Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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Book Description:

Believe the hype. Sold in over 32 countries and counting, RAGDOLL is the standout thriller of the year.

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My Thoughts:

Ragdoll is quite unlike any other crime thriller novel I have ever read.

There are quite a few cracking one liners in here that actually made me chuckle, but everything else in the story is far from a laughing matter.

Wolf is as complicated as they come. He has one hell of a past which doesn’t do him any favours and to be honest he is like a ticking time bomb waiting to self destruct. You can’t help but love his character though. He totally fascinated me and I was drawn to him through out the story.

With other strong character roles like Baxter and Edmunds, Ragdoll had me totally engaged with them throughout and I loved how each one stood out from each other and they all brought a little something extra to the novel.

The whole story line in itself is quite explosive. It is fast paced and at times I struggled to keep up. In parts I ended up having to go back a page or two as there are so many twists and turns it left me feeling dizzy. For readers that love their thrillers to be packed full of action and murder and mayhem you will devour this novel in no time.

Ragdoll really is an explosive debut novel from an author that is no doubt one to watch out for. He has created a novel with the ideal combination of everything that a true crime junkie expects from a story and more. A story that will have you holding your breath throughout and leave you gasping for air by the end.

My thanks to Sam at Orion for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Ragdoll is available to purchase on kindle from the 23rd of February 2017 but you can pre order your copy now from Amazon.

Ash And Bones by Mike Thomas ***Blog Tour***

I am delighted today to be one of two stops for the Ash and Bones blog tour. The blog tour also stops with my #BBFF over at Crime Book Junkie so don’t forget to drop by. For my stop, Mike Thomas has done a brilliant guest post about Ten Unusual Things Found On A Prisoner. What a fantastic post, don’t you agree? Today also just happens to be the day that Ash and Bones gets released, so Happy Publication Day Mike, hope you and your book have a fabulous day.

Blurb:

A cop killer on the loose in Cardiff – introducing a dark and gritty new voice in crime fiction, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and David Mark

At a squalid flat near the Cardiff docks, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong when the police aren’t the only unexpected guests. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range, the original suspect is left in a coma. The killer, identity unknown, slips away.

Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help ­- but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path…

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Guest Post:

Ten Unusual Things Found on a Prisoner

 

As a cop you deal with some very odd situations and even odder personalities. Many times, typically during a ‘Stop Search’ or just after an arrest when you want to make sure your detained person – who has warnings for mental health issues/violence/is known to assault officers – is not hiding a machete up his sleeve, it will involve you putting your hands into other people’s pockets, or rucksacks, or even their nice muddy trainers and sopping wet socks. Most of the time you will don a pair of latex gloves because, y’know, some people can be quite lax in the hygiene department and catching scabies is a rather unpleasant experience. And most of the time you will empty a prisoner’s pockets and find nothing but the mundane: smartphone. Wallet or purse. Some loose change. House keys. Maybe a pack of smokes and a lighter. But there are other times – and not as rare as you’d think – when you dip into someone’s jeans, or carrier bag, or hood, and find the utterly bizarre… and not a little troubling. So here are ten pretty unusual things found on a prisoner. Some of these are mine, the rest are from other officers who I worked alongside (including my wife, before she became my wife…). All of them really happened. And a warning – one or two of these are quite graphic…

Drugs are Bad, M’Kay? Once, in the small hours of a night shift and when I was still wet behind the ears, I found a male hiding in the back garden of a house, and noticed he was a little worse for wear. During a quick search of his pockets I found –ta-daaah! – a little green tablet, which he obligingly told me was ecstasy. My first drugs arrest! As the male was unfit to be interviewed, I spent three hours preparing a full ‘handover package’ for the morning crew, complete with statements, an in-depth summary of the case, the ecstasy tablet bagged and labelled, and everything else they would need to ensure they could interview him when sober, and that he ended up with a charge sheet for possession of Class A. When I returned to work that night, I found he had been released NFA (No Further Action) and my handover file had been shredded. In my paperwork drawer I found the ecstasy tablet, with a note from my irritated colleague: ‘This is a Cloret mint, you idiot.’

A Man’s got to Eat. People like to have a good time. Blow off some steam. Let their hair down. I’ve stood on street corners with my silly helmet on at three in the morning on a cold, miserable Saturday while women flash their chests at me, and men take turns to either gurgle something incomprehensible or offer to fight me down a side alley. One of those men – extremely polite, but as drunk as I’ve seen anyone before or since – muttered something about ‘getting some munch’ and wandered off into the night. I found him, four hours later, asleep in a bush outside a hotel. I couldn’t rouse him, so brought him in as Drunk and Incapable, just to make sure he survived (it was freezing at this point) and in the custody suite I conducted the routine search all people undergo. Shoved down the front of his underpants was a whole 24 oz. T-Bone steak. We duly bagged it as his property, and let him sleep off the drink. When he was released without charge later that morning, he ate the steak while waiting to be picked up by his parents.

Perfect Candidate. Want to join the police? Fight crime, serve your community, try and make your little corner of the world a better place? There are ways to go about it, and ways to avoid. Another drugs arrest of mine, this time of a twentysomething guy who’d just left university, and who’d badly assaulted somebody while high on amphetamine. He was quite miffed at being searched, and even more miffed when I arrested him for possessing the large amount of speed I found in his coat pocket. And in his rucksack: the application pack for my police force. Completed. Ready to be posted. Never posted in the end, because he was sent to prison several months later.

Do You Have the Time, Officer? All police areas have their regular callers. People who will ring 999 several times a day, or pop into their local police station to complain about aliens interfering with their TV. One such person, a woman who was a nuisance of epic proportions and who often attacked officers who attended her home, was arrested during one of her ‘episodes’ in order to prevent a Breach of the Peace. During the journey back to the police station she urinated all over the back of the police car, then over the officers themselves. Once in the custody suite, she was searched to make sure she had no hidden weapons. No weapons were found. Instead, secreted inside her private parts, was an antique pocket watch.

 

All the Fun of the Fair. Every year Cardiff hosts The Big Weekend, a carnival of funfair rides, excellent live music and ridiculously loud fireworks. It’s free, and it’s fun, yet there’s always one who has to play silly beggars. Like the teenager who, upset that he was too short to go on one of the rides, decided to turn arch criminal. When he was stopped, the cops found eighteen goldfish in his pockets, all swimming about in sealed plastic bags. He’d never been given a goldfish as a child either, apparently. The horror.

Memento. One colleague of mine arrested a male for some petty matter a few years ago. As is routine, he was searched after being detained. In his trouser pocket were his grandfather’s false teeth, in a very fancy presentation case. When asked why he was carrying them about he became quite uppity, pronouncing that ‘It is none of your business whose teeth I carry.’ Which is a fair comment, really.

We Don’t Serve Lamb Here, Sorry. If you are drunk, and wandering the streets of an afternoon, at a loose end and a bit bored, it is always advisable to steal from a farmer’s field, isn’t it? Then, when you are being pursued on foot by police officers, it is best to run for about four miles until you come to a Nando’s restaurant, where the officers will catch up with you, and you can open your jacket and lob the live lamb you’d hidden there at horrified diners just for shits and giggles. This is what happened a few months ago in a South Wales Valleys town. Had to be sheep related, didn’t it?

 

Always Game. Cardiff, like every major city, has its dodgy areas. One of those is alongside the River Taff, on an embankment opposite the Millennium/Principality Stadium, where no matter the weather the local drinkers will congregate to swap bottles of meths, get a winter tan by lying in the snow, and spend several hours shouting at themselves. On one such occasion two drunken pugilists were arrested for battering each other, and duly taken to the custody suite. Where, interestingly, one of them produced a live pheasant that he had shoved down his trouser leg.

Now Wash Your Hands. People do desperate things not to get caught doing naughty stuff. A handover prisoner I dealt with – a woman in for drug possession – was a tough lesson for me in this respect. The handover package itself was rubbish, with the arresting officer doing the bare minimum: all I knew was that the woman was in for possessing Class A (heroin, in this instance), and the one exhibit was a strange conical pod, about three inches in length, hollow in the middle, and fashioned out of lengths and lengths of Sellotape. During the course of the interview – during which she was open and honest and admitted she’d had the gear on her for personal use – I was touching and holding the Sellotape cylinder, rolling it between my fingers, waiting for the exact moment to ask her what it was for. And then I did. And she replied, ‘I hid the drugs inside it then shoved it up my bum.’

And Finally… Don’t Read on if of a Delicate Disposition (you have been warned!) This is the one incident that makes me wince, and feel very glad I didn’t have to deal with it. A colleague and close friend of mine – who is still, to this day, traumatised by what took place – was called to Cardiff city centre after reports of a distressed male staggering around in the late evening, blood all over his coat and hands. He wouldn’t let anybody near him, and was close to attacking several members of the public. When my colleague arrived he was unable to calm the male down, so – reluctantly – arrested him just to be able to take him away and find out what was wrong. Before he was placed in a police car the search was carried out. In the man’s jacket pocket were his own testicles. He was suffering from mental health problems, and had travelled from England to Cardiff on the train. During the journey he’d used a fingernail to rip himself open, such was his distress. I’m not sure what happened to him afterwards, I never heard. But this is one of those that never goes away.

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Mike Thomas was born in Wales in 1971. For more than two decades he served in the police, working some of Cardiff’s busiest neighbourhoods. He left the force in 2015 to write full time. Mike is in a unique position to write a truly authentic police procedural since he has more than twenty years’ experience in the force.

 

Mike has previously had two novels published and was longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and was on the list of Waterstones ‘New Voices’. His second novel, Ugly Bus, is currently in development for a six part series with the BBC.

 

Ash and Bones is gritty British crime novel for readers of Stuart MacBride and Peter James.

Out now and available to purchase from Amazon.

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Angel: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 4) by LJ Ross

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Book Description:

FROM THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OFHOLY ISLAND

He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.

Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

My Thoughts:

Even though Angel is the fourth book in the DCI Ryan Mystery series, it is actually the first one that I have read. Angel reads exceptionally well as a stand alone, though after reading Angel, I am dying to go back and start from the very beginning.

I really love the style of this authors writing. The characters and the story line had my attention through out, so much so that I seemed to be hurtling towards the ending well before I wanted to as I was enjoying it so much.

The actual murders have links to the catholic church which just seems to up the intrigue and mystery even more. The description of the church and grave yard gives you a sense of foreboding and it just added to the almost eeriness of the crime.

I loved DCI Ryan as well as some of the other characters in the book, they all make their own mark on the reader and stand out in their own way. Even though the author gives enough background to DCI Ryan so that I didn’t feel like I was missing parts, he is a character that just demands more attention and makes you want to know more about him and how he thinks. The thought of knowing I have three previous books to devour is certainly a feeling that makes me very happy.

Angel is a gripping read that had me from the very beginning. It is a roller coaster of a read with plenty of thrills and chills and left me feeling quite wind swept by the end. Very much looking forward to seeing where things go for certain characters in the next book in the series.

My thanks to the author for a copy of  this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Angel is out on the 26th of August and is available to pre order on Amazon.

 

The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley

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Book Description:

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

My Thoughts:

The Good Enough Mother probably isn’t my typical choice of genre but every now and then I love to throw caution to the wind and try something different and I’m so glad that this is one of those times that I did.

Drea is an absolute breath of fresh air. What a brilliant character she is. There are no airs and graces about her, what you see is what you get. She has a ‘couldn’t give a s**t’ type of attitude about her and I love her whole approach to life. She will never win the mother of the year award being step mum to her boyfriends daughter Ava, but that doesn’t really matter as there is literally nothing this woman wouldn’t do to make sure Ava has the best start in life.

I think any parent will empathise to a certain extent with Drea, the dreaded school runs and trying to do your bit for the school but never quite feeling like you fit in with the other mums, though to be honest not that to a certain extent you would want to. Drea is very much her own person whilst a lot of the other mums are the stereo typical followers and have no individuality about themselves at all.

After Alex leaves Drea with his daughter to fend for themselves, things spiral out of control for Drea in what ends up being a very dark time for her, but a comedy of errors for the reader. Drea just seems to fall from one disaster to another and ends up having a normally small quiet town all up in arms and scared for their lives.

The Good Enough Mother really is a novel worth reading. It really has something in there for everyone. Reading of how messed up someone else’s life is, is always something that tends to make ours look better and make us feel better about ourselves. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

The Good Enough Mother is available to purchase from Amazon.

 

Portraits Of The Dead by John Nicholl

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Book Description:

Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?

My Thoughts:

Portraits of the Dead is the authors third novel and a stand alone. Having read the authors previous two novels, of which White is the Coldest Colour was in my top ten reads of 2015, I knew I was going to be in for a gripping and entertaining read.

The majority of the story is told through the work of the detectives which gave a slight crime thriller series feel to it all. Gravel and Rankin are brilliant characters and the author far from sugar coats their roles. He keeps them very real which brought them very much to life for me and I loved how we were allowed inside their heads to see what they were thinking.

Even though Emma and what she is going through is probably only a smaller portion of the story, this was not an issue at all. The parts with her horrifying situation are exactly that, horrifying. The true nightmare of what Emma is going through flows through the authors writing and clings to the reader, so that what she is going through while the police hunt for her and her abductor, is at the front of the readers mind at all times.

The abductor and killer himself is pure evil through and through. There is never any scope in feeling sorry or liking the bad guys in this authors novels. He makes sure his readers are as scared and as full of hate for them as much as the villains victims do.

Portraits of the Dead is a gripping thriller with more than a few surprises in store. It actually had me reminiscing of the old television show, Tales of the Unexpected. If you watched the show and when you’ve read the book I think you will understand but won’t say anymore than that in fear of giving to much away.

Another brilliant offering from an author who is certainly one to watch out for.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Portraits of the Dead is out on the 1st of September and available to pre order now from Amazon.

Untouchable by Sibel Hodge

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Book Description:

A Conspiracy. A cover-up. And a whistle-blower…You think you know who to trust? You’re wrong. Untouchable is a chillingly dark psychological thriller from the No 1 Bestselling Author of Look Behind You.

~~ Inspired by real UK police investigations, this book contains scenes which some readers may find disturbing ~~

It’s Maya and Jamie’s anniversary, and she waits with excitement for him to return home for a celebratory dinner. There’s a knock at the door. It’s the police. Jamie has been found hanging in a local wood.

His death is ruled a suicide, but Maya doesn’t believe Jamie would take his own life. Something isn’t right. Someone has broken into her house. Someone is watching her. And someone has gone to great lengths to cover up what Jamie was doing before he died.

Maya’s grief turns to suspicion, and as she begins to investigate the weeks leading up to Jamie’s death, her trail leads her to a place known as “The Big House” and the horrific secrets within. Secrets people will stop at nothing to keep hidden. People linked to the heart of the Establishment who think they’re untouchable.

Now Maya has a dangerous decision to make. How far is she prepared to go to reveal the truth?

My Thoughts:

A few of my blogging buddies have spoken really highly of this author and they have all raved about her latest novel Untouchable, so obviously I had to go buy myself a copy to see what I was missing out on.

If her latest novel is anything to go by then by the looks I have been missing out and will certainly be reading her other novels.

Untouchable is one of those novels, that due to the nature of the storyline, it just doesn’t feel quite right saying that I enjoyed it. Saying that though it is a great book.

The author has done well on writing a story surrounding an horrific subject which makes for some really uncomfortable reading. She cleverly doesn’t go into to much detail yet still manages to shock and horrify the reader so that the true atrocities of what happens in “The Big House” well and truly hits home.

In the aftermath of the atrocities that surrounded Jimmy Saville, it makes Untouchable a very relevant story in today’s world. It is very much a story of conspiracy and the fight for justice. It is a story fraught with tension in a dark and disturbing world.

Maya is a likeable character who the reader will have every empathy for. On what should have been one of the most happiest days of her life, instead ends up being one of her worst. She has waited a long time to meet the ‘one’ which she did with Jamie, then for him to be ripped away from her is heart breaking. She knows Jamie was happy and can’t get her head around him supposedly taking his own life, so it is understandable that she decides to go delving into Jamie’s stuff leaving nothing unturned.

With the help of Mitchell, Maya finally starts to unravel the truth and opens a whole can of worms that makes it very dangerous for everyone involved.

Untouchable is a story that some readers may find upsetting in parts and certainly isn’t the most pleasantest of stories. The novel does go some way into showing how far people will go into covering things up and how hard it is to bring people to justice and to get the truth out there. It makes you realise just how many legalities there are and things are very far from how black and white I thought they would be. An unforgettable story that will open readers minds.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Untouchable is available to purchase from Amazon.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Book Description:

Raised as the daughter of a black maid in a privileged white household, Ruth is no stranger to prejudice.

Now, as a hospital nurse, she thinks she is a world away from the inequality that defined her mother’s life. But the patients in her care have not all moved on so far. A white supremacist couple can dictate that no person of colour treats their newborn child.

And when that baby stops breathing on Ruth’s watch, Ruth has to decide whether her vocational oath is stronger than the hospital’s edict.

That decision – one a white nurse would never have had to make – could cost her everything.

Never afraid to confront the moral dilemmas of our times in the most human terms, this new novel is Jodi Picoult at her most thought-provoking, life-affirming best. A powerful look at the judgements we make, the differences between us – and the humanity that binds us together.

My Thoughts:

Having requested a copy of this book as a Can you #ReadWithoutPrejudice from the publisher, I had absolutely no idea who the book was by or what it was about. This actually excited me as well as making me slightly nervous. Before I actually got round to reading it though, the publisher sent an email out telling us who the author was as well as the title.

Now this normally probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but having a read a couple of the authors previous books and not really enjoying them, I have to admit I had it in my head that she was an author whose books sadly were not for me. It left me torn as to whether to contact the publisher and tell them I couldn’t read it or did I bite the bullet and give it a chance?

Well I’m so pleased to say that I decided to give the book a chance and boy am I glad I did.

Small Great Things is a story that alternates between three characters. Ruth, Turk and Kennedy.

Ruth is a black nurse who has twenty years of experiencing in delivering and looking after babies. After the death of her husband, she has done her best to raise her son single handedly in a better community and give him every opportunity she possibly can. Her job is very important for her and her sons future, that is all at risk when a baby dies who she has been ordered not to touch.

Turk is the father of the dead baby. He really is a tough character to read about. Having to cope with the death of a child is just unimaginable and my heart broke for him and his wife but in the same breathe I really disliked them. I don’t know what shocked me more to be honest, that in todays world people can still be so prejudiced or that a hospital would allow a racist to dictate that someone black was not allowed to touch their child. I was upset and horrified all at the same time. Poor Ruth is just a scape goat for the parents to blame as well as the hospital and it isn’t long before she is arrested and has to face a trial.

Kennedy is a wife and mother and also a public defender. Even though she doesn’t usually take on cases like Ruth’s, I think she feels some sort of connection with this woman and wants to see it through to the end. To a certain extent both women learn something from each other and to be fair I think the reader does also.

Small Great Things is a hard hitting and powerful read that is also very thought provoking. It gives us an insight into peoples mind sets, which at times was quite worrying. It will certainly make people take a long hard look at themselves. A great novel which to me is screaming out to be on the big screen.

My thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Small Great Things isn’t out until November but you can pre order a copy at Amazon.