Unbound Ties by Liz Mistry #BookReview #BlogTour


When the past unravels, all that’s left is death.
Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When DI Gus McGuire is called out to the murder of a pregnant woman, the crime scene tells him that this killer is not only taunting them ... he’s also just getting started.
Lavender’s green,
With ritualistic precision, the killer has placed a series of clues beneath the victim’s feet. Gus soon realises that these clues link back to his mother’s past as a child in foster care in Scotland.
When I am king, dilly dilly,
Troubled by his mum’s secrets, Gus is in a dark place. Side-lined from the main investigation, Gus works another murder, not realising that the two are linked and that the killer is closer than he realises...Dangerously close.
You shall be queen.
Then the killer begins to target people near to Gus. Angry and determined Gus races to unravel the past and catch this sadist before the loss is too much for him to bear. 
The seventh gripping thriller in the DI Gus McGuire series, for fans of Angela Marsons, Val McDermid and  LJ Ross.

It is such a pleasure to be one of the bloggers opening the blog tour for Unbound Ties today. Many thanks to Liz Mistry and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

Unbound Ties is the seventh book in Liz Mistry's DI Gus McGuire series; last year I joined the growing band of Gus fans when I read the sixth book, Unseen Evil and as with that novel, I can confidently state that new readers can join the series at this point - although obviously those who have followed the books from the beginning will benefit from their deeper familiarity with the characters and their histories. 
The story is told from multiple viewpoints and while the investigation featuring Gus and his team is written in the third person, the other accounts are in the first person. Each voice is distinct from the other and though this is a complex, puzzling novel, the intricate plotting never becomes too hard to follow. The seemingly ritualistic murder of a young woman immediately rings alarm bells in Gus's head and he surmises that it is likely to be the first in a series of deaths at the hands of a twisted serial killer. The passages written from the killer's perspective confirm just how proficient he is, and without going too much into his chilling modus operandi, it is soon obvious that the team are going to constantly be a few steps behind this ruthless murderer.
It also quickly becomes apparent that the murders are somehow linked to Gus - or more correctly to his mother, Corinne. The revelations here bring great personal anguish to Gus who is devastated to discover his parents have been hiding secrets from him. He reacts angrily but his emotional turmoil doesn't prevent him from wanting to protect them, particularly his mum whose tragic early history allows for a stark but compassionate exploration of historical racism and the ignorant and cruel treatment of black and mixed-race children by their peers - and even more dreadfully by those who should have been there to protect and nurture them.
Gus's personal involvement means he has to be removed from the case so his friend and housemate, DS Alice Cooper is put in charge and her promotion causes some awkward moments for the close-knit team who struggle with the change in the chain of command and Alice's frustration is entirely understandable. When new murders seemingly unconnected to the ritual killer investigation appear to be too closely linked to the personnel working the case to be merely coincidence, she and Gus have to figure out the best way to proceed in the face of a rapidly rising body count. The emotional impact on them all is evident and while this story is very much centred on Gus, his colleagues are clearly also deeply affected by what happens here.
While most of the action takes place in Bradford, there are scenes set in Scotland too and the parts of the novel told from the perspective of two initially unidentified characters are absolutely intriguing. The two men obviously have profoundly troubled backgrounds and are both damaged, apparently dangerous individuals. However, just what they know and how they are connected to the case back in Bradford - and to Gus himself - isn't revealed until late in the book when the awful truth causes the tension to rise even more as it becomes a race against time to apprehend the killer before he strikes again.
The title of the book is perfect as family ties are such an important element of the cleverly worked plot, which is complemented throughout by the warm, empathetic character development, and the personal and professional shocks lead to a fitting, albeit rather poignant conclusion. With its effortless marrying of past events to present actions and the sensitive examination of a number of topics, including abuse, racism and white privilege, Unbound Ties is a riveting rollercoaster of a read from start to finish.

Unbound Ties can be purchased from Amazon

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

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’,
Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.
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  1. Thanks so much for your review. So glad you enjoyed Unbound Ties and you really got what I was trying to achieve with this book. Much appreciated xx


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