Death’s Requiem by David J. Gatward

Death’s Requiem by David J. Gatward
Publisher: Weirdstone Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Music can be murder.

When the body of internationally-renowned vocalist Gareth Jones is found hanging in the tower of a church, the walls daubed in occult symbols, the world of classical music, and the local dales community in which he grew up, is shaken to its core.

With the worst winter in years sweeping through Wensleydale, the spectre of a friend’s death haunting one of his team, and a killer driven by forces darker than he could ever imagine, Grimm and his team are up against the creator of not just a masterpiece, but a symphony of pain.

And it’s up to Harry to make sure that when the curtain comes down, there’s no chance of an encore…

DCI Harry Grimm and his brother Ben are really beginning to settle down into life in Wensleydale. With the people from the small town welcoming and for the most part friendly and the beautiful scenery, it’s hard for them not to both start feeling at home. Bad things still happen in small towns though, and Harry all too soon is finding himself wrestling with both a strange murder in the local church and a surprisingly professional group of animal smugglers.

I really enjoyed this next book in the DCI Grimm series. While I feel the reader would enjoy it more having read the previous installments, this book can absolutely be picked up and read as a standalone. The two main plot threads are very well explained and handled in this book – and even though the animal smuggling/kidnapping has been very loosely alluded to in previous books it was more of a throw-away sort of comment, the actual plot aspect and in-depth investigation is completely contained in this book. The murder begins and concludes in this book, and I feel adds an excellent counterpart to the animal/farming based plot and the two bounce very well off each other.

I am also very pleased to see the further development of a number of the main characters. Jim in particular I feel is coming along very well, from the very young and rather inexperienced police officer in the first book to now being heavily invested in his work and really learning and growing. I also was really pleased to finally see a bit more of Ben’s character – Harry’s brother. While the cast of characters could be seen as on the small side, I really feel they are each well drawn, individual to each other and there’s enough characters to feel like a good unit without there being too few or too many. The fact we can spend time with them all and watch them develop is an integral part to the story being really well rounded and enjoyable to my mind.

The occult/paranormal aspect to this story is very, very lightly handled – I really wasn’t sure to even give it a “paranormal” tag, but there is a “spell” cast in the past by a bunch of the local kids and with the fresh murder some symbols were left so I really felt while light and not a strong part of the plot it was present enough that it needed mentioning. Readers looking for a spiritual/occult/paranormal mystery should definitely not consider this a strong or heavily invested story – and equally readers looking to avoid a paranormal tale shouldn’t shy away from this. The small country town, the characters and the two mysteries are definitely the focus of this story – not the occult/paranormal themes.

Readers looking for a good bunch of characters, a small country town setting and two interesting, concurrent police procedural style investigations should be really satisfied with this book. I found it to be another excellent addition to this series I am really looking forward to the next one.

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