GIRLS ON TOP: SEX IN CRIME FICTION (PART 1) with STEPH BROADRIBB & SJI HOLLIDAY #GirlsOnTop

 

Today it’s time for something a little different. Susi (SJI) Holliday and me, in conjunction with CrimeTime, have been thinking about sex in crime fiction. You can read our thoughts in a few places – the first half of our conversation here on the CTG blog, the second half over on Susi’s blog HERE, and the full article over on the CrimeTime website HERE

Once you’ve had a read, we’d love to know your thoughts – do you like a sprinkling of sex with your crime? And, if you do, what’s the most memorable sex scene in a crime thriller for you? Tweet us at @crimethrillgirl and @SJIHolliday using hashtag #GirlsOnTop to let us know.

[STEPH] Let’s talk about sex. Sex in crime fiction, specifically. Okay, so I’ll go first – I’m not embarrassed – there’s a couple of sex scenes in my debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD. One is more of a cut away as the action happens, but the other one, towards the end of the book, is very much the action as it happens; my protagonist Lori Anderson riding a male character cowgirl style. I put it in because the scene felt right for the story and (I hope) conveys something about the characters, adding additional conflict and raising the emotional stakes of the decisions they’re about to make and the (negative) consequences they could have for their relationship. That’s a whole lot of subtext to put on a sex scene, but that’s my rationale.

Back when I was starting to write my novel, I was told that sex and crime fiction don’t mix, but that doesn’t seem quite right to me. I can think of memorable sex scenes in the crime thriller genre like Lee Child’s The Affair – Jack Reacher has sex as a train thunders along the tracks – and that chilling sex scene in Gone Girl between Amy and Desi – the book, and the slightly more bloody film version! But, now I think about it, I can’t think of many detective stories that have sex scenes playing out in full in them unless the sex itself is the crime to be solved. Surely there must be more and my memory is just playing tricks on me? To help, I’ve enlisted crime writer S.J.I. Holliday – author of the Banktoun series – to answer the question, do sex and detective fiction mix?

[SUSI] I really don’t see why not. When you ask people about this, you get very mixed responses. Readers (in general) are absolutely fine with serial killers, blood, gore, death and destruction. But throw a blow job in there and they’re skimming the pages faster than a quickie in the stationery cupboard.

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The Slice Girls [L-R]: Alexandra Sokoloff, Steph Broadribb, AK Benedict, Louise Voss, Susi Holliday, Harley Jane Kozak

Personally, I love a bit of sex. Slotted in at the right time, it can help add to the tension of your story, especially if the characters are having sex with people they shouldn’t. In all three of my books, there is a hint of sex – an encounter reminiscent of 9½ Weeks on a kitchen table in BLACK WOOD, where various food items are strewn around the kitchen… In WILLOW WALK, there’s a first-timer’s sex scene down by the river which I thought was quite touching (so to speak) and entirely relevant to the plot. There’s actually less sex in THE DAMSELFLY than in the other two. A thwarted BJ and an illicit scene in a lock-up that’s kept mainly off the page. It totally depends on the story. It definitely shouldn’t be shoehorned in if it doesn’t advance the plot.

[STEPH] Seems like Susi and me are on the same page about sex-on-the-page, but what about other crime writers, what do they think? We asked a few to find out.

Neil White – From the Shadows (Bonnier Zaffre) – said, ‘Never written a sex scene. Too buttoned up. My mum will read it’ and Mason Cross – The Time To Kill (Orion) – said, ‘I’ve only included PG13 sex scenes so far, although I may need to change that for plot reasons in the new one. But Jeez, my dad reads these!’ So it could be the fear of family members reading intimate scenes is in the forefront of some writers’s minds (and limits them going all the way) but that’s not all. Chris Ewan – Long Time Lost (Faber) – said, ‘I almost wrote one yesterday and then … just cut away again. Performance anxiety.’

It also depends on the character. James Oswald – Written In Bones (Penguin) – said, ‘I don’t put much sex in my books. Tony McLean is incredibly repressed anyway, so there’s that too … on the other hand there’s auto-erotic asphyxiation and death by priapism in my latest, so maybe I do write sex after all.’

Andy Martin – Reacher Said Nothing (Transworld) – said, ‘Sad to say there are few explicit sex scenes of note in Reacher Said Nothing. I only looked over Lee Child’s shoulder while he was writing Make Me. I think there is the occasional manly handshake. But Lee – as straight as a die – had some wry remarks to make on the subject. “Never sleep with someone you know,” still resonates in my mind. And more recently he said that the most erotic experience he had ever had was a brief encounter on a train. They shared a moment but had no actual language in common. I think I may have been influenced by Childean minimalism, that “zero degree” of writing recommended by Roland Barthes. I was at a Norman Mailer writers colony in Wyoming recently when a brilliant Indian writer devised an elaborate sex scene about a dozen pages long. I wrote one, rather shorter, that went like this: “We had sex.” It’s not exactly lyrical or spiritual but it gets the job done.’

It seems, from the guys we spoke to, that male crime thriller writers generally prefer not to write on-the-page sex and to cut away before the act takes place. Mark Edwards – The Devil’s Work (Thomas & Mercer) – bucks this trend, he wants more sex in crime fiction, and said, ‘we Brits are notoriously squeamish when it comes to the squelchy bits. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of our great detectives were as skillful in bed as they are at solving crimes? Don’t you think there should be more people handcuffed to beds in thrillers because they like being handcuffed to beds?’

To find out what the female crime writers thought, why Susi hates ‘panties’ and what the trick to writing a good sex scene is, hop over to Susi’s blog HERE then come find us on Twitter @crimethrillgirl and @SJIHolliday and tell us your thoughts on sex in crime fiction using hashtag #GirlsOnTop

And check out the article in full on Barry Forshaw’s CrimeTime at www.crimetime.co.uk  and check out his Rough Guide to Crime Fiction here

Buy DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb here

Buy THE DAMSELFLY by SJI Holliday here

And you can buy books by our contributing authors by clicking the book titles below:

Neil WhiteFrom the Shadows (Bonnier Zaffre)

Mason CrossThe Time To Kill (Orion)

Chris EwanLong Time Lost (Faber)

James OswaldWritten In Bones (Penguin)

Andy MartinReacher Said Nothing (Transworld)

Mark EdwardsThe Devil’s Work (Thomas & Mercer)

 

More about Steph and Susi:

Steph Broadribb is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing at City University London and trained as a bounty hunter in California. Her debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD is out now. Find out more at www.crimethrillergirl.com right here!

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday grew up near Edinburgh and now lives in London. She works as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry and writes books set in a creepy and claustrophobic small town in Scotland where the crime rate is apparently higher than in New York. BLACK WOOD, WILLOW WALK and THE DAMSELFLY are a mix of psychological thriller and detective fiction, featuring the terminally unlucky in love, Sergeant Davie Gray. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com

 

CTG REVIEWS: THE DAMSELFLY by SJI HOLLIDAY

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What the blurb says: “Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She’s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie’s death. And it’s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brother’s mysterious friend?

With Banktoun’s insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands…”

THE DAMSELFLY is the third book in the Banktoun series, and a real firecracker of a read.

Series favourite, DS Davie Gray is back, joined by DC Louise Jennings to try and work out who killed local teenager Katie Taylor, a resident of the rather ill-fated Banktoun in Scotland.

As always with this series, I found myself hooked fast and pulled deep into the small town whisperings and curtain-twitching claustrophobia of the small Scottish town. Katie is a compelling character, and although she is only alive for a short time on the page, she is a constant presence within the book, one that has you willing DS Gray and DC Jennings on in their search for her killer.

But they don’t have an easy task. Banktoun is a place of many secrets, and getting them uncovered is a difficult job. With the police no closer to an arrest, and the outrage in the town growing by the hour, it isn’t long before social media is used to incite townsfolk to take matters into their own hands. Someone is playing an evil game. Question is, who?

As DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings are soon to find out, in a town plagued by lies and resentments, danger can be far closer than you think.

I loved this book. It’s a brilliant page turner of a read with and a twisting, turning story that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s also gut-wrenchingly emotive, with vivid characters, and a creepy and stiflingly intense location.

An outstanding police procedural that had me captivated from the very first page to the jaw-dropingly shocking finale, THE DAMSELFLY is a must read for all crime fiction fans.

THE DAMSELFLY is out today. You can buy it from Amazon here

And be sure to pop over to SJI Holliday’s blog here and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday 

CTG Reviews: WILLOW WALK by SJI Holliday

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What the blurb says: “When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight? When a woman is brutally attacked by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s increasingly bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he comes to realize that there has to be a link between Marie and the man on the run. It’s the only thing that makes any sense. But he also knows that if he confronts her with the truth, he risks losing everything. As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes a life-changing decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once again?”

Having really enjoyed SJI Holliday’s debut novel – BLACK WOOD – I was delighted to get an early read of the second book in the Banktoun trilogy. Set in a small town community in Scotland where everyone knows each other’s business and secrets are deeply held, Sergeant David Gray is investigating a series of deaths linked to legal highs, while also trying to work out what is going wrong in his relationship with girlfriend, Marie.

Sergeant Gray is a fantastic character. In WILLOW WALK we find out more about his personal life, and about his relationship with Marie. When she becomes increasingly distant and her behaviour erratic, he struggles with what to do to makes things better. As he joins the search for the missing psychiatric patient, Sergeant Gray starts to see connections between the different areas he’s grabbling with – professionally and personally. As he follows the evidence, and begins to piece together the truth, he realizes that this case might be a lot closer to home than any other before.

A twisty, turning police procedural with a strong psychological twist, the tension ramps up page by page from the outset. Tackling some controversial issues, this is a gritty tale of obsession, revenge and escape.

Chillingly nuanced, pulse-poundingly suspenseful, it’s a great second book in the Banktoun Trilogy and totally unputdownable.

WILLOW WALK is out now. Click the link to buy it here from Waterstones or from Amazon here

You can find out more about SJI Holliday and her books here and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday

#GIVEAWAY: RT for your chance to #WIN a book bundle of #LongTimeLost #WillowWalk #TheEvolutionOfFear #ARisingMan

 

It’s Friday, so I reckon that’s a good excuse for another competition! And you’re in for a treat as the giveaway today is for a book bundle of four of this weeks awesome new crime thriller releases – Chris Ewan’s Long Time Lost, SJI Holliday’s Willow Walk, Paul E. Hardisty’s The Evolution of Fear, and Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man. Plus I’ll even throw in the sampler for my own thriller Deep Down Dead and Michael J. Malone’s A Suitable Lie.

HERE’S MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS …

LONG TIME LOST by Chris Ewan: “Nick Miller and his team provide a unique and highly illegal service, relocating at-risk individuals across Europe with new identities and new lives. Nick excels at what he does for a reason: he’s spent years living in the shadows under an assumed name. But when Nick steps in to prevent the attempted murder of witness-in-hiding Kate Sutherland on the Isle of Man, he triggers a chain of events with devastating consequences for everyone he protects – because Nick and Kate share a common enemy in Connor Lane, a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means tearing Nick’s entire network apart.” Rapid paced, and packed with tension, twists and turns, this is a must read for thriller fans. You can find out more about Chris Ewan and his books here and follow him on Twitter @chrisewan

WILLOW WALK by SJI Holliday: “When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight? When a woman is brutally attacked by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s increasingly bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he comes to realize that there has to be a link between Marie and the man on the run. It’s the only thing that makes any sense. But he also knows that if he confronts her with the truth, he risks losing everything.” Chillingly nuanced, pulse-poundingly suspenseful, this is a great second book in the Banktown Trilogy. You can find out more about SJI Holliday and her books here and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday

THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR by Paul E. Hardisty: “Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.” Gripping, exhilarating and frighteningly realistic, this is a great second book in the Claymore Straker series. You can find out more about Paul E. Hardisty by following him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul

A RISING MAN by Abir Mukherjee: “Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Culcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatize to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues – arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID – embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.” Atmospheric and packed with intrigue, this is a fabulous debut novel. You can find out more about Abir Mukherjee by following him on Twitter @radiomukhers

AND THE SAMPLER …

The sampler gives you a sneak peep at the first chapters of two books:

A SUITABLE LIE by Michael J. Malone: “Some secrets should never be kept … Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything …” A Suitable Lie will be published on 15th July in eBook and 15th September in paperback. Find out more about Michael J. Malone and his books here and follow him on Twitter @michaelJmalone1

DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb: “Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as a single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s form mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.” Deep Down Dead will be published on 15th October in eBook and 5th January 2017 in paperback.

 

*** THIS COMPETITION HAS ENDED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED ***

 

HOW TO ENTER …

For a chance to win, all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. You’ll also need to follow us @crimethrillgirl on Twitter so we can send you a direct message should you win.

Rules: (1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 11pm GMT on Friday 6th May 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

The ‘ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT’ Blog Tour: Read an extract of All Through The Night by M.P. Wright

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on M.P. Wright’s All Through The Night Blog Tour and letting you in on a sneaky peep at the book by sharing the Prologue with you.

But, firstly, here’s what the blurb says: “Bristol, Summer 1966 … Struggling to make ends meet, private detective JT Ellington sees a way to make some easy cash when approached by Ida Stephens, the administrator of a local orphanage. She offers him £500 to locate a disgraced Jamaican GP, Dr Ronald Fowler. Fowler has in his possession a number of potentially damaging files regarding deceased young children who have been living at the orphanage. Ida tells Ellington to track him down by any means necessary, retrieve the files and ask an important question: Where is the truth to be found? But Ellington has underestimated his assignment. He quickly finds himself up to his neck and running for his life, in a world where nothing is as it appears and the truth is beyond his imagination …”

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by M.P. WRIGHT

PROLOGUE

Thursday, 12 May 1966

The Douglas C-124 aircraft rose and fell in the air as it butted and fought its way through heavy rain, strong winds and gut-churning turbulence. Its four Pratt & Whitney engines roared in unison as it flew out some two hundred miles off the coast of mainland Scotland towards Keflavík airfield, on the western tip of Iceland. The plane had been in the air for just over two hours since taking off from the United States Strategic Air Command base at RAF Fairford, in the heart of Gloucestershire. In the cockpit, Captain Gene Westlake glanced quickly at his wristwatch, which read 5.45 a.m. He smiled to himself, pleased that they were still making good time despite the appalling weather conditions. He looked out of the small window on his left-hand side and saw below him the angry, swelling white tips of the North Atlantic beating against the craggy outcrop of the final edges of the Faroe Islands’ rugged coastline. There were five other crew members on board the “Old Shaky”, as the C-124 was fondly known by all those who flew in or worked on her. This was strictly an all-American crew of the Military Air Transport Service and had made the same long journey back to Dover airfield in Delaware State, USA, more times than they cared to remember.

Sat next to Westlake in the cockpit was his co-pilot, First Lieutenant Dan Knudson and, to their rear, Navigator Ed Barry. Below them in the vastness of the transport hold were loadmasters Carl Brett, Bobby Romaire and Mac Kepner. Once a week they flew the huge aircraft with its cargo of military freight. On a flight out to Britain it could be anything from confidential documentation, armaments and uniforms to newly spruced-up Willys jeeps and troop-carrying lorries. On a run to the US, the cargo could be servicemen and women, tours of duty complete, all cheerfully homeward bound after months away and packed in like sardines alongside countless sacks of mail bound for armed forces and to news-anxious parents and sweethearts back in the States. Same crew, normal trip, thought Gene Westlake, only today, what was in the cargo hold of his craft made him nervous.

It wasn’t unusual to have military police officers on board an aircraft bound for the US. You would normally find them in pairs escorting a soldier, sailor or airman who had committed a serious crime abroad and who would more often than not be tried in the UK before being returned back to a martial penitentiary to serve out their custodial sentence. But military police officers sergeants Paxton and Jardine were not taking the four-thousand-mile flight simply to guard over a criminal miscreant. This was a more personal, delicate enterprise. They sat expressionless beyond the closed door of the cockpit on the upper level of the Douglas aircraft, neither of them perturbed by the way the plane shook as it was buffeted by the squally storm. The seasoned, battle- hardened soldiers, white and in their mid forties, were both originally from different armpit, backwater, shithole towns in the Deep South, Mississippians and staunchly proud of it. Both men were confident that their latest mission would run smoothly, like the previous nine other operations had; a little bad weather wouldn’t change the task at hand. There was no going back. Such was the serious nature of their undertaking.

Under their supervision was a consignment that was both precious and unique and of considerable monetary value, not only to the two policemen but also to the five other crew members on board. With nine ‘special’ deliveries complete, they knew the stakes, the risks involved. They had all been keen to go, enjoyed the pay-offs, but one man had got cold feet and asked for this to be his last illicit exercise.

Twenty-four hours previously Bobby Romaire had sat in the mess room after evening chow down and told his fellow crew he wanted no further part in their business, that he’d had his fill and was looking to get transferred to a different unit. He assured the other guys that he wasn’t a squealer, that their secret was safe with him. But Romaire’s colleagues got spooked and couldn’t allow him to walk away that easily. Gene Westlake knew what had to be done and told the rest of his crew to be cool, to leave it to him.

On Wednesday evening Westlake made a couple of telephone calls and informed the military police officers Paxton and Jardine of Romaire’s decision to walk.

“Just fly the damn package back stateside, like we done all those times before, you understand? Now, you leave Airman Romaire to me,” Paxton had said icily before the line went dead. Gene Westlake put down the phone at his desk, then told himself that the conversation had never happened.

Loadmaster Bobby Romaire stood on the bottom deck at the rear of the cargo hold, staring blankly down at a five- foot-square wooden crate. The crate was held securely by thick black webbing straps that looped through into large metal D-rings that were riveted into the walls and floor of the aircraft. Drilled into the panels of the crate were eight silver-dollar-sized holes, and printed on each side of the large box in big black capital letters were the words “MILITARY POLICE DOG IN TRANSIT TO BE LOADED AND UNLOADED BY MPC STAFF ONLY”.

Inside, sleeping after being sedated, was a large three- year-old male German Shepherd. Romaire knelt on one knee at the side of the crate and put his ear to the wooden panel, then covered his other in an attempt to muffle out the thunderous hum of the engines. He thought he could pick out the steady, heavy breathing of the big, drugged-up dog as it slept.

The airman put his face flat against the panel of the crate and called out. The side of his mouth grazed the wood as he spoke.

“Hey . . . you hear me in there? Now you just hold tight, don’t you be scared none. It’s gonna be all right, I’m gonna have you outta there as soon as this here Old Shaky hits the ground. You’ll be safe, I promise you that.” Bobby Romaire again pushed his ear as hard as he could against the crate and as he did felt his scalp being grabbed tightly. His head was snatched back and violently slammed into the side of the wooden container. Struggling to remain conscious and unable to cry out, he felt only the briefest touch of cold metal on the nape of his neck as the flat hilt of a stiletto knife made contact with his clammy skin. The needle-like blade rapidly shot up and injected itself underneath the occipital bone and into the soft tissue of his brain. Bobby Romaire felt nothing else as he fell back onto the deck of the cargo hold. He thought he heard the faint voice of a child in his head softly speak the word “Truth” as his life spiralled uncontrollably away from him. Gold shards of light flickered briefly in front of his eyes as a cold darkness took hold of him and pulled a last sharp breath away from his now limp body.

Sergeant Paxton stood over Bobby Romaire’s corpse, the dead man’s lifeless eyes staring back up at him. The thin stiletto blade in Paxton’s right hand made a sweeping sound as it swiftly returned itself into the black lacquered handle. Paxton opened his olive-green tunic and carefully clipped the knife back into a small leather cradle on his belt, then turned around and watched as his colleague walked slowly along the length of the vast hold to join him. As Nathan Jardine grew closer he threw his thumb back over his shoulder towards the front of the plane, then bellowed out to Paxton over the deafening sound of the engines.

“Westlake’s starting to take this heap down a couple of thousand feet, says he’ll flash the droplight that’s over the floor chute, then we can lug this fucker’s carcass into the drink.”

Paxton smiled back at Jardine. The two men bent down, took hold of Bobby Romaine’s body and heaved it over towards the emergency exit situated in the hull of the plane, then waited until the red overhead light began to glow on and off. Jardine bent down and turned the first of three metal handles, then used all his strength to pull back the chute door to reveal the dark emptiness below them. The inside of the plane was filled with the piercing scream of the wind from outside mixed with the growling rumble of the four giant propellers.

Paxton lifted Romaire’s body up by the scruff of his lapels, pulling it towards the edge of the door chute, then stood with his legs over either side of it, dropped the cadaver’s head and shoulders out of the hatch, and let the dead man’s weight drag the rest of his bulk out. Both men watched as it tumbled out into the blackness over the North Atlantic. Paxton stood away from the gaping hole in the floor and brushed the palms of his hands across the other as if to congratulate himself on a job well done before helping Sergeant Jardine to close the door and secure it once again. Neither man spoke as they stood staring at each other. They took a moment to smooth down their tunics with the backs of their hands and straighten the knots on their ties before returning back to their seats behind the cockpit.

As both men strode away from the hold, Jack Paxton stopped in his tracks and quickly turned on his polished boot heels, staring suspiciously at the crate. He tapped at the bronze braid strip on the trouser leg of his dress uniform, his glare burning into the inside of the container. He took a step towards it, then halted again, realising that there really was no need to return to it. After all the contents were still safe and he knew that what was inside had no way of escaping. He’d come back to the caged creature and feed it later. Paxton flashed a fleeting grin at the wooden chest, shaking his head at it knowingly before rejoining his colleague.

From inside the crate, secretly partitioned off from the doped police dog, the watery eyes of a small child stared out. A little girl, no more than seven, peered through one of the drilled air holes at the two men as they walked away. The girl timidly expelled a slow rasp of air from her lungs. She had been holding her breath for what seemed like forever and had stifled her sobs by biting into the back of her hand as, petrified, she had watched the slaughter of the “good” man who had promised her that things would be all right. He’d told her that he would make sure she was safe, that no harm would come to her. But that promise was now broken, snatched away by the monster with the pointed knife. The little girl remembered the piercing, cruel gaze of the killer: he was the same person who had come to her room in the middle of the night and taken her away from the only family she’d ever known. She’d been placed on the back seat of a car, given sweets and told to eat them. She had done as she was told, then fallen asleep. She’d woken inside the crate. The man with the pointed knife had told her not to make a sound, that if she cried out he would release the big dog from behind the partition and the animal would tear her to pieces. She’d done as he said and not uttered a sound. Terrified and still dressed in her flannelette pyjamas, a series of coarse wool blankets had been wrapped around her for warmth. She’d remained silent and sat in a pool of her own cold urine for what seemed like forever. The girl began to cry again as she watched the two men disappear from her view. Then, rubbing away the wetness of the tears from her cheeks with her tiny hands, she slowly sank back into the shadowy, bleak recess of her captivity, curling up into a ball and closing her eyes tightly in the hope that it would shut out the horrific images now etched so deeply into her memory.

 

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is published by Black & White Publishing on April 14th. Pre-order a copy from Amazon here

You can find out more about M.P. Wright by following him on Twitter @EllingtonWright

And don’t forget to check out all these other great stops along the All Through The Night Blog Tour:

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Guest Post by crime writer SJI Holliday: The Long and Short of It

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Today I’m handing over the reins at CTG HQ to my fabulous crime writer pal, SJI Holliday.

Over to you, Susi …

I’ve always been a big fan of short stories, writing hundreds of them before finally completing my first novel. There are pros and cons of starting with short stories when you’re beginning your new life as a writer. They help you edit, and stop you from overwriting – when a piece has word count of 1000, 2000, 3000 words, you can’t afford to waste them – you need the whole story to be told in that space so there’s no room for flabby prose. Also, entering competitions gets you used to dealing with deadlines, and the publications that ask for things to be sent in specific formats, gets you ready or working with an editor. Sort of. On the downside, when the longest thing you’ve written is 5000 words, a novel of 75k or more can be daunting. It took me a while to make the transition, and now, sadly, I have less time to write shorts, and I while I used to be brimming with ideas for short, snappy pieces, now I think of all my ideas as novels…

Anyway, the last proper short story I wrote was the one I sent to the very first CWA Margery Allingham comp in 2014 – quite a big deal, with a huge cash prize and the winner announced at CrimeFest. The brief was to write to Margery’s specification…

The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.’

My first novel, Black Wood, was out on submission, and I wasn’t ready to write another one yet, so I wrote a story about what my main character, Sergeant Davie Gray, got up to after the book ended… before he got embroiled in the next one. I sent him on holiday to Brighton for a week in the sun… some much needed relaxation after the terrible events that had recently befallen his home town. Only it didn’t work out like that. He barely had time to breathe in some refreshing sea air when before he got mixed up in a murder case that he could really do without. It was originally titled ‘Home from Home’ and it was shortlisted in the completion – an achievement I am still very proud of. It’s very hard to get noticed in the short story world, so if you write them, keep going – you’ll get there.

So I thought that now was a good time to release the story into the world – to whet your appetite before Willow Walk comes out in May. Poor Davie. I do make life hard for him. Wrack Line is a subscriber only short story – you give me your email, I send it to you on 18th March – along with an exclusive preview of Willow Walk. That’s it. Oh, and if you’re not sure what a ‘wrack line’ is – you’ll find out in the story…

Click here to sign up to receive the short story and preview – I don’t send out many newsletters, but when I do, they include book giveaways and lots of other cool bookish things – chocolate, notebooks, signed postcards… even jewellery! I’ll soon be announcing a draw for a signed copy of Willow Walk too…

 

Be sure to sign up for Susi’s newsletter because, trust me, you’ll not want to miss the chance to read Wrack Line. Sign up for it here – http://eepurl.com/beHpez

You can find out more about Susi and her books by hopping over to her website at http://www.sjiholliday.com/ following her on Twitter @SJIHolliday, and checking out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SjiHolliday/

To buy Black Wood from Amazon click here – http://amzn.to/1nCxIuV

To pre-order Willow Walk click here – http://amzn.to/1nCxQL9 (pre-order for kindle will appear on 18th March)

 

CTG’s TOP READS 2015: CRIME

It’s that time of year again when everyone starts issuing their best books of the year lists, and I’m going to add my two-pennyworth through two ‘top reads’ lists – one for crime novels and one for thrillers.

Today is crime day, and I’ve picked my favourite books from the many fantastic crime novels I’ve read over the course of the year. It’s been hard, but I’ve managed to whittle the list down to my ten favourites.

So here they are, told in no particular order – quite frankly, it’s been difficult enough to get to ten, let alone rank them!

 

THE SILENT ROOM by Mari Hannah

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“One Fugitive. A deadly conspiracy. No rules. A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. En route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the manhunt. Desperate to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, Ryan goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth. When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.”

This standalone crime novel from Mari Hannah has a great cast of characters and I was quickly drawn into their world through the narrative. DS Matthew Ryan is a highly compelling character – he’s determined, driven and, as events take a tragic twist, uses his moment of vulnerability and personal grief as fuel to continue his investigation. The combination of Ryan and O’Neil (from Professional Standards), both looking for answers but coming from different sides of the investigative coin, makes for a great dynamic and the scenes they share have a real zing of electricity.

Gritty, authentic and utterly engrossing, The Silent Room is a real seat-of-your-pants read from the dramatic opening through to the explosive ending.

To find out more about Mari Hannah and her books hop over to her website here and follow her on Twitter @mariwriter

 

 

THE DOMINO KILLER by Neil White

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“When a man is found beaten to death in a local Manchester park, Detective Constable Sam Parker is one of the investigating officers. Sam swiftly identifies the victim, but what at first looks like an open-and-shut case quickly starts to unravel when he realises that the victim’s fingerprints were found on a knife at another crime scene, a month earlier. Meanwhile, Sam’s brother, Joe – a criminal defence lawyer in the city – comes face to face with a man whose very presence sends shockwaves through his life. Joe must confront the demons of his past as he struggles to come to terms with the darkness that this man represents. Before long, Joe and Sam are in way over their heads, both sucked into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to change their lives for ever …”

THE DOMINO KILLER is the third instalment of Neil White’s Parker brothers series and it fully delivers on pulse-pounding tension, twists, and page-turning action with the perfect balance between procedural detail and high intensity action. There’s a real immediacy to the writing and a chilling sense of jeopardy right from the outset that carries all the way through the book to the show-stopping finale. As the story develops, and the brothers’ cases become increasingly intertwined, the tension rises ever higher – making this one of those books that has you reading well into the early hours, desperate for sleep but unable to resist reading just one more chapter.

But this book isn’t just about the action. There’s a real emotion kick too, delivered as the brothers get closer to identifying the man who was responsible for their sister’s murder back when they were teenagers. As the stakes ramp up, they are forced to decide just how far they’re willing to go in order to get justice – putting their careers, their friendships, their families, and their lives on the line. Utterly authentic and captivatingly compelling, this story grabs you by the throat and keeps you pinned right from the first page to the last.

To find out more about Neil White check out his website at www.neilwhite.net and follow him on Twitter @neilwhite1965

 

HEARTBREAKER by Tania Carver

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“After years of abuse, Gemma Adderley has finally found the courage to leave her violent husband. She has taken one debilitating beating too many, endured one esteem-destroying insult too much. Taking her seven-year-old daughter Carly, she leaves the house, determined to salvage what she can of her life. She phones Safe Harbour, a women’s refuge, and they tell her which street corner to wait on and what the car that will pick her up will look like. They tell her the word the driver will use so she know it’s safe to get in. And that’s the last they hear from her. Gemma Adderley’s daughter Carly is found wandering the city streets on her own the next day. Her mother’s mutilated corpse turns up by the canal several weeks later. Her heart has been removed. Detective Inspector Phil Brennan takes on the case, and his wife, psychologist Marina Esposito, is brought in to try and help unlock Carly’s memories of what happened that day. The race is on to solve the case before the Heartbreaker strikes again …”

HEARTBREAKER is the seventh book in the Brennan & Esposito series by Tania Carver. As you’d expect it has a fabulously twisty turny plot, a disturbing set of crimes at its core, and a tough emotional struggle for the two lead characters that threatens to destroy both their careers and their life together. What I found especially chilling in this book is the way the killer selects their victims – targeting vulnerable women who have made the decision to seek refuge. Somehow the killer is gaining access to confidential information in real time, and until they are caught every woman seeking sanctuary is a potential victim. Through the storyline, the book looks at domestic violence through the eyes of the perpetrators, the victims, and those working to help the victims, and it doesn’t hold back from showing a violent and brutal truth.

Gritty and compelling HEARTBREAKER is a tense and suspenseful page-turner of a read.

You can find out more about Tania Carver (aka crime writer Martyn Waites’ alter ego) over on www.martynwaites.com and follow Martyn on Twitter @MartynWaites

 

THE DEFENCE by Steve Cavanagh

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“Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different. It’s been over a year since Eddie Flynn vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter. Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible? Lose this case and he loses everything.”

THE DEFENCE is a fabulous legal thriller. Eddie Flynn – con artist turned lawyer – is haunted by the last case he took to trial. He’s turned his back on the legal profession, taken up drinking and become estranged from his wife and child. Things seem pretty bad, but as the reader discovers from the very start of The Defence, things are about to get much, much worse for Eddie Flynn.

With his daughter abducted, and a bomb strapped to his own body, Eddie is forced to represent Olek Volchek – a man he has no doubt is guilty of murder. In order to buy enough time to figure a way out of the terrifying situation he’s in, Eddie has to draw on all his skills – both legal and criminal – and his friends on both sides of the law, as he gambles against increasingly higher risks in his attempt to get his daughter safe. Smart, courageous and driven by the need to protect his young daughter, Eddie makes for a dynamic character – and someone you can really root for. This rapid-paced, page turner of a legal thriller has bucket-loads of action and piles of sky-soaring tension.

To find out more about Steve Cavanagh hop over to his website at www.stevecavanaghbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @SSCav

 

BLACK WOOD by SJI Holliday

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“Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story.

Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun.

But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?”

Banktoun might at first appear to be a small, quaint village with a low crime rate that leaves Sergeant Davie Gray wishing for a bit more police work, but scratch the surface and the secrets simmering just below the surface soon start to threaten the uneasy peace. When a spate of attacks by a balaclava wearing man jolt the villagers from their usual calm, tensions start to rise and after a visitor from the past makes an appearance at the local bookstore where Jo works it’s not long before she begins to unravel. With the flood of memories and questions arising from that fateful day in the woods over twenty years ago threatening to overwhelm her, Jo decides to try and uncover what really happened all those years ago to her and Claire.

Jo is an unpredictable, and at times unreliable, narrator who makes for an interesting and flawed heroine. Sergeant Davie Gray is an altogether more solid and reliable narrator, and as such is the perfect counterbalance to Jo. From the small village location, to the cast of engaging and interesting characters, many of whom seemed to be hiding something, I found BLACK WOOD a really ‘moreish’ read. I loved the twists and turns, and – although I’m usually pretty good at figuring out who did it – this book had me guessing to the end. It also features some pretty creepy masks!

Find out more about debut author SJI Holliday over on her blog at www.sjihollidayblog.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday

 

SNOWBLIND by Ragnar Jónasson

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“Siglufjörđur: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by the snow, and with a killer on the loose.”

Ari Thór Arason relocates to the remote costal village of Siglufjörđur to take up his first job in the police. He’s thorough and tenacious, keen to learn and enthusiastic to do a good job in a community where no one locks their doors and the crime rate is virtually zero – until now. When the seemingly accidental death of an elderly writer is followed by what seems to be a vicious attack on a young woman the community is thrown into chaos – is a killer among them? And how, in a place where everyone knows everyone’s business, can there be no witnesses? Determined to get to the truth, Ari presses for answers, and as he does Siglufjörđur is covered in ever deepening snow – becoming cut off from the rest of the country and trapping the inhabitants together. As darkness descends, and Ari takes increasing risks to lure out the killer, the claustrophobic suspense ramps up to the max.

Snowblind uses its stunningly beautiful yet brutally remote setting to create a chilling, atmospheric locked room mystery. It’s a fantastic read with great writing, engaging characters and an expertly crafted plot filled with twists, turns and slight of hand. Ragnar Jónasson is an outstanding new voice in Nordic Noir, and Snowblind is the first in what promises to be a fabulous new series.

To find out more about Snowblind and Ragnar Jónasson visit www.orendabooks.co.uk/book/snow-blind. You can follow Ragnar on Twitter @ragnarjo and translator Quentin Bates @graskeggur

 

BLOODSTREAM by Luca Veste

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“Social media stars Chloe Morrison and Joe Hooper seem to have it all – until their bodies are found following an anonymous phone call to their high-profile agent. Tied and bound to chairs facing each other, their violent deaths cause a media scrum to descend on Liverpool, with DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi assigned to the case.

Murphy is dismissive, but the media pressure intensified when another couple is found in the same manner as the first. Only this time the killer has left a message. A link to a private video on the internet, and the words ‘Nothing stays secret’. It quickly becomes clear that more people will die; that the killer believes secrets and lies within relationships should have deadly consequences …”

This third book in the Murphy and Rossi series is a real page-turner of a read. The strong sense of place and vivid descriptions bring Liverpool to life, and Murphy and Rossi make for a great crime-solving duo.

The story brings into sharp focus how the media, and social media, feed into and off violent crime, and how the amount of media coverage, and the way individuals are portrayed, is dependent on the perceived value of that person and their death to ratings and circulation figures.

BLOODSTREAM is a dark, gritty and disturbingly sinister police procedural that I found utterly unputdownable.

Learn more about Luca Veste at www.lucaveste.com and follow him on Twitter @lucaveste

 

TELL NO TALES by Eva Dolan

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“The car that ploughs into the bus stop early one morning leaves a trail of death and destruction behind it. DS Ferreira and DI Zigic are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to handle the investigation but with another major case on their hands, one with disturbing Neo-Nazi overtones, they are relieved when there seems to be an obvious suspect. But the case isn’t that simple and with tensions erupting in the town, leading to more violence, the media are soon hounding them for answers.

Ferreira believes that local politician Richard Stotton, head of a recently established ring-wing party, must be involved somehow. Journalists have been quick to acclaim Stotton, with his Brazilian wife and RAF career, as a serious contender for a major political career, despite his extremist views, but is his party a cover for something far more dangerous?”

TELL NO TALES is the second book in the DS Ferreira and DI Zigic series. In it, Ferreira and Zigic are assigned to investigate the hit and run, but what at first seems a fairly straightforward case soon turns out to be far more complex than they’d originally thought. Alongside the hit and run, they’re still struggling to find suspects in a chain of recent murders. The brutal, racially motivated attacks have already claimed two victims, but Zigic’s boss wants the motive for the murders downplayed. The attackers are well prepared and ruthless, beating their victims to death and even playing up to the CCTV cameras they know are filming them. But even with video and forensic evidence, the detectives are no closer to identifying the killers. And things are going to get worse, a lot worse, before they get more leads. With tensions rising, and violence escalating, the two investigations begin to blur, and Ferreira and Zigic find their skills, and their resolve, tested to their very limits.

As in the first book, Ferreira and Zigic make a great duo, with Ferreira’s bold ‘tell it as it is’ attitude perfectly off set by Zigic’s more steady, measured, but no less determined approach. As the investigation progresses they deal with the challenges and try to cope with the shocking brutality of the cases in their own individual ways, but despite their differences, and Ferreira’s reservations about the additional officers assigned to Hate Crimes to support them, they work well together to unravel the complex and interwoven connections that have led to these extreme acts of violence taking place in the town.

A compelling story, beautifully crafted, TELL NO TALES has tension crackling off every page.

To learn more about Eva Dolan hop over to her author page at www.randomhouse.co.uk/authors/eva-dolan and follow her on Twitter @eva_dolan

 

STASI CHILD by David Young

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“East Berlin, 1975: Questions are dangerous. Answers can kill. When murder squad head Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body found riddled with bullets at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions. The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear that the crime scene has been staged, the girl’s features mutilated. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home.

The previous summer, on Rügen Island off the Baltic Coast, two desperate teenage girls conspire to escape the physical and sexual abuse of the young workhouse they call home. Forced to assemble furniture packs for the West, the girls live out a monotonous, painful and hopeless life. Stowing away in the very furniture they are forced to make, the girls arrived in Hamburg. But their celebrations are short-lived as they discover there is a price on freedom in the DDR …”

STASI CHILD is David Young’s debut novel and the first in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series. Striving for justice whatever the cost is second nature to Müller. She’s a determined, strong and courageous detective, following the evidence and questioning anomalies even when warned off by some very powerful and threatening people. Defying instructions, she leads her team to find the truth hidden beneath the propaganda and cover-ups. But despite her hard-line stance in her job, in her personal life her relationships are imploding and as she juggles the conflict at home with an increasingly tense situation at work, it’s not long before Müller herself could be in danger.

Set in our chillingly authentic recent-past, this pacey page-turner of a police procedural is filled with fear, power struggles and intrigue making it one hell of a debut novel.

To find out more about David Young follow him on Twitter @djy_writer

 

TIME OF DEATH by Mark Billingham

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“The Missing: Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up, and from which she long escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused: When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife – an old school friend of Helen’s – who is living under siege with two teenage children and convinced of her husband’s innocence.

The Dead: As residents and media bay for Bates’ blood, a decomposing body is found. The police believe that they have their murderer in custody, but one man believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne sets himself on a collision course with local police, townsfolk – and a merciless killer.”

TIME OF DEATH, the latest book in Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne series, takes Tom out of his usual city surroundings on a visit to the countryside for a romantic break with his partner Helen Weeks. But it doesn’t stay a relaxing holiday for long. When Helen recognises the wife of the man accused of the abduction of two schoolgirls from a small Warwickshire community, their holiday is cut short as they head to Polesford for Helen to support her old school friend.

Taking Thorne out of his London comfort zone is genius move. He hates the countryside, especially the thought of antiquing and walking, so he starts his own (unofficial) investigation. This forces him to embrace everything the area has to throw at him – floods, pigs, a lot of characterful locals, and the kind of claustrophobic environment where everyone knows each other’s business. Being the outsider, and not officially involved in the case, he’s able to follow his instincts unchecked, and starts to find he’s actually rather enjoying his holiday. He even manages to entice his friend, and talented Pathologist, Phil Hendricks, out from the city to help him. They still haven’t really spoken about what happened on Bardsey Island (in the previous book The Bones Beneath) and the personal cost to Phil (and Thorne) that resulted, but their friendship is a strong as ever and their banter is, as always, a joy to read.

TIME OF DEATH is filled with mystery and intrigue from the abduction case Tom is investigating, it also layers on a growing sense of unease that coming back to the place she grew up has unearthed some deeply buried secrets that Helen has kept well hidden.

Masterfully written, this is another fabulous instalment in what I think is the best police procedural series around today.

Learn more about Mark Billingham by checking out his website at www.markbillingham.com and follow him on Twitter @MarkBillingham

 

So there they are – my top crime reads of 2015.

Pop back next week to see my top thriller reads of the year.