Singapore Killer by Murray Bailey #BookReview #BlogTour

A helicopter crash and burned bodies.
A faceless corpse.
A mysterious town.
Carter is drawn into a dark case from which there seems no escape.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Singapore Killer today. Many thanks to Murray Bailey for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

Set in Singapore and what was then Malaya in the 1950s, Singapore Killer is the fifth book in Murray Bailey's Ash Carter series. It's the first I've read but can easily be enjoyed as a standalone novel. There are a few mentions of events in Carter's history which gave me an insight into his past and also piqued my interest in the earlier books.
Ash had previously been employed by the Singapore government but after eventually resigning from the post, he is now working as a private investigator and has been called out to the scene of the helicopter crash in the jungle. Having been a military inspector in a past life, he now provides his services to the enemy. The book actually opens with the awful circumstances leading up to the crash, although the reasons behind it aren't explained at this point. Carter quickly realises that foul play led to the helicopter's demise - and to the horrific deaths of the two men whose bodies are found at the crash site.
It's not just the big cases which come Carter's way, however, and I enjoyed the secondary storylines involving his day-to-day work - from dealing with local corruption and extortion to locating lost dogs, it's clear that even the most straightforward case tends to bring trouble of one sort or another his way but also that he is a compassionate, principled man. I loved his curt, irascible secretary, Madam Chau who frequently tells Ash off but whose gruff exterior conceals a well-hidden softer side. In a novel where it's not always obvious who he can trust, Madam Chau is an indispensable figure to have in his corner.
A dog tag bearing one word - 'BlackJack' is found at the site of the downed helicopter and as the novel progresses and more mutilated bodies are found, Ash becomes convinced that this is a clue to the killer's identity - but who is BlackJack? There are a few chapters written from BlackJack's perspective and although his identity isn't revealed, it's horribly evident that he is a seriously twisted individual.
Eventually the investigation leads Carter to a strange, sinister town in Malaya. Up to this point, Singapore Killer is an engaging, intriguing thriller but from this point it becomes utterly compelling. I love books which feature a creepy cult and Jeremiah's Shangri-La is seriously disturbing. There are two equally important storylines which come together here; one involves the horrific activities of the cult and the other is centred on Ash's dogged, risky hunt for the serial killer. The action becomes increasingly tense as he is threatened by a number of adversaries and Ash realises that apprehending the murderer isn't the only issue which needs resolving here. There are some grim, upsetting scenes involving the cult's activities which could almost be considered enough to suggest some justification for BlackJack's behaviour - if it wasn't for the scenes which expose the dark truth of his warped psyche. The exhilarating denouement to the action at Shangri-La is breathtakingly exciting with a number of shocking revelations and the fiendish conclusion suggest more danger lies ahead for Ash Carter. Singapore Killer is a fantastic thriller; dramatic, addictive and with a superb sense of place - it left me desperate for more. 

Singapore Killer will be published on 1st June 2020 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

Murray Bailey got his first taste of success when he was published in the Times at 18 and in his local newspaper.
Although he went on to pursue a different career, he continued to write and edit and became the editor of an international magazine and editor of 4 technical books. 
His first work of fiction, I Dare You, was published in 2016 and The Lost Pharaoh continues the ancient Egyptian story glimpsed in Map of the Dead and is his ninth title. 
Murray was born in Greater Manchester, England and has being moving south ever since. He now lives on the beautiful Dorset coast with his wife and family.