Wednesday 13 September 2017



Watching The Bodies: an explosive new crime thriller from a critically acclaimed author
When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive. But who will it be?

Watching The Bodies is the first in Graham Smith's new Jake Boulder series, a fast-moving and action packed crime thriller, it will appeal to greatly to fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.

“Watching the Bodies is a storming addition to the action thriller genre, and Jake Boulder a new tough guy to root for. Be under no illusion, Boulder is no Jack Reacher or Joe Hunter clone- He is his own man and readers will delight in getting to know a hero who is as sharp with his wits, and his tongue, as he is with his fists.” Matt Hilton – Bestselling author of the Joe Hunter thrillers

I will hold my hand up and admit I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the serial killer book. In the main I tend to avoid them. I will make an exception for John Sandford’s books, though I’ve not picked up one of them for a few years now.

I did enjoy this one and it was my first outing with Graham Smith. Kind of fortunate really, because I had already committed to reading the second Jake Boulder book – The Kindred Killers for a post next week.

Over 300 pages long, but it was a quick easy read. Plenty happening to keep me engaged and speeding through the story.

Jake Boulder is single, a bouncer at a bar and sometime help for his friend, Alfonse who runs an investigative business. We learn about Boulder’s upbringing, the abandonment by his father at a young age, the Scottish heritage, the inherited fiery temper and willingness to engage in casual violence. He’s well-suited to his role as a bouncer. You start trouble, he’ll happily finish it. He’s intelligent and practical. He dreads phone calls from his mother….the constant ear-bashing about the lack of a meaningful relationship and the absence of a grandchild. Boulder and women - he loves them and leaves them, having serious commitment issues.

A women has been murdered and the dead girl’s father has hired Alfonse to look into the death. Our small town of Casperton has a police department, legendary in its incompetence. The lead detective and the mayor’s son has his role courtesy of nepotism instead of ability. There’s a new competent police chief recently appointed, but a new broom hasn’t yet swept through the department.

Stories in order to engage me have to be credible and on the face of it, I think a bouncer investigating a murderer is a bit of a stretch, but the author did a great job in convincing me to buy the premise.  The skilful portrayal of the PD and its less than glorious abilities and the plausible involvement of a PI and ergo Boulder in looking into things, was thus only a small leap of faith.

One murder to begin with, many more follow. What’s the connection between the victims and what is the killer’s motive?

Boulder and Alfonse with the tacit agreement of Chief Watson continue to investigate. Alfonse with his PC skills, tracking and hacking and uncovering details helpful to the investigation; Boulder on the ground doing the leg-work and interviews and a bit of less than gentle persuasion when called for. We have a quid pro quo arrangement with Boulder’s mother’s psychiatrist for a bit of insight into the killer. Boulder in return for the shrink’s input has to open up about his commitment issues and suppressed angst.

Our narrative also offers us chapters from the killer’s perspective which add to the excitement and help keep the book pacey and punchy.

Inevitably Boulder and our killer collide.

Enjoyable and entertaining. A wee suspension of disbelief was required to get on board with events initially, but I was soon swept along by the rapid escalation of killings. I like Smith’s style. Story, plot, setting, characters, action, wit and resolution were all present and satisfying.

4 from 5

Graham Smith has his website here
He's on Twitter@GrahamSmith1972

He has another series to his name set in Cumbria – the DI Harry Evans books. The second in the Jake Boulder series - The Kindred Killers is now available.

Read in September, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 322
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle


  1. I'm not usually much of a one for serial killer novels, either, Col. In general, I avoid them. But there are some that are well-written, and I'm glad you found this to be one of those.

  2. If I'm honest I much prefer reading about heists and robberies and cons and drug deals and burglaries and car thefts and the consequences of a falling out among thieves etc, which can result in death and murder - as opposed to the deranged killer who does it for fun per se. Every since Thomas Harris hit the heights there seems to be a lot of imitative novels which I try and avoid in the main.
    This one was interesting and original enough and well-written and enjoyable. I'm happy I read it and the second in the series, but I'm not interested in reading this sub-genre all the time.

  3. Col, this sounds like a good read. Jake Boulder's character as a bouncer and part-time sleuth is certainly interesting, as is his background. But 322 pages? If can you read it, so can I!

    1. It was a quick 322 pages. Short, sharp chapters 82 in all. What are you waiting for mate?

  4. I am also not too interested in serial killer novels, I have to make myself read them. And I am sure that they are like all other crime fiction, it depends on the author as to the quality, etc. The other series might be more appealing to me.

    1. I know what you mean. I have a fair few on the pile, but I tend to avoid them now if I can.