Blood Axe by Leigh Russell (Ian Peterson #3)

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Synopsis: ‘Silently dipping his oars in the water he made his escape. It was a weary journey, with few spoils to show for it. Next time he would do better. He looked back over his shoulder. The bridge had disappeared, swallowed up by the darkness. From its walkway he too had become invisible. Only the bloody body of a woman showed he had been roaming the streets that night.’ DI Ian Peterson investigates a series of gruesome and brutal murders in York. As the body count mounts, the case demands all Ian’s ingenuity, because these are murders seemingly committed at random, and this is a killer who leaves no clues

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: There is a warrior lurking around York and within the first few chapters we have the most grisly crime scene played out in all its gory glory. The first few chapters are pretty absorbing and I would imagine quite a draw for a reader who maybe hasn’t read any of Leigh Russell’s books in the Ian Peterson series. Clues are lacking at the beginning although the only thing that seems to make sense is that the murder is somehow linked to a Viking Museum.

I like Ian Peterson and his spin off series has in my eyes been a total success. I sometimes feel like I want Ian to return to the Geraldine Steel, which is the series in which we meet him originally. We do see very brief glimpses of Geraldine as Ian and his former boss have stayed in contact. One of my most irritating issues within this series actually revolves around Ian’s wife Bev. Although this certainly isn’t a predominant feature in the series it still forms part of Ian’s life. Thank god Leigh Russell decided to deal with this issue in this current book and I am thrilled at the way the book was left.

The murderer seems to elude Ian and his colleagues and as bodies pile up, there seems to be less and less evidence and clues for them to work from. I liked Ian’s colleague Ted, but was less keen on Naomi. Having said that, the team plod on and work the case to the best of their ability. I was certainly engrossed and read this in two sittings. It still doesn’t quite pull me in like the Geraldine Steel series, but after this latest book I have a feeling that might all be about to change. Another solid read in the Peterson series.  Can’t wait for book 4 now!

Race to Death by Leigh Russell (Ian Peterson #2)

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Kobo and Nook

Synopsis: When a man plummets to his death from a balcony at York races, his wife and brother become suspects in a murder enquiry. Meanwhile Richard is being stalked by a killer issuing death threats. Richard is reluctant to go to the police, for fear his own dark secret will be exposed. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Ian Peterson is investigating the death at the races when a woman’s body is discovered. Shortly after that, Richard is killed. With three murders and no suspect, the investigation seems to be going backwards. Ian is determined to discover who is responsible. Afraid the detective is on his track, the killer abducts Ian’s wife. Ian must solve the case to find her, before she becomes the next victim of a serial killer.

My Review: I was unsure about the rating of this and felt it was only fair to give it a 4 (although I considered a 3 as there were things I disliked immensely). The Geraldine Steel series that Russell writes took its time to really come into its own and now as the 7th book approaches (next year I guess) it’s a brilliant series.  I feel like it’s the same with this new Ian Peterson series. It’s a slow burner but have a feeling once we are 3 or 4 books in it will come into its own. It always difficult to split a series but Leigh Russell has managed to do that and Ian Peterson (who used to work for Geraldine Steel) now has his own series. This second book in the series starts off re-introducing the readers to Ian and his wife Bev. They have relocated to York due to Peterson getting promoted to D.I. 

I’m going to start with the negatives, and yes I know I gave it 4 out of 5 but there were still things I didn’t like. First off, what is with Ian’s wife? I have never liked her, but for some reason she became even more irritating in this book. There is absolutely nothing to like about the woman and she grated on me from start to finish. Secondly, the book was a little bit slow in places and took some time to get going. I also feel like Ian is almost a novice at policing, which is odd because when he was working for Geraldine he was an amazing copper. Maybe this is him showing his lack of confidence, who knows.

Aside from those niggles the story kept me entertained as soon as it picked up its pace. The murders are plentiful starting with a guy at the races, and then it all seems to go downhill from there. I was a bit bewildered at the relationship with the widow of the first murder victim and the brother. There seemed so much potential and then it seemed to just disappear. We also see a man named Richard on the receiving end of some nasty threats from a stalker.  

I certainly didn’t see the ending coming and was surprised at the turn of events. The second half of the book was much better and it seemed Leigh Russell got into her stride very quickly after that. Overall an enjoyable book but I’m looking forward to the next one much more.

Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell (Ian Peterson #1)

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My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: When Henry’s wife is stabbed to death, he pays a prostitute to give him an alibi. Her body is discovered, strangled, and the police realise they are dealing with a serial killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. While they are hunting for evidence, another prostitute is brutally murdered. On the track of a vicious killer, Ian doesn’t realise he is risking the life of his young colleague, Polly

I have been reading Leigh Russell since book one in the Geraldine Steel series. Something I will point out is that book one in that particular series was a little, shall we say, ‘lukewarm’. However, I could see it being a great series and it turns out I was right. Leigh Russell then went on to create a series that seems to get stronger with each book she writes and is now writing some of her best stuff featuring Geraldine Steel. One thing I mentioned in the early books was the colleague that worked alongside her Ian Peterson. He piqued my interest and I wanted to see more of him. Fast forward a few years and here we are with Ian Peterson featuring as the lead in the first of the series.

The book opening introduces us to Ian Peterson, and as he now works alone (Geraldine having re-located) we get a quick refresh on his colleagues such as Polly. Ian is now a DS but is looking for promotion. Pretty early on in the book we see the first of the murders take place and Ian, his colleague Rob and Polly start investigating the case. The actual crime element of this story wasn’t as good as Leigh Russell usually produces. However, I think that is because this is the first in the series, so some groundwork is put in with the characters.

Ian Peterson as a character could potentially be just as good (if not better than Geraldine Steel). But, with this first book I found him a little bit lacklustre and to be honest he grated on me with all his moaning about his wife Bev. He is also a typical ‘people pleaser’ and seems to bend over backwards for his wife! NOT a good trait for a DS. I am hoping that in future books, we see that side of him change and have a feeling that there are a lot of changes to come for him in the future.

The story was just too average, considering Leigh Russell’s capabilities, but I can understand why that is. I figured out who the killer was pretty early on and I found that as I have read all of her other books I can see a pattern, and feel like this is just the platform for the whole series to take off from. Overall it wasn’t a bad read, but I’ve certainly read better, especially from the lady herself. I really hope that people who are reading Leigh Russell for the first time persevere. If her previous series is anything to go by you certainly won’t be disappointed. I can see this series improving with each book, much like it has for the Geraldine Steel series. I for one will certainly look forward to book 2 and hope we see more of a catchy storyline.