Ashes of the Living #BookReview #BlogTour

They took everything from him. Now it's his turn...
As the sweltering summer heat lingers, Chicago PD Detective Tyler Morgan chases the trail of a series of violent murders tied to a new type of heroin. As the body count - and the temperature - rises, so does chaos in the city. Tyler's world turns to ashes as his family is brutally murdered at the orders of a madman.
When winter descends on the city, Tyler's grief has turned into a chilling obsession, leaving him plagued with nightmares and the overwhelming desire for one thing - Revenge. As he puts his gun to the head of anyone with a lead, his descent into darkness puts him at odds with his new partner, Annabelle Herrera, who comes closer to turning him in as time runs out. A trail of bullets and hatred leads to a shocking confrontation with the man and the madness that brought an entire city to its knees.
No one is safe. Especially Tyler.

Experience a dark ride into the very heart of vengeance with Ashes of the Living, the brand new suspense thriller from acclaimed author, John Cox.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Ashes of the Living today. Many thanks to John Cox for inviting me and for sending me a copy of his book.

Ashes of the Living is John Cox's debut novel and is an exciting thriller with a tortured protagonist, Detective Tyler Morgan. Detectives with emotional baggage are nothing new, of course and so I thought it was clever to show us the man he was before tragedy hit.
It's clear that he's a smart, imposing officer who has the respect of his colleagues but although his role as a Homicide detective means he encounters the worst of humanity, he is a different man when he's at home with his family. He has a close, loving relationship with his wife, Emily and his interactions with Grace, his eight-year-old daughter exude warmth and love. He might be a tough detective but that doesn't prevent him from tenderly sharing origami as a hobby with his creative little girl. This perhaps makes their violent deaths even more poignant and the change it induces in his character is tragic, if entirely understandable.
The opening of the book introduces a cold, brutal villain and readers know that he is responsible for the deaths of Emily and Grace. However, six months after their murders, Tyler is a broken man and Chicago P.D. have had few leads  - until now. I'm more used to crime fiction where an officer is taken off the case if he is personally involved but here, Lieutenant Rooks comes to Tyler and although there are caveats, invites him to become part of the investigation. It's a risky move and his newly assigned partner, Annabelle Herrera is reasonably concerned but it paves the way for a pacy, dramatic thriller which is also a sombre exploration of grief amidst the burning desire for revenge.
Annabelle is the empathetic voice of the novel and I really warmed to her character as she attempts to steer Tyler away from the destructive path he has chosen. As he steadfastly and ruthlessly chases each new lead, he is inexorably drawn into the merciless Chicago underworld. A new heroin derivative, Abyss has been casting a dark shadow across the city with scores of addicts left as little more than zombies by the drug. Successful arrests would be a significant feather in the cap of the department and would go some way to rehabilitating Tyler's career but could his painful, all-encompassing need for vengeance supersede everything else?
While most of the book follows Tyler's hunt for the killers, there are some chapters which give us an insight into the men he is pursuing. The sinister drugs baron who is behind the misery on the streets of Chicago is a pitiless, vicious villain but he's no thug; as Tyler's search brings him ever closer to a showdown, the terrifying question over which of these coldly intelligent men will eventually prevail is intriguingly suspenseful.
Ashes of the Living is a fairly short novel which means the fast-moving plot barely gives the reader time to draw breath as Tyler heads towards what may be his final reckoning. However, when the inevitable confrontation eventually takes place, John Cox doesn't rush the denouement, allowing the tension to reach breaking point as we wait to see what action the agonised detective will choose to take. 
I thoroughly enjoyed Ashes of the Living and thought it was a gripping and thought-provoking take on the tormented detective in a revenge thriller storyline. This is an assured debut and I look forward to reading more from John Cox in the future. 

Ashes of the Living can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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

About the Author
John Cox grew up in the Midwest and currently lives in Indiana. He has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University where he received an Upcoming Author award for his short story In the Rough. He also received a second Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan.

John lives with his wife, son, and an insane Labrador bent on eating the world. He loves noir and thriller fiction, loud music, and writing at 3 a.m.