Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview After He’s Gone by @JaneIsaacAuthor #CrimeFiction #NewRelease ‘This novel is a great start to a thoroughly modern new series. It has a diverse multitude of characters and plenty of secrets and lies, to keep you guessing’

After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac – DC Beth Chamberlain #1
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You think you know him. Until he’s dead.

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

My Review:

After He’s Gone is the debut novel in an exciting new series from author Jane Isaac. It centres around the role of DC Beth Chamberlain as family liaison officer; to murder victim Cameron Swift’s family. I loved the angle and narrative of a FLO’s role covering both support and investigation.

‘To kill an adult was gruesome enough. But a child? That was pure unadulterated evil’

The novel opens with an eerie scene of violence. We are left unsure, what it relates to and straightaway this adds to the mystery. The novel then jumps to seven days earlier and the scene of Cameron Swift’s murder. Cameron is hot in broad daylight by a killer on a bike, who tops long enough to take pictures of the victim.

Is this a professional hit? If so who wants to kill Cameron Swift?

Beth is called to the scene with ‘career copper’ DCI Lee. They find the body of Cameron and see 3 shots fired. They immediately begin to search the area for witnesses and organise the CCTV to be obtained. The novel is quite police procedural, in parts.

Cameron Swift was an asset manager, with what appears to be no enemies. His partner Monika and two sons were inside the property at the time of the shooting. Monika assists the police as much as possible. But you can fully grasp her emotional state. Monika is Polish, and her family remain in her native country. Meaning Monika is alone with young sons Oskar (12yrs) and baby Jakub (9 months). I really felt for Monika’s plight and could just imagine the sheer hopelessness of her situation and grief.

The killer posts the photos to social media. The police struggle to grasp why. Is the killer sending a message? Is this an attempt to gain attention? It isn’t too long until the caption ‘Who was #Cameronswift?’ is trending.

So, who was Cameron swift?

Beth has to navigate an intense police investigation, a grieving partner, intense media scrutiny and her police colleagues.
Also, her own personal family drama. With her sister’s ex on the police staff and her new boyfriend rumoured to be a known local criminal. Can Beth find justice for Cameron? And keep the peace at home?

This novel is a great start to a thoroughly modern new series. It has a diverse multitude of characters and plenty of secrets and lies, to keep you guessing. 4*

ji author pic
Jane Isaac

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Jane Isaac

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Puppet Show by @MWCravenUK 5* #CrimeFiction #DebutNovel #NewSeries Welcome to The Puppet Show. . .

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven #1 Washington Poe
Review copy

Welcome to the Puppet Show . . .

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see.
The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

My Review:

The Puppet Show is the first novel in a new series (I hope). It features DS Washington Poe and civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw. The duo compliment each other perfectly and it truly makes this a fantastic new series. Where Poe is brash and rugged, Tilly is socially awkward, yet intelligent and direct.
I can’t praise the creation of Poe and Tilly enough!

The novel opens with a scene of a man being set alight. It sets the tone for the nature of the crimes detailed within the novel. This is no Nancy Drew, the murders and are dark and they are brutal.
The press name the killer the ‘Immolation Man’ and the victims begin to stack up!

Washington Poe is currently residing in Cumbria, serving out a suspension, from his last case a violent torture/murder case that saw Poe lose his rag!
When DI Stephanie Flynn informs him, his name was carved into the chest of one of the victims. If he doesn’t help the team, they have to issue him an Osman warning as his life is at risk. . .

‘I need you to re-join the human race’ – Steph

The novel then goes on to detail all the victims and the savage murders that took place. It is not for the faint hearted! As said above these are violent murders. But the novel does focus more on the skills of the detectives than scenes of graphic violence.

Matilda (Tilly) Bradshaw obtained her first degree at Oxford University at just 16yrs old. Since then she has acquired a masters and two PHD’s. she specialises in computers and mathematics. She has virtually zero social skills and is routinely bullied by fellow police staff. Something Poe does not take kindly too.

Poe and Tilly attempt to fathom a connection between the victims. They are all wealthy men, of the same age and were staked and burnt in the exact same manner. Yet they struggle to establish what links these men.
Then Poe receives a postcard, with a sinister message. . .

The message leads the police to a case from the past. How this ties into the current murders they are not sure. Did someone make a mistake in a past case? Do the murders have a revenge theme? If so who is targeting Poe? And why?

This is a brilliant debut novel, with a phenomenal ending! I very much look forward to the rest of the series and I can see it having a long and prosperous life.
I applaud the author on his usage of inclusive characters. I am a huge fan of Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to watch her develop throughout the series! 5*

M.W. Craven

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Darkness by @ragnarjo Ragnar Jonasson 5* Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Iceland #Hulda #NewSeries @PenguinUKBooks The Darkness has arrived. . .

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson
Translated by Victoria Cribb
Hidden Iceland series #1
From my TBR pile

A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . .
And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

My Review:

The cover for this novel caught my eye over social media. Then I read all the awesome reviews from bloggers and decided, I had to buy it. Kate over at Bibliophile Book Club, can be very persuasive with novels she has loved. The end result, was a night of only 3hrs sleep! It is that addictive! I don’t know whether to blame Kate or the author, so I am just gonna have to roll with the mantra #SleepIsForWimps lol Either way, I absolutely loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough!
Here are my thoughts on The Darkness. . . .

The novel has a thoroughly modern synopsis, the death of a refugee and the lack of police due care and attention. It is also the introduction of the authors new protagonist Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir. Hulda’s characterisation is brilliant! She comes across almost as an Icelandic Vera Stanhope. She is brash, close to retirement and doesn’t care what others think of her. Similar, to Vera, she has a past that slowly emerges over the course of the novel. I just absolutely loved Hulda. She is easily one of my favourite female protagonists of the year, and I am extremely picky when it comes to that kind of bold statement. I love complex characters with a backstory and for me Hulda ticks all the boxes.

The novel opens with Hulda informally interviewing a suspect in a hit and run. The suspect is a mother, who may/may not have committed a crime out of love for her son and her desire to protect him. (Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #1)

There are a series of chapters that portray a mother and daughter relationship. You know the scenes are from the past due to the narrative. A mother fighting not to be separated from her young daughter. But you don’t become aware of who they are and their relevance to the story, until much later. The background plot, is incredibly moving and as a mother myself, It really pulled at my heartstrings.
(Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #2)

The novel then introduces Hulda, she is approaching retirement and life in her 60s. She fears growing old alone and I began to wonder has Hulda sacrificed everything for her career? It is when she learns that her boss Magnus, has already replaced her (months earlier than necessary) with a ‘high-achiever’. That she has just two weeks left and then her job/office will be gone!
This is a bitter pill for Hulda to swallow.

‘Accepting your age was one thing; accepting retirement quite another’ – Hulda.

The cold case she chooses, is the case of a Russian refugee Elena who washed up as Vatnsleysustrond cove. The victim was just 27yrs old, the case received no media interest and was quickly marked as suicide.
That is until now. . . .

When Hulda assesses the case file, she finds evidence of lazy, unprofessional police work. She firmly believes the original investigating officer Alexander, had zero interest in the case and Hulda has no belief in his abilities as a detective.

‘Hulda knew that, if she didn’t seize this last chance to get to the bottom of the mystery, no one else would ever bother’

Hulda makes her way to Njardvik and the asylum hostel, which was Elena’s home prior to her death. The manager Dora, views the work, not as a ‘person centred service’ but as a ‘business opportunity’. There is an overall lack of concern for Elena’s welfare both before, and after death.
Nevertheless, Hudla persists, she certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

‘That was the worst part – having no one who cared’

Hudla also approaches Elena’s immigration lawyer Albert Albertson. She learns that the day before her death, her application for asylum had been granted. So why would Elena suddenly commit suicide?
The plot thickens, as they say!

Elena’s past is explored. The isolated, lonely and dire situation refuges face, is laid bare. It makes for heart-breaking reading and it made me wonder how many real-life Elena’s exist out there all over the world? With no one who cares about their life or death?
(Ragnar Jonasson hits you in the feels #3)

Hudla’s past is also explored, it really adds depth to an already fascinating character. I am certainly not going to provide any spoilers. But Hudla is perhaps one of the most thought-out characters I have come across all year!!!!!
My best friend is a police officer, she has been for many years and she will be until she retires from working life. I firmly feel the author captured the very essence of what it is means to be a female police officer. The sacrifice, dedication and fight to survive in a male dominated occupation.

Although the novel is within the crime fiction genre. There are multiple examples of beautiful writing.
The following is one of my favourites. . . .
‘Time was like a concertina: one minute compressed, the next stretching out interminably’
This is the start of a fantastic trilogy. I cannot wait to read the next novel. 5* Genius

Highly recommended

Ragnar Jonasson
Website – All the information on the location & Ragnar Jonasson’s previous novels