The Dead Call by JM Dalgleish

The Dead Call by JM Dalgleish
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time…

When a woman’s body is found in the sea at Blakeney Point with a single blow to the head, DI Tom Janssen and his team must work out who wanted her dead and why? What would drive someone to murder an elderly woman in such a savage and callous manner?

A formidable woman, a Watcher of the local nature reserve, who dedicated her life to preserving her natural surroundings has made many friends along the way… and even more dangerous enemies. A veteran campaigner – just how did she manage to succeed against all the odds when facing those with far greater resources than her own.

Meanwhile, a man is found murdered in his kitchen showing no signs of having put up a fight. This second case brings murder a little too close to home for the entire team. Tom finds himself questioning the motives of those closest to him and he must face the uncomfortable reality that you never truly know those around you.

The team must keep secrets from one another, straining their bonds of friendship in order to catch a ruthless killer before they are able to strike again…

Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Norfolk, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery with a little humour, one that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed.

DI Tom Janssen and his team are called to investigate the death of an elderly lady. But they quickly learn that despite her age, local wildlife activist had a number of people angry with her. Then another murder quickly divides the team as they grapple with this second case cutting very close to home.

I’ve been enjoying this series – the “Hidden Norfolk” series – and am finding it very well written with interesting characters and a tight plot. While there are a number of layers to the police team and the various characters within that I still feel the two main plotlines can be thoroughly enjoyed by readers who pick this book up by itself. I do feel that a deeper and more emotional connection with the characters and what’s happening will be felt by those who have read some or all of the previous stories, but I don’t feel it’s strictly necessary and certainly not to understand the plot.

This is mostly a police procedural style of story, though I really enjoyed the fact that as one of the murders hit close to home there are a number of emotional and conflicting aspects to what would ordinarily be a straightforward case and investigation. I have to admit that Tamara’s character annoys me at times, but equally I have to say that in this book I found my aggregation with her less than in the first few books of the series. I was also very interested in the character development between Tamara and Alice – and will be interested to see what (if anything) unfolds in the coming few books.

Readers who enjoy a British based mystery should find this book appeals. I can easily recommend the entire series and while I might not feel this is the strongest of all the books so far, it is an excellent addition, and I will certainly be eager for the next installment. I found the plots well-paced and well written. There is nothing too earth shattering in the unveiling of what occurred, but I do admit that while I guessed some of it there was still plenty I hadn’t foreseen, and I strongly feel even long-term mystery readers should find some freshness to this plotline.

A great British police procedural style of mystery and a series I am greatly enjoying.

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