THE MOURNER BY SUSAN WILKINS (KAZ PHELPS #2)

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Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: If she can’t get justice, will she settle for vengeance? Kaz Phelps has escaped her brother and her criminal past to become an anonymous art student in Glasgow. But can life under the witness protection scheme ever give her the freedom she craves? Banged up and brooding, Joey Phelps faces thirty years behind bars. Still, with cash and connections on the outside, can an overstretched prison system really contain him? Helen Warner, once Kaz’s lawyer and lover, is a rising star in Parliament. But has she made the kind of enemies who have no regard for the democratic process, or even the law? Ousted from the police and paralysed by tragic personal loss, Nicci Armstrong is in danger of going under. Can a job she doesn’t want with a private security firm help her to put her life back on track? A murder dressed up as suicide and corruption that goes to the heart of government unite ex-cop and ex-con in a deadly quest to learn the truth. What they discover proves what both have always known – villainy is rife on both sides of the law.

My Review: I was really pleased that I had the second book by Susan Wilkins as I have only recently finished the first. I wanted to know what happened with Kaz and Nicci. Kaz Phelps is currently living in Glasgow under a different name. She was the one that helped put her brother Joey behind bars. However, when she hears news that Helen Warner, her one time lover and her lawyer had been found dead the first thing she did was return to London. We also catch up with Nicci Armstrong, the one-time copper who has suffered extreme personal tragedy. She is now working with one of her old colleagues in private security.

I was shocked with the opening of the story even though the synopsis makes it clear that Helenr Warner is the victim. I liked Helen and was sad to see her leave the story. However when Kaz decides to approach Helen’s long term partner Julia things get very interesting. As for Nicci, well she is just a fantastic character to read about. Sadly in the beginning we se her struggle as she is trying to remain working to stop herself from travelling down a grieving path which probably involves a lot of drinking. It makes you really root for her as she is fundamentally a good person who is struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her.

In the meantime, Kaz seems to be getting herself more and more involved and before long she crosses paths with people that work for Joey. The Joey element of the story was done really well and I was totally engrossed from start to finish. It felt like even as just the reader, you were taking part on the journey to get to the truth and you second guess every single person! There was so much going on that you didn’t know where each thread was taking you, but there are no un-necessary complications, just plenty of action and drama. Susan Wilkins certainly has that flair for writing, which I guess is why she is such a successful script writer! However, its more than that, she has slotted into this part of the genre, that gritty and realistic type book that grabs you at page one and refuses to put you down until the end.

I was surprised by the ending, but the end result was that if book 3 was ready and waiting I would have moved straight on to it, so I guess the desired result was met. If you haven’t read Susan Wilkins, take a look at her first book and I will guarantee you want to read the second. Can’t wait to see what she produces next!

THE INFORMANT BY SUSAN WILKINS (KAZ PHELPS #1)

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Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Available: Kindle, Paperback, Audio, Kobo, Nook

Synopsis: As a drug-fuelled teenage tearaway, Kaz Phelps took the rap for her little brother Joey over a bungled armed robbery and went to jail.

Six years later she’s released on licence. Clean and sober, and driven by a secret passion for her lawyer, Helen, Kaz wants to escape the violence and abuse of her Essex gangster family. Joey is a charming, calculating and cold psychopath. He worships the ground Kaz walks on and he’s desperate to get her back in the family firm. All Kaz wants is a fresh start and to put the past behind her. When Joey murders an undercover cop, DS Nicci Armstrong is determined to put him behind bars. What she doesn’t realize is that her efforts are being sabotaged by one of their own and the Met is being challenged at the highest level. The final test for Kaz comes when her cousin, Sean, gets out of jail. He is a vicious, old-school thug and wants to show Kaz who is boss. Kaz may be tough enough to face down any man, but is she strong enough to turn her back on her family and go straight?

My Review: I was looking forward to this and had seen some pretty good reviews for it. The synopsis sounded very readable and I was pleased that I finally got around to it. First off it’s very readable, now I know that sounds like a silly thing to say but you know what I mean. The writing flows well and the book can be picked up and read with no effort. Realising that Susan Wilkins has moved from the world of script writing is no surprise. Kaz is the main character followed by her brother Joey. It seems Joey has been running the business while Kaz has spent a good few years in prison, for a crime her brother committed.

Kaz and Joey are complete opposites and it was easy to like Kaz as you see her struggle to get to grips with life on the outside. What makes it worse is that she wants to go straight, and Joey seems set on becoming more dangerous than he already is. I liked the copper Nicci Armstrong and thought her and Mal Bradley worked well together. There were a few threads going on within the story but each one held my interest. There was quite a lot of action and the story flowed well, held my interest and kept me reading, which I think I did in just a few sittings, and in a day and a half.

It has been left in such a way that the follow up is something you want to read but I still felt it had been wrapped up well enough and there was no major cliff-hanger. I was very pleased to realise that the second book by Susan Wilkins is out in May 2015 entitled The Mourner. It’s one that I think will be making it to my Kindle sooner rather than later. Certainly a cracking debut and an author I will be looking out for in the future