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Thursday 31 August 2023

‘Zero Kill’ by M.K. Hill

Published by Head of Zeus.
6 July 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-784054929-3

Elsa Zero used to work as a deep cover agent for a private security agency, but now lives a quiet life with her two children, having left it all behind her nine years ago.

One day Elsa and her boyfriend Joel, are having a meal in a very swish restaurant in King’s Road London, when he proposes to her. She sort of accepts and he is then called away on his telephone. After a while she goes to see what is keeping him. Apologising, he suddenly attacks her, she fights back and escapes and then steals a car.

Leaving the children with a neighbour, Elsa visits an old acquaintance who reveals to her that he has heard she has been classified as very dangerous and expendable. Apparently she has never been trusted since a mission in Buenos Aires known as “Pilot Fish”.

We are then transported back nine years to that very mission. The team she meets up with have been instructed to blow up the contents of a vault, but they have no idea what it contains. However it all goes horribly wrong and Elsa is badly injured and taken to hospital.

Back to the present, for the life of her Elsa cannot think why so many people want her dead and sets about finding the answer.

So begins a hair raising race to unearth the truth. The trouble is she has no idea who to trust, people she once thought of as friends turn against her. Other people she thought of as enemies, suddenly become friends and help her – or is there an ulterior motive? More than once she is lucky to escape with her life, calling on all her old instincts for survival. Even her mother and father then turn out to be completely different people, hiding many secrets.

When she does find out the truth it is unbelievably horrendous, can she manage to change the intended events before her enemies destroy her?

M. K. Hill has certainly written a book of continuous, non stop, heart thumping action and anticipation. I especially enjoyed the central character being female.

Very highly recommended.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

M K Hill is a pseudonym used by Mark Hill who has been a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer. He worked for about five minutes in PR. He now writes the Drake and Crowley thriller series. Mark says he loves writing. It's his dream job.  The Bad Place is the first book in the Sasha Dawson series written under the name M K Hill.  The Woman in the Wood, is the second book in the.
Twitter @markhillwriter
Instagram: @markhillwriter

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

Sunday 27 August 2023

‘Let X Be The Murderer’ by Clifford Witting

Published by Galileo Publishers,
20 July 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-91553000-4 (PB)

Detective Sergeant Martin has just got into work at Lulverton police station on a cold November day when he receives a most peculiar phone call from a man who claims that, during the night, he was in his bed when he was attacked by a ghost that had tried to strangle him. As a rule, Martin and his superior officer, Inspector Charlton, would have dismissed the report as the ramblings of a madman, but when the complainant is Sir Victor Warringham, an influential and wealthy retired businessman, they have to take some sort of action.

Charlton visits Sir Victor’s home on his country estate but when he arrives, he is denied access to the old gentleman. Mrs Winters, his housekeeper, says that her employer is too ill to see the police and implies that his ailments are physical. However, Sir Victor’s son-in-law, who has moved in with him, along with his second wife, claims that Sir Victor’s ill-health is mental in its nature and that his wild claims should not be taken seriously. Sir Victor’s daughter and wife had died in enemy bombing during the Second World War, and he has never fully recovered from his grief. It is otherwise with his son-in-law, Clement Harler, who married again soon after his first wife’s death. When Charlton meets Harler, he considers him an unprepossessing and dishonest man and thinks that his second wife bears all the hallmarks of a night club hostess with an eye for the main chance.

As they are leaving the estate, Charlton and Martin pass a familiar figure, Mr Howard, a local solicitor and the detectives plan to approach him later to see if he is willing to share any information about the state of affairs at Sir Victor’s estate. Moments later the detectives are startled by the sound of a shot. Charlton tracks down the source to a young boy, ten-year-old John Campbell, who lives at the house with his aunt, Mrs Winters. John had been practising, using blank cartridges, with a gun he had borrowed without permission from a neighbour, Tom Blackmore.

When Charlton interviews Mr Howard, the solicitor confirms that a change of will was contemplated by Sir Victor and it seems probable that there is a sinister plot to drive the rich old man into insanity. However, when violent death occurs, the victim is not the person that anyone had anticipated and, as the plot grows more complex, Charlton and Martin have to work quickly to prevent a further murder.

Let X Be The Murderer is the seventh novel featuring Inspector Harry Charlton, and it was originally published in 1947. It has a clever, intricate plot and the detective protagonists are engaging and likeable professionals. It is a very enjoyable book for readers who enjoy classic crime.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Clifford Witting (1907-1968) was born in Lewisham, England. He was educated at Eltham College, London, between 1916 and 1924. During World War II he served as a bombardier in the Royal Artillery, 1942-44, and as a Warrant Officer in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1944-46. He married Ellen Marjorie Steward in 1934 and they had one daughter. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a clerk in Lloyds bank from 1924 to 1942. He was Honorary Editor of The Old Elthamian magazine, London. from 1947 up to his death. His first novel Murder in Blue was published in 1937 and his series characters were Sergeant (later Inspector) Peter Bradford and Inspector Harry Charlton. Unusually, he didn’t join The Detection Club until 1958 by which time he had written 12 detective novels.

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 6 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book click on the title
The Curse of the Concrete Griffin

Saturday 26 August 2023

‘Double Illusion’ by Barbara Nadel

Published by Headline,
11 May 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-9374-9 (HB)

And she does it again!  Number 25 in the Ikmen/Suleyman Istanbul crime series and another winner! 

Ikmen is one of modern crime fiction's true heroes (The Times) and I completely agree. 

Again, we go into the underbelly of Istanbul with a story encompassing the world of gangland rivalries, mental illness and of course the different communities that make up that vibrant city. 

Additionally, with Suleyman now married into the Roma community we learn more about that fascinating culture.  A brutal murder is certainly not what it seems but no surprise to fans of Barbara Nadel and her complex and tortuous plots. 

Gripping and unputdownable! Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Toni Russell

Barbara Nadel was born in the East End of London. She trained as an actress, and used to work in mental health services. She now writes full time and has been a visitor to Turkey for over twenty years. She received the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger for her novel Deadly Web.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children and five grandchildren