A Taste of Ashes by Tony Black


My very great thanks to Janne at Black and White Publishing for providing an advanced reader copy of Tony Black’s ‘A Taste of Ashes’ in return for an honest review. It is published on 24th September 2015 in ebook and paperback.

Although ‘A Taste of Ashes’ is the second in the DI Bob Valentine books after ‘Artefacts of the Dead’, it stands alone as perfectly well and not having read the first did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of this fantastic crime thriller.

Returning to work after almost losing his life in a previous case, DI Bob Valentine is struggling to balance work and family as a local murder in Ayr and missing school girl are just the start of events that overtake his every hour.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because the plot was entirely believable even where there are almost supernatural elements involved as Bob Valentine’s mental state is tested as much as his physical health whilst he strives to solve the case.

Bob Valentine’s character is really well rounded and easy to empathise with. Tony Black manages this highly skilfully without padding out the story by constant reference to Bob’s home life. There is just enough detail to enable the reader to understand fully how Bob Valentine is as he is. Perfect writing.

The story opens in dramatic style and maintains its pace throughout with none of the contrived elements I sometimes find in this genre. The narrative races along and keeps breathless reader interest. The twists and turns, with frequent jolts and bombshells, make for a truly thrilling read. I was kept guessing throughout.

Alongside what is a great read are universal themes of modern society with which we can all identify. Corruption, decaying towns, violence and budget cuts are a convincing background to ‘A Taste of Ashes’ and add layers of interest to an already absorbing story.

I didn’t know Tony Black’s writing before reading this book, but I am an immediate fan and thoroughly recommend ‘A Taste of Ashes’.

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