Cover Image: Blood Games

Blood Games

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Member Reviews

This is my first Liz Mistry novel and from the start it was obviously a continuation in a series. There were references to previous books in the series but mostly it worked as a stand alone.

I found the characters well developed but there were lots of them. I worked out who the fixer was before it became apparent but my big criticism is how someone who was so tech say managed to make big mistakes.

Overall I did enjoy this dark novel, especially as I know lots of the places mentioned
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🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2

The fourth in the DS Nikita Parekh series, this book can be read as standalone, (although, in the case of this reader, there is an evolving backstory with Nikki’s family that is begging for more background. I will have to find a way to catch up with the rest of this series).

A darkly grim set of crimes, apparently unrelated yet all involving machete attacks on teenage victims, is sweeping across Bradford, UK and Nikki (with her partner, the elegant and awesome DC Sajid Malik) is on the case. Unfortunately for Nikki, the brutality of these crimes, combined with the nature of its victims, has struck a nerve, leaving our main protagonist, still fragile after earlier challenges covered in previous books, including the recent death of her mother, unable to bring her best game forward. 

As the story line plummets into a stomach-turning series of incidents that may or may not be tied to the horrific racist vigilantism that feels all too familiar these days, a parallel plot involving Nikki, - a breath of fresh air she battles to be of service again - emotionally (and physically) scarred but as one person, standing up for what must be done and what she will somehow find a way to do, to set her world to rights again, is inspiring in a way that feels somehow counter-balancing, welcome, and definitely cheering. 

A fast-paced read characterized by an intricate plot, a truly diabolical mind, followers and leaders, and some of the very best and very worst family situations you may encounter (no spoilers here, you will have to read the book), this book is highly recommended to crime and mystery devotees, and in particular those (like me) who never get enough of a strong female lead. 

I enjoyed meeting with Nikki, her family, her colleagues and all the series regulars, and look forward to reading the prequels as well as books to follow. 

A great big thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own. 

My stop today on the @rachelsrandomresources  #blogtour for #bloodgames by @lizMistry
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This is #4 in the DS Nikki Parekh series but can easily be read as a standalone, which is what I did.

Set in Bradford, this story is about a series of teenagers being murdered with a machete. When Nikki and her sidekick, DC Sajid Malik, are called to the scene of the latest one, Nikki breaks down as she thinks that the victim is her own nephew. She’s contaminated a murder scene and then her DCI – kindly – takes her off the case and insists she get some help.

Then the son of a friend goes missing and one of his ears is sent to his mother in a package so Nikki vows to find the perpetrator/s.

A very well written and gripping book.

Thank you to NetGalley and HQ/HQ Digital for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley and HQ Stories for the ARC of this book.
Another absolutely fantastic story featuring DS Nikki Parekh with the aid of DC Salid Mailik. You get immediately drawn in to the storyline with Nikki’s public breakdown , which I found totally amazing,  and  the book kept on giving. The concept of the ‘Eyes’ and the ‘Headhunter’ and ‘Fixer’ was quite chilling but just added to the overall atmosphere of the book. It was difficult to see how the cases were linked but the team were determined to solve the case and they managed it really well.
Roll on book 5.
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I've long been a fan of the DI Nikki Parekh series and so was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for 'Blood Games', the fourth book.  Thanks to NetGalley and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of the book in ecxhange for an honest review.

This book delivered exactly what I expected: a fast-paced police procedural set against a bleak Bradford that is divided along racial lines.  

In this book, Nikki is faced with a series of machete killings of young people; the similarity of one body to her nephew floors her with grief and she feels a very personal connection to the crimes.  Along with DC Sajid Malik, her trusted sidekick, Nikki begins to uncover the seedy underworld dealings of Bradford that are leading to these tragedies.  When the threats start to edge closer to home, Nikki is faced with a race against time to stop the killings.

This is another satisfying instalment in the DI Nikki Parekh series.  It is well plotted and the action moves on quickly, especially as the number of killings escalates and Nikki faces trouble at work in the shape of a new detective on the team.  The story - bubbling under - of Nikki's family background is also sustained well.  There are plenty of twists along the way, although I did manage to guess whodunnit just ahead of Nikki and her team!  Still, it is a clever and well-managed denouement and one that wraps things up cleverly.

The Bradford setting is interesting, but incredibly bleak.  This is a city surviving on a knife-edge of racial tension and this is mainly shown through the relationships of the city's young people - some of whom end up as victims.  It is also shown through Nikki's own secure mixed-race relationship, a source of positivity in the novel but also the focus of criticism by various characters.  Bradford is also a city with pockets of extreme poverty and this makes for some shocking reading as the police visit the homeless communities.

As with previous novels, I felt drawn to the warmth of some of the characters.  Nikki herself walks a fine line: on the one hand, she is a strong and capable police officer, but she also is battling neuroses and the scars of a horrific past.  She is vulnerable and human, and I love the way she balances doing things by the book with a willingness to step outside the law when she needs.  Her relationship with Sajid is full of warmth and trust - and Sajid is a brilliant and nuanced character in his own right.  The only character that grates slightly is DCI Hegley - a warm and humorous figure, but one who overuses the word 'proverbials'!

If you're new to the DI Nikki Parekh series, I'd really recommend that you start with book one, not least so you can appreciate Nikki's tortured past and the impact this has on her in the present.  This book could still be enjoyed without the backstory though, so don't let anything deter you from picking it up.  It's a challenging and (at times) sad read, but Mistry ensures that the bleakness is weighed with glimmers of hope and a satisfying conclusion that should hopefully rid Bradford of some of its more evil elements...until Book 5!
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Welcome to Bradford.

This was not an easy one to follow initially. Machette attacks on the young and vunerable not instantly linkable.

There’s a fixer about, for the right amount of money, anything can be sorted. Be it industrial esponage, to honour killings. Nothing is too much of a problem, if you can cover your tracks.

This follows DS Nikki Parekh, on a rolllercoaster ride as she tries to fathom out, not only her personal issues, but also to spread light on a series of murders carried out by what seemed to be different killers.

A slower burner that picks up speed as it courses it way to the finale.

A bold ending to what turned into a favourite. I sat and read the latter half of the book in a couple of hours. Praise to the author for tackling racial boundries and pushing the limits.

Status: Complete.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
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Blood Games is the fourth book in Liz Mistry's Nikki Parekh series and is my favourite so far. Events here take place shortly after the devastating conclusion to the previous novel, Dark Memories and while Blood Games can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the series in order to properly appreciate the development of the characters, particularly DS Nikki Parekh.
We see a very different Nikki in this book and without revealing too much, I can say that everything about the change in her is handled beautifully and with great sensitivity. This isn't change for change's sake, reflecting her recent history without discarding the essence of the woman we have come to know during the course of the series. However, although she faces a difficult time, I loved that the relationships with her family and friends that have been established to date continue to demonstrate the love and support she receives. This is a dark thriller with some truly shocking developments but the warmth surrounding Nikki brings some hope and humour to the storyline
As always, Bradford itself plays an integral part in proceedings and the exploration of a modern multicultural city is treated with honest empathy throughout. A series of apparently unconnected machete killings have shocked the public and confounded the police but readers are given little insights into the twisted, brilliant mind of the perpetrator which meant that I'd worked out who was responsible before the revelation comes later in the book. This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story at all – the breadcrumbs are there for us to follow and although I'd guessed who, I was still intrigued to find out whether they would be brought to justice.
Without giving too much away, certain religious, cultural and moral beliefs are examined during the course of the novel and while Liz Mistry ensures Blood Games never becomes bogged down by stereotypical assumptions neither does she sugarcoat the very real issues that face communities across the country. As Nikki and the Bradford police force struggle to work out how the murder of at least four Bradford teens, a malicious acid attack and a close to home abduction are connected, her own family are also drawn into the investigation in a way that cleverly allows for further consideration of some of the issues that affect young people in modern Britain, especially those from Asian backgrounds.
The tension rises with the threat of terrifying violence hanging over the book at all times and it's never obvious who really has the upper hand in a finally balanced, pacy plot that reaches an excitingly satisfying conclusion. Blood Games is a terrifically gripping, thought-provoking thriller with real heart and I loved it. It's made clear at the end that Nikki Parekh can expect more trauma in the near future and as much as she deserves a break, I can't pretend that I'm not desperate to find out what happens next!
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Someone has been attacking and killing teenagers in Bradford. 
The teens have all been the victims of machete attacks and the latest call out Nikki and DC Sajid Malik pick up leads them to the discovery of a young asian males body found at the edge of the Chellow Dene reservoir.
Nikki practically has a breakdown at the scene when she thinks the victim is her nephew.
She finds herself removed from the case and ordered to seek psychiatric help. 
Dr Mallory , a freelance police psychiatrist, may be a little unconventional but the coping mechanisms she teaches Nikki seem to be working.
Yes things are improving though she`s still not ready to return to work. 
Then the son of a friend goes missing and when his parents are sent one of his ears in a package she is determined to find him, officially or otherwise.  
She discovers that the young people of the area are living in fear of being targeted by a group known as the Eyes.  They mete out punishment for anything they perceive as against their rules.
Are they acting alone? Or is someone directing them?
A gripping police procedural and psychological thriller. 
Tension filled, dark, gritty and an ending which has left me hoping the next installment of the DI Nikki Parekh series won`t be too long in coming.
Thanks to Netgalley and HQ Digital for the chance to read this as an ARC.
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This is the first book in the Nikki Parekh series that I’ve read, it worked ok read in isolation but I felt I needed to catch-up on the background and increase my understanding of the main characters by reading the previous three novels.  Set in Bradford, this is a gritty well-written police procedural crime thriller.

The Team are investigating a series of machete attacks, with no apparent links between the victims.  Nikki is on sick leave for part of the story after having a mental breakdown, following the death of her mother and after mistakenly thinking one of the victims is her nephew.  She continues to be involved, investigating when the son of a friend goes missing and his ear is sent to his mother.  The story covers mental health issues, racism and teenage worries experienced by some of the characters and Tweets by several of the teenagers appear in many of the chapters in the book.  The teenage characters constantly refer to ‘the Eyes’ being everywhere and it feels very ominous with none of the teenagers being safe and ‘The Fixer’ is paid by families to sort out issues within their family in an extreme way. Good plot line and some of the characters are likeable, I enjoyed the ending.
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Liz Mistry has delivered another dark and menacing crime thriller set in Bradford.

This time the team are investigating a series of machete attacks.  The book is fast paced, well plotted I found the concept of the 'Eyes' and the 'Headhunter' quite scary.  Liz always has her finger on the pulse and this seems very current and pertinent, dealing with racism, 'honour' killings, the problems faced by teenagers in a multicultural society and the part social media plays.  The nailbiting conclusion had me on the edge of my seat!

The characters, especially the police team, are realistic and well fleshed out.  We see a very different Nikki in this book and the author has done a great job in sympathetically depicting her mental breakdown.  As Nikki is on sick leave her partner, Saj, had a bigger part to play this time.  And DCI Hegley is there to add a little light relief to the very tense story.  The teenagers in the book are all portrayed very authentically, including the way they use language.

Bravo Liz.  Can't wait for book 5.
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I did enjoy reading this book and it was quite a gripping read. The main character was very well drawn this was my first exposure to this author but it won't be the last.

I was given an advance copy by the publishers and netgalley but the review is entirely my own
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I reviewed this book for a blog tour.
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I’ll start saying that I am not a religious person, I don’t believe or like any type of religion. But also, I would like to say that this is a very interesting book, extremely well plotted and with a very interesting story.
If you haven’t read the previous books by Nikki Parekh, don’t worry, you’ll be able to follow the story, but they are so great I am sure you’ll love all the series, this is the fourth of the DS Nikki Parekh series.
In this case, everything will start when some teenagers appear attacked by machetes and our detective has a panic attack at the scene, she knows that needs help but will she be able to recover and help with the case? Or this will be the first case of a massacre?
I found this a very interesting case, first how the author treats the mental health illnesses on the police force; because even if we think that police should be perfect, they are humans with fears like everyone else. Finding a victim that you think could be someone from your family can make anyone lose their mind, don’t you think?
But this is not the only thing that this book talks about, but how religion is seen, when a group of people called the “Eyes” has decided to take the religion as law and anyone that does not follow the rules can be a target.
If you are looking for a twisted read, full of adrenaline and with some very interesting points of view and a brave and intelligent detective, this should be your next read, believe me! Ready for the “Blood Games”?
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Blood games by Liz Mistry.
Detective Nikki Parekh, Book 4.
When a body is found at the edge of Chellow Dene reservoir Detective Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are quick to arrive. This is the third murder in the space of a few weeks. Each murder has a completely different MO, but there is one common theme… all the victims are teenagers. The dead boy reminds Nikki of her nephew, and she feels more helpless than ever. But then another boy goes missing. And this time his parents have been sent a threatening package too. The pattern is different again – is the killer just playing a game? Can Nikki find the strength to uncover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again?
This was a very good read with good characters.  I liked Nikki and Sajid. I loved this series   5*.
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A very slow burner this book is and you do wonder at times if its getting anywhere, but then comes the magic moment where a comment in the book suddenly joins the dots and then it all starts to come together and turn into an exciting read.  I've not read any of the other books in the series so some of the things mentioned made no real sense but it didn't detract from reading this book.
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Brilliant book. I absolutely loved it.

Amazing writing. The opening chapters captures the desperation and numbness of grief so well. My heart was breaking for Nikki.

The plot was quite dark with plenty of twists. Although I worked out who The Fixer was it didn't take anything away from this thrilling read. I read it in two sittings as I didn't want to put it down.

Can't wait for the next one now.
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The story starts at the scene of a brutal attack where the main character, Nikki, thinks the dead boy is her nephew. In reacting badly, she contaminates the scene and is put on sick leave. She has a therapist who is helping her with her mental health and in whom she confides about her past. It is soon clear that there is a fixer responsible for the killings. I found the identity of the fixer a little bit cliched and the social media quotes sadly depressingly true to life. This was a good book but I’m not sure I will pursue the series. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC.
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Great crime thriller with well developed and complex characters.

The premise is unusual as it involves young people and really draws you in.

Really good read.
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Blood Games by Liz Mistry


When a body is found at the edge of Chellow Dene reservoir Detective Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are quick to arrive.

This is the third murder in the space of a few weeks. Each murder has a completely different MO, but there is one common theme… all the victims are teenagers. The dead boy reminds Nikki of her nephew, and she feels more helpless than ever.

This is the fourth book in the series but it is the first book that I have read. There is hints that there are backstories that may be relevant to the story but I found this book easy to follow as a stand-alone. This is a very complex storyline with a very fast pace, so it is not for everyone. My only negative about this book is that I personally thought that there were a few too many characters to keep track of. 

Rating: 4/5
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Another great book by Liz Mistry. A very captivating read. Deals with a very serious and topical issue in a gritty and gripping way. 
Shows both Nikki’s strengths and weaknesses. Her sensitive side, her loyalty to her colleagues and friends and her determination to deal with all life throws at her and bring down the people committing the atrocities.
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