Anne Bonny #BookReview The Disappeared by @AliHarperWrites #CrimeFiction #DebutAuthor @KillerReads ‘A brilliant debut crime novel 4*’

cover
The Disappeared by Ali Harper
Review Copy
Synopsis:

YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME…

A twisty, compelling, characterful crime thriller from a major new talent.

NOT TO BE MISSED!

A distraught mother…
When Susan Wilkins walks into No Stone Unturned, Leeds’s newest private detective agency, owners Lee and Jo are thrilled. Their first client is the kind of person they always hoped to help—a kind woman desperately worried about her son, Jack.

A missing son…
The case seems simple—kid starts college, takes up with the wrong crowd, forgets to ring his mother. But very quickly, Lee and Jo suspect they’re not being told the whole truth.

A case which could prove deadly…
Their office is ransacked, everyone who knows Jack refuses to talk to them and they feel like they’re being followed…it’s clear Lee and Jo have stumbled into something bigger, and far more dangerous, than they ever expected. Will they find Jack, or will their first case silence them both for good?

My Review:

The Disappeared is a gritty northern crime fiction novel. There are feminist themes running throughout and as a female reader, this only made me love it more. When Susan Wilkin’s appears at the No Stone Unturned private detective agency; she isn’t expecting to be met by two female detectives Lee and Jo.
At first the case seems an obvious ‘boy goes off to Uni and goes missing for days on a bender’ type of case. Except it isn’t it is much deeper layered than that.

‘Had I known our first client would be dead less than twenty-six hours after signing the contract, I might not have been so thrilled when she pushed open our office door’ – Lee Winters

The two investigate and what they discover shocks them to the core. Jack hasn’t been missing for several days but 3 months. He isn’t a Uni student but a heroin addict living in a rancid squat. This is not quite the image Mrs Wilkin’s his mother put forward…

‘We fit the pictures to the story we want to hear. And I wanted to see was a middle-aged, middle-class woman desperately seeking her son’ – Lee Winters

When Jack’s real life is exposed, the pair are left to wonder if Susan really is, who she says she is and if not, who on earth is she?

When their office gets trashed and the case goes much darker. The two become more determined to get to the bottom of Jack’s disappearance. They find his local mates and on/off lover who offer clues and information. But where will it lead?

A brilliant debut crime novel 4*

AH
Ali Harper
Twitter
Website

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series @KillerReads #DCIMatildaDarke #Sheffield

cover
The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness.

He knows your darkest secrets.
He’ll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

And he is closer than you think.
DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of the DCI Matilda Darke series and it appears to be going from strength to strength. This particular novel covers the theme of a vigilante killer of the loose, dishing out lethal justice across Sheffield.

The novel opens with Brain Appleby attending an online date with single mum and central character Adele Kean. Adele is the series pathologist, only what she doesn’t know is, Brian has secrets and is not the man he claims to be. . .
‘He genuinely liked this woman; how could he tell her so many lies?’

When Matilda is summoned to a crime scene of a figure hanging with a pillowcase over his face. She is baffled, is this suicide or murder? It then comes to light that the victim is a registered sex offender. Having served 8yrs in Ashfield prison for a series of sexual assaults on young girls. He had moved to Sheffield from Essex, without informing any of the regulating bodies.
I found this part of the novel quite fascinating, as it has recently been reported in the main stream media, that multiple REGISTERED sex offenders have become ‘lost’ in the system solely designed to regulate their activities and behaviour.

Assistant Chief Constable Valerie Masterton remains as always unpredictable. One moment she is on Matilda’s back and hounding her with updates and the media interest. The next she is supportive of Matilda and offers her much leeway.
But I love this dynamic of a formidable Detective and the boss that must reel her in every once and a while.

The victim was ostracised from his local community, his wife left him; and his family disowned him. But the police become aware his son is studying locally and begin to question if he had any involvement in his father’s demise.

Then another sex offender is murdered, and the case looks as though there may be a serial killer stalking the city. . .

‘This was an intelligent killer who would stop at nothing to make his chosen victim pay for their crimes’

Matilda is still dealing with her grief over her husband James death and her perceived failure in the Carl Meagan case. Then the killer begins to taunt her with details of Carl’s case. Is The killer targeting Matilda? Or are Carl’s distraught family using the opportunity to further make Matilda suffer?
The plot thickens, as they say. . .

This is a gripping and awesome crime fiction series. I would urge readers to start at the beginning if you are new to the series. As not only is each novel brilliant. But you will pick up on all the details surrounding Matilda’s past.
Last words of my notes read……. THAT ENDING!!!! THAT LAST PAGE!!!!!! 5*

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
banner

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract A Cold Flame by @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Rome #DetectiveRossi #Series @KillerReads #AColdFlame

177095-FC50
A Cold Flame by Aidan Conway
Review to follow
Synopsis:

Play with fire and you get burned…

A gripping crime thriller, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.

Five men burnt alive.

In the crippling heat of August in Rome, a flat goes up in flames, the doors sealed from the outside. Five illegal immigrants are trapped and burnt alive – their charred bodies barely distinguishable amidst the debris.

One man cut into pieces.

When Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara begin to investigate, a terror organisation shakes the city to its foundations. Then a priest is found murdered and mutilated post-mortem – his injuries almost satanic in their ferocity.

One city on the edge of ruin.

Rome is hurtling towards disaster. A horrifying pattern of violence is beginning to emerge, with a ruthless killer overseeing its design. But can Rossi and Carrara stop him before all those in his path are reduced to ashes?

Extract:

One
The few flowers left in the chipped vase had withered to dry brown stalks in the searing August
sun.
“You’re still sure this falls within our brief?” said Carrara as they stared at the cold,
charred remains of the ground floor flat. All the bodies had now been removed but their
presence lingered.
“It’s another fire, isn’t it?” said Rossi. “Probably arson. Why not?”
It was not the first fire in the city to bear the hallmarks of foul play, but it was the first
fatal one since they had been moved off their normal duties.
They were standing in the welcome shade of the elevated section of the tangenziale
flyover, on a side street off the busy, grimy Via Prenestina. It was hot, cripplingly hot. Thin
rivulets of sweat were meandering down Rossi’s neck despite the shade.
“Even if there’s a file on this one already?” said Carrara. “A file that’s as good as closed.”
Rossi shook his head and continued to gaze into the blackened ruins.
“It’s August. You can get away with murder in August. Who was on it again?”
Carrara leafed through the case notes.
“No one I know. A guy called Lallana. Had a racial homicide’s brief. Seconded to us in
June and then transferred out again, at his own request, now buzzing all over the place with
Europol. I got hold of him by phone but he wasn’t keen on talking. Says it’s all in the reports
and he’s got nothing more to add.”
“Giving you the brush-off?”
Carrara shrugged.
“He had it down as a hate crime – seems the victims were all foreigners – but not a single,
solid lead. No witnesses, just the one guy who survived it.”

“A survivor?” said Rossi.
“Was. Dead now. Had 60 per cent burns. Should have been long gone but somehow hung
on for nearly a week.”
“And all while I was on holiday,” said Rossi.
“You can’t be everywhere, Mick,” said Carrara glancing up from the notes. “I mean a
break was merited, after Marini.”
Rossi’s thoughts turned then to the events of the previous winter but as his shoes crunched
on the ash and scorched timbers he was still struggling to comprehend the present horror.
Shooting, strangling, stabbing – that was one thing – but burning to death. They must have
been locked inside when the fire started. Some might have woken but had been unable to get
to a door or a window, the security grilles put there ostensibly to keep them safe from intruders
thus consigning them to their fates.
“But why wasn’t anyone able to get out?” said Rossi. “Because they locked their room
doors every night?”
“Correct,” said Carrara. “Normal practice in bedsits, but no keys for the security grilles
were found, not even after a fingertip search.”
“What about the front door?” said Rossi. “Couldn’t they have got out with their own keys?
They all had one, right?”
Carrara took out a blown-up scene-of-crime photo.
“The lock. Tampered with, the barrel and mechanism all mangled up. Some debris was
found inside. It could have been someone forcing it – an attempted break-in – or it could have
been sabotage. The occupants might have been able to open it from the inside to escape, if they
had managed to reach the door, but the bolts were still in place. Nobody could get in until the
fire guys arrived and then it was too late.”
“And their forensics?” said Rossi.

“Well,” said Carrara, “significant traces of ethanol – one version of the facts is that there
was a moonshine vodka operation – and they did find the remains of a timer switch next to the
burnt-out fridge. Lallana maintained it could have been foul play, or just as easily some home
brew electrical set-up that shorted. He didn’t exactly go all out for the former theory. In the
absence of a clear motive and witnesses the coroner delivered an open verdict. Have a look for
yourself.”
Carrara handed Rossi the relevant report.
“Open?” said Rossi noting now with near contempt the irony. “Someone locked those
poor bastards inside.”
“Like I said, no keys for the window bars were found but no one lived long enough to tell
any tale.”
Among the scorched masonry and fallen timbers, one of the grilles lay across the small
desert of debris, like the ribcage of a once living and breathing being strewn across a bleak
savannah.
“Any names?” said Rossi.
“Just the one,” said Carrara. “The tough nut. Ivan Yovoshenko. He was found in the
communal bathroom and had dog tags from his conscription days. But for them he would have
been a zero like the rest. It seems he had at least tried to get out, got severely burnt in the
process and maybe finally sought refuge in the bathroom. He could have struck his head and
collapsed. Judging from the amount of alcohol they found in his bloodstream, he had to have
been blind drunk and wouldn’t have realized just how hot the flames were. It was enough for
him to survive as long as he did.”
“And nothing on the others?”
“Nothing,” said Carrara.

“Well, they can forget checking dental records,” said Rossi. “These guys could probably
just about afford toothpaste.”
Carrara pulled out another sheet for Rossi.
“Presumed missing persons in Rome and Lazio for the last six months, but no matches
with this address. The word on the street is that they were five single men, probably illegals,
but anymore than that …”
“Sounds familiar,” said Rossi. “But no friends, no workmates?”
Carrara gestured to the desiccated blooms and a brown, dog-eared farewell note or two.
“Paid their respects then made themselves scarce, I suppose,” said Carrara. “If it’s a racial
hate killing they were probably thinking ‘who’s next’?”
“But a landlord?” said Rossi, sensing an opening. “Tell me we have an owner’s name.”
But Carrara was already quashing that hope with another printout from the case folder.
“Flat sold to a consortium two months ago as part of a portfolio of properties, a sort of
going concern with cash-in-hand rents through an established ‘agent’ who hasn’t been seen
since the fire.”
“That’s convenient,” quipped Rossi.
“Says here they always sent an office bod to pick up the cash in a nearby bar and the go
between got his room cheap as well as his cut. No contracts. No paper trail. No nothing.”
“And no name for the agent?”
“Mohammed. Maybe.”
“That narrows it down. And the bar? Anyone there remember him’?”
“Nada.”
“A description?”
“North African. About fifty.”

“Great,” said Rossi. “Well, it looks like the late Ivan’s our only man, doesn’t it? Let’s see
what the hospital can give us.”
“And then a trip to the morgue?”
“You know, Gigi, I was almost beginning to miss going there.”

AC
Aidan Conway
Website
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Blog Tour - cold flame 3

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Perfect Dead by @JackieMBaldwin1 #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #DIFrankFarrell #Series @KillerReads Sometimes perfection is worth killing for. . .

cover1
Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin – DI Frank Farrell #2
Synopsis

Sometimes perfection is worth killing for…

The second gripping crime novel in an exciting new series. Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell finds himself on the trail of a vicious killer in rural Scotland. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective’, a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

Extract:

7th January 2013

DI Frank Farrell glanced across at Mhairi as the police car slid and bumped its way along an icy farm track towards a small stonewashed cottage. It was 10.10 a.m. and the sky was bright with a pale wintery sun. A young police officer who worked out of Kirkcudbright stood in front of the blue and white tape and walked towards them as they parked alongside the SOCO van.

Farrell exited the car with a feeling of dread in his stomach. In his time as a practising Catholic priest, suicides, in particular, always had a profound effect on him. The thought that someone might be driven to die at their own hand was unfathomable.

‘SOCO nearly done in there, PC McGhie?’
‘Yes, sir, they reckon it’s fairly cut and dried. The police surgeon is in there too. Didn’t exactly have to look for a pulse. Blood and brains everywhere.’
Farrell quelled him with a look.
‘Do we know the name of the deceased yet?’
‘Monro Stevenson, according to the opened mail, sir.’

Silently, Mhairi and Farrell suited up in their protective plastic coveralls and overshoes. Even if it was suicide, care had to be taken not to contaminate the scene, just in case.
‘Right, let’s get this over with,’ said Farrell.
He opened the door and entered with Mhairi.
A middle-aged man in a tweed jacket and cords was packing away his stethoscope in a brown leather satchel in the hall. He straightened up as they approached. Farrell noticed that he had an unhealthy greyish tinge to his face and that his hands were shaking.

‘Morning, Doctor. DI Farrell and DC McLeod.’
‘Dr Allison. Cause appears to be suicide. A terrible business,’ he said. ‘A patient of mine, as it turns out. He was only twenty-seven.’
‘It must be difficult when you know the deceased,’ said Mhairi.
‘Yes, if only he had come to me. I could have got him some help. Anything to avoid this,’ he said, gesturing towards the other room.
‘Any chance you can give us an indication of the time of death?’ asked Farrell.
‘Well, as you know, my role here is restricted to pronouncing life extinct. However, given that rigor is at its peak, I would hazard a guess, strictly off the record, that he died somewhere around fifteen hours ago. However, you’ll need to wait for the preliminary findings from the pathologist for any degree of certainty.’
‘Thanks, Doctor,’ said Farrell. ‘I appreciate the heads-up.’

The doctor turned to leave. Farrell approached the two experienced Scene of Crime officers, Janet White and Phil Tait, who were gathering their stuff together at the rear of the hall.
‘Janet, what have you got for us?’
‘It looks like a suicide,’ she said. ‘Gun placed in the mouth and trigger pulled. We lifted prints from the gun. Gunshot residue on the right hand of the deceased matches that scenario.’
‘There’s a note,’ Phil said. ‘It’s in a sealed envelope. We’ll get you a copy once we’ve done the necessary checks back at the station. We’ve also removed the gun for ballistics analysis.’
‘What was it?’
‘A PPK 380 mm. We recovered the bullet from the wall behind the chair.’
‘How on earth did he get hold of one of those in this neck of the woods?’
‘Your guess is as good as mine,’ shrugged Phil.
‘A suicide note,’ said Mhairi. ‘That means it’s unlikely to be a murder?’
‘Unless he was coerced, or it was staged,’ said Farrell.

JB
Jackie Baldwin
Twitter
Website

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Banner final

Anne Bonny #BlogTour A Known Evil by Aidan Conway #GuestPost @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @KillerReads #DebutAuthor A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome. . .

cover
A Known Evil by Aidan Conway
Synopsis:

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.
A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

#GuestPost:

The Not So Dolce Vita

by Aidan Conway

 

I sat down to begin writing A Known Evil on ‘blue Monday’ in January 2014. Setting out on a totally new and uncharted adventure seemed like a perfect way to keep any incipient blues at bay on the, allegedly, most depressing day of the year.
To the best of my recollection, up until then, I had never once considered writing a crime novel. I have always been a writer, in one way or another, on and off. My bottom drawer contains ample evidence of that – first, second and third drafts of short stories which might eventually also see the light of day.
But no crime. Poetry too, with which I had achieved a reasonable amount of success. But no serial killers, no thrillers, no intrigue.
So what inspired me? Around that time, on a friend’s suggestion, I had fallen back on reading some crime novels for pure, escapist pleasure.
Which might beg the question what was I escaping from? Rome has been my home since 2001 and before that for a brief period Sicily was too. Both places are breathtakingly beautiful, dramatic, unique, but problems there are aplenty.
Tourists continue to be drawn to The Eternal City in their droves to gaze at what I too marvelled at when I first came to the place. The mind-blowing museums, the Roman Forum, the Appian Way, the cobbled side-streets and cafes, the Bougainville and Jasmine scented air, warm summer evenings and cold white wine. The chatter and street theatre, the laid-back pace of life.
But then there is the dark side. The politics. The intrigue. The corruption and violence that most visitors will never have any cause to see or experience. The world of work. The problems of bureaucracy, and nepotism, favours, bribes and blackmail.
In Sicily one evening I witnessed a bomb go off, likely the work of extortionists. It never made the papers.
In Rome, when it snowed for a day in 2013, a regional councillor bought himself a 4×4, so he could ‘get around’, and all on party funds. Paid for by the tax payer. Paid for, in part, by me.
And why, for example, does it take two or three times as long to build a motorway in Italy than it does in France? Why does it cost three times as much? Who’s pocketing the spare change?
The Italian Court of Auditors has estimated that corruption costs the Italian economy some 60 billion Euros a year. That’s a lot of coffee and free lunches. I’d say it’s a conservative estimate.

Around the time I began the book, the first big immigration problem had also landed on the national agenda. It quickly became a ragged and soiled political football – scapegoating and blame were the order of the day. Real solutions seemed a secondary consideration. It wasn’t pretty.
I even got the odd dirty look or loaded comment when I walked into a shop and my accent wasn’t quite right. Politicians were exploiting it all and often getting away with murder. The credit crunch crisis too was biting hard. People were getting angry. So much for La Dolce Vita.
Neo-fascism too had got a shot in the arm as simple-minded nostalgia and cynical opportunism drew oxygen from what was happening in Rome and in the country as a whole. The political system was perceived as sclerotic, inefficient, ineffective and the media was in thrall either to the political parties and their cronyism or the megalomaniac ambitions of a small man from Milan who shall remain nameless.
On the positive side? At least the mafia weren’t doing much. Or were they? Cosa Nostra was keeping itself pretty much to itself (but it’s always there) while the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian N’drangheta were the big kids who had burst on to the block as cocaine and gun-crime racking Naples and its suburbs spread northwards from its heartlands, following the money, following the power to Rome.
I realised I had plenty to write about. More than enough. In my work as a language consultant I had also had some access to the corridors of power, state bodies, multinationals. I got to sit down with CEOs, oil executives, undercover policemen, and maybe even some spies. You find people open up to you when you are an outsider and you are chatting one-to-one. And you’re cheaper than a psychiatrist. It can be illuminating.
And then I got my big idea. A short while after that Blue Monday, in a flash, an epiphany, I knew exactly how my book was going to end. I scribbled it all down in a flurry and knew then I had nailed it.
I just had to fill in the rest. I did. It’s been fun. I hope it is for you.

AC
Aidan Conway
Twitter
Author bio:
Aidan Conway was born in Birmingham and has been living in Italy since 2001. He has been a bookseller, a proofreader, a language consultant, as well as a freelance teacher, translator, and editor for the United Nations FAO. He is currently an assistant university lecturer in Rome, where he lives with his family. A Known Evil is his first novel.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***
Blog Tour - A Known Evil[1772] BANNER