Tick Tock Time s Up - Mark Pettinger - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Tick Tock Time’s Up – Mark Pettinger

This is an intriguing detective thriller featuring DCI Priest fighting against time – each day a gruesome package is delivered, containing body parts


DCI Priest #2

If you read the first DCI Priest novel ‘The Decalogue’  you are already familiar with DCI Jonny Priest, who came from the London Met to his first DCI post in Gorton. Priest has the looks and quirky features, the OCD you spot every time he alphabetically organises the markers in the CID office. He likes to flirt – but his heart is taken by the lovely DS Nicola Stephens from the London Met, whom he had assigned to his Gorton team. What you didn’t know is that after a marriage break-up, Nicola has moved to Gorton and is now living with Priest. However, the team is as of yet unaware of these romantic developments.


We go back in time six years to witness the desperate Angolese couple Dion and Masani risking everything by travelling the long and hazardous journey to (illegally enter) Britain in order to provide a better life for their 2-year-old son Akiki. In the present, there is a school evening and an 8-year-old who walks away alone. Joshua or JJ as is parents lovingly call him never reaches home. What happened to him becomes clear when the first letter arrives: “To the parents of Joshua, I have taken the thing that is most precious in your life, your son Joshua. Over the next ten days, I will return him to you – piece by piece.” Joanna and Steven Hardwick are devastated, they have no clue whatsoever who is behind the kidnapping of their only son and are desperate to have him back. The clock is ticking for the CID team, leaving DCI Priest under a lot of pressure. He fears for what the tenth day will bring, but also realises that this means Joshua will live the first days.

Day one brings a single hair, which DNA identifies as belonging to Joshua. “Can you guess tomorrow’s body part?” is the horrific message, leaving Joanna and Steven in agony.  Everyone needs to be questioned, from neighbours to teachers, parents of kids that go to school with Joshua and Steven and Joanna’s relatives. Whenever a possible lead has been found, it proves to be another dead end without any connection to a suspect. The clock is ticking, every day the postman delivers a package with horrible contents to the Hardwicks’ home. Little Joshua must be terrified and we fear for more mutilations with every day to pass. The biggest problem DCI Priest and his team are struggling with is establishing a motive for the kidnapping of Joshua and the gruesome and sick plan the kidnapper has set in action. The police are desperate because the Hardwicks seem to be without enemies. Will DCI Priest find little Joshua in time and alive?

My Thoughts

Where the first DCI Priest book was an enjoyable read but slowed down occasionally because of too much explaining, the second book is definitely coming more on track with an intriguing plot and ingenious twist. A few things caught my eye, like the Sunday delivery of the first package and DCI Priest “wondering what to do with himself on his day off” within 24 hours after a little boy went missing. Furthermore, I would have liked to experience the public pressure more, especially after the neighbours’ search party and the television interview. That having said, the story is engaging and captivating and for me, it’s clear that Mark Pettinger is getting his grip on the DCI Priest books, the protagonists and the storylines. Horrible as the events in the book are, it is a pleasant read with an unexpected ending. The characters are excellently described and it’s easy to feel empathy for the different members of the police team. The book is a nice combination of both the private lives of the members of the police force and the police investigation.

The previous instalment in the DCI Priest Series:
#1 ‘The Decalogue‘ – my review 

About the Author

Mark Pettinger Author Image

Mark Pettinger is a British author with a fascination for mysteries and thrillers and a keen interest in “the murky world of crime.” After having settled down in a beautiful village in the Yorkshire countryside, he started his writing career. His debut novel is “The Decalogue (2014) and it introduces the reader to DCI Jonny Priest from the Metropolitan Police, who due to his promotion is transferred to Gorton in Greater Manchester Police Force.

Do you want to know more about Jonny Priest? Just click on his name and you will find all the details on his police career preceding his promotion to DCI.

Book Info

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 eBook  Kindle ed 1553 KB
 Publisher   BookBaby (10 Sept. 2015)
 Language   English
 ASIN  B015913Y9S
 Nook book ISBN-13  9781483558363

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