Anne Bonny #BookReview Only The Dead Know by @verdandiweaves C.J. Dunford #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #NewSeries #Debut #DanielUneasyTruce @be_ebooks_com ‘Intriguing new addition to the crime fiction genre’

cover
Only The Dead Know by C.J Dunford
Daniel ‘Uneasy’ Truce – Mystery #1
Review copy
Synopsis:

After a traumatic military tour in the Middle East, Daniel “Uneasy” Truce returns home with PTSD. Something happened there. Something he never wants to come out.

A few hand shakes later, Truce lands a new job in a ragtag investigations unit. He may be emotionally awkward, but he’s got a knack for reading body language. Problem is, his boss hates him. Calls him mentally unsound. She gives Truce the dirty work. That’s how he ends up with “the crazy old bat” case.

At 11 a.m. every morning, June drops by her local police station to report a murder she witnessed. Initially the cops took her seriously. They visit the alleged victim’s home to find him very much alive. But June won’t give up, and her daily appearances become a nuisance. Truce is tasked to investigate. To shut her up. Soon June winds up dead-hit by a car. Was it really an accident? Truce thinks there’s more to the case. That maybe someone just doesn’t want the truth to come out …

Only the Dead Know is the first book in the Daniel ‘Uneasy’ Truce Mystery series.

My Review:

I am always intrigued by novels that feature military veterans. I am myself married to a veteran of 15yrs military service. I think even for myself, there is something fascinating about a protagonist who has been to war.

Daniel ‘uneasy’ Truce is an ex-military cop. He was orphaned at a young age and went from children’s home to military service. A situation not to unbelievable, if you’ve ever known any serving personnel. His only friend in the world is Leighton, who is what I’d call a sofa surfer. A close friend that hangs on Daniel’s every word, but actually contributes very little to the household.

Major Percival Bay managed to organise a role for Truce as a special advisor to combined special crimes task force – police Scotland. A role that is not what it seems. With a boos that hates him, he is often side-lined and given the uninteresting ‘crimes’. His boss Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose assigns him to the case of June Mills. An elderly lady who is reporting the same murder daily.
He is given specific instructions to ‘shut her up’.

‘You could talk to her: mental case to mental case’ – Chief Superintendent Lydia Rose

When Daniel meets June he actually really warms to her character. She assures him, she is not going senile. But when he digs a little deeper it would appear June is not lying. She leads a busy and happy lifestyle. She had met the victim previous to witnessing his alleged murder. The one problem is, the victim Davie Whiles, isn’t dead!

Despite their heart-to-heart and meeting of minds. When June fees she isn’t getting anywhere she goes to the press. Which brings a Lydia Rose sized storm upon Daniel.
Eventually Daniel relents and agrees to take June to the mortuary to ID any recent bodies. I wasn’t 100% this scene was very accurate.
But nevertheless, I ran with it. June ID’s no body.

‘There’s a mystery here. A mystery no one wants to solve. Yet everything about it is impossible’ – Truce

Days later Daniel spots a newspaper article, with a recent death of a woman that sounds a lot like June. The lady in question was knocked over and killed by a taxi driver. Daniel vows to investigate further.

‘There’s enough evil in this world without you making up more’ – Leighton

At June’s funeral, Daniel is introduced to her friends and learns more facts. Everything about June’s suicide contradicts itself. June’s death is a confusing case and nothing makes sense at all.

I did really enjoy the mystery element and found Daniel Truce a fantastic protagonist. There is a Q&A at the back of the novel which expands further upon his characters and themes. It is a brilliant addition and gives much food for thought. But obviously I cannot cover it within this review. There were elements I wasn’t so keen on, the police cast aside from Daniel were an array of stereotype cops. But it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of this novel, as the main focus is mostly on Daniel.

Intriguing new addition to the crime fiction genre. 4*

CJD
C.J. Dunford
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Motherland by @garry_abson #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Russia #NatalyaIvanova #NewSeries #Debut @TheMirrorBooks ‘Darkest crimes in the deepest of pasts’

9781907324833
Motherland by G.D Abson
Natalya Ivanova – Thriller #1

Review copy
Synopsis:

Motherland is the first in a gripping series of contemporary crime novels set in contemporary St Petersburg, featuring sharp and intriguing policewoman, Captain Natalya Ivanova.

Student Zena Dahl, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire, has gone missing in St Petersburg (or Piter as the city is colloquially known) after a night out with a friend. Captain Natalya Ivanova is assigned the case, making a change for Natalya from her usual fare of domestic violence work, but, because of the family’s wealth, there’s pressure for a quick result. But as she investigates she discovers that the case is not as straightforward as it may seem. Dark, violent and insightful, Motherland twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion.

My Review:

Modern day Russia is an unusual setting and era for a crime fiction novel. Yet it really works, it adds to the mystery and intrigue of organised crime and citizens being silenced.

The novel opens in St Petersburg 1999, new years eve night. With Sasha, Kristina, Vova and 2yr old Ksenia. It is a vague prologue and we are given snippets of information. We become aware a character named Yuri left 3 months ago to serve on in a prison colony. But we are left wondering how these characters fit into the main plot, of the story.

The novel then jumps to June 2017, with Zena Dahl from Ostermalm (near Stockholm) Sweden. She is enjoying a night out with friend Yulia, when she is accosted by some males and nearly raped. Is this where Zena goes missing?

Natalya Ivanova is our protagonist for this series. She is currently a police officer working predominately with domestic violence. But in a country where the harshest sentence for such crime is 3hrs detention, she is fighting a losing battle. Natalya works for the criminal investigations directorate, dealing with serious crimes. She is a tough and ambitious cop and one you instantly like. Her husband Mikhail is also a senior detective and he has a son Anton now 18ys old. There is family drama regarding Anton’s future. No university placement means conscription!
Something the couple are keen to avoid for their son.

When Natalya is called out to a recent domestic assault, we see the true nature of her day to day case load. With 14 thousand women murdered by their partners every year, domestic violence is a prevalent problem in modern day Russia.

Natalya is pulled of the routine case to assist with the missing teenager. Zena Dahl maybe 19yrs old but she has a wealthy father and that makes her case top priority. Zena interviews her neighbours and alleged best friend, but the leads don’t point to some serious harm having come to Zena. Natalya knows if she cannot prove this, the case will be dropped. Zena’s welfare rests solely with Natalya.

Zena’s father Thorsten Dahl with his lawyer Anatoly Lagunov. We learn that Zena was adopted by Throsten at 18 months old, as a single father. He has links to the orphanage she was residing in due to the death of her parents. She took an instant shine to Thorsten and he decided to adopt her and give her opportunities she never would have had with a life in care.
“Zena is all I have and I am all she has” – Thorsten Dahl

This is a complex case at its heart. The story of a missing woman in a country that appears not to care too much for its female citizens. Natalya Ivanova is feisty and fiery, she refuses to be overlooked by or for her male counterparts. She refuses to tow the line in a country where money and bribes talk. . .

“It’s always about the money and yet you call yourselves patriots” –  Natalya Ivanova

Darkest crimes in the deepest of pasts. 4*

Garry Abson
G.D. Abson
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