CTG REVIEWS: THE DEATHS OF DECEMBER by SUSI HOLLIDAY

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Here’s the blurb: “It looks like a regular advent calendar. Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors… and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one. The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years. But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station? As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…”

I’ve never read a serial killer book set at Christmas time before, but there’s something creepily macabre and don’t-you-dare-look-away compelling about the combination of Christmas tunes, tinsel and blood splatter.

In The Deaths of December, Susi Holliday introduces a great new police pairing – DC Becky Greene and DS Eddie Carmine. Becky is fresh into the job and as enthusiastic as she is tenacious. Eddie has more experience, and is more measured, thorough – or at least he believes he always has been. They make for a great duo, not always seeing eye-to-eye, but getting on and recognizing each other’s strengths nonetheless. And that’s important, because the case they’ve been assigned is a tricky one.

How do you catch a serial killer who’s been killing for twenty years undetected? He doesn’t have a specific victim ‘type’ and he kills in different ways, in different towns, on different days. The only thing that seems to connect the crimes is the gruesome advent calendar he sent to the police – but why send it?

As Becky and Eddie investigate the case it takes them away from their loved ones just as the festive period is beginning in earnest. They’re focused on the case, on catching the killer before he strikes this Christmas. They assume that there’ll be able to spend time with their families afterwards. But will they? Because the closer they get to the killer, the closer he gets to the ones they love…

Peppered with sharply observed Christmas holiday and habit references, this is a sparkly and blood-splattered read. It’s the perfect antidote to too much turkey and Christmas pudding – creepy, tense and twisty-turny as hell. I loved it!

Fans of police procedurals are going to want to make sure they’ve got a copy of The Deaths of December in their Christmas socking.

THE DEATHS OF DECEMBER is out on 16th November.

You can pre-order it from Amazon HERE

And find out more about Susi Holliday and her books by hopping over to her website and blog HERE

CTG Reviews: DEAD PRETTY by David Mark

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What the blurb says: “Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days. One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done. But some people have their own ideas of what justice means …”

The latest book in the DS McAvoy series is one hell of a read.

DS McAvoy has been haunted by the missing girl Hannah Kelly ever since her disappearance was reported. Unable to get the case from his mind, he’s taken to visiting the last place she was seen on his days off, taking his wife, Roisin, and his young family along with him.

Meanwhile, his boss, DSU Trish Pharaoh, is battling troubles of her own. The high-profile release of Reuben Hollow from prison after the Court of Appeal overturned his murder conviction is bringing her professional reputation into disrepute, and some dodgy-looking thugs are hanging around her home looking to call in favours that her now disabled husband can’t deliver on.

When another young woman is found murdered, and McAvoy and Pharaoh are called in to run the investigation, the pair become ever more disturbed as they start to spot parallels with earlier cases. But as the evidence mounts up – sending the duo in different directions – the case becomes increasingly personal to both of them. As they unravel the sequence of events that led to murder, the danger to them and their families increases with dramatic consequences.

The two main characters – the gentle family man of a Detective Sergeant, Aector McAvoy, and determined, outwardly confident, yet internally doubting, DSU Trish Pharaoh, really make this book something special. The close third-person perspective gets the reader deep into their thoughts, and the present tense narration gives the action an immediacy that had me flying through the story.

As well as a twisty-turny plot and some great characters, there is a poetic, gritty darkness to David Mark’s writing – it’s brutally unflinching yet really rather lyrical – which makes this book a real delight to read.

Perfect for fans of police procedurals.

 

DEAD PRETTY is published on the 28th January 2016 (tomorrow!). To buy a copy from Amazon click here

To find out more about David Mark and his books hop over to his website here and follow him on Twitter @davidmarkwriter

 

[With thanks to Mulholland Books for my copy of DEAD PRETTY]