The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Andrew Taylor
Title : The Ashes of London
Series : James Marwood #1
Pages : 482
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : April 7, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Recently, I’ve been on the look-out for more historical crime fiction as it’s a genre I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately. The Ashes Of London caught my eye as it’s an era I’m not especially familiar with. I had heard of The Great Fire though, so that’s something as that is where this story starts.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 caused quite a few deaths. But St. Paul’s holds another body that didn’t perish in the fire. This victim was murdered before the fire got to them. As James Marwood watches the devastating fire roar, he helps a boy to safety. A boy who later turns out to be a young girl. This girl, Catherine, is trying to find her father. Could he be the murder victim?

For some reason, I couldn’t quite get to grips with this one. While I found it interesting to see the devastation the fire caused across the city, how it affected some but not others and the way it seemed to rain ashes for days on end, I mostly picked this book because I’m a crime fan. And the crime fan in me will always be way more intrigued by the murder investigation. This seemed to often take a bit of a backseat though in this story. There is a lot of walking through the streets, soaking up the atmosphere, a rather big cast of characters which sometimes confused me, conversations of which I felt they didn’t really bring much to the table and a rather slow pace where I was expecting more tension and “oomph”.

The story switches between James and Catherine. Unfortunately for me, neither of these two characters particularly held my interest and I often found my attention wandering. This story of conspiracies and revenge didn’t quite do it for me. I actually have the other books on my shelves and I will be giving them a go at some point. But for now, when I need a historical crime fiction fix, I will return to the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom which, in my most humble opinion, is far more superior.

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Book 10 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox | @josephknox_ @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow | #TheSleepwalker #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Absolutely thrilled to bits to be kicking off the blog tour for The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox today! Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!

Author : Joseph Knox
Title : The Sleepwalker
Series : Aidan Waits #3
Pages : 390
Publisher : Transworld
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of TheSleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

Or will his name be next on the hit list?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Goodness gracious me! Please tell me you’re reading this series. If you are, let me tell you, The Sleepwalker is the best one yet! If you’re not, go forth and correct the error of your ways immediately because you are seriously missing out!

Martin Wick has spent the past twelve years in prison, convicted of the murders of Margaret Moore and her three children. Martin is now dying and has been moved to hospital, where DI Suthcliffe and newly promoted DS Aidan Waits take turns in sitting by his bedside, in the hope that Martin will reveal where the body of Lizzie Moore might be found. But things do not go exactly as planned. A brutal premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead, one fighting for his life and Martin Wick’s last words will send Aidan Waits on a path he really doesn’t want to be traveling.

If you’ve met Aidan Waits, then you know he’s flawed, extremely damaged, has some serious issues and is most definitely not detective hero material. By now, he’s just utterly broken. Having been moved from the nightshift to the dayshift for a change, he’s forced to work with DS Naomi Black but he isn’t sure if he can trust her and having her constantly nearby, watching him, is messing up some of his plans. There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye but I won’t get into that as I feel you need to discover that for yourself but let’s just say, Aidan might need an escape plan.

Despite all of Aidan Wait’s issues, there is something rather likeable about him, something that makes you root for him, something that makes you want to reach out and help him somehow. He is by far one of the most complicated and multi-layered characters I’ve ever encountered. Yet, he also manages to make me chuckle from time to time because his sense of sarcasm knows no other. And let’s not forget to mention the setting, with the city of Manchester almost acting as a character all on its own, oozing atmosphere and providing the most delightful noir vibe throughout.

This series is one I’ve been with from the beginning. In fact, Sirens was the book that first made me start thinking about blogging because I needed a place to shout about its awesomeness. Since then, Joseph Knox has been raising the bar, with each book being even stronger than the previous one. Like its predecessors, The Sleepwalker is masterfully plotted, immensely dark, extremely gritty and completely engrossing from start to finish. It has desperately left me wanting more!

I’ve said it before and I’ll gladly say it again, Joseph Knox is an incredible talent and the Aidan Waits series is absolutely outstanding. Every single one of these books has caused a massive book hangover and The Sleepwalker is no different. I can’t recommend these books enough! They NEED to be on any crime fiction fan’s bookshelf. I promise you, you will not regret it for one second!

The Sleepwalker will be published on July 11th.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London.There he worked at head office Waterstones selecting the crimethrillers and classics for focus attention across the company.

Now writing full time, he runs, writes and reads compulsively.
His debut novel Sirens was a bestseller. The Sleepwalker is the third book in the DC Aidan Waits series.