Nothing to Hide by James Oswald #bookreview blog tour @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Nothing to Hide by James Oswald, the second book in his Constance Fairchild series. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

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Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain’s wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has other ideas . . .

Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide investigation . . . It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks.

No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly see the back of her, Con can’t shake her innate determination to bring the monsters responsible for this brutality to justice.

Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has everything to lose . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Nothing to Hide is the second book in James Oswald’s Constance Fairchild series, and it is a real corker. I thought the first book in this series was good, but I think the second is even better and I read it fast. It does deal with some very dark themes, and it pushes Constance or ‘Con’ as she prefers to be known; only her mother calls her Constance, to the brink.

When we last saw Constance, she had just uncovered a serious case of corruption within the police force after the death of her colleague and friend a short while beforehand. Since her discovery, several of her colleagues have turned against her. There is a sense that she is very much on her own in this book. She has also had to face the brunt of the media who are constantly pursuing her. It doesn’t help as well that she comes from a very different background to most of her colleagues. Her family are descended from nobility, and she came from a background of wealth and privilege; however, her father cut off her inheritance when she went against her parents’ wishes by joining the police force.

I think it’s Constance’s background story that makes her character feel fresh, to me. There aren’t many fictional detectives that I’m aware of, who are descended from nobility. This is what makes her so fascinating. I also like how James Oswald has blended this book in with his other series, which features DI Inspector McLean. Although McLean doesn’t make an appearance, several other characters do, including Madame Rose, and there’s even a reference to Grumpy Bob. But if you haven’t read the Inspector McLean series, you don’t need to have done so to read this book. Perhaps in the future, McLean and Connie may team up which would definitely be interesting to see.

The case which Constance is investigating is a very dark one. She has recently returned to her flat in London, only to discover a man, barely alive, not far from her home, who has been severely mutilated. Although she is meant to be on suspension, she becomes quickly sucked into the case and investigates quietly in the background against the orders of her superiors. During her investigations, she comes across a Church movement who claim to be doing their best for drug addicts and the homeless in the area. And her mother has become very fond of a man connected to the Church, although Con believes he has more of an eye for her mother’s money.

I was utterly gripped to this book, and I managed to finish it in just a couple of sittings. There is high drama right from the first page. Constance Fairchild is fast becoming a favourite fictional detective of mine. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 25 July 2019 (hardcover) 14th November 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 352 pages

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Cold as the Grave by James Oswald blog tour #guestpost @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the ninth novel in James Oswald’s Inspector Tony McLean series, Cold as the Grave today on my blog and I have a fascinating guest post from James to share with you. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Cold as the Grave: Inspector McLean 9 (The Inspector McLean Series) by [Oswald, James]

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Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

GUEST POST – 10 THINGS ABOUT JAMES OSWALD

1 – Although I come from a Scottish family and have lived most of my life in Scotland, I was actually born in the Rye Street Hospital in Bishops Stortford, England. Just across the road from the vets. I grew up across the county line, in north Essex, and so am technically an Essex boy.

 

2 – Much like my fictional detective, Tony McLean, I was sent away to boarding prep school at a very young age. I won’t name the school, as it’s not like it was back then at all, but I disliked it as much as Tony did his.

 

3 – My first car, bought very second hand not long after I had passed my driving test, was a 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV. It cost me the princely sum of £750, and the same again to insure each of the four years I owned it. Sadly, like many Alfas of its vintage, it dissolved into rust and had to be scrapped. It fired a lifelong love of the marque though – I currently own two – and inspired my choice of car for Tony McLean.

 

4 – My first paid job was a pre-Christmas stint working on a turkey farm. I initially spent my time stubbing turkeys that had just been plucked (removing the few remaining feathers and broken quills from the still-warm skin), but I soon graduated on to weighing and processing orders. I can still smell them to this day, and haven’t had a turkey at Christmas since.

 

5 – I lived in a little village in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales called Cwmystwyth for almost ten years, moving there when my partner took up the post of livestock research scientist at the nearby Pwllpeiran Research Farm. The area, and the language and folklore of Wales inspired my epic fantasy series The Ballad of Sir Benfro.

 

6 – One of several short-term jobs I had while living in Wales was for a project called Wales Worm Watch. The job involved regular visits to a number of sheep farms dotted around the country, to collect fresh samples of sheep pooh for analysis to see whether their intestinal worms were developing resistance to the drugs used to kill them. Mostly this involved picking up pooh from the ground, but a few samples had to be taken directly, as it were. I can thus say that I have had a truly shit job.

 

7 – (Chief) Inspector McLean began life as a support character I wrote for a comic script submitted on spec to 2000AD in the early 1990s. He was originally called John, until I remembered that the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movies is John McClane. That comic script was never published, but it formed the basis for the eighth novel in the series, The Gathering Dark, written twenty five years later. Nothing is ever wasted!

 

8 – My first ever published work was in 2000AD. A Tharg’s Future Shock three page short story, it was called ‘It’s A Cold World’ and appeared in Prog. 865 in December 1993.

 

9 – In 2014 I appeared on American TV, on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. It was just as bizarre and surreal a situation as you might imagine. Craig did his very best to promote me and my books, but due to some unexplained error, my US publisher had sent a copy of The Hangman’s Song, which wasn’t actually out until a few months later. It appeared as a prop in the next episode, as they recorded two back to back, but alas, no one was able to go out and buy it.

 

10 – When Penguin Books bought the rights to my first three Inspector McLean novels in late 2012, I spent the bulk of my initial advance payment on a new tractor. The manufacturer (Claas), found out, and ran a feature in their corporate magazine Tractor Times, with me on the cover.

 

If you would like to purchase Cold as the Grave, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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No Time To Cry by James Oswald blog tour @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks

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Source: Review Copy

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Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.

Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.

In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.

There’s no place to hide, and no time to cry.

MY THOUGHTS

James Oswald hits the ground running in his latest novel No Time To Cry the first book in his new series set in London and the pace never lets up. I couldn’t put this book down. Constance Fairchild is a young Detective Constable, just starting out in her career in the metropolitan police. She comes from a privileged background, but she is determined to earn her right to be a detective through hard work. She has very few friends in the police force, say for one, Detective Inspector Pete Copperthwaite. But on the first page of the book, Constance finds her boss and friend, dead, and she quickly becomes a person of interest in the minds of her superiors. With her main supporter no longer around, Constance is on her own. The rest of her career in the police force hangs in the balance, and she knows she may soon be framed for Pete’s murder as her colleagues rush to find a scapegoat.

James Oswald’s Detective Inspector Tony McLean series is one of my favourites, so I was more than intrigued to learn that he was publishing a new crime series, this time, however, set in London. James does, however, visit Scotland again in this book with his new protagonist, Connie. And a familiar face from the McLean series turns up as well which was a nice surprise.

Isolating Connie from the rest of her team was a really interesting way to start this series. Right from the start, I was backing her, you really do get the sense that she is fighting on her own and this sets in a feeling of trepidation right from the beginning. No Time To Cry has a complex plot, and it was interesting to see how James weaved it together. Shortly after Connie’s suspension, she is asked to track down missing student, Isobel, the sister of her old friend. This takes Connie back to her own past, as Isobel studies at her old school, and as her investigation into Isobel’s disappearance continues she is warned off by some dangerous individuals. But this only makes Connie more determined to find out what’s happened to her. What Connie eventually finds out is very disturbing, and it blows everything wide open and puts her own life in danger.

James Oswald is a fantastic writer. He puts Connie in a dangerous situation, and it is really interesting how everything all unfolds. And the way in which the plot is pulled together is done very well. It will be interesting to see how this series will progress further, especially after the ending of this book. I think this new series will be just as successful as the Tony McLean books. Connie is a fantastic character, and I’m sure she will intrigue plenty of new readers.

If you’re a long time fan of James Oswald, then you are in for a treat with this book, but if you haven’t come across James’ work before, then this is the perfect time to discover a new writer who writes excellent police procedurals and creates fascinating characters. No Time to Cry is a brilliant piece of crime fiction that will keep you gripped. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour and to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 26th July 2018 (kindle) 1st November 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 336 pages

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