Their Final Act

Final Act 2.1

 

Another Blog Blitz and this time the latest in Alex Walters’ DI McKay Series.

The body of an almost washed up comedian is found early one morning on the streets of Inverness. DI McKay and DS Ginny Horton are quickly sent to the scene. They learn that the comedian had been garroted. They also learn that he had been part of a double act in the 1990s and his partner had been sent to jail charged with rape.

Soon after another body is found on an abandoned industrial site, killed in the same way as the comedian. But what ties these two murders together? It transpires that this victim, a former musician turned record producer, had also been accused of rape. Is this the connection?

Meanwhile McKay and his boss, DCI Helena Grant are coping with the fallout from an earlier case – Candles and Roses. While that case has been closed unsuccessfully to their way of thinking, they have to concentrate on the case at hand.

Soon more bodies are discovered, having been killed in the same fashion; but apart from a link to show business, they are getting nowhere with finding who the murderer or murderers are.

Again from this author, there is another story running parallel to this and it is only very near the end that we see where the stories impact upon each other, and once again, we are shown what a good thriller and mystery writer Alex Walters is.

This is book No 3 in the Alec McKay series. Did you read my review of the earlier book Candles and Roses?  This is a continuation of where the earlier book left off and it answers some of the questions left hanging at the end of that book. Ths latest book is well written, the characters are all well rounded and believable and we feel for them. We even get an insight, small though it is, into McKay’s private life.

I recommend this book as a very good read.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read by the publishers, Bloodhound Books, and I choose to write this review.

Blog Blitz:

B L O G B L I T Z (1)

 

Author Bio:

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Alex Walters is the author of Candles and RosesDeath Parts Us and Their Final Act, all featuring DI Alec McKay and set in and around the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. He has also written four books set in and around Manchester – Trust No-One and Nowhere to Hide featuring the undercover officer, Marie Donovan, and Late Checkout and Dark Corners, featuring DCI Kenny Murrain – and three crime novels set in modern-day Mongolia, The Shadow WalkerThe Adversary and The Outcast.
Alex has previously worked in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking and as a consultant working mainly in the criminal justice sector. He now runs the Solus Or Writing Retreat in the Black Isle with his wife, occasional sons and too many cats.

 

 

 

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Guilty Until Proven Innocent

 

Three stories running parallel to each other but all the while, impinging one on the other – are they in fact only one story?

A school teacher is outed as a paedophile. How does one prove one’s innocence when everything points to one being guilty? A young underage girl names him as the father of her aborted child and things spiral down from there. He is arrested in front of staff and school pupils and allowed to leave only because the information the police have on him is incomplete.

His wife and children don’t believe his protestations of innocence and so he is on his own.

Meanwhile, DS Braddick and his team are called to a scene where a body is found washed up on the shore, having a distinctive mesh wrapping. This immediately brings to mind an unsolved triple murder case from seven years before. Is there a link?

And then there is a paedophile released after serving a four-year sentence, determined to get back on the people who outed him in a FaceBook group called Predator Hunters. The original six members of the group are murdered one by one.

Yes, an exciting book to read. All the characters are well-defined and the whole is totally believable, from a wrongly accused school teacher to a Detective Sergeant, his team and a retired Detective Inspector and of course the murderer.

This is a book well worth reading and I recommend it to you.

Note – I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and I choose to make this recommendation.

Author Bio:

Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mindset of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.

He signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.

 

The Last Time

Yet another author new to me, Sharon Haste. I read that she is a Darwin based writer and this is her first novel although she has previously published short stories and a novella.

In the opening chapter, we briefly meet a young woman but are not given her name.

Then we are introduced to Charli Richter a 16-year-old who wakes chest deep in water and realises she is drowning. She then realises that her mother and baby brother are also drowning. She manages to save herself but is unable to save the other two.

Charli  is a girl who has led a charmed life having to consider nobody but herself and suddenly we are expected to believe that she can not only look after herself while dodging her father and the police, but also involve two young men from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ to help her. In amongst it all there is a pendant that allows backward time travel where she can attempt to bring her mother and brother back to life, secrets about her father and his family, the background of the first young girl we meet and the relationship between her father and a well known model.

I found this story much too wordy and unbelievable and though  I persevered and read it to the end, I cannot recommend it to my readers.

A copy of the book was given to me by the author and I am sorry that my review has been so harsh.

 

 

A Banquet of Consequences

Banquet

In her own inimitable way, Ms George weaves a tale of jealousy, love, lust, suicide, murder and mayhem set around the most dysfunctional family ever.

We meet Lily and William happily, or not, cohabiting in London. William’s brother Charlie is happily, or not, married to India.

Caroline, their mother is married to Alastair, again happily or not.

Caroline is PA to Clare a well published feminist author.

William is a disturbed soul – and later we find out why – who commits suicide and the outward appearance of the level setting of this family is disturbed

When Clare is found dead, and a second autopsy determines it is murder, Havers and Nkata are sent to Cambridge to assist the local police in their enquiries.

The plot thickens when Clare’s editor and friend is discovered barely alive, suffering from the poison that killed Clare.

Meantime, we find that Alastair is having an affair with his long-time employee, Sharon.; India, having left Charlie, now has a new relationship with Nat; Caroline is getting more demanding and seemingly unhinged, and DCI Ardrey is watching Havers in the hope that she fails, thereby allowing her to transfer Havers from the Met to a force in the north.

Once again, Lynley plays only a minor but supporting role in this story, which is a shame. But we do learn more about his new relationship with Daidre.

This is a cleverly written story and the characters are well defined and although all have problems, and live lives different from most of us, they are believable.

The ending is a total surprise – well it was to me.  And then there is the twist in the tale that I certainly didn’t see coming.  Yes, in spite of the fact that Lynley does not play a very strong part in this book  I recommend it.

Its well written, well told and a book to keep you awake late at night wondering what else can happen to this group of people.

 

 

 

Don’t Know Jack

Jack

A few days ago, I introduced Diane Capri and some of the characters about whom she writes her stories.

Today I am reviewing the first book in her Hunt for Jack Reacher series, a book I read some time ago and have just reread.

But first, if you are a Lee Child fan and know of his protagonist Reacher, let me say that using Jack in her series is approved and indeed encouraged by Lee Child.

In this book we meet Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar,  two FBI agents who are tasked with finding and building a file on Jack Reacher.  They don’t know why their boss wants to find him and know little about him  They make some bad assumptions because of this lack of knowledge and because they Don’t  Know Jack. They are given misleading information from their boss; known information has been withheld from them and they get off to a bad start.

They are sent to a small town in Georgia which is where Reacher was last seen.  Incidentally, this is the small town Margrave, around which The Killing Floor, the first ever Jack Reacher novel is set. Otto and Caspar become involved in a series of deaths, counterfeit money and mayhem in a small town.

This is a book that I can recommend for readers who like suspenseful and mysterious tales,  and a man who is more like a ghost than a real human being. There are more books in this series, and I encourage you to read them.

 

 

 

The Artisan Heart

 

Artisan

Following the recommendation of a friend, I read this book.

Hayden is a paediatrician in the ER department of an Adelaide hospital. In one fell swoop, and almost overnight, his world falls apart. After a stressful evening/night at work, he goes home to find his wife Bernadette in bed with her colleague. He retreats to the hospital where he encounters a child who has been scalded and becomes involved in a fight with the father. The outcome is that Hayden is suspended while investigations take place.

He has nowhere to go and so reverts to his parents’ abandoned cottage in the Gippsland Mountains in Victoria, Australia.

He quickly meets Isabelle and her deaf daughter. Well, you can see where the story is going.

I found it easy to read but with no real pulling power. I didn’t feel the need to rush back to the book or to quickly turn pages to see what would happen next.

There were plenty of characters in this book but the one I felt most drawn to was Genevieve the deaf girl and her bonding with Hayden was written as if it really happened.

In all, I found the book disappointing, but would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Candles and Roses

Candles
Another author today who is new to me. Alex Walters writes about DI Alex McKay and this is the first book in the series.

The story is set in the Highlands of Scotland. On a bright sunny, relatively warm day a young couple is walking in a Celtic place of pilgrimage that lore has it had health-giving properties. They were looking for some place of privacy where they could be alone. But instead, they discovered a makeshift grave and a body surrounded by candles and roses.

This was only the first of such finds. DI McKay is in charge of the case, and he quickly reverts to thoughts of a young girl of a similar age who went missing a year before. Almost before they can identify the victim, another body is found and then another, Each body was placed in a different place but each with the candles and roses. Why did the killer choose these locations?

DI McKay also has his own issues. His daughter died in London as the result of an accident at a train station and his relationship with his wife is rapidly falling into a downward spiral, but in spite of all this,  McKay works his hardest to solve the case and bring the killer to justice. With his team, he tries to find what ties these young women to each other and who could have reason or reasons to kill them.

There were several likely suspects dotted through the book but I didn’t really know who was the killer until it was spelt out for me and put there in front of me.   It actually came as quite a shock when it was finally revealed.

But, having said that,  we are left with a question at the end of the book. Perhaps it will be revealed in the next one in the series.

This is a well-written book and if serial killers are your thing, I certainly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book to read by the publishers Bloodhound Books and I choose to write this review.

Fatal Distraction

I have long been a fan of Diane Capri. She has several series including Jack and the Hunt for Jack Reacher;  the Heir Hunter  – Michael Flint;  the Hunt for Justice – Judge Willa Carson and Jess Kimball, journalist turned victim supporter.

Here’s my review of the Jess Kimball story Fatal Distraction

Journalist Jess Kimball has spent the past ten years searching for her son, Peter, who was abducted when he was a baby. She now spends most of her time, when not searching for him, helping victims of crime.

This book opens in a small central Florida country church where mourners are gathered for the funeral of Governor Helen Sullivan’s son, the sixteen-year-old Eric. Eric and his best friend Ryan Jones were killed in a car accident which some believe was not an accident, particularly following the discovery of a video camera set up to record the accident.

Now, three years later, Jessica Kimball has an appointment to interview the Governor and has to pass through a crowd of demonstrators against the Governor’s decision not to dismiss the forthcoming execution of Tommy Taylor, a killer of several children in Central Florida. Jess and Helen hit if off and over time become quite close. Jess is involved when there is an attack made on the farmhouse Helen shares with her husband and where he is staying following a stroke. Thstable where their son’s prized horse is kept with several others is burned and Helen’s husband is attacked and left for dead.

Jess acquires some information concerning the trial of Tommy Taylor that she wants to share with the Governor but she cannot get access to her. That is until her camera man gets to a family friend, who happens to be a close friend of the Governor.

The story moves at a fast pace in this suspenseful novel. and there are spills and twists aplenty. At first I was a little disappointed when the killer was revealed early in the story, but quickly realised this was part of the author’s ploy to get the reader involved in questioning/wondering what could be the  the killer’s motive

Two strong female characters head the list of other believable characters who form part of the makeup of the story.

I recommend you read this book, and others by this author. And to find out “who done it” and why, you have to read the book.

 

 

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This is How it Begins

Joan D

I have known Joan Dempsey through the blogosphere for some years. She has helped me with some of my writing efforts when she was most helpful. So when she began speaking about her novel I just had to find out more. I have now read it and here is my review’

Joan Dempsey’s debut novel is a tour de force. The book is ‘un-put-downable’ once you start reading. The author has spent many hours researching as is obvious from the beginning of the book. She deals skilfully with the lives of those living in the political atmosphere of the time, the Holocaust and all it meant to them.  Her characters are well developed and totally believable. The swinging between then and now was cleverly managed and the whole thing is compelling. Unexpected betrayals then and new loyalties now, bring the reader completely into the story.  I bought the book as part of a Christmas gift for my daughter, but I confess I read it before she did.

The Long Revenge

 

Eddie Collins, rough around the edges, a bit of a misfit with his colleagues and bosses, but he gets the job done better than any other CSI.

Eddie just has to check up on a site where an ancient body has been found. But to his sorrow, the site is booby trapped and his colleague James Whitely is killed, and Eddie is badly injured.

Eddie wakes in the hospital and as soon as he is discharged, he’s determined to get back on the job and find the murderer or murderers of James.

This is another well-plotted tale, with more than one story intertwining throughout. Family abuse, several murders, incest and its outcome, all feature.

I was pleased that Charles, Eddie’s father is fleshed out more in this novel and plays a bigger part.

All the other characters are in it. Jeffery,  Eddie’s boss, Kenny another CSI, Sid the transgender or is he merely a cross-dresser, receptionist, Benton, and Cooper the head of CSI. And we meet Morgan Bremner, the psychiatrist tasked with determining when/if Eddie should return to work.

The scene is set and it behoves Eddie to sort out the convoluted, twisted tale including several more murders. Of course, being Eddie he doesn’t give up and he is eventually lead to the killer. On the way, he is close to being killed on a couple of occasions.

You’ve got to love or hate Eddie. He’s arrogant and self-opinionated but under it, is a hint of emotion, well disguised.

This is the fourth book in the series, and I hope it will not be the last.

I was given a book to read by the author for which I thank him. I choose to write this review and recommend the series to all who enjoy a well-scripted tale of murder and mayhem.

Release date: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound

Genre: Mystery/Thriller