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Before He Kills Again, by Margaret Murphy

Before He Kills Again book cover

A serial rapist is on the loose in Liverpool. DC Cassie Rowan is working undercover to flush out the culprit. But then a body is found: can he be stopped Before He Kills Again? Two men both receiving therapy: has one of them got a secret they aren’t sharing with Dr Palmer?
The main character Cassie Rowan is young and tenacious. She has had personal tragedy and is raising her younger brother. Cassie is prepared to bend the rules to keep evil off the streets but this puts her at odds with her superior officers.There is animosity between her and her colleagues as she feels they let her down when she had the rapist literally in her grasp. Further, she comes to the conclusion that one officer may be using his position for personal financial gain.
The other main protagonist is Alan Palmer, a therapist coping with the breakdown of his marriage as well as a professional issue which is not revealed to the reader until at least two thirds into the book. He is also a likeable character and is obviously devastated by his impending divorce.
To be honest, it took me a while to get into this book. There was plenty of action but I found it a little muddled to begin with, however by a quarter of the way through I was hooked! We see the perspective of abducted women which draws us in to their situation and makes us anxious for the police to save them.
As I have a masters in psychology, I enjoyed the consideration of the motives and psychological history of the murderer. There is not much forensic detail about the body but there is some violence. The torture of the victims is unpleasant to read because it feels very realistic. Cassie and Alan’s emotional responses to the events in the book are also very natural which endears them to the reader.
Before He Kills Again is a great introduction as the first in a new series and I definitely want to follow more of Cassie’s career.

 

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BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN (Detective Cassie Rowan #1) by Margaret Murphy
A serial predator on the prowl in Liverpool. Seven victims so far. And he’s already got his next victim.
The police can’t catch him. He leaves no trace of himself, and no one has been able to provide a reliable description of him.
Detective Cassie Rowan is working undercover and on his trail. But now he has Cassie in his sights.
DISCOVER A BRAND-NEW SERIES FROM ONE OF THE MOST THRILLING WRITERS OF CRIME FICTION!
This brand-new, unputdownable crime thriller series from Murder Squad founder Margaret Murphy is one of the must-reads of 2020!
MEET DETECTIVE CASSIE ROWAN
DC CASSIE ROWAN is a young policewoman who has been the main carer for her little brother NEIL since their parents died. She has to balance this role with her demanding job. She is working undercover on the streets of Liverpool trying to find the ‘Furman’, a man who has been brutally assaulting sex workers. Cassie blames herself and another detective, Wicks, for not catching him sooner. Forensic scientist Dr Ian Chan is on her side, but her boss Detective Chief Inspector Pat Warman thinks she is uncooperative and needs to work as part of a team.
ALSO BY MARGARET MURPHY
CLARA PASCAL SERIES
Book 1: DARKNESS FALLS
Book 2: WEAVING SHADOWS
DETECTIVE JEFF RICKMAN SERIES
Book 1: SEE HER BURN
Book 2: SEE HER DIE*
author Margaret Murphy

 

MARGARET MURPHY
Margaret Murphy writes internationally acclaimed psychological thrillers. She is a past Chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), founder of Murder Squad, and a former RLF Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector. She’s been a country park ranger, biology teacher, dyslexia specialist and Visiting Professor in creative writing. A Short Story Dagger and CWA Red Herring award winner, she has also been shortlisted for the ‘First Blood’ critics award and CWA Dagger in the Library.
FIND MARGARET ON
AUTHOR WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS

 

 


The Sinner, by Martyn Waites

The Sinner book coverTom Kilgannon hides a secret past. He is in witness protection after working undercover to ensure gangster Dean Foley ended up behind bars. Now his skills are required again and he is sent to prison to befriend a convicted child killer and find their graves.
Except the prison is the one where Dean is currently residing…
The tension and anticipation of whether Tom and Dean will confront each other is created really effectively. Tom begs for help from the officer running the operation but police corruption means he is stuck in prison at the mercy of the inmates and guards who are mostly on Foley’s payroll.
The Sinner was a deeply fascinating glimpse into prison life and the psychological strength needed to be an undercover cop. There was not a great deal of violence with the exception of one fight scene where Tom is attacked by two inmates. For the most part, the violence isn’t too graphic or occurs outside the scene which leaves it to the imagination of the reader instead.
There is an hilarious line on the first page about UKIP and I really enjoyed Martyn Waites’ tone and style of narrative. There are some parts set in the past to show the relationships between characters which affect action in the present.
Tom is an interesting character and has obviously made some difficult choices in life as part of his undercover role. He has an honesty and integrity that have resulted in him doing the wrong things but for the right reasons to catch criminals.
References are made to events in the past and after finishing The Sinner I discovered it was book 2 in the Tom Kilgannon series. However, this works perfectly well as a stand alone novel.

 

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About The Sinner:
In prison not everyone is guilty . . .
Tom Killgannon, ex-undercover police officer and now in witness protection, is recalled to active service by a local police task force, headed by DS Sheridan.
His mission is to befriend notorious child killer Noel Cunningham and find out where he buried the bodies of his final two victims. The catch? Tom has to obtain that information from within Blackmoor prison itself. Undercover and with no back-up, Tom soon runs into danger. In the prison is convicted gangster Dean Foley. He used to run Manchester’s biggest gang, until Tom’s testimony put him away for life. He recognises Tom, and so begins a cat-and-mouse game as Tom fights for survival before Foley can get his revenge.
But why can’t Tom reach DS Sheridan and what is the real reason he has been sent to Blackmoor prison?

A Whisker in the Dark, by Leighann Dobbs

Josie is just recovering from the last dramatic murder at her guesthouse (see my review of A Twist in the Tail) when a skeleton is discovered during the renovations. It is the body of Jedediah Biddeford and has been there for a couple of centuries. Coincidentally his family are staying at the guesthouse.
There is a legend that treasure is near by and the deceased’s family want to find it! Then one of Jed’s descendants is found murdered: is there a link to the mysterious treasure…? Or did Jed’s ghost unleash a curse…?
Josie continues to be a likeable character and the dimension of the cats investigating the murder and trying to communicate with her really raises this series and gives a fun element to the narrative.
There are lots of suspects for Josie and her friends to investigate, including her own employee Flora, a maid with an aversion to cleaning. There is also the romantic undercurrent between Josie and Mike which continues from the previous book as well as the rivalry with the other local guesthouse owner.
I really enjoyed this quick light-hearted read with a deadly mystery at its heart. The inclusion of recipes at the end is a lovely touch (if you try them out then I hope you have more success than Josie!)

Title: A Whisker in the Dark

Author:  Leighann Dobbs   
Publication Day: 31/07/19
Buy Link:        https://geni.us/B07RKCWRPRSocial
Description:
Discovering the 300-year-old skeleton of shipping tycoon Jedediah Biddeford in the ballroom wall is a big old hassle for Josie Waters, owner of the Oyster Cove Guesthouse. Especially when Biddeford’s descendants turn up, certain that a family legend about treasure buried nearby must be true.
Josie is too busy dreaming up the perfect cake for the Oyster Cove’s 250th anniversary celebration to worry about the Biddeford family – plus half the town – digging up her yard… until one of her guests is murdered in the guesthouse garden. 
With worries that her guesthouse will get a reputation for being the kind of place you only leave in a body bag, Josie must put her detective skills to work to find the killer. Lucky for her, Nero and Marlowe and their gang of cat sleuths are also on the case. 
From the old wharf, to the town common, to the guesthouse itself with its many nooks and crannies, the cats are sure to sniff out the killer… but can they help Josie stop the person behind the mysterious murder before they strike again?
A fantastic page-turner from a bestselling author, purrfeect for fans of Agatha Christie, Adele Abbott, cat lovers and everyone in between!

 

Author Bio:
USA Today bestselling author, Leighann Dobbs, discovered her passion for writing after a twenty year career as a software engineer. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Bruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and beautiful rescue cat, Kitty.
Her book “Dead Wrong” won the “Best Mystery Romance” award at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention.
Her book “Ghostly Paws” was the 2015 Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem First Place category winner in the Animal Mystery category.
Social Media links
Website: http://www.leighanndobbs.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/leighanndobbs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leighanndobbsbooks/

 


The Teatime Mystery, by Faith Martin

Jenny Starling is employed by a village cricket team to provide the refreshments at a celebratory match. However, once again her sleuthing skills are required when womaniser Tris Jones is found dead.
Jenny finds it easier in this book than in the previous ones I have read to get the police on side, possibly due to the fact they are understaffed and  Detective Causon is grateful for any help he can get! This makes an nice change to the usual animosity that she faces and the positive relationship makes both characters firmly concentrate on the case.
There are lots of red herrings and secrets to unearth throughout the book. I’ll admit that on this occasion I found it a little tricky to keep up with the characters as we don’t get long to meet them before the first murder. However, after Tris’ death, I felt more comfortable with sorting out the characters and motives in my own head. But then another body is discovered…
The Teatime Mystery is a comfortable and easy to read book. The events are over such a short space of time that there isn’t a lot of time to develop Jenny’s character further but it is an enjoyable read. The English countryside and traditions are evoked well in the manner of Midsomer Murders.
Faith Martin’s Jenny Starling series has such a classic feel and reminds me of Agatha Christie with a focus on the characters and motives rather than on graphic violence and forensic science.
Take a look at my reviews of The Castle Mystery and The Oxford Mystery.

 

THE TEATIME MYSTERY by Faith Martin
Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These charming mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is.
Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.
Please note this book was first published as “JUST NOT CRICKET” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
Jenny Starling is doing the catering for the village cricket match. But she’s not expecting one of the players to turn up dead.
Everyone from the village has turned out to watch the match, and with this being the club’s centenary, Jenny Starling has been hired specially to provide her stunning food for the event.
Then the next man up to bat, Tristan Jones, is nowhere to be found. He is discovered behind the pavilion, murdered by a blow to the back of the head with an old cricket bat.
The handsome twenty-something had a reputation as a Lothario, with an appetite for married women. Did a scorned woman or a cuckolded husband kill him?
However, he’d annoyed other people too. He was a stockbroker who took big risks with other people’s money and lost their lifesavings.
Soon another body turns up and Jenny Starling is going to need all her cunning to crack this complex case.
This is the sixth in a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page.
Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.
JENNY STARLING
In her late twenties, Jenny Starling is an impressive woman. Physically, she stands at 6ft 1inch, and has shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that suits her – that of a travelling cook. Her famous (and now very rich) father, is a ‘celebrity’ cook, divorced from Jenny’s mother. Jenny drives a disreputable cherry-red van, and is happy travelling the country catering events and cooking great food. She is on a one-woman crusade to bring back ‘real’ food. And definitely doesn’t like having to divert her attention from achieving the perfect Dundee cake or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve a murder. She finds crime very distracting, especially when there is chocolate to temper or pike to poach. Nevertheless, she is very good at reading people, and with a quick and agile brain, becomes very good at unmasking killers. And her always-undaunted sense of humour goes a long way in keeping her sane when all around her people are dropping like flies.

THE AUTHOR
FAITH MARTIN is the best-selling author of the DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE mysteries, which have sold over 1 million copies globally in just over a year.
JENNY STARLING MYSTERIES
Book 1: THE BIRTHDAY MYSTERY
Book 2: THE WINTER MYSTERY
Book 3: THE RIVERBOAT MYSTERY
Book 4: THE CASTLE MYSTERY
Book 5: THE OXFORD MYSTERY
Book 6: THE TEATIME MYSTERY
FAITH MARTIN
Faith Martin was born in Oxford, and has spent all her life within twenty miles of the university city, even working at Somerville College for five years before turning to writing full-time. The author of the popular DI Hillary Greene novels, she also writes more classic-style ‘whodunits’ under the pen name Joyce Cato, but began her writing career as Maxine Barry, winning an award for penning romance novels! A popular writer for over 25 years, she has had nearly 50 novels published so far. Her hobbies include walking her now ageing dog, wildlife-watching, reading and (reluctantly) gardening.


The end of an era

This week I have been struggling. Poor Chris has had to deal with a lot of crying. This post is really for him, I’m trying to share with him my thoughts and feelings but maybe some of you will recognise yourselves or have some advice.
Two months ago I stopped breastfeeding Zach during the day but continued at night just for a couple of minutes. Now he has stopped entirely.

It is the end of an era. Probably the last time I will ever breastfeed, the last time I will hold a baby of my own. Zach is no longer a baby, he is a toddler. He needs me less and less 🙁 but that it how it is supposed to be and how I want it to be. Even so, that doesn’t make it any easier.
Yesterday we moved the cot out of our bedroom and into Matthew and Anya’s room. I cried yet again the night before, thinking this was the last night he’d spend with us, the last time I’ll wake up next to him hearing him chatting away and see him smiling at me 🙁

Zach cannot believe what his siblings are up to! (Song and dance routine, you do NOT want to know!)

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I thought Chris and I would have more children but he now feels our family is complete. I disagree but it isn’t the kind of thing you can negotiate. My head agrees with him. It makes sense to stop at 3 as we don’t have space for another in our home (but my heart is a different matter!) and the expense as they grow up and need university fees etc is a concern.

But my heart won’t listen. I see other mums, pregnant or with newborns and my heart aches. I didn’t think it would be the last time with Zach so I don’t feel like I appreciated all the milestones as much as I should have.
I have three beautiful children and know how incredibly lucky I am. I know that I am being selfish to want more. I have made vlogs reminding myself about how horrible I have found pregnancy: the morning sickness, the indigestion, the SPD. The labours at the ends aren’t too fun either. But the tiny baby makes it all worthwhile. So despite my attempts to put myself off the idea, I still want just one more.



There is a big difference between feeding your child milk from your own body and handing them a fish finger (even if it does have Omega 3, #solidaritea). Zach is still having a bottle of formula before bed but even that is declining in popularity and will soon stop, no more gazing into his eyes as he feeds and cuddles up before bed. I love snuggling up with Matthew and Anya to read books at bedtime but it isn’t the same connection as seeing the love in your child’s eyes as they feed.
So the future. Chris and I need time to be a couple. The poor man has gone from single to a dad of three in less than 3 years. He is an incredible dad and I am so grateful that he has come into our lives and made us into a family. We spent our first night alone together in bed last night (not too much information 🙂 ). When we moved in together almost 2 years ago I was already pregnant with Zach so we had never truly been completely by ourselves in our bedroom. I am looking forward to reading in bed, not having to whisper quite so quietly when we have our night time catch up and giggle.

Zach was a teeny bit disorientated last night in the shared room but not enough to wake the others, phew! Success! Now I pull myself together and concentrate on the beautiful individuals we have created, nurture their skills, personalities and ambitions. I stop thinking of the what ifs and focus on the what I haves.
We grow as a family, together.