I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Dead North by Joel Hames today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the opportunity and to the publisher for my review copy.
Author : Joel Hames
Title : Dead North
Series : Sam Williams #1
Pages : 280
Publisher : Mainsail Books
Publication date : March 22, 2018
Once the brightest star in the legal firmament, Sam Williams has hit rock bottom, with barely a client to his name and a short-term cash problem that’s looking longer by the minute. So when he’s summoned to Manchester to help a friend crack a case involving the murder of two unarmed police officers and a suspect who won’t say a word, he jumps at the chance to resurrect his career.
In Manchester he’ll struggle against resentful locals, an enigmatic defence lawyer who thinks he’s stepping on her toes, beatings, corrupt cops and people who’ll do anything to protect their secrets. On its streets, he’ll see people die. But it’s in the hills and valleys further north that Sam will face the biggest challenge of all: learning who he really is and facing down the ghosts of his past.
Books like this one are exactly why I enjoy doing blog tours so much. This may otherwise never have come across my radar and I would have missed out on something fabulous. From the very first pages, I already knew I was going to be pleasantly surprised and in for a thrilling and entertaining ride.
Two unarmed police officers are shot. A suspect is arrested but he won’t talk. Enter Sam Williams, a down-on-his luck lawyer from London. He’s called up to help crack this case way up in Manchester and somehow convince the suspect to talk. Sam doesn’t really have anything much to do so he accepts, thinking maybe this will jumpstart his career once again, but Manchester isn’t exactly welcoming him with open arms. Why is the suspect not talking? Why are the other police officers so hostile and will Sam make it out of the north alive?
He’s working someone else’s case and he’s in way over his head. But sometimes you need the wrong man in the right place.
Let me start by saying that the character of Sam Williams is absolutely fantastic and I warmed to him from the get-go. I often found myself chuckling at his dry sense of humour but also rolling my eyes at him, especially where his relationship skills regarding his girlfriend are concerned. He’s a tad quirky, not quite what you’d expect him to be somehow. But Sam also has great instincts, that gut feeling that spurs him on to find the truth no matter what. He shows incredible determination, even when people are trying their hardest to stop him.
Dead North has a brilliant and truly clever plot. Full of red herrings and dead ends, this fast-paced and tense story had me hooked from start to finish. There are some truly fabulous reveals I didn’t see coming at all. I had no idea who to trust. Quite frankly, I couldn’t figure out any of the connections, didn’t have a clue what was going and so I was kept guessing until the end. I also have to mention the grey, wet and miserable setting of Manchester, which works like a charm. It adds an extra layer of grittiness to the story.
If you’re looking for a crime fiction thriller that’s that little bit different from all the other crime stories out there, then this is most definitely for you. Nothing is what it seems. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and while this is my first time reading a book by Joel Hames, I’m sure it won’t be my last and I can’t wait to catch up with Sam Williams again!
Dead North was published on March 22nd and is available for purchase.
Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.
After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Joel’s website can be found at http://www.joelhamesauthor.com/, where you can find out more about the writer and the books, and sign up to his email newsletter. If you want to know what Joel has planned for the future, what he thinks right now, or just stalk him a little, you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/joelhamesauthor or Twitter at @joel_hames. Joel has never seen the word “Joel” appear as frequently as it does right here, and wholeheartedly approves.