Anne Bonny #BookReview The Scent Of Death by @BeckettSimon 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DavidHunter #Series #6

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The Scent Of Death by Simon Beckett
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

It’s been a good summer for forensics expert Dr David Hunter. His relationship is going well and he’s in demand again as a police consultant. Life is good.

Then a call comes from an old associate: a body has been found, and she’d like Hunter to take a look.

The empty shell of St Jude’s Hospital now stands awaiting demolition, its only visitors society’s outcasts, addicts and dealers. A partially mummified corpse has been discovered in the hospital’s cavernous loft, but not even Hunter can say how long it’s been there. All he knows for sure is that it’s the body of a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

But the collapse of the loft floor reveals another of the hospital’s secrets. A sealed-off chamber, still with beds inside. Some of them occupied…

For Hunter, what began as a straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare that threatens everyone around him. And as the investigation springs more surprises, one thing is certain.

St Jude’s hasn’t claimed its last victim . . .

With its viscerally authentic forensics, menacing atmosphere and nerve-shredding tension, Simon Beckett’s new crime thriller will leave you gasping.

My Review ~

‘Death is nothing if not full of surprises’

The novel opens with a team already assembled and accessing the dead body of a heavily pregnant female. The body has been discovered on the derelict ground of an old hospital site (St Jude’s) which is planned for demolition. As the team prepare the body for removal from the site, a floor gives way beneath their feet. Some of the team suddenly find themselves in a sealed room within the hospital previously unseen.
But there are two dead bodies strapped to the beds.

The novel deals with the professional lives of the forensic experts and the police officers involved on the case. There are ties to a local woman often seen on the grounds of the hospital, whom Dr David Hunter makes it his mission to befriend. However, Lola has different ideas about if she wants to be befriended, proving to be quite the battleaxe.
There are rumours and speculation of a hospital ghost – The Grey lady which is buried in ww2 history.

The story is very darks and grisly in parts and actually left me with heart palpitations. The authors descriptive writing done so perfectly. This is a complex case with many twists. Most definitely not for the faint hearted due to the incredibly dark subject matter. 5*

SB1
Simon Beckett
Website ~ Which just nearly gave me a heart attack!!!
Twitter

*Apologies to the author for a late blog review post*

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Dead Man’s Daughter by @RozWatkins #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DIMegDalton #Series #Derbyshire @HQstories @HarperCollinsUK

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Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins ~ #2 DI Meg Dalton Series
Currently Reading – Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

She was racing towards the gorge. The place the locals knew as ‘Dead Girl’s Drop’…

DI Meg Dalton is thrown headlong into her latest case when she finds a ten-year-old girl running barefoot through the woods in a blood-soaked nightdress. In the house nearby, the girl’s father has been brutally stabbed to death.

At first Meg suspects a robbery gone tragically wrong, but something doesn’t add up. Why does the girl have no memory of what happened to her? And why has her behaviour changed so dramatically since her recent heart transplant?

The case takes a chilling turn when evidence points to the girl’s involvement in her own father’s murder. As unsettling family secrets emerge, Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth, before the killer strikes again…

Extract ~

Prologue

She lay on her back, hard metal under her, so cold it felt like being punched. The smell of antiseptic scorched her throat. She couldn’t move. She tried to scream. To tell them not to do it. She was still alive, still conscious, still feeling. It shouldn’t be happening. But no sound came. The man had a knife. He was approaching with a knife. Silver glinted in the cold light. Why could she still see? This was wrong. With all her will, she tried to shrink from him. He took a step closer. Another man stood by. Dressed in green. Calm. They were all calm. How could they be so calm? She must be crying, tears streaming down her face, even if her voice and her legs and her arms wouldn’t work. Please, please, please don’t. Inside her head she was begging. Please stop. I can feel. I’m still here. I’m still me. No words came out. The terror filled her; filled the room. The knife came closer. She couldn’t move. It was happening.

The touch of steel on her skin. Finally a scream. One of the men placed his hand on her mouth. The other man pushed towards her heart.

The woman grabbed my hand and pulled me deeper into the woods. Her voice rasped with panic. ‘She was running towards the gorge. The place the locals call Dead Girl’s Drop.’ That didn’t sound good, particularly given the Derbyshire talent for understatement. I shouted over the wind and the cracking of frozen twigs underfoot. ‘What exactly did you see?’ ‘I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t imagine it.’ Strands of dark hair whipped her face. She must have only been in her forties, but she looked worn, like something that had been washed too many times or left out in the rain. She tugged a similarly faded, speckled greyhound behind her. ‘I was expecting proper police,’ she added. ‘I’m a detective. DI Meg Dalton, remember? We wear plain clothes.’ No matter what I wore, I seemed to exude shabbiness. I was clearly a disappointment to Elaine Grant. I sneaked a glance at my watch. I’d had a phone-call from my mum that I should have been returning. Elaine tripped on a stump and turned to look accusingly at me, her edges unclear in the flat morning light. ‘Pale like a ghost. The dog saw her too.’ I glanced down at the dog. He panted and drooled a little.

I wasn’t sure I’d rely on his testimony, but I couldn’t afford not to check this out. I shivered and pulled my scarf tighter around my neck. ‘Wearing white, you mean? But you saw blood?’ ‘It was a nightdress, I think. Just a young girl. Streaking through the trees like she had the devil at her heels. And yes, there was red all over her.’ Branches rattled above us. Something flickered in the corner of my eye – shining pale in the distance. My breath stopped in my throat and I felt a twitch of anxiety. ‘Is there a house in these woods?’ I asked. ‘Approached down a lane?’ Elaine walked a few steps before answering. ‘Yes. Bellhurst House.’ I knew that place. The woman who lived there had kept calling the police, saying she was being watched and followed, but she’d had nothing concrete to report. After the first time, they’d joked that she had an over-active imagination. Possibly a fondness for men in uniform. And we hadn’t taken her seriously. Elaine touched my arm. ‘Did you see the girl?’ We waited, eyes wide and ears straining. The dog let out a little affronted half-bark, more of a puff of the cheeks. A twig snapped and something white slipped through the trees. ‘That’s her,’ Elaine shouted. ‘Hurry! The gorge is over there. Children have fallen . . . ’ I re-ran in my mind the control room’s leisurely reaction to this call; our previous lacklustre responses to the woman in the house in these woods. A band of worry tightened around my chest. I pictured a little girl crashing over the side of the gorge into the frothing stream below, covered in blood, fleeing something – something we’d been told about but dismissed.

Maybe this was the day the much-cried wolf actually showed up. I broke into a limping run, cursing my bad ankle and my bad judgement for not passing this to someone else. I couldn’t take on anything new this week. The dog ran alongside me, seeming to enjoy the chase. I glanced over my shoulder. If the girl had been running from someone, where were they? I arrived at a fence. A sign. Private property. Dangerous drops. Elaine came puffing up behind me. I was already half over the fence, barbed wired snagging my crotch. ‘Did you see anyone else?’ ‘I’m not sure . . . I don’t think so.’ She stood with arms on knees, panting. She wasn’t in good shape. ‘I can’t climb over that fence,’ she said. ‘I have a bad knee.’ ‘You wait here.’ I set off towards where I’d seen the flash of white. The dog followed me, pulling his lead from Elaine’s hand and performing a spectacular jump over the fence. The light was brighter ahead where the trees must have thinned out towards the gorge. I could hear the river rushing over rocks far below. My eyes flicked side to side. There was something to my left. Visible through the winter branches. ‘Hello,’ I shouted. ‘Are you alright?’ I moved a step closer. A figure in white. I hurried towards her. She was uncannily still. I blinked. It was a statue, carved in pale stone. Settled into the ground, as if it had been there for centuries. A child, crying, stone tears frozen on grey cheeks. I swore under my breath, but felt my heart rate returning to normal. Was that something else? It was hard to see in the dappled light.

A glimpse of pale cotton, the flash of an arm, a white figure shooting away. I followed. There in front of me another statue. Whereas the first child had been weeping, this one was screaming, mouth wide below terrified eyes. I shuddered. I ran towards the noise of the river, imagining a child’s body, smashed to pieces by stone and current. I didn’t need a dead girl on my conscience. Not another one. I’d been good recently – not checking my ceilings for hanging sisters or hoarding sleeping pills. I wanted to keep it that way. ‘Hello,’ I shouted again. ‘Is there anyone there?’ A face nudged out from behind a tree which grew at the edge of the gorge. It was a girl of about eight or nine. She was wearing only a white nightdress. Her face was bleached with fear and cold, her hair blonde. The paleness of her clothes, skin, and hair made the deep red stains even more shocking. I took a step towards the girl. She shuffled back, but stayed facing me, the drop falling away behind her. She must have been freezing. I tried to soften my body to make myself look safe. The dog was panting dramatically next to me, after his run. He took a couple of slow steps forward. I was about to call him back, but the girl seemed to relax a little. The dog’s whole body wagged. The girl reached and touched him. I held my breath. The girl shot me a suspicious look. ‘I like dogs.’ Her voice was rough as if she’d been shouting. ‘Not allowed dogs . . . Make me ill . . . ’ ‘Are you running from someone?’ I had to get her away from the edge, but I didn’t want to risk moving closer. ‘I’m with the police. I can help you.’

She stared at me with huge owl eyes, too close to the drop behind. Heart thumping, I said, ‘Shall we take him home for his breakfast?’ The dog’s tail wagged. ‘Is that okay?’ She shifted forward a little and touched the dog softly on the head. A stone splashed into the water below. ‘He needs a drink,’ she whispered. Elaine had been right. The girl’s nightdress was smeared with blood. A lot of blood. ‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Let’s take him back for a drink and some breakfast. Shall we do that?’ The girl nodded and stepped away from the edge. I picked up the end of the lead and handed it to her, hoping the dog would be keen to get home. I wanted the girl inside and warmed up before she got hypothermia or frostbite, but I sensed I couldn’t rush it. I walked slowly away from the gorge, and the dog followed, leading the girl. Her feet were bare, one of her toes bleeding. ‘What’s your name?’ I asked. I thought she wasn’t going to answer. She shuffled along, looking down. ‘Abbie,’ she said, finally. ‘I’m Meg. Were you running from someone?’ I shot another look into the trees. She whispered, ‘My dad . . . ’ ‘Were you running from your dad?’ No answer. I tried to remember the substance of the calls we’d had from the woman in the house in the woods. Someone following her. Nothing definite. Nothing anyone else had seen. ‘Are you hurt? Is it okay if I have a look?’

She nodded. I crouched and carefully checked for any wounds. She seemed unharmed, apart from the toe, but there were needle marks on her arms. I was used to seeing them on drug addicts, not on a young girl. ‘I have to get injected,’ Abbie said. I wondered what was the matter with her. My panic about her welfare ratcheted up a notch. I grabbed my radio and called for paramedics and back-up. ‘There’s a stream,’ Abbie said. ‘He needs a drink.’ The dog was still panting hard. ‘No, Abbie. Let’s – ’ She veered off to the right, surprisingly fast. ‘Oh, Jesus,’ I muttered. Abbie pulled the dog towards the pale statues, darting over the bone-numbing ground. I chased after her. There were four statues in total, arranged around the edge of a clearing. They were children of about Abbie’s age or a little younger, two weeping and two screaming, glistening white in the winter light. I ran between them, spooked by them and somehow feeling it was disrespectful to race through their apparent torment, but Abbie was getting away from me. I saw her ahead, stepping into a stream so cold there were icy patches on the banks. ‘No, Abbie, come this way!’ I ran to catch up, wincing at the sight of her skinny legs plunging into the glacial water. She called over her shoulder. ‘He can drink better at this next bit.’ She clutched the dog-lead as if it were the only thing in the world. I was panicking about her feet, about hypothermia, about what the hell had happened to her, and who might still be in the woods with us. But she was determined to get the dog a drink. And I sensed if I did the wrong thing, she’d bolt.

‘Abbie, let me carry you to the drinking place, okay? Your feet must be really sore and cold. We’ll get him a quick drink, then head back and get warmed up.’ She looked at her feet, then up at me. Worried eyes, blood on her face. She nodded, and shifted towards me. I reached for her, but she lurched sideways and fell, crashing into the freezing water. She screamed. Heart pounding, I reached and scooped her up. She was drenched and shivering, teeth clacking together. I pulled her inside my coat, feeling the shock of the water soaking into my clothes. I took off my scarf and wound it loosely around her neck. I stumbled through the mud, filling my boots with foetid bog water, and finally saw a larger stream ahead, flowing all bright and clear. The dog immersed his face in it, gulped for a few moments, and looked up to show he was done. ‘Right, let’s go.’ I shifted Abbie further up onto my hip and limped back in the direction we’d come, trousers dragging down, feet squelching in leaden boots. The dog pulled ahead, shifting me off-balance even more. Through the boggy bit again, past the cold gaze of the statues, and at last to the fence where Elaine was waiting. ‘Oh, thank goodness!’ Elaine said. ‘She’s alright.’ I gasped for breath. ‘Could you go on ahead and put your heating on high? It could take a while for the paramedics to get here. We might need to warm her up in your house. She’s frozen.’ ‘Shall I run a bath? Not too hot. Like for a baby.’ ‘No, it’s okay. Just the heating.’ ‘Like for my baby.’ Her eyes seemed to go cloudy. ‘My poor baby.’

I touched her lightly on the arm. ‘I’ll bring the girl back. Just put the heating on high and get some blankets or fleeces or whatever you have, to wrap round her.’ Elaine nodded and helped me lift Abbie over the fence, before heading off at a frustratingly slow walk. I picked Abbie up again. ‘Not far now,’ I said, as much to myself as her. ‘We’ll get you inside and warmed up.’ ‘Thank you,’ she said in a tiny voice. ‘Thank you for letting me get a drink for the dog.’ Her ribs moved in and out, too fast. That could be the start of hypothermia. I clasped her to me, enveloping her in my jacket and pulling the scarf more snuggly around her neck. My feet were throbbing, so I dreaded to think what hers felt like. ‘Where do you live, Abbie?’ I said. ‘In the woods.’ She held on to me with skinny arms, trusting in a way which brought a lump to my throat. She rested her head against my shoulder. Her voice was so quiet I could barely hear. ‘I’m tired. . . Will you make sure I’m okay?’ I swallowed, thinking of all that blood. I could smell it in her hair. ‘Yes,’ I whispered into the top of her head, ignoring all the reasons I couldn’t make any promises. ‘I’ll make sure you’re okay.’
*
We eventually arrived at the edge of the woods, and crossed the road to reach Elaine’s cottage. I hammered on the door and it flew straight open. I wrenched off my muddy boots and sodden socks, followed Elaine through to a faded living room, and lowered Abbie onto the sofa. ‘Get some blankets around her,’ I said. ‘I’ll be back.’ I dashed

barefoot over the road to my car, grabbed some evidence bags, and slipped my feet into the spare trainers I’d shoved in there in a fit of sensibleness. My toes felt as if they’d been dipped in ice, rubbed with a cheese-grater, and held in front of a blow-torch. Back at the house, Elaine had swaddled Abbie in a couple of towels and about five fleecy blankets that looked like they could be the dog’s. I decided it was best not to smell them. ‘Do you have anything she could wear?’ I asked. ‘So we can get that wet nightdress off her?’ Elaine hesitated. ‘I still have . . . ’ Abbie looked up from her nest of fleeces and mumbled, ‘Where’s the dog?’ Elaine called him, and Abbie stroked the top of his head gently, her eyelids drooping, while Elaine went to fetch some clothes. The room was clean and tidy but had a museum feel, as if it had been abandoned years ago and not touched since. Something caught my eye beside the window behind the sofa. A collection of dolls, sitting in rows on a set of shelves. I’d never been a fan of dolls and had dismembered those I’d been given as a child, in the name of scientific and medical research. And there was something odd about these. I took a step towards them and looked more closely. A floorboard creaked. I jumped and spun round. Elaine stood in the doorway, holding up some soft blue pyjamas. ‘These?’ They must have belonged to a child a little older than Abbie. I nodded, walked over and took the pyjamas, then sat on the sofa next to Abbie. I opened my mouth to thank Elaine and ask if she had a child of her own, but I glanced first at her face. It was flat, as if her muscles had been paralysed. I closed my mouth again. I persuaded Abbie to let me take off the sopping-wet,

blood-soaked nightdress and replace it with the pyjamas. Her teeth chattered, and she clutched my scarf. I put the nightdress in an evidence bag. ‘My sister Carrie knitted that for me.’ I was better at saying her name now. ‘When I was very young. It’s the longest scarf I’ve ever seen.’ Abbie touched the scarf against her cheek, closed her eyes and sank back into the sofa. I looked up at Elaine. ‘Do you know if she lives at Bellhurst House? She said she lived in the woods, but she’s pretty confused.’ Elaine stared blankly at me. ‘Yes, I suppose she must. They own the land that goes down to the gorge.’ A pitter-patter of my heart. The guilt that was so familiar. Again I tried to remember what the woman from Bellhurst House had reported. Someone in the woods, someone looking into their windows, someone following her. She hadn’t lived alone; I remembered that. There was definitely a husband, possibly children. ‘Is that your house, Abbie? Bellhurst House?’ She nodded. ‘A car went down there,’ Elaine said. ‘In the night. I couldn’t sleep. Down the lane. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But now I’m wondering . . . ’ ‘What time?’ ‘I’m not sure exactly. About three or four, I think.’ ‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Police are on their way to the house. What colour was the car?’ ‘I couldn’t see – it was too dark.’ I turned to Abbie. ‘Do you remember anything about what happened?’ I said. ‘Where the blood came from?’ She leant close to the dog and wrapped her arms around him. He gave me a long-suffering look. Abbie spoke softly into his ear, so I could barely make out the words. ‘Everyone always dies. Jess. And Dad . . . ’ I looked at her blood-stained hair. ‘Who’s Jess?’ ‘My sister.’ I imagined her sister and her father bleeding to death in those dark woods, surrounded by statues of terrified children. ‘Where are your sister and your dad, Abbie?’ No answer. She closed her eyes and flopped sideways towards me. I caught sight of the dolls again. It felt as if someone had lightly touched the back of my neck with a cold hand. It was the eyes. In some of the dolls, the whole eye was white – no iris or pupil. In others, the iris was high, so you just saw the edge of it as if the eyes had rolled up inside the doll’s head. I turned away, feeling Abbie’s soft weight against me.

RW
Roz Watkins
Website
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My Review of The Devil’s Dice ~ #1 in the DI Meg Dalton Series

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Fade To Grey by @JohnelWilliams #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction @noexitpress ‘Modern and diverse crime fiction 4*’

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Fade To Grey by John Lincoln
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Gethin Grey is the man you call when there’s nowhere else to turn. His Last Resort Legals team investigates miscarriages of justice. But Gethin is running out of options himself: his gambling is out of control, his marriage is falling apart and there’s no money left to pay the wages…

Izma M was sent down years ago for the brutal murder of a young woman. In jail he’s written a bestseller and become a cult hero, and now the charismatic fading-film-star Amelia Laverne wants to bankroll Gethin to prove Izma’s innocence. For Gethin – low on luck and cash – the job is heaven sent.
But is Izma M really as blameless as his fans believe?

My Review:

Fade To Grey is a fascinating legal thriller that tackles the issue of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system. Focusing around the case of Ismail Mohammed/ Izma M/ Tyrell Hanson, who is now a prominent civil rights leader from his jail cell. He currently serves his sentence for the murder of a white girl, despite there being no real evidence to convict him. Is he innocent or guilty as charged?

Gethin Grey runs Last resorts legal team, they invest in miscarriages of justice and are made aware of the case by Amelia Laverne, who wishes to bankroll the quest for justice for Izma.

‘I’ll bet if he’d been a nice middle-class white boy the case never would have got to court’

Gethin prioritises his cases in five categories from the no hopers to the good cases, to the guilty.
Izma’s case sends mixed messages. He denies the brutal murder of Hannah Gold, but DNA evidence confirms the two had sex prior to her death. Gethin and his team will have to dig into the original case notes, if they hope to find evidence of Izma’s innocence.

‘Bad luck and prejudice could easily be enough to see an innocent man convicted’

The team at Last Resorts offer an interesting blend of characters. They add more drama to the investigation as they bring their skills to the table.
Modern and diverse crime fiction. 4*

JL
John Lincoln
Website
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Past Life by @NolanDom #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @headlinepg ‘An AMAZING debut novel 5*’

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Past Life by Dominic Nolan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

My Review:

This novel has a gripping synopsis, a detective found with amnesia and a stranger to her own family. A pain that pushes her to search for the truth and justice.
I was 100% SOLD, straight from that.

The novel has a dark opening, with a woman awakening not knowing her own name. There is a nearby body of a late teen female, clearly dead. The scene is intense and dark, set the pace for the novel perfectly. The woman is in a locked room, with no handle on the inside of the door. The woman can here the voices of others nearby including another female.
‘Noises of fear. Noises of pain’

I was on tender hooks as I read her inner thoughts……
‘Deep breaths now – resist the urge to call out’
Eventually the female is able to escape, urging another captive to RUN!
‘She didn’t remember anything about anything’

As I said above, a tense, action-packed and emotionally charged opening scene.

Abigail Boone has since moved house, attempting a chance at a new start/life. She is still struggling with chronic pain in her leg. Her family, husband Jack and teen son Quin find her difficult to relate to as her habit have changed. Abigail Boone feels alone in the world. Her recovery is fully explored and we learn of the medical and psychological impact of what Abigail has sustained.

‘The doctors said short-term memory lass wasn’t that uncommon after major trauma, so confusion was to be expected. The heavy dose of benzodiazepines found in her system wouldn’t help either’

She has no memory of who she is but can understand the world, as such! Imagine surviving a trauma only to lose who you are and the ability to bring the perpetrators to justice?

‘Four days she had been missing. One hundred and two hours’

Abigail was found in a London flat, set alight there is no DNA/evidence and no ID on the dead body. The other female victim is Bulgarian, she is uncooperative due to her trauma and the investigation leads to a dead end.

‘Life was habits and systems and Boone had to learn them all anew’

The debut novel reminded me very much of Tim Weaver’s excellent missing series. As Boone, as she now likes to be called digs into a cold case in an attempt to expose her own memories. Her clinical psychologist husband Jack also urges her on in her search to find Sarah, a previous abduction case Boone had worked on.

Working Sarah’s case also leads Boone to Rumena Zlatkova (Roo) the Bulgarian captive held with Boone. Roo re-tells her experience of trafficking to Boone and we become aware of the horrors that these women endure.

‘Men like that rely on two things. Fear firstly. And secondly, the fact these girls have no voice. Nobody cares what they say’

Boone is a relentless force to be reckoned with, she makes an incredible protagonist and the ending completely blew me away, I felt bereft….

‘Masks don’t just hide identity – they hide a person’s humanity. Hiding that gives them the power, makes their victims feel powerless’

An AMAZING debut novel 5*

DN
Dominic Nolan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview & #GuestPost Fingerprint Technology ~ Poetic Justice by @RCBridgestock @DomePress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #Yorkshire

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Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing.

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.

He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.

My Review:

The prequel novel opens at the scene of a fatal car accident, the female passenger is announced DOA. It isn’t until the vehicle is discovered to be that of Jack Dylan’s, that we become aware of the significance of this accident.
It will be an accident which will change Jack’s life forever….

‘If I can’t have you, then no one else will either’

The novel then jumps 10 days previously to the car accident, to show the build up to the accident. Also the rocky relationship between Jack and his wife Kay.
We learn that Jack had recently attended a police residential course. Whilst Kay has been dealing with an obsessive admirer.

The novel also deals with the grooming of two local school girls from the Field Colt Children’s Home. I think it is exceptional brave of the authors to tackle this very modern crime. A crime that has been exposed as being widespread across the UK, including police/councils in northern England, the Midlands and the south.
How do grooming gangs establish control? How do they ensure their prey remain silent?

“The protectors are turning out to be the abusers” – Jack Dylan

This is a police procedural with incredible depth. I felt as though all the dominant characters within the story were dealing with their inner demons. From Jack and his police work, to Kay and her admirer, to Isla and her coming-of-age at Uni and new police admin recruit Jen from the Isle Of Wight.
With the car crash the personal lives EXPLODE!

Between the grooming case, car accident & personal lives of those involved, their are heart-breaking moments a plenty.
Can Jack solve the mystery of the car accident whilst supporting his daughter in the aftermath of her mother’s death?
Can the police involved track down every individual involved in the grooming of local teens? will the powerful and elite endeavour to cover the scandal up?

‘I want not stone unturned in this case’  5* 

Guest Post ~ Fingerprint Technology: 

“You left your ‘dabs’ at the scene mate that’s how we know you were there,” said many a Copper to a suspect.

Bob spent thirty years as a career detective in West Yorkshire Police retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent (SIO), the Senior Investigative Officer in charge of major crime, including murder. During that time he witnessed, and was grateful for, the advancement of forensic technology into what would become known after his retirement in 2003, as the digital age. I also worked for seven-teen years in the administration department in the same police force and at one point my role was the administrative support to the Process Sergeant. Sowerby Bridge Police Station was the HQ of Calder Valley Police – as seen in the award-winning BBC police drama Happy Valley, which we were storyline and police advisers. In the process sergeants office I watched daily suspects / pris-oners fingerprinted by police officers, using the old roller and inkpad.

Brief timeline fingerprint identification:

Juan Vucetich, an Argentine Police officer in 1892, made the first fingerprint identification at a crime scene. He also opened the world’s first fingerprinting bureau in Calcutta, India in 1897.
The first United Kingdom Fingerprint Bureau was founded in Scotland Yard in 1901.

Around 1870, French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon devised a system to measure and record the dimensions of certain body parts of the body. These measurements were reduced to a formula, which theoretically would apply only to one person and would not change during his / her adult life.

In 1880 Dr Henry Faulds, in Tokyo used fingerprints to identity someone who had left a stray bottle lying around. He matched the fingerprints left on the bottle with a laboratory worker.

In 1892 bloody fingerprints left on a doorframe were used to identify a murderer in Argentina. During that same year, certain police groups started keeping fingerprint files.

In 1901 after the success in Argentina and India, Scotland Yard began questioning whether it would be a useful system for England.

The Bertillon system was generally accepted for thirty years until an event in 1903, when a man named Will West was sentenced in the US, and it was discovered at this time that another prisoner at the penitentiary had Bertillon measurements that were nearly the same, intact similar enough for them to be identified as the same person. Upon investigation it was discovered that the other per-son, William West, was Will West’s identical twin brother.

In 1905 the American military branches began using fingerprints. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation also began keeping track of the fingerprints on file and in 1924, with the advancement of technology, cataloguing fingerprints in America. By 1971 they had over 200 million fingerprints on file.

In 1990 with the advancement of technology, programs began using Automated Fingerprint Identifi-cation Systems. The AFIS scanned and sorted fingerprints electronically.

But, we can go back as early as China – 200 BC – where Chinese records from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) include details about using handprints as evidence during burglary investigations, would you believe?

Of course there are other visible human characteristics we can use to identify people such as facial features, but these tend to change considerably with age, however fingerprints are relatively con-sistent. Barring injuries or surgery causing deep scarring, or diseases such as leprosy damaging the formative layers of friction ridge skin, finger and print features have never been shown to move or change their relationship throughout the life of a person (and injuries, scarring and diseases tend to exhibit telltale indicators of unnatural change).

Did you know:

1. Fingerprints are one of the last things to disappear when you die, the friction ridges are remarka-bly long-lasting even if a body has been in water.

2. Fingerprints can grow back.

We have known criminals who have purposely used methods, including harsh chemicals to remove their fingerprints so they wouldn’t leave evidence at the scene of a crime. What they actually did was make themselves even more unique.

More common, are those who do not want to leave fingerprints at a scene and will use less painful methods such as wearing socks on their hands – a typical trait of a burglar who also doesn’t want to look suspicious by carrying Marigold type gloves in his pockets, should they be stopped and checked, and possibly be accused of ‘going equipped to commit crime’.

When I took on the role of ‘Property Clerk’ at SB in 1988 this did not just include looking after the ‘Connected and Miscellaneous’ property such as firearms, monies, and drugs seized by the police but also victims’ and prisoners’ property for future court purposes. I was puzzled in the beginning as to why there were so many socks and gloves seized until I was told that it was a telltale sign if a prisoner had no socks on his feet when caught. That this might mean they had been discarded post crime, near to the scene. What the offender didn’t realise was if the police found them, and turned the plastic gloves inside out they would find the perpetrators fingerprints! A certain type of glove used consistently by a perpetrator will also link a series of crimes for the investigator.

Brothers Alfred Edward Stratton, and his brother Albert Ernest Stratton were the first men to be con-victed in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence. Both were executed at 9am on 23rd May 1905 at HM Prison Wandsworth.

Thankfully gone are the days when I had to cover the prisoners’ hands in ink with a roller. Carefully roll each finger 180 degrees on a fingerprint form which noted each finger individually, and press the palm down, including the beginning of the wrist on the reverse. Even with socks or gloves covering the hands some perpetrators, when climbing, caught the lower part of the palm, or the wrist became uncovered and they would leave a much-coveted mark for the police officer.

This operation was not easy with a cooperative prisoner, but can you begin to imagine how hard it was to take fingerprints this way from an uncooperative one?

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Fingerprint forms for both hands would then be sent through the police internal mail system to HQ,where they would be examined. If the quality was not good enough or errors had been made then the forms would be sent back to the officer for them to see the suspect concerned again, to take another set of prints. The subsequent scanned prints against unidentified marks lifted from crime scenes of crimes have great success.

We touched on the AFIS system (Automatic Fingerprint Identification System) and a National data-base IDENT 1: The United Kingdom’s central national database for holding, searching and compar-ing biometric information on those who come into contact with the police as detainees after being arrested. Information held includes fingerprints, palm prints and scene of crime marks.

This was, in my time, only able to be achieved in the bridewell but revolutionary technology now en-ables mobile units to use the electronic devices that are no bigger than an iPad without the mess or fiddle-fuddle. An officer simply placed the hand of a suspect upon the screen and the computer does the rest. If the suspect is recorded the officer will have their correct details quickly.

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Apart from fingerprints and palm prints, the soles of bare feet, toes and ear prints have been used successfully.

So the process of fingerprinting has been brought into the twenty-first century but it doesn’t stop here. We are very proud to say that work being done by West Yorkshire Police (the force where we spent our collective 47 years service), and Sheffield Hallam University are presently developing something called Mass Spectroscopy. In simple terms they vaporise the sample, and then fire it through an electronic and magnetic field.

How this works: particles of different mass behave differently under these conditions, which allows the team to identify molecules within the print and from this they are able to assist the investigator with the following:

Male or female / understand if a person touched or taken drugs / ingested substances which also may assist in identifying the lifestyle of the individual.

In the past marks (fingerprints) lifted from crime scenes were sometimes deemed ‘not good enough’ for court purpose – typically a smudged mark. These ‘rejections’ that didn’t achieve the required standard were useless, and annoyingly for the officer on the case, they wouldn’t be accepted as evi-dence and included on the case file against the accused.

Mass spectroscopy deals with this in a positive way, and ultimately the gap that the perpetrator may have previously slipped though will be sealed, and the marks will now be good enough for the courts.

The new technology will also be a useful tool in the investigator toolbox for identifying an unknown offenders’ characteristics – it may not give the police the offenders name but it will point them in the right direction ie. man, woman, drug user…

Ever advancing technology helps the investigator to link criminals to crime scenes.

And my view on that?

Amen!

RC
R.C. Bridgestock
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