Anne Bonny #BookReview & #Extract Halfway by @bevjoneswriting 4* #Psychological #SerialKiller #Thriller #WinterReads

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Halfway by B.E. Jones
Review Copy
Synopsis:

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.

But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .

My Review:

The prologue opens on 22nd December 2017, we are aware of an armed and frightened female. Then the novel cuts away to the present moment, of a hitchhiker stranded in a snowy isolated Welsh scene…

‘There will be noise and fury. There will be damage. There will be casualties’

The novel spans around various characters and their current circumstances. Which includes the local law enforcement. We become aware there is a crime scene at a farmhouse and the majority of the police have dispatched there. Leaving PC Lisa Lloyd (6 months out of probation) and soon to be retired Jim Price.

There are little snippets of information cleverly woven into the plot. Such as, we know the hitchhiker is making their way home and to a farmhouse. We also get the scene of an old man caring for his son Brian and bed bound wife Rose. The three main perspectives are from the old man, local cops and the hitchhiker, who has now been picked up by a district nurse.

As the plot develops, I never felt I could trust any of the individual characters. But when all the characters collide at a closed pub The Star, nicknamed Halfway… ALL will be revealed!!!! This title is a psychological thriller, perfect for the winter months! 4*

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B.E. Jones
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halfway

Extract:

Excerpt 1 – Prologue

When she sees the hatchet in his hand she knows it’s going to happen, right here, right now. It’s been coming for hours, longer probably, since before the storm howling and keening around the eaves began its slow creep across the countryside, before the car was abandoned at the side of the snowbound road.
This moment was waiting even before she raised her hand and knocked on the door of this godforsaken place, squatting below its slipping slates and bowing brickwork, beneath the low iron sky, under the weight of winter.
So here they are.
She’s glad now that she’d had the foresight to arm herself, downstairs, when the unpleasant ticking started in her chest, when she’d finally realized the answers to the questions plaguing her since her arrival: Who are these people? And why are they lying?
She’d been sure that something was very wrong for hours. She just hadn’t been able to gather the quiet nudges in the back of her brain into a single, clearly defined thought until now, now it’s punching itself to the fore, bullying her into the realization she’d have been safer out in the storm.
But it’s too late to leave, now that there are only three of them left alive, assembled under the twinkly Christmas star: a hitchhiker, a nurse, a landlord, , everyone, everything, bending itself into this moment, before the weight of what has been and what is to come. How could she have imagined for even one moment that she was the only one with anything to hide?
She knows it’s her own fault for allowing herself to be caught off guard, first back on the road and then over and over again until she stepped into this room. It happened so easily because this is the sort of place that’s supposed to be safe and steady, a quiet, nothing-ever-happens-kind of village where people look out for each other, still leave their doors unlocked and never, ever try to kill you.
Trouble is, you should never read only the surface signs and signals of anywhere or anyone, she knows that. There’s a lesson here, never assume you’re the biggest, baddest thing in the woods unless you’re prepared to prove it.
So this is it.
That bloody balding donkey understands, his red and white trimmed Santa leaning at a jaunty angle as he gives her that look again, as if he’s thinking what she’s thinking, knows what she knows – not all of them will leave this room alive. He may be happy to wait passively for the outcome but she isn’t, so she readies herself, plants her feet firmly apart on the floorboards, aware of every inch of her body, every twitch of muscle fibre and sinew, careful not to show that her hands are waiting and ready to move.
The ticking in her chest tells her it’s too late to stop the countdown, there’s no way back, the explosion is overdue. There will be noise and fury. There will be damage. There will be casualties.
So here they go!

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#Review Degrees Of Darkness by @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook #CrimeFiction

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Degrees Of Darkness by Tony J Forder
Synopsis:
A gripping serial killer thriller

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank unravel the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

My review:

Author Tony J Forder has previously appeared on my blog for a guest post spot, and I knew his novels were very dark in theme! But just how dark, was quite terrifying!
The novel has some dark and disturbing characters, which makes this an exceptional serial killer thriller!

The novel opens as Janet Rogers checks on her children Gary (8yrs) and Laura (12yrs) before bed! Within three hours the family will be dead, and Laura abducted into the cold dark night!
The depiction of the abduction sets the pace/tone of this novel. If you can’t hack that, then don’t read any further……….

“I am the dark, Laura”

Frank Rogers is an ex-MET detective, turned debt collector. He separated from his wife Janet a year ago. A marriage broken by Frank’s dedication to his career. When DCI Nicky Loizou, best mate and upstanding copper, arrives at Frank’s workplace. Frank knows this must mean bad news! Nicky offers Frank access to evidence and official findings. So that Frank may work the case incognito.

It soon becomes clear the murders/abduction, aren’t a single crime but the work of a serial offender. The killer has destroyed seven families previously and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon! He won’t stop, until the police catch him!

“What I don’t understand right now is why he takes them. What does he want with them?” – Frank

Franks appears emotionless and I put this down to him being in shock and having the experience of a seasoned detective. Frank knows how these cases play out, he can predict the next move of the police. He is desperate to have his daughter back to safety. But he is also aware, hasty actions lead to mistakes!
Frank is a difficult character to debate. Did I warm to him, no. but did I think he was fascinating and intelligent, yes.
Frank’s experience and knowledge of killers, plays a significant role in making this plot work. Listening to Frank’s thoughts summarising the case, is haunting and yet compelling!
Frank knows that as you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares right back at you!

“Sometimes you had to bend the rules. Perhaps soon would come the time to break them”

One thing is for certain, the killer that lurks amongst the pages of this novel is a monster in a human guise.
There are chapters written from the killers thoughts and they make your skin crawl; terrifying and disturbing, yet I must read on………..

As the bodies begin to pile up. The detectives become aware, they are facing one of the sickest killers in their entire careers. Then the killer (using an alias of Oscar) calls in and begins to taunt Frank of his daughter’s dire situation.
Can Frank catch a killer? Or will Frank become a monster too?

Read, Degrees Of Darkness and decide for yourself…………

TJF
Tony J Forder
Author links:
Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/
Twitter: @TonyJForder