Published: 29th April 2017 (Bloodhound Books)
A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.
A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.
As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.
As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.
When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.
Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?
And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?
Bad To The Bone opens with the discovery of human remains in a wood. DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler are assigned to the investigation. Bliss decides to seek the expertise of Emily Grant AKA The Bone Woman who is a local anthropologist to obtain more information about the bones to understand whether this is a recent or historical death. It is clear early on that this final resting place for the human remains is only recent and that she resided somewhere else in the city for many years prior.
What I really enjoyed about this book is the mix between a current investigation and a cold case – the bones found in the woods opens up lines of enquiry that none of the investigative team could have predicted and at times, puts them in a difficult position. As a result of the main plot and the linked sub-plots, Bad To The Bone is full of twists and turns as more and more secrets are unearthed.
This is a great debut from Forder, a solid opening book of a new police procedural series. Forder has created well-rounded main characters – I warmed to Bliss immediately with his non-nonsense approach and also his rapport with his partner, DC Chandler. We learn very early on that Bliss is haunted by his previous murder investigation which has resulted in very difficult relationship with Superintendent Sykes, Bliss’ boss so the narrative between these two opposing strong characters is a great read. As if this isn’t enough, Bliss is also dealing with some personal demons. A fabulous, troubled protagonist!
Bad To The Bone is set in my hometown of Peterborough and Forder’s research into the city both in the present and its past is fantastic – from individual places, links between places and the descriptions of the buildings featured in the novel. I recognised all the locations and this really brought the novel to life for me.
On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.
Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.
Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.
The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.
During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”
Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.
Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.
As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.
This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.