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Reviewed Books.

If you would like me to review a book please contact me for availability.

 

NON FICTION

The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers KATE BENDELOW

Who is allowed access to a crime scene? What happens when a body is discovered? Will a blood transfusion alter DNA? How can the distribution of gunshot residue inform your plot? The Real CIS – A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers answers these questions and more in a unique and exclusive insight into crime scene investigation. Using real-life examples and case studies, experienced CSI Kate Bendelow shines a light behind the yellow tape and debunks the myths popularized by the ‘CSI Effect’. Each chapter explores the latest procedures in contemporary practice including: Crime Scene access and preservation; fingerprints and DNA profiling; footwear; trace evidence; fire scenes; drugs and toxicology and, finally, firearms. Packed with insider knowledge, handy tips and compelling storylines, this is the definitive guide for all crime writers who wish to write with authenticity and authority.”Every crime writer should have a copy of this book on their desk.” Lynda La Plante. Illustrated with 59 colour images.

 

FICTION

Dark Angel, Helen H. Durrant.

FLASHPOINT, Derek Thompson

RUTHLESS, Charlie Gallacher.

A Time to Kill, Steven Puleston

Featured post

Murder At Work, Faith Martin

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MURDER AT WORK by Faith Martin

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

Meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

Hillary will retire in a few weeks. But can her boss get Hillary to change her mind by putting her on a murder investigation?

The victim is found dead with his head bashed in with a piece of wood. Michael Ivers was a gambler and a notorious womaniser. He had few friends and there is a long list of people who might have wanted him dead.

Hillary wants to solve her final case as a police officer and she has just days left to find out who killed him. To add to her problems, her old enemy, ex-Sergeant Frank Ross is back on the scene and is a prime suspect.

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.

MURDER AT WORK is the eleventh in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.

THE LOCATION
A small industrial/business unit on the outskirts of a large market town. It has six units, including a scrap-metal yard, a builders’ yard, a shoe warehouse, a newspaper delivery depot, a garden supplies unit and an auto repair shop. Modern but unattractive, it is a small working community, where everyone knows everyone else, and most workers eat in a small on-site café.

THE DETECTIVE
DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “A NARROW EXIT.”

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
BOOK 8: MURDER IN THE MANSION
BOOK 9: MURDER IN THE GARDEN
BOOK 10: MURDER BY FIRE
BOOK 11: MURDER AT WORK

THIS IS NOT HILLARY’S LAST CASE. SHE WILL RETURN TO INVESTIGATE MORE FIENDISH CRIMES.

Books 12-17 coming soon!

 

Author Bio

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! The first 11 books in the series are available now.
Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So, if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.

 

My Review

I’ve read a few in this series now and this one did not disappoint.  DI Hilary Greene is a great character, well rounded and likeable, and in this instalment, she’s about to retire. Faith Martin’s stories are very believable and that’s one of the things I like most about this series. The feel real and well researched. I was hooked from the first page and intrigued in who was out to ruin Hilary’s career so that she retires without a pension and who murdered her ex-colleague.  I read this book in one sitting!  A brilliant premise.  I think this novel would work as a standalone but you would get a lot more from it reading the others in the series. I think there are some points that may be confusing otherwise.

The novel is fast-paced and builds towards an excellent ending that didn’t disappoint, and full of twists.  This is exactly how I like a police procedural.

This is the best novel in the DI Greene series for me and I’m looking forward to more in this series shortly.

I’d give this book 5 stars and would recommend this novel.

The Red Die, Alex MacBeth

Here is an extract of The Red Die by Alex MacBeth.

The Red Die

The Red Die

by: Alex MacBeth 

The body of a man with a red die in his pocket is washed ashore near a quiet village on the coast of the Indian Ocean in southern Africa. But what looked initially like a corpse that came in with the tide soon turns out to be a murder case that will lead Comandante Felisberto and his team to the edge of danger and despair as they uncover a trail leading up to the highest echelons of power in their country.

Can Felisberto and his ‘motley crew of rural investigators’ solve the case – and survive?

 

This is an excerpt taken from Part 3 of the THE RED DIE.

 

A new email with the subject ‘Eldorado’ caught Podolski’s attention. It was from his source at the Foreign Office again.

“We have received an alarming report from Mozambique,” began The Source’s email. “The report touches on things way too close to home and is attracting unnecessary attention to the situation from other desk operators. Request we meet urgently.” Podolski texted The Source to meet him in thirty minutes at their usual choice of rendezvous, grabbed his jacket and hailed a black taxi outside his office. When he walked into the members only club, filled with upholstered regency chairs and infused with the smell of port and roast meals, he found The Source waiting for him.

“So what was so important that we had to meet personally?” began Podolski, avoiding any pleasantries.

“We have received an alarming report from Mozambique.”

“You said that. Since when do you take alarming reports from anywhere seriously?” retorted Podolski, sipping his Guinness.

“The report was written by a British national. He has contacts and is making a lot of noise about the site.”

Podolski shrugged and The Source looked blankly at him. He was a lean man, not a day older than twenty-five, Sorbonne graduate, with fiercely intelligent eyes countered by a naïvety in his body language. The Source hated Podolski. At first he had thought they were friends.

Podolski had been careful to ensure the young civil servant was regularly invited to parties on Mason and Stock’s yacht in the south of France, where the foreign office worker had shown a pointed preference for naked women and illegal substances. Podolski had arranged a souvenir set of photos of the event, and The Source, compromised, was now on Mason and Stock’s payroll, earning twice as much tax-free with the company than in his job at the Foreign Office.

“I’m sure I don’t have to inform you what will happen if the media gets hold of this, Podolski.”

“Who sent the report?”
The Source smiled for the first time. “That is priceless information, isn’t it?” he teased. “Images of your holiday habits might also be priceless to your superiors,” retorted Podolski.

“Don’t worry about those anyway. We are going to have to neutralise this report somehow,” continued Podolski, loosening the top button of his shirt and taking another swig from his pint of Guinness. “The only way to do that is to neutralise the person who is filing it.”

The Source looked around anxiously to see if anyone was listening. He leaned in closer to Podolski.

“What do you mean by neutralise the person?”

“I mean we have to neutralise his motives. Why is he filing this report anyway?”

“Patriotism, a sense of moral responsibility, or money, who knows,” pondered The Source.

“Can he be bought?”
“Wasn’t it you who said anyone has their price?”
“You had yours. Find out his. Make contact.”
“Under what guise?”
“Probably by means of the telephone,” said Podolski, downing the last of his drink. He stood up and left.

Synopsis

 

The body of a man with a red die in his pocket is washed ashore near a quiet village on the coast of the Indian Ocean in southern Africa. But what looked initially like a corpse that came in with the tide soon turns out to be a murder case that will lead Comandante Felisberto and his team to the edge of danger and despair as they uncover a trail leading up to the highest echelons of power in their country.

Can Felisberto and his ‘motley crew of rural investigators’ solve the case – and survive?

 

Author bio

 

Alex MacBeth is a writer of crime fiction, a journalist, a publisher of African literature and a festival founder in Mozambique. He works for several international titles as a journalist and has also worked as a media trainer in Central and East Africa.

 

THE RED DIE is his first novel.

 

Website: www.alexmacbeth.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexmacbethtoc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thereddienovel/

Launch wall: http://www.alexmacbeth.com/2018/04/the-red-dielaunch-wall.html

 

Alex MacBeth

Black Soul, T.J. Brearton

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BLACK SOUL by T.J. BREARTON
A gripping and dark international thriller that you won’t want to put down.

A seventeen year-old girl is missing in Honduras.

Free-spirited Rene Sterling vanished ten days ago. Her father fears she’s been sold into sex slavery. Investigators William Chase and Hanna Beckett are his last hope to find her.

The island paradise she was exploring conceals dark crimes, corruption and real danger.

Hanna and William’s mission is to disrupt human-trafficking gangs across the world. But this investigation will push their relationship to breaking point and put their lives at risk.

In a thrilling conclusion, they face a choice between real justice and obeying the law.

Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo, or Dennis Lehane novels.

This is the fourth book in the best-selling Titan Series, though it can be read as a standalone.

TITAN SERIES:
HABIT, SURVIVORS,DAYBREAK, BLACK SOUL

BLACK SOUL by T.J. BREARTON
A gripping and dark international thriller that you won’t want to put down.

A seventeen year-old girl is missing in Honduras.

Free-spirited Rene Sterling vanished ten days ago. Her father fears she’s been sold into sex slavery. Investigators William Chase and Hanna Beckett are his last hope to find her.

The island paradise she was exploring conceals dark crimes, corruption and real danger.

Hanna and William’s mission is to disrupt human-trafficking gangs across the world. But this investigation will push their relationship to breaking point and put their lives at risk.

In a thrilling conclusion, they face a choice between real justice and obeying the law.

Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo, or Dennis Lehane novels.

This is the fourth book in the best-selling Titan Series, though it can be read as a standalone.

TITAN SERIES:
HABIT, SURVIVORS,DAYBREAK, BLACK SOUL

 

Brearton’s fiction first appeared in Third Rail, an underground magazine in New York City. His short stories have been published with The Rusty Nail Magazine, Orange Quarterly, Enhance Magazine, Nonsense Society, and Atticus Review, with non-fiction appearing in The Lake Champlain Weekly and Adirondack Almanack. A previous novel, “Rehabilitation,” was published independently in 2009. He attended the New York Film Academy and has worked in film, broadcast television, and freelance journalism. He lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and two children.

 

Website http://tjbrearton.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tjbrearton
Twitter @BreartonTJ

 

My Review

This is book four in the series and the first one I’ve read. It’s very pacey and quick to read.  I found this book hard to put down and Brearton keeps the tension up throughout.  It’s very well written and I felt the author gives us enough back story that this books works as a standalone.  The novel feels well researched and the author does a great job setting the scene. I also think he gets the balance right showing us the human traffic elements.

 

I would definitely recommend Black Soul, if you are looking for an action thriller.

 

I give this book ***** Five Stars

 

Apologies for the short review. I’ve just finished this book this morning and have been bogged down in marketing for my new book which is currently on preorder.

Competition

Pre-order The Forgotten by 4th May 2018 for the chance to win the grand prize of either exclusive goody bag or your name in the next Mavis Hart Short story. Everyone who pre-orders will receive will also receive an exclusive bonus.

For your chance to win simply email us at contact@jvbaptie.com with the subject line ‘The Forgotten Pre-order’ and include proof that you’ve pre-ordered The Forgotten.* Emails must include name and proof of pre-order.

Pre-order the book here:  http://amzn.eu/0fU7tAZ

The Forgotten New

Aurora Writers Retreats

I will be combining yoga practice with creative writing at the Yoga and Writing Edinburgh retreat on 28th April.  I’ve been  given a place on this retreat, so that I can blog about the experience, and I can’t wait! This is the first time that I’ve thought about combining yoga and writing, so I’m looking forward to trying this and I’m hoping that it will open up a whole new way of working for me and even generate some new ideas.

At the retreat, there will be guided yoga and writing exercises in relaxing surroundings. You can find out more about it here: http://aurorawritersretreats.com/yoga-writing-beltane-retreat/  The retreat is run by Yoga teacher Vanessa Rigby and author Noelle Harrison 

Yoga is great for the mind, concentration and focus.  I practiced yoga, a few years back and I found it a wonderful way to switch off from stress and reset my mind and body.  I’d feel calm and restored afterwards. I also found it was a great way of releasing the aches and pains that come with sitting at a keyboard all day.

I’m in the early stages of drafting my third novel and I’m looking forward to the inner reflection and yoga practice to see how it will affect my creativity. After months of tight deadlines and editing, a day to relax and refocus my energy is exactly what I need. I’m also looking forward to meeting other like-minded people and I’ll post an update shortly.

 

flyer-for-Beltane-with-woman-1-212x300

Low Lake, Gretta Mulrooney

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LOW LAKE by Gretta Mulrooney

An old house by a lake. A suspicious drowning. A suspect that the police let go.

What really happened at Low Lake?

Detective Tyrone Swift is hired to investigate the death of Kim Woodville. The young woman drowned in the lake by her family house, two years ago. But there was bruising on her arms, and the prime suspect was let go because of police errors.

Tyrone Swift takes the cases that other people have given up on. But the beautiful historic house by the lake doesn’t give up its secrets easily.

It turns out that there are many people who might have wanted Kim dead.

And then another body turns up close to home and Swift realises his own life may be danger.

Can Detective Tyrone Swift get to the bottom of this tangled web of dark family secrets?

LOW LAKE is a beautifully written mystery that will have you gripped from start to pulsating finish.

Perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith, P.D. James, or Ruth Rendell.

THE DETECTIVE
Tyrone Swift is an ex-police detective who now works privately. He’s survived a stabbing and his fiancée running off with another man. Swift’s personal life is complicated, to say the least.

THE AUTHOR
Gretta is a critically acclaimed author of best-selling fiction.

‘Mulrooney has a real gift for dialogue, the words and phrases ring true and make her characters wonderfully real . . . A tenderly funny and genuinely moving piece. I loved it.’ Fiona Morrow, Time Out (about ARABY)

‘A beautifully observed study of reconciliation, Araby makes astute points about conflict and shifting values between generations.’ James Eve, The Times

THE TYRONE SWIFT DETECTIVE SERIES
BOOK 1: THE LADY VANISHED
BOOK 2: BLOOD SECRETS
BOOK 3: TWO LOVERS, SIX DEATHS
BOOK 4: WATCHING YOU
BOOK 5: LOW LAKE

 

I was born and educated in London, of Irish parents. I studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Ulster, Magee college in Derry. I have worked in education and social care.

I started writing in my thirties and I published four books for children and teenagers with Poolbeg Press, Dublin; A Can of WormsA Nest of VipersA Den of Thieves and I Love You-Te Quiero. These books are available on Amazon.

I have published five literary fiction novels.

Araby and Marble Heart were published by Harper Collins to critical acclaim. They have been translated into Dutch and Spanish.  These books are available on Amazon. They are being reissued in May 2016 by Fourth Estate as Kindle and paperbacks.

 

Fire and IceOut of The Blue and The Apple of Her Eye were published by Robert Hale. These books are available on Amazon.

 

Out of The Blue was published by Joffe Books as an e book and paperback in February 2016 and is available on Amazon.

 

Lost Child was published by Joffe Books as an e book and paperback in March 2016 and is available on Amazon. (This was previously published as Fire and Ice by Robert Hale.)

 

Coming of Age was published by Joffe Books as a e book and paperback in April 2016 and is available on Amazon. (This was previously published as The Apple of Her Eye by Robert Hale.)

 

I have always been an avid reader of crime fiction and psychological thrillers. I have started a series of crime novels featuring charismatic private detective Tyrone Swift.

The Lady Vanished was published as an e book and paperback by Joffe Books in December 2015 and is available on Amazon.

 

Blood Secrets, the second novel featuring private detective Tyrone Swift, was published as e book and paperback in spring 2016 and is available on Amazon.

 

Two Lovers, Six Deaths, the third Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in December 2016 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

Watching You, the fourth Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in June 2017 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

 

Low Lake, the fifth Tyrone Swift novel, was published as an e book and paperback in March 2018 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

 

Bound By Lies is a boxset trilogy of the first three  novels in the Tyrone Swift series. It was published as an e book and paperback in June 2017 by Joffe Books and is available on Amazon.

 

Website:  http://www.grettamulrooney.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/gmulrooneyauthor

Amazon Author page:   http://www.amazon.co.uk

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com

 

My Review

 

I haven’t read any of Gretta’s novels before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The novel starts out slowly with a lot of back detail which I found hard going at first and there are a lot of characters introduced quickly, which can be confusing. Although, it wasn’t long until the backstory felt necessary and the novel picked up pace.  The writing is good, complex and descriptive, and the characters are well rounded and believable.  Swift is a strong protagonist, I think he is different from the detectives that I see all too often and I liked seeing a PI book instead of a police procedural.  Swift is also very likeable and leads a complex life which is a great basis for a series.  I haven’t read any of the Tyrone Swift novels before but I felt this novel worked well as a standalone.

I enjoyed ‘Low Lake and would recommend it. I give this novel a solid four stars and I’ll look out for more of Gretta’s novels in the future.

Beneath The Whispers, Jim Ody

Author Bio

Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art.

 

For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.

He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels released through Zombie Cupcake Press and has also contributed to several anthologies. Coming soon is his psychological/mystery ‘Beneath The Whispers’ released by Crazy Ink. He also has short stories appearing in the following anthologies ‘War Paint’, ‘Crazy Fools’, ‘AWOL A.I.’ and ‘The End?’.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire.

About the book

Beneath The Whispers A Jim Ody novella Genevieve Deboise is too good for Scott Dean. He’s always known that. It isn’t a shock to learn she is cheating on him. What is a surprise is bumping into his childhood sweetheart in the woods where he’d planned to take solace in his heartbreak and bruised ego. But running into Mary-Ann Jennings isn’t exactly the fairy tale it might seem. Instead, his first love needs his help finding a USB stick that has fallen into the wrong hands. Now in the cellar of Genevieve’s new lover, Scotty must confront his feelings for both women in order to retrieve the missing USB stick. On a quest to confront his past and locate Mary-Ann’s property, he journeys through the whispers that have always surrounded him. Love will make you do crazy things. But is it enough to get beneath the whispers?

 My review

This is a brilliant psychological thriller novella and if you haven’t read anything from Jim Ody before I’d highly recommend Beneath The Whispers as a starting point.  I read it in one sitting and that’s not something I normally do, but I found myself hooked and I wanted to know about Scott Dean from the first page, even though I found him a little self-centered!

The novella is perfectly paced, giving the reader a good amount of backstory in the beginning. This novella is a real page turner with a great twist at the end, which I won’t spoil here.  It’s a short, quick read of about 114 pages but could easily be expanded out to a full length novel.  Ody is a unique and confident writer, reminiscent of Stephen King for me and I give this novella five stars.

I’d highly recommend this novella to someone who is looking for something a bit different and it’s one of the best stories I’ve read this year.

***** (Five Stars)

 

The Guilty Ones, Joy Ellis

 

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From #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis, a mystery full of stunning twists and turns.

The most difficult case of Detective Jackman’s life. Who are the guilty ones and is anyone really innocent?

Jackman’s sister-in-law Sarah disappears to London and throws herself into the river. What drove her to this? She was a woman with a seemingly happy home life and two beloved sons.

DI Jackman and DI Evans dig into Sarah’s life. And Jackman realises he knew almost nothing about his sister-in-law’s past.

Then, they discover a woman in a neighbouring village died in similar circumstances.

What is the connection to a convicted murderer whose family are convinced he is innocent? Who is really pulling the strings?

DI Jackman and DS Evans of the Fenland police face a battle against their most dangerous and deadly adversary. And in a case so close to home can Jackman keep his feelings under control?

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime mystery that will keep you turning the pages until the thrilling ending. Set in the atmospheric Lincolnshire Fens, whose isolated villages hide many dark secrets.

Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Sarah A. Denzil, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

THE DETECTIVES
DI Jackman leads the investigation. He is extremely smart and has a knack for bringing out the best in his diverse team. DS Marie Evans is haunted by the loss of her husband in a motorbike accident. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and colleagues.

 

ALSO BY JOY ELLIS

THE NIKKI GALENA SERIES

Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS

Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS

Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS

Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS

Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS

Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS

Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS

Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS

 

JACKMAN & EVANS

Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON

Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS

Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND

Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES

 

 

JOY ELLIS

UK #1 Best Seller with THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS and THE FOURTH FRIEND

700,000 books sold and rising!

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”

 

 

My review.

I enjoyed this novel by Joy Ellis. I’ve only read a couple of her previous novels in the Nikki Galena series, so I was looking forward to reading this one and it didn’t disappoint. This one is the fourth in the Jackman and Evans series but it also works well as a standalone. I didn’t feel lost at any points and Ellis does a good job of weaving in the backstory.

There’s a lot to like about this novel and I found it to be a quick, easy read.  As the novel progressed I found the story a bit unbelievable at some points but I enjoyed it regardless. My enjoyment came from Ellis’s interesting characters and narrative.

Overall, it’s well written, pacey and intriguing.  I received an uncorrected proof copy and there was a few sentences that could be tweaked to flow better but I expect this will be done before publication.

I enjoyed the novel and would look to read more in this series.  I’d recommend it if you like fast-paced crime fiction.

Four stars ****

BABY LIES, CHRIS COLLET

BABY LIES by CHRIS COLLETT
Baby lies
Do you love gripping mysteries with great characters?

Discover Detective Tom Mariner in this critically acclaimed series.

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character.’ Yorkshire Post

Six-week-old baby Jessica is abducted from a local nursery. And Detective Tom Mariner realises he’s not going to get the time-off he was hoping for.

The police get a good description of the woman who took Jessica, but the appeal to the public doesn’t generate a single lead.

Then the kidnapper calls demanding money for Jessica’s safe return   . . . and a terrible discovery is made in the woods.

Can Mariner get to bottom of a complex case which involves much more than a child abduction?

Discover an absorbing crime mystery full of stunning twists and turns.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the fourth book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!

THE SETTING
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.

THE DETECTIVE
Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “BLOOD MONEY.”

DI MARINER SERIES
Book 1: Deadly Lies
Book 2: Innocent Lies
Book 3: Killer Lies
Book 4: Baby Lies
Books 5-7 coming soon

My review

This is the first novel I’ve read set in Birmingham and the author does a good job of evoking the city with lots of details. I didn’t feel like there was any backstory that I needed to catch up and I didn’t feel confused at any points. It’s nice to see a recently published novel set in the 2000s. (I like a bit of nostalgia) The novel starts off well and is an intriguing read. A police raid then the mysterious disappearance of baby Jessica. The author touches on some dark subjects in a through provoking way which I think is quite hard to do.  The plot is complex, compelling and believable.

It’s well written – the author utilises short chapters and this works well. This novel feels very much like a quick read and I read it in one go.  Although, I did feel the pacing slowed towards the end, and I would’ve liked a more developed ending.

I’d recommend this novel as a standalone. I haven’t read the whole series and I didn’t feel confused or lost at any time. Collett does a good job of dripping the right amount of backstory in with the action.

A good, solid novel which delivers what it promises. I’ll look out for more from Chris Collett in the future.

I rate this novel four stars.

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