Anne Bonny #BookReview Sins As Scarlet by @NicObregon 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir ‘The novel is timely, accurate and raises awareness of the dangers the trans community face’

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Sins As Scarlet by Nicolas Obregon
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Former homicide detective Kosuke Iwata is on the run from his past . . .

Five years ago, he lost his family. Now he may have found his redemption.

Living in LA and working as a private detective, he spends his days spying on unfaithful spouses and his nights with an unavailable woman.

Still he cannot forget the family he lost in Tokyo.

But that all changes when a figure from his old life appears at his door demanding his help.

Meredith Nichol, a transgender woman and his wife’s sister, has been found strangled on the lonely train tracks behind Skid Row.

Soon he discovers that the devil is at play in the City of Angels and Meredith’s death wasn’t the hate crime the police believe it to be. Iwata knows that risking his life and future is the only way to silence the demons of his past.

Reluctantly throwing himself back in to the dangerous existence he only just escaped, Iwata discovers a seedy world of corruption, exploitation and murder – and a river of sin flowing through LA’s underbelly, Mexico’s dusty borderlands and deep within his own past.

My Review:

I am a huge fan of diverse novels and you don’t really get many more diverse than Sins As Scarlet. It features a variety of characters from all walks of life and differing cultures. The victim in the novel is a transgender woman and Inspector Kosuke Iwata is determined to solve the case.

The novel opens on the Mexican – USA border. A pregnant woman is fleeing, and she has sustained violent injuries. The truck is gaining on her as she recites a Spanish prayer. . .

‘Most sacred heart of Jesus, I accept from your hands whatever death may please you to send me into this night’

The United States border patrol are the figures that have given chase. With another unidentified male, making his escape. They murder the pregnant female and it is at this instance I knew, things were not as they seem at the border.
This novel was going to be very dark indeed.

Kosuke Iwata is a second-generation Japanese American citizen. He currently lives in Torrance in California. Iwata’s past is fully explored within the novel. He has known considerable emotional pain. Both in his childhood and adult life. He works as a private investigator, when he is asked to take a case by Kate Floccari (state prosecutor) with regards to her husband potentially cheating on her. Iwata relinquished his own police career in Japan and has never attempted to join the police forces in the USA.

‘He figured tomorrow would just be another day, another case’

90K people go missing in LA each year!
As the novel takes you around Los Angeles, the author does an impressive job of describing the various communities.
From the poverty of Skid Row to the wealthy untouchables.

Iwata is alone in his office when he is accosted by his mother in law, Charlotte Nichol. Iwata’s wife died previously, and Charlotte asks for his help to find the killer of her only surviving child. What makes the case so unique is that Charlotte’s son Julian had transitioned gender and was living as Meredith. Meredith was murdered two weeks ago, and the police have shown little to no interest.

‘I won’t ever forgive you for what you did to Cleo. But maybe you can still do some good in this world’

It is widely known that transgender women are at an extremely high risk of being the victim of violent crime. Although this is widely known and an issue globally. Little is done in the way of preventative measures and ensuring the safety of transgender women. In fact, 45% of hate crime victims are transgender women and sadly the statistics reflect and upward trend in the crime. The novel is timely, accurate and raises awareness of the dangers the trans community face.

Iwata attempts to gather information from LAPD cop detective Joseph Avery Silke. But has little success. The cops are simply not interested.

‘Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul’ – Marilyn Monroe

Iwata has a contact in LAPD records and information, Earnell McCrae, who owes him a favour. He soon finds he has access to the police file and it does not look good. Meredith was living at Skid Row, she was a known prostitute and drug user. She was strangled on some train tracks and found by a homeless man. She had, what appears to be injuries of a sexual nature, but were they part of the murder? Or a sexual encounter? Did a punter discover her male genitalia and Meredith paid with her life?

Something happened to Meredith and Iwata finds his new case, also a quest for redemption. He begins his investigation by speaking to customers and staff at the various Latino exotic dancing bars. He learns of Meredith’s lover ‘Talky’ and friend Genevieve. He has little to go on and decides to research similar cases.

‘I know whoever killed Meredith is still out there. And I don’t think he’s finished’

Iwata uncovers a spate of local murders of transgender women. With five women dead and only one solved case. All except one, strangled. Is someone murdering transwomen? Do they make the perfect victim to a sexual predator?

‘There was a man with a garrotte and a taste for transgender women’

Iwata can’t get Meredith’s plight out of his head. The people he encounters at Skid row, stay with him long after he has left. The homeless, destitute, disabled, mentally ill and undocumented. They are the marginalised, vulnerable and undesired in society.

‘Meredith had moved a thousand miles to be herself. He wondered is she died for it too’

When Iwata attempts to contact the trans community he is met with a wall of silence. He hears of a trick rumoured to kill trans women, but rumour soon becomes urban legend. What he does uncover is a community of people, often rejected by their families and loved ones, forced to live on the fringes of society.

The novel is deeply layered and very intelligent. The author has done an outstanding job of describing the locations mentioned in the novel. The characters come alive on the page. You get a real sense of the struggles the trans community face and risk of violence in their daily lives. It appears to me that vulnerability and exploitation go hand in hand.

‘The devil is on every street corner in this place’

The novel has a brilliant ending and I can not wait for the next in the series. 5*

NO
Nicolas Obregon
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour ~ Extract Unrest by @jesper_stein #NordicNoir #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @TheMirrorBooks #Unrest #AxelSteen

UNREST_HIGH
Unrest by Jesper Stein
Translated by David Young
Synopsis:

When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Axel Steen is assigned the case.

Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of the nearby Youth House, teeming with militant far-left radicals. But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case and in preventing its resolution.

With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.

Extract:

Piver went into Nemoland. He felt safe enough in here to turn his attention back to the camcorder. He bought another gold label and settled in a dark corner on an old sofa and took out the camera.

A section of Nørrebrogade right next to the Box appeared on the screen. The full light of day. Pavement, cycle lane, road, cycle lane, pavement, wall and a section of the cemetery. He estimated that the camera covered 100 yards along the street and 50 yards wide. The time indicated that it was set up at 10.21 on Thursday morning. He spooled forward and saw the riots, demonstrators throwing stones, rubbish bins being pushed over, the police driving wildly after people in their transport vehicles. He relived the whole day.

At 15.23 he saw three plain-clothes officers chasing a man and smacking him up against the wall of the cemetery. There didn’t appear to be any demonstrations at that point. Piver stopped, spooled back and tried to find a button he could use to zoom in. He couldn’t, but there was no doubt what was happening on the small screen. The man had his hands twisted behind his back by two of the officers, while the third pressed his hand against his throat in a half stranglehold. The man’s cry for help came through clear as a bell. The officer holding the man around his throat now began hitting his upper body with his baton. At the same time, the other two had put him in handcuffs, and now they lifted him up and began to drag him off. Both had their batons out and used them several times. They were really hitting him hard – on his back, neck and head, before throwing him into one of the police vans. The man didn’t resist at any point.

Was that what they were afraid of? Was all that talk about a murder just a smokescreen to hide the fact that they were looking for some footage that clearly showed pure, unadulterated police violence?

Whatever – it looked completely crazy. Piver was agitated.

He carried on watching on fast forward. Yesterday’s riots flowed across the screen like a surreal ballet with activists and uniformed officers in the leading roles and curious Copenhageners and the press as passive spectators. Occasionally, it went quiet, and the grey asphalt of the street lay bare like an abandoned stage. At one point, two containers were set on fire and the white light of the ames rose and disappeared at express speed. He kept an eye on the cemetery as it moved towards evening and darkness fell. He stopped the tape whenever he saw someone moving into the murk under the trees behind the yellow wall. There were uniformed police officers on patrol, plain-clothes police and individual citizens, but nothing that looked like a murder.

Until 01.33.

They came out from under the trees inside the cemetery just opposite the camera. One of them was wearing dark clothes and a cap pulled down over his head so that his face was obscured. The other was bareheaded with dark hair, but walking as if he were drunk or dizzy. The first one had an arm around him and it looked as though he was helping him along. They disappeared behind the wall exactly where the cops had been bustling about with their projectors all morning. A couple of minutes passed and the man with the cap appeared again. He stared at something that was hidden behind the wall. There was a white flash. He put something in his pocket, which Piver guessed was a camera or mobile, lifted his cap and first looked up, then to the sides before turning around and disappearing under the trees into the cemetery.

Piver’s whole body went hot. His pulse was pumping so crazily that he got earache for a moment. Could it really be true? Here it was. The evidence the cops would do anything to get hold of. There was no doubt. Now he understood why it was crucial for them.

Jesper Stein, journalist, forfatter
Jesper Stein
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Her Mother’s Grave by @Lisalregan #JosieQuinn #3 #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @bookouture ‘The novel builds and builds to one hell of an ending! 5*’

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Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan – Detective Josie Quinn #3
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago.
A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

My Review:

I have read the two previous novels in the Detective Josie Quinn series. But I am absolutely blown away by this latest edition. This novel focuses heavily on Josie who she is and what shaped the woman she is today. Her childhood makes for horrifying reading, it is the stuff of nightmares. The discovery of human remains at a local trailer park has a direct link to Josie’s past. It will come to shake the very foundations of her being.

In the opening scenes we are reunited with Harris Quinn (6 months old). He is the child born to Josie’s ex-husband and mistress Misty. Josie has found herself almost as best friend and support system for Misty and knowing their troubled history, it is quite touching to see.

Josie is also dealing with personal harassment, a series of craigslist adverts, have her the butt of a serious of malicious and bizarre phone calls.
Is this a prank? Or something much more sinister?

Josie as Chief of Denton police attend the crime scene at Moss Green trailer park. A place she knows all to well from her own horrific childhood. Dr Feist is at the scene with the skeletal remains. He estimates the remains to be 16-19yrs of age and notes they are wearing 1980s attire. He also notes an unusual finding of hyperdontia (supernumerary teeth). Who is this girl? Can the police force track her down?

The present-day narrative has alternate chapters with Josie’s own childhood. We become aware her mother frequently abuses alcohol and drugs. She is vicious in her treatment of Josie and Josie’s only one place of sanctuary is her Gram’s house.

When the human remains are identified as Belinda Rose. This throws up more questions than answers. For that is the name and date of birth Josie’s estranged mother has been using, all of Josie’s life.
So, who killed Belinda Rose? And why did Josie’s mother steal her identity?

The novel is fast-paced and intense. The chapters regarding Josie’s own childhood are raw and painful. The present-day mystery becomes more and more complex with every turn of the page. The novel builds and builds to one hell of an ending! 5*

LR
Lisa Regan
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @LittleBrownUK ‘The Good Son is eerie, dark and creepy’

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The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
My own copy
Synopsis:

YOU WAKE UP COVERED IN BLOOD
THERE’S A BODY DOWNSTAIRS
YOUR MOTHER’S BODY

YOU DIDN’T DO IT. DID YOU?
HOW COULD YOU, YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN THE GOOD SON

When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself.

Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.

The Good Son is inspired by a true story.

My Review:

The Good Son is a creepy and engaging read. It slowly draws you in to the plot and you HAVE to know more. The central character Yu-Jin is brilliantly written. I cannot wait to read the authors other novels when they are translated into English.

The novel opens with Yu-Jin aka the good son. He is 25yrs old, a model student and athlete. He is also off his meds. . .
He awakens one morning early due to a phone call. But upon awaking quickly notices he is covered in blood. He follows the trail of bloody footprints and find his mother with her throat cut.

He immediately calls the police but realises the situation and what will be interpreted from it. At times his memory is fragmented, and he is struggling to remember what has occurred. This is when we begin to learn more and more about Yu-Jin and what kind of man he really is.

‘After all, being true to life wasn’t the only way to tell a story’

Yu-Jin had recently gotten into law school. He is educated and intelligent but suffers from some form of mental health condition. He has had a troubled childhood and his father and brother’s whereabouts is unknown. He describes his mother as both protective and controlling, yet he maintains an emotional bond. Yu-Jin is a fascinating character, because he is an unreliable narrator of the story. Also because we the reader desperately seek the truth.
Who killed Yu-Jin’s mother? Can Yu-Jin identify the killer?

The Good Son is eerie, dark and creepy.
It’s perfect for fans of the horror/psychological genre. 4*

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost by @joel_hames #NoOneWillHear – Who Is Sam Williams? Character profile #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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No One Will Hear by Joel Hames
Synopsis:

Four murders
Four messages
One chance to catch a killer.

Renowned human rights lawyer Elizabeth Maurier lies dead, her body mutilated, her killer unknown. For DI Olivia Martins and her team, it’s a mystery. For the victim’s daughter Lizzy, a poet and academic with a shaky grasp on reality, it’s a tragedy. But for Sam Williams, the man Elizabeth fired a decade ago and hasn’t spoken to since, it’s a whole new world of pain.

Elizabeth’s death has stirred a sleeping past back to life. Former clients are darkening Sam’s door, old enemies returning, ancient cases reopening. It doesn’t help that DI Martins is on his case, the press are dogging his every step, and his girlfriend’s behaviour is increasingly erratic.

But Elizabeth’s murder is just the start. As Sam reluctantly digs his way back into the past, more truths will crumble into lies.

More certainties will shade to doubt.

And more innocent people will die.

Guest Post:

WHO IS SAM WILLIAMS?

Hello and thank you for hosting me today. I’d like to take a moment to introduce Sam Williams, the narrator of No One Will Hear and its central character.

Sam is a lawyer. Years ago he worked as a human rights lawyer at a top law firm fighting big, newsworthy cases with a senior partner, Elizabeth Maurier, who made a habit of rocking the establishment. Sam was a rising star. But things went sour. He won a case, saw a potential killer go free, and found it difficult to live with the consequences. He quit before he got himself fired. He set up his own firm and scrabbled around for clients. The clients he wanted were political prisoners, whistleblowers and victims of state brutality. The clients he got were street dealers, gangsters and liars.
A good lawyer, and a good man. With a bad rep.

Sam’s latest series of misadventures begins with Dead North, published back in March, in which Sam was summoned to Manchester by an old friend to try to get some sense out of a murder suspect. He got the guy talking, but it didn’t end well – where Sam’s involved, it rarely does. In No One Will Hear, things take a turn for the worse. Elizabeth Maurier, his old boss, has been murdered, and Sam is drawn reluctantly into his past, re-examining cases he thought dead and buried, meeting clients he hoped he’d never see again.

Although No One Will Hear is just the second book in this new trilogy, there’s plenty of back story for Sam fans to delve into. The Art of Staying Dead introduces Sam a few months before the events of Dead North, with his career at his lowest point, and throws him head first into a prison riot and a political conspiracy. Then there are the novellas, Victims and Caged, both dealing with his time at Mauriers, the friends, the enemies, the mistakes and the close shaves.

As a lawyer, Sam has his good points: his strength is getting under the skin of a case, questioning the apparently obvious, finding the one line that will open a reluctant informant’s mouth or frighten a suspect enough to start telling the truth. As a man, he makes plenty of mistakes: his focus rarely wavers from the job in hand, so it’s all too easy for him to miss the obvious happening right under his nose. And when he gets it wrong, people often wind up dead. Usually people he doesn’t know. Sometimes, people close to him.

No One Will Hear puts Sam to the test as never before. What looks like a thankless and unimportant task is a matter of life and death. What looks like a relationship in a rut hides something deadly. The powerful are merely floundering in their own weakness. People who come as friends can be enemies. And those who come as enemies can be friends. It’s up to Sam to figure all of this out before more innocent people die.

I hope I’ve given you enough to whet your appetite, and thanks again.

JH
Joel Hames
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