Dead North by Joel Hames @joel_hames @annecater #DeadNorth

Source: Review Copy

Publication: 22 March 2018 from Mainsail Books

Two dead cops and a suspect who won’t talk.

Once the brightest star in the legal firmament, Sam Williams has hit rock bottom, with barely a client to his name and a short-term cash problem that’s looking longer by the minute. So when he’s summoned to Manchester to help a friend crack a case involving the murder of two unarmed police officers and a suspect who won’t say a word, he jumps at the chance to resurrect his career.

In Manchester he’ll struggle against resentful locals, an enigmatic defence lawyer who thinks he’s stepping on her toes, beatings, corrupt cops and people who’ll do anything to protect their secrets. On its streets, he’ll see people die. But it’s in the hills and valleys further north that Sam will face the biggest challenge of all: learning who he really is and facing the ghosts of his past.

He’s working someone else’s case, and he’s in way over his head. But sometimes you need the wrong man in the right place.


Lawyer Sam Williams is currently a little down on his luck. Well, a lot down actually – he only has one client and even she is lying to him.

D.I. Gideon Roarkes has something of a roving brief and this time he is in Manchester working on a case involving the murder of two police officers. There’s a suspect in custody but he is keeping his mouth firmly shut. Roarkes asks Sam Williams in to act as a consultant on the case and as he needs the money and Roarke is a cop he’s always got along with, he agrees. But it’s grim up North and the Manchester cops are not too happy about interlopers being brought in to get justice for their own.

Williams is there to get the suspect to talk, but that’s clearly a dead end. And just one of several dead ends that he will follow as he teams up with a fascinating set of characters to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Sam isn’t one to take no for an answer though and he will follow the smallest of leads if it helps get him to the right answer. That includes tapping the knowledge of a London villain Sam has had cause to become close to in the past.

This is a high octane thriller; fast paced and with quite a few twists and turns that help the tension and excitement build. There’s a strong sense of place and the setting works well with a mix of town and rural backdrops.

Sam is an intriguing character. Thick skinned, insensitive and definitely different, he would try the patience of a saint. His girlfriend Claire is an investigative journalist and goodness me but she puts up with a lot from him!

The plotting is excellent with a number of strands well woven together and enough surprises to keep the reader interested right up to the last page.

A cracking story told with a wry sense of humour and I’d certainly read the next one.



About Joel Hames

Joel Hames Author Pic

Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.
After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Joel’s website can be found at, where you can find out more about the writer and the books, and sign up to his email newsletter. If you want to know what Joel has planned for the future, what he thinks right now, or just stalk him a little, you can find him on Facebook at or Twitter at @joel_hames. Joel has never seen the word “Joel” appear as frequently as it does right here, and wholeheartedly approves.

You can find out more about Joel and read others views by following the blog tour here:


Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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