Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he’s ready, you release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral – like Judas betraying them…’

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them. 

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Judas Horse is the second book in the Jack Warr series. This series is the only one that I have read by this author and I need to make a determined effort to catch up with a few others. Whilst I liked the previous book, Buried, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It proved that it could stand on its own without the connection to the Widows series. You could read this without reading the former but I would recommend reading them in order.

Jack has calmed down a lot since the events in Buried. He has just become a father and has come to terms with finding out his own father’s identity. He is settled into his new home with the wonderful Maggie, young Hannah and his mother. He enjoys his job more and appears to be less of a hothead and in this novel he is helping a team in the Cotswolds solve a series of house crimes that are getting increasingly violent. But he is no walkover and there is a power struggle within that team that causes more problems than it solves.

I think Jack is a great character. He is encouraging to the less experienced officers and handles the team from Oxford brilliantly. I would love to see that ‘partnership’ in further novels. I can see a lot of animosity ahead! The way he was with the witnesses and the victims showed compassion but a determination not to be ignored or patronised. 

Maggie is also a great character. Grounded and loving and she knows that her man isn’t a saint. But she is prepared to let him think that he believes everything she is told because she knows that what he does is done is with a good heart. 

It is quite brutal at times but I feel it is more intimidating because of the rural, usually peaceful setting and also because of who is on the receiving end. Nobody is safe from these criminals.

Judas Horse is a great addition to this new series and I’m looking forward to book three and keeping my fingers crossed that like the other books that it will be televised.

Buried by Lynda La Plante – Review.

About The Book

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

My Review

Even though I have watched numerous dramatisations of Lynda La Plante’s novels this is the first that I have read. And what an introduction it is! Even though it is the start of a series featuring a new team of detectives there are strong links to the book series Widows. I was pleased that I knew that storyline, even though I would have still enjoyed this novel without knowing anything about it.

My first reaction when reading this novel was that the author writes in away that reflects her enthusiasm and personality when she is being interviewed. At a very past pace and one that is very refreshing. Jack, her lead, wasn’t a saint and he often came to close to crossing the fine line in more than just criminal activity. He was probably one of the more convincing fictional detective I have met when reading crime fiction. You saw his strengths, his weaknesses and his frustration at having his efforts ignored or not being able to be proven. You also saw his devotion to his partner and his adoptive parents and the guilt he felt with his ongoing determination to find his birth father. With his team members I felt a combination of liking, annoyance and sympathy towards all three. None of these characters approached their jobs in the same way, again I felt this was a true reflection of detection.

The women that Jack was investigating were people that I struggled to judge. Some I had a lot of sympathy for, a couple I really liked and wanted to know more about. Some of them made me laugh and there were more poignant moments the more I read. I would definitely be interested in reading the Widows series and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series.

The Art Of Death by David Fennell – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Art Of Death is an extremely sinister crime thriller where the victims are displayed as works of art around London. Grace Archer is heading the police team who are trying to find the perpetrator but she has more to deal with than just the crime. She is in a new position, in a station where she doesn’t expect to be made welcome after she had to arrest her predecessor. She also has to care for her ailing grandfather, her only family.

She does have her friends in the team though, Quinn who wasn’t one of her predecessor’s biggest fans and Klara, who is more than capable of ignoring snide comments and smirks. 

It was a novel where you got to meet some of the victims rather than their killer. You could see how they were coerced to their deaths and with some of them the horror they experienced when they realised they had been duped.  And with the others, I  felt sadness at knowing that they wouldn’t have their happy evening.

There were a few times early in the book that I felt I had missed an earlier novel, but it was just a different style of writing. Both Grace’s and Quinn’s past are revealed much later in the novel. Most of the novel does focus on Grace but there poignant scenes that featured another victim. I felt quite tense reading these, hoping for a happy ending.

Not as believable as many crime thrillers but very entertaining and I read it very quickly. I hope that this book will become a series, I see huge potential for Grace, Quinn and a hopefully united team.

Fatal Isles by Maria Adolfsson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A remote island. A brutal murder. A secret hidden in the past . . .

In the middle of the North Sea, between the UK and Denmark, lies the beautiful and rugged island nation of Doggerland.

Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned to the main island, Heimö, after many years in London and has worked hard to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland.

So, when she wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, she knows she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. And Karen is the only one who can give him an alibi.

The news sends shockwaves through the tight-knit island community, and with no leads and no obvious motive for the murder, Karen struggles to find the killer in a race against time.

Soon she starts to suspect that the truth might lie in Doggerland’s history. And the deeper she digs, the clearer it becomes that even small islands can hide deadly secrets . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I read quite a lot of translated fiction and Fatal Isles was the best that I have read for a long time. I thought the island was fictional but after research I discovered that Doggerland was a submerged area of land in the North Sea. But the setting, the inhabitants, customs and often inclement weather all came from the author’s imagination.

The storyline was absolutely fascinating. The murder of an extremely unpopular woman who was also the ex wife of a leading detective. You would think there would be any number of suspects, with the number of people who didn’t like her but the small team are only concerned with one and that is to prove innocence rather than guilt. The suspect does have an alibi in Karen but understandably when you get to know more about him you can see why she is reluctant to come forward. Because of his personality as well as his position in the force.

Karen was a different character to what I expected, older for one thing and far from perfect. Like many she has a troubled past, details of this are revealed towards the end of the novel. But she is loyal, caring and willing to help many that others would judge or ignore.

The police team in this book are all hardworking but not close. There are grudges and some resentment, a few of them are not that likeable but they were there for each other when needed. I am definitely interested in seeing how the relationship dynamic progresses further into the series.