On Tuesday 13th December 2016 the 13th D. S. Lasser novel, Living Ashes, will be published and according to Goodreads it will be 3 years on the 14th December that Robin Roughley published his first Lasser book, The Needle House. Now that is some going, with each one being waited for eagerly by his ever growing band of faithful followers, including myself. I absolutely love these novels where I begin each one with baited breath because I never know if the whole team will survive another round of bad guys in and around Wigan. Robin Roughley has in the past, shocked his readers when some pretty major players in these novels have been disposed of in the most cruel circumstances. It all leaves me so shocked because I never see it coming. I think this is what makes the books so good though, more like real life, as we don’t all have happy endings.
Now there is a bad guy in this series that keeps popping up to the delight of Robin’s readers, Plymouth. At this point I swoon. I don’t think a psychopath has ever been loved by so many people, I know, I know crazy isn’t it? But Robin Roughley has managed to make this happen. Plymouth certainly makes the heart flutter. Now is a good time to say that these novels do contain swearing and are very violent but it all goes with the type of stories they are, it is realistic.
So to celebrate number thirteens release here are all the D.S. Lasser books with a description of each of them. They are epic as a series but can be read as a stand alone if you like, take a look and jump in.
THE NEEDLE HOUSE
This is the only book in the whole series that is available as a paper back too.
The West Pennine moors, endless miles of unspoilt, windswept beauty. A haven for the weekend walker, and nature lover. A playground, for those with disposable income.
Though when the mutilated remains of a fourteen-year-old boy are discovered, it becomes apparent someone is using the desolate landscape as a killing field.
When seventeen-year- old Jenna Fotheringay writes to author Patrick Fossey, she hardly imagines he will take an interest in her research. Unlike many of the girls in the nearby town, she is in no hurry to lose her virginity and gain a cocaine habit. Rather, she spends her days at the local library, searching old microfiche films, and devouring all she can about the Radfield family. Weekends are spent with her grandfather scouring the local countryside. Searching for clues, which will shed light on the powerful landowners who once owned great swathes of the countryside, including the farm, she now calls home.
When Fossey agrees to pay her a visit, Jenna is in some kind of heaven. Although when she takes Fossey to the old gamekeeper’s cottages, neither of them is prepared for the horror that lies within.
Ronnie Fotheringay is a farmer to the core, dark earth beneath his fingernails, money in the bank and bailer twine holding up his trousers. A man raised on the land who adores his only granddaughter. He sowed the seeds, which instilled in her a love of the past. Now in his twilight years he lives for the times they share, the long walks and imparting of knowledge which Jenna, absorbs with relish.
At first, he is delighted when Fossey takes an interest in her research. Yet as fear begins to grip the local community, Ronnie begins to wonder if it was a mistake, as the writer starts to delve into a history Ronnie would sooner lay buried.
Like the town, DS Lasser feels jaded, frayed around the edges, and losing interest in a job he no longer sees as relevant. Families live hand to mouth, fathers spending years on the dole, mothers eking out an existence, supplemented by the occasional win on the bingo, and their offspring running wild.
A town on the skids, no jobs no money, and no hope.
So, when Billy Jones fails to return home it is hardly earth shattering news. A family of thieves, and piss artists, the father and eldest son are doing time and young Billy is rapidly following suit.
As clues are unearthed that lead directly to the Radfield family, Lasser becomes convinced they have found their man.
Ashley Radfield, last of the local aristocracy, a man who has led a life of privilege and undeserved respect. Now along with his ageing father he lives in the rambling manor house. Paint peeling from the windows and weeds in the gutter, mothballed rooms, and a huge kitchen like the cutting room of an abattoir. For the Radfields the days of prosperity and huntsman’s balls are a distant memory.
However, when another body is revealed, Lasser’s convictions are thrown into turmoil. It is all too easy, the clues too convenient, someone is playing a vicious game, someone with a burning hatred for the Radfield family.
As the long hot summer ends and the nights grow longer, Lasser finds himself in a race against time as he tries to unravel the dark secrets that bind the two families. Secrets stretching back over four decades, blackmail and murder reaching out to ensnare the innocent as well as the guilty.
When a thief steals twenty gold chains from the new jewelers in town. DS Lasser is given the task of tracking him down, ordinarily no big deal. Problem is while making his escape, the man sent an elderly woman crashing to the ground. When it transpires she is related to Callum Green the local drugs baron, Lasser knows he must find the thief before Green does.
However, as the plot unfolds, Green realises he has more pressing concerns; someone is trying to take over his business, someone who has an eye on the bigger prize.
Mr Plymouth has done this kind of work before. Charles Munroe is expanding his drugs empire, and Plymouth is responsible for the smooth transition into new more profitable areas.
As those closest to Green begin to die. Lasser finds himself trapped between the warring factions, trying to catch the guilty, whilst protecting the innocent. Though as winter grips, he realises that in this town, even the innocent have their own agenda.
At sixteen, Kelly Ramsey has the seemingly perfect life, adored by her wealthy parents; she is popular at school, big heart, big smile, the golden girl who has everything to live for, a successful life mapped out with no dark clouds hovering on the horizon. However, when she fails to return from her school leaver’s prom, the lives of those closest to her are thrown into a maelstrom of chaos.
Marshall Brooks was not made this way, the doctor says he is ill, yet people still cross the road when they see him shuffling towards them. Young mothers, glare, and grasp the hands of their children, as if afraid he will somehow spirit them away. When all he wants is to be left alone to pursue his hobby, and like his councillor says, everyone should have a hobby. He knows Kelly Ramsey, has watched her from a distance, marvelled at her innocent beauty, pried unseen into her rarefied world. Though he would never harm her, he would never harm any of his girls; even he knows that would be wrong.
As the search for the missing girl unfolds, DS Lasser comes to realise that those closest to her have secrets of their own and that living a life of privilege can come at a price that is impossible to pay. At every turn, he is met with people who have agendas as he tries to uncover the truth amid a web of lies and illusion. From the deputy head of Kelly’s exclusive school, to the stepfather of Rachael Sinclair who claims to have been Kelly’s closet friend, all seem reluctant to help all have hidden pasts.
Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult enough, but Lasser’s boss knows the Ramsey family, has close ties that make it impossible for him to concentrate on the job in hand. As the pressure mounts and DCI Bannister goes into meltdown Lasser realises he is on his own and when the body of a girl is discovered in a local beauty spot, it becomes apparent that someone is determined to keep those secrets buried.
As time runs out and Lasser battles to uncover the truth, he makes discoveries that shock him to the core, as he learns that even tainted blood is thicker than water.
DS Lasser knows time is running out, two women assaulted within the space of a week and now the ‘crazy’ is carrying a knife.
When Sarah Palmer is attacked on her way home from a night on the tiles, she knows she is seconds away from death. She can feel the cold sliver of the blade at her throat; his hot sour breath on her neck as he whispers his vicious promises. So when a passing stranger appears out of the drizzle mist to save her, Sarah feels a cataclysmic sense of relief that soon turns to despair as she realises her savior has vanished into the downpour.
All his life Robert Flynn has heard voices in his head, his mother used to call them his imaginary friends that was until the man with the bright smile opened her throat with the shiny blade. Now he can hear only one and it’s telling him to do things that make him feel bad. Trouble is without his medication he becomes confused and the voice inside will only allow him sanctuary if he does exactly as he’s told.
As Sarah becomes obsessed with finding the man who came to her aid, she decides to take drastic measures that rebound with horrific consequences.
As Lasser’s worst fears are brought to life, he finds himself hunting a man who has no moral compass, but when the true nature of the killer is revealed Lasser realises that someone else laid the seeds that grew and festered someone beyond reproach who wears a bright smile to cover his identity.
As the killer runs amok, Lasser must try to second-guess his intentions before more innocents are killed. Though he soon comes to realise it’s not only the police hunting the killer, someone else has a stake in putting an end to his reign of terror.
By rights DS Lasser should be happy, engaged to the woman of his dreams, and just back from a two-week vacation, life is sweet.
Yet when he discovers that a local sex offender has been mutilated and murdered, all thoughts of harmonious bliss are quickly annihilated.
No one would shed a tear for Colin Philips, no one would stand at his grave and mourn, but when another body turns up in gory bite sized chunks it soon becomes apparent that Philips was only the start.
Someone is stalking the streets of this windswept northern town, someone with a burning hatred and a long list of names to work with.
The killer is on a mission to rid the town of the perverts and child molesters, and he always seems to be one-step ahead of the law.
The authorities are struggling to cope; cuts and job losses at the council are making it an impossible task to monitor the offenders and the killer is taking full advantage of the situation.
Lasser soon finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and deceit as those responsible for using the town as a dumping ground try to cover their tracks at any cost.
To make matters worse local reporter Michael Brewster is leading the witch-hunt, determined to lay the blame for the killings at Lasser’s feet.
As the nights draw in and the body count rises, Lasser must hunt the maniac as he spirals out of control, though even in his madness Lasser realises that the killer is working to an agenda and he isn’t working alone.
Wigan in the middle of a wet winter is hardly the stuff dreams are made of but for once DS Lasser is happy.
However, when three bodies are discovered floating in a local lake, it becomes apparent that someone is trying to refine a new drug before it hits the streets, a drug that leaves people dead. Someone is using people as test subjects and they don’t care who they kill as they try to perfect the product. At least that is what Lasser thinks as he tries to track the killer down. But all is not as it seems and as the body count rises, Lasser finds himself questioning the facts of the case. Someone is using smoke and mirrors to muddy the waters and Lasser soon discovers that the real truth is much darker, much deeper, as the bodies vanish beneath the surface taking their secrets with them.
When twelve year old Molly Carmichael goes missing on route to her best friends birthday party, DS Lasser fears the worst. When a body is found on a bleak snow covered lane those fears are realised. Someone is hunting young girls, someone who is interested in saving their souls from a harsh world. When another young girl is snatched from the roadside, Lasser knows that if they don’t find her and quick then the mad man will claim his second victim.
The killer is sick and twisted, yet he’s also careful and working to a plan, a plan devised by God.
Like the town he lives and works in Lasser’s life is falling apart. The woman he loves has come to her senses and left him and the daily grind of catching the bad guys is wearing thin. Therefore, when he is attacked on his way home from a retirement party he thinks he will get his wish and end his days in the deserted shopping centre. However, someone has other ideas and when Lasser is saved he is left with the puzzle as to why he should be left alive amidst so much blood and carnage.
When others begin to die and the streets are crawling with armed officers Lasser is left chasing a shadow, a shadow from the past, a man who has saved his life once before and yet kills with such skill and abandon.
As the nights grow darker, Lasser must battle not only the white haired assassin but also those who are brought in to catch the killer before he strikes again. In the crucible of hate and mistrust, Lasser discovers that the people you should be able to trust are often the ones who will stick the knife in and twist it as they try to make a name for themselves at any cost.
With the body count rising, Lasser finds himself trying to do his job with enemies on every side. All taking place against the backdrop of Waltzers and glaring lights as the fairground comes to town bringing with it a sadistic psychopath who has a plan of his own.
Belle Morgan has no idea why the men are chasing her or why murder follows in her footsteps.
All she knows is she has to stay hidden but that isn’t easy when you are left to fend for yourself in a strange town and your face is suddenly all over the news channels and plastered on the front of the papers.
When a street kid turns up dead at the back of the local hospital Lasser finds himself embroiled in a fight to find out who the victim was and why he was brutally murdered. Although he soon comes to realise that the boy was not alone when he died – someone else was there with him, someone who knows the truth of what happened on the dimly-lit car park.
As the faceless killers are drawn to the town, Lasser knows he must find the mystery girl before they do.
With the stakes mounting and the body count rising Lasser discovers that the runaway holds the key to the murder and mayhem.
However, when those closest to him become ensnared in the web of hatred and violence then all bets are off as Lasser realises that some lines have to be crossed if you are to save the ones you care most about.
The problem is he may already be too late.
When Sam Burt sets out for a leisurely stroll along the canal, he has no idea that the afternoon will turn into a nightmare of nerve-shredding terror. Running late, with the sun sinking fast and his dodgy hip playing up, his only concern is if he will make it home before his legs give way. However, what he discovers on the towpath sends him crashing to the ground, his heart hammering, his brain misfiring with horror.
Called out to the grizzly scene Lasser soon discovers that what happened to the dead man was no accident, someone planned the execution, someone with a grudge to bear. Suddenly Lasser finds himself under the spotlight, as secrets about his past are unearthed and those who want to see him brought down gather like a pack of starving wolves.
However, Lasser has concerns that are more pressing when a colleague is snatched from the side of the road and vanishes into the night. With the clock ticking and time running out, he must unravel the mystery of who wants him to suffer before it is too late.
And when the packages start to arrive and the skeletons come clattering out of the cupboard Lasser finds himself fighting not only for his own survival but also for that of a member of his family, someone who won’t even acknowledge his existence let alone accept his help.
When a body is found on the railway tracks it looks at first like a suicide until Lasser discovers that the man had been drugged before having his arms and legs bound As he tries to discover the identity of the dead man the trail leads to a world of parties and dark fantasy. A world where the powerful are in charge and the weak are made to suffer for their twisted pleasure. But someone is taking their own revenge on the party-goers, someone who will stop at nothing to bring the guilty to their knees, someone with an agenda far darker than those involved.
Two families at war one terrible mistake.
When Chaz Finch drops the chunk of stone from the motorway bridge he sets off a chain of events that will decimate his family and leave him running from the white haired man with the bright crazed smile.
Lasser knows only too well that Plymouth is on the warpath and those responsible will suffer at his hands.
Though Lasser has problems of his own, Paul Conroy is an abuser an animal with no moral compass and Lasser knows he is already looking for his next victim and they have to catch him before he goes to ground.
As the stakes grow ever higher Lasser finds himself trapped in a maelstrom of murder and violence as the clock ticks away the seconds towards the ultimate confrontation.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT ROBIN ROUGHLEY AND WHERE HE CAN BE CONTACTED
Robin Roughley lives in Wigan in the the North West of England (God’s coal bunker) though he hopes to one day be released for good behaviour.
He is the author of twelve crime/thriller novels featuring DS Lasser. The novels are set between the run down streets of a northern town and the beautiful yet desolate west Pennine moors.
If you love your crime fiction crammed with square jawed heroes driving flash cars and glorious women who shimmer with inner light, then the DS Lasser novels are probably not for you.
However, if you prefer your characters to be flawed, with a sprinkling of dandruff and old acne scars, the plots to be laced with dark humour, then give them a try.
contact Rob at:
CONGRATULATIONS ROBIN ROUGHLEY ON YOUR SIGNING TO BLOODHOUND BOOKS YESTERDAY. ABSOLUTLEY DELIGHTED WITH THE NEWS. THERE WILL BE A COMPLETELY NEW SERIES IN THE NEW YEAR TOO. ALL VERY EXCITING.
Now here is the new book LIVING ASHES which can be purchased from 13th December 2016. I wish you tons of success.
Christmas in Wigan the snow is falling the Christmas market is doing a roaring trade. Soon the snow will be stained red, someone is out to settle old scores, someone, who cares little for the lives of others. The threads will pull Lasser into a past so twisted that he fears he will never find a way back to the here and now. As the church bells chime and the town in buried under a blanket of white he must trust his instincts to get to the truth before it is too late. But sometimes even gut feelings can’t be relied upon to save the innocent.