Tag Archives: Crime

The book review café book of the month **June 2019**

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Well here we are in July, can you believe it? At last summer seems to have arrived😎 I’m just wondering how long it will last. Before I share my book of the month I thought I would give you an update on my lack of posts lately.  Earlier this year I got admitted to hospital, and to cut along story short it made me realise I needed to slow down, so for the next few months I will be posting as and when. I have no schedule,  well apart from one cover reveal and a blog tour I’m really excited about (my lips are sealed for now 🤐).

You may have noticed I’ve updated my blog photo, do you like it?or hate it? feel free to leave a comment I won’t be offended honesty! I wanted something that instantly shows that I mostly read and review crime thrillers.  I’m still in two minds about the cover but it will do for now anyway.

And now the real reason for my post it’s time to choose my book of the month for June. How do I choose my book  of the month? I go for a book that I find particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. So without further ado here’s my book of the month for June and it’s a cracker……..

The Whisper Man by Alex North

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With a synopsis that grabbed my attention and a promise from the publishers ‘GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST THRILLER OF 2019’ there was no way on earth I was going to miss reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way). Oh, and a word of warning make sure your bedroom doors are closed at night or beware ** If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken** You can read my full review here…..The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #TheWhisperMan #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Links to my reviews……..

TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst #Review @JennyBlackhurst @Annecater #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @headlinepg #SomeoneIsLying #ButWho

Books I’m hoping to read this month

Depending on my mood of course 😂🙈

 

Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Black Summer by M.W.Craven the second book in the Washington Poe series, and one of my most anticipated reads for summer 2019. You can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……

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After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

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Ever since I reached the last page The Puppet Show  I have been (in)patiently waiting for Black Summer by M.W. Craven, the second book in the Washington Poe series. One of my favourite things about picking up a new book is when a crime author grabs your attention with a dramatic opening, as soon as I read the first page I just knew that this was a book I knew I would savour. Although Black Summer could be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read both books in order, not doing so would be like ordering a dessert without the main course! Where’s the pleasure in that? This book is perfectly paced, with engaging characters, it’s definitely one of this year’s summer unmissable crime reads. 

Black Summer is the perfect title for this book, there’s a storm brewing with Poe planted firmly in the eye of the storm!  M.W. Craven puts our hero Poe through the wringer as he finds himself on the wrong side of a crime investigation, one that will question his integrity, and potential end his career.  A case from his past dramatically takes centre stage when Elizabeth Keaton staggers into a police station, nothing wrong with that you might think, but Poe helped to convict her father Jared Keaton, chef to the stars for her murder! A conviction  based mainly on forensic evidence. So it doesn’t bode well for Poe, aided by his colleagues, computer, science and maths genius, Tilly Bradshaw, Poe is in a race against time to prove his innocence. There’s nothing Tilly loves more than a complex the puzzle, if anything she embraces them, and M.J. Craven delivers a deliciously complex  case, one that allows Tilly to showcase her skills in helping to solve a bewildering case. 

There is so much I could say about Poe and Tilly the dynamic duo, they are both such fabulous depicted, compelling characters. Poe is complex & charismatic, complex, whereas the wonderful Tilly is still socially awkward, some of her comments need fine tuning, tact definitely isn’t her strong point but she’s a hell of a character all the same. The dialogue between the couple is endearing, charming and funny, but it’s these moments that add light to the darkness of the plot. There is an array of brilliant characters in Black Summer that are worthy of a mention. We are introduced to forensic pathologist, Estelle Doyle another quirky character, and one I hope will reappear in future books. As for the charming, charismatic Jared Keaton, without giving away spoilers, he’s the definition of a psychopath, chilling but so brilliantly depicted!  The author has a knack for creating characters that are multidimensional, quirky and unforgettable, always a definite plus. 

I loved how the author brought all the threads together culminating in a jaw dropping, but very satisfying and clever conclusion. Black Summer isn’t as dark or gory as The Puppet Show, but OMG if anything I probably enjoyed this book more, there’s so many questions, intrigue, and mystery, my perfect kind of crime read. This is one book that will definitely be on my top reads of 2019, I’m only sorry that we will have to wait another year for the next book in the series, but I will definitely read it and the one after that, and the one……… Black Summer is a book I would recommend without hesitation,  and for those of you who love a crime thriller that’s taut and brilliantly twisted it’s a ‘must read’

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (20 Jun. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

And yes I’m giving a Black Summer my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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#NoWayOut by Cara Hunter #CrimeSeries #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @PenguinUKBooks

Today I’m sharing my review for the latest book in the DI Fawley series, No Way Out by Cara Hunter if you are a fan of crime/police procedures then this is an unmissable series. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……..

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DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED? 

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked. 

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder. 

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Woohoo Cara Hunter is back with No Way Out the third novel in the D I Adam Fawley series, in case you haven’t guessed this is one of my favourite crime series ever, in fact I didn’t even bother reading the book description, I picked up the book and dived right in. After reading No Way Out in a day it’s safe to say this crime thriller turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The author pulls out all the stops, No Way Out is a nail biting, complex tale of arson, child murder and family intrigue. 

No Way Out opens with the chilling discovery of two children, burned in a fire in their family home. Initially, there’s no sign of their parents. The police are not only dealing with arson, but possibly murder. Who would want this seemingly “normal family” dead? Where are the parents? Enter Di Fawley and his team whose job it is to piece the clues together. No Way Out begins in the present but gradually reveals events in the families past that led to the devastating house fire. With so much going on you would be forgiven if you thought this novel may be difficult to follow, but it’s really not, Cara Hunter has a knack of blending past and present timelines, and other mediums into a seamless read that’s nigh on impossible to put down.  

Although No Way Out can be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read the whole series in order, it’s no hardship I promise. In this novel we learn more about DI Fawley and his team, although the author doesn’t overwhelm the plot with details of their woes or personal life’s, which I find can often happen with a crime series. We just know enough about each of the characters to satisfy our curiosity and make each character all the more intriguing. As you can see from the book description a child dies, which although upsetting the author handles the subject with sensitivity. 

If there’s one thing I love about Cara Hunter’s books it her attention to detail, not only does she provide the reader with a gripping story line, but she adds newspaper reports, transcriptions from witness statements and fire statement reports. An original concept which adds a touch of authenticity to the read, but it’s also one that make you feel part of the investigation rather than a bystander, you’re there sifting through the mountains of evidence, poring over witness statements looking for the clue that will finally “crack” the case. As I expected Cara Hunter has woven an intricate plot, bound together in red herrings and misdirection at every turn, the most satisfying thing about a crime read is not working out the intricate plot before the big reveal,  and Cara Hunter kept me in the dark until the shocking but very satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended by me.

  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (22 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Links to my reviews for the Close To Home and In The Dark by Cara Hunter…….

Close To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

DEGREES OF GUILT BY HS Chandler @HSCINKPEN #BookReview #DegreesOfGuilt @OrionBooks #MustReads @Helen_Fields

Good morning today I’m sharing my review for Degrees Of Guilt by H S Chandler aka crime thriller writer Helen Fields. If you love a legal thriller this book is unmissable. Read on for my thoughts……..

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

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Nothing in life is ever black and white, there are shades of grey that blur our opinions, our thoughts, it’s one thing hearing the facts, but what about the untold story? What hidden truths could change a guilty verdict around or vice versa? Degrees Of Guilt by H.S. Chandler is a thrilling book where your opinion of the guilty, in this case Marie who freely admits to killing her husband, will sway at almost every chapter. This has to be one of the most exciting, complex, and compelling legal thrillers I’ve read for a long time, it’s the definition of a page turner. Rather like the jury, you find yourself living and breathing Marie’s trial, separating the layers of fact from fiction and hoping you make the right decision, guilty or not guilty? It’s up to you to decide.  

With a stellar of an opening chapter Degrees Of Guilt pulls you in to Maries’s story at first she appears cold and rational, But then as the story deftly unfolds we learn more about Marie’s complex life with Edward, nothing is as it first appears, is Marie telling the truth? or is her story one that’s been fabricated to gain sympathy for her wrongdoing’s? I couldn’t help but feel some empathy for her character, even though at times I had my doubts if she really was as innocent as she claimed to be.  The novel is an intricate web of lies, secrets, manipulations, and deceit which make this story a constant, head spinning guessing game, right up until the last chapter you are never sure where the truth really lies. 

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide Marie’s fate, at first she’s a reluctant participate, she’s nervous, timid, her life is very different to Marie’s she’s a wife and mother who life centres on her family, but as Marie’s trial reveals shocking details of her marriage she realises she has far more in common with her than she first thought. I found it fascinating to see how the mixed bunch of jurors first assumptions of Marie changed throughout the story, their opinions and feelings constantly shift, so you are never sure which verdict they will choose. Marie’s story is intense, alarming and uncomfortable,  which some readers find upsetting.  The author depicts the claustrophobic feel of the courtroom and the animosity of the jury towards the accused and their peers perfectly. 

The setting of a courtroom for most of the novel adds a palatable sense of claustrophobia and trepidation, a ploy that’s guaranteed to keep you reading and will make you reluctant to put this novel down even for a few minutes. Degrees of guilt is part domestic noir infused with a believable and heart wrenching courtroom drama, oozing with tension and mystery. HS Chandler knows how to keep the reader’s attention with a complex plot, intriguing characters, and a couple of curveballs I never saw coming until they hit me in the face! A superb book that I would highly recommend to those who love domestic noir wrapped up in a courtroom drama.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Trapeze (16 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Meggy over at https://chocolatenwaffles.com/, for her fabulous review that convinced me to read this book. 

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When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin #Review @themarkgriffin @LittleBrownUK

Today I’m sharing my review for When Darkness Comes, the debut crime thriller from Mark Griffin, if you are a fan of dark and gruesome crime thrillers then this one’s definitely for you.

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***The first book in a bestselling new serial killer series***

Holly Wakefield works for the NHS as a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers. She has particular reason to be good at her job – but she keeps that to herself.

When DI Bishop from the Met Police approaches Holly to investigate a recent killing, Holly is horrified by the dismembered bodies and the way they have been theatrically positioned. More shocking still is when the pathologist reveals this is not the first time she has seen these mutilations. It means a serial killer is out there, and they’re going to kill again – soon.

Holly is used to chasing serial killers. But this killer has something in common with Holly that she’s kept hidden for as long as she can remember. And for the first time since she was a child, Holly is forced to face the darkness of her past…

The first thriller in a gritty and gripping new crime series starring forensic psychologist Holly Wakefield. For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Val McDermid, Robert Galbraith and the TV’s Luther and Line of Duty.

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When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin opens with a tantalising first chapter, definitely a promising start for a new crime series by Mark Griffin featuring forensic psychologist Holly Wakefield. I’m a huge fan of crime thriller series (in case you hadn’t already guessed) something guaranteed to make me pick up a book is one that  features a serial killer add in a forensic psychologist in the shape of Holly Wakefield (forensic psychology is another subject that fascinates me) and it was a book I just had to read.  When Darkness Calls is definitely one for those who enjoy a crime thriller that’s veers to the dark and gruesome, it’s compelling with many a nail biting scene to keep the most hardened crime thriller riveted.  

Holly Wakefield, is a criminal psychologist who specialises in the study of psychopaths and serial killers, some of whom she works with at a London psychiatric hospital. Holly is given the chance to work as a profiler with Detective Inspector Bishop and his murder squad. Their investigation begins with the discovery of an elderly couple murdered in their country home and it leads them to discover a trail of deaths stretching back more than 20 years. Holly is a refreshing protagonist for a crime thriller, she’s a walking, talking sickopedia, of serial killers and their macabre crimes, it’s clear she is committed to her job, she’s driven, and she’s quirky, but beneath the veneer are some very dark secrets that Holly would prefer to keep hidden. 

One of the things that makes this book such a compelling read is the author’s clever ploy of using Holly’s unhealthy obsession with serial killers as part of the plot  she relates details of infamous killers, their motives and their methods to the ongoing investigation which I found fascinating, this give the reader an insight into the unknown serial killer, as well as making this crime thriller all the more disturbing. The investigation takes a very dark and seriously twisted route, as Holly and Bishop chase a serial killer who is one sick individual, a master of control, manipulation and domination.  

There aren’t many books that make me grimace, some of the crime scenes and autopsies are graphic and pretty gory to say the least, but in the author’s defence they never feel unwarranted. When Darkness Calls is perfectly paced, it’s a dark tale (definitely my kind of read), with compelling characters, there’s a palatable sense of terror that permeates each page of this well thought out crime thriller. Did I mention this is the author’s debut novel? Well it is and what a fabulous start to this author’s writing career, in my opinion Mark Griffin is a new and exciting voice in the crime thriller genre and I will definitely read the next book in the series without hesitation. Highly recommended by me.

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (1 Nov. 2018)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Night By Night by Jack Jordan #BookReview @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #blogtour #JacksBack #NightByNight #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Night By Night by Jack Jordan blog tour. Night By Night is a stand-alone thriller and one I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a darkly addictive thriller. Night By Night is inspired by Stephen Port who murdered at least four gay men  between 2014-15 and the failings of the police in the investigation, which made this book a frighteningly credible read. Read on for my thoughts…

39A66C12-DCAB-4095-BA6C-7C18E6126689A darkly addictive, fast-paced thriller about a hidden secret, a missing person and a string of unsolved murders, by a rising star of crime fiction.

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

Catapulted into a dark world of fear and obsession, she begins to dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance? Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

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If there’s one thing I can be sure of it’s that Jack Jordan never fails to amaze me, each book he’s written has been very different in tone, content and plot. But still Night By Night the latest offering from the author took even me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to have my heart shattered, or to find myself sobbing uncontrollably, at this point I realised I had only read the first four chapters of the novel! Such a brilliant and haunting start to what I consider to be Jack Jordan’s best book yet. 

Jack Jordan has a knack for creating characters who are lost souls, they get under your skin, you can’t but help but feel their emotions, their turmoil, but ultimately you want them to emerge in one piece from their living hell. Rose is one such character, her grief is palatable from the outset, you can imagine her state of mind caused through years of constant insomnia, and it’s these feelings that connect you to her character. When we first meet Rose she’s a woman who has reached rock bottom, she’s defined by one tragic event that has changed her life forever. It’s only when she finds the journal of Finn that a new Rose emerges, one that’s resourceful, stubborn and determined to get to the bottom of Finn’s  mysterious disappearance.

Night By Night is one of those psychological thrillers where the plot isn’t predictable, at one point I was feeling very smug with myself for working it all out, but I was wrong thankfully, as Jack Jordan’s plot was by far the more original.This is a modern day tale and the author pulls no punches creating scenes that are haunting, harrowing and emotionally charged, it’s the constant shifting of scenes that make this novel such an addictive read. The chapters told from the point of view of Finn Matthews add a sense of malevolence, that simmers away until the novel reaches its heart stopping conclusion. Without a shadow of a doubt Night By Night is a dark, intense, unpredictable thriller, but it’s also a novel that packs an emotional punch. In case you haven’t guessed I loved this book, and it’s one I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a well drawn, dark and haunting  thriller.

I’m giving Nigh By Night my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Paperback: 448 pages

Publisher: Corvus (2 May 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

 

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

Follow the blog tour………

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Jaded by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #review #Jaded

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of Jaded by Rob Ashman, the fourth book in the DI Roz Kray series. If you are a fan of gritty crime thrillers then this is a series that’s unmissable, read on for my thoughts…….

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A body washes up on a Blackpool beach, tortured and shot through the head.

A man is found in an alleyway with his throat ripped open.

A woman is murdered in a hospital bed.

What connects them?

DI Roz Kray’s private life is in turmoil as she struggles to unravel a baffling case and DCI Dan Bagley is hell-bent on making her working life a misery.

Billy Ellwood is a chameleon. What forced him to disappear eighteen years ago? And what was the promise?

When Kray makes a shattering discovery it rocks her world to the core. The stakes could not be higher. She’s left with no choice.

This time … it’s all or nothing. 

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Rob Ashman has done it again! he’s seriously messed with my reading schedule, when I down loaded Jaded I planned on taking a quick peek at the first page, epic fail!  because before I realised it I had read the first half!  I shouldn’t have expected anything less, as the author has the extraordinary ability to hook you in with a shocker of an opening, let’s just say I never realised what a bottle of red hot chilli sauce could be used for (ouch). The author really has a very twisted imagination as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, but it means the reader should “expect the unexpected”, I like that in a read, it heightens my enjoyment tenfold if you are never sure which dark path the author will take you down next.

Roz Kray is back, but the author doesn’t give her an easy ride, she struggles to unravel a baffling case when a body washes up on the beach, DCI Dan Bagley (a nasty piece of work) is hell-bent on making her working life a misery, her private life is in turmoil. I really felt for Roz this time round, at the start of the book she is looking at a rosy future with her new boyfriend Millican, but then she suffers a personal tragedy, one that might break Roz,  I’m not sure how Rob Ashman does it but somehow he always manages to gain my sympathy for what at first appear to be the most hardened killers,  Billy included. Jaded has sporadic chapters from Billy’s perspective, a man who faces his own personal hell, these chapters look at his motives and the brutal world he’s become part of, I couldn’t help but find excuses for Billy’s actions, and also hoping along the way he would finally find some closure to a painful chapter of his life. Rob Ashman shares both Roz’s and Billy’s personal tragedies as the story progresses it’s these chapters that are tragic, powerful and heartbreaking.

Jaded opens with many brutal murders, and the reader is introduced to an array of characters, what at first appear to be many subplots are craftily melded together to make a heart thumping read. With themes of human trafficking, drugs, and murder incorporated into a cauldron of violence and revenge Jaded is a crime thriller that keeps the reader on tenterhooks throughout. You would be forgiving for thinking this book sounds very dark, but there are moments of light relief hidden within the pages. Although the book packs a brutal punch, it’s actually a very emotional read, somehow or other Rob Ashman has the unique ability to write the most brutal scenes but alongside them are powerful, emotional scenes that make his book such a pleasure to read.

Jaded by Rob Ashman is the fourth book in the DI Roz Kray series, personally I wouldn’t read it as a stand-alone, it’s just to good a series not to start at the beginning. If you are looking for a sedate crime thriller, then this definitely isn’t the book for you, but if you are looking for a read that’s fast-paced, brutal, with well-depicted characters, a thriller that will make your heart pound then this is definitely the book for you.  Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (29 April 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Other books in the series

 

 

Links to my reviews…….

#Faceless by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #SerialKillerThriller #MustReads

**Blog Tour** #SuspendedRetribution by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

#ThisLittlePiggy by Rob Ashman #BlogBlitz @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #MustReads