What’s it all about?:
How far would you go to find your child?
DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.
Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.
Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?
Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.
Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.
What did I think?:
First of all, huge thanks to Faye Rogers for organising this blog tour and asking me to be a part of it and to the author and publisher, Kindle Press for providing me with a copy of Jacqueline’s first crime novel in exchange for an honest review. I’m a big fan of crime fiction and it used to be all I read before I broadened my horizons slightly but I still always appreciate a well written, exciting and dark piece of crime fiction and I got this all and much more besides with Random Acts Of Unkindness.
We are introduced to our main character, a police detective Jan Pearce in quite a shocking way as she has entered a house after reports of a suspicious smell to find an old woman dead in what she believes could be suspicious circumstances. We then find out that Jan has an ulterior motive in entering the property and this is because she is pursuing a link between the man who owns the house, the mysterious criminal mastermind Mr Connelly and the disappearance of her own beloved teenage son Aiden some time ago. What she isn’t expecting is to find so many parallels between her own private tragedy and the disappearance of the old woman Bessy’s own son, Thomas many years ago in the 1960’s when the horrific crimes of the notorious Moors Murderers were rife.
Jan manages to find a notebook of Bessy’s, written in the form of a journal, which contains vital information about her son’s case and provides many links to Jan’s current situation. It brings her both comfort and a sense of dogged determination that only makes her more desperate to find out exactly what happened to both boys. Defying the advice of her superior officer, her work partner and her ex-husband, Jan is certain that she will solve the mysteries of disappearing children that have plagued the county for decades. Things are about to get very dangerous as Jan receives terrifying threats, risks her livelihood and indeed, her life just to uncover the truth at any cost.
When I first began this novel, I have to admit to not being quite sure where the author was going with the story. The pace at the beginning I found quite slow but believe me, the build-up was totally worth it as when the action got going, the whole mystery and excitement really picked up a gear. I really enjoyed the way Jacqueline Ward has presented the story, in that we get to hear Jan’s voice in the present time and pieces from Bessy’s journal as she struggles to cope with never knowing what has happened to her son. I can only imagine the research that the author has had to carry out, on the Moors Murderers in particular and more than one passage sent a shiver down my spine, perhaps it was all the more chilling knowing that it is based on real-life people who actually carried out these atrocities. Random Acts Of Unkindness promises to be the first novel in a DS Jan Pearce series and I’ll certainly be checking out further books from this author in the future based on the strength of this particular novel.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.
A huge thank you to everyone involved in this blog tour, I’ve had a great time doing it. Why not check out the rest of the stops on the tour where you’ll find some fantastic reviews from my fellow bloggers? Random Acts Of Unkindness was released on June 21st 2016 by Kindle Press and is available in both paperback and e-book format from all good bookshops now!