The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

‘He said he didn’t remember killing them…’

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of The Sleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A few years ago I read and enjoyed Sirens, the first book in the Aidan Watts series. I was intrigued with the Manchester setting but wasn’t prepared for how dark the storyline was, how corrupt the police were and mainly how flawed Aidan was.

By book three much is the same, the darkness and corruption is still evident but I started to see a different side to Aidan. He seemed to accept, without resentment, the way his life had gone and I started to see a more compassionate side to him. I first noticed it when he met Adam in Strangeways prison. I felt that he was genuinely concerned for him and that he wanted to make his life more bearable. This feeling continued throughout the novel and on finishing it, I think it was because he was aware of what lay in his own future. A few days after reading it I feel that this was the first book I liked him in.

It was a nice change to have a police officer who wasn’t corrupt. Naomi, who became Aidan’s new partner early in the novel when Sutty was injured whilst on duty. I could sense her loyalty, despite the frustration she felt towards Aidan at times. Even when he hurt her feelings she didn’t abandon him. She was the only member of the force who I didn’t feel had a different agenda. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of her.

The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox – Review.

About The Book

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift: an endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. 

Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to the Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. 

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth have been filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits pieces together this stranger’s identity, someone is sifting through the shards of his own. 

When mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats start to escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move. 

And to discover who the smiling man really is, he must first confront himself.

My Review

The Smiling Man is the second book in the Aidan Watts series. It is a series that I enjoy for its darkness, honesty and local setting. Manchester is a city I know reasonably well and I always enjoy reading a novel ‘knowing my way around’.

It is safe to say that neither Aidan, Sutty or Superintendent Parrs, who has the power to destroy Aidan would be the police officers who be my first choice for assistance. I think, after reading this book and learning more about Aidan’s life he would be the better option.

I was aware from reading Sirens of the problems that Aidan has had in his life. I knew he faced dismissal from the police for his actions. More of the hatred he faces from fellow officers and the control from the extremely sinister Parrs is revealed. You see the battle he faces with drug and alcohol abuse and living with what has happened in his past. I felt that most of the hatred felt was self hatred.

As well as the murder investigation, there was another story that ran through out the novel that concerned a young boy who had to assist a criminal. This side of the novel had more impact on me than any other part of the story. The guilt and fear for his sister’s safety if he’d didn’t do as he was told was chilling and often uncomfortable to read. More so, because it was so convincing.

I am currently reading book 3 in the series and I am loving reading the books together. It is highly recommended.