The Scent of Guilt by @TonyJForder #BookReview #BlogBlitz

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation.
Meanwhile, Penny Chandler has been promoted to DS and has been working in London on the Met’s sexual crimes team. But when two rapes are reported on her old patch in Peterborough, Chandler volunteers to interview the victims.
Chandler joins the hunt for the attacker and soon notices a possible link between the rapes and Bliss’s murder investigation. Could the same man be responsible?
Just as both cases seem to stall, a call comes in from an ex-policeman who knows of unsolved cases in the USA with a similar MO. Bliss finds himself travelling to California to hunt for a killer whose reach may have stretched further than anyone could possibly imagine.
But in order to catch the murderer, Bliss must discover the killer’s motive. A motive which should have remained buried in the past…

Having loved two of Tony J. Forder's previous books, Scream Blue Murder and Bad to the Bone, I'm honoured to be one of the blogs opening the blog blitz for his latest thriller, The Scent of Guilt which is published today. Many thanks to the author, publishers and Sarah Hardy for inviting me and for my ecopy of the novel.
I was immediately impressed when I started reading The Scent of Guilt that Tony J. Forder has taken the rather unusual step of setting this second book in his DI Bliss series twelve years after the previous novel. It can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel but if possible I would recommend reading the series in order. Jimmy Bliss was forced to move away from Peterborough after the fall-out from the investigation covered in Bad to the Bone and after several years involved in policing organised crime, he has returned to the city to head up a murder investigation. In the intervening years he hasn't managed to completely overcome his demons but he has learned how to manage them more effectively and is taking better care of his health. He's still prone to losing his temper in the face of unreasonable authority but he at least now grudgingly accepts the unavoidable politics of the job. Meanwhile Penny Chandler is now a Detective Sergeant and has been working in London for the Sapphire Unit, investigating rape and serious assault. The pairing between the two officers is a real strength of this series and I was relieved that their reunion feels a natural progression of the cases they are investigating and not forced for the sake of the plot. The easygoing rapport between them remains but the older and wiser Bliss has come to recognise just how much he relies on Chandler. The progression in their relationship is thoughtfully explored and once again character development is an outstanding feature of this series.
The narrative is told in the third person and follows Bliss' investigation but occasionally chapters reveal the killer's movements instead and being privy to the thoughts of this twisted and dangerous individual who is driven to commit heinous acts of violence is chilling and adds an even more desperate sense of urgency to the proceedings. The two detectives face a race against time before there are more rapes and murders and the case ends up taking them to California after an extraordinary tip leads them to look into a cold case over there. Moving the action away from Peterborough could have been a risk as I felt the author's local knowledge added a sense of authenticity to the sense of place in Bad to the Bone. Thankfully the gamble pays off; the various locations and the complexities of law enforcement in America have clearly been well researched meaning these engrossing scenes are also completely believable. It's not all Californian sun however, and the conclusion back in England is absolutely breathtaking and really makes the most of  a windswept, remote location.
 The Scent of Guilt may be an intriguing mystery with superb characterisation and riveting action but it's also a contemplative examination of what makes somebody evil. Tony J. Forder considers some complex themes here as characters' discussions include the generational patterns of abuse and the morals of the death penalty; and the importance of relationships, whether as sources of love, trust and strength or as more toxic influences are thought-provokingly scrutinised. I thoroughly recommend this intelligent, compelling thriller and eagerly look forward to reading more books from Tony in the future.

The Scent of Guilt is published by Bloodhound Books and available to purchase here. Don't forget to check out the other fantastic blogs taking part in the blog blitz, details are below.

About the Author

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The sequel, The Scent of Guilt, is available from 17 February 2018. A third book in the series is currently in progress.
Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.
One book that will definitely see a sequel is Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross and Matt Hilton.
Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.