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The Last Stage by Louise Voss @LouiseVoss1 @orendabooks @annecater #TheLastStage #bookreview #blogtour #beachreads

Source: Review copy
Publication: 11 July 2019 from Orenda Books
PP: 300
ISBN-13: 978-1912374878

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

With all the confidence of a brash 17 year old who knows nothing about the world, Meredith Vincent left her Wiltshire home and went to Greenham Common because she already had the right costume and thought it would be fun to breach the perimeter fence with the other women heading there to protest. That was a turning point in Meredith’s life because there she met Samantha; older, more worldly and they ended up living together in a London squat with a bunch of other drop outs.

Turning her back on her twin brother Pete, and their mother, Meredith went on to become the lead singer in a post-punk/new wave band that the housemates put together and after a couple of years solid touring they signed a recording contract that made them, if not rich, certainly pretty comfortable.

Then something happened and Meredith dropped out of sight; leaving the band and everyone she knew behind. We are not told what that something was until much later in the book, but whatever it was has left her fragile, untrusting and always vigilant of her surroundings. When we first meet Meredith she is tucked away in an English stately home where she manages the Gift Shop and lives by herself in a cottage in the grounds of the Surrey home’s estate.

Years have passed and Meredith is living a quiet and unremarkable life. She has reconciled with her brother Pete who is now working as a craftsman cabinet maker nearby and living on a houseboat. 

Louise Voss’s psychological thriller takes us to the idyllic English countryside, full of green wellingtons, beautifully manicured grounds and houseboats where everyone knows each other but no-one intrudes. In the midst of peace and tranquillity, Voss inserts danger, drama and things that go creak in the night.

Through flashbacks and various other characters’ points of view contrasting with Meredith’s first person narrative, Voss leaves us wondering how reliable our protagonist is when deeply unpleasant and quite mysterious things start to happen around her.

It doesn’t help when she lies to the police and those lies remind us of how callously she left her mother and brother in the breach to satisfy her own needs. The reader is therefore on an uneven keel as we consider Meredith’s justifiable sense of guilt and watch her taking some pretty dodgy decisions.

Voss paces her thriller well. The tension builds slowly, meaning that characterisation comes to the fore. In particular, the police team would make the basis of a great new police procedural series; I really liked DC Gemma McMeekin and the rookie PC Emad Khan, who make for a romantic side story.  Voss builds a solid plotline for an authentic and chilling series of events which culminate in a dark and disturbing denouement.  

Verdict: A dark and suspense filled story of obsession and revenge wreaked on an unreliable protagonist makes for a creepy and tension-fuelled psychological thriller.

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Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards over an eighteen year career: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and has sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

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Fixed Odds by William McIntyre (Robbie Munro #5) @sandstonepress @Best_Defence @cerisanne #bookreview #blogtour

Source: Review copy
Publication: 4th July 2019 from Sandstone Press
PP: 320
ISBN-13: 978-1912240722

George ‘Genghis’ McCann has stolen – and lost – a priceless masterpiece. Snooker champion Oscar ‘The Showman’ Bowman is charged with betting fraud. With a second baby on the way, and promises of great rewards if he wins Bowman’s case and recovers the painting, defence lawyer Robbie Munro has never been so tempted to fix the odds in his favour.

William McIntyre is a Scottish criminal lawyer and so is his protagonist, Robbie Munro. Robbie is a solicitor whose Linlithgow practice survives by the grace of the Legal Aid Board; he is a jobbing solicitor doing his best to prove the innocence of his clients and more often than not he flies by the seat of his pants to do so.

Fixed Odds is the 5th Robbie Munro novel and can easily be read as a stand-alone. Since I last read one of William McIntyre’s Munro books, Robbie has settled into a long term relationship with his one time employee, Joanna and they have a baby well on the way, bringing a sibling to his daughter, Tina. It’s a good relationship. As Robbie says: ” “I kept no secrets from my wife – other than, obviously, the things I didn’t want her to know”. He is close to his father, a retired member of the Lothian and Borders police service. Robbie’s brother, Malcolm, used to be a professional footballer until an injury forced him out of the game. Now he is a sports broadcaster, enjoying his slight claim to fame.

For all that they jibe at each other, the Munros are a pretty close knit family.

McIntyre has a light, humorous, touch and his characters are hugely enjoyable to read.  George ‘Genghis’ McCann is a serial housebreaker, junkie and partner of Shona. Genghis is in the nick awaiting trial for breaking into an old woman’s home. Shona wants Munro to get him out, because, basically, he broke into the wrong house and ‘only stole a few things’ while he was there.

Oscar ‘The Showman’ Bowman, is an arrogant cold snooker player, charged with betting fraud. Munro takes his case for the fee, but hasn’t bargained on Bowman’s reluctance to provide any kind of defence.

When Genghis is murdered, Robbie gets more deeply involved in the case. It seems that Genghis stole something that was worth a great deal more than he realised. Robbie’s eye for the main chance leads him to take some risky and questionable decisions and it is only the intervention of his sensible, Ovaltine eating, life partner that brings him back to heel.

There’s a great deal of warmth and dry humour and some lovely quick witted repartee flowing through this lightly humorous yet often quite tense legal thriller. McIntyre writes his characters so well and the interplay of light and shade is very well executed. I love the portrayal of the the Scottish criminal justice system (with a named hat tip to the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates) and the interaction between the lawyers, the police and others involved in the legal process is authentic and priceless.

Verdict: A legal thriller that is full of wit and larger-than-life characters to delight the reader. An entertaining legal mystery with a darker core, this is another winner in the Munro series.

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William McIntyre is a partner in Scotland’s oldest law firm Russel & Aitken, specialising in criminal defence. He has been instructed in many interesting and high-profile cases over the years and now turns fact into fiction with his Robbie Munro legal thrillers. He is married with four sons.

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The Chain by Adrian McKinty @adrianmckinty @Leanne_Oliver1 @orionbooks @orion_crime #TheChain #bookreview

Source: Review copy
Publication: 9 July 2019 from Orion
PP: 368
ISBN-13: 978-1409189589

VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.
YOUR PHONE RINGS.
A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.
TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.
YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN:YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.
YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN

I have loved Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy books ever since my sister, a discerning reader, introduced me to them. I knew that McKinty had been looking for a new publisher and so was delighted when I heard he had a new book coming out. This time we are a world away from Belfast and ‘The Troubles’. (As an aside, have you ever noticed that the British seldom go to war? We have questions, troubles, crises, but we try hard not to ever suggest that we’re actually fighting and killing people).

I digress. Adrian McKinty’s The Chain is based on a simple but startlingly effective premise; that of the Chain letter turned into a practical, coercive control, money making scheme. It starts so chillingly. A voice you do not know, telling you your child has been kidnapped and that to get her back, you need to kidnap someone else’s child.

This way the Chain has a hold on you, because until you do what is demanded, your child stays kidnapped and so does the child of the woman who called you.

Rachel Klein is a divorced single mother, with a teenage daughter, Kylie, living on Plum Island, Massachusetts. Undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Rachel is pre-occupied with her recent blood work results which don’t appear to be too promising.  

Then Rachel gets a call out of the blue from a stranger telling her that her daughter has been taken and that she is now part of The Chain; a chain that binds her tightly and one that if she looks like being a weak link, will not hesitate to deal with her harshly. “Number one: you are not the first and you will certainly not be the last. Number two: remember, it’s not about the money—it’s about The Chain.”

Even if Rachel finds the ransom money, the things she is being asked to do go against everything she believes in as a mother; yet to protect her own child, what wouldn’t she do?

It is this chilling predicament that is at the heart of McKinty’s riveting and propulsive book. He is excellent at capturing the tension and the psychological fall out that stems from following through on this scenario. We can only watch, horrified as Rachel turns into a hell hound, ready to bite and snarl at her unknown master’s bidding, all to ensure her child’s safe return.

Yet the price Rachel and Kylie pay for being part of the Chain where they are forever monitored and never free is hugely destructive. McKinty, I know, can write the best action thrillers, but this is all that and so much more.

The Chain is a devastating psychological thriller which follows through on its early promise to bring its characters to the brink of an abyss where either fight or total submission are the only options. It’s all too easy to put oneself in Rachel’s position and imagine the hell that she goes through and no-one wants to contemplate the kind of choices she has to make.

McKinty knows how to draw a chilling and ruthless antagonist and the whole book is perfectly pitched to evoke a high heartbeat rate and an adrenaline-fuelled response to an exciting read.

Verdict. Heart-pounding; tense and chilling. A perfect execution of a fabulous high concept premise, flawlessly delivered.

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Adrian McKinty is a crime novelist from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He grew up during the Troubles of the 1970s and 1980s. His father was a boilermaker and ship’s engineer and his mother a secretary. Adrian went to Oxford University on a full scholarship to study philosophy before emigrating to the United States to become a high school English teacher. His books have won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award and have been translated into over 20 languages. Adrian is a reviewer and critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Irish Times and The Guardian. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

The Carer by Deborah Moggach @publicitybooks @tinderpress #TheCarer #DeborahMoggach

Source: Review copy
Publication: July 9th 2019 from Tinder Press
PP: 272
ISBN-13: 978-1472260482

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?

Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.

Anyone who has had an elderly parent in need of care will recognise Deborah Moggach’s warm and witty novel, The Carer. James is the father, a widower, living in the Cotswolds. Still with all his mental faculties, it’s just his body that is letting him down a bit. He’s had a couple of not very good carers so when Mandy arrives she’s viewed by his son and daughter as a bit of a blessing.

Robert is the 62 year old son. Married to a TV News presenter, Farida, and with two children, he has left his high flying city job and is now writing a novel in the hut in the bottom of his large London house. Phoebe is single, childless and a mediocre artist in the small Welsh town of Knockton. She’s having a fling with a local man who lives in a shack in the woods. Both these children of James consider themselves far too busy with their lives to look after their father, though both crave his affection and esteem.

Mandy is a larger than life figure. Overweight, from Solihull, she breezes around with her home baking and her stripy tights and soon she and James are getting on like a house on fire. She seems an unlikely companion for James, whose intellect is fierce (he was a particle physicist) but somehow Mandy and he are getting along famously. A little too famously for the likes of Robert and Phoebe who see James growing closer to Mandy than he is to them.

This closeness, coupled with some odd incidents and a passing remark by James, lead the siblings to be concerned over their father, whose health is now rapidly failing and deeply suspicious over the role that Mandy is playing.

Moggach’s characterisation is spot on and she beautifully highlights the difficult and often selfish family dynamics that exist in this, as in every family. She has a brilliant understanding of the inner workings of relationships and a shrewd eye for the absurdities of class.

Moggach explores family relationships, where  secrets are sometimes best kept hidden away and sibling rivalries for parental affection can be dramatic and bitter.

Verdict: The Carer is a poignant and realistic look at families and what happens when age catches up with us. It is warm, witty, engaging and absolutely on point. Moggach’s writing is excellent with some grand surprises, great characters and a tender centre.

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Deborah Moggach is the author of nineteen successful novels including the bestselling Tulip Fever. In 2012, her novel These Foolish Things was adapted for the screen under the title The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. An award-winning screenwriter, she won a Writers’ Guild Award for her adaptation of Anne Fine’s Goggle-Eyes and her screenplay for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA. Deborah has been Chairman of the Society of Authors and worked for PEN’s Executive Committee. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she was appointed an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to literature and drama.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland @22_ireland @PolygonBooks @birlinnbooks #bookreview

Source: Competition Prize
Publication: 11 July 2019 from Polygon
PP: 208
ISBN-13: 978-1846974823

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become.

Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

Sandra Ireland is carving out rather a nice niche for herself, taking some of the ancient folk tales of Scotland and turning them into contemporary allegorical stories, full of rich imagery and delicate, poetic accounts. I loved Bone Deep and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is equally strong.

Ellie Rook is a young woman recently returned home from her travels abroad to her family’s scrapyard business in rural Aberdeenshire after a phone call tells her that her mother has gone missing. The Rook family is a closed one, distant from their neighbours. The patriarch, Lawler rules his household with a rod of iron and it was to escape this stifling, rigid, atmosphere that Ellie originally left home.

Ellie’s mother loved the woods and named her daughter after the huntress Finella, a huntress who, Ellie’s mum used to tell her,  was strong and brave. Ellie was encouraged by her mum to believe that she could do anything; her namesake instilling into her the confidence that her father’s upbringing sought to quash.

It was Ellie’s mother who encouraged her to leave the nest and fly away, leaving her brother, River, behind with his parents. Now Ellie’s mother has disappeared, and the fear is that she has been claimed by the woods and the water she loved so much; that she has fallen off a cliff and been swept away in a death that echoes Finella’s end.

Returning home, Ellie finds that little has changed and that her father sees her return as only right, now she can take over the household’s domestic chores that her mother used to fulfill.

Coming home reawakens in Ellie the sense of aloneness and incipient violence that always lurked around the corner when she was growing up. Lawler carries that overweening arrogance that comes from being the master of his household where his word is law and nothing gets in his way. To add to that sense, Lawler employs a long time sidekick, Offshore Dave, whose job is to make sure that Lawler’s business is carried on without any outside interference. The Rook way is to have nothing to do with authorities and the disappearance of her mother will not change that.

Ireland ably creates a tense and dramatic scenario in which Ellie relives parts of her childhood while searching desperately for her mother and trying to make sense of the information she has been given. She sees her brother, River, becoming more like her father every day and fears for his future should that happen.

The reader is drawn into this family’s life and as observers, begins to divine what kind of life Ellie’s mother must have had to live. These are dark and disturbing domestic secrets; the kind where you really don’t want to know what went on behind the closed iron gates of the scrapyard, but you are unable to escape the horrible conclusions that arise in your mind.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a seamless blend of folklore and contemporary storytelling that shines a light on dramatic and dangerous family domestics and the insular behaviour that can characterise those who live on the fringes of rural life.

The characters are well drawn and the sense of menace that she packs into her pages is both palpable and chilling.

Verdict: A beautifully written, well-crafted story that packs a big punch. Full of beautiful imagery and allegory, this is a story that has resonance beyond its pages. Highly recommended.

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Sandra Ireland was born in Yorkshire, lived for many years in Limerick, and is now based in Scotland. She began her writing career as a correspondent on a local newspaper but quickly realised that fiction is much more intriguing than fact. She returned to higher education her 40s, to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Dundee University. In 2016 she won Creative Scotland funding for a residency at Barry Mill, a National Trust for Scotland property.

A Breath on Dying Embers by Denzil Meyrick (DCI Daley #7) @lochlomonden @PolygonBooks @BirlinnBooks #bookreview

Source: Review copy
Publication: 11th July 2019 from Polygon
PP: 400
ISBN-13: 978-1846974755

When the luxury cruiser, hastily renamed Great Britain, berths in Kinloch harbour, the pressure is on DCI Jim Daley. The UK Government are taking a high-powered group of businessmen and women on a tour of the British Isles, golfing and seeing the sights, as part of a push for global trade. But when one of the crew goes missing, and an elderly local ornithologist disappears, will the pressure become too great?

The arrival of a face from the past sends Daley’s world into a tailspin. And the lives of the passengers and crew of SS Great Britain, as well as the country’s economic future are in jeopardy. DS Brian Scott comes to the fore, and replete with a temporary promotion, is once more – most reluctantly, in his case – back at sea.

Daley faces a life and death struggle, but is this his last throw of the dice?

Oh my. I adore Denzil Meyrick’s DCI Jim Daley books. From the very first book I was captivated by the fictional town of Kinloch and its wonderfully created settings and characters. I have binge read this series, mostly listening via audiobook (narrated by the excellent David Monteath) and loved every single one.

With A Breath on Dying Embers, I read a hard copy, but was still able to hear all those marvellous voices in my head as I read. What makes these books quite so special (and gentle reader, they are very special indeed) is the depth of characterisation. I feel as if I know all of these people, from the principal characters of DCI Daley and DS Brian Scott, through to Annie the hotel owner and barkeep through to Hamish, the elderly fisherman whose sixth sense comes to the fore in this novel.

The settings come alive in Meyrick’s outstanding descriptive prose and there’s no lack of contemporary issues in this authentic portrayal of west coast town living.

A Breath on Dying Embers is the latest in the series. While you can of course, read it as a stand-alone, please do read the whole series from the beginning. The time will be well spent and very well rewarded, because you will come to love these characters; it is impossible to do otherwise. They are so finely drawn and acutely well observed, they feel like friends; people you know and have grown to love, for all their flaws, difficult relationships and sometimes their eccentricities.

In the latest book in the series, the Kinloch force finds itself severely tested. Chief Inspector Carrie Symington has her work cut out liaising with MI5 over security for a high profile visit by the hastily renamed #SS Great Britain to Kinloch waters, carrying a plethora of high powered foreign visitors on an important trade mission; part of the Government’s attempts to strike new trade deals with key strategic businesses abroad. As part of their wooing, the Government is showing the best of what Scotland and the UK has to offer, and Kinloch is a port of call on their itinerary.

Symington has to call on Brian Scott to step up. While Brian is equal to the task, she has no doubt, his hatred of anything to do with boats makes him a reluctant participant in this endeavour, but he is keen to show his wife, Effie, that Kinloch is a place where she can live and they be happy, and that is at the forefront of his mind as he prepares to step off solid ground and once more step gingerly onto the floating ship.

As ever, nothing goes quite as smoothly as Carrie and the Government would like and soon the police force finds itself chasing not only those behind the disappearance of a local ornithologist, but also suspected terrorists intent on inflicting serious damage to the trade delegation aboard the SS Great Britain.

In a tense and dramatic book, Symington, Daley and Scott will find themselves battling their deadliest foes yet, and with a number of complex, layered personalities to deal with, will have their work cut out to show that they are equal to the task at hand.

As ever with this series, there is more than one front to fight on, and the domestic lives of our characters is also to the fore as they track the perpetrators they are after.

Among the myriad reasons I love this series is the humour and the banter that reaches out and grasps the reader tightly in its embrace. There is an exceptional sense of warmth, love and laughter amidst a dark and gritty police procedural that makes this an authentic and compelling read and one where you care enormously what happens to each and every one of these returning characters.

There’s darkness, and there’s an awful lot of gut roaring laughter and light too, making for an exceptional read. There are themes that will strike a chord with everyone who reads it. Meyrick’s gift is to write visceral prose in a way that hits home and feels all too real and to combine it with superb, layered, plotting.

I don’t want to spoil it by revealing more, but I will honestly say that I found this book, in particular, an emotional and gut wrenching read and utterly, completely, unmissable.

If you haven’t read any of this series, what are you waiting for? If you know the series, you will find it completely transfixing; compelling and heart breaking.

Verdict. Reader, I cried. There’s no greater compliment than that from me.

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Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll, then after studying politics, joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he entered the business world, and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. D. A. Meyrick has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio.

St. Benet’s by David Blake @DavidDBlake @BOTBSPublicity #STBENETS

Source: Review copy
Publication: 24th June 2019 from Black Oaks Publishing
PP: 331
ISBN-13: 978-1097466313

David Blake is a full-time author living in North London. To date he has written fourteen books along with a collection of short stories. He’s currently working on his fifteenth, St. Benet’s, which is the follow-up to his debut crime fiction thriller, Broadland. When not writing, David likes to spend his time mucking about in boats, often in the Norfolk Broads, where his crime fiction books are based.

A girl thrown from a church tower, a man sacrificed to Satan, and a priest murdered at the hands of the Devil.

When the body of an old man is found lying in the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey, his throat cut, a knife resting in his open hand, DI John Tanner and DC Jenny Evans are given no choice but to accept a ruling of death by misadventure.

But when the body goes missing from its tomb, after a priest is found nailed to a cross, and another impaled on a stake, everything begins to point back to the murder of a teenage girl, thrown from the top of a church tower, some forty-three years before.

Set within the mysterious beauty of the Norfolk Broads, this fast-paced British detective series is a cozy murder mystery with a slice of humour and a touch of romance, one that will have you guessing until the very end, when the last shocking twist is finally revealed.

St. Benet’s is a totally addictive gripping crime thriller, the second in a chilling series of serial killer books, ones which will rapidly convert followers of L J Ross, Faith Martin, Joy Ellis, Damien Boyd and Helen H. Durrant into David Blake devotees.

St Benet’s as you will see from the blurb, is described as a cozy murder mystery. As such, I think it comes at the considerably less cozy end of the market. None the worse for that though, as I like my murder mysteries with a distinct chill and St Benet’s fulfils that in spades.

An elderly man, dressed as a monk is found dead in the ruins of an old monastery St. Benet’s Abbey. DI John Tanner is sent to investigate along with his girlfriend, DC Jenny Evans. The pair are still in the throes of exploring their relationship, and the age gap is beginning to show some fault lines. While Tanner’s new boss, DCI  James Forrester, is inclined to think the first death was misadventure, Tanner is less certain.

Tanner is an old fashioned cop in his work and his personal life and his over protectiveness towards Jenny is beginning to grate on her, as it does on the reader.

Then the body disappears and the reader is left with a welter of clues involving quasi satanic cults, strange rituals and there is no escaping that somehow these events are all connected.

They don’t, though, have a lot of time to dwell on that as soon they are plunged headlong into a second murder investigation.  The death of a young woman 43 years ago may have a bearing on their current cases, but what exactly is the link, and why is someone out to kill more religious men?

Tanner is not a man to tread lightly when investigating and he manages to rile quite a few people, including at least one well-placed opinion former in the church, which incurs the wrath of Forrester.

Set in the Norfolk Broads, Blake’s use of this atmospheric setting adds to the darkness of the murderous events and renders them altogether more dangerous in feel.

While I was able to work out what was behind these killings, I found the relationships certainly interesting, with an old fashioned tinge to the central couple guaranteeing fireworks to come.

Verdict: Entertaining and atmospheric, St Benet’s is a book most likely to appeal to lovers of romantic mysteries.

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David Blake is a full-time author living in North London. To date he has written fourteen books along with a collection of short stories. He’s currently working on his fifteenth, St. Benet’s, which is the follow-up to his debut crime fiction thriller, Broadland. When not writing, David likes to spend his time mucking about in boats, often in the Norfolk Broads, where his crime fiction books are based.

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