The Death of Justice by Tony J. Forder #BookReview #BlogTour

One night. Two shootings. Two victims. 

When DI Bliss arrives at the scene of the second murder, he recognises the same three-shot pattern as the first. But there is one major difference: the second victim has been decapitated, the head nowhere to be found. When a second headless corpse is discovered the following day, Bliss and his team realise the killer is on a spree – and he’s not done yet.

After Bliss links the killings and forms a task force with officers from Lincolnshire, they uncover further disturbing news: the murders are not the first in the series – there are four more headless victims, and the Lincolnshire team believe they know why. Not only that, they are also convinced that more potential victims are on the killer’s list.

In a race against time to save further loss of life, Bliss constantly finds himself one step behind and chasing shadows. In order to flush out the hired assassin, he and his team have no choice but to put their own lives at risk. But will everyone survive?

I'm thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for The Death of Justice today. Many thanks to Tony J. Forder and Heather Fitt from Bloodhound Books for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

I had to take myself into another room to read the last few chapters of The Death of Justice - I couldn't bear any interruptions as I reached the end of the most tightly plotted, tense and emotional Bliss novel yet. Although each book in this superb series can be enjoyed as a standalone novel, I feel that by reading them in order, I've been able to truly appreciate just how skilled Tony J. Forder is at developing his characters and the ongoing story arc over time.
The Reach of Shadows felt like something of a transitional novel and I was intrigued to see if Bliss would be any different after the events in that book. At the start of The Death of Justice, I wasn't sure, as his clandestine and unauthorised actions suggest he is still as unpredictable and volatile as ever. However, despite his usual desire to ensure that justice is done, as the novel progresses it becomes obvious that he has changed. This for me, is one of the highlights of this series; the returning characters - and Jimmy Bliss in particular - have evolved over time but stayed true to who they are, with their actions and decisions remaining authentic throughout. Bliss has finally agreed to attend therapy sessions with an occupational health psychologist and perhaps even more surprisingly has a cordial working relationship with his Detective Chief Inspector but in an investigation which affects him personally as well as professionally, he is still the sort of man who is prepared to push things and take risks if he thinks it will help crack the case.
The familiar faces in his team return once more and this is a book which sees tremendous changes for each of them. Bishop and Short are both at the stage in their careers where promotion is the next logical step but there are no big egos here, just officers who are colleagues and friends who support one another and recognise that each of them brings something important to the team. Bliss' closest relationship is always with Penny Chandler, of course and there are several scenes which underline the nature of their friendship and the trust level that exists between them. Tensions still arise on occasion and I love that Penny isn't afraid to call her boss out when she sees fit. However, Bliss spends a lot of time with a new face too, as the Peterborough and Lincolnshire forces link up to solve a crime which has crossed the borders between the two counties. DCI Diane Warburton is an excellent addition and it was fascinating to see Bliss taking the lead in the case while still maintaining a positive working relationship with somebody of a higher rank. Warburton respects him too and realises that although his years of experience mean he could also have moved further up the career ladder, he is the sort of man who needs to be on the ground, making the immediate decisions and nurturing his team.
The investigation is a shocking one and takes on a personal aspect for the Peterborough force; their poignant response is reflected in their steadfast determination to apprehend the killer, even at the expense of their own physical and mental health. The second victim of two shootings on a single night was also decapitated and his head has disappeared. Bliss' stark warning to Chandler about how she needs to prepare herself for the grisly sight as her mind will struggle to comprehend what it sees, is a powerful scene. When another decapitated body is discovered, it soon becomes apparent that this case is linked to an unsolved one from about nineteen months ago. The motive appears to be one of revenge or retribution and it means that a number of other potential victims are swiftly identified. The investigation isn't made any easier by the reluctance of both the possible victims and suspects to talk to the police As the gruesome death toll rises, The Death of Justice becomes a thoroughly tense read as the killer stalks and picks off his victims one by one. Some of the chapters are written from his perspective and it's very clear that he is highly skilled and absolutely ruthless.
In the past, Bliss has trusted that even when things are going against them, there is a shape to an investigation which allows him to keep faith that they will eventually solve it. Here, he feels he is missing something as suspicion of organised crime and corruption looming over the case, coupled with local tensions between villagers and the Roma community results in the sense of foreboding that Bliss feels becoming almost palpable as he becomes increasingly frustrated by this perplexing, complicated case.
The combination of a compelling, nail-biting investigation and exceptional character development is absolutely top-notch and the pacy, tense plotting ensures The Death of Justice is an addictive, heart-pounding read with some shocking and deeply emotional scenes which are beautifully written. This series has been a must-read for me since the first book and it's been a real privilege to see an author hone his writing skills until he has reached this point where he has produced what is one of the very best police procedurals I've had the pleasure of reading. For anybody who enjoys high quality crime fiction, this series should be essential reading, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The Death of Justice is published by Bloodhound Books and can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Don't miss the rest of  the blog tour, details are below.

                                                                                                                        About the Author 

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler from the Major Crimes unit in Peterborough. The first four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, will soon be joined by The Death of Justice, which will be published on 9 September 2019.
 Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.  Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on a new novel, and has also begun writing Bliss #6.
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