Category Archives: Crime Fiction

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen (@OwenMullen6 ) – Review

Title – Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Author – Owen Mullen
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 272 Pages (Paperback)
Publication – 21st March 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Gavin Law was a whistleblower.
Now he’s missing.
Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.
Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?
Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.
Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty.
With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.
If that means murder, then so be it.
Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale.
He may not be so lucky a second time.

Review

This is the third novel in the Charlie Cameron P.I. series. I loved the previous two books in the series so jumped at the chance to read this one. If you’ve not manged to read them yet you can see my reviews by clicking the images below.

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I honestly didn’t think Owen Mullen could top the previous book but he certainly did and it was lovely to be back with Charlie and the loveable rogue Pat.

Once again Charlie gets drawn into two cases while also handling his personal life.. which is never easy.

I think it’s this work life balance that makes Charlie the likable and believable character he is. His private life is more complicated in this tale when an old flame shows up which brings Charlie’s emotions to the foreground.

I’d recommend reading the books in order if I’m honest but it would work as a standalone too as the author explains the background well enough, I just think you’d be missing out on the character development that’s built up.

So you’ll want to know about the cases our P.I gets sucked into. Well first off Gavin Law has went missing and his overbearing sister is out for answers. There’s not much to go on at first and it takes Charlie a while to be able to piece the dark and disturbing case together with some twists in the tale that really knock you for six.

The other case involves Sean Rafferty a gangster we’ve met before. I won’t give the game away with this one but when a gangster is involved you know there’s bound to be a body or two.

I’ve always loved Charlie but in this tale his Police friend Andrew Geddes shined and developed so well for me. I can’t wait to see what’s next and hope Geddes gets more page time.

The plot is dark and gritty, twists come from nowhere and you really are kept on your toes. It’s another brilliant tale from Mullen. What I really enjoy is that he manages to give us two tales weaved into one and at no point did it get confusing, With so many characters it would be easy to get lost but not with Mullen’s tales..everything is so clear to follow.

What I really need to love a book is to feel like the characters are real and with Charlie I get just that. I couldn’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Aurelia by Alison Morton – Review

Title – Aurelia (Roma Nova #4)
Author – Alison Morton
Genre – Fiction, Crime, Thriller
Length – 270 Pages
Publication – May 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Late 1960s Roma Nova, the last Roman colony that has survived into the 20th century Aurelia Mitela is alone – her partner gone, her child sickly and her mother dead – and forced to give up her beloved career as a Praetorian officer. But her country needs her unique skills. Somebody is smuggling silver – Roma Nova’s lifeblood – on an industrial scale. Sent to Berlin to investigate, she encounters the mysterious and attractive Miklós who knows too much and Caius Tellus, a Roma Novan she has despised and feared since childhood. Barely escaping a trap set by a gang boss intent on terminating her, she discovers that her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and pursues him back home to Roma Nova…

Review

Aurelia is book 4 in the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton. The good thing is if like me you’ve come to this series late you don’t need to have read the first 3 books to enjoy this one as the book is a prequel.

I loved the pace of this book, it’s so fast paced and easy flowing that you can’t help but sucked in.

The character Aurelia was well-developed. She has a military background and is very motivated and driven by her need to show just how much a woman can do without the need of a man. She’s strong and while a lot of people respect a woman in a powerful position some still believe a woman beneath them..and she’s loves to wind these people up..some hold grudges.

When we first meet Aurelia we learn of her military background but after some family misfortune she must leave the profession behind..family come first.

She’s soon recruited to be a spy of sorts, with her background and position in power she’s the perfect agent.

Silver is being smuggled and Aurelia soon stumbles upon the person responsible.. but she’s can’t prove it yet.

What happens after that is that we are treated to some very interesting twists. We have great characters such as a potential love interest who helps Aurelia..but he’s got his own secrets. There’s the jealous suitor who Aurelia despises and the biggest treat for me was the military contacts she makes throughout the book in her previous military role and her new role. Each very clearly defined, straight-laced but each intriguing in their own right.

As I’ve said the book is fast paced but the plot was great, I didn’t think anything was missing and it worked well. I particularly liked the historical edge to the tale, bringing the idea of Praetorian’s and such to a modern-day tale, It really gave it the unique feel.

I’m certainly going to pick up the previous 3 books and the series and look forward to more from the author. Her writing style is energetic and purposeful, the characters are always on the move and I loved how things played out.

This is a mystery with a historical edge, twists come out of nowhere.

I really fell for Aurelia..she has so much to deal with but she’s strong, she will persevere.

Most of all I loved how the author managed to make this mystery fun and serious at the same time, at times it’s light hearted at others very poignant. Loved it.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read and review their work in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Madam by Jamie Raven – Review

Title – The Madam
Author – Jamie Raven
Genre – Crime Fiction
Length – 337 Pages
Publication – May 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Murder, loyalty, and vengeance collide in a gritty read perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers.

‘Orange is the New Black meets a twisted Southampton’ Molly, Amazon reviewer

‘If you like a crime novel with a strong female lead then you’ll love this’ Katie, Amazon reviewer

Three years and eleven months. That’s how long Lizzie Wells has been banged up inside Holloway prison, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.

Six months. That’s how long it’s taken Lizzie to fall in love with her fellow inmate, Scar.

Now they are both finally free and, together, they are about to embark on a vengeful search to find those who framed Lizzie. It’s time to make them pay…

THE BUSINESS MAN. THE COPPER. THE MADAM.

Review

I loved this tale, a strong female lead on the hunt to settle a score.

Lizzie has just been released from prison for a crime she didn’t commit.

She only took the plea as the case was so clear-cut and to claim she was innocent would see her go down for life no doubt.

From the start Lizzie is driven..so driven she’s not really bothered about what will happen to her. She’s warned pretty quickly not to dig up the past and doing so could have her ending up in a lot of trouble.

I’ve read a few police procedural tales and this had the same vibe just from the victim’s viewpoint. Lizzie talks to witnesses, looks at the evidence, pokes holes in stories and generally causes a right fuss until people start to notice her.

I wouldn’t say the ending of the story was predictable as such but it was clear Lizzie knew who was ultimately behind her going to prison although there is a nice twist towards the end when a secret is revealed.

I enjoyed the characters a lot, Lizzie like a say was driven and passionate. Her mother bitter over the past, the old school detective who’s already made up his mind..loved them all.

This isn’t a whodunit rather a why did they do it..Lizzie needs the truth.

All in all a good read, straight forward plot. The writing was great and easy to follow..I managed to read it in two days which is a record for me.If you’re looking for a crime novel without the headache of putting the pieces together then this is the book for you.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Code Breaker by A.J. Trevors – Review

Title –  Code Breaker: An Alexander Hastings Novella
Author – A.J. Trevors
Genre – Short Stories, Crime, Thriller
Length – 26 pages 
Publication – Dec 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

‘So, can you hack it, my friend?’

‘Give me three seconds and a good connection. I can hack into anything’

Cyber-sleuth Alexander Hastings is a hacker extraordinaire

With the help of his phone, he can hack into anything and everything connected to the Australian Central System, also known as the AuCS, making the futuristic city of Melbourne his veritable playing ground.

However, when his past resurfaces, Alex will need to be at the top of his game in order to uncover the shadowy plans of the techno-terrorist organisation Black Binary, their leader and ex-mentor Roman Caster

Follow Alex as he races against the clock to uncover their plans and prevent them from coming to pass.

Before it’s too late.

Review

The last time I read the work of A.J. Trevors I used the word potential and I think this short story shows how well his work is progressing. Yes it’s a short story but the plot felt tighter.

Alexander Hastings is a hacker but he’s not always been on the side of good. In this tale he’s ask to help the police by looking into his ex-mentor.

There’s a really good twist in this story and I really enjoyed the technical side of the tale since these days anything can be controlled/hacked with enough knowledge and time.

This is a good short tale, detailed enough for s short and fun with it and the bang at the ending worked perfectly.

If you want something quick to read then give it a go.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

Death in Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson @GuyFSAuthor – Review

Title – Death in Profile – Book 1 of the Hampstead Murders
Author – Guy Fraser-Sampson
Genre – Thrillers
Publication – March 2016
Pages – 320 Page
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what? Intellectual analysis and police procedure vie with the gut instinct of ‘copper’s nose’, and help appears to offer itself from a very unlikely source a famous fictional detective. A psychological profile of the murderer allows the police to narrow down their search, but will Scotland Yard lose patience with the team before they can crack the case? Praised by fellow authors and readers alike, this is a truly original crime story, speaking to a contemporary audience yet harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction. Intelligent, quirky and mannered, it has been described as ‘a love letter to the detective novel’. Above it all hovers Hampstead, a magical village evoking the elegance of an earlier time, and the spirit of mystery-solving detectives. Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer best known for his series of Mapp and Lucia novels which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. This is his debut work of detective fiction, and the first title in the Hampstead Murders series.

Review 

Twist after twist after twist.. with misdirection thrown in.. wow.

This story follows a police investigation into a series of murders. The case has been stagnant for some time but when a body turns up with new evidence to look at things start to pick up.

Something I really liked form the start was the mention of “copper’s nose” and how the author showed relationships and motivations in the police department itself. It’s the whole issue of old school and new school techniques and ideas. Loved it.

As the case progresses a profiler is brought in to help them narrow the search..using this profile leads them to a suspect…

What happens after that is some wonderful twists and misdirection that had me engrossed.  At one point I thought I’d figured it out but no.. twist.

The plot was great, characters were believable and interesting and I liked there was more to this tale than just a simple police procedural book, the characters had more depth to them.

For me it kept me guessing right until the end and I was that engrossed I finished it in 2 days.. it wasn’t a case of I didn’t want to put it down but more that I just couldn’t put it down!

My thanks go to the authour for the chance to read/review their work

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen – Review

Title – Old Friends and New Enemies (Charlie Cameron #2)
Author –  Owen Mullen
Genre – Crime Fiction
Length –   338 Pages
Publication – January 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for. But it wasn’t a stranger. Ian Selkirk had been stabbed through the heart and dumped in the loch.
Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival as Charlie goes up against a notorious Glasgow gangster. Jimmy Rafferty is ruthless. Even his own family are terrified of him. He wants to use Charlie to get something for him. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.
Only one problem.
Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

Review

This is the second book to feature PI Charlie Cameron, I loved the first book so had high hopes for this one.. it delivered..bucket loads

Some of my favourite characters are back. Namely Andrew Geddes and Pat Logue, these two from opposite ends of the spectrum can keep me amused for hours

So you want to know a little about the plot. Well once again Charlie is stretched to the limit with not only personal issues but also work and it’s these competing storylines that make these books so interesting. Love, Friendship, Family and Business all compete for Charlie’s attention in this one

This is a really personal case for Charlie. While out on a job he gets pulled into the world of Ian Selkirk a onetime friend of his. Ian got himself into a spot of bother and with Charlie looking into things some people suspect he might know more than he does..

I don’t want to go into too much of the plot.. it would seriously ruin the enjoyment for you but let’s just say there’s more than one blast from the past for our favourite PI and this time Andrew Geddes isn’t the only police officer involved.. Will this new detective want to help Charlie? Read it and find out 🙂

There’s an underlying case playing out also involving Cecelia McNeil and her missing husband. With so much on his plate this case doesn’t get his full attention but our Charlie always gets the job done and how this one ends shocked me to say the least.. loved it.

I think the thing I enjoy the most about these books is that it’s dark crime.. just because Charlie is the good guy in this doesn’t mean he’s going to have everything his way and with this story in particular right up until near the end you really didn’t know how he would make it out of the situation he got himself into

For me the best part of the book has to be Pat Logue.. that loveable rogue develops so much for me.. his whole character.. I just love him.

Charlie himself developed during this one also. We learn more about his family and it added a bit of depth to him that I felt was needed

I really enjoy this book. Gripping, intriguing, dark and one hell of a ride.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Dark Heart, Heavy Soul by Keith Nixon – Review

Title – Dark Heart, Heavy Soul
Author – Keith Nixon
Genre – Mystery & Crime
Length –    226 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis                 

An adversary from the past asks Konstantin Boryakov for a favour – break into a facility designed to protect £200 million in cash and steal an item far more valuable. Theft, murder, mayhem and a sprinkling of deception await him…

Read the novels Ken Bruen loves!

All Konstantin Boryakov wants is a quiet life. In Margate. But someone is looking for him, someone who’ll do whatever they can to get the ex-KGB agent’s attention. Enter Violet, a woman with a penchant for throwing people who upset her out of windows. And Campari.

Reluctantly, Konstantin finds himself building a team to pull off a heist – breaking into a high security cash deposit facility with a hot line to the police. But he’s not to take money, what he’s after is a case, containing something apparently even more precious than the £200 million in notes that’s held behind razor wire defences.

The first member of Konstantin’s team is testosterone loaded prison officer David Lockwood, a man with debts to pay, and not to society. The pair break Sticky Mickey, a data mining expert, out of prison. With the arrival of strong man Lawson the team is seemingly complete, but when Lawson winds up dead, the result of an inconvenient accident, Konstantin is wary, even more so when Lawson’s void is filled by the volatile Violet.

Getting into the facility was the easy step and Lawson just the first to die. Everyone connected with the heist, it seems, is a target and Konstantin must go back to the beginning to find out who’s behind it all before he winds up with a bullet in the heart.

Konstantin Boryakov is done with the past, but seemingly, it’s not done with him…

Review

So today I’m reviewing book 4 in Keith Nixon’s Konstantin series. If you follow my reviews you’ll know I’ve read and enjoyed Keith’s work before and this certainly didn’t let me down.

Konstantin is a brilliant character, with snip bits of information about his past being dropped throughout the book.. This made him a very intriguing character and likeable. His inner monologue had me smiling, he’s got this great sense of humour which I loved and as a reader I felt privileged to read his inner thoughts.

The author describes Konstantin as an enigma.. which I totally agree with. I can really see this series having the legs for further tales as Keith builds on the story…..it just leaves me wondering what can happen next and what else about Konstantin we will learn

Very enjoyable read, and once the action starts its pace is pretty fast. I loved the plot line but probably would have liked the break-in scene drawn out a little more.. that’s personal preference though I must admit

There was another character I particularly enjoyed.. Mr Lamb.. like Konstantin (or indeed any other character in the book) you don’t get to know too much about them.. the suspense this brings was great.. wondering what each characters motives truly were.

My honest opinion of this book is that while the plot is good what really gave this book the extra wow factor was the characters and the mystery behind them. You are given tit bits to keep you happy but just enough so you want to read the next instalments without giving too much away in one go

At just over 200 pages it’s not an epic read either and the story flows easily so for me it was another excellent and fascinating book from Keith. I can’t rate his storytelling enough if I’m honest. Good plots, great characters and exciting plots that develop throughout

Take a look, let me know if you agree?

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com