#BookReview “Coldharbour” by John Mead

~~~

5/5 Stars!

Matthew Merry is not a man to be envied. There are never enough hours in a day for a law enforcement officer to investigate crimes and bring in those responsible for a date with justice.

However, Merry’s life is not that simple.

As Chief Inspector of the Met Police’s Major Investigation Team, an uptick in crime has Merry buried in victims and bodies and very few answers. Only a few months in his new position, his pragmatic style does little to advance investigations into gang-related stabbings and a murdered housewife.

It also does little to comfort his wife, Kathy. The school administrator was drugged and raped by a coworker. Her trauma is exacerbated by the ensuing investigation and trial as another of her attacker’s victims severs all ties with the trial.

As with his job, Matthew’s efforts to support his wife fall short, and at times, seem halfhearted.

This is not to say Matthew Merry is cold, detached, or even a bad person.

He’s simply a deeply flawed man in over his head while fighting his demons and guilt.

Matthew does have flashes of clarity—and brilliance—as crimes become linked by victims and perpetrators. Those links will take the investigation outside the UK and find international connections to crimes Merry and his team never saw coming.

The strong writing of this slow build read kept me engaged and turning pages, and I appreciated how well-developed the characters were throughout the story. For me, it was as much a character analysis of Merry as it was excellent crime fiction. Though unexpected, the ending is satisfying… or is it a new beginning?

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.

For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.

And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

Purchase Links  

Amazon UK   

Amazon US  

~~~

~~~

#5DayMiniBlogBlitz “Coldharbour” by John Mead

~~~

~~~

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.

For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.

And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

Purchase Links  

Amazon UK   

Amazon US  

~~~

About John Mead

Author Photo

John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city

Amazon author profile

Goodreads Profile

Twitter

~~~

~~~

#Review “Geraldine” by John Mead

~~~

cover

~~~

4/5 Stars!

Hate crimes or serial killer? Is there a difference?

I went back and forth in the beginning as much as Matthew Merry and Julie Lukula.

But then the cracks start forming.

A body washes up on-shore, acid attacks, shot gun blasts… that’s a lot of hate.

We are the sum of our experiences—or lack of, and when betrayal and ridicule come into play, the curtain is lifted on the ugly grittiness of a world most see simply as entertainment, and it’s those experiences that will turn someone into a killer.

Geraldine is a solid read with good characters and a strong plot, but I enjoyed getting to know the team as the story played out. These are not perfect Bond-type investigators. Life is chaotic and intrusive but you still have to do your job.

As if gender identity and sexual orientation weren’t enough, another timely and relevant issue runs as a sub-plot in Geraldine and is handled well and realistically. No tidy endings in a pretty bow. Life is messy. Kudos to the author.

Crime fiction readers will enjoy this quick read and I recommend it.

Enjoy!

~~~

Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all-consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime, but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 ~~~

Giveaway

Win one of 3 Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

~~~

full tour banner

#BlogTour “Geraldine” by John Mead

tour banner

~~~

cover

Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all-consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime, but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 ~~~

Extracts

‘She was obviously attractive when alive,’ Matthew noted out loud. Her shoulder length, light brown hair was still wet and clung to the woman’s face, exaggerating the finely drawn cheeks and chin. Her thin lips were pulled back slightly, showing a glint of evenly spaced teeth in the residual of a smile. Not a beautiful face, he thought, but a pleasant one denoting a strong character. The body was slim, narrow hips, with long legs. Her breasts where fulsome and still filled her bodice making him wonder if they had been cosmetically enlarged, as the silicon would preserve their shape even while she was supine. Only her feet were overly large for her size and, without shoes, looked out of place. Her whole, otherwise elegant, appearance in a smart blue, knee length dress was marred by bruising around her neck, the signs of strangulation in her face and the greyish blue colouring of her glistening, wet skin.

***

The inspector recalled studying Geraldine’s face at close quarters and, even after she’d been dead a few hours, there had been no sign of Gerry to give the game away. Such was the persuasiveness of Gerry’s impersonation that he had tricked death into accepting him as Geraldine.

 

John MeadAuthor Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links

Twitter

Amazon author profile

Goodreads profile

 ~~~

Giveaway

Win one of 3 Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

~~~

full tour banner

#BookBirthdayBlitz “The Fourth Victim” by John Mead

tour banner

~~~

The Fourth Victim cover

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry, but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight.  And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong.  The victim deserves more.  However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK    Amazon US     Waterstones     Wordery     Blackwells

 ~~~

~~~

John MeadAuthor Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links  

Twitter     Amazon Author Profile     Goodreads

~~~

The Fourth -Mead2

 

#Review “The Hanging Women” by John Mead

banner

~~~

4/5 Stars!

The Hanging Women opens with former lawman and now wealthy businessman, Jack Stevens, discovering the gruesome murder scene of two women, one white, one black. The murder scene is staged to send a message, but what and from whom?

Though it’s obvious from Jack’s astute observations of the scene he has a keen mind, sharp intellect and knowledge of the seedier parts of life, Jack also has a problem with the bottle, drinking to excess to drown out demons from his past. Unable to account for the last day and a half, Jack is, at least temporarily, a suspect in the murders of the women he so conveniently ‘found.’

Not waiting to be ruled out as a suspect, Stevens begins his own investigation into the murders, much to the consternation of local authorities and the collaborating Pinkertons.

Jack Stevens is a messy protagonist… perfectly messy. Aging not-gracefully, he’s rude, ill-tempered, and has no problem delivering his own version of the truth. Shaped by the events and circumstances of his life, Jack is unapologetic. He has regrets but he does not dwell on them. He just wants the nightmares to stop.

The story moves slowly at first as the two young women must be identified to move the case forward, and Jack tries to retrace his steps over the last thirty-six to forty-eight hours to find out where he was and what he did.

The Hanging Women has a large cast of characters, memorable as much for their nicknames as their part in this suspenseful whodunit. Names like Pug, Pinky, Banjo, Boat, and Cage flow from the pages… and those are just a few of the good guys!

However, there is a fine line between good and bad as there seems to be little anyone is not willing to do to achieve their goals. This being 1880s Chicago, it’s a battle of manpower and egos as labor groups, ethnic street gangs and corrupt officials jockey for power and control of the city.

Much time and many lives could have been saved had the women been in charge. (Okay, maybe not the lives. HA!)

Kudos to the author for not just delivering strong female characters, but women of substance who are to be reckoned with… if you live.

Two of these women are Martha Stevens and Kathleen ‘Kitty’ McGuire Tipwell… Jack’s wife and mistress. Don’t judge them or their situations. Both women play pivotal roles and are involved in plot twists I did not see coming!

Desperate to be independent and live as she chooses, the savvy Kitty moves in and among areas of the city and society a woman of her status should know nothing about.

Though well-respected by most who know her, wife and grandmother, Martha, is anything but matronly. She helps her lover plan a robbery then helps her husband cover it up. But it’s when she forms an alliance with Kitty that even Jack shuts up!

Clues as to who killed Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh are piling up… but so are more bodies. Are all the murders connected? Is there a serial killer or is it just bizarre coincidence? Is Nina O’Shea the most ruthless person in Chicago?

The suspense level of The Hanging Women is high. But I believe it’s outdone by its own intrigue. Some of the most minute details and even tedious mentions foreshadow events and connections to come. Readers of thrillers and suspense will enjoy this well-written read. Mystery lovers will get a kick out of the plot twists. There’s even something here for women’s fiction and romance readers. As Martha Stevens said, “It is odd that there should be so much love at the center of all these horrific acts.”

Enjoy!

~~~

A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the powerhouse of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riotscover and gangland killings.  A story of weak men and strong women.

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack `stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremist factions of the worker’s movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret `nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     |     Amazon US

~~~

tour banner

#BlogTour “The Hanging Women” by John Mead

banner

~~~

A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the power house of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riotscover and gangland killings.  A story of weak men and strong women.

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack `stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremist factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret `nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     |     Amazon US

 

books

~~~

Author Bio

John MeadJohn was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

His inspiration for his debut novel came whilst attending a lecture in Denver about the history of the American Midwest, describing a time and place that was very different from that espoused by popular culture, which started him thinking this would make a excellent period in which to set a crime story.

His book describes how Chicago was a prototype of much that we consider both good and bad in the current age, it had a vibrancy and decadence that allowed a few enterprising individuals to prosper whilst violence and intolerance held back many others. The situation for some African Americans and women was improving but it was still a time when to be anything other than white and male made you a second class citizen.  The city was the manufacturing and transport hub of America, the vast influx of immigrants swelling its already booming population brought great wealth but also corruption and criminality. The Midwest and Chicago typified a way of life, the ‘gun culture’ which is a euphemism for individualism, from which much of modern American social values have grown.

John is currently working on a trilogy of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city: a Whitechapel noir.

 

Social Media Links

 Twitter     |     Goodreads     |     Amazon Author Page     |

~~~

tour banner