30 September 2020

Bad to the Bone

By Tony J Forder

My Review

After hearing only good things about this book, the first in the series featuring Detective Inspector James Bliss, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I may also have been a teensy bit swayed by its setting — Peterborough in the UK — which is where I grew up and lived for just over four decades. 

Skeletal remains of a young woman are discovered in the Bretton Woods area of the city. It transpires she'd been dug up from another location and reburied. But why and by whom? Who was she and why was she killed? As the investigation proceeds, DI Bliss uncovers links that suggest senior police officers may have been involved in a cover-up. As Bliss tries to prove his suspicions, he must tread carefully — not only is his own career at stake but also that of fellow investigating officer DC Penny Chandler.   

I thought it was fab reading about familiar locations — the pubs, the buildings, the roads, the suburbs — I know them all. The author, also a Peterborough resident, described them perfectly and this, for me personally, was the icing on the cake.

As with many fictional detectives, DI Bliss has 'issues'. Still coming to terms with the loss of his wife, he undergoes hospital tests to discover the cause of his searing headaches and vertigo. The results throw him yet another of life's curveballs. How he copes and the effect it has on his career remains to be seen.

I enjoyed the book and the main characters. They felt real and believable. However, frequent descriptions of women in terms of physical attractiveness and sexual desirability is never going to sit well with me. It's off-putting and unnecessary. Plus, the victim is identified far too late in the book (48% kindle edition). Despite those two niggles, it was a good read and I have very high hopes for the series.                

Book Source: Purchased copy
My Rating ⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Bloodhound Books (22nd April 2017)

The Blurb

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

The Author

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first six books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, and Endless Silent Scream, will be joined on 10 August 2020 by Slow Slicing, and in December by the DI Bliss prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.

Tony's dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thriller, was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.

In November 2020, Tony will release a new standalone suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.

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