Anne Bonny #BookReview The Silent Patient by @AlexMichaelides 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #TheSilentPatient @orionbooks @orion_crime

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Review Copy
Synopsis:

ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

My Review:

“Alicia Brenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband”

Alicia Brenson has already faced justice for the seemingly random murder of her husband. She has remained in psychiatric settings and has never spoken a word since the murder 6yrs ago. But why does the woman who has it all, murder the man she professes to love?

“I wanted to fix her” – Theo Faber
Enter psychologist Theo Faber, who transfers from Broadmoor with the sole intentions of freeing Alicia from this world of silence. He begins his therapies with little and no response. Theo is facing a backlash from the staff at The Grove, as they disapprove of his methods. But nevertheless, he persists, in his endeavour of helping Alicia. Why does Theo see Alicia as in some form a victim?

The seven-year itch, never seemed so sinister…

Eventually, Theo has some success in discovering a diary, written by Alicia. But what he discovers will shatter his enter world
“No crazy thought allowed”

The novel has a brilliant ending and is a stark reminder, there is always two sides to every story. I actually found the writing style very reminiscent of Sarah Pinborough and was left thinking ‘how do you even write like that?’. A HUGE 5* from me.

AM
Alex Michaelides
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*Apologies for missing my blog tour date*
The Silent Patient Blog Tour Part 2

Anne Bonny #BookReview A Gift For Dying by @mjarlidge 4* #NewRelease #Thriller #AGiftForDying #ICanSeeDeath

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A Gift For Dying by M.J. Arlidge
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

My Review:

‘We’ve got I live one here’
Adam Brandt is an on-call forensic psychologist at the Cook County jail in Chicago, which put him in contact with various professionals and criminals alike.

This will be where he comes to meet Kassandra ‘Kassie’ Wojeck. When she is brought in, after a public altercation with federal prosecutor Jacob James. Kassie is 15yrs old and with a rap sheet a hardened criminal would be proud of. Kassie’s relationship with her mother Natalia is virtually non-existent due to Kassie’s criminal activity.

The bringing together of Adam, Kassie and Jacob would usually not remain of any significance. That is until… Jacob is missing and Detective Gabrielle Grey’s brought in to investigate, everything just got 100% more complicated.
Detective Grey is convinced the disappearance is a gang related crime, due to gangbanger activity in the local vicinity and Jacob’s chosen profession.
But is it really that open and shut?

‘Nobody becomes a detective in Chicago for an easy life’ 

When Patrolman Dwayne Reid, pulls over local gangbangers and finds Jacob’s mutilated corpse inside the book. The case appears solved!
But Kassie has something to share…
‘I can see death’

Kassie has a special vision, which she desperately tries to explain to Adam. Whilst at the same time, she is unaware she is seriously incriminating herself!!!
As Kassie’s past and Adam’s personal life are further exploded as the two grow closer. Adam is still unsure, if he can trust this tearaway teen. That is until Kassie makes a SHOCKING admission, one that had me gasping at the pages and shouting “they have to make this into a film!!!!” (Page 186 – reference).

When another body is found and can be tracked back to Kassie. She will have to work hard to convince Adam she is telling the truth. But is she? Does Kassie have genuine visions? Or are they a ruse?

Kassie really drew me into the story. She is young, friendless and lonely. She has a strained relationship with her mother and her father is dead. She finds little comfort/support in life and this made me warm to her character. But at the same time, I didn’t trust her and could fully understand Adam’s predicament.

A Gift For Dying is a gripping and tense story, surrounding the Chicago Butcher.
Can Kassie prevent the killer adding more lives to his tally? or are her visions due to her own fragile mental health?
You’ll be racing across the pages to discover the truth. 4*

MJA
M.J. Arlidge
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Freefall by @jessbarryauthor @vintagebooks @HarvillSecker #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller

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Freefall by Jessica Barry
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Surviving the plane crash is only the beginning for Allison.

The life that she’s built for herself – her perfect fiancé, their world of luxury – has disappeared in the blink of an eye. Now she must run, not only to escape the dark secrets in her past, but to outwit the man who is stalking her every move.

On the other side of the country, Allison’s mother is desperate for news of her daughter, who is missing, presumed dead. Maggie refuses to accept that she could have lost her only child and sets out to discover the truth.

Mother and daughter must fight – for survival and to find their way through a dark web of lies and back to one another, before it’s too late…

My Review:

Freefall had me hooked from the start and I absolutely loved the writing style. The novel centres around a plane crash and the fall out in the aftermath. Not my usual type of read but yet I fully enjoyed the story and constant twists.

‘There is no sign of another human’

Alison is on-board the aircraft and survives the crash, walking wounded. Her phone is broken and she knows, that if she is to continue to survive she must take supplies and leave the aircraft wreckage. A daunting task when she has no idea where she is and yet feels a presence of someone on her tail…

‘I know what’s coming for me’ – Alison

Maggie is alone at home, when she is informed from rookie cop Shannon Draper, of a plane crash involving her daughter. The crash has happened in the Colorado Rockies and Alison is assumed dead. Despite the two having been estranged at the time of the accident. Maggie vows to find answers.

‘The plan is stay alive’

Throughout the novel we learn of Maggie and Alison’s past and what led them to be estranged. We also learn of Alison’s whirlwind romance with new fiancé Ben Gardner. It would appear Alison had everything to live for…
‘Everyone has his price. You never know who’s been paid’ – Alison

This novel is much deeper and more complex than I originally thought. 5*

JB
Jessica Barry
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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
Twitter

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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