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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

‘A Murderous Mind’ by Jane A. Adams

Published by Severn House;
Reprint edition,
1 January 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-8475-167-25 (TPB)

A Murderous Mind begins with an unsettling prologue that plunges the reader into the cold, calculating mind of a serial killer at the very moment he chooses a young female student to be his next victim.  He carries out her murder with meticulous attention to detail and breath-taking audacity - she is killed in her university bedroom whilst her friends are asleep just yards away. 

The police team investigating the outrage soon discover similarities with a previous unsolved murder.  However, DI Tess Fuller and DS Vin Dattani, the C.I.D. officers leading the case, are unsettled when officers from Internal Affairs (IA) are sent in.  It transpires that the older case was led by DI Joe Jackson, notorious for his unorthodox policing methods, and now, posthumously, disgraced.  The officers who worked alongside Jackson remain tainted by association with the maverick inspector and the IA team are tasked with ensuring that the current investigation runs smoothly whilst, simultaneously, scrutinising the previous case for evidence tampering.

Naomi Black and her husband Alec knew Jackson before they retired from the police service and are both interviewed about their erstwhile mentor and supervisor.  Consequently, the Blakes and their close circle of friends are drawn not only into the inquiry, but also into the frightening and surreal world inhabited by the murderer.

The thoughtfully structured novel ensures that the reader is quickly immersed in the drama of the narrative and then kept on tenterhooks as events rapidly unfold.  The horrific modus operandi used by the killer, although shocking, is not gratuitous, and reflects the psychological element suggested in the novel’s title.  A taut, well-structured plot propels the characters, and reader, relentlessly towards a surprising denouement. 

A Murderous Mind is the ninth Naomi Blake mystery but is easily read without knowing what went beforehand; moreover, I am now intrigued to learn how Naomi’s life in crime began, and look forward to her first adventure.  An excellent read!
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent

Jane A Adams was born in Leicestershire, where she still lives. She has a degree in Sociology, and has held a variety of jobs including lead vocalist in a folk rock band. She enjoys pen and ink drawing, martial arts and her ambition is to travel the length of the Silk Road by motorbike. Her first book, The Greenway, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award in 1995 and for the Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Jane writes several series.  Her first series featured Mike Croft. Several books featuring DS Ray Flowers. Seven titles featuring blind Naoimi Blake, and six titles featuring Rina Martin. Her most ret series is set between the two World Wars and featuring Detective Inspector Henry Johnstone and his sergeant, Micky Hitchens. Jane has also written several standalone novels. She is married with two children.

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

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