The Mark

Detective Louise Blackwell, 4

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Pub Date 23 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 07 Dec 2021

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Description

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.

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.

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...


A Note From the Publisher

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. You can find out more about him at www.mattbrolly.co.uk or by following him on Twitter: @MattBrollyUK.

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...


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ISBN 9781542031400
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Average rating from 49 members


Featured Reviews

Good book! This book had a great storyline! It had suspense, intrigue, action, and a few twists and turns! It was kind of a different and weird storyline but very interesting! I definitely recommend reading this one! Its well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!

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Matt Brolly is a consummate writer, and his latest is no exception. Louise Blackwell seems to be settling back into her life when a man is found with a brand on his skin. This disrupts her family life and brings her into proximity with her nemesis again. Another deftly woven plot with several potential suspects, Louise has her work cut out for her to find the attacker. A great police procedural with a twisty plot.

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The first victim is a drug addict. The second is a beautiful 19 year old girl. The third is a young man, found dead. All have been branded with a mysterious shape resembling a swan. Who is responsible and who is next? While DI Louise Blackwell and her team investigate, another officer comes to her with evidence that may finally end the career of her nemesis, DCI Tim Finch, the reason for her assignment to Weston-super-Mare. The killer(s) are also characters in The Mark and their twisted reasons for the branding are slowly revealed. As Louise comes closer to learning the their identities her work collides with the Finch investigation. Will she avoid being pulled into either case and becoming the next victim? Louise Blackwell is a strong, engaging character with strengths and flaws. She grows with each mystery in this series. Weston-super-Mare, with its dunes and back roads, is an atmospheric location. I look forward to the next in this excellent series. 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and Matt Brolly for this ARC.

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Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC. DI Louise Blackwell is investigating one of the worst cases she has ever dealt with: a young man is found on the beach with a horrific wound - he has been branded with a symbol that looks like an L or maybe a swan. He's a local addict and can't really tell.them any thing about his 2 attackers. Shortly thereafter another victim is branded, a young girl this time. Then the next branded victim turns up dead and Louise and her team have yet to find a connection between the victims. I have really started to like Louise and love Molly the dog's addition to the series. The theme of body modification is very interesting and creepy... wow, who knew!? Also, l enjoyed the ending, which gave closure to a recurring theme. This series gets better and better, can't wait for what happens next. Definitely recommended!

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Another engaging instalment in what is shaping up to be a good series with interesting characters and plenty of unexpected twists. I'm looking forward to seeing how the character of Louise develops next, without Finch manipulating her

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I’ve been waiting so long for this new novel and Matt Brolly has delivered another winner with his latest instalment, book four of the Detective Louise Blackwell series set in Weston super Mare, Louise is a great character, she has her demons and trust issues but she throws her self in to every investigation but she is also frustrating on how she goes about it and with the poisonous Finch still causing her problems she really needs help. This is a book that really needs you to of read the previous novels just so Louise & Finches back story is explained and this one had lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing to the end, but I can’t help feeling this one had an air of finality to it so it might be the end of Louise Blackwell.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this ARC. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. I found it to be a very engaging and entertaining read and one that really hit the mark with me. DI Blackwell investigates a case where the victims are being ‘branded’ and when a victim is found murdered the investigation really starts to heat up. I loved the separate story threads here, the twists as the story progressed and felt the book flowed really well and raced towards a thrilling end. I enjoyed the snippets into Louise’s home and personal life and it was great to see an old enemy of Louise be found out and get what he deserved. Overall a very well written, fast paced and thrilling read which I loved. This series is fast becoming one of my favourites and I look forward to the next one.

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Sinister, Bizarre And Brutal Attacks… The fourth outing in the Detective Louise Blackwell series finds the quiet, sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare amidst a series of sinister, bizarre and brutal attacks. With the body count rising our Detective needs to put aside her own personal battles to concentrate on catching a killer. With an engaging plot populated with a credible cast and a convincing narrative this is another excellent addition to this lively and enjoyable series.

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This is an enjoyable series, with a dogged detective who will stop at nothing to solve a crime. This time, somebody is branding random people and Louise is trying to stop it. The crimes seem random, so it looks like she’s going to work hard to stop the culprit. At the same time, Louise is dealing with her family and trying to spend more time with them. Her team is back, and her attraction to Thomas is as strong as ever, even if she knows there’s nothing she can do about it. This may be a mild spoiler, but this volume finally resolves an issue that I wasn’t a fan of, so I was satisfied by this. This is a solid entry to this series. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/#Amazon Publishing UK!

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I really enjoy this book. Louise is back to resolve another investigation. I was completely hooked by the story. There is so much going on that I could not put this book down. The ending was just perfect.

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DI Louise Blackwell and her team are dealing with an investigation that starts with a local drug addict being beaten and branded. He has no memory of what happened or who did it. A baffling case that means, after another victim dies, Louise has to contend with DCI Finch yet again. This is a well plotted and entertaining read, the tension building nicely right to the end, particularly with the storyline with her nemesis Finch. Louise is a driven officer, with a good team behind her and now family support too. This is is really readable series, a good police procedural and enough twists to keep everyone guessing. A very enjoyable read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Fourth in the series and still as good as the first. Really enjoying the DI Louise Blackwell series. Well written and engaging.

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DI Louise Blackwell, has to deal with an unusual case a vagrant has been branded. It doesn't stop with just one though, it becomes apparent that there is a killer on the loose and needs to be stopped quickly. We see into the killer's mind when they take an interest in DI Blackwell!!! Louise is also battling against a corrupt cop, a thoroughly unpleasant character DI Finch..... well observed by the author, who has described him so well that I could almost smell his aftershave every time he appears on the page!!!! A great read from start to finish.

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Book four of the Detective Louise Blackwell series was, for me, much more enjoyable than previous books. The series of crimes Louise and her team were trying to solve were complex and extremely interesting. While these crimes took up most of the book, there were still pages devoted to her family situation and the on-going feud Louise has had with her former partner/lover Finch. In previous books, the Finch situation became overwhelming and annoying; it was handled much better in this book and closure was finally achieved. I look forward to seeing Louise fulfill her potential as a successful, high ranking police officer in future books. My copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review it.

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DI Louise Blackwell's assigned to a new case. She must find the psychopath who is branding people, apparently using a blowtorch and a branding iron. Her investigation takes her back to a local group of young people who hung out five years ago. When one of the victims dies, the department steps up the investigation. She also been talking to another policewoman who was sexually harassed by a colleague who has sent several women, including Louise, anonymous, manipulative, and threatening text messages. Recommended for readers who like British police procedurals with a strong female detective. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this advance copy.

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A favourite of mine, so pleased to be on book 4! Another simple story that has been written well, keeps you wanting to turn pages and guessing right to the very end! I love Louise and the other main characters in the book! Really want some love for Louise, can’t wait for book 5

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Louise Blackwell is confronted with another puzzling case in the seashore town of Weston all while juggling office politics and family issues. There were lots of false leads and red herrings as Louise and her team investigated a series of horrific branding attacks, and I followed them to a false conclusion before the truth was revealed. Another solid entry in this series, and I hope that the promise of better things for Louise comes to fruition in later books! Thanks to Amazon Publishing UK for access to a digital ARC on NetGalley.

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The 4th in the series of books featuring dectitve Louise Blackwell based in Weston-super-Mare. A young man is found on the beach with a strange symbol branded into his flesh,he has no idea who is responsible. When more people are found branded and then someone dies of their injuries Louise suspects they will have a serial killer on the loose. A great read with characters you feel you know,the writing is so good as usual from Mark Brolly. A highly recommended read. Thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the ARC.

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Having not read any of the previous books in this series, I wasn't quite sure what to expect but what I got was a very engaging and enthralling story. I don't think you have to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this but I recognise that there is a lot of history that is missing, particularly when it comes to the difficulties DI Blackwell has with her superior, however, I feel the author provides enough of the back-story to get you up to speed. DI Blackwell is an interesting and complex character; she has her issues (who doesn't!) but her determination, strength and fortitude shines through in this multi-threaded story. The cast of supporting characters are equally as good and all have their place and their own stories. As I said, this is a multi-threaded story but the underlying plot is the branding attacks which ultimately turns into murder. Told from both DI Blackwell's and the killer's point of view, this provides a comprehensive view of the case and into the mind and motivations of the killer. With scenes of peril, descriptions of violence and body modification that some may find difficult, and brimming with suspense and a host of suspects, this is a book that's easy to get your teeth into and I need to thank Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for my advance copy in return for an honest, unbiased and unedited review.

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Intriguing and unusual subject and an original idea. Victims are being branded with a mysterious symbol and gradually we start to see connections between them emerging. I like this genre and the connections back to earlier lives of the victims when they were young, impressionable and seemingly invincible. The backdrop of the story in the Weston Super Mare area was also stunning and fascinating and a locality I am familiar with so this also made the story come alive for me and provided extra interest. The main characters were engaging and provided their own backstories and sub story lines to capture my interest. Although this is the fourth story in a series I was able to dip in, without having read the previous books, avoiding feeling out of my depth as they was enough explanation of previous events for me to keep up. I would recommend this book.

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Creepy. DI Louise Blackwell is still being dogged by her nemesis DCI Timothy Finch - head of MIT - whose team is brought in to 'help out' with a particularly gruesome where people are branded. She's also trying to spend time with her niece, and her parents, while trying to work as many hours as she can in a day. Something has got to give. Loved it. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book. This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.

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This is the fourth book in the DI Louise Blackwell series set in Weston Super Mare and is just as good as the previous novels. D I Blackwell is a strong lead character and is entirely believable. The town of Weston is vividly described and we see the good parts of the holiday resort as well as the negative side. Part of the story is told from the point of view of the perpetrator and we get quite a chilling look inside their thoughts. The plot is extremely well thought out as always and the different threads of the story are all resolved brilliantly at the end. I found the descriptions of the branding to be quite graphic and unpleasant but that is very much a personal opinion. Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Matt Brolly brings plenty of suspense and some action, as well as an edginess, to the fourth book in the Detective Inspector (DI) Louise Blackwell series set in and near the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in England. While the tale occasionally switches points of view, it is primarily that of Louise with a few sections from a criminal. A man is found unconscious on the beach with a strange symbol branded on his arm and he can’t recall who attacked him or how he got there. As other victims show up, Louise and her team are relentlessly pursuing the criminals. What is the symbol and how are the criminals targeting people? As usual, Louise’s nemesis, DCI Finch, puts in an appearance. Louise is a hard-working, resilient, and fascinating individual who has trouble delegating. However, she is respected by many, and her fighting for what is right inspires loyalty in her co-workers. Despite this, networking is an aspect of her career that she has never been great at. Her flaws make her feel more realistic as does her struggle for work/life balance. The other characters are a mix of new and familiar faces and are well-drawn. A strong, intriguing, and memorable opening scene immediately will pull most readers into the story. That scene is vivid and horrifying. The narrative is suspenseful, and readers will wonder what the criminals’ motivations are. A creative, absorbing, complex, and well-paced plot with some twists will keep a reader guessing. High stakes kept me engaged throughout the story. As Louise and her team working to find connections and working through the clues, there are also shocking actions scenes, and disturbing insights into the criminal’s mind. The people in the story came to life, and I was cheering on the police as they searched desperately for the criminals. Themes include work relationships, the drive to succeed, loyalty, family, alcoholism, self-harm, assault, bullying, and much more. Overall, this was a gripping and chilling story with complex characters. It’s intense and dramatic and kept this reader turning the pages. While there is some background given in this book, the series is best read in order. Louise’s full background is shared in book one and helps shed light on her situation and mind-frame in the following books. I would recommend it to those who enjoy police procedurals and British crime dramas. I hope there will be another book in this series and want to check out this author’s DCI Michael Lambert series. Thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and Matt Brolly for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for November 23, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

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Fabulous instalment in this great crime series, although I’m worried that’s the end of books about Louise? I really hope not as I’ve become so involved in her story. Really nice red herrings in here too. Loved that the Finch storyline has been put to rest; it was brilliant, but there is nothing worse than an ongoing story lingering for too long. Have really enjoyed everything Mr Brolly has written, so will be eagerly anticipating his next book; whoever the protagonist is. Would be a shame not to hear more about Louise, Thomas and Emily though. A total five star read.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for an advance copy of The Mark, the fourth novel to feature DI Louise Blackwell of the Weston-super-Mare police. Sam Carrington is found unconscious on the beach with a strange symbol branded on his arm. Louise and the team aren’t sure what to make of it, but with more victims and a murder she realises she is dealing with a twisted mind. At the same time she is dealing with the aftermath of her brother’s murder and interference from her nemesis, the sociopathic DCI Tim Finch. I thoroughly enjoyed The Mark, which is a compulsive procedural with a good line in misdirection. By about half way through the novel I was sure I had it all worked out and it was just a matter of reading on to have this confirmed. How wrong can you be? In my case, totally. I was gobsmacked when the solution appeared. The Tim Finch thing reaches a crescendo and, again, I was gobsmacked for different reasons. His actions seem out of character, but it was still exciting stuff, so why quibble over a few iffy moments? The main plot, the hunt for the attacker, is well done. The narrative is split between some justification by the unidentified attacker and Louise’s investigation. I’m not always a big fan of perpetrator participation in novels, but it worked well here as there is enough information to suggest revenge as a motive, but revenge for what is never spelled out, making it intriguing. Louise’s investigation is quite slow, but a steady stream of reveals maintains interest and gradually fills in the blanks. It held my interest throughout. I like this Louise. She seems less bitter and more settled into her life and self. This allows her to make sensible, balanced decisions and the reader to enjoy a top notch investigation. The Mark is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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The Mark by Matt Brolly is a highly recommended police procedural and the 4th novel in the Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell series. DI Louise Blackwell of the Weston-super-Mare police force is called to investigate a man who is found unconscious with a symbol branded on his arm. The victim, Sam Carrington, who is unconscious at the hospital, was staying at a local drug rehab house. The next night a second victim, Poppy Westfield, is found branded on her thigh with the same symbol. Then Andrew Thorpe is found dead, branded on his forehead, and Louise knows she has someone who is targeting people to brand them for some reason and she must find the connection and stop the perpetrator. While Louise is giving her whole attention to the case, she is also dealing with several other personal issues. After the death of her brother, she is caring for her niece along with her parents. Also returning is her nemesis the corrupt and scheming DCI Finch, whose ongoing bad behavior may be catching up to him, unless he can bring Louise and others down first. Even though this is the 4th novel featuring Louise Blackwell, The Mark can be enjoyed as a stand alone police procedural. There is enough back story given to easily follow the pertinent facts that matter in this current novel, and this is a compelling and engaging investigation. The opening scene will immediately horrify you and grab your attention. The pace continues to move quickly throughout the novel, as clues are provided along with several twists. Louise is a determined, intelligent and interesting character. Her flaws are also presented in the plot, which makes her a realistic and sympathetic character who will elicit your support as she handles the investigation. Along the way there is further character development as the novel progresses. There is a surprising twist at the end that will put the next novel by Brolly featuring Louise Blackwell on your reading list. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Edelweiss, Google Books, and Amazon.

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This is the fourth book in the DI Louise Blackwell series, but it can easily be read as a standalone without feeling you’ve missed something. However, it’s such a great series that I recommend you read them all! The series is set in and around the Weston-super-Mare area. A drug addict is found unconscious on the beach, with a strange mark branded on him. When he comes round, he has no idea how he got there or what happened to him. Then a body is found, also with the same mark recently branded on him, so the case moves up a notch to murder. At the same time as working on the case, DI Blackwell is also on the receiving end of messages and threats from bent copper DCI Finch. Both are giving her grave cause for concern, especially as she now shares a home with her parents and young orphaned niece, Emily. This is one of those books that you read in a short space of time because you can’t put it down, then get to the last page and wish there was more! A fantastic read that I highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.

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Another episode in the Detective Louise Blackwell series this time set in Weston Super Mare. A series of bizarre human brandings sets it all off. The investigation eventually concentrates on a group of youngsters meeting on the beach a few years ago and when an older individual is murdered after being branded a connection emerges with a young girl victim it all gets very dark. A parallel storyline with her corrupt colleague DCI Finch serves to conclude a previous tale. Somewhat bloodthirsty and the branding scenes make one shiver it all rolls along to a satisfactory conclusion. More to come I hope.

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. I have enjoyed all this authors books and this was no exception. Fast paced, great storyline and would recommend to other readers.

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Detective Louise Blackwell #4 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. 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. DI Louise Blackwell will leave no stone unturned when the investigates and this time the victims seem random. Then it looks like Weston has a twisted attacker walking the streets. The plotline is intriguing and complex. There's also her nemesis DCI Tim Finch. This is a gripping and addictive read. We also learn more of their backstories. This is another great addition to the series. I would like to thank #NetGalley #AmazonPublishingUK and the author #MattBrolly for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The fourth in the DI Louise Blackwell series sees the detective on the trail of a sadistic individual who brands their victims with a strange symbol. When the first victim is revealed to be a local drug addict, Louise is plunged into the world of tattoos and addiction. As more attacks occur, a link emerges to a teenage gang cautioned by police some years earlier. The investigations finally lead to the perpetrator and place both Louise and her family in danger. I found this an excellent addition to the series, with the continuing narrative of Louise's home life with her parents and young niece providing a contrast to the ongoing investigation. Louise is dedicated to her job, often at the expense of her family and personal life, so it was good to see this situation potentially changing by the end of the story. The ongoing stand-off between Louise and her nemesis, the narcissistic and seedy Tim Finch, reaches its conclusion in this story. Louise finds an ally in a young female officer who is determined to bring Finch to book for his harassment and misogynistic behaviour. Matters escalate, leading to a dramatic stand-off at Finch's house, with Louise having to use all her wits and training to keep one step ahead. Matt Brolly's writing manages to maintain a level of tension and suspense throughout, with the central relationships well-drawn and realistic. As always, we get an insight into the mind of the perpetrator, who proves to be a damaged and psychotic individual with obsessive tendencies, including towards Louise. This book can be read on its own, but I would recommend reading the other three books in the series - The Crossing, The Descent, and The Gorge - to get the full back story on Louise and, in particular, the relationship with Finch. I was sent an advance review copy of this book by Amazon Publishing UK, in return for an honest appraisal.

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The Detective Louise Blackwell reaches book number 4 with The Mark which is an enjoyable and well paced police procedural from Matt Brolly that keeps the pages turning. No previous knowledge from the other books is required and the ending leaves the author with a number of interesting options.

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Louise is back with another grisly case! People in Weston-super-Mare are ending up being branded but why them, and who the hell is doing it??? Her search for answers leads her down some dark alleys indeed and it is just as well that she has an amazing team around her (sans Finch, of course, who continues to give her trouble). She is continuing to share a house with her parents and her little niece Emily, plus their adorable puppy, Molly, but that arrangement is a bit of a mixed bag too. Then there is the situation with Thomas, her colleague. All in all, this book had all the elements you can expect from this author - intense scenes, good characterisations, red herrings and a very solid story indeed. I enjoyed this novel very much. 4.5 stars from me. Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer.

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Matt Brolly has developed two series based on police procedures, one featuring DCI Lambert, the other Louise Blackwell, the central character in this book. Both series are well written. Brolly has created and developed the Blackwell character, detailing her problems with her brother Paul and her fall from grace when stitched up by her colleague, Finch, and Blackwell comes through these. As a reader, we are lucky to ride along with her and see how she develops, always alongside a strong crime investigation that is well paced and intelligently delivered. Personally, I prefer reading books in series order, but this book does not need the previous stories to be known, although if this is your first Matt Brolly book, you are going to read through the entire back catalogue as well. This is a book that is a pleasure to read and shines a light in an albeit fictitious police officer's life. As an aside, Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding areas carry some of the book load.

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I like how unique the cases in each book are. They aren’t the usual, there are secrets and twists that slowly unravel. This book seemed a bit like the end of the series and I am not sure if it is. Some of the personal problems of the detectives’ wrapped up and I am not sure if that is it or they are going to get more personal problems. I’d be interested to read another series by this author with different characters. I liked the characters in this series, but I didn’t’t love them. I think there is room to improve them. I like the pacing of each book, you do not know things too soon.

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This was my first book by this author, but it will not be my last. What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was not only a mystery./police procedural, but we saw some character development. How many books have we read where the lead detective is all business and we dont know that much about them? I loved seeing the bits of the DI's personal life and would have liked to see more. I found her really interesting. This is apparently the 4th in a series. I did not need to read the previous 3 to enjoy this one - however, I think it might have enhanced it. I would have known DI Blackwell and her friends/family a little better. I am going to go back and start this series from the beginning. A solid 3.5 stars. No reason to round it down, so I will give it 4. I want to thank the author, the publisher and #netgalley for the ARC which did not impact my review.

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The mark by Matt Brolly. Detective Louise Blackwell Book 4. 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. DI Louise Blackwell is on the case. I really really enjoyed this book. I liked Louise. I really did not like DCI Finch at all. Great story. 4*.

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I love all of Matt Brolly's work, and this book, The Mark, the fourth in the Louise Blackwell series, does not disappoint one iota. Picking up where we left Louise, the is another rollicking good police procedural, and continues the life of our heroine Louise in her difficult family circumstances. Highly recommended. Loved it. A real page turner. Roll on number 5

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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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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