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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2017
I was quite disappointed with this after having read Deadly Deceit and Settled Blood. I got to the end but I found it a bit far fetched and rather tedious in places.
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on 21 June 2015
Loved this book from start to finish that's why I gave it four stars just. Like the her other books from this series
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on 3 March 2017
good series
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“The surf was pounding the shore, great white waves rolling further and further inland before being absorbed into the sand”

This is the fourth in the DCI Kate Daniels series, set this time along the coastal areas of north Northumberland, mainly Bamburgh, down to Low Newton-by-the-Sea and Alnwick.

Britain’s northerly and least populated county is in the grip of Winter, snow showers have forced the investigating team to set up an investigation room in a B & B in Alnwick, as they look into the discovery of the skeletons of two young females, buried within spitting distance of the imposing, fairy tale castle at Bamburgh, overlooked by Holy Island. At the time of burial, both girls had been dressed in specific clothing, and certain items are to become key to the investigation…. it almost seems like there is a devotional element in the way the bodies have been buried in the sand.

Meanwhile, over at HMP Northumberland Emily McCann is getting back to her work in the psychological services of the prison, having had time off to mourn the death of her husband Robert. At home her daughter Rachel has responded to her father’s death in a way that has caused her mother great concern – Rachel has closed down, become erratic and secretive, they just cannot communicate and be supportive to each other at this difficult time. At the prison, Emily is becoming increasingly alarmed by the behaviour of Walter Fearon, a prisoner who is due to be released, but who has pronounced psychopathic tendencies; his beady focus is on her. Will anyone take her seriously?

Kate’s team is hard pressed to make sense of the burials, Nominal 1 and Nominal 2 (we learn that only the media refer to older, unsolved cases as “cold cases”), but the team, under Kate’s direction, pulls together well. A couple of new members and old stalwarts all bring skills to the investigation. But Kate’s focus is not only on this investigation, she is also struggling with the unresolved ending of her personal relationship with Jo Soulsby (is the lingering flame sufficient to reignite the relationship?), and she is hard pressed to offer her friend Emily her support, who seems to be losing the plot. Kate is overwhelmed by the demands of her work, her frantic lifestyle as a DCI is palpable. The fast pace of developments and dead ends keep the reader engrossed as the story develops. Find out how the two storylines dovetail….
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on 7 October 2014
Mari Hannah DCI Kate Daniels Series
The Murder Wall
Settled in Blood
Deadly Deceit
Monument to Murder

I am going to come out with it from the start, I love these books. Those of you who read my first blog will know that I rarely get into books based in England but I was hooked on these from the start.
When Deadly Deceit popped up on Amazon, as a recommended read, I read the review and liked what I saw. Several reviews later I had decided it was a book I wanted to read but, it was the latest in a series, and that meant I had to read the others in order first.
The Murder Wall introduced me to DCI Kate Daniels and her colleagues at the Northumbria Police Murder InvestigationTeam. The team is made up, as any such teams are, of a collection of individuals. Each individual has their own backstory which runs through the series of books. These sub plots add to the main story and help to keep the pages turning. The two young Detectives, who joined the team together, a woman with great computer skills and a man who is excellent at the tedious life of the observation specialist; the middle age detective with gambling problems who is trying to put his life back together; and another who loses the trust of the team; the crusty old hand Detective Sergeant who Kate relies on professionally and in her personal life; Kate’s mentor, and Boss, Detective Superintendent Bright, his own life in turmoil; and a myriad of bit part Police characters which drift in and out of the books always at the right time and in the right context.
Kate herself is struggling with the break-up of a relationship with Criminal Profiler Jo Soulsby, and throughout the series this relationship teeters on the brink of being totally destroyed whilst almost reforming. Kate suffers from what all high achieving Police Officers suffer, the “job comes first” and everything else just has to wait. We see Kate struggle with this, being torn between work and relationships with Jo, her father, and her friends. Needless to say the job usually wins.
The Murder Wall is set a year after Kate Discovered two bodies in a Church, an incident that is still playing on her mind, and a crime she did not solve. When the body of a man is found in a flat in Newcastle the crime is investigated by Jo’s team. It’s her first as Senior Investigating Officer, a chance she has been waiting for but is sullied by the fact that Jo appears to be tied into the crime. Her dedication to her friend conflicts with her professionalism and at times interferes with the relationship she has with her team and her mentor Bright. As the investigation unfolds it becomes clear that Jo, or the team, have an enemy close at hand who is hampering the investigation. The end of the book….. well it’s tense and it would be better if you read it. I hate spoilers in reviews.
Settled Blood. The team investigate the suspicious death of a young girl found dead in the middle of nowhere. The Police initially wrongly identify the girl as being the daughter of a local multi-millionaire who appears to own half the County. When he attends the hospital to identify the body he realises it’s not his daughter, but does identify the clothing she was wearing. This leads to a twisted story of kidnapping and murder. Kate retains the role of SIO and leads her team through the investigation uncovering an historic wrong doing by a senior officer which may have an effect on the case. In many other books writers look for extreme cases to convey this part of a story, but Mari Hannah has found a small indiscretion, which I am sure happened many times in the real world, which comes back to bite somebody on the bum, which I’m sure has also happened many times. It fits the plot perfectly and aids in the mystery leading up to a suspenseful conclusion.
In this book Hannah introduces the Mountain Rescue Service, again completely in context with the story and the scene in which it is set. As with every other aspect of her books she has obviously spent time researching or working with the people she writes about. The use of the rescue team, and the interaction between them and the MIT, is just as it would be during a professional investigation. Again no spoilers so not much about the plot but believe me its good.
Deadly Deceit It’s not often I come across a completely original plot, I’ve been reading this genre of books for 40 years, but in this story Hannah nails a brilliant one. The book starts with a house fire and, in a separate incident, a multi-vehicle Road Traffic Collision. A man and child are killed in the house fire whilst several people die in the RTC. Kate is on route to the house, with her Crusty Trusty Sergeant, when they come across the RTC and have to stop to render assistance before carrying on to the house. The house fire is quickly diagnosed as being started deliberately and the MIT take over the crime, investigating the murder of a father and his son. It is soon discovered that one of the victims of the RTC was also murdered, after the crash. The investigation of the crash murder is also carried out by the team, although they are split over the two scenes stretching their resources. This one I’m definitely not going to spoil by going into the details of the story but I will say this. The characters are brilliantly portrayed well written and again perfect for the story.
Monument to Murder, so far the last in the series and every bit as good as its predecessors. This incident sees Kate’s team investigating when the skeletal remains of two girls are found in a beach dune. Again Mari Hannah intertwines a second case as the daughter of a friend goes missing in what appears to be a related incident. The friend is Emily McCann, a Prison Psychologist who is recently widowed. She and Kate share a mutual friend, Jo Soulsby who now works in the prison, and the relationship between the three forms a big part of this book.
The crime scene is close to the prison and a long way from Newcastle, forcing Kate to uproot her team and work from a remote Police Station, bringing her into close contact with Jo. A few will they-won’t they moments crop up but again they are all perfect for the story and not at all distracting.
Whilst investigating the murder Kate attempts to help Jo and Emma investigate the disappearance of Emma’s daughter. Neither the murder investigation, nor the investigation into the disappearance of Emma’s daughter can be called a subplot as they both command equal time in the book. At times it appears that the crimes are related, at others it seems obvious that they are not. It was not till the last few pages that I worked out whether they were or not. Again no spoilers you’ll have to read it for yourself.

I always have trouble with UK based Police procedural books, mainly because I have worked in that environment and always think things like; “that’s not right”, “that would never happen”, or “they would never act like that”. In none of the four books did any Mari Hannah make any of those thoughts cross my mind, and as an ex Fire Investigation Officer in one of the biggest Fire Brigades in the country that takes some doing, especially in Deadly Deceit.
Every scene is realistic, sometimes in its simplicity; every character brings to mind people I have met; all the crimes are plausible, in short these books are the real deal.
For me, move over Colin Dexter, I have a new favourite British Crime Writer, and she’s brilliant.
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on 14 July 2014
Have enjoyed the previous three books in the series, but this was not a patch on them. Not enough police procedural and far too much agonising about the on-off Jo/Kate relationship. Who cares? Just get on with the detective work. Hope her next book will be back on track, because Mari Hannah has created some good characters and her crime situations are always accurate and authentic.
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on 19 May 2014
There are two story-lines that converge. One features Daniels investigating the remains of children that have been found at Bamburgh beach. Her team moves down there to investigate. We also get drawn into the plot of prison psychologist Emily and her daughter. Emily has been widowed and is struggling getting back to her work-life in the prison. She is dealing with a prisoner, who no one else seems to see as potentially dangerous.

This is such a fantastic read. I particularly was drawn to the Emily plot. I couldn't wait to find out how it would all work out and who was the murderer.

I do love Kate Daniels and her complicated love life. It makes me smile. The conversations between Kate and her ex Jo are brilliant and have a realistic feel to them. And I am very fond of her side kick, Gormley. The beauty of this series is how well you get to know and love the characters.

A great series!!! I particularly recommend reading them all, one after another. I absolutely cannot wait to read whatever Mari Hannah writes next.
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on 16 December 2013
This is the fourth in Hannah's DCI Kate Daniels police procedural series and it is the most satisfying and fully realised so far. It is a tribute to the author's story-telling prowess that it is a given that this is a compelling page-turner, but it is also so much more.

There are two converging plotlines which envelop Kate and her team and provide an enthralling read. Skeletal remains of two bodies are found on the dunes at Bamburgh beach and difficulty in identifying them is just the start of a complex case which sees Kate and the MIT uprooted from the comfort and convenience of their Newcastle base to make do with out-of-season B & B accommodation and a temporary office in Alnwick. And it's snowing hard. Meanwhile, recently widowed prison psychologist Emily McCann has returned to work, much to the delight of Walter Fearon, a convicted, brutal sex offender, soon to be released, who has created a sick fantasy world with Emily at its centre. Gradually, with nerve-tingling inevitability, the plotlines merge and lead to an explosive climax.

Purely as a crime thriller, Monument to Murder is a superb addition to Hannah's absorbing and suspenseful series, but there are elements of narrative and characterisation which take this book to an altogether higher level. The whole work is infused with a much more personal feel, adding subtle depth and warmth which really speak to the reader.

Mari Hannah's love of Northumberland in all its topographical variety shines through. Anyone who knows the coastal area around Bamburgh will delight in recognising the exact locations of the action. Her descriptions of the bleak beauty of the coast are evocative but sparing. They are an integral part of the story, never slowing the action. She is supremely skilled in evoking a strong sense of place, whether it's a windswept, freezing beach or the menacing, claustrophobic atmosphere and lurking violence within prison walls. Hannah's previous career as a probation officer perfectly informs all the details of life inside, for prison officers as well as the inmates.

The greatest delight, for me, is in the continued development of the cast of characters first introduced in "The Murder Wall." They feel like old friends about whom you learn more as time passes. DC Lisa Carmichael now has more experience, but still enjoys being mentored by DS Hank Gormley. Much to Kate Daniels' wry amusement, Lisa is initially jealous of Hank's attentions to PC Ailsa Richards, a bright and ambitious Humberside officer seconded to the team. And Hank Gormley really comes into his own: hard-working, shrewd, an intensely loyal professional partner to Kate and the only colleague who knows about the complexity of her personal life and dares to try to bring her and ex-lover Jo Soulsby back together. Hank, in private, calls Kate "an arsy cow" when she objects to his match-making and asks "Do all dykes argue 24/7?"

Jo, a criminal profiler and former colleague of Kate's, is a character it is easy to warm to. Seeing Kate through her eyes reinforces our impression that "Kate was a terrific person, an attentive lover, but ambitious to a fault. Her work came first. Always had. Still did." Thanks, in part, to Hank's intervention, Kate and Jo come very close indeed to rekindling their relationship, but circumstances are against them. The on again/off again nature of their relationship has been a constant theme in the series, and it says a lot for the emotional impact of this that there are times when I would have gladly knocked their heads together.

Mari Hannah's handling of Kate and Jo's relationship in this latest story is evidence of a more personal style. Her books are crime thrillers above all else and not lesbian romances, but seeing the world through Kate Daniels' eyes gives her work a distinctive and unique quality. And all this within a tightly written, cleverly plotted story, which does not read like a forensic science manual but showcases authentic police detective work, with all its hard slog, teamwork and exhaustion.

"Monument to Murder" shows Mari Hannah at a new level of skill and confidence. I recommend this book without reservation, and look forward, impatiently, to the next in the series.
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on 1 March 2016
It had been a while since I had spent any time with Kate Daniels, but it felt like slipping onto a sofa with a glass of wine and a good friend when I picked up Monument to Murder. In fact, I'd kind of forgotten just how much I'd enjoyed Kate's company.

She has a great relationship with her DS and the rest of her staff. She's firm but she's also fair. She also has a complicated love life! Which adds a more sensitive side to her and it's nice to see because she is very efficient at her job.

I loved the setting for Monument to Murder. The rugged coastline that is attended at a particularly cold time of year and I adore cold settings! Mari Hannah sets it in your mind beautifully. And with an added chill factor.

I liked the two strands of this novel. It, at first, seems as though there are two completely different stories being told and even though that was the case, I was thoroughly enjoying each part of them. Every time we moved from one to the other, I was being held there by great storytelling and real characters that made me want to know more, that made me want to find out what happened next for them. But, of course, you're not going to have two random stories running through a novel. They do converge and converge brilliantly and smoothly.

The antagonist Walter Fearon is suitably creepy, even his name is enough to give me the creeps. He's not someone you're going to want to meet in a hurry. This is where Mari's work as a probation officer has come to serve her particularly well, I imagine. She has crafted a brilliant character in Fearon.

This is another solid book in the Kate Daniels armoury and I'm looking forward to catching up with Kate again.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2014
There are 2 strands to this novel. In the first 2 skeletons are discovered buried in the sand near Bamburgh Castle and it is up to Kate's team to identify them and find out what happened. In the second Emily McCann, an old friend of Kate's, returns to work as a prison psychologist after being widowed to find herself the obsession of a soon to be released sexual predator, Walter Fearon. How these 2 strands come together is clever and kept me turning the pages until the end. I like this series, not least because the characters are well developed and very lifelike - they work as a team, they get on well and, in the case of Kate and Hank, they are friends out of work as well, which seems very normal to me. I also like the descriptions of the geography and it makes me want to go and see it for myself. The only downside I felt was the ongoing saga of Kate and Jo's failed love life. I'm not a great romantic so would they please either get on with it or move on as I couldn't care less.
This is a good book and any reader would enjoy it but it is not as strong as the previous ones which had me on the edge of my seat, whereas this one just had me turning the pages.
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