Unravelling the Mistry of Bradford

‘Dark Memories’ by Liz Mistry

Three letters. Three murders. The clock is ticking…

When the body of a homeless woman is found under Bradford’s railway arches, DS Nikki Parekh and her trusty partner DC Sajid Malik are on the case.

With little evidence, it’s impossible to make a breakthrough, and when Nikki receives a newspaper clipping taunting her about her lack of progress in catching the killer, she wonders if she has a personal link to the case.

When another seemingly unrelated body is discovered, Nikki receives another note. Someone is clearly trying to send her clues… but who?

And then a third body is found.

This time on Nikki’s old street, opposite the house she used to live in as a child. And there’s another message… underneath the victim’s body.

With nothing but the notes to connect the murders, Nikki must revisit the traumatic events of her childhood to work out her connection to the investigation.

But some memories are best left forgotten, and it’s going to take all Nikki’s inner strength to catch the killer…

Before they strike again.

The cover of Liz Mistry’s ‘Dark Memories’

Liz Mistry has made a career out of her Bradford-based detective stories. It is fair to say that cheerful, they are not. This is crime fiction as gutter-level grime with drug addicted prostitutes with blackened stumps for teeth.

If you’re looking for “cosy” crime, then Mistry probably isn’t for you. However, if you want well plotted, sparsely written, taut thrillers with some truly nasty villains, then Mistry is for you.

DS Nikki Parekh is a very grounded guide to the investigation, a woman of complex emotions – Mistry is a top notch writer of anxiety and the need to escape from pressurised situations.

As a novelist she is also constantly growing in confidence. Here, we slalom between narrators, first person and third person to entice, excite and conceal the motivations of the protagonists.

And, it is fair to say, Parekh and her partner DC Sajid Malik, do have a lot on their plates. They are still processing the trauma of the trafficking case which comes in the book which precedes this one, as well as tackling a killer who is picking the victims off and experiencing an unnatural gratification – blood spattering on their lips described as “erotic” at one stage a particularly effective way of unsettling the reader.

This novel is sure to be a firm favourite with anyone who wants to go down, down to the neglected areas of Bradford, down to the seedy underworld in which Parekh and Malik ply their trade, down into the well-crafted, excitingly well-plotted, hard bitten novels of Liz Mistry.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Memories-addictive-nail-biting-Detective-ebook/dp/B08NZ4LV2R

Bradford-based author Liz Mistry

Author Bio – Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

Social Media Links –

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

Who Can Unlock Our True Selves?

The cover of Ashleigh Nugnet’s novel blurring fact and fiction, ‘Locks’

‘LOCKS: A Story Based on True Events’ by Ashleigh Nugent

“1993 was the year that Stephen Lawrence got murdered by racists, and I became an angry Black lad with a ‘chip on his shoulder’.”

Aeon is a mixed-race teenager from an English suburb. He is desperate to be understand the Black identity foisted on him by racist police, teachers, and ‘friends’. For want of Black role models, Aeon has immersed himself in gangsta rap, he’s trying to grow dreadlocks, and he’s bought himself some big red boots.

And now he’s in Jamaica.

Within days of being in Jamaica, Aeon has been mugged and stabbed, arrested and banged up.

Aeon has to fight for survival, fight for respect, and fight for his big red boots. And he has to fight for his identity because, here, Aeon is the White boy.

In some ways, it can be difficult for a privileged, white, liberal, middle class man to review a novel like this, (not that it’s ever stopped those of us from that category sharing our tuppence’s worth, it has to be said).

Presumably, the starting point is to acknowledge that I have never shared the awful experiences of racism which are shown in this wonderful novel by Ashleigh Nugent. You find yourself saying, “It wasn’t that bad then was it?” and, one suspects that the answer is, “Yeap! And worse…” To not know that is to come face to face with privilege, race and class in the UK of the 90s.

For those of us who have that good fortune, it is the Liverpool-based reminiscences which punch hardest. Nugent has crafted a narrative which jumps between his memory of growing up as a mixed race boy in Liverpool and the disorientating “foreignness” of his trip to Jamaica.

The division for our lead character, Aeon, between being the “white” man in his father’s homeland and the “black” man in his own homeland.

There are also some rather charming narrative passages where Aeon narrates his own Joseph Campbell ‘Hero’s Journey’ as taught to him by a primary teacher.

This novel enjoys blurring fact and fiction, memoir and fable. It is a sensory journey through a vividly reproduced Caribbean experience filled with the shockingly mundane reality of violence, the paranoia of mixing drugs and alcohol and the stress which comes with trying to find an identity – something which all teenagers remember.

I must be of a similar age to the character of Aeon (and, by extension, Nugent), perhaps a few years younger. But I remember that explosion of gangsta rap, the visceral thrill of hearing oppression articulated and a lid being lifted on a life you didn’t know existed.

Aeon is captivated and tries to live the life. It is well worth your time finding out whether he makes it out the other side.

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/LOCKS-Story-Based-True-Events-ebook/dp/B08JCZ9D71/

Orders also available from: www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk

Author Bio –

Author, playwright and campaigner, Ashleigh Nugent

Ashleigh Nugent has been published in academic journals, poetry anthologies, and magazines. His latest work, ‘LOCKS’, is based on a true story: the time he spent his 17th birthday in a Jamaican detention centre.

‘LOCKS’ won the 2013 Commonword Memoir Competition and has had excerpts published by Writing on the Wall and in bido lito magazine.

Ashleigh’s one-man-show, based on ‘LOCKS’, has won support from SLATE / Eclipse Theatre, and won a bursary from Live Theatre, Newcastle. The show has received rave audience reviews following showings in theatres and prisons throughout the UK.

Ashleigh is also a director at RiseUp CiC, where he uses his own life experience, writing, and performance to support prisoners and inspire change.

Social Media Links –

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LocksBook

Twitter – @LocksBook

Instagram – @locksbook

Youtube Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8TVrX7J2j4