blog tour, books, reviews

The Stolen Child & The Innocent Girl – Alex Coombes*

Over two days I’m going to be reviewing four books by Alex Coombes – today it’s The Stolen Child and The Innocent Girl. Then on the 25th it will be The Missing Husband and The Silent Victims.

Meet DI Hanlon. A woman with a habit of breaking the rules and a fierce loyalty to the few people she respects.
Her boss, Corrigan. Looks like a street copper promoted above his ability. Underestimate him at your peril.
Enver Demirel. Known in the boxing ring as Iron Hand. Now soft and gone to seed. But he would do anything for Hanlon.

When the kidnap of a 12-year-old boy blows the case of some missing children wide apart, the finger is pointing at the heart of the Met.
Corrigan sends in the only cop in his team who is incorruptible enough to handle it – Hanlon.
And then he sends Demirel to spy on her…

Once you start the DI Hanlon series, you won’t be able to put it down. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Mark Dawson.

This book was previously published as Time To Die by Alex Howard.

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DCI Hanlon is going undercover.
Oxford Philosophy lecturer Dr Gideon Fuller is in the frame, but Hanlon is not convinced.
From the specialist brothels in Oxford and Soho, to the inner sanctum of a Russian people trafficker with a taste for hurting women, the trail leads Hanlon deeper and deeper into danger – until she herself becomes the killer’s next target…
Can Hanlon track down the killer before it’s too late?

A thrilling new case for DCI Hanlon. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Mark
Dawson.

This book was previously published as Cold Revenge by Alex Howard.

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Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

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My thoughts:

The Stolen Child – any book that covers violence against children is going to be shocking, and this is. A group of vile men are having children kidnapped to order and their bodies are dumped for the police to find. DI Hanlon is tasked with looking into this and what she uncovers is horrific. But she’s hard as nails and determined to put a permanent stop to the ruthless criminals behind these appalling crimes. I was totally gripped and while Hanlon isn’t an easy character to like, her DS, Enver Demirel is. A British-Turk, he’s a former boxer with the heart of gold, he’s loyal, brave, and endeavors to follow where Hanlon leads.

The Innocent Girl – Hanlon and Demirel are drawn into the world of S&M after a young woman is found murdered in her bed. Another gripping and brutal thriller unfolds, this time with added Russian mafia, and a new character, Oxford detective Huss, who starts out disliking Hanlon but then finds a grudging respect for the maverick detective. And more than that for Enver.

Both books were totally gripping, excellently written and while dealing with some very dark subject matter, managed some levity and lightness of tone that made them a pleasure to read. The characters are well written and don’t feel like stereotypes, as can happen with police procedurals. Hanlon is a bit of a mystery, her inability to do as she’s told and the extreme violence she’s capable of speak to someone with issues beyond the usual and we get a hint of those in The Innocent Girl, when she almost learns more information about the parents she lost as a child. The relationship that develops between Enver and Huss serves as a counterpoint to Hanlon’s determined aloneness – even Corrigan, who knows her better than most, can’t get under her skin.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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