Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Friendship, New Books, Noir, Thriller

To the Grave John Barlow 5*#Review @John_Barlow_LS9 @HQStories #CrimeFiction #Leeds #BlogTour #BookReview #noir #PublicationDay #TotheGrave

When DS Joe Romano first meets Ana Dobrescu she’s nervous, in serious danger, and clearly needs help. The next time Romano sees her, she’s dead.

There was nothing more he could have done, but that’s cold comfort for Romano. He’s determined to catch Ana’s killer. Although the prime suspect, her millionaire boyfriend, is in a coma.

With the help of his larger-than-life partner Rita Scannon-Aktar, Romano begins to piece together a puzzle that places Ana at the centre of something much bigger than they could have imagined.

But while they’re hunting a murderer, those higher up are more concerned about the money. So it’s up to Romano to get justice for Ana. And whatever she knew, he’ll just have to pray that she didn’t take her secrets to the grave

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The return of DS Joe Romano in this second book in the series sees him witnessing a vicious attack on a man outside a notoriously rough pub, he helps, and the man survives. Joe knows Stefan needs help, and when he meets Ana, he knows that he will help them both. Set in Leeds, this is a dark contemporary thriller exploring the darker side of humanity in a complex plot. DS Joe Romano’s family’s experiences make him sensitive to the plight of immigrant workers and the victims of people trafficking. Disturbing themes contrast with lighter moments in the investigating team’s lives. They have a believable dynamic, and all are vibrant characters.

The ending is impactful and completes this addictive read perfectly.

Read my review of Right to Kill

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, New Books

Right to Kill John Barlow 4*#Review @John_Barlow_LS9 @HQStories #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay

On a Thursday night in February, DS Joe Romano finds himself back on home turf. He’s following up on the disappearance of drug-dealer Craig Shaw.

It’s the start of a case that could make or break Romano’s career. Because Shaw is about to go from missing to murdered.

While some don’t think Shaw’s killer should be brought to justice, Romano believes every life counts. But he’s running out of time.

The killer is ready to strike again. And Romano will be forced to question whether anyone has the right to kill.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in Leeds and the surrounding area, this is a gritty noir style police procedural with an originally crafted detective. Joe Romano believes in justice for all, and for him, that includes criminals that are murdered. Seen from the point of view of the murderer, this story is disturbing and gritty, but it gives the reader insight, into the antagonist’s motivations, from the onset. The story then follows Joe’s viewpoint as he investigations a missing person case turned to murder, in a hostile ethos.

This is a twenty-first-century police investigation exploring political extremism and vigilante justice. Trial by social media is also an issue. It has an engaging pace and plot that keeps the reader turning the pages.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

To the Dark Chris Nickson 4*#Review A Simon Westow Mystery @ChrisNickson2 @SevernHouse #TotheDark #historical #crimefiction #mystery @RandomTTours

Winter is about to take a chilling twist…

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Severn House Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This historical crime mystery is atmospheric, menacing and realistic. It brings the crime-filled streets of nineteenth-century Leeds vividly to life. The third book in the series it provides adequate character backstory and relationship dynamics to make it readable as a standalone. The characters are shady even the protagonists have pasts and secrets. The story has many twists.

Seamlessly woven historical details immerse the reader in the place and time of this enjoyable story.

Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.

Posted in Book Review

The Disappeared – Ali Harper – 3*Review

A distraught mother…
When Susan Wilkins walks into No Stone Unturned, Leeds’s newest private detective agency, owners Lee and Jo are thrilled. Their first client is the kind of person they always hoped to help—a kind woman desperately worried about her son, Jack.

A missing son…
The case seems simple—kid starts college, takes up with the wrong crowd, forgets to ring his mother. But very quickly, Lee and Jo suspect they’re not being told the whole truth.

A case which could prove deadly…
Their office is ransacked, everyone who knows Jack refuses to talk to them and they feel like they’re being followed…it’s clear Lee and Jo have stumbled into something bigger, and far more dangerous than they ever expected. Will they find Jack, or will their first case silence them both for good?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

The cover and title suggest a psychological thriller, but this is not that. The title refers to a missing person, Jack, who a newly formed detective agency is engaged to find. The private detectives are female and distinctive in personality, Lee and Jo are firm friends and always have each other’s back. The two women have an easy going, intuitive relationship, which recommends them, they are better together than alone. The setting in Leeds is refreshingly original and authentic; it’s a shame the characters aren’t equally so.

Told in the first person from Lee’s point of view, the plot has many twists, not all of which are credible. Details of the two main characters backgrounds are sketchy, so much so that I wondered if I joined the series in the middle, rather than at the beginning. It’s clear both women have secrets, but few are revealed in this story, making them less believable and realistic than they should be.

A common theme is drug taking, and other types of addiction and the plot concentrates heavily on this. The plot is dark, but there are humorous moments, which help. Action packed with a fast-paced plot this will probably work better in a visual media, where character depth is less important than actions and reactions.

Overall, if this the start of a series, it has promise, but if there is a second book, please give the reader more life story for the main characters to make them real.

I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.