All Detective Constable Edward Reekie had to do was pick up a dying prisoner from HMP Grampian and deliver him somewhere to live out his last few months in peace.
From the outside, Glenfarach looks like a quaint, sleepy, snow-dusted village, nestled deep in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, but things aren’t what they seem. The place is thick with security cameras and there’s a strict nine o’clock curfew because Glenfarach is the final sanctuary for people who’ve served their sentences but can’t be safely released into the general population.
Edward’s new boss, DI Victoria Montgomery-Porter, insists they head back to Aberdeen before the approaching blizzards shut everything down, but when an ex-cop-turned-gangster is discovered tortured to death in his bungalow, someone needs to take charge.
The weather’s closing in, tensions are mounting, and time’s running out – something nasty has come to Glenfarach, and Edward is standing right in its way…
Judefire33 rating for The Dead Of Winter
Firstly thank you so so much to Transworld books for sending me a proof copy of The Dead Of Winter.
Now I am a huge fan of Stuart MacBride, and absolutely adore his Logan MacRae novels, however in recent years Stuart has been writing more standalone novels, and The Dead Of Winter is one.
This is a bloody fabulous novel, this is Stuart MacBride back to the absolute top of his game and what he does best. From chapter one we are sent on a rollercoaster thrill ride, with Stuart’s normal dark humor and gritty realism, and this is by far one of his best novels since the Logan MacRae series. I read it at breakneck speed and laughed so much!
Our two main stars are Detective Constable Edward Reekie and his boss, Detective Inspector Victoria Mongomery-Porter, the opening chapter is a scene on a freezing day somewhere in the snowy woods in Scotland. It would appear that DC Edward Reekie is being buried in a shallow grave in the cold ground and that grave is being dug by none other than DI Victoria aka Bigtoria Montgomery-Porter….and that my dear followers, is the absurd setting that starts The Dead Of Winter.
From then on you will be taken thru an exceptional cast of characters who all live in the small sleepy quaint hamlet of Glenfarach….and no it’s not really an ordinary place as it’s full of rapists, gangsters, and murderers. There are security cameras everywhere here like big bugs in the sky stalking everyone as there is nowhere to hide. All the residents have their own little homes and all are electronically tagged and subject to a 9 pm curfew… sounds like a safe place right? Wrong, the fast-paced writing of Stuart Macbride takes you through an almost comedic set of murders and events that draw to a brilliant ending.
I absolutely raced through The Dead Of Winter and i love love loved it! The writing style that Stuart MacBride has is unique in the crime fiction genre, others try to do something similar but no one can write like Stuart MacBride does. The aplomb, that he writes murder and gruesomeness in one sentence and then sarcastic humor in another is exceptional. Having myself, worked for the Police for 12 years in the 1990s, I’m well aware of the dark humor used in extreme situations to lift the pressure, Stuart writes that in such a realistic way it’s superb.
This is a real gem of a novel, and in my opinion, Stuart Macbride’s best for many years, if you like gritty, dark, Scottish crime fiction with a dose of really dark humor thrown in then you need to rush down to the bookshop, and buy The Dead Of Winter, you won’t be disappointed.
BERLIN. JANUARY 1941. Evil cannot bring about good . . .
After Germany’s invasion of Poland, the world is holding its breath and hoping for peace. At home, the Nazi Party’s hold on power is absolute.
One freezing night, an SS doctor and his wife return from an evening mingling with their fellow Nazis at the concert hall. By the time the sun rises, the doctor will be lying lifeless in a pool of blood.
Was it murder or suicide? Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is told that under no circumstances should he investigate. The doctor’s widow, however, is convinced her husband was the target of a hit. But why would anyone murder an apparently obscure doctor? Compelled to dig deeper, Schenke learns of the mysterious death of a child. The cases seem unconnected, but soon chilling links begin to emerge that point to a terrifying secret.
Even in times of war, under a ruthless regime, there are places in hell no man should ever enter. And Schenke fears he may not return alive . . .
Thank you so much to Jess Hunt from Ransom PR for inviting me to the Dead Of Night blog tour and sending me a copy of the book.
As I knew Dead Of Night was book 2 in the Berlin Wartime Series by Simon Scarrow, I decided to read Blackout ( book 1 ) first. And I’m so glad I did, as Blackout is a fantastic opener to the Kripo Inspector Horst Schenke series.
The story for Dead Of Night is set during the coldest of winters January/February 1940… and from the first page, the reader knows they are in for a thrilling read amongst the politics, in-house fighting, and mistrust of Berlin during the early days of WW2 and the rise in Nazism.
The way that Simon Scarrow writes is utterly compelling, he’s like my favorite History Teacher, because although Dead Of Night is a work of fiction, it is based on truth, and in his exceptional style, taught me to look at how working and living in Berlin under the threat of Hitler and his SS henchmen when one is just trying to do one’s job, becomes a minefield of difficulty. In our protagonist, Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke, we have a man who cannot fight due to an injury sustained whilst racing for the famous Silver Arrows Racing Team, so he has risen to the rank of Criminal Inspector with the Kripos, and he loves his job, and just wants to keep fighting the criminals, murderers and rapists and make sure they are caught and punished….sounds simple right? But during wartime in Berlin, nothing is simple, no one trusts one another, and Horst finds himself embroiled in a case that he has been warned off investigating, and when he continues to do so puts himself and those he cares about in grave danger.
I’m not going to give any more of the plot away, but let’s just say the speed of Dead Of Night and the storyline, are thrilling and utterly gripping, you will not be able to put it down. It also had me heading across to Google on several occasions to find out more about topics and people ( there are real Nazis in the books ) so as to add to the story.
If you haven’t read Blackout before you start Dead of Night, I would urge you to – it runs closely after the storyline in Blackout and several characters as important to the storyline and plot in Dead Of Night.
I loved Dead Of Night so much, and am a firm fan of The Berlin Wartime series by Simon Scarrow, I actually feel utterly sad now I’ve finished Dead Of Night! And that, my friends, is the sign of a superb book!
If you like thrillers and Police Procedurals set during WW2, then Dead Of Night is definitely for you, the research Simon Scarrow puts into his work makes for such a visceral and realistic read, and it’s refreshing to have a different point of view with a Police Inspector who is German.
An easy 5-star rating for Dead Of Night and also for Blackout. I cannot wait for book 3!
Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author with several million copies of his books sold worldwide. After a childhood spent travelling the world, he pursued his great love of history as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer. His Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro made their debut in 2000 in UNDER THE EAGLE and have subsequently appeared in many bestsellers in the Eagles of the Empire series, including CENTURION, INVICTUS and DAY OF THE CAESARS. Many of the series have been Sunday Times bestsellers.
Simon Scarrow is also the author of a quartet of novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, YOUNG BLOODS, THE GENERALS, FIRE AND SWORD and THE FIELDS OF DEATH; a novel about the 1565 Siege of Malta, SWORD & SCIMITAR; HEARTS OF STONE, set in Greece during the Second World War; and PLAYING WITH DEATH, a contemporary thriller written with Lee Francis. He also wrote the novels ARENA and INVADER with T. J. Andrews. His thriller, BLACKOUT set in WW2 Berlin and first published in 2021 was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick.
The inspiration for ‘Dead of Night’ (in Simon Scarrow’s own words)
When I research the period covering the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, it is sometimes hard to believe the bald statistics concerning the number of people murdered by the regime, nor is it easy to comprehend the cold-blooded manner in which those responsible went about it. Sometimes the sheer scale and breadth of the horrors inflicted by the Nazis is almost impossible to contemplate, and it is necessary to break the atrocity down in a way that allows people to connect with the victims in a more personal and empathetic way. That was the approach I took with this novel.
In order to understand what became known after the war as the Aktion T4 programme, it is necessary to realise that this mass murder policy was the result of many years of conscious preparation, drawing on influences much wider than those located in Germany. A perversion of Darwin’s theories of evolution gave rise to a growing number of works by scientists and pseudo-scientists advocating the removal of ‘defective’ humans in order to take them out of the chain of heredity and thereby ‘improve’ humankind. Such notions were eagerly taken up across Europe and in the Americas and provided febrile encouragement to the political programme of Adolf Hitler and his followers as early as the mid-1920s, when Hitler was already advocating the elimination of those he regarded as ‘degenerates’ (‘degeneriert’).
When the Nazi party seized power in 1933, they wasted no time in imposing their ideology on Germany. Besides the suppression of the media, the arrest, torture and murder of political rivals and the removal of Jewish civil rights, one of the first measures put in place was compulsory sterilization of certain groups. This was imposed on a wide range of those deemed degenerate: gypsies, prostitutes, the work-shy, habitual criminals, mixed-race people and those with incurable mental and physical disabilities. That same July, Hitler intended to pass laws to enable the killing of patients diagnosed with mental illness but was persuaded that such a move was too controversial. Even so, in 1935 he let it be known that, in the event of war, he would introduce such a measure, since the public’s attention would be elsewhere and, in any case, in time of war, a few extra deaths would be easily missed amongst so many others. From 1937 a secret committee of the Nazi party was making plans for a euthanasia programme, seeding the notion through sympathetic articles in the Nazi-controlled press that portrayed the lives of people with disabilities as ‘life not worthy of life’ (‘Lebensunwertes Leben’).
The programme was activated in February 1939 when the father of Gerhard Kretschmar, a boy born with missing limbs, petitioned Hitler to have his son killed. The father had already approached a doctor in Leipzig asking him to end Gerhard’s life but the doctor had refused on the basis that he might as a result be charged with murder. Having reviewed the case, Hitler sent his personal doctor, Karl Brandt, to arrange the murder of the child at the end of July. At the same time Hitler authorised Brandt to oversee the creation of a euthanasia programme. A month later, Hitler put an end to the sterilization program. Things had moved on from preventing reproduction by the ‘degenerates’ to eliminating them altogether. In October, Hitler signed an order empowering doctors to rid society of ‘useless eaters’ (‘unnütze esser’) by granting them a ‘merciful death’ (‘barmherziger Tod’).
The programme was the responsibility of the Reich Committee for Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses, whose structure and purpose were kept secret from the general public. The overall head of the programme was Philipp Bouhler, an SS officer, and one of the first members of the Nazi party. The section of the programme concerned with children was under the control of an SS doctor, Viktor Brack, and based at Tiergartenstrasse 4, from which the later name Aktion T4 derives. From the start the emphasis of the programme was on killing, not children already in institutions, but those who were still living at home with their families, before moving on to the elimination of those already institutionalised. Parents were coaxed by doctors to entrust their children to institutions where they would, supposedly, be better cared for. Once the children had been removed from their homes, they were subjected to various treatments ultimately intended to kill them. Some were injected with drugs that would progressively weaken them, while others were starved to death. Their deaths were passed off as the result of natural causes. Often, the bodies were cremated to destroy the evidence, and the parents were only then sent news of the death of their child. Considerable efforts were taken to conceal the scale of the killings; for example Brack’s officials kept a map in their office with pins placed in it for each child, to ensure there were not any suspicious clusters and that the victims were evenly spread out.
Very soon there was pressure to increase the numbers of those being eliminated. The German forces in Poland had already been engaged in mass murder of patients with mental illnesses of all ages, and had first started using poison gas on Polish inmates transported to Posen. Chemical expert Albert Widmann was brought in from the Kripo’s forensic department to develop the most effective and efficient means of using gas (at this point carbon monoxide) to murder people, or, as they were described to him, ‘beasts in human form’. Widmann oversaw the construction of a test unit at Brandenburg prison, where patients diagnosed with mental illness were gassed in batches of fifteen to twenty. The process took approximately twenty minutes to kill them.
The programme was rapidly expanded across Germany and for some time it was kept secret from those not directly involved. But suspicion began to be aroused when the number of deaths in institutions for those with particular illnesses and conditions swiftly climbed and a number of doctors, coroners, judges and Catholic priests began to protest. The American journalist William Shirer was aware of the programme very early on, but only had concrete proof of its existence when he was contacted by a conscience-stricken official with the details in September 1940. Nonetheless, by a combination of denial, distraction, threats and ideological justification, the Nazi regime managed to prevent any effective opposition to the programme. By the end of the war, more than 80,000 people with disabilities had been murdered, over 5,000 of them children.
While the Holocaust is the most notorious crime committed by the Nazi party, it was through the euthanasia program that the Nazis first experimented with then perfected the means by which vast numbers of Jews, political opponents, gypsies, homosexuals and other victims were subsequently murdered. It was on the bodies of those helpless children that the most terrible atrocity of the twentieth century was built.
What was the fate of those responsible? Philipp Bouhler was captured by the Americans then committed suicide. Karl Brandt was tried and hanged in 1948, as was Viktor Brack. Albert Widmann escaped justice until 1959, when he was finally tried for his part in the programme and sentenced to six years in prison. He died in 1986. Even after the war, many of the doctors involved in the programme expressed their pride in what they portrayed as a process intended to improve the human race. In truth, all the above were the real ‘beasts in human form’.
It is worth remembering that the Nazis were not alone in imposing compulsory sterilization. As mentioned earlier, the cause of improving racial purity had gained advocates in many countries. Between the 1907 and 1939 the USA carried out over 60,000 compulsory sterilizations. In Europe, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway also embarked on similar programmes in the 1930s. In the case of Sweden, between 1935 and 1975, over 63,000 compulsory sterilizations took place. That is proportionately more, taking account of the relative populations, than Nazi Germany’s 350,000. It is clear that some seeds of Nazi Germany’s racial policies were sown in many other nations who were influenced by eugenics advocates from both ends of the political spectrum. We should not be so complacent as to assume that what happened in Nazi Germany could not be replicated somewhere else at another time.
I am sure that most people reading this account of the Aktion T4 programme will share my despair that such things are possible. How could such inhumanity as that underlying the Aktion T4 programme and the Holocaust have existed on so vast a scale? I can think of no greater horror than the fate of the vulnerable children who were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis.
A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People…
How do you catch a killer… When the only evidence is a dream?
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…
Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy of The Pain Tourist, you are the best!
This is the second book I’ve read by Paul Cleave, the first being The Quiet people which I loved, so I have been looking forward to The Pain Tourist.
From the opening chapter, I was absolutely gipped by The Pain Tourist. And I was struck by how utterly unique this novel really is. The opening chapter is brutal and frankly quite terrifying, I really don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say that the way Paul Cleave describes the first events in this book made me feel on edge and not knowing what would happen next.
The Pain Tourist then evolves into a brilliantly written crime thriller, how Paul Cleave comes up with these ideas I will never know, but the way he describes things from such an unusual perspective is superb. James Garrett, one of the lead characters in a coma, and how the mind works during that time are the beginnings of a frankly amazing and credible hunt for a killer. I mean how do you even write about someone in a coma?? You’d think well that would be boring …. er no not with Paul Cleave! Again I SO dont want to give anything away but it’s truly a work of art the way this book is written and how the characters interact and have an impact on each other.
I loved the characters in The Pain Tourist, James Garrett is such a well-written character and very likable, as are his sister hazel, detective Rebecca Kent and retired Detective Theodore Tate. I just loved the way that the hunt for a killer also links into another called Copy Joe, this is a truly intricate plot but it isn’t hard to follow. the writing flows and is so easy to follow the storyline. And it’s so gripping and had my palms sweating at times it’s so realistic and visceral. Paul Cleave really is a master crime fiction writer and has an amazing way of writing humans from so many points of view, dare I say it a genius!
The story doesn’t slack at all, it builds and builds and keeps going right to the climatic ending (which had me saying things out loud!) totally brilliant and a really breathtaking bookbanger!
As always orenda books seem to publish the most superb books, if you fancy looking for excellent fiction then you could do no worse than heading to the Orenda website…every book is a winner!
So my rating….. another 5-star read from Paul Cleave, if you thought the Quiet People was a cracking read then you will be blown away by the Pain Tourist. Follow the link below and buy it now!
Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages. He has won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award, the Edgar Award, and the Barry Award, and has won the Ngaio Marsh award for NZ crime fiction three times.
The New Zealand Listener said that Cleave writes with ‘an energy that conventional crime novels lack’, and he has been called ‘the next Stephen King’, a rising star of the genre’, and a writer to watch. Publishers Weekly has said ‘a pulse-pounding serial killer thriller. The city of Christchurch becomes a modern equivalent of James Ellroy’s Los Angeles of the 1950s, a discordant symphony of violence and human weakness… the book’s real power lies in the complexity of its characters,’, and
Cleave numbers among his fans top crime and thriller writers such as Mark Billingham, who wrote: ‘Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave.’ John Connolly called Blood Men ‘dark, bloody, and gripping . . . classic noir fiction’, and said that in Paul Cleave ‘Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne’. The Lab’s John Heath calls Cleave’s writing ‘uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling’, adding, ‘Made me vomit — seriously, it’s that good.’ Simon Kernick said ‘Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never like to finish. Do yourself a favor and check him out,’ and S.J Watson said ‘An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!’ Lee Child lists him as an ‘automatic must-read’.
A small town in outback Australia wakes to an appalling crime.
A local schoolteacher is found taped to a tree and stoned to death. Suspicion instantly falls on the refugees at the new detention center on Cobb’s northern outskirts. Tensions are high, between whites and the local indigenous community, and between immigrants and the townies.
Still mourning the recent death of his father, Detective Sergeant George Manolis returns to his childhood hometown to investigate. Within minutes of his arrival, it’s clear that Cobb is not the same place he left. Once it thrived, but now it’s a poor and derelict dusthole, with the local police chief it deserves. And as Manolis negotiates his new colleagues’ antagonism, and the simmering anger of a community destroyed by alcohol and drugs, the ghosts of his past begin to flicker to life.
Vivid, pacy and almost dangerously atmospheric, The Stoning is the first in a new series of outback noir featuring DS Manolis, himself an outsider, and a good man in a world gone to hell.
The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou had been on my bookshelf for quite a while, but I finally managed to pick it up last week and make a start.
As a huge lover of Australian Crime Fiction Noir (think Chris Hammer or Jane Harper), I was eager to see what Mr. Papathanaious could bring to the table.
Well, he really hits it out of the park with The Stoning, it’s a sumptuously described novel set in the tiny hamlet of Cobb, in the outback of Australia, once a fine thriving town, now a dead-end place full of dustballs, kangaroos and drunks, and druggies plus The Immigration Centre, a stark square building plonked in the middle of nowhere. that’s a political time bomb within the community.
And this is what our novel revolves around, a woman is found apparently Stoned to death, and this has a huge impact on the fractured society of Cobb. We follow Detective George Manolis, and his quest to find the truth amongst rumors, racism, hate, bigotry, and the simmering anger of the inhabitants of Cobb.
The story was bloody gripping and I instantly loved several of the characters including George Manolis and Andrew Sparrow a local Gay Aboriginal Copper. The language is authentic, the descriptions of the setting are utterly engaging and on fire, and you can feel the heat and the flies. The dialogue between the characters is just stunning, it reads like a movie it is so vivid and gritty.
It’s a tense, medium-paced thriller that is dark and littered with Political references that make it an outstanding debut.
I look forward to the follow-up once it arrives, suffice to say this is a 5-star read, and Peter Papathanaious is on my favorite author’s list!
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?
DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.
But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…
It amazes me how sometimes we, as readers, miss some amazingly good book series, and the Dr. Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths is one of those for me.
I had seen the books on social media and years ago when I used to use a library but had never read them, then finally at the beginning of the year I saw a set of the first 9 books and I thought I must buy them to read, well they’ve been sat looking lovey in my bookshelf ever since! (I’m sure we are all guilty of this!)
So I started the first book with an open mind, and The Crossing Places did not disappoint.
It’s a fabulous opener to the series which I now know is loved by fans all over the world. Dr. Ruth Galloway is a slightly overweight Forensic archaeologist who loves nothing more than to find bones and search out what happened to the person they were, she also loves Bruce Springsteen and her cottage on The Saltmarsh. In the first book, we follow her on a hunt to find out whether the bones discovered on the site of a pre-historic henge are those of a missing local girl.
We meet the excellent cast of characters that surround Ruth in the series, the huge and intense DCI Harry Nelson, the slightly odd but lovely Cathbad, a druid and laboratory assistant at The University of Norfolk, (Ruth works here as a Lecturer), and Shona, Ruth’s better looking, lover of married men girlfriend.
The story is brilliant with a huge input of historical fact, folklore, and suspense. I loved the way the story climbs to a climactic ending and was really gripped all the way thru.
As an opening book to a series, it’s fabulous and I suspect the series and stories surrounding Dr. Ruth Galloway will get even better as I binge-read the books in order!
A Great 4 star read.
Dr Ruth Galloway’s forensic skills are called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child – minus the skull – beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? Ruth links up with DCI Harry Nelson to investigate.
The house was once a children’s home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing forty years before – a boy and a girl. They were never found.
When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is desperate to put her off the scent by frightening her to death…
I was really ready to find out what would be happening in Dr. Ruth Galloway’s life after reading the first book.
In the Janus Stone, we find out lots more about Ruth and her life ( I’m not going to give anything away here!), enough that her storyline is keeping me gripped alongside the latest case of old bones that are found in an ex children’s home.
The usual cast of characters is here and they are now starting to evolve which I just adore!
The storyline and plot are gripping and I raced through The Janus Stone, the plot builds to a brilliant ending and I thought it was really well written.
I find Elly Griffith’s style of writing really easy to read and almost dare I say it cozy ( I’m not a great lover of cozy crime I prefer gritty), but I think the skill involved in writing the great cast of characters and involving a good Police procedural around Ruth’ life is really clever.
Again I was not at all disappointed, indeed it took me 2 days to read! A 5-star read.
Elly Griffiths is the author of the Dr. Ruth Galloway books and the Brighton Mysteries. Last year I also published a stand-alone, The Stranger Diaries, and a children’s book, A Girl Called Justice. I have previously written books under my real name, Domenica de Rosa (I know it sounds made up).
The Ruth books are set in Norfolk, a place I know well since childhood. It was a chance remark of my husband’s that gave me the idea for the first in the series, The Crossing Places. We were crossing Titchwell Marsh in North Norfolk when Andy (an archaeologist) mentioned that prehistoric people thought that marshland was sacred ground. Because it’s neither land nor sea, but something in-between, they saw it as a bridge to the afterlife; neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. In that moment, I saw Dr. Ruth Galloway walking towards me out of the mist…
I live near Brighton with Andy. We have two grown-up children. I write in a garden shed accompanied by my cat, Gus.
The murder of a promising footballer, son of Brighton’s highest-ranking police officer, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.
Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife-edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.
“This is the real deal. A thoroughly absorbing crime novel with characters and events that will stay with you for a long time.” Elly Griffiths
“As an ex-cop, Graham Bartlett knows what he’s talking about and he certainly knows how to tell a good story. Bad For Good is a cracking debut.” Mark Billingham
“Bad For Good has everything you want in a crime novel: compelling protagonists, chilling villains and an engaging, well-constructed plot…One of the most confident debuts I’ve ever read” M. W. Craven
“A taut, visceral thriller that reveals the seamy underbelly of modern-day policing, rife with authentic detail. If you liked Line of Duty, you’ll love Bad for Good ” JP Delaney
Huge thanks to Allison & Busby for sending me a proof copy of Bad For Good.
For those that don’t know Graham Bartlett is an Ex-Police Chief Constable and had an illustrious career including being involved in the so-called Babes In The Wood Murders. I read his book on this subject (written with Peter James) and it was gripping and very well written…. then I saw that Graham was writing his Debut crime fiction novel, and I just knew i would need to read it!
With an absolutely chilling and realistic take on Police Procedures, Bad For Good did not disappoint. The plot is pretty unique and revolves around the consequences of what can happen when a family member is murdered (Harry) and the lengths to which his father – Brighton’s Chief Superintendant Phil Cooke is pushed to by a deathbed promise to his wife!
I’ve read a massive amount of crime fiction (it is my favourite genre) some written badly, some mediocre and some like Graham Bartletts, written with exquisite attention to detail and frightening reality (the lack of Police Officers on the ground!) This makes Bad For Good a simply stunning debut novel, and I hope one in the first of a seriesof many!
There is a huge cast of characters, but all are easy to follow and are full of authenticity… but our main focus is on DS Jo Howe and we follow her fight to solve the murder of Harry Cooke against all the odds and setbacks (I cannot say more as I really do not want to give anything away!). I loved Jo Howe’s character, she is a no-nonsense, tough, methodical and sassy heroine, in amongst a story littered with brutish vigilantes and gangland criminals who will kill anyone that gets in their way!
I couldn’t put Bad For Good down, it is a veritable feast of realism and such a cleverly written novel. In amongst such a huge genre of crime fiction, there are some that truly stand out from the crowd and Bad For Good is one of those! I commend Graham on taking his Police experience and knowledge and putting that into a brilliant debut novel! Take a bow, Sir!!
I urge any fans of police procedurals and crime fiction to get Bad For Good on order and set aside some time to binge read it when it arrives!
If Bad For Good doesnt scoop any awards in 2022, then I will eat my hat!!
A fantastic 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read.
About Graham Bartlett I am a best-selling author and crime and police procedural advisor to fiction and TV writers. I was a police officer for thirty years and mainly policed the city of Brighton and Hove, rising to become a Chief Superintendent and its police commander. I started writing when I left the police in 2013 and, almost by accident, became a police procedural and crime advisor, helping scores of authors and TV writers (including Peter James, Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, Ruth Ware, Claire McGowan and Dorothy Koomson) achieve authenticity in their drama. I run online crime writing workshops and courses with the Professional Writing Academy and deliver inputs to Masters programmes at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia as well as at the Crime Writing Certificate programme at West Dean College. I live in Sussex with my wife Julie and variously my 24yr old triplets! My debut crime novel, Bad for Good is now on pre-sale on Amazon. It asks the question: How far would you go
For fans of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Chris Brookmyre, Yes, I Killed Her is Harry Fisher’s audacious follow-up crime thriller, starring Edinburgh detective Mel Cooper. She takes no crap, not even from the bad guys.
In the 21st century, is the perfect murder remotely possible?
Edwin Fuller is convinced it is. He’s cunning, calculating and chilling. He makes a plan. He carries it out. And he kills his wife.
His plan has worked; he’s got away with murder. Case closed.
Until he makes a big mistake.
This is the 3rd book I’ve read by Harry Fisher, and book 2 in the DI Mel Cooper series, and I was really looking forward to reading Yes I Killed Her.
From the start of page 1, Yes I Killed Her had me grabbed around the neck like serial killer’s grip!
An absolutely gripping story of a cat and mouse chase to catch a killer… who thinks he is so much cleverer than the Police. But luckily for us readers who want the bad guys caught, the perpetrator had come up against DI Mel Cooper and her team of smart young Detectives, and frankly, he never stood a chance of getting away with it!
This is an intelligently written thriller, with a phenomenal eye for Police Procedures and laws in Scotland, that I found totally enthralling. You can tell that Harry Fisher has done a lot of homework on Yes I Killed Her, it really shows and makes this his best book yet.
The plot is extremely clever and revealed slowly as the team of Detectives pursue a cocky arrogant killer, in particular, DI Mel Cooper who gets the bit between her teeth and never let’s go. She is smart, Tenacious and a ball breaker! I loved the storyline in Yes I Killed Her, it really was an enthralling read, and I would suggest fans of Steve Kavanagh and Val McDermid will love this book.
I must commend Harry on his writing because it really is fabulous and it’s lovely to see an author starting to flourish. This is Harry’s best novel so far and I urge you all to buy it, a gripping read with wit and humour and attention to detail on Police and Legal matters, and a great build-up to a satisfying ending.
JW: Thank you so much Graham for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour!
JW:I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? In those days of fighting crime, did you think about writing a fiction novel then?
GB: I’m so unlike many authors in that I had no thoughts of being a writer until I was in my later 40s. As with most things in my life, it all happened by accident. Peter James had been a friend for a few years and saw a blog I wrote. He called me up and said he liked my writing style, describing it as ‘not quite of a commercial standard but workable.’ He followed that up with a suggestion that we write a non-fiction of the stories that inspired the Roy Grace novels. So, the Best Seller, Death Comes Knocking was born. I did most of the writing and he tidied it up, but I got the bug and am now so proud I’m going to be a solo published author.
JW: Where did the inspiration for Bad For Good come from, it is a quite unique and realistic plot!
GB: It all started with me getting angry with the swinging cuts the police were suffering. I imagined what would happen if it got much worse. Would vigilantism take over as the crime control method of choice? And what if that was sponsored by corrupt officials? That was the birth of Bad of Good and I weaved it into a world I was very familiar with so, hopefully, that’s where the terrifying authenticity comes from.
JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of DS Jo Howe, if /when Bad For Good is made into a TV series?
GB; Keeley Hawes! She wasn’t in mind when I wrote Jo but I know she’d play such a complex, driven yet vulnerable character perfectly.
JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?
GB:When I was very young, I loved the Narnia stories as the worlds and adventures they took me on were spellbinding. I remember then picking up When the Lion Feeds, by Wilbur Smith and similarly lost myself in this time a real, yet far away, world. His storytelling just drew me in and that started my love of books. In terms of the TV, it has to be The Professionals. I loved it so much that I remember my police -officer uncle, no doubt prompted by my dad, sitting me down to check that I knew the force I’d set my sights on joining wasn’t actually like that!
JW: As we’re now in May, which book that you’ve read this year has been your favourite? OR which are you most looking forward to?
GB: Wow, there are so so many! I think I’ll plump for Truth be Told by Kia Abdullah. The themes she fearlessly explores around class, privilege, race and religion are so powerfully woven into a gripping race to the truth, it left me quite breathless.
I can’t wait for The Murder Book by Mark Billingham. His Thorne stories, and the standalone, are utterly addictive and so brilliantly written it makes me sick! He’s a friend so I can say that!
JW: Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?
GB: I love Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books. The whole concept of an orphan who escapes a black ops programme to go around helping desperate people, in the most violent ways you could imagine, is stunning. But it’s his writing which really brings it alive. There is not a wasted syllable, and his descriptive powers and similes are inspired. In 2018, I’d had a few beers at Harrogate Crime Festival when someone, out of the blue, introduced him to me. Well, I fawned over him, quoting brilliant lines I remembered. I could tell he was bored, despite smiling nicely. Thankfully someone ushered me away before I made a complete fool of myself!
JW:What do you consider your greatest achievement?
GB: No hesitation – bringing up triplets to become the wonderful young adults they are now. My wife, Julie, and I always put them first. She gave up her job and I did what I could not to get unnecessarily sucked into work so we could be there for them. Now we have a police officer (who’s also a high-level football referee), a nurse and an astrophysics PhD (don’t ask!) We couldn’t be more proud of Conall, Niamh and Deaglan.
JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
GB:The 1966 World Cup final. I love football and it would have been great to see what would become a once in a lifetime victory for England. The young, poorly paid, un-pampered men who brought the country the pride we so needed, probably wasn’t as appreciated as it would have been if they’d known what footballing failures we’d become and how mollycoddled today’s players are.
JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?
GB:It might sound corny, but my family. I still adore spending time with the ‘kids’ (I watch Conall being abused by players and crowds alike most Saturdays at Football) and just enjoying their company as funny, intelligent grown-ups. I love it that two still live at home, and they’re 25 in July!
JW:Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)
GB: One of many bookshelves in my home.
JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?
GB: Wilbur Smith – to suck up every ounce of his advice and hopefully learn that he suffered from imposter syndrome too.
Alexander Hamilton – I’m fascinated with his story (borne from the musical, I’ll admit) but would love to know how it felt to build a nation amongst such hostility.
Doreen Lawrence – To say sorry on behalf of the police service (although I had nothing to do with the Metropolitan Police then or now) and to hear how a mother could show such dignity in the wake of such tragedy and injustice.
Oscar Wilde – He’d just be fascinating, but I’d love to hear how it was to suffer the horrors of being punished just for being who you were.
JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
GB: Be kind and if you can’t be kind, be quiet.
JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??
GB: As well as advising dozens of authors and TV writers, I’m editing the second in the Jo Howe series and writing Book 3. I’m really putting her through it by the way!
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF D.C.I DALEY WITH A REAL CORKER OF A NEW BOOK…
It’s 1983, and a beat constable walks away from a bar where he knows a crime is about to be committed.
In the present, an old fisherman is found dead by the shoreline and a stranger with a mission moves into a shabby Kinloch flat.
Meanwhile, D.C.I. Jim Daley is trying to help Brian Scott stay sober, and the good people of Kinloch are still mourning the death of one of their own.
As past and present collide, Daley finds himself face to face with old friends and foes. Memories can only last as long as those who keep them, and ghosts will not be silenced.
Firstly thank you so much to Denzil Meyrick for organising a proof copy of The Death of Remembrance for me, with his publicist Jan.
Reading the DCI Daley series has been such a pleasure for me over the last couple of years when I came across them, and with every book I eagerly await it and try to let it sit without being read for a while, as I know, once read I will be in a deep depression, as I never want them to end!
This the 10th in the series is an epic, gritty, realistic book, the storyline moves from the 1980′ s to the present and utterly brilliantly for me, my favourite ever sidekick DS Brian Scott is featured heavily in The Death of Remembrance.
You all know, I read a lot, but every time I read a Denzil Meyrick novel, I’m amazed at how easy they are to read, I’m sure this is not the case in writing them, but I really think Denzil is one of THE best crime fiction authors of my time.
Not only are the descriptions of the fictional Kinloch utterly believable and sublime, but the tangible feeling of actually being there whilst reading the book is also fabulous, I could almost feel the misty, cool air whilst reading!
The other thing that I adore about the DCI Jim Daley series is the wealth of locals, it’s almost like putting on a favourite warm jumper, all the characters just wrap me up into the storyline. From the frosty Liz (Jim Daley’s Wife) to the strong, quick-witted Ella (Brian Scott,s Wide), and Hamish the all-seeing old Fisherman, the cast of characters never loses its way. We meet some old ones in The Death of Remembrance, in surprising ways, but I welcomed them!
The plot is easy to follow and draws on the vast past of Jim Daley and Brians Scott’s lives, with the main storyline involving my favourite ever written character DS Brian Scott who is having some issues with the drink, the descriptions of him fighting his demons are really wonderfully observed. And the reason Brian is my favourite is because he is such an old school copper, with a razor-sharp wit and a penchant for getting the wrong end of the stick with hilarious consequences when talking to Jim Daley or any of his superiors! I really LOVE him, I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a fictional character! The banter between him and Jim Daley and their working relationship is amazing, a force to be reckoned with and such a realistic description of what the Police family is like, and in The Death of Remembrance, there is much to laugh about at as well as tension!
Another triumphant novel in the DCI Jim Daley series, enthralling, spellbinding, gripping, hilarious, tense, witty, sharp and the epitome of Tartan Noir.
I saw something the other day that said ‘Which Author would you give eternal life to?” Well, it would have to be Denzil Meyrick for me!
Another superb 5 Star read.
Now I’m off to sit and weep in a dark corner whilst I await book 11!!
When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?
DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark websites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.
Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger...
Firstly thank you to Orion Publishing for my print proofs of The Dark.
Secondly! I’ve no idea how, but the Lacey Flint series by Sharon Bolton had gone under my radar…so before I read The Dark, I binge read the 4 previous novels….and oh my God, they were amazing, I’m shook, after finally finishing the Dark today! If you’ve not read the series, here are the books in order….
I was absolutely gripped from book one , they are all brilliantly written….but this is Sharon Bolton we are talking about!
So onto my review of The Dark. I loved this book, I adore the characters in the story, Lacey Flint, Mark Joesbury, Dana Tulloch and her partner Helen, all are real and tangible and their flaws are laid bare in every book, but especially in The Dark. I don’t want to give too much away but the storyline is shockingly real, and actually gave me anxiety as I know it’s based on some facts! At the heart of The Dark is a plot involving The Mets finest Police Officers, a group of misogynistic criminals, who think violence against women is justifiedand the dark web…..it all becomes clear and very very real the further you start to read!
I couldn’t put The Dark down, the plot is bloody electric and the revealing of the perpetrators had me fooled, up until that point! I think this is Lacey Flint’s finest novel as it’s is slap bang up to date and her own secrets are there for us, the reader to see and worry about (I don’t care what Lacey’s done I love her!!)
I’m hoping that Sharon will write more in the Lacey Flint series, as I know she’s got more novels in her….I’m actually begging you to write more Sharon!!
If you enjoy British crime fiction with epic characters and totally believable storylines and plots then The Dark is going to be the book for you! And if you’ve not come across Lacey Flint…..where have you been!!