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A Wash of Black

(DI Erika Piper #1)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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 atta
Kindle Edition, 234 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Red Dog Press (first published February 2020)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  167 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rather good for an opener. I wasn’t sure to begin with but it developed into a real page-turner.

The main character is well developed and there’s a lot of scope for developing further.

Enjoyable; I’ll be looking out for more.

Edit: Won’t have to wait long, #2 arrives in November! (Let’s hope we’re all still here!)
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Art is subjective.  Murder is brutal.  The two combined create a heady mix for a psychopathic cocktail.  A wash of Black is Chris McDonalds debut and what a poignant and as such is a breeze block straight into the chest.  The walk between functioning citizens and sanity is a knife’s edge.  I have read so many Crime and Police procedurals lately that it takes something truly remarkable to pull me in – the author caught me by the neck and yanked hard!  The prologue was like a defibrillator constan ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fast paced, seamless subplots, a kick-ass main character along with confident writing made this book a fantastic debut.

Life imitated art. An actress was found murdered gruesomely in a skating rink. DI Erika Piper was called to investigate.

A brilliant debut, the story made my heart gallop as I kept tapping my kindle to make Erika investigate faster. I loved the way the author etched Erika's character. There was a depth to her, strength and vulnerability endeared her to me. After going through a
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I didn’t think there could be room for another Erika in the detective world being a huge fan of the Detective Erika Foster crime series by Robert Bryndza. Well DI Erika Piper showed me that there was more than enough room for the both of them.

The start of the story with a murder scene on an ice rink ensured that the author had my attention. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where a crime scene takes place in one, so it piqued my interest straight away.

For a debut novel, I was blown away with
Kelly Van Damme
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading and reviewing a book written by someone you know, even if it is only from Twitter and their blog, is always just a little bit more stressful than reading and reviewing any other book. I mean, I knew how much this book means to Chris and so I really wanted to like it, and preferably even love it. Now, I’ve always loved his reviews, and obviously I trust the bookish tastes of Red Dog Press, what with their Soho Noir series, the Mydworth Mysteries series and Stay Mad, Sweetheart, all solid ...more
Kestrel Carroll
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great debut novel from Chris McDonald.
I’ll definitely be reading more from him.
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Before he slips out the side door and onto the deserted street, his eyes drink in the bloodbath he is leaving behind. In his head, this isn’t murder; it’s art.

Returning from a year off work to recover from an on-the-job-attack, DI Erika Piper is thrown straight into the deep-end as a high-profile murder of an actress lands with her on her first day back. Staged to look almost identical to a murder scene the actress featured in from a movie, the crime is shocking and catches the public's attentio
Zoé-Lee O'Farrell
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This is a debut book and just wow! What a strong start to Chris’ writing career! I was lucky enough to do a tiny bit of beta reading for Chris with what seems a long time ago but it was only August/September and along with Danielle and Sarah, we have seen this awesome journey he’s having. However, don’t think I will be biased in my review and to be honest, I am not sure I can find the right words either!!!!
Here we meet DI Erika Piper, first day back in the job and she’s gone and caught a doozy o
Jacqueline  sharp
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a debut novel from Chris McDonald. If I am being 100% honest it didn’t read like a debut, it read like an accomplished writers novel. I for one am already wanting book number 2.

I pre ordered this back last year 2019, and was so excited when my copy arrived yesterday morning, luckily I didn’t have another book on the go as I was in between books at the time. So decided to give it a go. I was not disappointed.

This is book one in what I think will be a great series, the characters are all thre
Heleen Kist
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Chilling and fast paced – great for lovers of serial killer crime. With a flair for the dramatic, Chris McDonald brings us one hell of a gutsy female DI in Erika Piper.
A confident debut from au author to watch.

Meggy Chocolate'n'Waffles
A Wash of Black. A title that catches the eye.

Erika Piper. An interesting main character.

Manchester. A clever territory.

Death. I’m in!

D.I Erika Piper couldn’t have picked a better (or worse) time to come back to work after a year’s leave. The dead body of a woman is found in an ice rink. Yes, I already gave you several hints at why A Wash of Black is a gripping read!

I used to go have fun at my hometown’s ice rink, and I must admit, it makes for a great setting for a murder… Especially when the k
Liz Barnsley
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
A Wash Of Black is a pacy, dark crime read with some excellent descriptive prose and a compelling murder mystery that keeps you involved throughout.

Our main protagonist is intriguing, back at work after a time of recovery and thrown right into a brutal murder case. The story flows out well and it is very readable and somewhat addictive.

Honestly I didn't engage with the characters that much but I did enjoy the plot, I love a more vivid reality when it comes to it and the author certainly offers t
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
**4.5 stars**

It’s not life that imitates art. It’s death....

This was just a fabulous debut novel from Chris. I was hooked from the very beginning and raced through this book.

Chris has such a relatable writing style; he uses just the right amount of description to immerse you within the story whilst creating such likeable and very real characters. DI Erica Piper was a strong protagonist, confident yet vulnerable. There is also humour laced throughout.

It is dark, with a great pace and plenty of
Rob Parker
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like a hammer in the dark, A WASH OF BLACK is a debut that hits you with full force and leaves you breathless and stunned. DI Erika Piper is a compelling, hard-as-nails creation, trawling every dark Mancunian corner for the murderer of a movie-star - and as the tension and stakes rack up, so do the bodies and surprises. A superb tale deftly told with a human touch and a real eye for detail, with a true 'just one more chapter' moreishness, A WASH OF BLACK announces Chris McDonald as a superb new ...more
This was a fab book, I can definitely see why so many of my book blogger friends have raved about it!

I read this when I was just at the end of my Kindle Unlimited trial and wanted to read it quickly as it was about to expire. I needn’t have worried though as it gripped me from the beginning and I didn’t want to put it down. In fact I read in a few of sittings as it’s under 300 pages long.

I really liked Erika and her partner Liam as they went about working out who the killer was, and also trying
Julie Lacey
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by someone on Twitter and I’m glad I listened to them.
It’s a great crime thriller and a great start to a new series.
DI Erika Piper is called to a gruesome crime scene which has literally been taken out of a book. The scene recreated on the ice rink was from the movie the victim starred in as well.
Another person linked to the film is soon found murdered and Erika and the team are puzzled by who the murderer is.
Events take an unexpected turn and we find out who it is bu
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black because all things in nature are dark except when exposed to light."

This quote that is placed before the story begins is perfectly fitting, not only because it includes the title of this book but also because A Wash of Black in itself is a sinistrous masterpiece, in which Chris is the literary artist. From the dedication page to the acknowledgements, I was completely intoxicated by the way Chris has created a chilling suspense with the us
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
E Cheong
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF. Nothing new ... familiar characters, familiar plot.
Hina Tabassum Khatri
Originally published on Hina Loves To Read

As I have mentioned my pet peeve many times before, every one just knows. This one, too, had that going for it. You guessed it right. The book is in the first person narrative!


- The story was intriguing enough for me to continue and overlook the pet peeve. I was rooting for this character (Erika) as she puzzled the pieces together.

- The structure of the novel was well formed with the characters showing more dimensions to them as the story progr
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Wash of Black opens with a rather grizzly murder. The prologue actually shows the murder from the perspective of the killer, giving it a really gripping intro. After that everything is seen from the perspective of our hero, Detective Erika Piper. Erika is a great character. There's an incident in her past that is slowly revealed over the course of the book, and it's clearly affecting her. She's just returning to work after a year away and it has an impact on a lot of her relationships. This po ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would absolutely recommend a debut thriller by Chris McDonald- A Wash of Black introducing DI Erika Piper. I sometimes find police procedurals a little samey, but McDonald has not only introduced a character to the genre who genuinely endeares herself to the reader, but is also involved in an investigation that keeps your attention, takes some unexpected turns, and some equally unexpected deaths. A nice bit of gore factor, a bit of movie gold dust and pacy plotting added to my satisfaction. Do ...more
Olivia Huse
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One death, two deaths, three deaths, four.

A Wash of Black is a brilliant crime thriller to open a series, and I cannot wait to read more.
Plunged directly into the action, the novel opens with the death of Anna Symons who has been brutally mutilated and left for dead on an ice rink. Forensics examine the scene and retrieve a single page from The Threat, a fictional series used as inspiration in Anna’s killing. Scattered pages from The Threat series are the only lead to finding the notorious ‘Blo
Susan Corcoran
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having read a number of debuts over the few years I have been book blogging, I can say with some confidence that Chris Mcdonald has written an assured and engaging first novel. It is peppered with fascinating characters and a storyline which kept me as a reader glued to the storyline and firmly looking forward to the next in the series.

Many thriller writers allow the story to drown out the characters that the story revolves around, but I very happy to say Chris Macdonald has not fallen into that
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this in a couple of sittings. it's the sort of story that pulls you in instantly. The short prologue is just the start of what becomes an intriguing, fast paced thriller, one of those books that keeps you guessing right up to the very end.

I love the gritty Northern setting of inner-city Manchester, this author draws a realistic and well-observed picture of both the city and the people who inhabit it. From the run-down warehouses, to the city-centre bookshop, the scene setting is spot on,
Stevie Robinson
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When was the last time you did something for the first time?

When was the last time you had a food you haven’t had before?

Tried a new flavor of soft drink even?

Doing something for the first time is something that should be celebrated.

We should be celebrating Chris McDonald’s first novel, because it’s absolutely fantastic.

I’m not kidding – this is his debut book.

When you’ve read it, you’ll remember I said this.

It reads like a book from an author that is 20 published works deep into his career.

Gordon Mcghie
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A police procedural that introduces a new leading character in the form of Erika Piper. I have high hopes for this new series from Chris McDonald as A Wash of Black did a lot of things I like from my thrillers.

First up. Not Cosy Crime. Let me be very clear these are on the dark range of crime fiction reading list. As a reader of both crime and horror titles I felt A Wash of Black had horror-esk elements which it is worth flagging.

Some readers may remember Book Club perennial favourites Michael S
Jacob Collins
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Wash of Black is a strong debut crime novel by Chris McDonald, and I finished it in just a couple of days. This is the first book to feature Detective Inspector Erika Piper, and I can’t wait to catch up with her again.

Erika has only recently returned to work after taking a break for a year following a horrific event which took place twelve months earlier. But she suddenly has her work cut out when the body of a celebrity is discovered which will no doubt propel the case into the media spotligh
Michelle Ryles
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-read
Wow, what a debut! A Wash of Black is simply outstanding and there's a lot of buzz on social media about Chris McDonald's debut; so take my advice and believe the hype! Even better, it's the first in an exciting new crime series and I, for one, can't wait for the next DI Erika Piper instalment.

Stronger than the World's Strongest Man, A Wash of Black has an amazing strong female lead in DI Erika Piper. I love how we meet her on her return to work after a year off following a traumatic incident; a
Joanne Robertson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh I did love this book! I was attracted to it originally due to the setting of Altrincham, and surrounding areas in Manchester, as it's an area I know well but I really hadn't expected to become quite so utterly gripped by DI Erika Piper and her team.
A Wash of Black had a brilliantly addictive storyline with a protagonist you could really care about as her private life became as intriguing as her professional one. A past tragedy has changed Erikas perspective on life but it's time to put every ...more
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