when a mutilated body is found inside a Cotswolds house, they realise that this is more than just opportunistic crime. Detective Jack Warr finds himself encountering numerous dead ends as he unearths the secrets in the local community, hoping to get to the core of this organised gang. When he meets Charlotte Miles, a woman with links to the group, Warr wants to use her to lure them into committing one last job with the aim of catching them in the act. With violent acts escalating, Jack knows that he must get this right to avoid more blood being spilled.

It is always a pleasure to read a Lynda La Plante book, someone I have admired since watching the original Prime Suspect on television. After reading the first in the Jack Warr series, Buried, last year, I couldn’t wait to see where Lynda took this character next, especially after finding out his origins. Although this could definitely be read as a standalone, I found that Buried served as a great introduction to the character, helping us to understand what made him tick, whereas this book has given us the opportunity to see more of Jack as a detective. I found myself liking the character more as the book progressed, admiring his determination and policing skills, even if his tactics may not be strictly legal sometimes!


The plot moves on at a good pace and is well developed. From the horrific discovery at the start of the book, the plot progresses well until we discover how this fits in with the rest of the story, taking us on a journey through the privileged Cotswolds where nobody’s home seems safe. I had never heard of a Judas Horse before reading this book and I loved the idea of using the weak link as an insider to lead the police to the gang. We meet a myriad of characters throughout the book, each one, police, victim and criminal, bringing a different element to the story.


The Jack Warr series is promising to be another huge hit for Lynda La Plante and I look forward to seeing where she takes him next.

With thanks to Zaffre Books and Net Galley for my copy and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.


**BLOG TOUR** The Art of Death by David Fennell

When an art installation appears in Trafalgar Square, everyone is horrified to discover that the contents of the three glass cases are the preserved bodies of three missing homeless men. Purporting to be the work of an artist known only as @nonymous, the police know they need to act quickly as more gruesome pieces of art are promised very soon. As Detective Inspector Grace Archer and Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn discover the whereabouts of more bodies and the online videos accompanying the deaths, there is a realisation that someone close to them may have something to hide. With Grace being in the killer’s sights, will they be able to apprehend @nonymous before she becomes part of his ultimate art installation?

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that this would definite be one for me and I was so right! From the off, we are drawn straight into the macabre plot when the bodies of three homeless men are discovered displayed as a piece of public artwork. The shadowy artist has left no trace of who they are, and any clues that the police do find soon lead to dead ends. I love a book that grabs me straight away and The Art of Death definitely did this, holding my attention to the very last page as more bodies are found in the most grisly of circumstances.

I have read many crime books where the internet is involved and The Art of Death serves as a reminder to be careful what we share online. I’m sure most of us have looked at the Facebook accounts of people we are not ‘friends’ with but certainly not for the same reason as our killer! We see our unknown ‘artist’ monitoring the pages of his prospective victims, in some cases befriending them to get the information he requires. We see how easy this is to do and is particularly unnerving when we witness him sitting in the same cafe as the women he is watching, knowing the fate that is about to befall them.

I quickly warmed to Detective Inspector Grace Archer, a woman with a past which I am sure will rear its head in any further books. The whole investigation team, I felt, was very balanced from the affable Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn to the icy DCI Clare Pierce and Klara, the intelligent tech expert. They are all characters I would love to see develop and so I hope that the author is planning a series!

The lead up to the denouement is tense and thrilling, and when we reach the end, we are left with a situation that threatens to remain in Grace’s thoughts and, again, could certainly reappear in future books. (Can you tell that I am hoping for more?!) This is a fantastic debut and one that I hope will be a huge success. Even this early on in the year, I am already convinced that this will be one of my favourites of 2021!

With thanks to Zaffre Books and Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for my ARC and for my spot on the blog tour.

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

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Buried by Lynda La Plante

When the body of a man is found in a burnt-out cottage, the police are astounded to also find the remains of millions of pounds worth of bank notes. It is not long before a connection is made to unsolved crimes of the past, and to an infamous group of criminals. DC Jack Warr, struggling with events in his personal life, suddenly finds himself embroiled in the criminal underworld of the 1980s and 1990s, making shocking revelations about his past along the way. Just how far will he allow himself to become involved?

I have been a fan of Lynda La Plante’s books and TV shows ever since watching the original Prime Suspect and so I jumped at the chance to be one of the blogs on the tour for her latest book, Buried. For those who have read the Widows books or seen the TV series/film, then this book is definitely for you as it follows on from the story of Dolly Rawlins and her gang. The beauty of Buried, however, is that although it will bring back a touch of nostalgia for Widows fans, you do not need to know any previous plot as backstory is explained in the book.

I loved how the story developed, the body of the charred man being linked to a train robbery of twenty years ago. This gave us an opportunity to meet some brilliant characters, each of them knowing more than they were willing to let on. These women, over the years, had become very adept at hiding in plain sight and I couldn’t wait to see what the results of them playing the long game would be.

Jack Warr is a great character who becomes more complex as the book progresses. As we (and him) discover more about his life, we see a change in his character as he comes to terms with his past. This led to some great interactions between the detective and the people he is tasked with interviewing and created lots of internal conflict. At the same time, we also see the softer side of his personality as he struggles to come to terms with the impending death of his adoptive father.

In a book with numerous twists and turns, we were treated to a proper ‘gasp’ moment at the end, which, although shocking, was in-keeping with what we had read about Jack. This set up the next book nicely and I can’t wait to read where Lynda La Plante takes DC Warr next. Buried is a book that I can definitely imagine on the small screen, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be optioned for TV. This promises to be another huge hit for the author.

With thanks to Net Galley and Zaffre Books for my copy and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.

 

17 Church Row by James Carol

Life has never been the same for the Rhodes family since the tragedy that occurred three years ago. In a devastating road accident, four-year-old Grace was killed, leaving her twin sister, Bella, so traumatised that she has refused to speak ever since. In an attempt to finally move on, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes move into a state-of-the-art new property, designed by the celebrated architect, Catriona Fisher. The house, with its ultra-modern security systems should be exactly what they are looking for, but what if it isn’t the safe place they think it is?

Well, this book has certainly given me pause for thought! From the start, I could understand the internal conflict felt by Nikki: should she stay at the house that holds so many memories of her dead daughter or should she move to 17 Church Row, a house that could surely protect her remaining child? As someone who has vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of Bella, the new property seemed a no-brainer and, for a while, all seemed fine. As the story progressed, it soon became apparent that there was a malevolent force in action, but who was behind it and what was their motive?

I think the scariest part of this book was that that the family became so reliant upon ‘Alice’ an artificial intelligence system that makes Alexa seem almost neanderthal. We see Alice making more and more decisions for the family, controlling their lives in every way, to the point where you wonder how far she will actually go. I found it quite unnerving to think that this sort of technology probably isn’t too far off in the future and how we rely upon the internet to do so many things already. What if this goes wrong? What will happen to society?

Most of the story is told from the perspective of Nikki, but some chapters are written by an unknown character who becomes more unhinged as the plot develops. I liked how we weren’t told who this is until much later in the book, making me constantly wonder who this could be. I have read numerous books with cold, calculating narrators but this is probably the one who has perturbed me the most.

17 Church Row is one of those books that draws you in instantly and holds your attention until the very last page. A fast-paced, exciting read that will certainly make you question the use of technology!

With thanks to Readers First for my copy.

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Sinner by Martyn Waites

Living in witness protection, ex-undercover police officer, Tom Killgannon, finds himself summoned back to work by a local task force headed by DS Sheridan. His mission puts him inside Blackmoor prison, where he is tasked to befriend Noel Cunningham, a child killer, to try to ascertain where he has hidden two of his victims’ bodies that have never been found. A prison is a dangerous place at the best of times, but Tom’s life is put at risk when he is identified by Dean Foley, a convicted gangster who was put away thanks to his testimony. Realising that this is not going to end well, he tries to contact DS Sheridan, but is unsuccessful. What is the real reason for him being put inside the prison and will he make it out alive?

The previous book in this series, The Old Religion, received great plaudits and so I was pleased to be able to take part in the blog tour for the follow up, The Sinner. Although there are some references to events that occurred in The Old Religion, knowledge of what has gone before is not essential and this can be read as a standalone.

From the start of the book, I found myself totally invested in the character of Tom Killgannon. Placed in the witness protection scheme and seemingly enjoying his life, there was a definite air of foreboding when he was asked to take part in another undercover operation. Tom should have listened to his instincts as he could not have envisaged what was going to happen during his time in Blackmoor. Martyn Waites paints a very bleak picture of life in prison, corruption being rife, creating an incredibly unsafe environment for the prisoners. It was fascinating to see how quickly Tom became accustomed to incarceration, and it was easy to see why mental health issues among prisoners are so high.

There is so much happening in this plot, both inside and outside of the prison. While Tom is trying to discover Dean Foley’s motives and attempting to get the information required by DS Sheridan, he’s also worrying about the people he cares about the most on the outside. Pearl and Lila are great characters, and I enjoyed seeing these women come to the fore when danger presents itself.

For me, the most fascinating part of the book is the relationship between Tom and Dean. Through flashbacks, we get to find out about the events that put Dean in prison, and we also see why he would certainly bear a grudge against Tom. There is a definite ‘cat and mouse’ element between these two characters and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the inevitable showdown.

The Sinner has a tight plot and is a great thriller that became even better as the book progressed. Just when I thought everything had concluded, Martin Waites hit me with a superb twist that I hope will be explored in further books. This is a great read and I recommend it highly.

With thanks to Zaffre Books and to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour.

 

 

My Eagerly Anticipated Books of 2020

I’m pleased to say that the books I was most looking forward to in 2019 were all I hoped them to be. This year, as always, I will be hoping for new books from Patricia Gibney, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Angela Marsons, Steve Robinson and David Jackson amongst others. Here are the books I am looking forward to in 2020 which already have publication dates:

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus on 6th February 2020

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.

She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.

Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.

Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

 

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus on 1st October 2010

PS: Thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

 

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Published by Orion on 23rd July 2020

Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.

You’d be wrong.

 

Buried by Lynda La Plante

Published by Zaffre on 2nd April 2020

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

 

Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

Published by Sphere on 20th October 2020

A DETECTIVE IN FREE FALL
After solving an all-too-personal case that almost cost her everything, Kate Marshall is struggling. And when she discovers two disembowelled bodies floating in a local reservoir, things go from bad to worse.

UNTIL SOMEONE MAKES HER AN OFFER TOO GOOD TO REFUSE
But Kate is given a chance to get her life back on track when she is asked to solve a decades-old mystery. The Shadow Sands reservoir was plagued by gruesome deaths for years, and now the murders have started again.

NOW, SHE’S BACK ON THE HUNT FOR A LEGENDARY KILLER
Kate and her assistant Tristan are dragged into a shady world of family secrets, deadly legends and grisly murders. It’s a case that throws up more questions than answers, and someone is desperate to keep the truth buried at any cost. The clock is ticking and Kate must delve deep into the past if she wants to stop more victims turning up dead at Shadow Sands.

 

The Body in the Snow by Nick Louth

Published by Canelo on 31st January 2020

A young detective is out for a jog on a snowy winter morning. Then she sees something terrible: a murder in the park, sudden and inexplicable. A woman has been killed by a passing hooded cyclist.

It’s just DCI Craig Gillard’s luck that he’s on duty. The body is that of Tanvi Roy, one of the richest women in Britain and matriarch of a food empire. With a tangled web of family and business contacts and jealousies, Gillard’s job just got even more complex.

As he delves deeper into the Roy family, it’s clear that everything is not as it seems. As the investigation threatens to unravel, Gillard realises it’s only the beginning of his problems. Trouble of a different sort is brewing close to home…

 

Are you looking forward to reading any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

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

 

First to Die by Alex Caan

51vvx8RPkCL._SY346_When the body of a man is found the morning after a demonstration by a group of protesters known as Anonymous, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner’s Office are called in to investigate. Discovering that the body is covered in strange pustules, fear strikes when it is revealed that the man could be a victim of a lethal virus; potentially, anyone who has come into contact with the victim could be a carrier. The body is soon identified as that of a senior civil servant with strong government connections. As another person goes missing, the race is on to find an antidote whilst also trying to discover the motive behind the attack.

With recent events in Salisbury, the idea of someone being infected with a potentially lethal virus is very topical, and it was this that drew me towards reading the book. I found the premise a fascinating one and enjoyed reading about the precautions that needed to be taken due to them not knowing what had caused the death. The descriptions of the body are graphic and helped to explain the need to ascertain exactly what happened before the public were informed.

The two lead characters, DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris, are an intriguing pair and I liked how their investigation styles were very different yet complemented each other. I did find, however, that the plot of the book was often slowed down by the references to their back stories. Whereas I often find this useful, especially if you haven’t read the previous book in the series, here, I found it distracted me from the main plot. I felt that Kate’s back story, whilst obviously a fascinating one, was a bit of a ‘red herring’ in this book. I found myself wanting to know more about the mysterious character who was watching her, only to find that the story was not resolved in this book.

I did enjoy reading First to Die, but I definitely feel that this is one where I should have read the first in the series prior to reading this one.

With thanks to Zaffre and Readers First for my ARC.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑