Posted in Book Review

Jar of Hearts – 5* Review – Jennifer Hillier

Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…

To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Reading the title, I wasn’t sure if I was about to embark on a romantic tale or a macabre journey. ‘A Jar of Hearts’ is neither of these, although it does feature an unlikely romantic and serial killings.

It’s a thriller about retribution, forgiveness, obsession and lies. Geo rises like a phoenix from the ashes in the aftermath of her friend’s disappearance. Years later she finds that her lies come back to haunt her and then her life implodes. Geo keeps ‘The Jar of Hearts’ as a reminder of that fateful night.

There are many subtle twists in this story, but even if you understand them, they don’t reveal everything. The murders are shocking and graphically portrayed, but only to demonstrate the murder’s state of mind. The ending is both poignant and disturbing and perfect for this absorbing book.

Suspenseful, surprisingly and often shocking; ‘A Jar of Hearts’ is a compelling read.

I received a copy of this book from Atlantic Books – Corvus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

5* Review – The Quaker – Liam McIlvanney

Amazon UK

Amazon 

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and authentic are the best adjectives to describe this story. The menacing ethos of 1960s Glasgow is apparent on every page and is compelling.

The characters’ prejudices and secrets vividly depicted make them realistic. The sinister undercurrent as people wonder when ‘The Quaker’will kill again makes for a tense thriller. The murders are described in painstaking detail but not overly graphic, just enough to inform the plot and allow the reader to glimpse the horror of the crime.

Police procedural is the mainstay of the plot, but the suspense and supernatural impressions from the Quaker’s victims add a twist that makes this even more chilling to read. McCormack is a complex detective, a loner he is dedicated to his job at the cost of his relationships.

The ending draws from all the clues laid earlier in the plot, it is convincing and clever and with a final sting in its tail.

‘The Quaker’ is not an easy read, the dialogue and complexity of Glasgow society at this time needs to be understood to get the most of this story.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: I Never Lie – Jody Sabral – Extract and 4*Review

 Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home, she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Amazon

Extract

6

The pressing need to talk to DI Brook takes over. When I turn around, I spot him lingering behind the tent, so I fill my lungs with air and shout his name as loudly as I can, but to no avail. He has clearly decided not to hear me.

‘They not listening to you, love?’

An elderly woman dressed in black with silvery blue hair and a lively red setter has suddenly appeared beside me. Her face is half hidden behind what look like very expensive sunglasses. ‘Such terrible news to wake up to this morning.’

I nod silently, unsure of what to say. The last thing I need right now is a member of the public asking me silly questions. I have a job to do, and sometimes they just get in the way.

‘I’ve seen you before, haven’t I? You live around here?’

‘Yes.’

She pulls her glasses forward, resting them on the end of her nose, to reveal watery grey eyes. ‘I know you, you’re on the news. Although I haven’t seen you on for a while. Not since that…’

She stops herself. I know what she’s going to say. Not since that time you were pissed on air ranting about how the system had failed us all.

‘I’ve been busy doing research for a new investigative report I’m working on.’

‘So you got lucky today because you live around here? That it? I know how it goes, the pecking order. Worked in broadcasting when I was younger. Couldn’t take the cynicism and got out after a few years.’

‘Right.’ I really don’t need this now. It’s only midday, and my nerves are shot. She’s not going away, though.

‘I love watching the news and talking about politics. You really must come for tea. I don’t get many visitors these days. I live on Navarino. Right on the corner of the park.’

‘That’s very kind of you, but I imagine I’m going to be quite busy with this story.’

‘Of course. I didn’t mean today, silly. Number three, the red door. Just knock.’

Audrey is back, looking purposeful, her eyes willing the pensioner to move on.

‘Sorry to interrupt, but they want a two-minute hit into the lunchtime bulletin. What we know now.’

‘Goodbye then, Alex. Please make sure you come and see me.’ The woman pushes her glasses back up her nose and shuffles off with her dog.

‘Who was that?’ Audrey nods towards her. ‘A neighbourhood pal?’

‘Just a dog walker.’

‘Not the dog walker?’

‘No. No.’

‘Oh. Okay. So, the report?’

‘It’s fine. Have you spoken to the police? I can’t seem to attract their attention.’

‘Managed to grab DI Brook at the press conference earlier, but only to get his business card.’ She hands it to me. DI John Brook, Serious Crime Division. There’s a mobile number on it. I already have it in my phone from dealing with him on previous cases, but I decide not to mention it. Best to let Audrey think she’s on it, which she is. In fact, I don’t know why I didn’t just call him before, rather than shout at him like a complete loser. I’m embarrassed to say my memory fails me more often than not, especially after a big night out.

‘Thanks, Audrey, you’re a star.’

‘No worries. I don’t think he’s going to talk to the media again today – at least that’s what he said – but give him a call. I did mention you might.’

‘Okay.’

‘It’ll be the first live report from the scene for us, so the editors say just keep it simple. They’re leading on it.’

‘I have done this before, Audrey.’

‘Yes, of course, sorry.’

She looks a bit hurt by my reaction, which happens when I’m not fully in my right mind. Greg used to get on me for that all the time. Snapping at people. I should say something nice.

‘Sorry. Didn’t mean to sound short with you. It’s my first live for a while, and I suppose I’m a little nervous.’

‘You’ll knock ‘em dead, Alex. You’re great at this job.’

‘That’s very kind. Thank you.’

‘We all have bad days. We’re only human after all.’

She is being very sweet and understanding. Buttering me up. That’s nice even if she doesn’t mean it because it’s exactly what I need today.

‘Thanks, Audrey, but today is going to be a good day.’

With the business card in my hand, I put my headphones on and pull up DI Brook’s number from my contact list, then hit dial. While it’s ringing, I check my Facebook page. Two thousand and fifty-three people have wished me happy birthday. Wow. I guess many people feel like Audrey does, ready to give me a second chance. I mean, it wasn’t so bad what I did, bitching about the government live on air. There were a lot of people who wrote to me afterwards saying well done for speaking honestly. Didn’t help me with the editors, though. Anyway, that’s behind me now.

DI Brook isn’t answering, and I hang up. Just then my phone buzzes. It’s a message from Richie, the chap I’m planning to meet later. I met him on a dating site, just like I met Nigel.

Hey, sorry to do this to you, Alex, but something’s come up at work. Afraid I can’t make it tonight. Can we reschedule?

It’s annoying, but I don’t bother to respond; there’s really no point. That’s how online dates go sometimes. They don’t always materialise, and if I’m honest, I can’t be bothered anyway, not now that I have a huge breaking news story to contend with. This is much more important.

 My Thoughts…

A suspenseful plot, an authentic setting and an unreliable protagonist guarantee that I would read ‘I Never Lie’ and it didn’t disappoint.

Fast-paced it moves between Alex a TV journalist’s point of view and diary entries of a recovering alcoholic whose dark issues become apparent as the story unfolds.

Alex, a London based TV journalist, is on the precipice of career success. She moves to London to further her career but also because personal life implodes, and now threatens to impinge on her career.

Alex is an alcoholic in denial, and it makes her vulnerable in all area of her life. Someone is murdering women in London, and Alex’s involvement seems serendipitous but is she in danger?

Alex is challenging, her constant denial of her alcoholism is tedious but authentic and an essential catalyst to the thriller’s plot. The plot is well- executed with twists, some of which you may not see coming. I enjoyed trying to work out what is real and what is part of Alex’s alcohol delusional state.

The final twist is a little disappointing for me; I imagined something different. However, full of suspense it does answer the questions raised by the plot.

Written by a TV journalist, the setting is authentic and absorbing and makes the perfect backdrop both for the murders and Alex life’s disintegration.

Originality, cleverly built suspense and realistic characters are evident in this thriller, even if using an alcoholic as an unreliable protagonist is popular in many psychological thrillers currently.

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

Jody Sabral is based between the South Coast and London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement. In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post, Al–Monitor and Brics Post.

Twitter: @jsabral

Posted in Book Review

5* Review-Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

 

 

 

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead, and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century, and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the courtroom start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

For once a thriller lives up to its blurb.

The twisty nature of this thriller made it a must-read for me, and I wasn’t disappointed.

A celebrity trial, an unusual lawyer and a serial killer but is he the man on the stand? Well, he’s undoubtedly in the courtroom.

Told from two points of view this predominately courtroom based story lets the reader into the psyche of Eddie Flynn, a con-man turned lawyer and Kane, the serial killer. A fast-paced plot faithfully traces court procedure with essential insights into the lawyer and killer’s personality cleverly entwined with the on-going trial.

The extensive cast of characters is slickly used to add depth and authenticity to the plot. It’s easy to follow, but there are plenty of surprises, well-crafted suspense and a great twisty ending. The killings are not overly graphic, but they give you a chill down your spine. The fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series but the first one I’ve read. There is enough backstory on Eddie and his friends to make this easy reading as a standalone story. 

A chilling, clever, courtroom thriller that enthrals the reader and gives you a definite adrenaline rush.

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

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Death Notice – 4* Review -Zhou HaoHui

For nearly two decades, an unsolved murder case has haunted Sergeant Zheng Haoming of the Chengdu Police Department. Eighteen years ago, two victims were murdered after being served with ‘death notices’. In refined calligraphy, their perceived crimes were itemised, and they were sentenced to death. The date of execution was declared, as was the name of their executioner: Eumenides.

Now, a user on an internet forum has asked the public to submit names for judgement – judgement for those the law cannot touch. Those found guilty will be punished, and there is only one sentence: death. The user’s handle? Eumenides.

Does Zheng have a lead? Has a long-dormant serial killer resurfaced? Perhaps modern police techniques – criminal profiling, online surveillance and SWAT quick response teams – can catch a killer who previously evaded justice? Or perhaps the killer is more than a match for whatever the Chengdu Police Department can muster?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A fast-paced police procedural set in China with well-written suspense elements and an authentic setting. Translated into English this book, reads well. ‘Death Notice’ is a mixture of cold case investigation and the present day pursuit of a serial killer.

The plot is complex as are the characters. The writing style isn’t descriptive, but there is sufficient information for the reader to understand what’s going on and try to solve the clues. The procedures are bureaucratic and appear dated but presumably are reflective of police procedures within China.

I enjoyed the writing style and the author’s ability to create suspense. There is an overriding mystery to solve, which will span the series but this first book ties up the immediate loose ends while leaving the detectives and the reader further mysteries to solve.

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

Posted in Book Review, Guest post

Blog Tour: Deep Fear – Rachel Lynch – Guest Post – Researching Forensics – 5* Review

DI Kelly Porter is back. But will this new case push her beyond her limits?

On a peaceful summer’s morning in the Lake District, a woman’s body is discovered outside a church. She’s been murdered and a brutal, symbolic act performed on her corpse. DI Kelly Porter is in charge of the team investigating the crime and is determined to bring the killer to justice. But as more deaths occur it is clear this is the work of a disturbed, dangerous and determined individual. Can Kelly put the puzzle pieces together before the danger comes closer to home?

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Guest Post

Researching Forensics

By Rachel Lynch

 

Today, forensic evidence is essential to get a conviction. Circumstantial evidence can be argued away by skilful barristers and so-called experts. Science is rarely disputed, and so any Police Procedural, in my belief, has to have plenty of forensic procedure. I love reading about it and I love writing about it, and I hope my readers do too.

I created Ted Wallis, the Senior Coroner for the North West of England, purely by chance, but I liked his character so much that he’s now a permanent fixture. He’s becoming Kelly’s go-to for all things scientific and he’s also quite a father figure to her. She loves bouncing ideas off him and they enjoy each other’s company. He’s experienced, deliberate, trustworthy and reliable.

I research forensic procedure and technique a lot. One, because I enjoy it, but also because I can’t imagine an investigation without it. All forces in the UK used to be able to use the Forensic Science Service (FSS), but sadly it went way over budget (not that there ever was one set), and created quite a scandal when it emerged how much it cost the taxpayer for the privileged use of up to date technology (how dare they). It’s quite a bone of contention still, as it means that now each force has to pay private labs to chase results and process items and it’s astronomically expensive. One investigation could involve the processing of hundreds of items, then they need to be stored, often retested and compared against other tests. It’s a sad loss to the police force, but the price of budget cutting.

For the purposes of tension and pace, Kelly needs to have access to state of the art lab technology, otherwise, my novels would be tomes of ethical debate surrounded by dilemmas of whether or not to pay for speed DNA profiling or expert fibre analysis, not both. Crime readers don’t want to read about budgets, and so Ted has access to what he needs, and he can pull strings with several labs in Carlisle on Kelly’s behalf.

I’m also keen to avoid repetition, so each autopsy needs to bring something new to the table (forgive the pun). Ted himself needs to be surprised by the depravity of the lengths that some killers will go to and I think it does him good to have a few unconventional cases in the twilight of his career. I have studied anatomy and physiology as part of my sports training and massage courses and, although it’s not essential, it certainly helps. Gore will always divide readers but I hope to achieve the right balance to keep fans interested but at the same time not be gratuitous, which I hope I’m not.

Police work isn’t pretty, and it isn’t for the feint hearted, neither should crime novels be so. We’re dealing with the scum of society and the most sick and twisted minds. It’s bound to get ugly once in a while.

The most important aspect for me is that the facts exposed by the scientific research are always made relevant to the story. Everything that Ted discovers is relayed to Kelly, and each piece is processed so that it contributes to the final conclusion; this is my absolute priority where forensic investigation is used. No piece of evidence is ever thrown in by chance.

So where do I get all the information? The internet mainly. I Google some scary stuff. I also use personal testimony, books and my imagination. I go by the loose guide that, if someone has thought it, it’s probably been done, and nothing much surprises me about the lengths that serious criminals will go to snuff out a human being. After all, crime fiction is about the good guys (or girls) beating the bad guys (or girls). And the stakes are always higher when the baddies are particularly nasty.  

My Thoughts…

I read and reviewed the first book in the DI Kelly Porter series – Dark Game, and while I enjoyed it, for me, it was overly graphic and too factual, in parts. Deep Fear, the second book in the series has retained the action, pace and suspense of the first, while losing some of the gore and facts, making it a perfect 5* read.

Kelly Porter is a dedicated police detective, it is part of her life, and she often sacrifices personal matters for the job. Kelly’s complicated relationship with her sister Nikki continues in this sequel as does her on, off relationship with ex-serviceman Johnny, both give an insight into Kelly’s emotional side and are integral to the plot.

The dark and twisty plot makes compelling reading and something you have to finish. The Lake District and Cumbria is an exciting setting, which gives the perfect cover for heinous crimes. The stark contrast of the beautiful lakes and hills with the dark, horror of the murderous crimes adds to the suspense.

The authentic and well-researched plot and the realistic characters make this story come to life, with a well disguised serial killer. The final chapters are adrenaline-fueled with a heart-stopping ending. All the questions thrown up by the story are dealt with believably, although there is one loose end about a person of interest, which could be part of another investigation?

Readable as a standalone but if you want the full impact of DI Kelly Porter and her team, read Dark Game first.

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

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but the writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Twitter: @r_lynchcrime

 

 

Posted in Book Review

The Earth Bleeds Red – Jackson Paul Baer – 4* Review

Scott Miller has everything he’s ever hoped for. He has a successful marriage to Jessie, a stunningly beautiful, creative woman. His seventeen-year-old daughter, Ashley, is both gorgeous and intelligent and has just been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, where Scott received his PhD. He has a comforting home in the woods, and a fulfilling career as a college professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He’s blissful, and at peace, until it all comes shattering down. 

Ashley is kidnapped. The scene of the abduction is horrific and bloody, and the police are convinced she couldn’t have survived. They accuse her boyfriend, Brandon, of Ashley’s murder. He declares his innocence and claims that a masked man who entered his house and overwhelmed them both took Ashley. No one believes Brandon. 

Then the bodies of three other missing girls are discovered, all bearing the mark of a known serial killer the FBI has been hunting for years. Evidence mounts. As Special Agent James Duncan tracks the Hail Mary Killer, Scott and Jessie try to move on with their lives. But they can’t shake the feeling that Ashley may still be alive, and that the time for saving their only daughter is quickly running out. 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

From reading the blurb, I expected a psychological thriller following the exploits of a serial killer. While true in part, the major themes of this story focus on the missing girl’s parents and how they deal with the abduction and possible murder of their only child. Faith, relationships and surviving such a catastrophic event are all explored in great detail. Although absorbing, it does detract from the pursuit of the serial killer and finding the missing girl.

Predominately, the father Scott tells the story. The early chapters set the scene, recalling family events with his wife and daughter. Slow-paced these chapters seem overly detailed. When the abduction happens, it is shocking amidst the everyday family events, but a shorter first section would give the same result. I did re-read the blurb halfway through this early section, to check I was reading a serial killer novel. The crime procedural part of this story is appropriately paced and informative, the law enforcement characters are realistic.

Mainly though, this is a story of family and faith, in the face of every parents’ nightmare of losing a child. Beautifully portrayed in this story are the sense of loss, the guilt and the fear of not knowing. You feel the Scott and Jessie’s pain and wonder if you would react similarly in the given circumstances. Through the father’s relationship with the family priest, they explore faith in detail, again this is sensitively written and adds depth to the story.

The latter part of the story reveals the serial killer’s life and thoughts and those of his victim. From a third person point of view, this is written as a narrative making it hard for the reader to engage with them. Showing rather than narrating what the characters are feeling would have made them easier to empathise. The plot has many twists, not all of which are realistic, however, they do keep you guessing for the most part and have a definite graphic horror factor.

This story is a dichotomy. The central theme of a family’s emotional journey in the face of a tragic loss against a fast-paced, graphic illustration of abduction and murder. It does work for the most part and keeps you turning the pages. This a good mystery crime story with well-written suspenseful scenes and a believable serial killer.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Taken – Monty Marsden Blog Tour – 5*Review

It’s been two years since mass murderer, Giacomo Riondino, disappeared after killing Greta Alfieri…Dr Claps, devastated and guilt-ridden by Greta’s death has been on a man-hunt for Riondino ever since. Meanwhile, an American girl disappears on the 382nd step of the Cerro trail in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

No one saw her disappear. Who took her? And how?

When the US authorities contact Claps, he is certain that it must be Riondino. But, unlike Riondino’s other victims, the girl has disappeared into thin air…

Will Claps solve the puzzle, or will he lose his mind in the process, blinded by his own obsession?

Links to buy

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Hx51v0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oqyKNd

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2okGiRX

iBooks: https://apple.co/2FnEgIH

 

My Thoughts…
It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, and although this book has a predecessor, there is enough backstory both to the plot and characters to make this a very worthwhile read.
It focuses on a criminologist/profiler, Dr Claps and his pursuit of a serial killer who has become his obsession. The plot is detailed and cleverly written, with clues and misinformation filtered in at salient intervals, moving the story along at a fast pace and holding the reader’s attention.
The serial killer, Riondino has multiple personality disorder, described in an understandable, knowledgeable way that makes him a fascinating, unpredictable and menacing antagonist. The suspense builds up to an explosive and poignant end. If you can, read ‘Hunted’, the precursor to this story for maximum impact. ‘Taken’ has believable characters and setting, a realistic pursuit of the serial killer and a breathtaking ending.
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Monty Marsden, a Tuscan by birth, grew up in Milan, where he studied medicine and still works. He lives in the province of Bergamo, with his wife and four children.

 

Posted in Book Review, Sampler

Five Chapter Sampler of Hangman Daniel Cole 5* Review

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: A Known Evil – Aidan Conway Extract and 4* Review

Blog Tour - A Known Evil

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.

A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession, and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.

A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com

Amazon UK

Amazon 

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com

Extract

One

‘They’d found the body in the entrance to their block of flats where, sometimes, bleary-eyed, they would avoid treading on the dog shit some neighbour couldn’t care less about cleaning up – teenagers on the way to school at eight in the morning. They’d been the first to leave the building, apparently, although it was now known the victim didn’t live in the same complex. Paola Gentili, mother of three, a cleaner, on her way to work. Multiple blows to the cranium. No sign of sexual assault. No attempt to appropriate money or valuables. No sign of a struggle.

So, it seemed she had been taken completely unawares. Better for her. Husband had been informed. Distraught. Had given them the few preliminary details they required without the need for any formal interview. That would have to wait until they got the go-ahead from the presiding magistrate. But the guy seemed clean enough going by the checks the new ‘privatized’ IT system had given them in record time. What social media access she had was regular and only moderately used. Meanwhile, they’d started looking into the other stuff. No particular leads. No affairs. No money issues. No links to known families in the organized sector. Worked in a ministry in the centre of the city. No unexplained calls. Just waiting now on the forensics guys to come up with something more concrete to work with.

Inspector Michael Rossi had only just driven through the gates in the Alfa Romeo. He had known immediately that something big was coming by the urgency of Carrara’s steps as he’d emerged from the baroque archway leading from the Questura’s offices to the car park. If Rossi had bothered to switch his phone on before it would have got him out of bed, what? Twenty minutes earlier? But that wouldn’t have saved anyone’s life. Now, the debris of takeaway espressos and sugar sachets violated the bare desk space separating them in his office. Their own cleaner had just been in, chatty as ever, oblivious as yet to the news.

“Other than that,” said Carrara, “we’re totally in the dark on this one. But it does look like there’s a possible pattern emerging.”

“You’ve been busy,” said Rossi.

The second such killing in as many weeks. The modus operandi and the victim profile bore distinct similarities, but no one had dared yet to use the term. Serial? Was it possible? In Rome?

Detective Inspector Luigi Carrara. Five years Rossi’s junior, several years under his belt in anti-mafia, undercover, eco-crime, narcotics, now on the Rome Serious Crime Squad. Recently married, he had the air of one of those men who never seem to have overdone anything in their lives: hardly a wrinkle, haircut every month, bright, fluid in his movements. Just the man Rossi needed on a Monday morning like this one.

“How similar?” said Rossi, still struggling to form what he considered decent sentences, though his mind was already whirring into action. “The weapon, for instance?”

“Blunt instrument. Iron bar or hammer, probably.”

“Who’s on the scene?”

“A few boys from the local station. They got the magistrate there sharpish though. Hopefully, they’ll have disturbed as little as possible. She was carrying ID, so we got to work with that straight off, once the news came in on the police channel.”

“Press know?”

“Not officially. But they will.”

“Silvestre?”

“Out of town, I think.”

“Good. Let’s go,” said Rossi grabbing his battered North Face from the coat stand, feeling more vigorous and even a little bit up for it. “I want to see this one for myself.” ‘

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Photo Credit: Megan http://www.seekmyscribbles.com
My Thoughts…
‘A Known Evil’, is an informative, well- researched international thriller. It details a serial killer’s exploits in a well-paced plot, set against a background of Italian politics and bureaucratic corruption, involving the church, police, judiciary and state.
If you are expecting graphic, serial killing detail, and knife-edge suspense, you may be disappointed. This story concentrates on how the corruption in all aspects of Italian life has facilitated the serial killer. Hampering the police investigation and furthering his and the corrupt officials’ sinister agenda.
Michael Rossi is the senior investigating officer; he is well-educated, a philosopher and a theologer, he sees his police officer role as a vocation. An enlighted individual who looks at the bigger picture, which helps him to be an excellent detective. His success allows him a certain latitude with his bosses, but they still frustrate his progress if he threatens their much-prized status quo. There are shades of ‘Morse’ and ‘Hathaway’ in this character with the Italian influence of ‘Zen’, and he is both likeable and interesting, worthy of more than one book.
I read this story in a day, intricately constructed with multiple settings and subplots that demand concentration to see how they relate to the overall story. The short chapters allow action and detail to be delivered in manageable bites, keeping the story’s momentum and suspense levels high.
There are plot twists and misinformation that keep you guessing. The reader glimpses aspects of the main characters’ past lives, perhaps the springboard for further stories in the series? The atmospheric, edgy ending answers all the questions posed throughout.
‘A Known Evil, ‘ explores in vivid detail the political intrigue, sinister organised crime and apparently random assassinations in a chaotic city drowning in corruption.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Killer Reads in return for an honest review.