Copy of Add a subheading 3 - REVIEW: Heads or Tails (DS Malice Series #3) by Rob Ashman
Crime Fiction

REVIEW: Heads or Tails (DS Malice Series #3) by Rob Ashman

Heads or Tails by Rob Ashman
Published by Self Published on 16 September 2020
Genres: British Crime, Crime
Pages: 439
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon

Valerie Riggs lets the coin rule her life. Every decision is based upon a game of chance, even the decision to kill. She trusts the coin to keep her safe … it’s never let her down.

DS Khenan Malice is called to attend a clear case of suicide. But all is not what it seems. Then his world is turned upside down by a casual remark. The worst thing is … the remark comes from his seven-year-old daughter.

DC Kelly Pietersen is close to breaking point. The ghosts of recent events won’t leave her alone. She’s about to snap and someone is going to get hurt.

Valerie is always one step ahead … the coin knows best.

Heads or Tails is gambling on a knife’s edge. Valerie Riggs was thrown into the primordial soup with Two-Face. Who makes life and death decisions based upon the flip of a coin? Valerie does, and she is resolute in its whispered answer. They say everything happens for a reason, but Valerie believes that the toss of a coin will keep her safe … it hasn’t done her wrong yet. It’s an addictive tale of compulsion and delusion with characters that leave you feeling relieved that you walk on the sane side of the street.

Heads and Tails opens with a taster of Valerie’s mental capacity. The lady doesn’t display behaviours that you or I would deem normal. She’s had a difficult upbringing and it has affected her more than could be anticipated. She lives and dies by the sword (or in this case, the coin.) she’s very recently lost her partner, witnessing a slow and painful death with her finally succumbing to sepsis has taken its physical and mental toll on Valerie. Her pain has made her go running into the darkness, but she is more comfortable there than in the light. The lengths she will go to with the toss of a coin is horrifying.

Rob Ashman has a unique style in his storytelling. He doesn’t believe in setting up a story slowly – it’s a kick you in the genitals type set up. You fall to your knees with the pain and just when you manage to get to your feet, the author stamps you back down again. I kept telling myself I’d only read a few more pages which turns into half the book. It was refreshing to read about a female serial killer especially one as unhinged as Valerie Riggs.

There are moments where you believe you have it all figured out – murder she wrote was murder she didn’t write. It’s laughable how far off the mark I was, I think I’m more comfortable being an armchair detective than a real one. I enjoyed the relationship between DS Malice and Pietersen. They’ve got each other’s backs and wouldn’t hesitate to take a bullet for one another.

I haven’t read books 1 & 2 which I plan to rectify soon so that I have a deeper understanding of past events. The author has a way of allowing the reader to feel the frustration of just how things can dangle on a knife-edge with an investigation. It felt very authentic, and I was reeled in.

Ashman writes with flair and style. Absorbing and deftly written. Heads or Tails is a bog that begs to be read in one sitting.


image - REVIEW: Heads or Tails (DS Malice Series #3) by Rob Ashman

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy was the result. 

Rob published Those That RemainIn Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written the DI Rosalind Kray series. These are Faceless, This Little Piggy, Suspended Retribution and Jaded which are also published by Bloodhound.

His latest work sees the introduction of a new set of characters – DS Khenan Malice and DC Kelly Pietersen. The first book in the series is titled Killing Pretties and the second is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies. Both books will be published this year.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: