Don’t Talk by Ian Ridley

Blog tour: 15 to 25 November 2022


When catching a killer means betraying a code.

When investigative reporter Jan Mason discovers that a young woman found strangled to death in her Chelsea flat is the daughter of a prominent politician, she knows she has a big story on her hands.

What she doesn’t know yet is that a mystery man has just told a stunned Alcoholics Anonymous meeting nearby that he might have killed his partner in a drunken blackout. And that Jan’s old flame, Frank Phillips, the Metropolitan Police’s deputy head of counter terrorism and a recovering alcoholic himself, was in that meeting – bound by its confidentiality. Soon, a member of the AA meeting will also be found dead, strangled with the same scarf.

Resourceful, well-connected, and always one step ahead of the police, Jan is willing to put herself in harm’s way if it means catching a killer. And landing a front page exclusive.

My review

Set in London, Don’t Talk is the second book in the Jan Mason series and, right from the start, it’s a gripping read as we meet the two main characters – Jan Mason, chief reporter at large at a national newspaper, and her former flame, Frank Phillips, deputy head of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police and a recovering alcoholic of 15 years.

When Camilla Carew (38), the daughter of a well-known politician, Peter Carew, is found strangled in her Chelsea flat, Jan Mason receives a tip off from police and begins investigating her death, hoping to be able to break the news about key developments. She’s a great character – fearless, intelligent and never afraid to ask difficult questions and think outside the box. She leaves no angle uncovered and her calm, sympathetic and encouraging manner helps her to coax information from witnesses, sources and suspects alike.

Frank Phillips worked with Jan in the past and they had a short relationship but they haven’t been in touch for many years. Working in counter terrorism, he shouldn’t have any connection with the murder case but while attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, his group is shocked when a new member bursts into their meeting late and confesses he may have killed his girlfriend while suffering from an alcoholic blackout. Frank is bound by the anonymity and confidentiality of the AA meetings and their discussions and feels torn about telling police colleagues what happened that evening, despite the possible link to Camilla Carew’s murder. He really regrets this when another shocking murder is committed and the victim is a member of the AA group and has also been strangled.

As the investigation unfolds, we switch between Jan and Frank’s viewpoints and we also meet DS Deena Campbell, who seems very competent and good at her job. All three are good at bartering and exchanging key information.

I really liked Jan – she’s very relatable: passionate, determined and hard working but stretched in several different directions. She’s trying to date but her work takes up all her time; her mum is deteriorating quickly in a nursing home. It feels like she’s always trying to prove herself, despite past successes, and the threat of redundancy is now rearing its ugly head. She seems rather unlucky in love – not as discerning and switched on in her private life as she is with her work.

Deena was another interesting character and it feels like she is someone to watch in the future and could have a larger role to play in any subsequent novels.

Overall, I really enjoyed this cleverly plotted, engaging and well-written story. The different strands worked really well as we followed the investigation from different angles and Jan, Frank and the police grew closer to the truth, though not always coordinating in the best fashion! I’m sure they could have solved things quicker if they hadn’t been so cagey but that’s the nature of their jobs!

Don’t Talk was a fast-paced and entertaining read and I raced through it in a couple of days, eager to find out how everything was resolved.

With the victim having several past and current partners, there were plenty of motives for murder. I had a few theories about the identity of the killer but was never convinced that I’d sussed things out properly. There were some fascinating twists and turns as we got closer to the end and I was shocked by some of the revelations!

I haven’t read Ian Ridley’s first Jan Mason book, Outer Circle, but I’ve now bought it and I’m looking forward to checking it out! I really enjoyed Don’t Talk and I hope there will be another book in the series soon!

Buy the book

Don’t Talk by Ian Ridley can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Ian Ridley is the author of 12 sports books, including the number one bestselling Addicted, with the former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams, which was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. The follow-up book Sober was published in 2017, 20 years on. Three of his other books have also been nominated in the British Sports Book Awards. His latest is The Breath of Sadness: On love, grief and cricket, which is a poignant account of coping with the death of his wife Vikki Orvice, a trailblazing sports journalist.

Over a 40-year career, Ian has been a sports writer for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and the Mail on Sunday, for whom he was Chief Football Writer. He was named Sports Journalist of the Year in the 2007 British Press Awards and nominated on two other occasions.

Ian has also written for television, including more than 20 episodes of the Sky One drama series Dream Team, and currently has a film script optioned on the life story of the world champion boxer Darren Barker, based on the autobiography on which the two collaborated, A Dazzling Darkness.

His first novel, The Outer Circle, was published in 2018 and reissued in 2022 as Outer Circle, the first in the series of Jan Mason investigative journalist books.

Twitter: @IanRidley1
Twitter: @JanMasonJourno

Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my copy of Don’t Talk and for my place on the blog tour.

Blog tour

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