Tuesday 29 August 2023

Three Card Murder by J L Blackhurst @JennyBlackhurst @HQstories @beccimansell #ThreeCardMurder #BookReview


DI Tess Fox’s first murder scene has two big problems. One, the victim was thrown from the balcony of a flat locked from the inside. Two, Tess knows him.

But the biggest problem of all is Tess’s half-sister, Sarah. She has links to the deceased and has the skills and criminal background to mastermind a locked-room murder. But she’s a con-artist, not a killer.

When two more bodies turn up, Tess now has three locked room mysteries to solve and even more reason to be suspicious of Sarah. Can she trust someone who breaks the law for a living, even if she is family?

Three Card Murder by J L Blackhurst is published on 31 August 2023 by HQ. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

J L Blackhurst is better know as Jenny Blackhurst, the author of some amazing psychological thrillers that I would highly recommend. I was fascinated to see that she had written a police procedural, more of a traditional crime novel using a pseudonym, and was very eager to read it.

I have to comment on the amazing cover for this novel. I think it is so striking and will really stand out on the bookshop shelves, something a little different and a fabulous design. 

Three Card Murder is an outstanding read, I was hooked from the first chapter, totally pulled in by the intriguing and mysterious prologue that features two girls at a fairground. When the story begins, these two girl are now women. Tess is a Detective Inspector and Sarah is an expert con-artist. They are also half-sisters, with the same father, but have had very little to do with one another through their lives.  Tess was brought up by a mother who didn't like to talk about her dad, and when she did finally meet him and Sarah, things didn't work out so well. These women have a massive secret, one that could destroy their lives, and certainly put Tess out of a job. 

Tess is working on her first murder case. It appears that the victim's throat was cut before he was pushed off the balcony of his flat. However, the flat is locked from the inside and there's absolutely no way that the murderer can have left the building unseen. Another major issue is the fact that Tess knows the victim, and the clue that she finds at the scene tells her that the murderer knows that. 

Tess has no option but to contact Sarah, for this case is linked to the events of years ago, and there's only Sarah who knows the truth. This leads to the sisters trying to create a relationship that is very strained, yet essential if they are to solve the crime, but keep their secret safe. 

The story moves at a fast paced and is filled with incredible con tricks. Sarah really is a master at her craft, taught well by their father and at the top of her game. Even the smallest cons are incredible; and had me totally intrigued throughout. 

Both female lead characters are so well created, with their back stories and current lifestyles portrayed very well, the reader cannot help but cheer them both on, despite Sarah's trickery and life of fraud! 

Blackhurst knits the story together so well, and the final reveal is not one that I anticipated, or expected.

This is an exciting and satisfying read, one that kept me gripped throughout and I really do hope that we can expect more from Tess and Sarah. Highly recommended.

J.L. Blackhurst is a pseudonym for Jenny Blackhurst who was born and grew up in Shropshire, where she still lives with her husband, two boys and two beagles. 

She has a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology and has worked in administration for the Fire Service and retail management before leaving to write full time. 

She wrote her first book, How I Lost You after giving birth to her son in 2011 and since has written seven psychological thrillers, her first of which won her a silver Nielsen award and became a kindle number one bestseller in the UK and a Spiegel Bestselleren in Germany. 

She can solve a Rubix cube in three minutes.



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