Cover Image: Blood Games

Blood Games

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Member Reviews

This is the fourth book in the series featuring Nikki Parekh, but the first one I have read.  It was a fairly interesting read but I found the mental health issues and racist violence quite hard to deal with.  It makes it a dark read.  I feel that this book suffered from being the first one I read in the series and that the earlier books should be read in order as there is a lot of significant information about Nikki Parekh's background that isn't given in this book.  As the book starts with her mental breakdown, it was difficult to engage with her as a detective when she is off on sick leave.  The plot was good but maybe stretched the limits of credibility at times.  The characters weren't well-drawn, one in particular I found rather silly.  
This series is obviously one that many readers enjoy, but it's not one I will be returning to.
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I have been aware of Liz Mistry as a crime writer for some time, and have finally decided to try her series after reading so many great reviews. This is the fourth offering, and whilst there were obviously backstories, I still found it a reasonable, if complex and multilayered, standalone that touches on some very dark and sensitive issues, set in Bradford. It begins with DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik at the scene of the latest machete murder of a Asian young male at Chellow Dene Reservoir where a traumatised Nikki with mental health issues has an almighty public meltdown that contaminates the crime scene when she makes the error of thinking the victim is her beloved nephew, Haqib. Her boss, DCI Archie Hegley has no choice but to put her on sick leave, knowing the police will miss her able presence.

A new DI Ahad arrives to take over the cases at Trafalgar House, and it has to be said that initially he does little to inspire confidence in a Sajid who keeps in close contact with Nikki, providing much needed support as she slowly begins to pick up the pieces with the help and therapy provided by Dr Mallory in whom she confides her innermost secrets, issues and problems. She has 3 children, Charlie, Ruby and Sunni and it is her partner, Marcus, who is a rock solid when it comes to picking Nikki up as she hits an all time low, keeping the family together, whilst monitoring her closely. Taxi firm owner, Ali Khan's son, Maz, has been abducted, his ear sent in a parcel to his distraught parents. Ali asks Nikki for help, in a city where the young people live in fear and terror of the 'eyes' enforcing a fundamentalist set of rules. Overseeing the killings and deadly mayhem is 'The Honourable Fixer', getting rich without getting their hands dirty, convinced they will never be caught.

Some of the reasons I loved this novel is Mistry's superb skills in characterisation, Nikki is a wonder and so human, and I adored Sajid, who has Nikki's back at all times, whilst mental health issues are depicted with great sensitivity. Contemporary issues of race, religion and relationships are seen through the eyes of the young, often communicating through social media. This is a wonderful crime read, that features deeply troubling dysfunctional families, and the worryingly problematic prevalence and application of the unacceptable concept of 'honour'. A brilliant crime read that I recommend. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
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I can see that this is a great read for those who like their crime dark and sinister but it was a bit too much so for me and, in common with other reviewers, I struggled to follow the storyline in parts as I am new to the series.  Sometimes I get impatient when there is too much back-filling on characters in the middle of a series but here, I think, more explanation was needed.  However, its a gripping read with good, relevant characters.
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A great police procedural read!
It’s the first Nikki Parekh book I have read and it won’t be the last.
Nikki is a complex character and there  is enough back story to explain her complexities .
The story is gritty and compelling , the team based in Bradford are investigating a series of incidents involving machete attacks , they are seemingly random , but are they connected? 
The protagonist has a mental breakdown whilst investigating the machetes attacks , but she bounces back stronger than before and it makes her  methods of investigation more  astute.
The writing is of an excellent calibre and I found the book an engrossing read , the characters are well rounded and amiable and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Thanks to NetGalley and HQ.
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You can't help liking Nikki Parekh, a DS in Bradford but poor Nikki is not firing on all cylinders and for some of this novel she is fighting her demons under the gaze of psychiatrist Dr Helen Mallory. Parekh is keen to get back to work as soon as she is able because her team now has a new DI and she fears for the cohesiveness of her work mates. There's lots to get back to as well with a growing murder rate usually involving assailants using machetes. But there's a dark force controlling events, known as The Honourable Fixer amongst the clients and henchmen, hidden from view within the Dark Web, we rarely get an insight in to who it can be. Eventually we do get to know the full CV of this 'Fixer' and this is where the story loses its credibility because it seems so unlike most criminal careers, this one was once huge and now gets by on a few targetted hits. So, from influencing the overthrow of governments, corporations and politicians, to enabling a handful of Bradford's low life to instil fear in to the population of the all-seeing 'Eyes'. It's all a bit comic book and marred an otherwise good novel. Liz Mistry sets a good scene though and her characters give the readers plenty of variety. In Blood Games, Liz Mistry IMHO makes the mistake of bestowing on one critical individual 'The Honourable Fixer' just too may talents. A bit like thinking Bill Gates writes Windows.
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Blood Games is the third book in the DS Nikki Parekh series by Liz Mistry and it is another fast moving police procedural with plenty of sub plots to keep the reader entertained. 

Parekh and colleagues end up investigating a series of murders that appear to be connected but also random. 

Other than the social media chapters the book moves along at a good pace and will definitely appeal to followers of the series.
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3.5 stars
This is a good crime thriller in the Nikki Parekh series. 
Nikki and Saj are investigating a case where someone is killing teenagers with a machete in Bradford. 
Nikki has a breakdown at one of the crime scenes as she has not dealt with her grief from her mother’s death, and is removed from the case. 
Nikki seeks psychiatric support and is coming to terms with things but is still not ready to return to work. 
She’s then approached and asked to help when another teenager goes missing and his parents are sent his ear through their door. 
Nikki finds she can cope most of the time and wants to help find the missing boy. 
This is a good crime thriller. 
Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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I am very pleased to have been given the chance to read the next DS Nikki Parekh book in the series having enjoyed the previous books .Set in Bradford this is a gritty story of multiple murders  of young teenagers mostly with a machete .Nikki and her Team are put on the case to solve it .Fast paced this is a page turner crime thriller with a satisfying ending .Many thanks to the Publisher ,the Author and NetGalley for my free copy in return for an honest review
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An excellent addition to the series. Reading about mental health problems being addressed in a realistic manner in fiction is helpful in normalising the situation.  Showing that even the strongest of people have a breaking point but it is possible to make something stronger and beautiful after repair, just like Japanese Kintsugi, is a concept we should deal with more often. 

The story is brutal and bloody, but that is what is to be expected from a book called Blood Games, it is also sad in that people are unable to accept others just as they are and see differences as strengths.  Ultimately it is hopeful, showing that recovery from trauma, either mental or physical, is possible.

I’m looking forward to the next instalment in this series and hoping I will not have to wait too long for it to appear.
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DNF. This is the first book I’ve read from the DS Nikki Parekh series but I don’t think it works  as a standalone book. The protagonist is in the throes of a mental breakdown from the beginning of the book and very little information about her life prior to that is offered, so I had no sense of how she usually worked as a DS.  I gave up reading a third of the way through as I simply couldn’t engage with the plot and found the characters very flat.  While I appreciate that the book is dealing with the important issues of mental health and racism, there wasn’t anything that made me want to keep reading. Sorry for a negative review but it wasn’t for me. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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With 3 murders of teenage boys taking place Nikki knows she needs to get to the bottom of this case and fast; however having arrived at the 3rd crime scene and seeing the familiarity of one of the boys who looks exactly like her teenage nephew Nikki has a complete breakdown and is pulled off the case and referred to a police psychiatrist. 

Whilst Nikki is off another murder takes place like the others they all have their similarities and Nikki is convinced they are all the same killer however with a 4th murder happening and an ear being delivered to the teenage boys devastated family Nikki knows she needs to pull herself together and get back to work quickly. 

What pushed Nikki to go back to work is an attack on a local vigil that is being held. At a time where the local community comes together to unite over the terrible events that have happened the attackers loaded with their machetes reap havoc on the event which incidentally gives Nikki and her team a few much needed clues to solving the case. 

This book is book 4 of a series of crime thriller with the lead character being detective Nikki Parekh it was the first one I’ve read from the series and at first I did find it a bit difficult to catch up on but once o got my head round who was who I really enjoyed reading this book and will be certain to read more books from this series. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advance readers copy of this book in exchange for this review 🙂
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This is the first of Liz Mistry's novels I have read and, not having read any of the previous ones, I struggled with it a bit in the beginning, It wasn't because of the MC's backstory, although I could have done with a little more 'character-establishment' for the new reader. The problem was that the Parekh was introduced to me as someone who was going through a nervous breakdown. I got no sense at all of what she was like as a police officer or a mother and was quite a way into the book before I could appreciate her as a strong, fearless policewoman. In retrospect, the mental health issues she went through only served to muddy the waters, although I appreciate there was a literary device wrapped in there. I just feel it clouded my perception of the MC for too long.
The plot itself was a little muddled and the occasional patches of 'textspeak' didn't seem to serve any real purpose in moving the plot along. Parekh came into her own at the end, although a large slice of important information was handed to her on a plate. I did finish the book because a few of the minor characters were nicely drawn and held my interest but I don't think I will seek out another Mistry novel. I acknowledge that the author has a large, enthusiastic following. It just wasn't for me.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I struggled at the start of this book, as I had not read any previous books by the author, so knew nothing about the history of the characters. I was also finding it excessively bloodthirsty; to be expected, really, with a title “Blood Games”. However, I persisted, and was so glad I did. The plot was enthralling and the characters engaging and complex. I was gripped and couldn’t put it down. Different, but immensely satisfying. A well written book and a thoroughly good read.
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I love this series and the way the main characters progress. Great to see mental health being presented in a positive way. I can’t wait for the next book, which is the highest praise I can give.
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Sorry this wasn’t for me I couldn’t really understand it and didn’t like the phone texts that kept appearing.  

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy
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Nikki Parekh is dealing with emotional  issues of her own when she has an unfortunate accident at a crime scene, thereby compromising any evidence. She is told to go on leave and try to gain help from a police sanctioned therapist. 

However, crime doesn't stop, and despite Nikki being on medical leave, she is still drawn into the investigations surrounding the machete attacks that have been targeting the youth of Bradford. 

It seems as though the mastermind behind the attacks has inside knowledge to the direction of police inquiry. The mastermind, The Fixer, has a minion (The Headhunter), who then delegates jobs out to the minions (The Eyes). 

This book kept me guessing as to the identity of The Fixer until 2/3 of the way through the book. This was such a well written book,  I could easily see it being adapted for television. 

Would definitely recommend this book, as sadly, nothing in it is beyond the realms of possibility.
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Blood Games sees Nikita Parekh at her lowest. Her mental health deteriorates, her eventual breakdown explained in detail and heartbreakingly realistic. And while she is off work, her beloved Bradford is suffering as a series of young people are murdered. From different communities, and with no apparent link, who is behind these awful crimes?

Nikki eventually returns to work and joins up with DC Sajid Malik on the case. But with a new DI leading the team all does not go smoothly. And she is still being contacted by her father ...

The scope of this novel is ambitious, as a secretive Fixer is suspected to be at the heart of events. But who is it? Like all good mystery novels, the clues are there if the reader is clever enough to decipher them. Blood Games is superbly written and is enthralling to the very end. This series gets better with every novel.
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I found this book difficult to get into. It wasn’t what I was expecting and although I struggled through it, I really didn’t enjoy it. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book, especially as I live near Bradford and know that these types of atrocities do happen. It’s a powerful, grim and scary story in parts, and at times I found it a little difficult to read but it certainly kept me engaged.  The perpetrator wasn’t who I thought it would be and came as a bit of a shock when I eventually clicked who it was (I don’t understand why they did what they did though!).  I love the relationship between Nikki and Saj and look forward to reading more of their adventures.  A good well-written read with a brilliant ending!  Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for the ARC.
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I’m afraid I couldn’t get on with Blood Games at all.  I found it overblown, difficult to read and although it deals with important issues, it didn’t engage me at all.

The book opens with DS Nikki Parekh, in a dreadful emotional state after the death of her mother and under threat from her father, having a near-breakdown at a murder scene and, within a couple of chapters, being Taken Off The Case.  We are normally spared this monumental cliché of the genre until at least half way through a book.  Add to this a pantomimically useless and self-regarding replacement DI, a similarly pantomimically useless but ambitious fellow DS who is “Nikki’s nemesis” (yes, that phrase is actually used) and I began to struggle badly.  In addition, I found the prose rather too peppered with stale usage and downright cliché in places.  Someone “stands out like a sore thumb”, for example.  Seriously?  

The issues of youth knife crime, racism and so on which Liz Mistry deals with are important and timely, and I was looking forward to the setting in Bradford, but I’m afraid the presentation of them here just didn’t work for me.  I battled on for quite a while, but I just couldn’t be doing with it and gave up in the end.  I’m sorry to be so critical; others have plainly enjoyed this far more than I did, but I really wasn’t for me.

(My thanks to HQ for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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