The Woman In The Wood by M. K. Hill – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill

Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. But on the night of the party, everything changed.

It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering, just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing – and never seen again. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.

No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. And now one of his mates has been murdered…

DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again – but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the truth set Abs free? Or bury him?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t watch reality TV, so have never understood the fame and adoration that seems to be handed on a plate to its stars. But I did have a soft spot for Abs, one of the main characters in this very entertaining novel. After becoming a suspect in the disappearance of a young woman he was dropped from a very successful reality TV show. He aches to be back in the limelight. Skint, no other skills apart from his charm and totally deluded about his relationship with his onscreen co-star Kelsey. But he soon discovers that his dream of success and a future with Kelsey fades into insignificance when faced with danger.

Sasha is the police officer who is investigating the death of Abs friend. Unlike her colleagues,in particular Lolly, she is unaware of who Abs is and doesn’t let his fame affect her investigation. I liked her a lot and appreciated the insight into her personal life. There are hints of a tragedy in her past that I wanted to know more about  and I liked that there was nothing revealed that made the later reading of book one in the series unnecessary.

I found this novel to be very original. There is a lot of focus on the investigation which you would expect, but I liked Abs having such a prominent role. His way of coping with what was happening around him was quite refreshing. He felt fear, guilt and disappointment but he was still capable of turning on the charm.

Another two original aspects of this novel were the impact of not knowing what happened to a family member had on a relative’s judgement forcing them do something they wouldn’t do under normal circumstances and the way that the pressure on an overworked police department meant that often other cases suffered.

I did work out who was responsible for the crimes in this novel but I didn’t see everything. I will definitely be reading more by this author. 

The Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill – Review.


About the Book

Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it takes to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.

My Review

The Two O’ Clock Boy is one of the brilliantly twisty novels that I have read for a long time. Flick Cowley is investigating the murder of a family and whilst investigating realises that there is a link with other murders. The victims all had a link with an old children’s home. Her superior officer Ray Drake is helping and guiding her through her first major case. But he is also manipulating evidence and discouraging her from looking into the past. Understandably she is annoyed and confused by his actions. In some ways they are similar, both have personal problems. Ray has recently lost his wife and his daughter in struggling with her grief has turned against him.
Some of the people who have been murdered spent time at Longacre, a children’s home that had serious issues. Part of the novel reveals what happened there in 1984 and was unfortunately believable. But the main storyline deals with the current investigation and trying to keep the remaining members of the home safe.
I have read many crime novels but I can honestly say that I have never read any like this. I often see twists coming and sometimes I am disappointed by them. Sometimes they have no seeable connection to the rest of the story. But in this novel, I had no idea what was going to happen, what had happened and who the murderer was. The twists were all very well hidden and they all worked. Not once was I left shaking my head in disbelief.
I don’t know if this is a standalone or the first in a series. Each would work perfectly well but I would love to see a follow up. This is a book that will definitely be one of my top ten books for 2017.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
You can buy the book at amazon or Waterstones
Mark Hill will be taking part in First Monday Crime on May 8th. This looks like it will be a fantastic evening. Details can be found here