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Alex Howard Books In Order

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Publication Order of DI Hanlon Books

as Alex Howard
Time to Die (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cold Revenge (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Hard Woman to Kill (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Incidental Death (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of PI Hanlon Books

Silenced For Good (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Missing For Good (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Buried For Good (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of DCI Hanlon Books

as Alex Howard
The Stolen Child (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Innocent Girl (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Missing Husband (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Silent Victims (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Alex Howard is the author of a series of crime novels featuring DI Hanlon. It is the pen name used by Alex Coombs. He would later switch to writing under his real name.


Alex Howard is a curious individual in that you wouldn’t immediately peg him as an author. Alex was born in 1961 in Lambeth, London. Nothing in his life ever suggested that he would go the route of an author, though the decision has clearly paid off, what with all the praise his novels tend to attract.

Alex is a teacher by trade. That is what he has been doing for the longest time, and he definitely knows his craft. The author grew up in Buckinghamshire, Bourne End. His teaching career can be traced back to Grammar School in Marlow.

The author also had the privilege of attending St. Peter’s College Oxford and Edinburgh University, using the opportunities to study Arabic and Islamic history. Alex’s knowledge was put to good use when the British Council sent him to the Middle East where his capabilities were deployed.

He eventually came back to London where he taught TEFL.

Alex Howard is married with two children. The decision to stay home and look after his children afforded the author time to expand his prospects and experiment in new fields. IN particular, Alex took an interest in cooking and went so far as to re-train as a chef.

With his skills in toe, Alex was afforded the chance to work in a variety of kitchens where he, no doubt, collected many a curious tale and idea for his novels.

When the author isn’t cooking or baking, he is keeping fit. Alex Howard does everything from doing gym-work to boxing, yoga and cycling, not to mention Tai Chi. And even with his penchant for cooking, Alex Howard still loves eating out, though his interests lie in having interactions with former and current chefs on different topics related to food.

Alex has also continued to nurture his love for languages by learning a few new ones.

+Time to Die

Corrigan runs things. He doesn’t look too bright, and people often presume that he was probably accidentally promoted beyond his abilities. However, those who underestimate him often regret it.

Corrigan has a case. A young diabetic boy has gone missing and the kidnapping has brought to light the plight of several missing children. For Corrigan, the only Detective inspector that he can possibly trust with the case is Hanlon.

Hanlon has few limits. Not only is she loyal to a fault, at least to those few people she respects, but she will break the rules in order to get the job done. And that is what Corrigan needs, an officer that will prioritize the life of a missing child over even her own career.

However, Corrigan isn’t so trusting as to leave everything to Hanlon’s hands. And that is where Demirel comes in. Once called the Iron Hand in the boxing ring, Enver Demirel has gone soft, and he will do anything for Hanlon.

And he has been sent to spy on her.

This is a difficult book to read. The subject matter is disturbing to say the least, and Alex Howard rarely pulls his punches; though, he definitely doesn’t go as far as he could have. There are authors who could have used the subject matter in this book to shock.

However, Alex shows a surprising amount of restraint.

Hanlon is a great detective. She isn’t really likeable, primarily because you cannot always trust her. Hanlon has an overwhelming sense of justice that will drive her to break the rules whenever the need arises.

However, you cannot help but love her because she will fight to the death to protect those that gain her loyalty. You rarely see strong and independent female characters like this. Alex doesn’t shy away from showing every fault and weakness that makes her human.

Hanlon is definitely no angel. However, like any other human being, she has her redeeming qualities, and this is a great introduction to the character.

Alex tries to elevate this book above the average police procedural, primarily by exploring every aspect that surrounds the case, from the plight of the victims to the perspective of the villains.

It is also worth noting Alex Howard’s stellar cast. There are no cardboard characters in this story. Everyone matters. Every secondary character is compelling. One should keep in mind all the violence that is brought to bear, especially readers who might be unfamiliar with Alex’s style.

There are definitely some sadistic and perverse elements here.

+Cold Rampage

Detective Inspector Hanlon’s new promotion isn’t without its perils. In the wake of two murders, Hanlon must go undercover in Oxford to get justice for two students. She has her sights set on a Philosophy professor who has a proclivity for sadistic sex.

This book definitely cements Hanlon’s stubbornness. She doesn’t seem to have learned anything from her mistakes in the first book, and quickly rushes into hell on her own, giving little thought to the consequences.

Detective Hanlon is initially convinced of the guilt of a philosophy professor, and goes undercover to prove as much. However, her work reveals that he might be innocent of the murder of two students, this despite the fact that all the evidence points to him.

Hanlon is nothing if not persistent, and she is prepared to go to ridiculous lengths to prove her notions. Demirel makes a return, this time working different lines of inquiry in order to understand and justify some of Hanlon’s conclusions. Demirel spends the book worrying himself into insanity over Hanlon. However, he is afraid to share his concerns for his former partner, what with Hanlon showing such a penchant for doing things alone.

Hanlon is still a mystery. The fact that very little is known about her life adds to the intrigue of watching her react to new situations. Hanlon definitely pushes the limits in this book, and some readers will probably find it difficult to rationalize the way she keeps getting away with some of her actions.

If there is one major failing here, it is the fact that Alex Howard makes the mystery killer a little too obvious.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Alex Howard

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