Wednesday 3 March 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Devil's Mark (D.I. Graves Book 3) - WD Jackson-Smart

Bloody remains. Multiple victims. Ritual sacrifice?

When a blood-stained effigy of body parts is found in a central London park, D.I Daniel Graves must set about trying to discover what it could mean and find the person responsible. Symbols at the crime scene suggest the occult. Who would leave a murder victim in such a way, and why?

As Graves and partner DI Charlie Palmer begin to investigate the ritual and the act of human sacrifice, they enlist the help of Charlotte Gooding, a talented professor specialising in the subject. They hope to narrow down on a motive. Could the killer believe in the supernatural? Witchcraft even?

Then the next crime scene is found. More blood, more symbols, and out in the open. It seems the killer wants the world to pay attention, but why? How are they choosing their victims?

The pressure is on for Graves to put an end to the murders before more remains show up in brutal tableaus. One thing is for sure, this killer is out for blood and is not afraid to make it a very public display.

There's just one problem. Grave's past is still not behind him. Someone is eager to make sure he doesn't forget, cannot move on. And they're not playing games anymore. There may be an occult killer out there, but now there's another out for blood, Daniel Grave's blood.

What did I think?

I've really been enjoying the Palmer and Graves partnership in WD Jackson-Smart's novels; they're police procedurals but with an element of supernatural so absolutely anything can happen and it frequently does.  Although I've kept up with the series, you can definitely read The Devil's Mark as a standalone as any recurring characters are given a good introduction so that new readers are not disadvantaged.

In quite a grisly instalment, Palmer and Graves are on the trail of a killer who dismembers bodies and surrounds the crime scene with bloody symbols suggesting human sacrifice.  They aren't sure who or what they are hunting but as the body count rises, there is officially a serial killer in London.

I felt like I was part of a secret club as the storyline played out; the reader is able to see a lot more of the picture than Palmer and Graves can see.  They do say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but a fearful woman at the end of her tether can also make rash decisions.  It seems like there's always someone waiting to pounce on vulnerable people and profit from their insecurities.

The Devil's Mark is a fast-paced, gripping and chilling thriller; it's pretty dark and often squeamishly vivid but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page.  It has made me want to read the earlier books all over again now as it really is a cracking series.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; all opinions are my own.

My rating:

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About the author:

WD Jackson-Smart, 35, is a London-based horror and crime fiction author who has been writing crime and horror fiction since 2011. His novel Red Light was self published on Amazon and charted in the top twenty best selling Suspense / Thriller Kindle books on release. 
His horror short story, What's Yours Is Mine, was shortlisted for the Horror For Good anthology.
His first crime thriller Slasher, about a serial killer targeting slasher movie actresses in Hollywood, is out now, and he has launched a brand new crime series set in London and starring D.I. Graves. The Demons Beneath is the first in the series, and the sequel From Inside The House was published on July 1st 2019.
As well as his passion for horror and crime thrillers in all forms, WD Jackson-Smart also loves art and design, having studied Fine Art and Art History in Leeds and Toronto and working as a graphic designer for the majority of his career.

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