Friday 20 November 2020

A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets #AWashOfBlood #DIErikaPiper #BookReview



Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.
The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago.
DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed 'Blood Ice Killer’ intensifies.
But when another body is found and, this time, the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must put aside her demons to crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.
If you like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Cara Hunter, you will love this.

A Wash Of Black by Chris McDonald is the first in the DI Erika Piper series and was published by Red Dog Press in February 2020. I bought my copy direct from the publisher.

I had heard a lot about this book, it's been so popular with reviewers. I'm really late to the party, but my copy has been sitting here waiting to be read for months!

I read this in a couple of sittings. it's the sort of story that pulls you in instantly. The short prologue is just the start of what becomes an intriguing, fast paced thriller, one of those books that keeps you guessing right up to the very end.

I love the gritty Northern setting of inner-city Manchester, this author draws a realistic and well-observed picture of both the city and the people who inhabit it. From the run-down warehouses, to the city-centre bookshop, the scene setting is spot on, and reminded me at times of Joseph Knox's excellent Manchester-set series. 

Erika Piper is a Detective Inspector, she's been away from work for some time with injuries sustained in a work-related incident. This incident is at the forefront of Erika's mind throughout most of the story, and whilst the reader can guess what happened, the full, gruesome story is not revealed until further on in the plot. This makes for a nice hook; it enables Erika to examine herself, her working practices, and her colleagues and creates an air of mystery for the reader. 

Erika's first case upon her return to work is a particularly nasty murder. Anna Symons is a famous film star and her body is discovered on an ice rink in the city. Not only has she been brutally murdered, but the murder scene is almost exactly the same as one that she acted out in a blockbuster movie.

The media interest is intense and Erika knows that she and her team will be under scrutiny and probably criticised throughout the hunt for the killer. When another body is found. and is again linked to the film that Anna starred in, Erika's job becomes even more difficult, and when she begins to receive personal threats from the elusive killer, she knows that no stone can be left unturned.

This is a great debut novel from an author whose imagination and creativity shines through in the writing. Well paced, with a cast of realistic characters. it's just the type of crime novel that I like. The links to literature and film were especially interesting to me. 

I enjoyed the innovative twists and turns. This is a sharp, well crafted thriller with a fabulous lead character. I look forward to reading more from Chris McDonald.

Chris McDonald grew up in Northern Ireland before settling in Manchester via Lancaster and

He is the author A Wash of Black, the first in the DI Erika Piper series, as well as the recently released second - Whispers In The Dark. He has also recently dabbled in writing cosy crimes, as a remedy for the darkness. The first in the Stonebridge Mysteries will be released in early 2021.

He is a full time teacher, husband, father to two beautiful girls and a regular voice on The Blood Brothers Podcast. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs.

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