Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Review Evidence Of Death by Peter Ritchie 5* @PeterRi13759572 #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @bwpublishing

Evidence of Death BLOG TOUR copy

Evidence Of Death by Peter Ritchie

Billy Nelson is back home in battle-scarred Belfast. But the Troubles have cut this ex-Army Loyalist hard man deep – and now that his city’s allegiances have shifted, nothing is quite the same.

An outbreak of gang violence forces Billy to move on. This time to Edinburgh, where he muscles in on the capital’s drug trade and the family who run it.
As the balance of power tips, underworld rivalries between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast spill out onto the streets.

With a spate of horrific incidents and a trail of victims, the pressure is mounting for Grace Macallan, new superintendent of the Crime & Counter Terrorism Directorate. Troubled by her own demons and with everyone baying for the blood of Billy Nelson and his old paramilitary contacts, can Grace hold her nerve?

My review:

I had previously read and enjoyed the fist in the Grace Macallan series, Cause Of Death. I was really looking forward to seeing where the author took the series next.
I was not disappointed, at all!

The novel opens with Patrick ‘Bobo’ MaCartney attempting to rob a security van. Bobo is an aggressive gangster in his late teens, described by his own mother as a ‘born accident’. His father is an alcoholic and Bobo has been left to his own devices for far too long! A wannabe crime detective, gone rogue, he isn’t bright enough to spot a secret informant amongst his crew.

DI Jimmy McGovern and Superintendent Grace Macallan of the Lothian borders police force, take Bobo down. However, he isn’t the only wannabe gangster in their midst……..

‘For every professional villain we have to sweep up, there’s twenty numpties in-between’

The novel re-caps on characters from the previous novel, including Grace’s ex-lover Jack Fraser. Although the novel is part of a series, the author brings new readers up to speed. Grace works brilliantly as a protagonist. She is strong willed, intelligent and a career copper. I think she is developing perfectly and each novel we will see her go from strength to strength.

Meanwhile, in Belfast Billy Nelson has returned from his tours of duty overseas. With Billy being discharged from the Para’s, Belfast has an angry and reckless man on its streets. But what Billy doesn’t know; is that whilst he was away on tour Ireland has gone through some significant political changes. With the old violent leaders of Belfast’s past now choosing organised crime or political careers. Billy is in for a shock!

Billy is quickly reunited with old friends and local youths Andy Clark, Dougie Fisher and Rob McLean. They spend their time drinking and causing mayhem on Belfast’s street corners. But it is when they venture towards the gay quarter, that their hatred and bottled-up anger is unleashed. After pulling off a series of violent and unprovoked homophobic and racist attacks. Billy and his gang must answer to notorious criminal Jackie Martin and he is not a happy man……..

Jackie Martin is an ex-UVF leader turned pimp and drug kingpin. He is furious with the boy’s violent behaviour, knowing it brings the police closer to his door. He orders the boys to leave Ireland or face what comes. Billy is unshaken by Jackie’s threats and almost seems to gloat, with Jackie impressed with his fearless approach he offers him a way out.

The gang will head to Edinburgh; where they’ll form and front up a Scottish branch of Jackie’s criminal empire. Billy leaves Northern Ireland still full of rage towards homosexuals and Muslims. But also, silently swearing vengeance against Jackie Martin. This novel is packed with gang warfare, criminal mentality and violence.
The streets of Edinburgh won’t know what hit it.

The boys set up their operation in Wester Hailes, an area of Scotland with high levels of immigration and low job prospects. But it is in Scotland, that we become better acquainted with the other members of the gang. The boys spend their days familiarising themselves with the local drug dealers and criminal fraternity.
Just waiting for the right moment to strike out and take over!

‘These men are skilled in terror tactics, police methods and, most importantly, they will use levels of violence that our criminals here are not prepared for. They’ve been moulded by conflict’ – Grace

The criminals and gang members are all expertly described. They each have unique names and personalities, which contributes to their level in the criminal hierarchy. Weakness is exploited and used against them. Junkies are seen as worthless souls. Overall life is cheap, where criminal endeavours flourish.

The novel is written in almost two parts. On one hand we have the story of Billy and his bunch of violent thugs. On the other hand, we have the story of the police officers, faced with taking them down. The novel builds and builds, as the criminals try to out-do each other using various violent tactics. Whilst the police must gather intelligence and surveillance, to move too quickly would create a disproportionate response and the media would relish an opportunity to apply further pressure.

The back cover of the novel states that the author is a former senior police officer. It really shows in the clever and detailed writing. I can’t wait to see where he takes the series next in, Shores OF Death.
I can’t wait to be back with Grace Macallan later in the year. 5*

Peter Ritchie

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***
Evidence of Death BLOG TOUR copy

My #Review of, Blood Tide by Claire McGowan @inkstainsclaire @headlinepg by @annebonnybook #CrimeFiction

I received this novel via the Bookbridgr website, in return for an honest review.
Blood Tide by Claire McGowan
Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s acclaimed series. If you enjoyed Sharon Bolton’s LITTLE BLACK LIES or Elly Griffiths’ THE WOMAN IN BLUE, you will love this new novel from the author of THE SILENT DEAD and A SAVAGE HUNGER.

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

My review:

Set on the remote Bone Island, this crime fiction novel has an atmospheric location. The author has done a fantastic job, of portraying an island, cut off from the mainland, in the winter months due to the tides/storms. The feeling of isolation grows from the onset. The added scenery of the Lighthouse on the cliff edge, makes you feel as though you walk amongst the island, as the case unfolds.

The prologue opens in 1993 with a scene from Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland. We quickly become aware this is a glimpse into protagonist Paula Maguire’s, mother’s life, before she disappeared for good!
The troubles of Northern Ireland are cleverly intertwined into the backstory of Paula. As a protagonist she is incredibly strong! A forensic psychologist, mother to Maggie and daughter to PJ. The disappearance of her mother, weighs heavily upon her shoulders and we the reader, urge her to solve the case and bring herself some closure.

The police team, arrive on Bone Island to investigate the disappearance of a professional young couple. The couple are GP Dr Fiona Watts and her partner Matthew Andrews. The moved to the island 3/4 months previously when Matt took up a post with Envriacorp. Matt is an ecologist and his work involves research on the activity of the Island’s puffins. Kate worked three mornings a week, as the Island’s only doctor.
There are no real clues to their disappearance. Their home, a lighthouse was found, locked from the inside and the light smashed. The locals believe that they simply must have fallen into the ocean or somehow ended up in the stormy seas, they continue to push that opinion into the investigation. Offering little or no help to the police team.

“Idle hands are the devil’s playground” Irish proverb

Bone Island or Eilean Ban, means white Island. It has a population of just 276 and is just three miles long. The locals appear hostile and defensive. It is only when Paula digs a little deeper, she uncovers some of the Islanders secrets. In the recent months before the couple’s disappearance. There has been a murder and an attempted child killing! But what links these events? Who can Paula trust?

There is a wealth of characters, at times it makes it tricky to keep up with. Especially when it jumps between narratives and era’s. I usually write notes, for my reviews and I found this helped me keep track of the individual characters and where they fit into the story. But they are all extremely well written and each bring a different element to the case or Paula’s back story.

There are themes of whistle-blowing, Northern Ireland’s troubles and secrets from the past. That all add up to make this an intriguing crime thriller.
Perfect for fans of coastal crime fiction or crime fiction located on the bleak Channel Islands.

The sea is full of blood

Claire McGowan
Claire McGowan
Twitter: @inkstainsclaire