Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

When the body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago, DI Erika Piper must find the culprit; the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer.’

Having recently returned to work after suffering a near fatal attack herself, she must once again prove her worth. But when another body is found, and the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must put her demons aside and crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.


It is incredibly satisfying to take a punt on a novel that you know very little about and becoming utterly engrossed in it. You take a risk but you are richly rewarded not only with a gripping police procedural but also the anticipation of a series leading character in DI Erika Piper, a well-rounded and immediately appealing investigator.

As you can probably tell, I am delighted to provide a stop on the A Wash of Black blog tour and to have been introduced to a new author who has delivered a very impressive debut novel. The opening chapter sets a gruesome scene with the body of actress Anna Symons discovered in an ice rink, mutilated in a grotesque recreation of a murder she portrayed on screen in the movie Blood Ice. It is a brutally violent murder but also meticulous and obsessive and it is only the start.

DI Erika Piper has been recovering from a serious stabbing that she fears may have robbed her of any chance of motherhood. There is to be no phased return to work though as she walks straight into a high profile, bloody murder. Set in Manchester, the action unfolds like a TV drama with the descriptive writing providing a very visual experience. The scenes come to life in your mind’s eye, as does the violence and death.

Piper works her way through the suspects alongside her partner, and effective foil, DS Liam Sutton. There are plenty of motives fed by a diverse range of passions but who has crossed the line and turned obsession into murder? Sometimes you just click with a book and for me this was one of those occasions. I liked Piper, built a connection to her as well as her case, and wanted to find out what would happen to both.

I have been reading a lot of crime novels recently but A Wash of Black still felt fresh and vibrant. The setting is as well written and developed as the characters and it really felt like this was the beginning of something I wanted to further explore. Confident writing, an engaging leading character, a gritty city location and a chilling murder investigation add up to a very accomplished debut and Chris McDonald is an author for crime fans to watch very closely.

Who is this Chris McDonald fella?

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.


And finally…

You can follow the author on Twitter at @cmacwritescrime and the publisher at @RedDogTweets.

Red Dog Press are a small independent publishing house who are well worth your support. You can buy the paperback and hardback editions of A Wash of Black (along with the rest of their range of crime fiction) direct from them at www.reddpgpress.co.uk/shop

Also available in all Libraries and Bookstores – Independent or otherwise!


Or you can try to win a copy along with other goodies courtesy of this Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Details: The prize is a signed Hardback edition of A Wash of Black, along with a Go Away I’m Reading Tote Bag and a Luxury Bookmark.

The giveaway runs from 28th Jan to 11th Feb, and we (Red Dog Press) will announce the randomly chosen winner on the evening of the 11th Feb (GMT)

Routes to entry are all on the giveaway link, but basically, sign up to Red Dog Press Reader’s Club (which also gets you discounts in our store, a free eBook, and latest news from us), following us on twitter. Entrants who tweet our promo tweet get two bonus entries.

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YjU5MzljNjFlYTUzNDc2MTg3MzU5ZGUxYTgwMDU2OjI=/?

And absolutely finally, follow the Blog Tour or catch up with previous stops using the banner below with everything you need to know!