Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Where No Shadows Fall by @PRitchieAuthor 5* #NewRelease #Scotland #CrimeFiction #GraceMacallan @bwpublishing #WhereNoShadowsFall

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Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Expose the truth or let the dead lie still?
Grace Macallan’s life is on an even keel – at last. But a 9-to-5 career away from the frontline isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So when she’s sent to investigate a suicide at Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie prison, Grace gladly escapes her desk. The dead inmate is Tommy McMartin, heir to a ferocious criminal family. His murder conviction saw Tommy’s fall from power; cast out not for violence but because the victim was his gay lover.

The investigation drags Grace into contact with her McMartin adversaries of old. But the gangland dynasty is under threat and, as it topples, secrets once dead and buried are unearthed.

As she unravels Tommy McMartin’s fate, Grace senses someone watching her from the shadows, someone who aches for revenge. An awful dilemma faces her: to expose the truth or let the dead lie still.

My Review:

I absolutely LOVE the Grace Macallan series. It is modern, gritty and always a rollercoaster of a read. The crimes are always incredibly dark and the characterisation intense. The author often provides a backstory to various characters major and minor. They offer an insight into what drives or motivates each character, whether it be cop or criminal.

‘The evidence might be gone but some crimes can never be completely washed away’

The prologue provides the perfect introduction to the authors dark and edgy style of writing. We immediately jump straight into the lives of those who pursue crime and mayhem as their trade.
Firstly we are introduced to Tommy McMartin and his position in the notorious criminal family in Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, for Tommy the life of crime is brought to an abrupt halt, when he is arrested on a murder charge. With all the evidence pointing to Tommy having committed the murder and Tommy having no memory.
He quickly finds himself locked up, as a lifer!

‘He’d walked into the trap like as amateur and forgotten every lesson he’d ever learned’

For Danny Goldstein (Tommy’s barrister) it will be the case that will haunt him long into retirement.
If Tommy is innocent, why can’t he prove it?
With the guilty verdict, Tommy’s sexuality is quickly exposed. His family maybe a crime family, but they are devout Catholics when it comes to sexuality.
They also abandon Tommy, throwing him to the prison wolves…

When Tommy can finally take the prison abuse anymore and feeling little hope for his future, given his current state of health. He resides himself to his fate, of taking his life literally in his own hands.

‘Tommy McMartin went still; no one could hurt him anymore’

Peter Ritchie set the pace, characters and scene incredibly well, by page 60 “I am hooked into the storyline”.

Grace takes Tommy’s case, due to various factors, this is not the run of the mill suicide. Whilst reporter Jacqui Bell is brought back into the series, as the reporter following up on stories of suicides in jail. Previous character Bobo McCartney also brings some very welcome comical relief to the gritty storyline.

If Tommy McMartin was innocent, then who murdered his lover? And set him up?
5*

PR
Peter Ritchie
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Shores Of Death by @PeterRi13759572 Peter Ritchie #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #GraceMacallan #Series @bwpublishing ‘An absolutely EPIC read!’

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Shores Of Death by Peter Ritchie – Grace Macallan #3
Review copy
Synopsis:

Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point. She’s unsure of her future, of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. Events are threatening to run out of control, and this new investigation will test her to the limit.

An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare.

As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking and abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At their head is Handyside, a brutal gangland boss who’s fought hard and dirty to control his territory. But there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on one another in a desperate race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.

Grace must pit her wits against Handyside, knowing he’ll stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. She knows, too, that one wrong move could end in tragedy.

My Review:

The Grace Macallan series had really grown on me, the characterisation in this novel and Evidence Of Death is brilliant. The ‘baddie’ characters are described brilliantly, very reminiscent of Stuart MacBride who also does this to an outstanding degree.
This particular case deals with themes of trafficking and modern-day slavery. Whilst also giving us, the reader, a real insight into the organised crime gangs that run such criminal enterprises. But the one thing these gangs have underestimated is the sheer driving force that is, Grace Macallan.

The novel opens with a heavily pregnant Grace taking down prolific career criminal Tony Capaldi; real name Hugh Elvis Mcnally. He is a known con man with the gift of the gab and is quickly ceased by Grace and her team.
Before Grace decides it is time for maternity leave.

Meanwhile, a trafficking network is in operation between the various gangs of Scotland and Newcastle. The novel details how the criminals manipulate not only their victims, but others into joining their network. Three petty criminals are tasked with disposing of four female sex slaves. When something goes wrong and one of the women Ingrid escapes into the freezing sea. The harsh reality of the life of modern day sex slaves is laid bare. They are simply to be exposed of when their owners tire of them. The three petty criminals aboard the ship, know this error within their task will land them in big bother with their boss Pete Handyside. They all fear being on the wrong side of their boss!

Pete Handyside and his right-hand man Maxi Turner call a meeting with various leaders of the criminal gangs. We are reunited with Eddie & Pat Fleming of the Edinburgh gang. We also meet Bobby ‘crazy horse’ McMaron and his sister Brenda ‘the bitch’ of the Glasgow gang. They are aware of DCI Jimmy McGovern’s police operation; that searched the boat once docked in hopes to locate drugs. Pete is convinced they have a snitch in their midst!
Which won’t bode well for someone.

When Rob ‘Dixie’ Deans undercover cop, does missing. Police Scotland become aware that his fate may mean death. With various clues leading here, there and everywhere. The police need solid evidence and links they can work with. They need Grace.

After the birth of her son Adam and enjoying family life with her partner Jack Fraser. Police work is the furthest thing from Grace’s mind. It is at this point that Grace begins to have serious doubts about if she will even return to be a police officer.

At Chief Superintendent John O’Connor’s request, Grace does return to work. But she makes it fundamentally clear, this maybe her last case. As O’Connor hands Grace the case files, I must admit I had a huge buzz of excitement. With the theme from 1990s TV show cops going through my mind.
Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do? What ya gonna do when they come for you?

Ingrid Richter’s body is discovered on a beach. She has a story to tell and it is one that will shock everyone whom hears it.
‘You keep thinking you’ve heard it all and the next case proves you wrong’ – McGovern

Ingrid relays her story to specialist cop Fitzgerald.
‘Fitzgerald did the job, but she would remember her time with Ingrid Richter for the rest of her life!’

Betrayal, back-stabbing and merciless killers of the organised crime world, this novel has it all. The gritty organised crime of Martina Cole mixed with the characterisation of Stuart MacBride. An absolutely EPIC read! 5*

PR
Peter Ritchie
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My review of, Cause Of Death – Grace Macallan #1
My review of, Evidence Of Death – Grace Macallan #2

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

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Evidence Of Death by Peter Ritchie
Synopsis:

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*

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Peter Ritchie
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*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Cause Of Death by Peter Ritchie
Synopsis:

DCI Grace Macallan’s career has hit a serious roadblock. When a covert police operation in Northern Ireland goes badly wrong, she’s faced with a painful decision – lie to save a young officer’s career or tell the truth and ruin her own reputation. For Grace, there can be only one answer.

Reassigned to the newly formed Lothian & Borders Major Crime Team, Grace Macallan is forced to rebuild her career and her reputation. But when a brutal attack on a prostitute turns into a series of murders, the Major Crime Team is under serious pressure. The tabloid headlines are lurid and the team badly needs a result.

With a new life to build in a new city, a new boss as smooth as an 18-year-old malt and a very high profile lawyer as the chief suspect, Grace soon begins to wonder if telling the truth is always the right thing to do.

My review:

This is a cracking new series that has an incredibly complex debut! DCI Grace Macallan is the protagonist, a woman with a background that reaches all the way to the troubles of Northern Ireland. The novel starts out detailing both her recent move to the new major crime team in Scotland and her past in NI. So it is difficult to keep up with all the characters and the location/time frame shifting mid-chapter.
But it is very well done by the author.

We learn that Macallan’s time in NI was far from rosy and she was deployed in an operation that went badly wrong. It resulted in a death and the finger of suspicion pointed firmly at a police officer. I don’t want to go into too much detail on the NI conflict described in the novel. As the author has done a fantastic job himself.
But it is does detail all side of the conflict and that there truly were ‘no clean hands’.

“That was what she hated most – the deceit practised on all sides of the conflict and at every level from politicians down”.

We go on to learn more about Macallan and her background and how the conflict and resulting consequences of her actions in NI haunts her. Having witness deaths and lost the love of her life. She is a broken woman, seeking a new life, in a new unit, a fresh start. She is desperate to be liked and respected by the team. It isn’t long until her hard work, intelligence and detective skills show and she is a solid member of the team.
She is partnered with DS Harkins, a renowned drinker but good copper!

It isn’t long until the team have their first case when a local ex-military thug, puts together a team to rob Chinese restaurants owners. However, knowing the suspect is guilty as sin and proving it are two different things all together! The team have to act quick to outwit the team and gather evidence. I felt this was a fantastic portrayal of how the police actually work!
With my bestie being a Met detective, it was reminiscent of cases she has told me about.

Prostitute Pauline Johnson is a working girl with a smack habit. Her whole life had been on track for success until at just 16yrs old. She was preyed upon by a man who got her into the drug/prostitution lifestyle. When she is stacked and left for dead, the team are made aware of the case. Pauline is in a very bad way, she faces a future of life-ling disfigurement and possible brain damage. O’Connor, Macallan’s boss references a pattern of cases against other young working girls across parts of the country.
Is this a pattern? Who is attacking these women? Will is escalate to murder?

There are some eerie chapters from the killers, point of view. They do not give away whom he is. But detail his thoughts and intentions. They are not for the faint hearted!

Macallan and Harkins bond over drinks at a local bar. She tells his about NI and he in turn shares war stories from his policing days. When a second body is found Prostitute Helen Stevenson, the team is called in! Only this victim is dead and it is a murder scene. The murder carries similarities between this and the attack on Pauline. Someone is targeting the working girls with violently savage beatings!

Macallan decides to visit the first victim Pauline in the ICU and see if she can gather any evidence. Communicating solely through blinks and for yes/no. Macallan manages to gather some information. But is it enough to solve the case?
Then the killer pays Pauline a visit in the hospital…….

The media swarm the case and the bodies begin to start piling up! The team think they have the perfect suspect. But he isn’t just any suspect he is slick anti-police advocate Jonathan Barclay QC.

The relationships between the coppers intensifies and it makes for a great plot! The character of Macallan develops throughout the novel. I think she is a cracking new protagonist in the crime fiction series! Mixing Macallan’s past and present displays a depth usually seen in an experienced writer! Making this one hell of a debut!
This novel will take you right into the depths of the killers hatred. 4*  

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Peter Ritchie
Authors links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2952671.Peter_Ritchie
via Publisher: http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/authors/r/peter-ritchie.html