Tag Archives: New Releases

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins #BookReview @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan #MustReads.

Today I’m sharing my review for The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins, a stand-alone Psychological thriller. 

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FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .

And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.

On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune. The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.

After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.

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The Neighbour is a stand-alone psychological thriller from Fiona Cummins, and very different in tone to Rattle and The Collector   (I loved both books). So I opened this book with some trepidation, and the reason for my trepidation? I have read many crime thrillers with “neighbours” as the main theme, so I wasn’t convinced the author could come up with a plot that would standout from the crowd. As usual, any doubts I had were dismissed once I read the prologue and the first couple of chapters. The Neighbour has to have one of the creepiest prologues EVER! It literally sent shivers down my spine.

FOR SALE: A lovely family home with a good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . .. sounds perfect doesn’t it? but there’s a catch the area where the house stands is the hunting ground for a serial killer dubbed the Doll Maker. This doesn’t stop the Lockwood family moving into their new home on The Avenue. Even before the removal vans unload, a fifth body is found in nearby Woods. The police seem to be struggling for leads and the Lockwoods’ neighbours all seem to have guilty secrets they would prefer to remain hidden, but which one is capable of murder?

The chapters give a “through the keyhole” view into each of the neighbours lives, allowing the reader to learn more about the secrets each one is hiding, there’s a growing sense of mistrust as you try to work out which of the oddball neighbours is most likely to be the killer. The story is told in short chapters, some of the chapters shine the spotlight on the owners living in the Avenue, whilst others relate to the investigation, but it’s the chapters that are narrated from the killers POV I found the most unsettling. You can’t beat a well-depicted serial in a crime thriller and the author has created a monster, as you learn more about them through past events, and their very dark thoughts regarding the crimes they committed I found myself repulsed by the killer, but a small part of me also found this insight strangely fascinating. 

Fiona Cummins has a remarkable talent she can write gruesome crime scenes, layered in horror and menace, and yet her writing is memorising and very descriptive, which seems at odds with the books she writes, but they fit perfectly together, making her books even more compelling to read. Without a shadow of doubt the author knows how to write a top-notch psychological/crime thriller, the sense of  horror, menace, and trepidation is palatable throughout. The Neighbour is a powerful, dark and disturbing story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until it’s heart stopping conclusion, cliched I know but also very true. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a dark heart and a chilling premise.  

  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (28 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing a review for a book by a new author to me, Breakers by Doug Johnstone. If you are looking for a gritty, no nonsense, deeply moving crime  thriller, then I may have just found the book for you……

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Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt. With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation . . . unless he drags her down, too.

A pulsating, tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful, and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers

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This is the first book I have read by Doug Johnstone, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,  but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to have my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Breakers could have been a depressing read considering it’s a modern tale of poverty, and deprivation, and yet it’s not, it’s a plausible and heartbreaking story, but buried amid all the ugliness is the beautiful and moving story of Seventeen-year-old Tyler who lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived area’s. The cards aren’t stacked in his favour, living with his junkie mum and younger sister, he lives hand to mouth stealing from people’s homes to support his family. The contrast between the affluent areas of Edinburgh and the more deprived areas are stark, but very credible. The author doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties of living in such a grim environment where violence, drugs and crime are part and parcel of everyday life for its residents. 

I really did not expect to like, let alone sympathise with Tyler’s character, after all he steals from people’s houses,  causing upset and trauma to the people from whose homes he steals. Yet once the author scratches away below the surface you realise Tyler isn’t all bad, his relationship with his little sister Bethany is heartwarming to say the least, he’s her loyal protector and desperate to shield her from the ugly and harsh realities of the life she has been born into. On the other hand, his relationship with his junkie mother is toxic, despite her shortcomings and she has many, Tyler still isn’t ready to give up on her, he sees things no child should have to witness, and it’s these scenes that are heartbreaking and harrowing, as the reader you want to wrap him in a big hug and tell him “everything is going to be alright” even though you know the realities of the world he lives in and the chance of him finding a “happy after” are slim to none. The author has the unique ability to create characters that despite their flaws, you find yourself rooting for, you feel their pain, experience their joy and cry at the injustice of the world we live in.

Doug Johnstone’s writing is superb every word, in fact every sentence has a deep impact on the reader, his characters are superbly depicted, and if this book doesn’t leave you an emotional wreck, then I’m sure you will be in the minority. Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page. In case you haven’t already guessed I loved this book, and it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2019.  Highly recommended to those who enjoy a gritty thriller with a powerful and moving plot.

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; (16 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving Breakers my 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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My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

#IKnowYou by Erik Therme #BlogTour @ErikTherme @Bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for I Know You by Erik Therme, along with my partner in crime (excuse the pun) Sarah Hardy don’t forget to check out her post at… bytheletterbookreviews

In my challenge to read more books by authors whose books I haven’t read before I decided to sign up to the blog tour, and I’m so glad I did. Read on for my thoughts….

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I can help you save your sister. But I need something from you …’

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home …

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I Know You is a relatively short read at 221 pages, but what it lacks in pages it certainly doesn’t lack in action, it’s what I consider to be a fast paced, quick moving thriller. The Walkers can only be described as a “dysfunctional family”, with oldest daughter Bree being the main care provider by default for her younger brother and sister Alissa and Taylor.  

When Bree receives a text stating, simply, “find your sister”, the race is on to find sixteen year old Alissa before it is too late. Bree’s family may not win a “family of the year” award but they are Bree’s family, and rather like a lioness protecting her young she will do anything to safeguard her siblings, this mindset drives her on in the quest to save Alissa. Bree’s a character I really liked, she’s determined, resourceful and ballsy, and despite her difficult childhood she doesn’t allow this to define her.  

The challenges Bree faces to save Alissa, move from the down right scary to the almost impossible, but here’s a character whose going to save her sister come hell or high water. As the story unfolds numerous reasons come to light, each one could potentially be the reason Alissa has been taking, a clever ploy by the author because you find yourself constantly trying to work out why Alissa has been taken? and by whom? There is a long list of worthy suspects who come under the microscope, as each one is discounted another one takes their place. 

The Walker family are central to the plot and although it’s not a book entirely character driven, they do play a big part in the plot. I know You explores what can happen to a family who haven’t had the luxury of growing up in a stable and loving environment and the impact this has on their life’s, the good, the bad, and the damn right ugly.  I wouldn’t say this book had a “heart stopping twist” yes it had plenty of twists and turns, but it lacked that “OMFG” moment I was expecting from the tagline, but never the less this book made for a quick, enjoyable read. This is the perfect thriller for those who are looking for a quick read with well developed characters and a suspenseful plot.

  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (12 April 2019)

Buying links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07NCYMZSFSocial

Apple Books:  https://apple.co/2TtfXPM

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2MQZdzE

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/uX3W30nA9OJ

My thanks to the author, Noelle Holten and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for a honest review.

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Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa–one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.eriktherme.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ErikTherme

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7831573.Erik_Therme

Facebook: www.facebook.com/erik.therme

Follow the blog tour….

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TheHunted by Kerry Barnes #BookReview @KerryBarnes1 @HQDigitalUK #TheHunted #BlogTour

Today I’m really excited to be re- sharing my review for The Hunted by Kerry Barnes, to celebrate the books paperback release on the 4th April 2019.

The Hunted is the first book in a brand new explosive crime series and it’s a cracker. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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Having spent her life watching her father run his East London firm, Zara Ezra has learnt a thing or two about being a gangster, and she’s ready to take over when the time comes.

Mike Regan, a blast from Zara’s past, is the head of his own firm, but when his son is kidnapped in the middle of a gangland feud, Mike has no choice but to accept help from the Ezras to get his little boy back alive.

With a rival firm playing increasingly dirty, murder moves to the top of the agenda and Zara has some big choices to make. It seems that the only way to come out on top is to play them at their own game…

But will she become The Hunter or The Hunted?

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If you enjoy a gangland thriller where violence is common place, revenge is brutal and where loyalties are tested at every turn, then I would highly recommend you buy a copy of The Hunted by Kerry Barnes, it’s a fast paced tale with more than a hint of gritty realism. This is the first book in a new series and OMG what an introduction, with an array of bad ass characters including some very unlikeable ones, and a fast paced plot that takes the reader into the inner circles of a gangland feud, this is definitely a book I would highly recommend to fans of Martina Cole, Jessie Keane and Kimberley Chambers.

Mike Regan is the bad boy in The Hunted but luckily he also has some redeeming features, he’s loyal and adores his son Ricky. When Ricky is kidnapped seemingly by a rival gang, all hell let’s loose and Mike has to call upon Zara the head of an East London firm to help get his son back. It’s great that the author has created a Zara a strong female character, as most gangland thrillers tend to be male dominated, she’s uncompromising and intimidating with balls of steel,  but on the flip side she’s vulnerable and very much has to make her mark in a male dominated world. 

There are some scenes that the faint hearted amongst you might find a bit much, but personally I feel if you are going to read a fictional book about gangland feuds then you should expect violence and plenty of swearing, personally I think these are the things which make The Hunted much more authentic and gritty in its telling.  This isn’t just a story about a boy being kidnapped, it’s one full of treachery, revenge, life long grudges and retribution. I was surprised to find I actually found one point in this book very emotional to read, and that’s a testament to Kerry Barnes writing, as I found myself completely immersed in Mike and Zara’s story.  

The Hunted is a book that you will rush through, it’s one of those that you just have to read “one more chapter” as the author weaves her tale of the murky world of gangland feuds incorporating  lashings of grit.  There were larger than life characters that despite doing terrible things manage to get under your skin, so you invest in their story.  I really enjoyed this book and Kerry Barnes ends The Hunted with a humdinger of a teaser that already has me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Would I recommend this book? It’s a definite “hell yes”. 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (21 Mar. 2019)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US

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Kerry Barnes born in 1964, grew up on a council estate in South East London. Pushed by her parents to become a doctor, she entered the world of science and became a microbiologist. After studying law and pharmaceuticals, her career turned to medicine.

Having dyslexia didn’t deter her from her passion for writing. She began writing when her daughter was born thirty years ago. Once her children had grown up she moved to the Kent coast and now writes full time.

Follow the blog tour……

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The book review café Book of the month **March 2019**

 

 

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April has finally arrived and hopefully Spring is on it’s way, although it’s not feeling very spring like at the moment!

I normally post my book of the month on the first day of every month, but unfortunately I haven’t been well and decided to take a short break from blogging, but I’ve finally got a round to choosing my book of the month.

For the third month running I’m determined to stick to there only being one book of the month, yet again this was an impossible task as I read so many books in March that I really enjoyed, but finally I narrowed it down to ONE book and here it is……..⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

On My Life by Angela Clarke

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Hells bells what an exciting and engrossing read On My Life by Angela Clarke turned out to be. If you love a prison drama, then look no further, it’s definitely dramatic, the vivid prison scenes depicted by the author give a sense of malevolence that radiate from its pages, it’s a book that’s fraught with tension. The author’s depiction of  HMP Fallenbrook is so convincing it doesn’t take much imagination to sense the claustrophobic feel of the prison, the constant noise, the lack of privacy, a world where violence and fighting for survival going hand in hand. This book is more than a crime thriller, it’s a searing account of one woman’s journey through a failed Justice system. You can find my full review here…..#OnMyLife by Angela Clarke #MustReads #BlogTour @TheAngelaClarke @

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A Gift For Dying by M.J.Arlidge @mjarlidge @MichaelJBooks #MustReads2019

#FourFeetUnder By Tamsen Courtenay @TamsenC_writer @unbounders #Recommended #TrueStory #Homeless

#NoLookingBack by Alex Kane #BlogTour #MustReads @AlexKaneWriter @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

#DayOfTheAccident by Nuala Ellwood #BookReview @NualaWrites @PenguinUKBooks #Giveaway #SignedPaperback

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen @greerkh @sarahpekkanen @panmacmillan #2019MustReads

#TheSting by Kimberley Chambers #MustReads2019 @

The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell #CrimeSeries #MustReads @Caroline_Writes

Books I’m hoping to read in April

Although these books could change depending on my mood, also I have a few books sitting on my own TBR list that I’m desperate to read.

 

 

 

55 by James Delargy #WhoIsFiftyFive? @JDelargyAuthor @SimonSchusterUK #GuestPost #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour @AnneCater

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for 55 by James Delargy. This is one book I want to read at some point it sounds fantastic. (Update I’ve actually just bought the book after reading Eva’s fab review on the blog tour  yesterday at noveldeelights)

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This book has been described as a thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp! Intrigued? Me too but in the meantime I have a brilliant guest post from the author himself, but first the book description……
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*** There were 54 victims before this. Who is number 55? ***
A thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp!

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.
He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. 

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer. This novel has been sold in 19 countries so far and has just been optioned for film.   

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (4 April 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Favourite writers

I like a number of genres of novels but I guess my love of Crime, Thrillers and Mystery novels comes from early on in my life. I would get The Hardy Boys novels from the library in school or in the next town over and go to bed reading them, often waking up the next day with my fingers in the pages where I had fallen asleep or the poor book sprawled on the floor beside the bed. Fingers in the pages was preferential as with a floor book I was left guessing where I had finished off.

After the Hardy Boys I moved onto other writers but the main one was Stephen King. I love his storytelling and was overawed by the range of styles and genres he could produce – horrors, dramas, crime, coming of age tales – all punctuated by characters and plots that were so engrossing. Of any writer I think that he has had the most influence in terms of wanting to write, even though it took to my thirties to turn to novel writing.

Despite this the book that might have influenced me the most is The Count of Monte Cristo, the innocent man seeking his revenge on those who imprisoned him falsely. I fell in love with the elaborate plot, the twists and turns and how his desire for revenge causes the protagonist to evolve from naïve, to vengeful, to compassionate.

Other writers to have influenced me include Chuck Palahniuk for the visual, sometime stomach-churning visceral nature of his writing. Ian Rankin for the depth of his characters and the world he creates. Val McDermid for her delicious plotting, mystery and characters. Colin Bateman for the characters, the setting and the sarcastic humour. Lee Child for the wit, plotting and energy of his books.

But there are many others in recent years such as, Cara Hunter, Jane Harper, Ann Cleeves, Simon Kernick, Joseph Knox, Steve Cavanagh, Michael Connolly and Fiona Barton. Not to mention novels such as The Great Gatsby, Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Dracula, Frankenstein, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Homer (not Simpson), George Orwell, John Steinbeck, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane. An almost endless list. So I’ll stop there. Although no doubt I’ll remember someone in the next few hours that I’ll regret leaving out. Kazuo Ishiguro. Annie Proulx. Roddy Doyle. Irvine Welsh.

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James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 55 is his first novel.

My thanks to author James Delargy and Ann Cater for the fabulous guest post.

Follow the blog tour…..

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Brotherhood by David Beckler #BlogTour @DavidBeckler1 #Extract @SapereBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Brotherhood by David Beckler blog tour. Brotherhood is an urban thriller packed full of suspense, it’s the first book in the Mason & Sterling series. I have a very intriguing extract to share with you all, but first the book description……

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A crime thriller, in which two ex-Royal Marines are pitted against a former child soldier, and one of the most brutal gangs in Manchester.

When Byron Mason’s seventeen year-old nephew, Philip, becomes embroiled in a murder, he calls his uncle for help. Byron returns to the city of his birth and, having been thrown back together with his estranged family, he finds his nephew is being hunted not only by the police, but also by a vicious gangster, Ritchie McLaughlin, the uncle of the murdered boy, both of whom believe Philip to be guilty of the crime. Shortly after Byron’s arrival, Philip disappears, leaving Byron and his firefighter friend, Adam Sterling, to track him down before time runs out.

As part of her investigation into Philip’s role in the murder, newly appointed Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Fahey also uncovers the brutal past of Philip’s friend, Mugisa, whose very survival has depended on burying his own emotions and controlling the people around him. She quickly realises that Mugisa is a very dangerous young man.

The search for Philip is made all the more perilous when Ritchie McLaughlin decides he has unfinished business with Byron, and is bent on exacting revenge. Byron and Adam are faced with tough decisions as they fight to keep Philip and his family safe; legal and moral boundaries are crossed in their battle against ruthless adversaries. In the end, though, the greatest peril comes from an unexpected quarter……

  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Sapere Books (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Quinn finished the can of Red Bull and wrinkled her nose. She’d have much preferred a coffee, but even if she’d found the espresso machine amongst the boxes in her new flat, it would have taken too long. She shivered, coveting the warmth of her bed as the wind hurled rain at her kitchen window. The smell of fresh paint from the work she’d done last night mingled with the pungent odour of the drink.

She read the address again and located it in her new street atlas. She’d spent her first few days driving around Manchester getting to know her new patch and had a rough idea of the way. Satisfied she could find it, she put the empty can in the bin and strode into the hallway. At the cheap mirror hanging behind the front door, she checked her reflection and, satisfied she’d pass muster, set off.

Twenty minutes later she drove down yet another narrow terraced street. She’d already pulled over once to get her bearings but could see nobody around to ask. A blue light flickered in the gloom and giving thanks, she accelerated towards it. Two fire engines took up half the street and beyond them several police vehicles and a car she recognised as Eddy Arkwright’s from the three child seats crammed into the rear. She’d only met him twice, but the sergeant seemed competent.

She parked past his car, grateful the rain had eased, and put on her ‘incident kit’: disposable overalls, waterproof boots and nitrile gloves. The firefighters moved around their fire engines, stowing their gear, and a couple paused to study her. A constable with a clipboard guarded a house with smoke-stained brickwork above the openings.

“DCI Quinn,” she said, flashing her ID card and stepped in through the gaping doorframe. A wave of humid heat hit her. Metal plates on the floor denoted the path, keeping feet out of the charred slurry and preserving evidence. A string of lights illuminated the corridor.

Siobhan paused in the doorway leading to the fire-blackened room. The smell reminded her of the peat fires at her grandmother’s. Overlaying this, the sweet acrid stench of burnt plastic and something else she didn’t want to think about. Powerful floodlights filled the centre of the space with harsh light, leaving the sides in shadow. Wisps of steam rose from the charred floor timbers.

The lighting focussed on the bin and the body spilling out of it. Besides anger that someone had done this to a fellow human, she felt the stirrings of the excitement she always experienced at the start of a big case.

A detailed video and many photos would preserve images of the scene, but she wanted to see the victim in situ. A figure on the other side of the room, like her dressed in disposable coveralls, switched off his torch and straightened. She recognised the distinctive outline of her sergeant.

“Morning, ma’am.” His voice, gruff and low, matched his appearance.

“Morning, Eddy, and as I told you on Friday, I’m not the Queen.” She smiled at him. “Boss or Guv will do.”

“Yes, Boss.”

Both wore coveralls but the similarities ended there. At six foot three, Eddy Arkwright towered over her. His build attested to his former pastime as a rugby league prop forward. She’d heard how a serious knee injury had ended his playing days and almost cost him his police career. At thirty-two, he’d filled out, and the coverall strained to contain him. A broken nose and cropped brown hair gave him an intimidating air.

In contrast, she stood at five foot four and a bit, and doubted she weighed half what he did. The coverall she wore bulged with excess material. Eddy switched his torch back on and she leant forward to examine the body. Even though she expected it, the sight made her throat burn. He looked the same age Declan would have been. Come on Siobhan, this is not your brother. To catch the perpetrator, she needed to stay detached. She must see the ruined flesh as evidence, a means of trapping the killer, not the remains of a young man.

She swallowed before asking, “Do we know what happened?”

“Fire brigade found him; I think it’s a him, unless it’s a very ugly woman.” Eddy’s grin died under the withering look she gave him and his cheeks reddened as he continued. “They got the call at 04.17 from a taxi driver. One of the lads is getting his statement. They got here at 04.21 and broke in through the front door.”

“What about the back?”

“That had a security grille on it.” He flashed the torch beam at it. “The firemen ripped it off afterwards, to let the smoke out.”

“Has anyone taken prints off it?”

“No, Boss.”

“Get it done please, both sides,” she said.

“They found the body at 04.43 and—”

“How come they took twenty minutes to find him? It’s not a big house.”

“I’m not sure, Boss.” She signalled for him to continue. “Like I said, they found the body and let our guys know. A patrol car was already here. The station officer assures me, apart from moving the bin when they discovered the body, everything else is as they found it.”

She looked around the walls, noting many black scuff marks at floor level, and sooty glove-prints higher up.

“I’m sure,” she murmured.

He ignored her comment and continued, “They found the two upstairs earlier, at 04.41.”

She straightened and flexed her knees.

“They can take him away once SOCO are happy. I’ll speak to the fire officer.”

She left Eddy to carry out her instructions and returned to the front door, her mind racing through the steps needed to get the investigation up to speed. This was her first working day in a new force, and she knew she would have to rely on Eddy’s local knowledge in the early stages. She dismissed the churning in her stomach. One of her reasons for transferring was to work cases like this.

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David writes crime thrillers full of fast-paced action.

Born in Addis Ababa in 1960, he spent his first eight years living on an agricultural college in rural Ethiopia where his love of reading developed. After dropping out of university he became a firefighter and served 19 years before leaving to start his own business. 

He began writing in 2010 and uses his work experiences to add realism to his fiction.

The Mason and Sterling series centre on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of supporting characters support his protagonists. Sapere Books are publishing Brotherhood, the first novel in the series, in late 2018.

David lives in Manchester, his adopted home since 1984. In his spare time he tries to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listens to music, socialises and feeds his voracious book habit.

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