In January my day job changes and my mega commute of the last 5 months will cease. Between July and December I would spent around 5 hours each day driving the same road, home to office and home again. To pass the time I would listen to talking books, but as I was seldom awake while I was home I fell behind on reviewing those listens…catch-up time.
Today I have reviews for two Robert Bryndza books. Huge thanks to Noelle and Kim at Bookouture for the Audible review copies.
The Night Stalker
If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…
In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.
A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.
The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?
As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.
The second Erika Foster novel. A series which my fellow bloggers all seemed to love (and I thought had sounded fantastic) but I was late to the party. The good thing about playing catch-up is that there are several books waiting for me and I don’t need to wait months for the next installment!
The Night Stalker is a serial killer tale – one I really, really enjoyed. The victims are found in their homes, bound and suffocated; murdered in the place where they should have been safe from harm. As Foster considers the first victim, tied to his bed with a bag over his head, she cannot discount the possibility that the man died as a result of a sexual encounter gone wrong. The investigation will be complicated as she tries to uncover the man’s private life and unearth any secrets he may have tried to keep.
When a second victim is discovered the stakes are raised as is the pressure on Erika and her team. A prominent media personality is dead, the press are clamouring for information and her bosses are demanding significant progress in made on the investigations. Erika needs to find a possible connection between the two men but she cannot know if there is one – perhaps the victims were selected at random.
For the reader there is the chilling bonus of being able to follow part of the story from the viewpoint of the The Night Stalker. We see the killer watching the next target and follow them as they break into the victim’s home. When the Night Stalker becomes aware of Erika’s investigation the Stalker then focuses on her – unknown to Erika she is a target.
Robert Bryndza is great at pacing the action and there were some fabulous twists through the story. The Night Stalker is gripping reading (or listening in this instance) and it significantly builds on the character of Erika Foster and her colleagues – setting up the rest of the series nicely.
Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.
When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.
The remains are quickly identified as eleven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news when she vanished twenty-six years ago.
As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she discovers a family harbouring secrets, a detective plagued by her failure to find Jessica, and the mysterious death of a man living by the quarry.
Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.
Book 3 and a rather distressing cold case for Erika and her team to take on. Except her team are not her team any longer – she has been transferred to a new station and it seems we will be robbed of the company of Moss and Peterson. Fortunately resurrecting an old investigation (a missing girl who vanished from her street some 26 years earlier) merits extra staff numbers and the trio will soon be reunited.
Dark Water has a very different feel from the first two novels but not to the detriment of excellent storytelling.
Erika will need to wade through boxes of old investigative notes but she could always seek out the assistance of the original investigating officer. This may lead to problems as the officer she needs to consult left the force in disgrace and has drunk herself to oblivion in the intervening years.
When a girl has been missing for 26 years there will inevitably be someone who knows where she has been all this time, someone who may not wish the police to look too closely into the case again. Who can Erika trust to reveal the truth after all those years? Certainly not the alleged pedophile who was once the prime suspect but now holds the police over a barrel after someone (convinced of his guilt) took matters into their own hands.
Of the three Erika Foster books I listened to over the last 5 months I think Dark Water just edges it as my favourite, though that *may* be down to the ongoing development of the characters and my appreciation of the books growing!
Both the above books are narrated by Jan Cramer and she is absolutely marvellous. Having listened to the first three Erika Foster novels, and not actually reading any of the books first, my perception of all the characters has been defined by Jan Cramer’s depiction of them.
I have a dilemma now over whether to get book 4 on audio or pick up a Kindle copy – whatever I choose I already know I am looking forward to my next encounter with Erika Foster.
The Night Stalker and Dark Water are published by Bookouture and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robert-Bryndza/e/B0089KJBVM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1