Die Last

COMPETITION . . . Win DIE LAST by Tony Parsons

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“This is compelling stuff from one of our best crime writers, and his anger at the utter disgrace of modern slavery drives the narrative forward. Die Last is a novel that will hook you in and keep you turning the pages right to the end.”

That was the Fully Booked verdict when we reviewed the hardback edition of this novel by London author Tony Parsons. You can read the full review here, but when you’ve done that, how about entering our prize draw to win a mint copy of the forthcoming paperback edition of Die Last?

You have two ways to get your name on the list. Send an email to Fully Booked and put the words DIE LAST as the subject, or go to the Fully Booked Facebook page and simply “like” the post. COMPETITION CLOSES 10.00pm GMT, Sunday 14th January. The links are below.


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DIE LAST … Between the covers …

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Tony Parsons has passionately held political views, and he takes no prisoners in this searing account of how human life has become a mere commodity in the biggest criminal racket ever to infect British society. Worse than drugs, more damaging than financial fraud and with a casualty list that makes the Kray twins and the Richardson brothers look like philanthropists, the trafficking of people into Britain is a growth industry which attracts the investment of evil men and women, and pays guaranteed dividends – in blood money.

DLHis London copper, DC Max Wolfe, becomes involved when a refrigerated lorry is abandoned on a street in London’s Chinatown. The emergency services breathe a huge sigh of relief when they discover that the truck is not carrying a bomb, but their relaxed mood is short-lived when they break open the doors to discover that the vehicle contains the frozen bodies of twelve young women. The bundle of passports – mostly fake – found in the lorry’s cab poses an instant conundrum. There are thirteen passports, but only twelve girls. Who – and where – is the missing person?

One of the young women shows a flicker of life, and she is rushed off to hospital, but hypothermia has shut down her vital organs beyond resuscitation, and she dies with Max Wolfe at her bedside. He discovers her true identity and vows to bring to justice the people responsible for her death, the people who brought her from poverty in Serbia, the people who promised her that she would find work as a nurse.

The search for the slavers – and the missing girl – takes Wolfe and his colleague Edie Wren to the hell on earth that is the makeshift migrant camp near Dunkerque. They discover a brutal racket run by a group of anarchists posing as voluntary workers, but police attempts to infiltrate the network – whimsically called Imagine – end in tragedy.

Wolfe feels that he has blood on his hands, but this makes him all the more determined, and the deeper he digs, the more convinced he is that someone more powerful and with a much bigger bank balance than the hippies of Imagine is at the heart of the operation. From the mud, despair and violent opportunism of the Dunkerque camp Wolfe follows the trail to millionaire properties in central London and the influential men and women whose lifestyles reek of privilege and wealth.

tony_400x400Max Wolfe certainly gets around for a humble Detective Constable, but he is an engaging character and his home background of the Smithfield flat, young daughter, motherly Irish childminder and adorable pooch make a welcome change from the usual domestic arrangements of fictional London coppers with their neglected wives, alcohol dependency and general misanthropy. Parsons (right)  is clearly angry about many aspects of modern life in Britain, but he is too good to allow his writing to descend into mere polemic. Instead, he uses his passion to drive the narrative and lend credibility to the way his characters behave.

The plot twists cleverly this way and that, and Parsons lays one or two false trails to entice the reader, but in the end, a kind of justice is done. This is compelling stuff from one of our best crime writers, and his anger at the utter disgrace of modern slavery drives the narrative forward. Die Last is a novel that will hook you in and keep you turning the pages right to the end. Your natural disappointment at finishing a terrific book will be tempered by the excellent news that Max Wolfe returns in 2018 with Tell Him He’s Dead. You can grab a copy of Die Last from all good booksellers, or by following this Amazon link.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS …Ewens, Kavanagh & Parsons

Dear God, I hate the winter and all its dismal,dripping, dank, defeated dreariness. (enough alliteration already! – Editor) In my youth, distant though it now is, I was a great fan of the stories of Billy Bunter, written by the wonderful Frank Richards, aka Charles bb_among_the_cannibalsHamilton. The tales were strewn with classical and biblical references which, in those days, most of us understood. One of my favourites was used whenever Bunter was at low point in life, but then, miraculously, found a forgotten toffee in his pocket, or perhaps an unguarded slice of chocolate cake in the common room. Richards would say, “but for Bunter, there was Balm in Gilead.” This meant, of course, that the woes of the world inhabited by The Fat Owl of The Remove were, temporarily, eased. Gilead is a hilly region in modern day Jordan, and the balm was a herbal medicine known to the inhabitants in biblical times.

My ‘Balm In Gilead’, particularly at this time of year, could be described as deliverance by delivery. ( Fret ye not, I have exhausted the ‘d’ page of my Bloggers Dictionary) Three lovely books arrived this week. One has been out for a while, but by the time the other two are available, Spring will hopefully have sprung. So, after the lengthy preamble, to the books.

davidrewensDavid R Ewens (right) lives and works in Kent, and Fifth Column is the fourth book featuring PI Frank Sterling. We are in the world of international skullduggery, but it isn’t all first class lounges and dangerous blondes. Sterling says:

“People wonder what a PI gets up to. Most of the time, the work is really tedious. It means a lot of hanging around and getting involved in some of the more sordid aspects of human behaviour. It can be really dangerous too – like the time I got banged up in a cellar in a Flanders farmhouse and tortured with a cigarette. But sometimes it’s interesting and exciting. And fifth-columnone of the best things about it is that I can pretty much do as I damn well please, and that wasn’t the case when I was on the job and had a sergeant or inspector breathing down my neck. One thing is certain. I was never a team player so how I currently earn my living suits me just fine…”

Now, the former police officer is entrusted with foiling an impending terrorist atrocity, and so we can assume that his days of hanging around and doing nothing particular are – temporarily – over. The books is already available, and you can check out buying options here. It is worth saying that the paperback edition is beautifully printed and bound and has a very classy feel to it. Fifth Column is published by Grosvenor House Publishing.

killer-on-the-wall“April, come she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.”

So sang Paul Simon in 1966, and most of you will have to wait until then to read the latest book from Emma Kavanagh. We reviewed – and loved – her previous book, and you can read why it was so good by clicking the link to The Missing Hours Now, we travel north from Herefordshire to the rugged grandeur of Northumberland, and Hadrians Wall. Emma Kavanagh (below) is a professional forensic psychologist, and she has put this experience to good use by relating the story of Isla Bell, a specialist who is trained to get into the minds of serial killers. She has a very special expertise, though. As a teenager, she found three bodies propped up against the crumbling remains of the great Roman defensive rampart. The killer was eventually found and convicted, but for Isla, years on from that trauma. there are more deaths, and she has to face the prospect that the killer has returned. The Killer On The Wall is published by Arrow, and will be out on 20th April.

Author Emma Kavanagh

tony-parsons-autho_2905921bDC Max Wolfe has become established in the crime fiction firmament, thanks to his creator, Tony Parsons (left). Of the previous book in the series, The Hanging Club, I wrote:

“I am a sucker for a good London setting, and Parsons doesn’t disappoint. Wolfe’s little rooftop flat within sight and sound of St Paul’s Cathedral is a delight, and the eventual location of the hangings is a complete surprise. I finished The Hanging Club in just a couple of long sessions, such was its grip.”

One of the reasons I admire Tony Parsons as a writer is that he is not afraid to get to grips with the undoubted problems in many of our big cities caused by foreign gangs, imported criminal networks, and the resuscitation of an die-lastabomination that we thought we had seen the back of in the nineteenth century – slavery. Parsons doesn’t flinch from portraying evil for what it is, but neither does he preach. Wolfe’s latest case starts when a refrigerated lorry is found abandoned in London’s Chinatown. Inside are twelve women. Twelve corpses – frozen to death. But in the cab of the lorry are thirteen passports. Where is the missing woman? Max Wolfe’s determination to solve this conundrum takes him to darker places than even his world-weary soul could ever have imagined. Die Last is published by Century, and will be available on 6th April.


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