Scott & Bailey: Bleed Like Me – Cath Staincliffe

Title – Scott & Bailey: Bleed Like Me

Author – Cath Staincliffe

Published – 2013

Genre – Crime fiction

My reading is pretty consistent at the moment but I’m moving between new books (mainly birthday gifts), review copies via NetGalley and older physical review copies of books which have been sitting on my TBR for some time. This book is one of the latter – a signed hardcopy that I picked up at a publishing event in March 2013.

I think when I went to the event I had yet to watch any of the Scott and Bailey TV series, so perhaps the delay in reading this book worked out for the best.

As soon as I started reading I was transported straight back to the TV series and its characters. The book is set as a prequel to the second ITV Scott and Bailey series (I had to look that up) but I know that it was somewhere within the series timeline as there were references to incidents I remembered.

The story is more of a thriller than a police procedural – three bodies have been found, stabbed to death in their beds, at The Journey’s Inn, Lark’s Estate, Manchester. The husband and father of two of the victims has fled and his two young sons are missing. There seems little doubt over what may have taken place, the challenge for the team is to find the desperate man but, more importantly, his small sons.

The characters are just as I remembered them but the format of a book over a TV series gives you a bit more insight into the characters and their motivations. It must be a challenge for a writer to mould their work to fit something that already exists but nothing felt out of place and there was a visual quality to the writing that helped support the feeling that this was an extension of what I’d seen on the small screen.

The story itself was a good ‘race against time’ with some red herrings and action but within the confines of a police team in Manchester. The investigation is only part of the story, though, as this is also a story of the three very different, strong women who take the lead.

I really enjoyed this – it took me back to a very watchable TV series, not only reminded me of the characters but added to it by providing a more intimate connection with them.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.


NCIS: Los Angeles Extremis – Jerome Preisler

51yibhssyjlTitle – NCIS: Los Angeles Extremis

Author – Jerome Preisler

Published – 2016

Genre – Thriller

Based on the TV series of the same name this is an original thriller written by Jerome Preisler, who has also authored a number of CSI novels.

I’m a big fan of the TV series (and now think of LL Cool J as Sam first rather than a rapper and Chris O’Donnell as G rather than Robin) so was familiar with the setting and characters. The timing of the story is pitched in line with the more recent series, so if you’ve been watching then you will be picking up the relationships between the main characters at a familiar spot. If you’ve never watched before (why? why?) then there’s background enough to fill you in.

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the story starts when a retired Admiral is shot in his own home by a several men who ransack the place and make off with his computer. The team connect this to the disappearance of another elderly man, a former intelligence officer. The connection between the two men is project Deep Dive, a top-secret U.S. Navy project dating back to World War Two.

With the novel the format means that the reader can follow the action and the machinations of the baddies (usually terrorists) as well as the heroics of the NCIS team. The story is, as you would expect, an action-packed race against time. I thought it was a good thriller, the format gave the writer a bit more opportunity to explore a more involved plot. It had all the thrills and spills you would expect of the TV series and by and large the characters felt true to what we already know (although there was an odd bit with Eric and Nell). It’s not a literary thriller but it is based on a decent action TV series.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Score – 4/5

Naked Heat – Richard Castle

Title – Naked Heat

Author – Richard Castle

Published – 2011

Genre – Crime fiction

Having received “Heat Wave“, the first book in the series as a present last Christmas, my husband surprised me with a spontaneous gift of the second title during 2012! If you’re not familiar with the TV series, Richard Castle is a crime writer shadowing NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, who he uses as the inspiration for his fictional character Nikki Heat, and the books feature a superstar journalist, Jameson Rook, who bears an uncanny likeness to Castle.

It’s three months since Heat saw the article Rook was planning to publish about her and three months since she last saw Rook. Heat felt the whole article had become too personal and Rook wouldn’t or couldn’t back down, so that had been the end of their relationship. Since then Heat has been trying to come to terms with the impact its publication has had on her, her relationship with the rest of her squad, and the high profile it has given her with the public.

The crime story part of the plot is the murder of vicious gossip columnist Cassidy Towne, who as coincidence would have it had recently been working with Jameson Rook. Needless to say Rook manages to inveigle his way into the investigation! Towne has made a great many enemies so there is no shortage of suspects and the squad, along with Rook, track these down.

This isn’t the only murder Heat’s squad is trying to solve, but there’s more pressure on them to find the murderer of a notorious gossip columnist than an unidentified Hispanic man.

The relationship between Rook and Heat isn’t as intense as it was in the first book – there’s a reason that dramas like Castle and Moonlighting drag the “will they, won’t they” aspect out, because once this has gone there’s a certain spark that’s lost too. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting in their relationship, but it’s not got the same tension as the first book.

Still a good solid murder mystery, especially if you enjoy the TV series.

Score – 4/5

Heat Wave – Richard Castle

51mb5E-dLQLTitle – Heat Wave

Author – Richard Castle

Published – 2010

Genre – Crime fiction

Another short(er) review – this time for a book that was a Christmas gift. I was a little late to discover the TV series “Castle” but have now managed to watch all three series & am eagerly looking forward to the fourth series starting this evening.

In the TV show Richard Castle is a crime writer shadowing NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, who he uses as the inspiration for his fictional character Nikki Heat. The TV show is one of the better examples of US TV crime – often well-plotted, intelligently written, and funny.

The book really “does what it says on the tin”. To all intents and purposes this is the book Castle wrote using Beckett as his “inspiration”. Told from Heat’s point of view it reads just as you might imagine Castle would write a female character, especially when there is a journalist called Rook shadowing her, who bears a strong resemblance to Castle’s own character.

There is a good mystery at the heart of the story, but the relationship between the two main characters provides as much interest, especially for fans of the TV show. In fact it reads like a longer episode of the show – no bad thing.

There is nothing about this book that gives any indication that Richard Castle isn’t a genuine author, and from the similarity to the style of the TV series I assume that it was written by someone involved in the scripts for the show.

It’s tempting to give this 5 stars – I enjoyed it so much, but I will settle on 4 & hope that leaves my crime fiction blogging credentials intact.

Score – 4/5