Cover Image: PLAY DEAD


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Member Reviews

This is the first murder mystery I've read centred around an orchestra, possibly a Midsomer Murders might have pipped it to the post. There was a lot of forensic details which I love and police procedures, coupled with an original mystery, this was a good read and kept my interest going.
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A number of murder ls in a sleepy village, known for being, well, sleepy, is odd enough, but when members of the 
same  orchestra are the victims, it becomes even odder!
The 3rd in a series of books, which can be read as a standalone, but in my opinion, you get a deeper understanding of the characters and their backgrounds if you read them in order. I enjoyed this book, it held me well enough and I found it a compelling story as well.Had all the twists as you would expect in a mystery book.hughly recommended.
Thanks to Netgalley for my ARC.
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A cellist has been found impaled by her instrument and for DI Sam Clayton it is initially seen as a stand-alone murder, yet when more members of the orchestra end up murdered, it becomes obvious something sinister is lurking under the surface. Is the culprit the disgraced former conductor, the partying ex-flautist, or is there an unknown assailant waiting for their cue?

This is the third book in the DI Sam Clayton series and, while I read it as a stand-alone, I highly recommend you don’t. Sam and the rest of the squad felt one dimensional, like I was missing some critical backstory that I kept waiting for but never received. Also, the length and pacing of the book was a huge problem for me. The murder was solved about 60% of the way through and any questions that remained were easily solved using common sense. I didn’t get the jaw-dropping, audible gasp that I want when reading mysteries. While the writing was by no means terrible, the plot felt like it needed a nap. 

This book was kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Play Dead has a steady pace with a few twists and turns to make it a bit more interesting. I liked Sam and a few of the other characters. It's not that often that one finds orchestras in crime novels, which made it more fun.
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noir, procedural, law-enforcement, England

After the second murder it begins to seem as if a killer is targeting the members of the local festival orchestra (conductor is paid, musicians are not). DI Sam Clayton and the team apply every bit of due diligence and are frustrated by lying witnesses, lying suspects, staging of the corpses, and a whole lot of inconsistencies. The characters are well done and the plot is no less believable than things in the news. I loved it and read it straight through!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Joffe Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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This sleepy village is used again, with all of its hidden characters. Once started I could not put this book down, as I was hooked from the first chapter.
This is a great story well told. I am waiting to read more books penned by Anne.
Thank you Anne.
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A straightforward police procedural. No big twists or surprises. The writing is smooth. Nothing to say bad about, nothing to be awestruck. 3.5 stars.
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The description of this book really snagged my attention, especially as I hadn't read something along the topic of a string of murders involving members of an orchestra. As the book went on there were more plot twists to keep my interest but I found myself getting bogged down in the minutiae of police procedure that didn't feel necessary to the plot. The characters didn't have enough development to really delve into the story and form an attachment with them that I felt I needed to relate to them. The book itself was well written, just was lacking in enough excitement in the plot to make me want to keep turning the pages.
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When musicians start turning up murdered with their musical instruments as the murder weapons DI Sam Clayton is called into investigate. Clayton's girlfriend Melissa who sings in the choir with the NFO helps with gossip and problems with the orchestra but will the murderer be revealed while there is still an orchestra.
This is an enjoyable crime story which has many twists a good book to curl up with.
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3.5 stars

When a cellist and music therapist is found dead in her home under mysterious circumstances, DI Sam Clayton from Anglian Constabulary and his DS Julie Everett, DC Dave Bullard team are called in to investigate. 
A woman is found dead in her home impaled by her own cello. The victim was a member of the Norwich Festival Orchestra.

Soon after they start questioning suspects, one of the suspects, Mike Proctor is found slumped under the piano lid in his home. He’s been poisoned and left for dead. Luckily he survives. His was a previous conductor who got voted out by his colleagues from the orchestra because he fired two members due to laziness tardiness and ineptitude.

A slightly unconnected case regarding the mysterious death of a trumpeter in the middle of a concert a few weeks ago causes DC Clayton’s superior, DCI Bligh to reopen the case.

Then another body turns up, this time a violinist and a member of the orchestra, strangled with a string from his own instrument 🎻 . The detectives must figure out if these incidents are related and establish a connection between the orchestra members.

Many thanks to Anne Penketh, NetGalley, and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Not one. Not two. But three victims. And all three are connected to the Norfolk Festival Orchestra. Despite the fact that the murders could be tied together, the method that lead to their untimely deaths was complete different for each one of them. The victims were a musician, a trumpeter and the orchestra's conductor.

Why did these three die? How is the murderer connected to all of the victims to the extent that they all had to die? While the police, namely DI Sam Clayton, begin the investigation, they discover one disturbing fact after another. For starters, there is a former member of the orchestra missing. Will that person turn up dead as well?

Sam indeed has his hands full. His team includes DS Julie Everett, and they soon discover that while they have a bevy of suspects, they have a shortage of clues. With the manners of death being so brutal, motive is difficult to ascertain. Things get way too close to home for Sam. His new girlfriend Melissa is also a member of the orchestra. Will she, too, become a victim?

Play Dead is the third book in the DI Sam Clayton series. The book does do well as a standalone, however, I didn't have the opportunity to read the previous titles. I would much rather have know more about Sam and his team, but I was able to jump right into the story nonetheless.

I found the drama and the intrigue to be equally compelling and I did enjoy the fact that I was left guessing. This really was a great read, and I was able to devour it in one sitting, in part, because I really wanted to know who the killer was. In addition to that, this was a very well-written and engaging story. I look forward to continuing this series as future titles are released.

Many thanks to Joffe Books, NetGalley and Books n All Promotions for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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So this is the third in the Detective Sam Clayton series but actually the first I’ve read. I think it works perfectly well as a standalone but you might want to read the other books in the series just get a better feel for the characters.

A Cellist from Norfolk Festival Orchestra is killed by her own cello. Then the former NFO conductor has his head stuffed into the piano and almost dies. Who is picking off members of the orchestra and why? Sam Clayton and his team have a race against time before they have another victim on their hands.

Play Dead a fast paced and gripping police procedural with plenty of clues and red herrings for you to figure out along the way.

I don’t think I’ve read a novel that centres around an orchestra which for me made this story unique.

Sam Clayton has a bit of a temper, which he tries hard to control, but he sometimes lets loose on an innocent waste paper basket nearby. I did wonder what was with his attitude towards women, especially ones of a higher rank than him, but it turned out he had an abusive past. While this didn’t excuse it, it did explain it a bit more. 

I have to be honest, the ending kind of lost me, I think the author tried to go for a twist or a big reveal that just fell a little flat for but of course that’s just my opinion.

Play Dead is a quick and entertaining read, a must for lovers of police procedurals.
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The starting premise of this book was interesting but as it went on, became a bit draggy and I felt the second half of the book was rather lackuster, as well as the ending. The main investigators seemed like those you'd find in most police procedurals and were not particularly memorable. The writing itself was easy to read, I just feel the author could have done more with it.
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This book started off really well and I was expecting a real mystery, unfortunately it fell away from the mystery to the involving more of police procedures. 
Being so, it turned out to be a very good read, and even though most things were clear by mid book, the characters, the writing style and the entertainment value where all there, making this a good read.
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This is book number 3 in a police procedural series set in beautiful county of Norfolk. It features DI Sam Clayton, a detective who started out in the Lancashire constabulary and has risen up through the ranks to become a DI in Norwich. He is assisted by DS Julie Everett, who came to the team from working in child protection in Ipswich. Sam is divorced from wife Claire and has recently found a new girlfriend, while Julie has also split up from her partner and now raises a child alone. The body of musician Kristina Manning is found by her boyfriend, murdered in a particularly gruesome way with her cello stabbed into her body. The team of detectives investigate whether internal grievances within the Norfolk Festival Orchestra where she played could be a factor, since they struggle to find another motive. When the orchestra's former conductor is attacked and stuffed into his piano, it starts to look like they might be on the right track. But surely bad feeling among the musicians over the sacking of two members can't be sufficient reason to drive someone to murder? And is the killing of them with their own instruments another clue as to the twisted motive? As the investigation proceeds musicians go missing and they unearth an accidental death that just might be another murder. Suddenly it looks like anyone in NFO and their choir (of which Melissa, Clayton's new girlfriend is a member) could be at risk as they try to stop a murderer before anyone else dies. I found the start of the book a little slow going, but I blame that on the fact that this the first book in the series that I have read and it took me a little time to become familiar with the main characters. Therefore, although this book works as a stand alone, I would recommend reading the books in order, especially as there are references made to past events that I wanted to know more about and possibly affected how the detectives behaved. Once past that and after the story was set, the pace really got going as bodies were discovered, and credible suspects and motives were finally unearthed. The suspense over the identity of the killer was maintained almost to the end, and there was still a shocking turn of events thrown in that was hard to see coming. I shall now go back and enjoy the first two books in this series and await more of DI Clayton and his team in the future. 4*
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A Killer With Imagination.....
A series of grisly murders, an orchestra with deadly instruments and a killer with imagination - D.I. CLayton has his work cut out. This is the third in a series of mysteries set in Norfolk - each a standalone case. Twists and turns aplenty, credible characterisation and a swiftly moving plot make this an engaging read and I look forward to reading more in the series.
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Did not find this a particularly gripping or interesting storyline. Did finish the story, I found this didn’t improve throughout the story. Not a fan .
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A cellist is impaled with her cello spike. The conductor is found with his head stuffed in a piano. Another man is poisoned with his trumpet's mouthpiece.

All are.. or were .. members of the local orchestra. Why are they being targeted?

That's what DI Dam Clayton is investigating. His interest in this case is also more personal .. his girlfriend is also a singer in the same orchestra.

And more recently a former member of the orchestra is missing ... victim or suspect?

This small picturesque village is known for its lack of crime and friendly residents. DI Clayton and his colleagues have their hands with suspects. Trying to find a motive is almost impossible when it seems everyone has secrets that they will kill to protect. The serial killer they are looking for is smart, and conniving.

Although third in the series, this one is easily read as a stand alone. As usual, I do recommend starting at the very beginning as the characters are finely drawn and the mysteries come with twists and turns and unexpected endings.

Many thanks to the author / Joffe Books / Books n All Book Promotions / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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3.5 stars rounded up to 4

This time DI Sam Clayton is sent to investigate the death of cello player, Kristine Manning. She played with the Norwich Festival Orchestra. She had been killed by her cellos spike. Then a retired conductor is the next victim, but he survives. More members of the orchestra are either murdered or it's been attempted murder. There's also a missing person. Do they have a link to the murders?

This is the third book in this series but it can be read as a standalone. This is an easy to read, no nonsense book. Someone seems to have a grudge against the orchestra. The victims have either been in/still in the orchestra. Is this revenge attacks or something else? The pace is steady with some twists added. I do like Sam Clayton but the rest of the characters were not very likeable. I enjoyed this police procedural and I look forward to the next book in this series. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Joffe Books and the author Anne Penketh for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is book 3 in the Detective Sam Clayton series but the books work perfectly as stand alone.

Why are members of an orchestra dying, seemingly at the hands of their instruments?  That is the question Sam and his team have to find the answer to.  But as more members die the team are struggling to find a motive or a viable suspect.

I loved learning more about the characters and I especially like how Sam's ex plays a small part bringing a sense of reality to the story and characters.

The story itself is unique I have never read anything quite like this one and I say that in a good way.  Given the number of crime books I read it is rare that I don't work out who the murderer is but in this book I can honestly say I didn't have a clue.  I loved the twists and turns and red herrings that ran all the way through the book making for a fast paced read that kept the pages turning all the way to the shocking ending.  

A brilliant read I am looking forward to more in this series
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