Liz Currently Loves….Artefacts of the Dead by Tony Black.


Publication Date: 14th July 2014 from Black and White Publishing.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

It s a dead man . . . Can t you see someone s put a bloody great spike through him? The discovery of a dead banker sends shock waves through the sleepy coastal town of Ayr. And it s up to DI Bob Valentine recently back on the force after his near-fatal stabbing to find the killer. But leads are hard to find and the pressure is on from an anxious Chief Superintendent who is being hounded by the media and still has serious concerns about her DI’s mental health. And as it becomes clear that there’s a serial killer on the loose, Bob Valentine must battle the demons of his post-traumatic stress, an investigation team that’s leaking like a sieve and frightening visions that might just be the key to unlocking the mystery. Valentine is close to breaking point, but can he crack the case before he cracks up?

Tony Black has long been one of my favourite crime writers, most specifically with the tremendously gritty and addictive Gus Dury series, then last year he stunned me again with the truly emotional and wonderful  novel “His Fathers Son” – see here for what I thought of that one 

So to say I was rather excited when a beautiful proof copy of “Artefacts of the Dead” dropped through my door would be putting it pretty mildly, I managed to hold off on the reading of it until SLIGHTLY nearer publication day then my chronic impatience took over (doesnt it always?) so here we are.

This time it was DI Bob Valentine that stole my heart – back at work after being stabbed, he is languishing at the training college, wondering just what is going to happen to his career, when the stars align and due to a staff shortage he is tasked with tracking down a killer. Cue Mr Black’s trademark dark but ever realistic writing style, a case that has more of a reach than first appearances suggest and another massive page turner of the highest order.

This author never fails to remind me why I love Crime Fiction so much – the characters pretty much pop off the page, the fine line between dramatic license and realism is walked to perfection and whilst often violent and unrelenting there is also a finesse to it that means it is enough yet not too much. With this particular novel there was a definite spooky feel to it, with Bob himself walking a fine line between recovery and collapse and the whole thing was beautifully constructed and incredibly difficult to put aside.

Not sure there is much more to be said, as I tend to try not to give away plot details. Will Bob catch his killer and survive, faculties intact? You will just have to read to find out. And I would highly recommend that you do. Absolutely superb. As always.

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Happy Reading Folks!

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