The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker #BookReview #BlogTour

Her eyes were closed. From a distance the blood around her neck might have looked like a necklace, but up close her body told a different tale. She had been murdered. A tiny songbird lay beside her, its neck broken… 

 Detective Tom Fabian's past is catching up with him. It has been years since the most high-profile case of his career – when his evidence put infamous serial killer Christopher Wisher behind bars forever. But when Wisher summons a reluctant Fabian to his prison cell to hand over a diary, he realises that Wisher’s twisted games are far from over.

 Shortly after Fabian’s visit, Wisher is found dead in his cell. And a few days later, the police find a woman’s body bearing Wisher’s signature, a dead songbird. But the police never released this detail to the public… so who has Wisher been talking to?

 Fabian is desperate to find the killer before another innocent life is taken. But as more bodies turn up, Fabian begins to realise that Wisher may have handed him the clues before he died. Is the twisted serial killer still pulling the strings from beyond the grave…?

 If you can’t get enough of crime thrillers by Adam Croft or Melinda Leigh, you will love The Songbird Girls.

I'm absolutely thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker today. Huge thanks to the author and to Noelle from Bookouture for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel, received through NetGalley.

Over the last couple of years, Richard Parker has become one of my favourite authors so it seems fitting for my final blog tour review of the year to be for his latest novel, The Songbird Girls. This is the second book in his Tom Fabian series and I've been eagerly looking forward to it since loving Never Say Goodbye earlier this year. There was a shocking revelation at the end of that book which is continued in The Songbird Girls but newcomers for the series shouldn't be put off as this can still be read as a standalone (although I do highly recommend reading Never Say Goodbye as it's brilliant!)
Detective Tom Fabian became known to the public following his arrest and the subsequent sentencing of serial killer, Christopher Wisher. At the time he was being trailed for a fly-on-the-wall television show which helped encourage a key witness to make a phone call that led to Wisher's conviction. Exactly three years later, a reluctant Fabian is face to face with the chilling Wisher once again. Their meeting in Kerslake Prison is brief and he is confused when Wisher hands him a 2015 diary. He assumes that the coded messages in the journal refer to his experiences while incarcerated and wonders whether the prison governor has something to hide or if Wisher is playing twisted psychological games once again. When the killer is found dead in his cell a few days later, he finally begins to grasp the true meaning behind the diary entries and realises this case is far from over.
The body of a woman is discovered killed in what looks to be a copycat case, right down to the dead songbird left beside the victim - a detail that was never disclosed to the public - but Fabian quickly surmises that this isn't just the work of a sick individual who is emulating Wisher's methods. The serial killer might be dead himself but he is somehow orchestrating a terrible chain of events from beyond the grave. The murders themselves are never gratuitously described but it's very clear that the crime scenes are a grisly sight with the victims left horribly mutilated. There is a terrible sense of foreboding knowing that more murders will be committed and Fabian's frustration is palpable as he investigates a number of potential accomplices but never seems to be closer to discovering who is continuing Wisher's sick legacy. Fabian's list of suspects is intriguing - what sort of person chooses to visit a serial killer - but even though secrets are uncovered, the puzzle seems no closer to being solved which meant I couldn't put this compelling book down, I really had no clue as to how he was going to solve this dark case.
Throughout the book, we know that one particular character is in terrible danger and I loved how the tension is allowed to build towards the inevitable moment when they fall prey to a disturbed mind. Fabian's link to the killer means he accepts he may be at risk himself and without giving anything away, there comes a point where he is at odds with the rest of his team as to how he should proceed next in a superb scene which emphasises the type of man he is. I really enjoyed seeing how his professional relationship with Natasha Banner progresses in The Songbird Girls with the intensely private detective sergeant finally opening up a little to him about her home life. It's something I'm looking forward to being explored further in subsequent books and underlined still further how much I like Fabian as a protagonist.
The conclusion to The Songbird Girls is absolutely brilliant and has left me desperate to read what lies in store for Fabian next. It seems only too likely that there is worse to come for him and as much as I may like him, I must admit to feeling a delicious sense of anticipation to discover what tortures still await the poor man! The Songbird Girls is a sheer delight from start to finish and this series is now very firmly on my must-read (NEED to read) list!

The Songbird Girls is published by Bookouture and can be purchased from Amazon, iBookstore, Kobo and Googleplay.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Richard Parker was formerly a TV script writer, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand-alone thrillers.
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