Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon #Review @knntom @be_ebooks_com

The Blurb

Was it suicide … or murder?

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son, Tom, would’ve been, had he not gone missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

With his boss, Detective Inspector Yvonne Hamson, Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. An investigator from the Met is called in to assist, setting the local police on edge. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons. Crippled by loss but determined to find the truth, Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption.

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark detective thriller. Dig Two Graves is the first book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

BookieWookie Review

Have I just stumbled upon a new Detective series?? ……..I think I bloody well have!!!

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon is the first book in the DS Solomon ‘Sol’ Gray series, and really sets the scene for what could be a great addition to the genre. I only received my copy of this yesterday lunchtime, and I absolutely flew through it. As an introductory novel it is nice and short and certainly packs a punch with which the reader is drawn into the world of Sol Gray.

Gray is clearly an individual who carries his demons around with him after the abduction of his son and death of his wife. He’s a guy that seems to take great pride in rubbing authority figures up the wrong way, and kind of reminded me of Rankin’s Rebus (another great character). All in all, he’s a decent guy who’s been dealt a really shitty hand in life. The other characters in the book are all very well written with differing qualities and it was certainly nice to see Gray start to build some form of relationships by the end of the book.

Special mention to the writing style of Nixon, which I found to be wonderfully descriptive, putting me right into the scene. It’s an area of Britain that I have never visited, but I had no problems building the location into my head, which I found really helped me to get into the story.

The story itself revolves around an apparent suicide, that soon builds into a multiple murder case. As the investigation continues we soon realise that foul play is most definitely afoot, but is the suicide connected to the other murders?? Without giving anything away, I was definitely blindsided on this one as I definitely did not see it coming!!

As the book progresses we see Sol Gray reach some real low points and my hope for future books in the series is that it leaves only one way for Sol to go……Up!! I think it is a credit to the writing that I had a great deal of empathy towards Sol, and I really want to see him battle his demons and come out the other end with a sense of hope and happiness.

As an introduction to a series and set of characters, I was really impressed. I believe the 2nd book in the series is due for release in early December and I will most definitely be adding that one to my TBR list. I’ll also make a point of checking out the other works of Keith Nixon, now that he is firmly on my radar!!

I would like to thank Keith Nixon and BE – eBooks for an ARC copy in return for a fair and balanced review.

BookieWookie Rating – 4.5/5

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Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton #Review @EmmaLClapperton @Bloodhoundbook

The Blurb

A chilling supernatural thriller

In an alleyway in Glasgow lies a decomposing corpse of a slain female baking in the midday heat. No one has found her yet, but medium Patrick McLaughlin knows she is there. It is not the first time he has dreamt of death… and it will not be the last.

When several bizarre murders take place the local police start to request DNA samples from twenty something year old men.

Through a hunch, and in the belief that the terrifying dreams hold the key to the identity of the murderer, Patrick works alongside the police to track down the predator before they can strike again. But as the nightmares increase they begin to threaten Patrick’s sanity.

What price will Patrick have to pay to stop the killer striking again? His friends? His family? His life?

BookieWookie Review

Having recently read the introductory novella (The Suicide Plan) of this series, I was very keen to see what the next instalment had in store. I said at the time of my review for The Suicide Plan how keen I was to see how the story lines and characters would play out over the longer form novels, and I’m delighted to say I was not disappointed!! While ‘Beyond Evidence’ is still a fairly short read at just over 200 pages, it certainly gave us a lot more background to the characters of Patrick and Jodie, how they met, and their psychic abilities (both having slightly different variations of the ability). It also introduced us to the Detective team of Preston and Lang, one who is open minded to Patrick’s abilities and the other who is very much a sceptic.

The book kicks off at a really good pace that draws the reader right into the story by introducing us to a pretty nasty killer. The killings themselves are very believable in this day and age and I think that really added to the suspense when I was reading through those particular passages. What then follows is a fairly hectic race against time for Patrick and Jodie to piece together all the little snippets of information they are receiving from ‘the other side’, before more murders take place. Added to the suspense is the suggestion, through some of her visions, that Jodie herself could be a target for the killer.

I like books with a supernatural element to them, so I was intrigued to see how it could be used within a full manhunt for a serial attacker. One of my concerns was that it would be all too easy for one of the dead to appear before Patrick or Jodie and say “It was Mrs Plum in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe”, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. What Emma Clapperton does really well within the story is explain that it is only fragments of information that are revealed to Patrick, which he then has to try and piece together, through working with the police, to get to the outcome.

The book has a good mix of present day and flash backs for all the main characters, and this really helps us to get an understanding of why the killer is doing what he is doing. He was a really interesting character and it was very clever the way his scenes were written. The mixture of crime and supernatural was also about right and I found the scenes where Patrick and Jodie were communicating with the dead left a definite chill down my spine.

A great addition to the Patrick McLaughlin series, in what was a quick and very enjoyable read. I definitely look forward to the next instalment of the series, The Dead Whisper, upon its release in early November.

BookieWookie Rating – 4/5

Heart Swarm by Allan Watson #Review @allanwatson12 @caffeinenights

The Blurb

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…

It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Heart Swarm

BookieWookie Review

Heart Swarm by Allan Watson is a book that has been on my radar since I first saw some Twitter activity on it about a month ago. The first thing that caught my attention was the absolutely stunning cover. Seriously creepy, and one of those rare covers that would make me go out and buy the book without even reading the Blurb!!

The book and early reviews suggested it to be on the darker side of crime, and I have to say they were true to their word. The crimes themselves were not for the faint hearted, with the perpetrators being some pretty depraved individuals. That said, the crimes were implied rather than gratuitously described, so it really leaves it up to the imagination of the reader. I have to say, the opening of the book was really clever with the way the body of a girl is found hanging from the same tree as she was found 5 years earlier. It’s not something I can remember seeing in any other books, so I thought it was a really great, original idea. From there the pace is fairly relentless as the body count and number of potential suspects rises.

Our major protagonist in the book, DI Will Harlan, is a pretty interesting character. We get just the right amount of back story to know he’s had a fairly troubled past and is far from perfect. He likes bit of a drinkypoo, but is not overly excessive with it (which is good as I really can’t be arsed with the sections in books where I have to read page after page about the Detective going on an absolute bender ‘cough’ Harry Hole ‘cough’). The supporting cast in this one are also great, with lots of dark humour thrown into the mix. There were times where the camaraderie and interview techniques of the Detectives involved reminded me a little of Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series, which was a definite plus point for me. Special mention to Cara McAullay, who I thought was a great character and not somebody whose bad side I would ever want to get on (even on a good day!!).

It’s very difficult to go into too much detail of the plot without giving away any little spoilers but, suffice to say, it is all very well put together with a couple of nice surprises thrown into the mix. The ending was brought together in a way that closed off this current crime spree but undoubtedly leaves an opportunity for more books to follow, with the spectre of the ‘bad guys’ always in the shadows.

Heart Swarm had a bit of everything for those of us who like their crime fiction to be a little on the darker side. I raced through this in a couple of sittings and it certainly had me on the edge of my seat at various times throughout the book. Allan Watson is definitely an author I will be keeping my eye on and I look forward to reading his future releases.

Highly recommend!

BookieWookie Rating – 4.5/5

Outside Looking In by Michael Wood (Review) @MichaelHWood @KillerReads

The Blurb

The second book in Michael Wood’s darkly compelling new crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.

When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.

The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker – both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.

The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there’s a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it’s going to take all Matilda’s wits to catch him, before he strikes again.

BookieWookie Review

Well, what an absolute pleasure it was to get reacquainted with DCI Matilda Darke and her team of Detectives. ‘Outside Looking In’ is the 2nd book in the DCI Darke series and although this can be read as a stand-alone, I can heartily recommend the 1st book in the series, ‘For Reasons Unknown’, as a starting point. I really like the character of Darke, and I was quickly reminded of her sense of humour, which had me smirking away to myself after the first few chapters. In many ways her sharp wit and dry sense of humour helps to break some of the darkness that surrounds the crimes in these books, along with lifting the spirits of her team.

One of the things I liked about this one was that, although the crimes were very violent, you never got the feeling that it was the work of some twisted serial killer and the chances were that it was just your average everyday violent psychopath! While I do love a good old serial killer yarn, it’s often very refreshing and a little more believable to get stuck into a police procedural where we find ordinary people being the victims and, to a certain extent, the criminals. This investigative process is helped along in this instance with a very likeable cast of characters to support Darke in her quest to find the killer. Throughout the book we get to learn a little more about each of the characters which I always finds helps the reader have a little more empathy towards them. From a series point of view, it also makes me want to read more about them and gives me a vested interest in what lies in store for each of them.

There were a number of threads to the story that were very cleverly written, and you were never really sure if they are all connected in some way or possibly linked to past cases the team had investigated. As the story progressed you start to be given just enough information to join the dots all the way up to what culminated in a very satisfactory ending. As with all good crime novels there were a few little twists and turns along the way and, without giving anything away, this one was no exception.

I must also give an honourable mention to the city of Sheffield, which is an excellent backdrop to the stories. I’ve only visited it a couple of times but you really get a feel for the city and the people within it when reading these books.

Overall, a really enjoyable continuation of the DCI Darke series that had all the traits you would want in a good crime novel (with a heart stopping ending to boot!!). I’m really looking forward finding out what lies in store for DCI Matilda Darke and her team as the series progresses.

If you’ve not read any of this series yet then, what are you waiting for…….go out and get’em!!

BookieWookie Rating – 4/5

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer (Review) @carolewyer @bookouture

The Blurb

Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.

Her little girl was gone.

Abigail lives the perfect life with her doting husband and adorable baby Izzy. But someone knows a secret about Abigail and they want the truth to be told.

When Izzy is snatched from a carpark, it becomes a case for Detective Robyn Carter. Someone has been sending threatening messages to Abigail from an anonymous number. What is Abigail hiding?

When Izzy is snatched from a carpark, it becomes a case for Detective Robyn Carter. Someone has been sending threatening messages to Abigail from an anonymous number. What is Abigail hiding?

BookieWookie Review

I hadn’t read any of Carol Wyers D.I Robyn Carter books before, but there was some serious buzz going around Twitter and the Blogs that made me prick up my ears and dive in. I’m really glad I did, as this was a great start to a Detective series.

So…where to start?? How about that hard hitting prologue! Bloody hell!! Talk about grabbing the readers attention!!

This prologue and another scene within the book may make for some uncomfortable reading as it deals with the issue of child abuse and what the young girl, Alice, has to endure. That said, it does play a vital role in our understanding of Alice and what shapes her personality. The chapters are a mixture of past and present, with past scenes describing Alice’s life and the hardship she has to endure due to her mothers choices in life. You can’t help have a great deal of sympathy for Alice but as the book progresses you start to see more of an evil streak that had me questioning my sympathy towards her. The scenes set in the present day have a definite creepy feel to them as one of the main characters (Abi) is being targeted by an unknown individual via text messages and phone calls. This was very well written as there were times I found myself questioning whether this was all happening or perhaps a figment of Abi’s imagination. I had to tell myself to take a step back a couple of times to take it all in and think about what was really happening. Very clever stuff!!

D.I Robyn Carter was an interesting character whom we learn a little bit about through her back story, which explains her reasons from taking a break from the police. I really liked the relationship between her and her P.I cousin Ross, along with her police colleagues when she eventually rejoins the police force. There are some suggestions (and examples) within the book that D.I Carter doesn’t always do things by the book, which I love, as it just gives that extra bit of edge to the investigation.

As the 2nd half of the book progresses we start to knit a lot of the clues together and see more of the investigation that Carter and her team are pursuing. There are a number of occasions where we are given various little clues that allow us to try and guess the identity of the killer/stalker. These were cleverly done and although there may have been the odd curve ball thrown in, they were all really well explained and brought together within the chapters from the killers perspective. As the investigation progresses you definitely start to see a level of trust between Carter and her team, which bodes well for future books in the series, and I can only see this going from strength to strength. The last quarter of the book really gallops along at a fantastic pace as events start to unfold, and I found myself willing the team to join all the dots and save the day….just in the nick of time!! I’ll leave you to read the book for yourself to find out if they managed this 😱!

Overall this was a cleverly woven tale of hurt, deception and revenge that highlights the effect childhood experiences can have on shaping an individual. This is definitely a series I want to read more on and also find out how Carter’s assimilation back into the police force continues. 

Highly recommend!

BookieWookie Rating – 4/5

Games People Play by Owen Mullen (Review) @OwenMullen6 @bloodhoundbook

The Blurb

Thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland while her parents are just yards away.

Three days later the distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment Charlie gets involved in the case and when more bodies are discovered the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades.

Is baby Lily the latest victim of a madman?

For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go.

His demons won’t let him.

BookieWookie Review

This is the first book in the PI Charlie Cameron series and certainly gets off to a flyer with what must be every parents nightmare, the abduction of their child. We are also introduced to our PI, Charlie Cameron, at the conclusion of one if his cases to find a missing girl. It was at this point I thought to myself……yup, this guys pretty cool. I think I’m going to like him!!

The first half of the book is mainly setting the scene with the different story threads and also introducing us the the various characters in Charlie’s world. The NYB gang (as I call them) all seem a pretty good bunch with their own interesting character traits and how they rub off (and against) each other. My favourite of the bunch is Patrick, who is a really entertaining character with lots of witty little football related one liners and anecdotes. The one piece where I did struggle to begin with was getting my head around all the similar character names (Alan, Alec, Alex and Andrew). Then again, this is set in Scotland and just about every bugger you meet is called Alan, Alec, Alex or Andrew!! That aside, I felt Mullen did a great job in introducing us to the characters that will no doubt play a major role throughout the rest of the series.

The second half of the book is where things really start to gain momentum with the 3 separate story threads, 2 of which were potentially connected, and the reader is kept guessing right up until the final few chapters when all is explained. All the story threads were neatly tied up and even included a nice twist near the end, which I was secretly quite pleased about as I had actually thought of it part way through the book (a bit of a first for me!!!). We also get a bit more detail on Charlie’s back story around his sister and the reason why he was drawn to the missing persons line of work. Finally, a little guilty pleasure of mine, was the mention of the Edinburgh areas of Corstorphine and Cramond where I’ve lived all my life. Yeah, I know, it’s a bit book reader geeky…..but I love it when that happens 🤓.

In summary, a great introduction to a series and the characters within it. I will definitely be checking out the other 2 books in the series to see what’s next in store for the gang at NYB!!

BookieWookie Rating – 4/5

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney (Review) @trisha460 @bookouture

The Blurb

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.

BookieWookie Review

I was very excited to finally get around to reading this one. As often happens with me, it was a book that I had bought some months ago but never actually got around to reading. Anyway, with much excitement in Bloggerland about #3 in the Lottie Parker series being on the horizon, it reminded me that I had this one sitting on my Kindle.

The story is set in a fictional Irish town and is the first book I have read that is based in Ireland. The writing is superb and I really loved all the Irish colloquialisms that brought a smile to my face throughout (partly because it reminded me of exactly how one of my good friends talk – such a cool accent and phrases!).

The subject matter of the book, child abuse within the Catholic Church, was a fairly harrowing one and the author did great job of setting the right tone throughout without being too gratuitous at any point. There were times when I was reading this that I felt the book had a kind of Rankin/Rebus feel to it which, given those books are some of my all time favourites, is not a comparison I use lightly. A great mixture of recent historical crimes, religion, business ventures and, of course, money!! Add into the mix a great team of Detectives lead by Lottie Parker, and we were onto a winner.

Throughout the book there were a number of subtle suggestions that kept me guessing the identity of the killer and the reasons behind them. Was it all linked to the past or were they linked to the current business deal that was being struck? I have to say that this was very cleverly done, as even though there was a point when a fairly obvious clue was thrown in, there was still more to follow (which definitely caught me out). The ending was all brilliantly brought together and I found myself unable to put the book down as it raced to its superb conclusion.

D.I Lottie Parker herself was a very interesting character with just the right amount of back story to give the reader an insight into what makes her tick. Struggling to juggle her work and home life after recently losing her husband has started to take its toll and we get little snippets of alcohol and drug dependency to help her through this. I really loved her relationship with Boyd and I’m definitely looking forward to see how that one develops over the next few books. Her relationship with her 3 kids is also a very interesting one and will no doubt provide some scope to grow these characters going forward.

Overall, I thought this was a really great story and definitely a series I want to read more of. Would I recommend this to my Crime reading friends? Oh, you betcha!!!

BookieWookie Rating – 4.5/5