Heavenfield by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross
Publisher: Dark Skies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The hunter becomes the hunted…

When a man is found dead at the remote church of Heavenfield, DCI Ryan is the only other person for miles around. The police have no weapon, no motive and no other suspects.

Already suspended from Northumbria CID, Ryan must fight to clear his name. But soon, more than his career is at stake when prominent members of the mysterious ‘Circle’ begin to die. Somebody wants Ryan’s name to be next on the coroner’s list and to survive he must unmask the devil who walks among them – before it is too late.

Unfortunately for Ryan, the devil looks just like everybody else…

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit from LJ Ross, set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

When newly suspended DCI Ryan is found crouched over a recently murdered man, he is arrested, and things look dire. Ryan knows he must fight to clear his name, but the murdered man is an extremely close friend of Anna – Ryan’s girlfriend – and despite the fact he currently is suspended and not in a position to officially investigate Ryan can’t help himself. He needs answers and Ryan believes he is willing to face the consequences of getting them – and justice.

This is the third book in the DCI Ryan series by LJ Ross and while I enjoyed it, I have to be honest that I am starting to get tired of the shadowy sect “The Circle” that simmers below the surface of these first three books. While I feel the occult/pagan rituals and ties of the sect are interesting and they certainly add colour and flavour to the storyline, I personally feel I am ready to move on from this particular plot/sub-plot and I was hoping for a new, unconnected murder mystery. That said, I am hopeful the author may have wrapped things up enough in this book to move on to fresher ground for the next book in the series, so for now I’m willing to stick with it as the characters and writing are really quite good.

Readers may find that they need to start back at book 1 (Holy Island) and read at least these first three books in order. While there is plenty of explanation as to how DCI Ryan finds himself in his current predicament there is quite a bit of backstory around The Circle, the first murder victim and the connection to Anna that really needs the fuller explanation of the previous two books for the reader to fully grasp all the nuances of what’s going on. I have to admit had I picked up this book and simply read it by itself there are a number of factors and subtle connections that might have skipped my attention even with a very careful read of the story. I do feel these three books really need to be read together and in order for the fullest enjoyment to be reached.

I did greatly enjoy the authors writing style and feel the murder and mystery itself was very well handled, as well as some commendable tension of conflict surrounding DCI Ryan himself and his suspension from the police force. That was all very well written, and I found myself quickly sucked into the story as a whole. There is a small but solid group of main/secondary characters with Anna and the small police unit, and with a number of members of The Circle to add flair and tension there is a lot to commend to this book.

Readers who like a fair dollop of paranormal/cult like activity in with their British murder mysteries should find that this is a solid read and a good author to keep note of.

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