Blood Games (DS Nikki Parekh 4) by Liz Mistry

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Blood Games (DS Nikki Parekh 4) by Liz Mistry

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Book four in the DS Nikki Parekh series deals with honour and its consequences.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 417 Date: January 2022
Publisher: HQ Digital
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008532468

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It's the third murder in the space of a few weeks and they've all been because of machetes used on teenagers. DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are amongst the first to arrive on the scene at Chellow Dene Reservoir on the outskirts of Bradford. Only, this time, it's going to be different. The body appears to Nikki to be that of her beloved nephew, Haqib, and she has a very public meltdown. It isn't Haqib: there are similarities but the body is clad in designer clothes and comes from an obviously monied background. What it does mean though is that Nikki is going to be on sick leave for some time with anxiety and depression.

Then another boy goes missing only this time it works out differently. There's no body to be found but the boy's ear is sent to his mother in a jiffy bag. In Nikki's absence, the cases are taken over by DS Felicity Springer, Nikki's nemesis but Sajid finds that she's more absent than present and he's left to deal with the new DI, Ahad Zain, which he's not finding easy. When the son of the Lord Mayor of West Yorkshire is found murdered - yet another machete attack - the perception in the Asian community is that Jamie Jacob's murder will take precedence, simply because he's a gora - and, incidentally, homeless and a druggie.

It's a great story but there are two external factors that make it something special. The evocation of anxiety and depression is excellent. I know - I've been there and Liz Mistry captures that bottomless feeling perfectly. The other factor is Bradford. Somehow, around this part of the world, it's always thought of as the poor cousin of Leeds, but it's a city with a great heart, wonderfully varied cultures - and a lot of problems. Once again Mistry has it perfectly.

There is someone known as The Honourable Fixer who is behind the killings and various other disruptions in the city. Until that person is caught, the problems are not going to stop. What is happening fanned the flames that, prompted by fear, smouldered just below the city's surface. It's been like that in Bradford for as long as I can remember and the perception that the police do more for white victims is a major factor. It's unfortunately perpetuated by the newspapers, possibly accidentally because they think that white victims will matter more to their readership.

I did work out the identity of The Honourable Fixer but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story. I'll be interested to see where Liz Mistry takes DS Nikki Parekh next and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to the Bookbag.

Liz Mistry's DS Nikki Parekh books in chronological Order

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