She was lying as if asleep on the wooden kitchen floor, beneath the fridge covered with a child’s colourful crayon drawings. But her frozen expression showed she would never wake again…
When Detective Jackie Cooke is called out to the scene, she’s expecting a routine check. The bottle of pills on the kitchen table, next to the note with the single word SORRY written in a shaky hand, make it seem obvious what’s happened. But Jackie is shocked when she recognises her old schoolfriend Claire – and she is convinced Claire would never take her own life.
Determined to dig deeper, Jackie soon discovers evidence that proves her right: a roll of notes has been thrust down the victim’s throat. And when she finds another woman killed in the same way, she realises someone may be targeting lonely single mothers. As Jackie talks to Claire’s distraught children, one of them too young to understand his mummy is never coming home, she vows to find answers.
Both victims were in touch with someone calling himself Nice Guy – could he be the killer? Pursuing every clue, Jackie is sure she’s found a match in dead-eyed Tyler, part of a dark world of men intent on silencing women for daring to reject them. But just as she makes the arrest, another single mother is found dead – a woman who never dated at all.
Forced to re-evaluate every lead she has, with her boss pressuring her to make a case against the obvious suspect, Jackie knows she is running out of time before another innocent woman is murdered. And, as a single mother herself, she cannot help but wonder if she is in the killer’s sights. Can she uncover his true motivation and put an end to his deadly game… or will he find her first?
A completely unputdownable crime thriller that will have you reading long into the night. Perfect for fans of Kendra Elliott, Rachel McLean and Val McDermid.
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.
Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.
Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.
When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.
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My thoughts: Jackson and Dave are a great duo, racing round Manchester bickering, eating a lot of junk food, Jackie worrying about her kids, Dave grateful his wife Hannah’s holding down the fort. That they’re also excellent detectives isn’t in doubt. Jackie knows that this case isn’t a suicide, or misadventure. This is murder.
Diving into the online world of incels – men who feel women owe them sex and that they’re overlooked for more attractive, successful men, and unfortunately sometimes turn to violence as a result. Jackie and Dave are sure their killer is posing on dating sites and apps too, using a photo from an overseas modelling agency, catfishing women.
Finding several other deaths and carefully weeding out the links between the victims, looking at the men around them, throwing up potential suspects. There’s a lot of deeply unpleasant men out there, but only one is their killer. And when a second one of Jackie’s old friends is put at risk of being the next victim, she dives into action. Against orders. Her charming Inspector boss (who seems to hate her) isn’t happy at all. But when Cooke and Tang go after their man, they’re all in.
This series just keeps getting better. The characters feel more bedded in now, you know them better and feel for Jackie, she’s supposed to be on maternity leave but they’re short staffed. Her ex is a pathetic time waster who needs to get a job and put a bit more effort in with the kids, her mother’s acting like a teenager – out every night, and she really needs a good night’s sleep. If only the killers of Manchester would comply.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.