May 15

Arrowood – Mick Finlay

ArrowoodLondon Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1895: London’s scared. A killer haunts the city’s streets. The poor are hungry; crime bosses are taking control; the police force stretched to breaking point.

While the rich turn to Sherlock Holmes, the celebrated private detective rarely visits the densely populated streets of South London, where the crimes are sleazier and the people are poorer.

In a dark corner of Southwark, victims turn to a man who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime: Arrowood – self-taught psychologist, occasional drunkard and private investigator.

When a man mysteriously disappears and Arrowood’s best lead is viciously stabbed before his eyes, he and his sidekick Barnett face their toughest quest yet: to capture the head of the most notorious gang in London…

 

My thanks to HQ for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

 

This was fun.

Arrowood lives and works in London as an investigator. Unfortunately for him he finds himself competing for work against Mr Sherlock Holmes – a man who Arrowood believes benefits from good reporting but is (in Arrowood’s opinion) not as great as his reputation suggests.

Struggling for money Arrowood is given a fiscal lifeline when a woman tries to engage his services to locate her missing brother. Her seemingly simple request will lead Arrowood and his companion Barnett on a trail around some of the darker sides of Victorian London and will place them in danger on more than one occasion. Through the pubs and inns Arrowood and Barnett will bribe, cajole and intimidate the staff of the finer houses and will dig deeper into the puzzle of the missing man.  But they are not the only ones looking and the stakes will be raised as a potential witness is murdered in front of their eyes.

The author does a great job of bringing Victorian London to life and the characters encountered are frequently rough and ready. Arrowood is not the most heroic of lead characters, frequently deferring the unpleasant tasks to Barnett and hiding until it is safe to emerge. But he is not adverse to breaking the law to achieve a result and this made for entertaining reading.

I don’t read many historical novels but Arrowood was pitched just right and captured the feeling of time and place that allowed the story to flow.

If you have enjoyed Sherlock Holmes stories then this tale of one of his rivals is well worth seeking out.

 

Arrowood is published in Hardback and Digital format by HQ.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arrowood-Mick-Finlay/dp/0008203180/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494885614&sr=1-1

 

 

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May 3

Time To Win – Harry Brett

Time To WinWhen local crime boss Richard Goodwin is pulled from the river by his office it looks like suicide. But as his widow Tatiana feared, Rich collected enemies like poker chips, and half of Great Yarmouth’s criminal fraternity would have had reason to kill him.

Realising how little she knows about the man she married, Tatty seeks to uncover the truth about Rich’s death and take over the reins of the family business, overseeing a waterfront casino deal Rich hoped would put Yarmouth on the map.

Out of the shadows at last, it is Tatty’s time now, and she isn’t going to let Rich’s brother, or anyone else, stand in her way. But an American has been in town asking the right people the wrong questions, more bodies turn up, along with a brutal new gang. The stakes have never been higher.

With her family to protect, and a business to run, Tatty soon learns that power comes with a price . . .

 

My thanks to Hayley at LittleBrown for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

Time To Win is set in Great Yarmouth and the town is key to the underlying story. Harry Brett clearly knows the town well as it is vividly brought to life for the reader, even down to the salty sea air and the somewhat run-down feel that seems to prevail.

I will ‘fess up from the start…the geography of England is not my strong point and I had no idea where to find Great Yarmouth on a map (though I do now). However in Time To Win I got a real feel for the place and I put this entirely down to Brett’s narrative. It felt perfect for this dark, grim story of a family grinding a living out of their hometown.

Not that these are grafters, perhaps ‘grifters’ may be more apt as we are following a family that are possibly best described as mobsters. We join the story as the head of the family breathes his last. An apparent suicide it now looks like the family ‘businesses’ will be run by his brother. However, step forward the grieving widow Titania (Tatty). She and her kids are taking control of the family interests and it will take all their guile, and a huge amount of ruthlessness, to make a successful attempt to gain power.

A slight slow burn to get us started soon gives way to an engrossing story. The early chapters are defining the characters and this allows the reader to see just how far Tatty has to rise if she is to grab the power she seeks.

Time To Win is the opening book in a series and I believe that there are at least two more to follow. This is welcome news as Harry Brett is crafting a fascinating criminal underworld for Great Yarmouth and if there are more stories to be told I shall gladly listen.
Fans of gangsters, dark deeds and lovers of noir this is a book you should be seeking out.

 

Time to Win is published by Corsair and is available in Hardback and Digital formats.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Win-Harry-Brett-ebook/dp/B01M1MNS0L/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493764369&sr=1-1&keywords=time+to+win

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May 2

The Quiet Man – James Carol

The Quiet ManIn Vancouver, the wife of a millionaire is dead following an explosion in her own home.

Everyone thinks her husband is responsible, but former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter isn’t so sure. The method is too perfect; the lack of mistakes, uncanny. He’s seen a series of carefully orchestrated murders – once a year, on exactly the same day, a woman dies in a situation just like this one.

That date is fast approaching and Winter knows another victim has been selected. Can he identify the quiet man before he strikes again?

 

My thanks to Lauren at Faber for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

There is nothing better for a reader to pick up a book and immediately become lost in the story. The Quiet Man did that for me – I absolutely loved it.

Jefferson Winter is a former FBI profiler who is called to Vancouver to assist a former cop to solve a series of murders which have taken place over a number of years.  On August 5th someone will be killed. They will be tied to a chair in their kitchen and a bomb placed in the room with them and each year the bomb is triggered in the same way (but no spoiler on that dark detail).  It is approaching August 5th again and Winter has been engaged by the spouse of one of the victims to help find the killer.

The Vancouver police have made no progress, the lead investigator has been replaced but Winter will need to prove his credentials and show he can make a valued contribution to the investigation if he is to receive any formal co-operation from the police. The political aspect of the story in that regard made for fun reading – Winter doesn’t have too much respect for the police and they are wary of his involvement. The verbal sparring was entertaining and it was fun to see Winter puzzling out the past crimes and looking for threads whilst keeping one step ahead of everyone else.

The Quiet Man is absorbing, cleverly plotted thriller. Although this is not the first outing for Jefferson Winter you don’t need to have read any of the previous books to enjoy the new adventure. The prolonged gap between each of the killer’s victims made for an interesting twist and the bombing element was nasty – great combo for readers.

I said at the start that I loved The Quiet Man – I really, really did and it gets a 5* review score. Plus I have now bought all the other books in the series – that’s almost like an extra star.

 

The Quiet Man is published by Faber on 4th May and is available in paperback and digital format. A copy can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Man-James-Carol-ebook/dp/B01MR5L174/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1493758543&sr=1-1

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April 29

Watching You – J.A. Schneider

Watching YouA serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

 

My thanks to Joyce for sending me a review copy of Watching You and for the chance to join the blog tour.

 

Last year I read Her Last Breath and was introduced to Detective Kerri Blasco. You can read my review here but to save you a click…I absolutely loved it.

Now Blasco returns in JA Schneider’s new thriller Watching You and this is another cracking read.

A young woman, working at a local homeless shelter has received a text message which she found very unsettling.  The message simply read WATCHING YOU.  As Leda walks through the city in the evening the readers get to see that she is being followed, as she walks through the narrow streets she is jumped and her assailant shoots her in the back of the head – a note is pinned to her body (driven into her flesh) which read WATCHING YOU.

The police are shocked by the clinical dispassionate manner in which Leda was killed and there does not appear to be any obvious motive for someone wanting to kill Leda, were it not for the messages it would likely have been considered a random incident.

Kerri Blasco is on the investigative team and we follow her progress as interviews of Leda’s family and friends begin. Watching You is a police procedural and the author does a great job of balancing Kerri’s investigations whilst also switching to the viewpoint of the killer. Yup we get a murderer’s POV as to how they plan to select the next victim – the text message warning: WATCHING YOU is an important part of the game that they are playing. The fear the prospective victim will experience is very important to the killer and sticking the same message to a victim’s body will taunt the police.

What Kerri does not realise but the killer has set their sights on her as a potential victim. Although a plan is in place it is now being adapted and Kerri is being brought into a game that she does not even know is being played. With Kerri’s life at risk it becomes imperative that she makes progress with her investigation, she just doesn’t know the implications of failure.

I loved the balance of police procedural and serial killer thriller.  Joyce Schneider knows how to grab a reader’s attention and Watching You is another slick, gripping read. The Kerri Blasco series is highly recommended – she is an engaging and likeable lead character and if you are a fan of fast pace crime thrillers then these books are highly recommended.

 

You can order a copy of Watching You via this link: http://getBook.at/watchingyou 

 

Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.schneider.142?fref=ts

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April 28

Tag – You’re Dead – Douglas Skelton

Tag You're DeadMaverick investigator Dominic Queste is on the trail of missing butcher Sam Price. But he soon uncovers links to a killer with a taste for games. What began as a simple favour for his girlfriend quickly descends into a battle for survival against an enemy who has no qualms about turning victims into prime cuts.

Amidst a twisted game of cat and mouse, suspicious coppers, vicious crooks and a seemingly random burglary, Queste has to keep his wits about him. Or he might just find himself on the butcher’s block.

 

My thanks to Sara at Saraband for my review copy.

Last year Douglas Skelton introduced us to Dominic Queste in the wonderfully titled The Dead Don’t Boogie. At the end of 2016, when I was looking back over the books that I had enjoyed over the previous 12 months, I included Boogie in my top 5 Scottish Books of the Year. Queste had to return (and he did) but Mr Skelton made us wait.

Spin forward to April 2017 and Dominic Queste is here for a second outing in Tag – You’re Dead and it was well worth the wait as this is another corker.

Queste is called into action to trace a missing butcher. But it appears that the missing man may have had his fingers in more than one steak pie – it seems that he also liked to aid in the relocation of stolen goods (and this kind of behaviour attracts the wrong type of person opening up a huge list of possible suspects that may know why he has vanished).

Dominic will have his work cut-out so the last thing that he needs is to have attracted the unwanted attentions of a killer that likes to stalk and torment his victims before ending their lives. Unfortunately for Queste he appears to be lined up as the killer’s next victim and if Dominic doesn’t play the game then the killer is more than happy to target Dominic’s friends.  Keeping his predicament a secret is paramount in the rules of the killer’s game, however, this will create a problem for Queste as the lady in his life (the fabulous Ginty) has trust issues having fallen for the wrong type of character in the past.

Tag – You’re Dead is a dark suspenseful thriller, there are some nasty types running around and not all of them are Dominic’s friends. But Queste is an absolute joy to read about. He is quick witted and fails at keeping his mouth shut when discretion would be advisable. It is a tricky balance to have a wisecracking lead character taking you through such a tense adventure but Douglas Skelton pitches it perfectly and Tag – You’re Dead is not going to disappoint.

Tag – You’re Dead gets a five star score from me. Dominic Queste is one of the best new characters I have encountered in recent years and in the hands of top wordsmith, Douglas Skelton, he gets the chance to shine. Top, top reading – add Tag – You’re Dead to your shopping basket.

 

Tag You’re Dead is published by Contraband and is available now in paperback and digital formats. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tag-Youre-Dead-Douglas-Skelton-x/dp/1910192724/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493331632&sr=1-1&keywords=tag+you%27re+dead

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April 27

Dead Woman Walking – Sharon Bolton

Dead Woman WalkingJust before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

 

My thanks to Alison Barrow for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

As a rule I prefer to read books which form part of an ongoing series rather than a stand-alone book, the familiarity of recurring characters I find appealing.  However, there is one distinct advantage that a stand-alone book holds over books in a series – the author can do absolutely whatever they like to the characters with no concern over long term consequences. Just imagine if Colin Dexter had bumped off Lewis in the second Inspector Morse novel!

In Dead Woman Walking Sharon Bolton kills off around a dozen characters in the opening chapters, amongst the victims is the sister of her lead character. For the rest of the novel Jessica mourns the loss of her sister whilst also running for her life to escape from a killer. And because this is a stand alone thriller you don’t know if Jessica will actually survive and make it to the end of the book – the killer is a resourceful and ruthless type.

What makes Jessica’s loss more shocking and impactful for the reader is that Sharon Bolton makes very effective use of flashbacks throughout Dead Woman Walking to re-enforce the strong bond that Jessica shared with her sister Bella. The flashbacks serve a secondary purpose but there are elements of spoilers therein…so moving on….

The Killer. Introduced very early in the story and we get to know all about him and we follow his attempts to track down Jessica. She has seen his face. He has seen hers. She cannot be allowed to live so it is a Hunter Vs Prey scenario and it makes for compelling reading. I became totally caught up in Dead Woman Walking and found myself reading well into the night – the classic case of “just one more chapter”.

I can’t give away too much of the story as this is one which you have to discover for yourself. Suffice to say that this is a book you simply have to read. It is Hunter Vs Prey chase thriller with twists and shocks and some very, very clever bits which had me reeling. Bookish magnificence.

 

Dead Woman Walking is published by Bantam Press and is available in Hardback and Digital format.

You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Woman-Walking-Sharon-Bolton/dp/0593076427/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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April 27

Watching The Bodies – Graham Smith

Watching The BodiesWhen Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

 

My thanks to Sarah and the team at Bloodhound Books for the chance to join the blog tour.

 

Having enjoyed Graham Smith’s previous books, Cumbrian crime thrillers featuring DI Harry Evans of the Major Crime Teams, I was already keenly awaiting his next venture. I was not expecting Smith to make a jump to the US for Watching the Bodies. Nor was I expecting his new protagonist (Jake Boulder) to rocket into my list of favourite characters. But he did. And he did.

First up – Jake Boulder, living and working in Utah but a Scottish Brawler. Fast with his fists, peacemaker (in that he ends the fights other people start) and living a simple single life (much to the frustration of his mother!)

Watching the Bodies, dumps you straight into the action.  I say “dumps” as this is exactly where we begin…at a spot where a killer has dumped his victim. We (and the killer) witness the discovery of the body. Great intro and I had to know more but there was to be no let up as we switch straight to Jake Boulder. We meet him for the first time as he is about to get into a fight and we soon realise that our lead character is not one to be messed with.

Boulder’s friend is a PI. He wants Jake to help him track down the killer, the victim’s father is an influential figure in the town and has no faith in the local police to find out who killed his daughter. This will not be an easy assignment for Boulder as he and the victim, Kira, had been friends and as they begin the investigation into her death Jake will realise that he actually knew very little about the lifestyle Kira had chosen for herself.

Before Boulder’s investigations yield much progress another body is found and it becomes increasingly clear to him that there is a serial killer at work. But there appear to be too many inconsistencies between the crimes for it to be the work of a single killer and, even if it were to be a single killer, how were the victims selected? As Jake digs deeper he will uncover more than he could have ever anticipated.

I have always been a sucker for a serial killer story and in Watching the Bodies I have found one of the best serial killer tales that I have read for a long, long time. I loved this. The killer’s motivation and clues to their identity are gently teased out through the story so that by the time you are approaching the endgame you know exactly what is at stake and how much peril certain characters will be in. It works fabulously well and I was utterly hooked.

A thumpingly good first outing for Jake Boulder and I really, really hope that there will be more to come. If you like a dark and twisty serial killer story then Watching the Bodies is a book you simply must read.

 

Watching the Bodies is published by Bloodhound Books and is available now. The links you need are below:

Links:

Graham on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

Graham’s Website: https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

Here on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

And the all important link to order the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

 

 

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009.

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

 

 

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April 22

Good News Bad News – WHS McIntyre

Good News bad NewsLife’s full of good news and bad news for defence lawyer Robbie Munro. The good news is he’s in work, representing Antionia Brechin on a drugs charge. The bad news is that she’s the granddaughter of notorious Sheriff Brechin.

Meanwhile, another of Robbie’s clients, Ellen Fletcher, has won the lottery and asked Robbie to find her husband Freddy, who disappeared having swindled the evil Jake Turpie. Unfortunately, Jake’s not willing to bury the hatchet – not unless it’s in Freddy’s head.

Robbie juggles cases and private life with his usual dexterity, but the more he tries to fix things the more trouble everyone’s in.

 

My thanks to Keara at Sandstone Press for my review copy and for the chance to join the blog tour

 

Robbie Munro is a defence lawyer and he sounds like the kind of guy you would want to have fighting your corner for you. He understands the law but does not feel that applying the law necessarily means that justice will be served or that the consequences will always be appropriate for the crime committed.  This is entertainingly demonstrated at the start of the book when a young teacher is due to be sentenced by Robbie’s nemesis Sheriff Brechin.

The verbal battling in the courtroom between Robbie and Sheriff Brechin is laced with much of the wry humour which is evident throughout the book and it firmly establishes that there is no love lost between the two men. This sets up a future dilemma very nicely as Brechin’s grand-daughter (herself a promising young lawyer) finds herself on the wrong end of the law.  As Robbie is the only criminal defence lawyer she knows she appoints him to represent her. A new client is Good News, the prospect of failing and letting down the Brechin family – very Bad News.

Away from the court Robbie is approached by a client who has her own Good News Bad News.  She has won the lottery and wants to enlist Robbie’s help in tracking down her husband (a conman that everyone believes to be dead). However the client only has a few months to live so time is tight and Robbie will have his work cut out to ensure he can keep himself on the right side of the law and not let down his client.

This was my introduction to Robbie Munro but the Best Defence series has been running for a while.  The good news is that Good News Bad News can be read as a stand alone novel (and it is a book I highly recommend).  The bad news is that (if you are like me) then reading Good News Bad News will make you want to read all the other books in the series – brace your TBR pile for some legal drama courtesy of WHS McIntyre.

 

Good News Bad News is published by Sandstone Press and is available in paperback and digital format.  Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-News-Bad-Best-Defence/dp/1910985600/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492812720&sr=1-1&keywords=good+news+bad+news

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April 17

Ashes to Ashes – Paul Finch

Ashes to AshesJohn Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

 

My thanks to Helena at Avon for my review copy and the opportunity to join the blog tour.

Mark “Heck” Heckenburg is back and I couldn’t be happier. Each book in this series has been a 5 star read for me and Ashes to Ashes keeps that streak going. I think that we have to conclude that Paul Finch writes the books that I want to read.

Ashes to Ashes opens with a fairly gruesome attack, two men are torched to death by a mystery figure wielding a flamethrower. If you have read Finch’s previous books you will know that there is no sugar-coating to be found, Ashes to Ashes will contain scenes which are shocking and potentially disturbing but it makes for gripping reading too.

Heck is in London on the trail of a torturer, however, his chief suspect will flee the city and it is not long before Heck will find himself back in the North West in his hometown of Bradburn. Returning to his childhood haunts will bring Heck back into contact with old friends and family and we get to see in more detail how Heck’s past very much shaped the man he would become.

In Bradburn Heck and his colleagues find themselves stretched between hunting for their torturer (Sagan) and the flamethrower killer (dubbed The Incinerator). To get any clue on their suspects Heck will need to engage and confront the local gangs and this means putting himself in the firing line. Ashes to Ashes keeps the action coming thick and fast, The Incinerator is a chilling character and their pursuit of the potential victims lead to some wonderful moments of suspense.

Ashes to Ashes was an absolute joy to read.  If you like a police thriller with a deliciously dark edge then look no further.

 

Ashes to Ashes is published by Avon and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ashes-bestseller-gripping-Detective-Heckenburg/dp/0007551290/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492421085&sr=1-1&keywords=ashes+to+ashes+paul+finch

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April 15

The Restless Dead – Simon Beckett

The Restless Dead‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

 

My thanks to Hannah at Penguin Random House for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

No beating about the bush on this review – The Restless Dead was a brilliant read. It gets a 5* score and I want to go back and read the previous David Hunter novels right now…I seriously love these books.

It has been a few years since Dr Hunter last appeared but when we are first reunited with him it seems his past adventures may have gained him the tag of troublemaker. Opportunities for police consultation work have dried up and without the prestige of high profile police investigations his current residency is in jeopardy.
So when a call comes in to assist Essex Police with the recovery and identification of a body found in coastal mudflats, Hunter cannot refuse. Thus begins The Restless Dead – a book which shall take Hunter to the remote villages of costal Essex where everyone knows all their neighbours and secrets have to be preciously guarded as the normal “goldfish bowl” of village life means everyone knows your history.

When the body has been recovered Hunter finds himself unable to return to London and he is temporarily stranded at the rural Essex coastline.  He finds a temporary accommodation but in doing so unwittingly becomes drawn into the lives of one of the families who are anxiously waiting for news on a missing woman. They want to know if the body recovered from the marshes is that of the wife/sister they have been missing. Hunter, initially oblivious to their plight and not understanding who they are, just wants a warm bed and a change of clothes.

Although the body is quickly identified Hunter is not wholly convinced over the timeline of the story as it has been described to him.  If the missing person vanished six weeks prior to the recovery of the body then why does the body only seem to have been in the water for a month at most?  Returning to the scene Hunter finds another clue which casts further doubt on the identity of the corpse and this creates problems for the local police.

In The Restless Dead there are feuds, misunderstandings and hostile characters – Beckett has done a marvellous job of keeping Hunter in the midst of all the tension and hostility and making the reader uncomfortable and edgy as they read.  Having read the previous David Hunter books I know what a tough time he has had previously and you just want something to go right for him. Reading the previous books gives you the background you need to get the most from The Restless Dead but it reads well as a stand-alone novel too as the author provides any background info which you may need.

Simon Beckett is a wonderful storyteller. He gives the detail and explanations which make forensic thrillers engaging reads, his characters are always well defined and wholly believable. Did I mention that The Restless Dead is a 5* read?  It is.

 

The Restless Dead is published by Bantam Press and is currently available in Hardback and digital formats. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Restless-Dead-Simon-Beckett/dp/0593063473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492242215&sr=1-1&keywords=the+restless+dead+simon+beckett

 

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