Anne Bonny #Review Girl On Fire by @TonyParsonsUK DC Max Wolfe #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @PenguinRHUK

Girl On Fire by Tony Parsons

When terrorists use a drone to bring down a plane on one of London’s busiest shopping centres, it ignites a chain of events that will draw in the innocent and guilty alike.

DC Max Wolfe finds himself caught in the crossfire in a city that seems increasingly dangerous and hostile.

But does the danger come from the murderous criminals that Max is tracking down? Or the people he’s trying to protect?

Or does the real threat to Max lie closer to home?

My review:

Girl On Fire is the fifth novel in the DC Max Wolfe series. The novels always surround a contemporary moral issue that is currently faced in today’s society. The theme for this particular novel is the rise of extremism, terrorism and the social/political response to such events. The novels have a real sense of authenticity with regards to the Met police locations and accuracy of terms used. The author has done amazing in-depth research and that adds to the realism of the novel.

‘I woke up and the world was gone’

The novel opens with Wolfe at Lake Meadow shopping centre, in West London. As a helicopter is struck by a drone and the body of the aircraft falls upon the centre, causing mass confusion, panic and ultimately death. Wolfe is amongst the flames and fear and sees first-hand the destruction and carnage left behind by a random act of terrorism.

The novel then flashes forward seven days, as armed police officers get ready to raid the suspected terrorist’s premises. Operation Tolstoy aims to apprehend the criminals and gather the evidence needed to ensure that justice is done.

The suspects Asad and Adnan Khan, live with their parents Ahmed (known as Arnold), mother Azza and 16yr old niece Layla. The raid does not go as planned and the Met police have a dead officer and two dead suspects on their hands. Not to mention the media backlash and extra attention to the high profile case. Did the parents know? How do you raise criminals with such deep beliefs and remain unaware? The Focus of the investigation, now shifts to the parents of the dead suspects.

The parents are taken to (CTC) Counter terrorism command at Paddington Green station, where they’ll be questioned thoroughly. The police officers debate their approach and it seems that Wolfe is convinced of the father’s innocence, for now!

Ahmed Khan is devastated, he continues to claim he didn’t know. He tells Wolfe of his other son who died fighting. His struggle through racism and path to acceptance in 1970s Britain. He also informs the police of the recent moral outrage of his sons, against the country that is their home.

‘We destroy their buildings, but they destroy our countries’

The case is extremely complex, with the individual’s personal beliefs called into question. The topic of radicalisation is often the cause of many heated media debates. It is a controversial point via all media outlets, with no one in-particular having any clear concise answers. The situation has been deeply affected by cuts to financial reserves and manpower as referenced in the novel’s case.

Over the course of the novel, the author does break down various viewpoints. It is all set surrounding the case and I didn’t feel that there was any personal agenda. I thought the author had done a fantastic job of ensuring that various opinions were played out within the narrative. The voices of the various police officer’s guide you through the subject, legal constraints and case at hand.

Wolfe is assisted by trainee DC Joy Adams and childhood friend & fellow copper Jackson Rose. As they try to piece the case together. Wolfe was present at the shooting of Adnan by armed police officer Ray Vann and there is some confusion at what took place and how. Is Wolfe willing to inform on Vann? What will this mean for Vann’s future? Rose and Vann both have military backgrounds, and this perhaps gives them a broader understanding of the issue of radicalisation.

‘You know what we fought for in Afghanistan? It wasn’t freedom. It wasn’t democracy. It wasn’t queen and country. It was each other. And it’s the same here. We fight for each other’

Whilst the death toll continues to rise from the initial assessment of 44 dead. The public become more and more outraged at the heartbreak and loss of lives. The police officers find the (IPCC) independent police complaints commission, breathing down their necks about the possible illegal shooting of a suspect. The case becomes more and more layered, as the plot unfolds. Wolfe has to decide between telling the truth and loyalty to a fellow professional.

‘I’m not going to rat him out, but I’m not going to lie for him’ – Wolfe

The mindset of a serving soldier or veteran of the military, is one that is often difficult to get across on the page. The loyalty and brotherhood amongst soldiers is second to none. I personally, have never found soldiers to be ignorant, uneducated or overly macho. I have however, known many soldiers shaped and moulded by their experiences in overseas deployments. My husband was in the military for 14yrs and has served in Afghan. I think what the author has conveyed, is the point that civilians and on this occasion, Wolfe are often detached from the military experience. The characters of Rose and Vann offer up an alternative narrative, one too often forgotten in modern society.

Aside from the aftermath of the terrorist incident and professional fallout. Wolfe has problems close to home. Trying to raise his young daughter Scout, as a single father is a huge part of Wolfe’s psychology and what drives him as a person and a copper. But with his ex-wife Anne attempting to insinuate herself in Scout’s life and threats of going for custody. Wolfe is feeling the pressure. The theme of divorce and its impact upon the children it affects, is quite refreshing to read. Maybe I am biased as I was raised by my father. But I found the storyline very interesting and thought-provoking.

‘Only divorced adults get new lives, I thought. Divorced children are stuck with their old lives – and with their dumb-ass divorced parents forever’

Outside the Khan’s residence, a preacher holds court. A preacher with a knowledge of history and opinions he believes need to be heard. George Halfpenny is the addition of a character not afraid to speak his mind. Offering up a narrative of the honest, tolerant patriot. It may not be an opinion you agree with, but it is an honest reflection of a voice that surrounds every real-life terror situation.

‘Every murder is a hate crime’ Max Wolfe

Between the various voices within the novel, whether it be 16yr old Layla trying to understand a society that now appears to despise her. The voice of the police officers trying to solve the case and understand the logic behind the Khan brother’s radicalisation. The emotional response of Ahmed Khan at facing up to the shame his sons have brought to the family. The families left behind by the murdered police officers, just young little kids that may never remember their own mother.

This novel fully explores the social and cultural cost to society in the face of the rise in terrorism. An intelligent, well planned and hugely relevant novel.

Tony Parsons

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Review White Midnight by @DanielCulver11 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @booksmanatee Loose Lips Sink Ships

White Midnight By Daniel Culver

Elizabeth Nowicki, a British woman and self-confessed stoic, settles down in the seemingly idyllic American town of Midnight, with her new husband and his two children. Six months on, life as a step mom is harder than she thought, and the shine of the American Dream has already worn off.

Bored and lonely, Elizabeth is drawn into a nightmare when someone in a duck mask murders two local cops…and the investigation reaches her new neighbourhood. When this is followed by strange happenings across the street, leading to another death, Elizabeth starts to conduct her own investigation….but can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

My Review:

‘A duck walks into a bar. Nobody gets the joke’

The novel opens with a random and unusual shooting at a bar. Four off-duty cops are gunned down and in turn the plot is set from the opening pages. But this is far from your average day-to-day read. This novel is packed with quirky and strange behaviour, that has you desperate to know how it ends…

The protagonist Elizabeth Nowicki is a newlywed immigrant to the United States. Having given up her live in London, for life in the snowy town of Midnight. The marriage is one of seemingly convenience, with Elizabeth’s desire for a green card and her husband Luca’s requirement of a stay at home mum for his two young children. I found their set-up fascinating and wondered if it was truly based on love or necessity.

Elizabeth is a self-confessed outsider, life in Midnight is no different to her previous lonely life. She tries to invest her time in her step-children Nico and Khloe. But their home lacks the usual warmth and so does Midnight……

‘The street is just a barren landscape of white’

Midnight has a population of just 29,935. It is a town that is praised for its low crime rate but is steeped in local legend and folklore. It is brimming with secrets and so are each of its residents. The gossip and speculation are rife, and Elizabeth is never certain, if she can believe any of what she is told.

‘Gossip seems to ferment forever in the little township of Midnight’

Whilst Elizabeth is shovelling her icy drive, she notices a newspaper with the headline MIDNIGHT MASSACRE. It is a headline, that will lead Elizabeth to internally question everyone she knows. But the residents of Midnight aren’t the only ones with secrets…..

‘My mother is dead; she didn’t die; she was killed by someone who was eternally angry at the world’

Elizabeth has only one friend in Midnight, local busybody Marie Paladino. For someone who also lives quite an isolated life, Marie knows everyone’s business. She fills Elizabeth’s head full of stories about all the residents of their small quiet street. Whether she embellishes her tales, is for you, the reader to decide.

‘Everyone goes missing in Midnight’

The novel slowly unfolds, and we begin to learn about Elizabeth’s past and those of her neighbours. The teenage girl that went missing a decade ago. The previous owners of her house, whom vanished in the night. The local hoodlum Billy and his cop father. Marie is certain not to leave anybody out, as she administers her judgements and assumptions. The rumours leave Elizabeth, and the reader with many questions.

Whilst Elizabeth is trying to fathom the goings-on of Midnight. Billy’s cop father is shot and killed. Is there a serial killer in the neighbourhood? Was Leona Main abducted? If so by whom? Was it the working of the same killer?

To help in her pursuit of the killer. Elizabeth asks her step-son Nico to help her create a Facebook page. The trap is set.
But who can she trust?

‘Friendship only serves to massage one’s own ego’

As Elizabeth battles the solitude of Midnight, Luca neglects his wife and children. Too often choosing his career prospects over their happiness. Rather than deal with her own situation, Elizabeth is fuelled to compile her own dossiers on the neighbour’s activities. Which makes for intriguing reading.

The facts of her case present like blood drops on the snow. But can Elizabeth connect the dots and catch a killer?

As stated above the novel is extremely quirky at the opening. But it has a dark crime at its core. At moments it reminded me of the 1980’s film The Burbs, with the strange neighbours and assumptions of their wrongdoing. The ending however, brings it home as a dark crime thriller. 5*

Daniel Culver
White Midnight is released on the 15th March 2018

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***



Anne Bonny #Review Where The Missing Go by @emma_rowley 4* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction Just 99p @orionbooks @orion_crime #WhereIsSophie

Where The Missing Go by Emma Rowley


I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But today a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.

The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.


My review:

“Too late to go back now
He’ll be waiting”

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Harlow went missing two years ago. Her mother has been left devastated and isolated since her disappearance. The case remains open, but there is no active investigation. Her mother has dedicated herself to tireless work at the message in a bottle helpline. A helpline service for people who have ran away and wish to leave a message with their family members. With the police classing Sophie as a ‘voluntary run away’, her mother Kate has little hope……

‘The thing about the missing is that they don’t always want to be found’

One night working at the helpline with Alma, Kate receives a call. But this is no ordinary call. The line has quiet and broken at times, but Kate believes that the call is from her daughter. Calling alone, scared and in desperate need of help.
Is it really Sophie? Is Kate hearing what she wants so desperately to hear?

Come home Sophie

The novel then goes further into detail about Sophie’s past, her disappearance and her family circumstances. The disappearance has cost Kate heavily. Her desperation and questioning keep’s you in suspense throughout the novel.
Kate is more or less friendless, except for elderly neighbour Lily. Lily is confused and makes several references to ‘Nancy’ and ‘her little boy’. When Kate finds a connection to a missing teenager from 20yrs ago. She attempts to connect the dots.

‘She’s alive. She called me. She’s reaching out. That’s all I need to think about, for now’

What makes the case more complex, is Sophie’s note that she left and the postcards that Kate receives regularly. The postcards inform Kate, that Sophie is safe and wants to be left alone. They offer a different viewpoint and create more mystery in the plot. The note shows complicity and defiance from Sophie, in the aftermath of her disappearance.

“I’m sorry everyone. But I need to get away please try not to worry about me, I’m going to be fine.
I love you all, Sophie x x x”

Where is Sophie?
Does she need saving?
Is Kate headed for a breakdown?
What made Sophie run away?

The novel is a thoroughly modern crime thriller. With modern technology playing a huge part in the search. I can see the appeal of this novel for the fans of Angela Clarke and the social media series. The emotional pull of the mother’s love for her missing teenage daughter, had me glued to the page. 4*