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Thank you Emma Welton @damppebbles for organizing this tour and finding a space for me!
He’ll never speak of the evil they did…
A former Swedish ambassador lies dead in his swanky Mayfair flat. With his tongue torn out and placed on a Bible. Competing theories swirl. A religious maniac? A psychopath? The truth is far darker than either. DCI Stella Cole’s search for the killer takes her to Sweden. There, she discovers a horrific chapter in the country’s history that throws the case into turmoil. And then more people start dying.
Teaming up with Swedish cops Oskar Norgrim and Johanna Carlsson, Stella pieces together Ambassador Brömly’s shocking past. And discovers the killer’s motive.
Meanwhile, Stella’s personal life is about to take a significant turn as her boyfriend, Jamie, suggests a change in their relationship. But as Stella tries to process what it means, she makes a fateful decision.
Why won’t the dead stay buried?
On the other side of the Atlantic, a kid practising BMX stunts over water finds a skeleton on a lake bed. When the victim is revealed to be a British cop, the FBI ask for assistance. Stella’s arch-enemy from her own department gets the case. She flies to Chicago and soon discovers the murderer’s identity.
The scene is set for a showdown in Sweden as DI Roisin Griffin pursues her vendetta against Stella all the way to the north of Sweden during the annual festival of Midsommar.
A fast-paced, twisty crime thriller …
A Beautiful Breed of Evil is the fifth book in this series of hard-hitting crime thrillers. Much of the action takes place in Sweden, home to fictional detectives Martin Beck, Kurt Wallander, Harry Hole and Saga Norén.
Even as Stella is fighting to bring the killer to justice, shadowy figures from her past are planning to silence her before she can expose their brutal methods.
A Beautiful Breed of Evil is the 5th in the DI Stella Cole series but my first. It takes off pretty quickly with the discovery of three bodies in the first two chapters. The action takes place in the UK, Sweden and the United States so readers are jet-setting around the world in this transcontinental chase.*
DI Stella Cole is looking into the murder of a man who everyone claims is a saint. But what gets her is the mutilation of the body. Why rip out his tongue? And why place it on a Bible? What is the killer trying to tell her? What sins or secrets does the good Ambassador have in his closet? Is it a warning for others to be quiet? Or a sensual thing? Could the killer be a jilted lover or a victim of past sexual assault?
The first thing that struck me as odd was that in the UK the police do not have guns. As the manner of death was by gunshot wound it makes Stella’s job easier. As less people carry guns it will be easier to track down the murder weapon. Another factor that made this book all the more interesting is that Stella herself is not innocent. Her hands have blood on them and her past is bearing down on her. As a newcomer to the series I do not know how much of this was revealed in earlier books but I found that I enjoyed trying to unlock the mystery of Stella. Maslen does not spoon feed the reader either. Bit by bit over a few chapters he peels back the layers revealing one truth at a time. I think this made the book more intriguing as it gave me the opportunity to put the puzzle pieces together.
Although Stella is flawed she does have her own moral code that she follows. So yeah there is right and wrong but can you justify her actions? I think you can and this is what becomes the hardest for people in her life to reconcile themselves with. Especially when they can see themselves doing the same thing if they were put in her shoes. Stella is strong and smart but she still shows vulnerability. She’s still dealing with trauma and psychoses. Perhaps PTSD and dissociative disorder? Maslen does not make this the focus but his descriptions make her character more human and relatable.
Overall I really enjoyed reading the book. The twist in the middle really got me. I thought I had it all figured out. But Maslen saves the best for last, especially with that little teaser at the end. Looking forward to completing the rest of the series and getting to know Stella better. Highly recommend.
Meet Andy Maslen
Andy Maslen was born in Nottingham, in the UK, home of legendary bowman Robin Hood. Andy once won a medal for archery, although he has never been locked up by the sheriff.
He has worked in a record shop, as a barman, as a door-to-door DIY products salesman and a cook in an Italian restaurant.
He lives in Wiltshire with his wife, two sons and a whippet named Merlin.
Where You Can Find Andy
Stop by and visit these other blogs on the tour!
*For those of you doing the 2021 PopSugar Challenge this qualifies for Prompt 29.