Cover Image: The Mark

The Mark

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Member Reviews

Great book, by an author I will read more of!  Thrilling plot, great writing and brilliant characters.  Highly recommend to others.
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A great addition to this series. Plenty of twists and turns, could not put it down until it was finished. Definitely worth reading!
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This is a great addition to the series. It's tense and compelling. A solid police procedural and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.
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I loved this addition to the Louise Blackwell series. It was by far one of the more interesting ones and didn't dwell endlessly on her home issues. I will eagerly await her next one.
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The Mark is a very good story, well written, and with a great plot. The crimes described are terrifying, marking people without their consent transforming their lives forever is something unbearable. The culprit had a totally distorted notion about the meaning behind marking someone, and the reasons prevailing for doing so were definitely placed in her mind after what had happened at younger days. Louise relentlessly chases the culprit to the point of putting her family in danger, her own life in danger, and at the same time is able to deliver justice against her nemesis in the force even though she cannot understand how once she fell for his charm (unexisting charm!). The story is fast-paced and with a good ending with a dash of romance. 
Although I have not read the previous books in the series it did not impair my understanding of the story, which I highly recommend.
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Love Matt Brolly books - so was really pleased to be given an advance copy of this book! 

I enjoyed this book as it explored Louise's personal life a bit more and we began to learn about the woman behind the police officer. 
The story was a bit dark but I found it really exciting and it held my interest, I devoured it in an evening!
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A well written thriller which 'gets going' from page one. A reminder of Louise Blackwell's past was helpful for readers, like me, who have not met her before. The book is set in the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare which the author describes accurately. The male characters are very well drawn but the female characters, less so. 
Whilst the main plot, involving branding and murder, appears, initially,  to be  linear, it is in fact not and very cleaver writing. A 'second-string' story line  regarding sexual harassment, whilst interesting, doesn't add very much to the story but does to the continuing development of Louise Blackwell. I look forward to her next outing.
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Thank you to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Another brilliant book in the series. Matt Brolly never disappoints. Recommended.
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A fast paced thriller. I really enjoyed this book and wish that I had read the others in this series- I will now!
Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for introducing to Mark Brolly and giving me the opportunity to give my unbiased opinion.
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This is the fourth book in the DI Blackwell series and it ends a story arc from the first book, dealing with Blackwell's professional life. But before that can happen, she has an odd attack to solve, but when more people are harmed, she realizes that she isn't just dealing with attempted killings, there is an unknown pattern. Then when a murder does occur, suddenly everything her team thought they knw gets turned on it's head. It's an interesting book of opposites, and how resolution takes a team effort. i'll be very interested to see where Matt takes the characters next!
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This is #4 in the series with DI Louise Blackwell, and my first encounter with her character. I haven't read the other books,  but as far as I can tell, that didn't cause any problems, so I guess they can be read as is without missing out too much. 

Main character DI Louise Blackwell has been demoted and is now working in Weston- Super-Mare. There, she and her team are confronted with victims  who have been branded
The investigation leads them into the world of tattooists and that of body modification. 
Additionally, there is also a #metoo situation, which is smoothly woven into the plot. 
There is also room for character development, we learn how  Louise is trying to cope with the loss of her brother Paul; and the fact that she is now living with her parents and her niece Emily.  

Exciting and highly original police procedural, with much going on. Read in one day, couldn’t put it away.
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An above average police procedural thriller set in and around Weston Super Mare featuring D.I Louise Blackwell and her team - excellent characterisations by the way.

Branding on the human skin is The Mark and the smells are awful but well described! The victims include a drug addict, a young girl and then a young man.- all are found dead. Who is next, what is the connection for Louise investigate?

Add to this mix the author brings in DCI Tim Finch who is not necessarily Louise's biggest fan. but may have other evidence connected in a separate investigation. No more spoilers, but with an unexpected and excellent ending.

Thanks to Net Galley and Amazon Publishing UK for the chance to read and review.
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I thoroughly enjoyed The Mark, by Matt Brolly and getting to "know" the main character, Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell.  It's mainly a Police Mystery with a good dose of family drama.  The book also deals with rape and sexual harassment but not in very detailed way.  
A man has been found unconscious by the seaside with an odd symbol burned into his flesh.  He has no idea who did it to him or even why he's there.  When another person who's been marked with the same ugly brand dies, DI Louise Blackwell believes that she's dealing with a serial killer. 
All this is happening while DI Blackwell is working to overcome her own pain after her brother’s death.  Unfortunately, even as she's working hard to stay one step ahead of the killer, the victim count continues to grow.
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Although this book is the latest in a series (none of which I've read previously) it can easily be digested as a stand alone story. There are references to past history of characters however these historical incidents are explained well enough that the lack of reading earlier books does not detract.

The main characters are fleshed out well and the story itself is gripping with more than a few twists and turns. I was completely sold on the offender's being someone other than who they turned out to be, clearly a deliberate ploy from the author who pushed the reader in this direction. This was most enjoyable and my thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the advance copy in return for my opinion in this review.
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Although this can technically be read as a stand-alone novel, there are a lot of references to past cases (and past histories) that I feel would have made this one more meaningful had I started from the beginning. Especially where DCI Finch is involved, I got the gist of why he wasn't liked, but I would have liked to have seen it as it unfolded (which it appears happened in the prior novels as well). 

Speaking only to this novel, I enjoyed the alternating point of views between Lousie, her colleagues as they investigated the case, and the perpetrators as they completed each kill. I felt as though being able to get inside of the killer's heads gave this story an added depth, and made it all the more intriguing in terms of then trying to figure out just who was behind the crimes. I will admit there were a couple of times when I thought I knew for sure who was behind everything, only to be proven wrong in the end. 

There is also a lot of police work involved in this story, so if you don't care for that sort of monotony, then you probably won't care for this one. I, however, enjoy seeing how things come together over time (and occasionally with a little luck). 

I can easily see why this series is so popular, and I look forward to going back and reading this series from the beginning. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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This fourth episode in Matt Brolly's DI Louise Blackwell series is chilling and suspenseful. Louise is hoping for a quiet summer, spending some tome  with her parents and her orphaned niece Emily, but it's not too be. The first sign of trouble is a young man found drugged and branded with a strange symbol. He has no idea why anyone would do that to him and Louise is baffled. However, when a second branding occurs she knows she is looking for a very sick and sinister person. 

This novel keeps up a relentless  pace with victims piling up as Louise struggles to find the threads that will tie them all together and pinpoint the perpetrator. DI Finch, Louise's nemesis is back with his threats and posturing trying to inveigle himself into her case and she still has to attend an internal affairs hearing about the last case Finch was involved in. However, she now has an ally who is having similar problems with Finch and maybe together they can deal with once once and for all.

Louise is a great character, loyal and resilient but often criticised by her DCI for always trying to work all the angles herself instead of delegating. She is most uncomfortable when required to attend after hours events and be expected to network. After her failed short relationship with Finch and the problematic aftermath, she also avoids close relationships with men, especially those she works with. This is a gripping and thrilling episode, especially for fans of this series who have been following Louise's career.
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I read this some time ago but somehow didn’t get the review written. Like all his books Matt Brolly has written another engaging thriller featuring DI Louise Blackwell. Random disadvantaged people are turning up with strange brandings. It’s a very brutal body modification and one victim, branded on the forehead dies from this ordeal. It’s actually quite a sad story. But the good news is that DCI Finch, who has consistently made Louise’s life miserable through his petty oneupmanship games finally gets what’s coming to him!

As with all of Brolly’s books, I enjoyed reading it. I’m looking forward to seeing what is next for Louise Blackwell. Thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.
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EXCERPT: They'd left the body in a place where it could be found. The man hadn't deserved to die. He was a warning - no more than that; his fate heralded her return. Whether or not the others understood that, she didn't care. They would find out soon enough.

And as for the branding itself.

She sucked in the hot air of the bar, reveling in the memory of lighting the iron and making that delicious mark.

Her mark.

ABOUT 'THE MARK': In the quiet seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, a man is found unconscious on the beach with a strange symbol carved into his skin. The victim―a local drug addict―has no recollection of who attacked him or how he got there.

The sleepy coastal community is sent into shock. And when another victim branded with the same vicious mark dies from his wounds, DI Louise Blackwell realises she is dealing with a sadistic serial killer.

But why is the twisted attacker targeting Weston’s most vulnerable people? And what is the meaning behind the mysterious symbol? Still struggling to overcome her own demons in the wake of her brother’s death, Blackwell must stay one step ahead of both the killer and corrupt DCI Finch, whose meddling in the investigation makes her more determined than ever to bring him down for good.

As the body count rises, and her feud with Finch puts her own life in danger, Blackwell faces a race against time to discover the dark crime that unites the victims and put an end to the carnage―before someone puts an end to her.

MY THOUGHTS: I expected to like The Mark by Matt Brolly more than I did. It has been an interesting and exciting series to date and the plot of The Mark definitely continues in this vein. BUT, I felt the characters were a bit flat; they didn't 'speak' to me, and there was very little personal development.

I am glad that the feud with Finch is done and dusted; it was becoming wearing and had outlived its usefulness. It will be interesting to see how Louise develops without Finch's manipulations and interference.

There's a good mix of old and new characters in The Mark, and dare I hope that Louise is embarking on a new relationship? It may bring a little more balance to her life, although I doubt it. For Louise, her job will always come first.

I look forward to reading the next in this series. There are big changes ahead for Louise and her team, and I am sure that there will be some new characters introduced. I definitely look forward to Louise and Tracey working more closely together. They have always made a great team both in the workplace and as friends.

⭐⭐⭐.6

#TheMark #NetGalley

I: #brollymatt #amazonpublishing

T: @MattBrollyUK @AmazonPub

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #policeprocedural #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Following his law degree, where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He is the bestselling author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky, Dead Embers, Dead Time and Dead Water and the Lynch and Rose thriller The Controller. In addition, he is the author of the acclaimed near-future crime novel Zero. The first novel in the Detective Louise Blackwell crime series, The Crossing, was published in 2020. Matt also writes children’s books as M. J. Brolly. His first children’s book is The Sleeping Bug. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Mark by Matt Brolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon,Instagram and my webpage
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“Brutal attacks. A sinister conspiracy. Time is running out.
In the quiet seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, a man is found unconscious on the beach with a strange symbol carved into his skin. The victim—a local drug addict—has no recollection of who attacked him or how he got there.
The sleepy coastal community is sent into shock. And when another victim branded with the same vicious mark dies from his wounds, DI Louise Blackwell realises she is dealing with a sadistic serial killer.”
The plot also brings a conclusion to Louises long running feud with Tim Finch but you will have to read to find out if it is the ending the fans want.
The fourth novel in the DI Blackwell Series (the first for myself) and what a fantastic read it was, lots of twists and turns I really thought I had worked the ending out but no!! Thanks to skilful writing and superb character development Matt Brolly completely throws his readers in the wrong direction. One of the best detective books I have read in a long time and I cannot wait to go back and read the rest of the series!
A huge thanks to Amazon publishing, net galley and Matt Brolly for allowing my access to this ARC.
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D.I. Louise Blackwell and her CID team based in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, return in this fourth instalment in Matt Brolly's contemporary police procedural series.
There's quite a lot of darkness to the narrative of The Mark, as Louise and her colleagues attempt to solve a series of vicious assaults, in which the victims have each been branded with a mysterious mark. Their investigations lead them into the shady world of drug dealers, addicts and underfunded rehab facilities in Weston, and to a group suspected of grooming underage schoolgirls some years previously. Meanwhile, station newcomer Inspector Dan Baker is heading up an operation aimed at curbing antisocial activity by cracking down on illegal service of alcohol - an operation that's impinging on Blackwell's attempts to identify and locate suspects and witnesses. And to add to Louise's already busy workload and family life, another victim of nasty Bristol DCI Tim Finch approaches Louise, requesting her assistance to bring him down for good. Series readers will recall Finch as Louise's much-loathed personal and career nemesis from earlier instalments, a man long overdue for some serious consequences for his misogyny and threatening behaviour.
I found The Mark an engaging read, although I occasionally found Brolly's writing overly-convoluted and the dialogue sometimes unconvincing. My feeling is that The Mark could have been improved with some judicious editing, a phenomenon I've frequently encountered over the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, it's a solid police procedural with no glaring plot holes and a well-developed cast of characters. Brolly employs some clever misdirection associated with the body art and initials of several characters, keeping the reader guessing as to the identities of the perpetrators until a final dramatic showdown in Louise's own home.
The conclusion to The Mark foreshadows some changes for the central characters, and I look forward to reading future instalments in the series. I'd recommend The Mark to readers who enjoy well-conceived police procedural mysteries with added human interest.
My thanks to the author, Matt Brolly, publisher Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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