Blog Tour Review: Slow Slicing - Tony J. Forder

Slow Slicing (DI Bliss #7)Slow Slicing by Tony J. Forder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Slow Slicing is the seventh instalment in this bestselling series, featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DS Penny Chandler and is the darkest and most disturbing episode to date. Slow Slicing is the Western translation of Lingchi, the drawn-out Chinese method of torture execution in which slices of flesh are systematically removed from the body of the condemned. It was the executioner's task to make as many cuts as possible without killing the victim and making them suffer as much as possible before their demise.

After a graphic, bloody and brutal opening chapter where we hear about Lingchi being used against a victim, the police begin to discover body parts and pieces of flesh turning up at different locations; three parts at first with one being in DI Jimmy Bliss's jurisdiction in Peterborough — it was discovered wrapped in a plastic bag inside the fireplace of the cathedral. A Joint Task Force is created, with Jimmy at the helm, to help pool resources and share information with police across the counties where the other parts have been found. The second piece was uncovered at West Kennet Long Barrow historical site, and given that one piece was white and one black it's safe to say they have either an emerging or re-emerging serial killer on their hands. After delving deeper it is believed that this case is linked to a twenty-six-year-old gangland cold case which was similar in nature. With very little evidence or clues to point them in the right direction, investigators have their work cut out trying to stop another gruesome discovery from appearing.

This is a riveting, compulsive and exhilarating thriller but is certainly not for the faint-hearted as Forder doesn't shy away from making the action blood-soaked, gory and deliciously depraved from the beginning with the opening chapter being full of sadism and a stomach-churning sense of excitement. I struggle to comprehend why Forder isn't as lauded as the big names in the genre because his superb plotting, extensive character development, and effortlessly flowing, highly readable style are magnificent and a force to be reckoned with. I found the dynamic between colleagues believable and interesting with each having a defined role to play and wisdom to share. It's a complex story but it never becomes confusing and the perfectly placed and plotted twists and turns and expert use of misdirection all play a large role in blowing you away. I also enjoyed the fact that we got to see Molly again which brought out a softer and more compassionate and caring side to Bliss. A real page-turner and a must-read for all crime connoisseurs. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

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Blog Tour Review: The Price - Kerry Kaya

The PriceThe Price by Kerry Kaya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Price is Kerry Kaya’s latest gritty gangland thriller and the first book I’ve read from the author. It entwines both the personal and private lives of the characters and follows brothers Fletch and Spence in their struggle to navigate their brutal surroundings. Working for notorious gangster Billy King, the brothers are an interesting and engaging pair with a lot on their plates. I loved that Kaya didn't neglect the relationships between the characters and the close relationship between the two brothers was heartwarming as they stuck together through thick and thin. She shows us not only the superior-inferior working relationships but the contrast with the brotherly love. This is undoubtedly one of the best gangland thrillers for focusing on the ties that bind rather than the extreme violence that goes along with the lifestyle.

This is a captivating and exciting piece of grit lit which transports you to the rough streets and you feel as though you are actually there throughout the story. From the moment I picked it up I was cheering for the brothers and they end up feeling like friends. They are great protagonists and I would enjoy seeing them again in the future. It is a one-sitting thrill ride with heart and emotion, danger and some really gobsmacking surprises that came out of the blue. A book that looks at the gangland world and street work from a different perspective to other novels and this makes it completely gripping and intriguing from the first few pages. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP - Louise Burfitt-Dons

The Killing of the Cherrywood MPThe Killing of the Cherrywood MP by Louise Burfitt-Dons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP is the second British political thriller in the Private Investigator Karen Andersen series and an excellent and thoroughly entertaining addition to a hugely promising set of books. It isn't necessary to have read the first instalment before diving into this as the main plot is self-contained and there is enough backstory regarding the main character to allow everyone to feel sufficiently up to speed. Covering the infamous extremist group ISIS/Daesh, jihadi brides, far-right ideology, execution of innocents and indoctrination, Burfitt-Dons weaves a captivating political conspiracy which is action-packed, tautly plotted and even better than the series opener, in my opinion. If you enjoy high-stakes thrillers that are chock full of twists, turns and misdirection you simply cannot go wrong here. The cherry on the top is the off-the-cuff humour interspersed throughout the narrative which effectively breaks up the gritty plot for easier consumption and supplies a little light relief.

What I particularly love about these books is that they are both so topical, of the moment and ripped from the headlines and not just throwaway fluff as there is an intelligently woven and intriguing political side to each of them which had me completely riveted and impossible to put down. This had so many elements to it that reminded me of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox who was killed by a far-right extremist as she left her constituency office in June 2016; I would be surprised if this wasn't in some way related to her. This is my favourite type of thriller - thought-provoking, provocative and addictive from the moment you start to read. I really feel this author is so underrated and truly hope that her tight, fast-paced plots get her the attention she deserves. A multidimensional, mesmerising must-read. Highly recommended. Roll on book three! Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: The Last One to See Her - Mark Tilbury

The Last One To See HerThe Last One To See Her by Mark Tilbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last One to See Her is twisted Tilbury’s newest thriller and quite possibly his best to date which really is saying something; if you love your crime dark and gritty but with heart and loaded with emotion, as well as some truly scrumptious and deliciously devilish surprises you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you don't pick this up. It begins in one of the most compelling manners with a prologue that grips you instantaneously and does a fantastic job of nabbing your attention and effectively taking over your thoughts before you know it. Almost an entire family are brutally slain before the book has even started. The plot revolves around the case of missing Jodie Willis, an innocent eleven-year-old girl who vanished after taking a walk to the local shop for a pint of milk. Mathew Hillock becomes embroiled in the case due to his mental disability caused by a head injury years earlier. The fact that he knows he's innocent ends up driving him to despair. But why did he tell some untruths if he had nothing to do with her disappearance?

This is not only a compulsive and addictive read from start to finish but it's an important one, which addresses prejudice, disability, police botches, mental health and the fear that others feel when they perceive someone to be a little different whether personality-wise or because of underlying issues. The cast of characters is engaging, the plot captivating and full of interesting developments, and enough intrigue to make this a one-sitting thrill-seekers delight. I loved the fact that each chapter had a turn of events or twist that embodied the ”just one more before sleep” mindset completely and found it one of the most difficult thrillers to move on from once I’d completed it. All in all, this is an intelligently woven, thoroughly enjoyable novel and very much a must-read in my mind. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Mark Tilbury for furnishing me with a review copy and taking me on yet another wild ride.

Blog Tour Review: Fair Means or Foul - Keith Wright

Fair Means Or Foul: A novel from the Inspector Stark seriesFair Means Or Foul: A novel from the Inspector Stark series by Keith Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the fourth instalment in the Detective Inspector Stark series we are reacquainted with the protagonist who continues to work for Nottingham CID; the same force the author worked for as a Detective a number of years ago and this is part of what makes this series so compelling - it’s quite realistic and gritty. Each instalment works perfectly well as a standalone so those wishing to dive in here can do so without issue. If you enjoy sharp-witted characters fast-paced action, pull no punches writing and dialogue, and plenty of twisty surprises along the way then this is a great choice. I particularly enjoy that the books are set in the 80s when the police had to do much more legwork, such as door to door enquiries, as they couldn't rely on the technological advances we have nowadays. Recommended, Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour: Twinkle Twinkle Little Lies - Rob Ashman

Twinkle Twinkle Little Lies: How fine is the line between saint and sinner? (DS Malice Book 2)Twinkle Twinkle Little Lies: How fine is the line between saint and sinner? by Rob Ashman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twinkle Twinkle Little Lies is the second instalment in the Detective Superintendent Khenan Malice series and although I highly recommend the first book, Killing Pretties, it is not essential to have read it before reading this one. This instalment is just as compulsive and thrilling as the last and features one of the most downright dangerous and wildly unpredictable villains I've encountered in a while; what makes Brenda Copeland so deadly is that she pretends to be a force for good and looks on the surface as though she is compassionate, empathetic and loves nothing more than to help out those most in need, but you only have to dig a little deeper to uncover the complete lack of regard for anyone but herself. DS Malice and Detective Kelly Pietersen's working relationship goes from strength to strength in this episode and both bring different traits to the partnership. We also gain an insight into a bent copper Kelly fingered when she was employed by anti-corruption and disgraced Craven wants to settle the score.

Right from the beginning Rob Ashman knows exactly how to capture your attention and have you almost instantaneously flying through the pages. He has a twisted mind that thinks up deliciously disturbing plots with endless suspense, tension and plentiful twists and turns throughout. It's full of excitement and there's never has a dull moment within the story; in short, it flabbergasted me by just how addictive and gripping it was. I love Malice’s dark soul and his slightly naughty image which he certainly doesn't appear to be phased by and who I know I will look forward to seeing more of in future. I had major trouble putting this down and read it in a few short hours full of fun. It's a super entertaining easy read with much intrigue and incidents that had my heart pumping. A sizzlingly sinister must-read. I am already eagerly anticipating the third in the series, and I am convinced it will be well worth the wait. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS for an ARC.

Blog Tour Review: Winter Rising - Alex Callister

Winter RisingWinter Rising by Alex Callister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Winter Rising is the second in The Winter series featuring the intrepid Secret Service operative. It is an action-packed and nail-biting thriller and Winter is a fabulous character who kicks butt and is pretty fierce and fearless. Although preferable to gain maximum enjoyment, as this follows on from events 8 weeks prior, it is not essential to have read the series opener before this. Winter is still caught up in finding and bringing to justice those behind Firestorm, a site that provides a hitman for hire service considering the price is right. The infamous Guardsman is the one who does most of the dirty work and Winter decides to go after him despite her being under threat and in massive danger. It's complicated as the entrepreneur behind Firestorm, Alek Konstantin, saved her life when things went south in an operation in Paris. She gets wind of a plan to create chaos at the G20 summit in London where world leaders will gather for talks regarding the rapidly increasing terror felt around the world with so many hits being performed. Can Winter manage to stop the devastation that may unfold or is it already too late?

This is a thriller that moves at breakneck pace and has your heart thumping with the many edge of your seat moments throughout. I felt my adrenaline rising and although it took me longer to be gripped by the story than in the first, once I was a couple of chapters in I was totally engrossed and found it compulsively readable. The writing flows effortlessly allowing you to easily read chapter after chapter without really realising it. The cast of characters are developed further and I enjoyed learning more about everyone but especially Winter who exposes her softer side. An entertaining, quick and easy read and one you'll devour just as I did. If you enjoy non-stop action that doesn't give you a moment to breathe, a heroine who is complex and takes no crap from anyone and a plethora of truly shock-inducing twists, turns and superb red herrings you cannot afford to miss this cracking page-turner. I'm already excited for the third instalment; please don't make us wait too long Ms Callister. Highly recommended. Many thanks to BOTBS & Bookouture for an ARC.