Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #BookReview and Q&A. Under The Woods by @KerryAnn77 KA Richardson 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #ForensicFiles #AuthorTalks @Bloodhoundbook ‘All round this is a fantastic read!’ EBook just 99P

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Under The Woods by KA Richardson
Review copy
Synopsis:

Looking for a fast-paced crime thriller?
Then you’ll love the gripping Under The Woods.

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body.

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels…

My Review:

I really admire this authors series and I was on the previous blog tour for Watch You Burn. They are police procedurals with a strong ethos on forensics. This novel is #4 in the forensic files. One thing I also love about the author is the way, in which she creates her characters. They come across authentic and she is not afraid to tackle difficult characters to create. Which in this novel, is the character of Cheryl Whitten a local homeless lady.

The prologue opens from the killer’s perspective, which is creepy and eerie. You almost feel like a voyeur watching a serial killer perfecting his craft. The killer talks of ‘his angels’ and ‘his treasure’ but what he is in fact referring to is society’s throwaway women, he has captured and killed. We become aware he is visiting the burial site of one of his previous victims, a beautiful drug addict turned ‘angel’.

Meanwhile, in Darlington it is the Christmas party for the forensics team. TJ Tulley has been dragged along as her brother Jacob’s designated driver. Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and the party is in full swing. It is at this party that TJ first meets loveable rogue Jackson Docherty. Jackson has an eye for the ladies, shall we say!

We later learn that TJ is the proud owner of Rainbow riding stables in Durham. However, the stables doesn’t come without its downsides. She must deal with local farmer and neighbour from hell Neil Brown. He is a brutish man and regularly openly berates TJ. He is an all-round pain in the backside. But you get a sense it is a simmering tension, waiting to bubble over into violence.

TJ herself has previously been the victim of a violent assault. Which has left her with chronic pain and physical suffering. The man who assaulted her was caught and committed suicide in his prison cell, adding further anguish to TJ’s recovery. Despite the trauma of her attack, TJ sees the positive in life and agrees to allow ‘difficult teens’ to assist at the stables. Which includes her attackers son Matthew. I really admired TJ’s ability to overcome the difficulties she has faced in life.
But I then began to wonder, were they just about to get a whole lot worse. . .

Cheryl Whiffen is a local homeless woman, she hears voices and they torment her every waking hour. When we meet her, she is hungry cold and feeling the strain of life on the streets. Her only friend in the word is a fellow homeless lady named Sally. When Cheryl goes missing, Sally is the only person to notice her absence. Can Sally get the police to take the case seriously?

‘She was definitely not, and never would be, one of his angels’

I think the author has done a fantastic job of her portrayal of not only homeless people, but of mental health conditions and how they manifest. I have worked in adult mental health and in facilitates which have re-homed mentally ill people from the streets. I think what the author did was give them a personality, a background etc. Allow the reader to see them as they truly are, people that matter! People that have lived through horrific life experiences, you hope to never endure.

But back to the case in hand, Jackson is at the scene of a dead body. A male drug addict found in the woods and partially eaten by his own dog.
Is this the killer that lurks amongst the pages?

There are chapters from the killer’s perspectives as he sets his victims tasks, of which they must complete. This element reminded me of the horror movie Saw. It was petrifying yet you couldn’t help but read on!
Especially the parts about the killer’s own childhood!!!!!!!

Farmer Brown’s son goes missing. Jackson faces harassment from an ex-lover named Nicki, who is a total bunny boiler. Someone is watching TJ, casually stalking her every move. Sally struggles to get the police to take Cheryl’s disappearance seriously. This novel is packed with various spin-off stories within.

The characters are authentic, their choices questionable but realistic.
All round this is a fantastic read! 5*

Q&A:

Q) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your current series the forensic files?

A) My name is Kerry and I live in north east England with my husband Peter and our 2 Dogs, Tala and Riley. I used to work as a csi and still work for the police albeit in a different role now. My csi background and passion for forensics is a massive inspiration when it comes to writing. The Forensic Files can be read as a series or as standalones as the characters change in each novel though there is always some overlap. They’re crime novels that are heavy on the forensics and that side of the police investigation.

Q) In my review I talk about the authenticity of your characters. Are they inspired by real-life people? Where do you find your inspiration?

A) The characters are not based on any one person but may well feature traits from a few different people all melded together. I find inspiration in pretty much everything from children’s laughter to rain on the windows, but I do love a good people watching session and often build descriptions whilst sitting in coffee shops. Often an outfit or a pair of shoes seen while doing this may feature in one of my novels.

Q) The character of Cheryl Whitten as a homeless lady with mental health problems, is very accurate. Did you research homelessness or mental health problems?

A) Cheryl was a complex character to write – it did involve research into mental health – primarily multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia – and also homelessness though in my current role for the police I have some interaction with that side of things. I loved her character though – I felt bad for having to kill her off.

Q) The reason I adored the characterisation of Cheryl and Sally so much, was your ability to bring them over on the page as real people. Not a label or a stereotype, but real people with stories behind their eyes. Is this difficult to achieve as a writer?

A) That’s a tough question haha. Most characters come to me screaming loudly to be heard and desperate to tell their stories – I like them to be as real to the reader as they are to me so I get to know them first. I write a character profile for the main characters whether bad or good. This involves things like how I see them, eye colour hair etc, their hobbies, likes/dislikes and friends/enemies etc. Because I get to know them before I start, I feel I get a good handle on them being real to me. And that’s important – I love and live and breathe these characters for the time I write them so if I didn’t know them fully then they might come across as flat or 2-dimensional. This process works for the most part thought there’s always the odd one who throws you a curve ball you don’t see coming – which is also insanely interesting and fab! I love it when they surprise me!

Q) TJ Tulley comes across as a street smart and savvy woman. Yet there is this element of her that is willing to take grief from her neighbour from hell. I found this quite symbolic of how women are often expected to take a certain degree of insulting remarks or insinuations. Was this intentional?

A) Subconsciously perhaps – most of us are willing to take a lot of crap in real life before we stand up and say enough is enough. Not sure exactly why that is but with TJ, it was important to me that she not be a ‘wet lettuce’ kind of woman. She is strong – has gone through so much and still is. I think she balances what’s worth worrying about with what’s not quite well.

Q) The character of Jackson added at times a spin on the above question. As He is expected to put up with a female character infatuated with him. Even though her behaviour becomes more and more irrational. It was an interesting dynamic that draws you to the characters and their histories. What made you decide to give Jackson his stalker?

A) When I first began writing about Jackson in watch you burn, I knew instantly he’d have his own story. He has a one night stand – the first in many months for him which is unusual – he’s trying to settle down and not be a player – Nicki unfortunately didn’t like the idea of a one night stand and is rather persistent. I’ve seen this quite a lot through work – where one party in the relationship just can’t let go or sees it completely different to the other. Jackson needed a challenge to overcome as well as TJ did and I think Nicki was definitely erring on the more Challenging side!

Q) finally, what can we the readers expect from the next book in the series and are we allowed any information?

A) The next book doesn’t have a title yet (sometimes these come straight away and sometimes they reveal themselves a bit later) but it’s set in Edinburgh and feature more of Ali and Alex’s family – specifically his brother Mark who is younger than them. Mark is lovely – he’s buried himself in working as a detective for so long he’s almost forgetting there’s more to life than just work. He’s got some flaws – claustrophobia being one. And he’s not a big believer in things like psychics – until one shows up in his life. It’s about darkness and shadows, murders in the vaults under the city and family dynamics. I’m loving writing it.

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KA Richardson
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Her Cold Eyes by @TonyblackUk 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @bwpublishing @LinaLanglee ‘Horrifyingly dark crime fiction, brilliantly executed’

Super excited to be kicking off the Her Cold Eyes #BlogTour! Happy Friday reading!

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Her Cold Eyes by Tony Black
Review copy
Synopsis:

Abbie is missing, and her mother knows exactly who is to blame.

But nobody is listening.

When the case falls to DCI Bob Valentine he has no choice but to listen. Troubled by visions of a young girl’s desperate anguish and her mother’s heartbreak, Valentine soon finds himself immersed in the most harrowing investigation of his police career.

It’s an investigation that leads him and his closest colleagues to uncover ritualistic practices inextricably linked to the highest echelons of society. As the extent of the abuse, sacrifice and torture becomes clear, how can the police hope to protect the victims from their terrible fate? And how can they trap the guilty when to do so will bring down so many of those in power?

The bloodthirsty reality of Satanic ritual and his battles with those who would silence him take Valentine to a dark place where his world view is shattered, perhaps forever.

My Review:

This novel was my 127th Read of the year so far. It is possibly the darkest one yet! The subject matter of satanic ritualistic abuse of children, is never going to be an easy theme within any crime novel. Yet it is tackled in such a realistic manner it’s frightening.
This is dark and gritty crime fiction.

The prologue opens with a young girl named Abbie in captivity. She is currently being broken down by abuse and attempting to mental resist. She hears the phrase “you belong to us now” Over and over again. How long can she resist?

‘But soon I will be.
I’ll be broken.
I know I will be.
Or I’ll be dead’

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Valentine of the murder squad arrives for work. He has an assessment with Dr Carter to assess his suitability for promotion and then is informed by Chief Superintendent Martin that he will be taking over the Abbie McGarvie case. Valentine is confused at first as Abbie is currently just listed as a missing teenager. The case was a nightmare with each parent making accusations against the other. The mother’s accusations however, took a sinister tone.
It is then revealed that there is a dead body and it may/may not be Abbie.

When Valentine arrives on the scene he is shocked at what he witnesses. He finds a young teen victim with clear visible signs of physical abuse. She is found naked, with trainers on and the team instantly suspect sexual abuse. This victim is allegedly the victim of a road traffic accident (RTA).

The novel has scenes from 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016 which detail Abbie’s lengthy introduction to the cult. They make for terrifying reading! As a parent, I found them exceptionally hard to digest. I don’t know how the real-life police that investigate these cases cope. I can only imagine the nightmares they must have.

Valentine is quick to want to interview DI Davis the original cop on the missing persons investigation and Kevin Rikards the now ex-cop who handled the abuse allegations. He also requests both Abbie’s parents be invited to the station and ID the body. What he learns from his fellow coppers/professionals will make your blood run cold. . .

“When you investigate these crimes you have to abandon all your reference points for morality – government, the courts, the police, social services, education – They have no moral authority. They are all your enemies” – Kevin Rikards

The post mortem reveals that the girls died from a broken neck. That she had sedatives and barbiturates in her system and has signs of serious sexual assault. If That wasn’t as horrific as it should be, she was also pregnant!

Valentine knows that the team are up against a dangerous elite cult. But he is also aware he has little evidence to go on. He believes the mother, former social worker and fellow police officers. But that doesn’t get him a warrant for an arrest and these are influential people of power and wealth. He even consults a professor who specialises in this type of abuse. Who has interviewed hundreds of victims.

“These people believe in evil, and believe in their right to express evil” – Dr Mason

The shadowy opposition that Valentine faces, looms in the background. It is made clear to him that to pursue justice could put his own family at risk. With two young daughters to consider, should he back off? Despite the moral dilemma he faces after speaking to Jean Clark (Abbie’s social worker) he just can’t refuse her justice. . .

“There is a reality within your reality which you cannot fully comprehend. It’s a reality so evil, so corrupt and so inhuman that if you were to fully comprehend it then your own fragile reality might begin to shatter” – Jean Clark

Can Valentine take down this elite group of psychopaths? Does a sophisticated satanic cult make mistakes? Are they untouchable by the police and the justice system?
All will be revealed. . .
Horrifyingly dark crime fiction, brilliantly executed. 4*

TB
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