Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Tattoo Thief by @AlisonBelsham #CrimeFiction #Suspense @TrapezeBooks

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Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham
Synopsis:

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

Extract:

I peel away the blood-soaked T-shirt from the unconscious man’s back to reveal a spectacular tattoo. The photocopy I take from my pocket is crumpled but it’s good enough for me to check against the image on his skin. Thankfully, there’s just enough light from the street lamp to see that the two designs look the same. A round Polynesian tattoo in heavy black ink adorns the man’s left shoulder, an intricate tribal face scowling from its centre. Spreading out from the edges is a pair of stylised wings, one extending down the man’s shoulder blade, the other extending across the left side of his chest. All of it is speckled with blood.

The images match. I have the right man.

There’s still a pulse in his neck, but it’s faint enough to reassure me that he won’t cause any problems. It’s essential to do the job while his body’s still warm. If the corpse cools, the skin stiffens and the flesh becomes rigid. That makes the job harder and I can’t afford mistakes. Of course, flaying the skin off a living body means so much more blood. But I don’t mind blood.

My backpack is lying nearby, discarded as I pulled him into the bushes. It was easy enough – the small park was deserted at this hour. It only took one blow to the back of his head and he crumpled at the knees. No noise. No commotion. No witnesses. I knew this was the route he’d take when he left the nightclub because I’d watched him take it before. People are so stupid. He suspected nothing, even as I walked towards him with a wrench in my fist. Seconds later, his blood was spreading across the ground from a wound at the temple. The first step executed most satisfactorily.

Once he was down, I hooked my hands underneath his armpits and dragged him as quickly as I could across the stone paving. I wanted the cover of the shrubs so we wouldn’t be seen. He’s heavy but I’m strong, and I was able to pull him through a gap between two laurel bushes.

The exertion has left me breathless. I hold out my hands, palms down. I see the ghost of a tremor. Clench fists, then open again. Both hands flutter like moths, just as my heart flutters against my ribs. I curse under my breath. A steady right hand is essential to carry out my assignment. The solution’s in a side pocket of my backpack. A packet of tablets, a small bottle of water. Propranolol – the snooker player’s beta-blocker of choice. I swallow two and close my eyes, waiting for them to take effect. At the next check, the tremor is gone. Now I’m ready to begin.

Taking a deep breath, I reach into the bag and feel for my knife roll. Satisfaction floods through me as my fingers touch the soft leather, the steel outlined beneath. I sharpened the blades with great care last night. Intuition, you might say, that today would be the day.

I drop the roll onto the man’s back and untie the cords. The leather unfurls with a soft clink of metal, the blades cold beneath my fingertips. I select the short-handled knife that I’ll use for the first cuts, marking the outline of the skin to be removed. After that, for the flaying itself, I’ll use a longer, backward-curving knife. I buy them from Japan and they cost a small fortune. But it’s worth it.

They’re fashioned using the same techniques employed for Samurai swords. Tempered steel enables me to cut with speed and precision, as if I’m carving shapes out of butter.

I put the rest of the knives on the ground next to his body and check his pulse again. Fainter than before but he’s still alive. Blood seeps from his head, more slowly now. Time for a quick, deep test cut into his left thigh. There’s no flinch or intake of breath. Just a steady oozing of dark, slippery blood. Good. I can’t afford for him to move while I’m cutting.

The moment has arrived. With one hand holding the skin taut, I make the first incision. I draw the blade swiftly down from the top of his shoulder across the jutting angles of his scapula, following the outline of the design. A red ribbon appears in the wake of my blade, warm as it runs down onto my fingers. I hold my breath as the knife carves its path, savouring the shiver that rolls up my spine and the hot rush of blood to my groin.

The man will be dead by the time I finish.

He isn’t the first. And he won’t be the last.

AB
Alison Belsham
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***Sorry my post is a day later than scheduled***

Anne Bonny #BookReview Ragdoll by @Daniel_P_Cole #CrimeFiction #Series @TrapezeBooks ‘A twisted killer, a detective on the edge’

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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
My own copy
Synopsis:

ONE BODY. SIX VICTIMS. NO SUSPECTS.

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes & Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My Review:

I actually own a signed copy of Ragdoll and it had sat on my TBR pile for far too long. This was a novel that had been recommended to me by Sarah Hardy over at By The Letter book Reviews. SO, I knew it would be a dark, edgy thriller.

The novel opens in May 2010, where Samantha Boyd is serving as a jury member on a lengthy trial. The trial of ‘The Cremation Killer’. Naguib Khalid stands accused of murdering 27 victims, mostly teenage sex workers. The victims were set alight (hence the media label name). Detective William Fawkes aka Wolf was the investigating Detective. When he hears the not guilty verdict he bursts into an uncontrollable rage and attacks Khalid.

YES, that is just the prologue!!!!!!!! So, I knew this was going be one hell of a dark and action-packed read!

Four years later, June 2014 Wolf receives a 4am call from Simmons from a crime scene at a flat in Kentish Town. Six body parts – no blood – amputated with a hacksaw – removed post mortem. From SIX DIFFFERENT VICTIMS!
Where are the murder victims remaining bodies? Does London have a serial killer running loose? Or are the limbs from corpses in mortuary’s?

This is a violent and graphic scene, which is described within the pages. If you’re squeamish, this is probably not the book for you.
That being said I was a HUGE fan of the move Seven and this novel constantly reminded me of it.
No wimps here!

Upon seeing the scene, Wolf instantly asks blames Khalid and asks someone to put in a call to Belmarsh prison to check his current status, as of that exact moment.
The body parts are pointing directly into Wolf’s apartment – This is personal!

‘The rest of the world continued on as normal: people killing people, rapists and thieves running free’

We then discover why Khalid is at Belmarsh prison despite receiving a not guilty verdict. It would appear that justice isn’t always infallible.

There are twists and turns galore and with each new limb being identified. We uncover more and more about the twisted killer’s motive.
A twisted killer, a detective on the edge. 4.5*

*I already own the next in the series Hangman on my kindle and look forward to getting back into the series*

DC
Daniel Cole
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The After Wife by @C_HunterAuthor #NewRelease @TrapezeBooks #TheAfterWife

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The After Wife by Cass Hunter
Synopsis:

When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.

She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.
Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.

But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death.

A gift called iRachel.

Extract:

The Lab
‘One step closer,’ Rachel commanded.
Luke sighed and moved nearer. He was now standing directly
across the desk.
Rachel paused as she made a small adjustment. ‘Okay. Ready.’
‘What do you want me to do?’
‘Make eye contact, for a start.’
Luke raised his head. His eyes were deep blue and fringed with
thick, dark lashes. ‘Eye contact established. What now?’
‘I need you to be feeling a powerful emotion. Something
recognisable. So, think of something that you feel strongly about.
Don’t say what it is.’
Luke’s gaze flicked to Rachel’s and then away again. She saw
him draw a deep breath and then narrow his eyes in concentration.
He stared, with electric intensity. Rachel observed him
closely. He seemed to have forgotten to breathe. She saw his eyes
are. His pupils widened visibly, and she heard a change in his
breathing. His hands tightened into fists.
‘What do you see?’ she said.
The voice beside her was low and quiet. ‘Pupil dilation, respiration
shortened and more rapid, up to twenty breaths per
minute, heart rate increased by—’
‘Luke’s wristband is picking up his vital statistics and I can
read them on my screen,’ Rachel said impatiently. ‘Tell me what
he’s feeling. What do you sense?’

2
There was a long silence before the figure at Rachel’s side spoke
again. ‘He is focused. Not agitated, but concentrating very hard.’
‘Good,’ said Rachel. ‘Keep going.’
‘He is frowning. His temperature is steady, and I see no signs
of anger. I don’t believe I have made him angry.’
‘Not yet,’ said Luke.
‘He said “not yet” as if it were a warning, but I detect a smile.
Was that a joke?’
‘As close to a joke as you’ll ever get from Luke,’ said Rachel.
‘Is this going to take long?’ said Luke.
‘I think I have it!’ The voice was excited. ‘He is impatient because
we are taking up his time.’
‘Impatient,’ said Rachel. ‘Was that it, Luke? Was that the emotion
you were expressing?’
Luke laughed and visibly relaxed. ‘I would have said irritated.
But, yeah, impatient is close enough. Can we stop now?’
‘Don’t be a spoilsport,’ said Rachel. ‘It’s going so well. Just a
few minutes more . . .’ She checked her watch. ‘Oh no! It’s so
late. I must get away on time today – it’s our anniversary. Eighteen
years. Can you believe it?’
‘I can,’ said Luke drily.
‘Aidan’s booked us in for dinner at the Old Saxon. I was so
thrilled when he told me. You can’t get a table there for love or
money. He must have organised it months ago.’ Her smile was
wide with excitement.
‘Sounds like fun,’ said Luke. ‘Happy anniversary.’
‘Thanks.’
Rachel stood up from her chair and stretched. The last rays
of sunlight slanted in through the windows, dappling the teetering
stacks of paper on her chaotic desk. She moved over to the
window and looked out at the smooth lawns which surrounded
the laboratory building. It had been a beautiful spring day and it

3
promised to be a lovely evening. She imagined holding Aidan’s
hand across the restaurant table, sipping a cool glass of wine. She
would put work out of her mind for once and relax. Yes, there
was a tiny glitch she’d spotted in the experiment, and she’d have
liked the time to run the sequence one more time and solve it,
but not now. Now was the time to switch off .
She looked over to Luke’s side of the lab. He had crossed to
one of his workbenches and was recording some data on a clipboard
in his small, meticulous handwriting. She made fun of him
for writing things out by hand before he entered the information
into his computer, but he was insistent.
‘I like to form things manually,’ he’d say when challenged. ‘If
it doesn’t exist physically, it isn’t real to me.’
She laughed at that – she could make mountains move and galaxies
whirl with the keystrokes of her computer and that was as
real as any column of handwritten figures. But Luke was adamant.
‘I think with my hands,’ he’d repeat insistently. And he did. She had
never worked with such a fi ne mechanical engineer. If she could
conceive of something, Luke could build it. His obsessive attention
to detail equalled her own, and his creativity was boundless.
When she’d joined Telos she’d imagined she would be working
in a large team. But the organisation’s policy was to pair scientists
with complementary skills. They held excruciating meet-and greet
induction events to matchmake researchers.
Luke, who had joined at the same time as Rachel, had refused
to participate in the speed-dating event. He’d sat alone at a table,
working on his laptop, not talking to anyone. Passing behind him
on her way to get coffee, Rachel had glimpsed a 3D diagram of a
human hand. He was trying to model the motion of a finger and
thumb pinching together. But there was an error somewhere and
the movement had a judder which he couldn’t seem to remove.
Rachel could sense his frustration, but his squared shoulders and…….

CH
Cass Hunter
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview My Little Eye by @crimethrillgirl Stephanie Marland 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease 99p Ebook @TrapezeBooks I spy with. . . my little eye. . . my next victim. . .

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My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland
Synopsis:

Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?

A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.

As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in to their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.

As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.

My Review:

This novel has a unique concept on the cat and mouse theme within a detective novel and it works instantly from the opening pages. I love the combination of modern social media and a crime thriller. My Little Eye will have huge appeal to those whom love a modern serial killer thriller.

The novel opens with a brutal scene of a young woman and her killer. The killer has set the scene with low-lighting, red wine and music. This lulls his victims into a false sense of security and adds to his fantasy of ‘wooing’ his victims.
I knew this was going to be dark and scary!

‘Kate Adams had a secret, and secrets are often the things that get people killed’

The two central characters on the hunt for the killer carry their own baggage and personal demons. Clementine and Dom are both determined and driven towards justice, as they attempt to follow the clues and put ‘The Lover’ in jail.
But who will catch the killer first?

Clementine is a university PHD student. Her doctorial study intends to prove that crowd-sourced crime solving would never be achievable. But it isn’t long before she becomes immersed in the online group Crime Stop. The online group is a form of specialised social networking for fans of true-crime. Clementine must navigate the members and provide live updates as the case unfolds. But can she trust the other members? How does she know whom lurks behind the screens?

‘True-crime fans never sleep’

Dom is the MET police officer in-charge of the case. There are already two previous victims, with Kate the third in a series of bizarre and ritualistic murders. The police have no obvious clues to go from, and are hounded by the press at every turn.
Dom is also battling a case from his past.
One that has landed him facing an IPCC investigation.

The online group consists of multiple members, who believe the police are either corrupt or incompetent. Their ‘leader’ Death Stalker sets individual tasks and insists on each member reporting back information or finding themselves kicked out the group. Clementine is faced with the pressures of the groups demands and that also of her professor. I began to suspect Clementine had her own secrets, the more I read on. . .

‘Hiding behind my own careful lies. Trying to understand those of others’

The crime scene is fully described, and this adds an element of realism. It is a dark and savage murder, with creepy love tokens left behind. The various police officers surrounding the case, are held back within the novel. As we learn more about Dom’s past with operation Atlantis. An undercover mission that was tainted before it ever began. I was unsure if I could trust Dom, is he one of the corrupt officers the group speak of?

‘Like a poisonous snake, he requires careful handling’

The novel has alternating chapters between Dom, Clementine and the killer’s perspective. You become aware that the killer is stalking a new victim and my head was full of the possibilities. Who is the killer stalking?

‘Make tough choices or you won’t survive’ – Clementine

Clementine is a constantly evolving character. I loved her background and emotional vulnerability. I felt it added depth to the plot. I was surprised to find her seeking more and more approval from the group. I began to wonder, is Clementine studying the group or are they studying her? The dynamics of the group and their agenda, is a whole novel within itself. I loved the desperate search for the true and their willingness to break new boundaries.

‘Could this group of true crime fans solve a live murder case?’

Perfect for crime fiction fans and fans of novels with a social media aspect!

SM
Stephanie Marland
Website
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