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Surprise is the word that best sums up my reaction to Criminal Actions, fifth book in the DI Hero Nelson crime series by NY Times and USA Today best-selling author MA Comley.

It was altogether darker and more twisted and nastier than expected.

Does that matter?

That’s a toughie.

A crime novel is, by definition, about horrible things happening to people. And I’ve read lots of other thrillers where the body count and the violence ratio has been much higher.

Somehow, though, based on reviews I’ve read elsewhere about other books by Comley, I’d expected something a little more cozy – not a description that, in any shape or form, could be applied to Criminal Actions, which explores some very dark themes.

The blurb gives no hint either of what lies in store.

Dream job

The story opens innocuously enough with Jacinda Meredith, who has followed her boyfriend south from Scotland.

After a few weeks she finds a dream job working as a nanny for Sadie and Leonard Knox.

However, all is not as it seems.

DI Nelson and his partner are called to a murder scene which turns out to be both horrifying and perplexing.

Serial killer

Other cases soon come to light.

Does this mean Nelson has yet another serial killer on his patch?

No prizes for guessing whether the answer is yes or no.

I suspect established MA Comley fans will love Criminal Actions. There’s lots to recommend it – a fast pace, a likeable police hero, and a nail-biting finish.

But newcomers should be warned. Cozy this isn’t.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.

Meet the author:

MA Comley is a Kindle Unlimited all-star author, and a New York Times, USA Today and Amazon Top 20 best-seller.

With over two-and-a-half million copies sold worldwide, she has also topped the book charts on iBooks and reached #2 on Barnes and Noble.

Comley, who’s a British writer, turned her hobby into a career when she moved to France in 2002.

When she’s not writing crime novels, as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her Labrador rescue pup, Dex.

Her titles include the five books in her DI Sara Ramsey series, the DI Kayli Bright trilogy, and the Intention series, together with over a dozen novels, plus novellas and short stories, in her Justice series.

Criminal Actions is the fifth book in the Hero series, which includes Torn Apart, End Results, In Plain Sight, and Double Jeopardy

Comley has also written two standalone novels, Evil in Disguise and Forever Watching You and three titles in a cozy mystery private investigator series, Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.

Follow MA Comley on Twitter, Facebook and on the web.