Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost ~ The Truth Is Out There #LyingAndDying by @GrahamBrack #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #JosefSlonsky @SapereBooks

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Lying And Dying by Graham Brack
Synopsis:

What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road.

There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

The brilliant, but lazy, Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case.

With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?

Anyone could be lying – and others may be in danger of dying…

Guest Post:

The truth is out there

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:38).

I suppose that any writer of fiction who is not expressly in the world of fantasy has faced Pilate’s question. What is truth? And, whatever it is, does it matter to me?

As a crime novelist, my stories have to be set in a recognisable world; not necessarily one that we currently inhabit, or there would be no historical crime fiction, but one that we either experience or that makes sense to us from our knowledge of the history. But does it need to be true, in the sense of possessing factual accuracy?

Now, before I started crime writing, I would undoubtedly have argued that it must. If Great Britain and Northern Ireland had an Olympic pedantry team I would be a strong contender.

To make the characters fill out, I have to research their biographies so far as I can, but there are undoubtedly gaps, and the author may need to fill them. The most I can do – but also the least I can do – is to ensure that my inventions do not contradict known history.

By the time I wrote the first Mercurius story (my historical crime series, coming soon from Sapere Books!) I already had three Slonský books under my belt, and I confess that I had not thought in any systematic way what the truth amounted to in those tales set in 21st century Prague. They are works of fiction, after all; why do they need to be “true”?

Yet, I think, if they could be easily shown to be factually incorrect it would detract from the stories. I can, and have, taken a few liberties. The Czech police retirement process is, I believe, substantially accurate but if anyone can find a way round it, it would be Slonský, a man who dreads retirement as a vampire fears garlic. The rank system is byzantine; Slonský is described as “Lieutenant”, but there are actually three grades of lieutenant, podporučík, poručík and nadporučík.
I will not weary you with the other fourteen ranks.

While the police headquarters in Prague are where I place them, the internal layout may be very different. I do my research like anyone else, perhaps more diligently than some, but I do not think my readers will hold it against me if a door opens outwards when I have said it opens inwards.

This must always be so. To take one example, the opening scene of Lying and Dying (which is set in 2006) takes place on a small piece of land near a Metro station. When I viewed and photographed it, in 2006, it was as I describe it. There is now a small building on the site. That, of course, has nothing to do with “the truth” in 2006, but as late as 2015 you could have viewed it and recognised it from my description, and now you cannot.

However, where I must keep to the truth is in the biographies of my characters. I keep a database of them, noting the facts of their life (Slonský was born on 11th November 1947, for example) of which some will never appear in the stories. I know his parents’ names, to give one example, but I have never needed to use them. I also note their foibles and characteristics.

Slonský’s sidekick, Navrátil, enjoys long-distance running but is too unco-ordinated to give his girlfriend much of a tennis match. Major Klinger, head of the fraud squad, employs a complicated system of coloured highlighter pens to mark up his notes, so that – for those, like Navrátil, who have troubled to learn it – the text has a meta-text superimposed upon it.

I have no doubt that somewhere in the books there will be solecisms. I comfort myself with the thought that many better authors than me have had those too. I hope they don’t spoil your enjoyment of my stories.

One final thought. Slonský is not autobiographical. I do not know any single person on whom Slonský is based. That is just as well, because having the fictional Slonský causing havoc in my neatly ordered brain can be tough enough.

He is, simply, a good man. In nearly forty years of policing he has done some things which may have been legal, but they were not just, and he is determined to redress that before he bows out. He knows how dirty his hands are, and he assumes that almost everyone of his vintage is the same. That is why he has difficulty in according some people the respect that they think their position merits. He does not know that Burns said “Rank is but the guinea’s stamp”, but he would wholeheartedly approve the sentiment. In Slonský’s eyes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and he is determined to train Navrátil the same way. I hope he succeeds.

But don’t take my word for it. Read Lying and Dying and decide for yourself.

GB for Sapere
Graham Brack
Website
Twitter

Author Bio:

Graham Brack hails from Sunderland and met his wife Gillian in Aberdeen where they were both studying pharmacy. After their degrees Gillian returned to Cornwall and Graham followed. This is now called stalking but in 1978 it was termed “romantic”. They have two children, Andrew and Hannah, and two grandchildren, Miranda and Sophie.

Graham’s foray into crime writing began in 2010 when he entered the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition and was highly commended for The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves (reissued as Lying and Dying), in which the world was introduced to Lt Josef Slonský of the Czech police. The Book of Slaughter and Forgetting (reissued as Slaughter and Forgetting) followed and Sapere Books have published book three, Death On Duty.

In 2014 and 2016 Graham was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger again. The earlier novel, The Allegory of Art and Science, is set in 17th century Delft and features the philosophy lecturer and reluctant detective Master Mercurius.
Sapere Books will publish it as Death in Delft in 2018.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Ragdoll by @Daniel_P_Cole #CrimeFiction #Series @TrapezeBooks ‘A twisted killer, a detective on the edge’

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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
My own copy
Synopsis:

ONE BODY. SIX VICTIMS. NO SUSPECTS.

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes & Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My Review:

I actually own a signed copy of Ragdoll and it had sat on my TBR pile for far too long. This was a novel that had been recommended to me by Sarah Hardy over at By The Letter book Reviews. SO, I knew it would be a dark, edgy thriller.

The novel opens in May 2010, where Samantha Boyd is serving as a jury member on a lengthy trial. The trial of ‘The Cremation Killer’. Naguib Khalid stands accused of murdering 27 victims, mostly teenage sex workers. The victims were set alight (hence the media label name). Detective William Fawkes aka Wolf was the investigating Detective. When he hears the not guilty verdict he bursts into an uncontrollable rage and attacks Khalid.

YES, that is just the prologue!!!!!!!! So, I knew this was going be one hell of a dark and action-packed read!

Four years later, June 2014 Wolf receives a 4am call from Simmons from a crime scene at a flat in Kentish Town. Six body parts – no blood – amputated with a hacksaw – removed post mortem. From SIX DIFFFERENT VICTIMS!
Where are the murder victims remaining bodies? Does London have a serial killer running loose? Or are the limbs from corpses in mortuary’s?

This is a violent and graphic scene, which is described within the pages. If you’re squeamish, this is probably not the book for you.
That being said I was a HUGE fan of the move Seven and this novel constantly reminded me of it.
No wimps here!

Upon seeing the scene, Wolf instantly asks blames Khalid and asks someone to put in a call to Belmarsh prison to check his current status, as of that exact moment.
The body parts are pointing directly into Wolf’s apartment – This is personal!

‘The rest of the world continued on as normal: people killing people, rapists and thieves running free’

We then discover why Khalid is at Belmarsh prison despite receiving a not guilty verdict. It would appear that justice isn’t always infallible.

There are twists and turns galore and with each new limb being identified. We uncover more and more about the twisted killer’s motive.
A twisted killer, a detective on the edge. 4.5*

*I already own the next in the series Hangman on my kindle and look forward to getting back into the series*

DC
Daniel Cole
Twitter

#Review Dark House by @helenphifer1 @bookouture #DILucyHarwin #CrimeFiction #Series #MooreAsylum

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Dark House by Helen Phifer
synopsis:

A shadowy figure in the dark was dragging something heavy behind them. Lizzy pulled the covers over her head, then realised what was being dragged…

For years, the Moore Asylum housed the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But now, a man is found brutally murdered in the derelict building, strapped to a steel trolley, launching a terrifying investigation for Detective Lucy Harwin.

Lucy quickly discovers the victim was once a Moore Asylum doctor, and when a woman also linked to the home is found murdered on her doorstep, Lucy knows she must dig into its history. What dark secrets lie within the asylum’s walls – what was the scandal leading to its closure thirty years ago?

With her own demons to fight, Lucy starts to uncover the heartbreaking tale of the Moore Asylum children, and begins to wonder: who will be the next victim?

My review:

Detective Lucy Harwin #1
A new series by an author whose novels I have previously enjoyed!
I was quite easily #Sold!
I realised the second the series, Dying Breath was due for release and decided to catch up with the first in the series beforehand!
So hold fire, my review for Dying breath, will be following shortly!

The synopsis details the location of Brooklyn Bay and more importantly the crumbling Moore Asylum! Once a home for mentally ill children, the asylum is now a decaying mess left to rot. Much like its patients of 30 years ago. But what was the scandal that finally closed the asylum?

The prologue opens back in September 1975, there are several chapters from this era which slowly unravel the brutality rolled out within the asylum’s walls.
The prologue tells us about Alice (15yrs) and Lizzy (9yrs), their budding friendship and what they witness happen to little Tommy with his ‘treatment’.
Make sure you hug and kiss your children, before you tuck in to read!

The Moore asylum ‘treated’ a wide range of children’s needs. From those who are mentally ill, to those who would nowadays, live with their families in a much more accepting society. I myself, am the mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy. Who has exhausted main stream education settings. I was well aware, as I turned the pages, had he been born within a different era. Life wouldn’t have been so beautiful for him.
The mistreatment and abuse of children in settings, originally designed to protect and nurture them, is mainstream news. It is still happening to this very day!
But back in the 1970s, with fewer safeguards, abuse was rife!

DI Lucy Harwin is called to the derelict asylum, with reports of a dead body at the scene. Lucy, her partner Mattie and pathologist Dr Catherine Maxwell discover that the body appears to have sustained, a death inducing injury, similar to that of a lobotomy!
But who would want to lobotomise an old man? Why choose this location? And who is the victim?

Lucy’s personal life unravels throughout the novel and she makes for a likeable character and protagonist. Lucy is a career copper and has at times put duty before her family. Ultimately paying the toughest price in the breakdown of her marriage. Her teenage daughter now blames her and is rebelling beyond Lucy’s reach.
Lucy has it far from easy………

The case advances at an easy pace, allowing the reader to fully absorb all the details. The past of the asylum is explored and there are chapters from the killer’s perspective. I was gripped on the chapters from September 1975. I was desperate to learn more about the asylum and its former patients/inmates.

When another dead body is discovered, and the victim also has links to the asylum. The coppers know, the answers lie in the past.
How many more lives must be destroyed at the Moore asylum?

This novel is a police procedural, mixed with a creepy asylum backstory. The characters are interwoven perfectly!

HP
Helen Phifer
Authors links:
Website: https://www.helenphifer.com/
Twitter: @helenphifer1

#Review – Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer @MeyerDeon #SouthAfricanNoir 5* Genius

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Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer

Synopsis:

Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.

My review:

I have been aware of this author for quite some time, after stumbling across his books when looking for crime fiction based in other countries. I had never read anything based in South Africa and so this immediately peaked my interest. I downloaded the sample via kindle and was gripped, so much so, I decided to buy the paperback, as I gathered this would be a series I would eventually want to collect!

The novel opens in Cape Town, it is broken into four parts all named after characters central to the plot Christine, Benny, Thobela and Carla. This is so much more than a police procedural, mystery or whodunit. It is a master piece of writing, with the plot never once letting up! The main theme being the impact these characters will have on each other’s lives.

Thobela is a former freedom fighter, seeking a life of peace on his farm. When his young son Pakamile is violently killed at a routine trip to the gas station. The pain and aftermath of this event, leads Thobela on a dangerous journey of revenge…..

Benny Griessel is a policeman, father, husband and most paramount a drunkard! He has wasted his life via his love for alcohol and blocking out the voices of previous cases. When his wife offers a stark ultimatum, he has 6 months to free himself from the clutches of alcohol, or she will leave with their kids. Can he do it? Can he turn his back on his only love…….alcohol?

The paragraphs written from Christine’s point of view are exceptionally powerful. Christine is a single mother and prostitute, who has spent life drifting from bad experience to bad experience. Her life story follows in a series of confessions to a minister. It details her early life and childhood, which actually made me feel quite tearful.

When the bodies of criminals, who have evaded justice, begin to turn up stabbed with an assegai spear. It is clear someone is sending a message to those whom harm children. With a sober Benny on the case can he find the killer? Does anyone within the serious and violent crimes unit really want to stop the killer? The theme of a vigilante style killer, who murders those who commit murder or sexual based crimes against children, added a whole Dexter spin to this novel. I must admit, I completely understood the killers motivations and intentions. Who will defend the children? Who will deliver justice for them?

“If children can’t depend on the justice system, to whom can they turn?”

Benny starts to see the errors of his ways and the impact of his alcoholism and thus forms a redemption theme for him. Benny needs to solve this case for his conscience, sanity and personal forgiveness! It is when Benny first meets Christine that we see this case will strike right at the heart of everything Benny holds dear!

Devil’s peak is the first a series and as I finish this review, I shall be logging into Amazon to purchase the second! An amazing opening to a series, highly recommend 5* Genius!
*Actually logged on and bought #2 and #3 in the series!

DM
Deon Meyer
Authors links:
Web: http://www.deonmeyer.com/
Twitter: @MeyerDeon