Singapore Killer by Murray Bailey

Blog tour: 14 to 31 May 2020


A helicopter crash results in the pilot and a military policeman burned to death. It’s unclear what they were doing, but this was no accident and the name BlackJack is found at the scene.

Ash Carter knew that the Special Investigations Branch were tracking a killer, and when a faceless body is found in Perak, and he loses contact with the SIB, he races to north-east Malaya to help. There Carter discovers a mysterious town that the locals won’t talk about.

With no sign of his contact and a mounting body count, Carter is drawn into a dark case from which there seems no escape.

This is the fifth book of the series. The sixth and final book is called Singapore Fire and will be released in 2021.

My review

Set in Singapore in the 1950s, Singapore Killer continues the exciting Ash Carter series. The book begins with an explosive start: a helicopter dramatically crashes and catches fire, with the death of the pilot and a military policeman.

Ash Carter was in the British Army’s Royal Military Police and then worked for the internal security secretary of the Singapore government and a private protection force in Malaya. He’s now an independent investigator and is called in to help the Special Investigations Branch (SIB) look into the helicopter accident.

From the evidence, Carter discovers that the silvery grey Sikorsky S-51 didn’t crash as a result of the pilot losing control due to mechanical error and that the training helicopter was set on fire after it came down. The hunt is on for the killer after a metal dog tag with the word ‘BlackJack’ on it is discovered in the helicopter’s fuel pipe.

When Carter set up as an independent investigator, he recruited a Chinese lady, Madam Chau, as a secretary/receptionist. She sounds an amazing character – she’s described as being ‘as wily as a fox and as bad-tempered as a baited bear’ and with a ‘face that was so flat that it looked like she’d been struck with a frying pan’. She reminds Carter of ‘a basset hound – an ugly one’!

Madam Chau is great at helping him to weed out the timewasters – he receives lots of letters asking for assistance, often from women who are pregnant by soldiers who have now disappeared – and she is an excellent translator. Carter investigates the death of a greengrocer who was bitten by a snake and also looks into the disappearance of a dog! Rather different cases from his SIB days!

When Scott ‘Slugger’ Stevenson, head of the Perak Protection Force and Carter’s friend, phones up about a mutilated body, Ash takes on the case and drives to Batu Gajah in Perak, Malaya to investigate.

Two SIB men, Captain John Harwood and Lieutenant Joe Jenkins, are working on classified missions, and Carter checks their recent reports and begins to make connections between his various cases and realises there’s a serial killer on the loose who’s targeting military personnel. After one of the men doesn’t check in, Carter heads to the small town of Bandar Permaisuri, near Terengganu, where he was last seen and, after a tip off from a young waitress, Carter heads to a town called Bandar Putih (‘white town’), which was built by a white man called Jeremiah and has a big fence around it.

Carter joins the rather mysterious commune and cult, which the residents call Shangri-La, and meets the ex-military men who run the place and the women who look after them. As Carter realises that the men are involved in a gold pipeline (trading) and linked in with his hunt for BlackJack, he lays low and tried to work out exactly what’s going on, with help from another of his contacts. This is where things get even more exciting and there are numerous unexpected and disturbing events as Carter gets deeper into the weird cult and BlackJack taunts him and leaves more clues behind.

This was an action-packed, fast-paced read and I really enjoyed following Ash Carter as he attempted to track down BlackJack. There were several sections written from BlackJack’s point of view and it was intriguing to read his evil thoughts.

Singapore Killer was a well-plotted, gripping thriller with some rather gruesome descriptions of murder scenes, as well as several really tense moments that had me holding my breath and frantically turning the pages to see who was going to be taken out next! It had lots of great twists and turns!

There were several strands to the story and lots of characters – it was fun to try and guess the connections and how everything was going to come together. At times, I had to refer back to remember who the characters were and how they were linked but I do have a particularly bad memory for names!!

I haven’t read any of the other four books in the series but I didn’t feel like I was missing out on lots of back stories – there were a few mentions of past events but I didn’t feel confused.

Overall, I really enjoyed Singapore Killer – it was an intense and absorbing read with some fascinating descriptions of military investigations and 1950s Singapore and Malaya and I loved the character of Madam Chau. I’ll have to go back and read Singapore 52, Singapore Girl, Singapore Boxer and Singapore Ghost to get to know Ash Carter better before the final book, Singapore Fire, is released next year!

Buy the book

Singapore Killer (Ash Carter, book 5) by Murray Bailey is released on 1 June and can be preordered from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.

About the author

Murray Bailey got his first taste of success when he was published in The Times at 18 and in his local newspaper. Although he went on to pursue a different career, he continued to write and edit and became the editor of an international magazine and editor of four technical books.

His first work of fiction, I Dare You, was published in 2016 and The Lost Pharaoh continues the ancient Egyptian story glimpsed in Map of the Dead and is his ninth title.

Murray was born in Greater Manchester, England and has being moving south ever since. He now lives on the beautiful Dorset coast with his wife and family.

Twitter: @MurrayBaileybks
Facebook: @MurrayBaileyAuthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Murray Bailey for my digital copy of Singapore Killer and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


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