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Audrey Gibson Goodreads

The Killer Shadow Thieves by J F Burgess

WOW, what a debut novel this is!!!!! It drew me in from the first page and kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. It totally blew me away. Murder, drugs, money laundering, robbery, this book has it all. Amazing.


The characters are very likeable and real, well most of them are but a few I hated with a passion, exactly the way it should make you feel. DI Tom Blake, in particular, is a great character, also one of the main villains is Ibrahim Benzar whom I couldn't help but like. He's a rogue but his heart is in the right place.


I don't want to say too much and give away spoilers but the author was very clever in certain parts of the book, genius in fact. 


The ending .......... Perfect!!!!!!!


I do hope there is more to come from DI Blake, I think it would make a great series.

I like realistic, modern police procedurals so I looked forward to what this new author had to give in this first outing for DI Blake.


The Story


When DI Tom Blake foils a heroin deal between a brutal gang and a loan shark he becomes perilously embroiled in a gangland feud in Stoke, UK. In the middle of this feud, a skinhead with gang links is murdered, but there's no evidence to identify his killer.

As he investigates this murder, DI Blake discovers how much trouble he's got himself into when his daughter is kidnapped, forcing Blake in a race against time to Miami, USA, to save her. Forced to lower himself to the kidnapper's level and act outside the law he struggles to bring a shadowy killer who leaves no trace to justice. 

It seems the odds are stacked against him until photographs from 26 years ago are discovered.


Why 4 Stars?


This is a thrilling read with great bits of description and I enjoyed the references to Northern Soul (a dance and music craze big in the north of England in the '70s), such as The Snake by Al Wilson, which is a great tune and became the soundtrack in my mind as I continued reading.

The book introduced me to the ugly underbelly of Stoke, a city I'm not so familiar with but recognise from similar former industrial city's or towns in the north, now submitting to intakes of gangsters and criminals from abroad.

There was good dialogue and description which really formed pictures of the action in my mind but at times it was a little lumbering.


Fans of Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne will enjoy this book as will fans of Angela Marsons Kim Stone. I'll certainly be looking out for more from the author J.F. Burgess.


Mark Fearn


You can join Marks book club from this link: Facebook

If I was doing a Goodreads review it would be 9/10 and 5 stars along the lines of ‘Brilliant debut from a writer to watch.’


Just finished ‘The Killer Shadow Thieves’


I will do a small review for my group Book Mark! I can't see it on Goodreads but if it goes on there will add my review to it.


I loved it!!!! Great story, good solid characters. I liked Blake very much and enjoyed the easy flow of your writing. The story drew me in and kept me there and I got to know the characters quickly.


The story progressed well. There were elements of fun and humour as well as it being dark and scary in other places. Really great descriptive writing.


I know little of the Stoke area so enjoyed the Potteries descriptions and without it being boring you brought in history and description of the area.


If I was doing a Goodreads review it would be 9/10 and 5 stars along the lines of ‘Brilliant debut from a writer to watch’- that kind of thing.


Again wanted to say I loved the book and thanks for letting me read it.


Please let me know when it is published x.


Marks thoughts on Facebook... this is

Here is my review of The Killer Shadow Thieves and thank you for the chance to read it.


Four out of five stars for a very exciting debut novel, this is a police procedural set in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas but with a whole lot more.


The story includes various criminal activities in the city's underbelly such as drug dealing and money lending, and together with a murder and an audacious plan to steal the famous Staffordshire Hoard DI Tom Blake and his team have their work cut out.


The reader gets plenty of insights from police and villains alike, and the characters grow on you as the story progresses. The book feels very real and I would recommend it.



Beta Reader

'Burgess skilfully interweaves the industrial past of the Potteries with a grizzly murder, a kidnap and a high stakes artefacts robbery in a wonderfully composed story'



Max Pinner, Australia

The book is a roller-coaster read, offering a cunningly woven web of sex, drugs, violence and crime. 

Its wide-ranging, international cast of villains sets off chains of events that will forever change the life of their relentless pursuer, widowed detective DI Tom Blake.

Ably supported by his sergeant, DS Jon Murphy, Blake's arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark for the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead coincidentally disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard, from Stoke-On-Trent's premier museum.

Offering great value for money, and weighing in at around 128 000 words, this hard-to-put-down book will pique and absorb the reader's interest, quite likely leaving the television firmly switched off.

Max Pinner, Australia

Alyson Read


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With its local connects part of the appeal, the story follows DI Blake and DS Murphy as they try and solve a local murder as well as staying hot on the trail of a J.F. Burgess has created what feels like a true to life drama. The Killer Shadow Thieves by J.F. Burgess – 3.75 stars out of 5 A story for those who love police procedural novels, crime gang who are determined to steal the Staffordshire Hoard.



The plotline of this novel was interesting, with multiple threads and characters to hold onto it also requires some concentration. I was immediately rooting for DI Blake and DS Murphy and loved their on-page banter as well as the respect that they had for each other as the story progresses.


The introduction of all the characters was done incredibly well and held my interest, especially when the first murder occurred. The bad guys were suitably evil; however there was definitely some blurring of the lines which makes the characters multi-dimensional.


I also enjoyed (perhaps the wrong word) the family drama that was introduced and The characters and their development throughout the novel are a definite highlight for me. As the story progressed, I was more drawn in and intrigued by what was going on.think that it made the characters more human, I was reading with my heart in my mouth when his daughter was kidnapped.


The ending is impressive and, whilst not obvious it is certainly solvable.  I will say, however, that if you have an aversion to swearing then this probably isn’t the book for you. As with many books of this genre, action cannot be happening all the time.  J.F. Burgess gives the reader time to calm down from the more active sequences towards the end, just before the big reveal.  


I enjoyed this book and was fully immersed the majority of the time.  I look forward to more books from Mr Burgess, especially if they are to be set in Stoke on Trent.


Many thanks to J.F. Burgess for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for a full and unbiased review: all opinions are my own.


Book Jar Journeys.

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