Friday 2 October 2015

REVIEW: James Raven - Dying Wish

Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Robert Hale
Publication Date: 30th June 2015
Pages: 226


A copy of Dying Wish was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author James Raven in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Robert Hale.

This is another of those instances where someone totally random to me and someone I have never heard of before takes the time to email me at Confessions and ask if I would consider reviewing their book. James Raven was a name I was not familiar with at all but after checking out the synopsis for this one I decided to give it a go.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If these people take the time to self-promote and contact you about their book, it doesn’t cost you anything but a little bit of your time and you never know, you might just come across a little gem. I did with this one.

Jeff Temple is a Detective Chief Inspector with the Hampshire Police. Temple and his team of investigators in the Major Crime Investigations division are investigating the disappearance of married couple Bob and Rosemary Hamilton. They went missing whilst on their way to a night out with friends and an intended overnight stay in a hotel. They were a happily married couple with a young child with no reason to disappear. When their car is found abandoned, the worries for their safety grow.

Grant Mason is a local author who lives in the New Forest. He writes books about the forest and gives advice on treks that can be taken in the local area. He has a heart attack at a book signing event. Just before he dies he whispers to his PA that he needs her to do him a favour. He needs her to go to his house and burn it to the ground.

She mentions this to Temple who knew Mason on a social level so he agrees to go to his house to see if there is anything mysterious. When he gets there he is assaulted by a masked intruder and left for dead. When his team arrive at the house they find a secret in Mason’s loft. It’s a map of the New Forest, covered with little crosses with names beside them.

On investigation, the names belong to various people who are listed as missing persons. Could these sites be graves? Who is the mystery person that appears in some disturbing video evidence found at Mason’s house? These are questions that Temple and his team must answer before time runs out for Bob and Rosemary.

After starting to read this book it became very clear that it is part of a series involving Temple and his team. I didn’t know this before reading the book but to be honest it doesn’t make any difference to the story. It works extremely well as a stand-alone book. I will, however, definitely be checking out the rest in the series because Temple is a really good character.

We have a mixed bag of characters in this story, most of them really good. Jeff Temple himself is a man in his late forties whose wife has died a few years previous and he is now in a relationship with a much younger girl from his team. He is a workaholic but runs a very tight ship and seems to be well respected for his work and personal ethics. Members of his team who stand out would DC Walsh and DS Vaughan. Both are very dedicated and driven individuals who seem to get on well with Temple in both professional and personal circumstances. You don’t know a lot about their pasts but you don’t need too. You basically meet them, like them and let them get on with their jobs. All of the police characters in this story work extremely well together giving the impression of a very well-oiled machine.

Villains wise we have Grant Mason. On the outside and to his readers a well-educated man with an astounding knowledge of the New Forest. You don’t actually see a lot of involvement from him in the story before he dies but it’s what he has left behind that shapes the story. It is quite clear the man was a disgusting, disturbed and evil individual and you will be very glad, very quickly that he is indeed dead. His accomplice is obviously made of the same stuff and you want him to be caught very very quickly.

The plot is nothing new. It’s a British crime thriller where people have gone missing and the police are racing against time to try and find them and rescue them before they get added to the statistics. The thing that makes this book so good is the tension and the mystery. You know there is an accomplice out there. You know they are evil beyond imagination. There are a few people within the story that you think may be that person but if you manage to guess who it is before reading about 80% of this book then you are a genius. When you eventually do find out who it is you will soon realise there was no way you were ever going to guess. It all comes out in an absolute perfect twist.

I really like the writing style of James Raven. If this story were real life it would be horrific. Especially in the UK. It would be the sort of story that would have every single person in the country talking about it non-stop. People would have the twenty four hour news channels on permanently following the story to see where it was going to end up. This is exactly how you feel when you read the book as well. It is very fast paced and there are very few times that there isn’t something happening that makes you want to keep turning the pages. It is very hard to put down.

Epilogues in books tend to tidy things up and bring everything to an end. Not with this baby. It leaves you with a sinking feeling in your stomach knowing that there is much much more to come from this story. Whether it gets continued in a follow up book remains to be seen but I for one would certainly be reading it.

To summarise: British crime thriller. Very gritty. Horrific at times due to some of the subject nature and detail. Very well written and makes your imagination go wild thinking what is going on after only giving you a snippet of information. I’m sure fans of James Raven already know this but this man can write very good stories. This is sort of thing that if it was a series on TV, I would use the “series link” button after one episode.

General rating:

★★★★ well worth picking up.

Thriller rating:

★★★★ thrills galore.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy Dying Wish or any other books from James or indeed anything at all from Amazon. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

Murder, kidnap, torture—these are not words usually associated with Hampshire’s beautiful New Forest. But when local author Grant Mason has a heart attack, he makes a bizarre dying wish: he wants his loyal assistant to burn down his house. His request sets off a chain of events which leads to a police hunt for a missing couple and a deranged killer. DCI Jeff Temple and his Major Investigations Team take on their toughest case yet, and in the process they uncover dark secrets that were meant to stay buried forever. This is the fourth book in the DCI Jeff Temple series.

James Raven has been a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for newspapers he moved into television as a news scriptwriter. He then worked his way up to become Director of a UK News Division. He now runs his own TV production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling. He is also an accomplished magician.

He is the author of a number of crime novels including bestsellers MALICIOUS AND AFTER THE EXECUTION. His other books are Rollover, Stark Warning, Urban Myth and Arctic Blood.

And for more about James, visit his site or find him on social media:

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon Page

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