Today I am absolutely delighted to be opening up the blog tour for Richard Parker’s latest Tom Fabian thriller, The Songbird Girls. I’m a big fan of Richard Parker’s writing and so hearing the new book was on the horizon had me all excited. A huge thank you to the author and to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to join the tour and providing the book for review. Here is what it’s all about:
Her eyes were closed. From a distance the blood around her neck might have looked like a necklace, but up close her body told a different tale. She had been murdered. A tiny songbird lay beside her, its neck broken…
Detective Tom Fabian‘s past is catching up with him. It has been years since the most high-profile case of his career – when his evidence put infamous serial killer Christopher Wisher behind bars forever. But when Wisher summons a reluctant Fabian to his prison cell to hand over a diary, he realises that Wisher’s twisted games are far from over.
Shortly after Fabian’s visit, Wisher is found dead in his cell. And a few days later, the police find a woman’s body bearing Wisher’s signature, a dead songbird. But the police never released this detail to the public… so who has Wisher been talking to?
Fabian is desperate to find the killer before another innocent life is taken. But as more bodies turn up, Fabian begins to realise that Wisher may have handed him the clues before he died. Is the twisted serial killer still pulling the strings from beyond the grave…?
If you can’t get enough of crime thrillers by Adam Croft or Melinda Leigh, you will love The Songbird Girls.
Oh … oh, oh oh. At the end of book one in the series, Never Say Goodbye, Richard Parker left us with a kind of promise of something more to come. A knowledge that all that was important in Tom Fabian’s life was going to be under threat, only the how, rather than the who or why, remaining a mystery. Well – with The Songbird Girls that mystery is about to be solved and in very dramatic, tense and attention grabbing style. I loved it.
The powers that be have received a request from the killer whose arrest put Tom Fabian’s name in the spotlight – Christopher Wisher – that Fabian visits him in prison. Ordinarily such a request would not be entertained, but with the suspicion that Wisher killed more women than he had already confessed to hanging over them all, Fabian’s boss, Metcalfe, is insistent on the visit taking place. It is three years to the day since Wisher had been sentenced, the date and the significance not lost on Fabian. The man he meets is a very different figure to the one he put away, and he has very little of note to say, certainly nothing relating to the cold cases. But he does pass Fabian a journal, one which he initially believes to be Wisher’s. Fabian soon comes to realise that this journal isn’t about Wisher’s memories – it’s a message. But what is Wisher trying to say, and what will it cost Fabian to get to the truth?
From the very beginning of the book I knew this was going to be something special. This was a superb cat and mouse game, only in this case the mouse in question was already locked up in a nine by nine cage and the cat was very much at risk from their very own cunning, and unknown, predator. Part of the story is not entirely a mystery. We know one person who hates Fabian and why – that is given to us at the end of book one and if you haven’t read it, then I’m not going to spoil it for you. We know one of the intended victims, and Richard Parker has kept the tension going in this part of the story as the potential suspect is so innocent, so unaware, even as the potential assailant is circling. As to when, and how, they will make their move … That constant sense of jeopardy keeps us, as readers, on our toes.
The murders in the book are not gratuitous, well no more so than any murder ever is anyway. They are not graphically described, so if you are looking for an out and out gore fest, you won’t find it here. We are given just the right balance to keep us intrigued and engrossed in the story. I love how Richard Parker is able to convey the gravity of the situation, and the emotional and psychological impact the story has on Tom Fabian, and you can feel his frustration seeping from the page, sense his anger and anxiety grow, the further we get into the case. Fabian is a great character and one I have come to really love very quickly. He has a great team around him, very diverse characters, but they work really well together and I can’t wait to read more from them.
There is so much more I want to say about this book, but probably shouldn’t because it might fall into spoiler territory. It was one of those of books which had the kind of Silence of the Lambs vibe. In no way as gory, that’s not what I mean, but that whole idea of the Detective whose strings are being pulled by someone far more manipulative and cunning than they realised, this time even from beyond the grave. The feeling that no matter what happens, Fabian and Wisher’s lives are, and always will be, inextricably linked. And that ending … It’s one of those where if this was a soap you’d get the Eastenders dun-dun-dun drumroll at the end or, in a movie, some creepy tubular bells-esque music with a wide sweeping and slowly reversing shot, us watching as our hero fades into the darkness, knowing that his story is far, far from over …
Which I hope just means more and more to come. I like the idea of that. Top stuff Mr Parker. A big thumbs up from me.
If you’d like a copy of The Songbird Girls for yourself, it is available now from the following retailers:
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