10 September 2022

Once A Killer: A BlackJack Thriller


By Murray Bailey
Crime | Thriller | War & Military | Historical Fiction

✸ Blog Tour 


A 2022 Top Rated Read

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Murray Bailey's Once A Killer. I'm delighted to share my thoughts on this thrilling read.

Charles Balcombe was once a member of the elite Special Investigations Branch of the Royal Military Police until disappearing and changing his identity. He now finds himself in Hong Kong where he's asked by Grace Toogood to look into the whereabouts of her stepson Roger, who vanished five days ago. 

Balcombe fancies himself as a ladies man and lives life on the edge; he has 'urges' and believes taking the case of the missing son will help to focus his mind elsewhere. But as he delves deeper into Roger's life, he finds all is not quite what it seems. 

I really enjoyed this book and believe it's one of the author's best to date. It had all the elements I love — suspense, mystery, tension and a fantastic protagonist. The writing is simply exquisite. I found myself being swept away into the hustle and bustle of 1950s Hong Kong. 

I never quite knew whether I should love or loath Balcombe  — on the one hand he's a very dangerous man; yet he has redeeming qualities. His life is neither black nor white; he exists in a murky grey area. A feeling of unease surrounding his whole persona was implanted in my mind and I thoroughly enjoyed the conflict it caused.

Once A Killer is a thrilling read and one I highly recommend. Let's hope there will be many more in the series. A corker of a book! 

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Heritage Books Publishing
  • Publication Date: 8th Aug 2022
  • Author: Murray Bailey
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller, War & Military, Historical Fiction


He changed his identity.
He moved to Hong Kong.
He changed his life.
But can he change who he really is?

Charles Balcombe, sophisticated, risk-taking lothario was a special investigator. He thinks that taking a PI job to find a missing boy will distract him from is urges. But once a killer.

The Author

Murray Bailey got his first taste of success when he was published in the Times at 18. He also had articles published in his local newspaper. Although he went on to pursue a different career, he continued to write and became the editor of an international magazine and editor of 4 technical books.

His first work of fiction, I Dare You, was published in 2016. He has a series set around ancient Egypt (starting with Map of the Dead) and another set in 1950s Singapore.

Born in Manchester, England, Murray now lives on the South Coast with his wife and family.

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