A Dark Sin by JM Dalgliesh


A Dark Sin by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Our darkest secrets are best left buried…

When a local journalist is found dead in an isolated spot on Roydon Common, lying beneath a hangman’s noose on the anniversary of a teenager’s suicide, DI Tom Janssen is asked to take on the investigation as a favour to local colleagues and must unpick the deceased man’s life to discover how he came to be there.

The dead man was working on something, a story he was keeping close to his chest and even those closest to him, loved ones and colleagues, were kept in the dark. He had his own secrets, a side to his character that he rarely showed to others unless they were unlucky. But what did he know that was so damaging as to be worth killing for?

As the team delve into his life, past and present, the investigation pulls in successful business people, grieving family members, and a local celebrity with fascinating stories to tell. As the investigation develops it becomes clear that more than one person is harbouring a secret… but are they secrets that are worth a man’s life? As past sins threaten to be exposed, will someone be forced into killing again?

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

DI Tom Janssen is called out as a favour to look over the finding of a journalist’s body hanging in the Common. Only there are factors to the scene that don’t add up, so Janssen and his team begin to investigate the journalist’s life and work. Soon, a few small questions grow into something far larger, and it quickly becomes clear this was not a suicide but something far darker.

This is the eighth book in the Hidden Norfolk series, and I am really enjoying them all. I have found this – like all the previous books – to be a strong, police procedural style of murder mystery book. I thought the plot was decently plotted and complex enough to retain my interest from the opening pages, but with a slow enough pace I could really enjoy it and not feel like the action or characters were getting away from me. Set in Norfolk, I thought there was a good blend of large country town style of bustle but still with the slower pace and more “everyone knows everyone” type of connectivity. I enjoy this balance and find it really helped sell the book and storyline to me.

I also enjoyed how the characters of Tom’s team and the main characters – like Eric’s fiancée and Tom’s long-term girlfriend and young daughter – all were important in the story. This added an emotional depth to the police mystery style plot and helped me feel like this wasn’t only a murder story but also a part of a larger whole. I personally really enjoy this balance but also feel the author does a really good job of not having too much of the characters past cloud over what’s currently occurring. I feel this makes it really helpful for readers who have not read all the previous stories and helps this book stand far better on its own.

While I definitely feel readers will have a stronger emotional investment in the main characters and their happiness having read the previous books, I don’t feel it’s strictly necessary for readers to enjoy this particular story. The plot in particular is very self-contained inside this book and the characters are well introduced – so readers shouldn’t feel shy about picking this up and enjoying it regardless of whether they’ve read any of the previous books.

A well plotted murder mystery with excellent characters and a complicated but not overly convoluted plot, I really enjoyed this British story and am eager to read more by this author. Recommended.

Kill Them Cold by JM Dalgliesh


Kill Them Cold by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

One lie requires commitment… Multiple lies require dedication…

When the remains of a young woman are discovered near to Branodunum, a Roman archaeological site on the Norfolk coast, DI Tom Janssen and his team must work to discover who she was and how she came to be buried there.

The area is steeped in myth and folklore, a site excavated many times over the years. Just how long has she lain there… and who wishes she’d never been discovered? As the victim’s life comes into sharp focus, it appears there is far more to those who crossed her path than anyone previously realised.

Uncovering dark secrets at every turn, DI Janssen must unravel the web of deceit in order to unmask a killer; possibly the most cold blooded and dangerous murderer he has ever faced.
Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Norfolk, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed.

When a farmer is ploughing his field, he uncovers human bones. The police very soon realize this skeleton is not archaeological, but only from a decade or two ago. Can they piece together who wanted this young woman dead and why her remains were hidden away?

I’ve been really enjoying this Hidden Norfolk series. This book very much reads like it can stand on its own. While the police team are working very comfortably and well together – so it’s clear there are plenty of previous stories about this team – the plot and most of the interactions between the group all stand very well on their own with the author not needing to info-dump to the reader or catch everyone up on a lot of history.

Readers who enjoy a British style police procedural should find this an interesting and enjoyable read. I was pleased that – aside from the prologue – there were no flashbacks into the past or jumping back and forth in time. I was very happy for Tom and the team to dig into the archaeological site and piece together what happened via usual police investigation means – asking questions, talking to people who were involved and puzzling it all together. This made for an interesting and well-paced story to my mind, and I really enjoyed it.

Readers looking for a smaller and more country sort of setting and a modern police procedural type of story should find this really fits the bill. I’m enjoying this series and am eager to read more.

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.

Hear No Evil by JM Dalgliesh


Hear No Evil by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When the bonds of brotherhood are strained, who do you turn to?

The celebration of the Viking Festival of Scira ensures that thousands descend annually on the small coastal town of Sheringham, but when one man dies amidst the grand finale, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify who the victim was and how he met such a grisly end.

The victim was a local man, successful, hard working and well respected. A motive proves to be elusive. As the case progresses it becomes evident that not all is at it seems. Those within the victim’s trusted circle appear unable, or unwilling, to aid the investigation. Someone has a grudge… one strong enough to willingly send a man to his death in the most brutal, and public, manner.

The answer must lie in the victim’s past; a past that sees highly decorated military service. The past shapes our future and the consequences of our actions catch up with us. Those with the darkest secrets… with the most to hide… will face their day of reckoning.

Witnesses, friends and enemies alike all appear to employ the same old adage; see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, but a ruthless killer is on the loose and they want revenge… Janssen and his team must unmask a murderer before they strike again…

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

When DI Tom Janssen along with many of the locals witnessed a person set alight then fall from a cliff during the Viking Festival everyone knew something dark was going on. When the body turns out to be of a returned solider, generally well liked everyone including the police are confused. But then another returned veteran is murdered – someone linked to the first victim’s military service and Tom along with his colleagues rush to try and figure out the truth behind the grisly murders.

I really feel like this series – the “Hidden Norfolk” series – is starting to hit its stride. The author has found a good balance between a layered and complex plot with interesting characters and enough of a small town feel to really lend atmosphere and a gripping murder mystery. While largely a police procedural style of mystery novel there is plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way events unfolded to reveal layer upon layer.

While this is the fifth book, I definitely feel readers shouldn’t shy away from picking this up if it’s the first one they’ve tried. The plot itself is very well contained in the book and everything reaches a natural conclusion. While the members of Tom’s team are all well-established characters – as well as Tom’s private life with his girlfriend Alice and Alice’s young daughter Saffy – I didn’t get the feel of missing connections between the characters or like readers fresh to just this book would be left lost or unsure of what was going on. This would be an excellent summer read on the beach somewhere or a lovely way to spend a relaxed weekend.

With interesting characters and a deliciously layered plot with some interesting twists I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can strongly recommend both this book and the series it comes from.

Tell No Tales by JM Dalgliesh


Tell No Tales by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

In a world of lies, one truth remains. Dead men tell no tales…
When the body of an unidentified man is found at the foot of Sheringham cliffs with injuries inconsistent with a fall, DI Tom Janssen must piece together his final days to determine how he fell to his death… or who pushed him…

The investigation quickly reveals a network of locals with ties to the victim, but as for the man himself… he remains something of a mystery. The dead man doesn’t fit in; not with his social circle, not with his business interests and when others come looking for him, the intrigue only deepens.

Joined in the investigation by his new Detective Sergeant, Cassie Knight, Janssen uncovers closely guarded secrets alongside long-held grudges. Any one of them could be a motivation for murder. This man had powerful enemies and even more dangerous friends…

As the inquiry develops it is clear that someone wanted him dead but, a formidable character in his own right, who would dare to take him on? One death threatens to unravel a wider conflict where neither the innocent… or the guilty… can feel truly safe. Janssen must bring down the wall of silence encircling his childhood town, coming up against old antagonists as well as facing new adversaries, or risk an escalation in the violence.

Secrets are kept… Deceit is commonplace… And dead men Tell No Tales…

DI Tom Janssen and his team investigate the questionable death of a man found at the foot of Sheringham cliffs. The more they look into the circumstances, and the man himself, the more questions they have and the deeper the complexities become. Can Tom and his team unravel the knot of powerful people involved in this murky situation?

I have been mostly enjoying this Hidden Norfolk series, but I truly feel this is the best book so far. I think the author is finally hitting his stride with the characters, setting and plot and this book in particular really shines for me. I was ecstatic that Tom’s personal life has finally taken a back seat and there was a lot more focus in this story on the murder mystery and the various subplots revolving around that. I also found it surprising (in a good way) that I didn’t miss the fact that DCI Tamara Greave has a far, far smaller part to play in this story. The strong secondary characters in Eric and Cassie (the other members of Tom’s team) really started to grow and shine and I feel they easily made up for the smaller and more managerial – rather than boots-on-the-ground colleague – part Tamara played in this book.

I also strongly feel readers should feel comfortable picking this book up by itself. While there is absolutely a team dynamic between the officers the plot is very well contained to just this book. I think particularly with such a strong focus on this plot and the police procedural aspect to the solving of the crime readers who haven’t caught the previous installments won’t find themselves lost or trying to work out any of the dynamics or “in” jokes.

With a strong and well-crafted plot and a number of interesting peripheral characters I enjoyed trying to work out which people were involved in the crime, and which just got caught up in it with people’s lives crossing over as they do in smaller communities. I also greatly enjoyed how – for the first time for me – after the police conducted an interview there was a short chapter of what each suspect did/thought directly after the police left. I loved how this gave me as the reader a bit more insight into each character’s motivation, reaction and a small part of the puzzle as to how they fit the growing picture. I really enjoyed this and would love it if this style continues in Dalgliesh’s further books.

With a delightfully layered plotline, some solid police procedural work and a bunch of interesting characters this was a really good mystery book and a highlight for me, personally, so far in this series. I’m very eager to read more.

Kill Our Sins by JM Dalgliesh


Kill Our Sins by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

What would you do to keep your past a secret?

When the mutilated remains of a woman are retrieved by local fisherman, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his team to identify how she came to be in the water and what put her there. Joined on the case by his new permanent boss, DCI Tamara Greave, it remains to be proven if the woman’s death was a result of foul play or a tragic accident.

The victim carried no means of identification, was poorly dressed for the winter and horribly disfigured when pulled from the water. As the case progresses old ghosts return to haunt those living in the present. Matters thought settled a long time ago face intense scrutiny… attention that some hoped would never come to pass. When childhood friends begin to question one another, suddenly the long forgotten past comes to the fore.

The misadventure of youth can have grave consequences. No matter how much time passes nor how deep you bury them, your sins will always return to haunt you. But who has the most to lose and what else are they willing to sacrifice in order to keep what they have? Is someone prepared to kill for their sins?

Janssen must reveal and catch a killer without a conscience before they strike again…

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

This is the third book in the “Hidden Norfolk” series featuring DI Tom Janssen and DCI Tamara Greave and I found it to be a solid addition. I was very pleased not just with the plot of the mystery itself, but that this time I felt there was significant growth in Tom’s character. We learn a bit about his past, and there was a good amount of time spent showing the conflict and growth in Tom’s personal relationship with his girlfriend. I thought the author did an excellent job balancing these two critical aspects to the book – the mystery plot and the more personal aspects to the story as a greater whole. The book not only felt well balanced but as a result very satisfying. There was a well-woven, interesting and well paced murder mystery plot, but this is the first book where I felt genuinely interested and pleased with Tom’s character and the growth/revelations that were shown to me as the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

The mystery was one I personally found quite interesting – the murder of a woman with deep secrets hidden in her past and a delightfully complicated history. While in many ways a standard British style of police procedural plot, I thought there were enough turns in the storyline and plenty of depth to the mystery of the victim to easily keep my attention. I found the working relationship between Tom and Tamara to be a little easier and smoother in this book – the previous book in the series in particular I had a lot of trouble with the fluctuating emotions and mixed signals, so I was really pleased to find this had all seemed to sort itself out.

While I do feel readers can pick up this book and enjoy reading it as a stand alone story, there are two previous installments in the series. I feel readers will find a deeper appreciation for the working cohesion between the police team unit if they’ve read the two prior stories, though this isn’t strictly necessary. The plot and the personal relationship between Tom and his girlfriend stand very well on their own in this book – and while I had no problems sorting through the characters of the small police unit, I do feel readers will gain a deeper appreciation for their working relationship with the background in the previous stories.

An excellent read, this British police procedural style story is a good book with complex characters, a delightfully twisting plot and plenty of personal growth in the characters. Recommended.

Bury Your Past by J M Dalgliesh


Bury Your Past by J M Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

A secret worth dying for is a secret worth killing…

When a violent storm uncovers the remains of an unknown young woman, long buried among the sand dunes, DI Tom Janssen must piece together fragmentary evidence to determine how she came to be there.

In the years she lay undiscovered several young women have disappeared and as the team work through the possibilities they come to an uncomfortable conclusion… is a serial killer stalking coastal Norfolk? Each missing person had a story. Each of them had enemies. Some were more dangerous than others…

They appealed to the same men, dabbled in the occult and came to the attention of powerful figures who would brush them aside without a second thought. But who had the motivation to kill? Where is the killer now? When the past is brought into the light will they be willing to ensure their closely guarded secrets remain buried?

To do so, they will have to kill 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 has settled back very well into life in Norfolk. His police work keeps him busy but isn’t hectic and he tries to spend more time with his partner Alice and Alice’s young daughter Saffy. When a huge storm passes through the coastal town the skeletal remains of what appears to be a young woman buried in the sand at a popular part of the beach shocks the locals. But this body appears to be just one of a few missing young women and something far more sinister.

This is the second book in the Hidden Norfolk series by Dalgliesh and I admit I quite enjoyed it for the most part. This story can definitely be read as a standalone – only a brief mention is made of the fact that DCI Tamara Greave was brought on to help work with Tom on a previous case together. Aside from the facts that they know each other, have worked together once before and there’s a small bit of attraction (carefully hidden on both sides) nothing else is needed or stated and so this entire story stands really well by itself, and I feel readers should feel quite confidant in picking up this book without reading the previous one.

While I admit the slight attraction between Tom and Tamara is very much downplayed by both characters and indeed from outward appearances they try to not even show or express it – this was the only part of the story that niggled at me a little. Tom is already in a committed romantic relationship with Alice and so it felt odd to me that there was some level of attraction between Tom and Tamara. This was all done very subtly and was realistic (even extremely happily connected people feel attraction to another person now and then) but it still struck a very odd tune to me, personally, and while I didn’t dislike it, it was something I found uneasy to read – partly I think because I wanted this to be a fairly straightforward police procedural mystery and also partly because it’s highly unusual for one of the heroines of the story to not be feeling (even hiding those feelings) in a very heroic manner.

That said, this was all very subtle and effectively had nothing much at all to do with the murder mystery, which truly was the main thrust of the storyline as a whole. Excepting this attraction between Tom and Tamara I felt the entirety of the rest of the story was really well handled. I thoroughly enjoyed the cast of secondary characters who were all drawn in for various reasons into the investigation and were all locals of the small coastal town. I enjoyed seeing Eric again and feel he will in the next book or two be a very strong presence as his detective and police skills grow by leaps and bounds. I also enjoyed that the plot was twisty enough to engage my mind but not so convoluted I couldn’t keep track of all the threads. I feel the author did an exceptional job balancing the plot and pacing and once I got going, I read the book quite quickly and really thoroughly enjoyed it.

Readers wanting a British style, police procedural mystery should find this really suits their mood. While a little gritty I definitely don’t feel this is too dark or edgy and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

One Lost Soul by JM Dalgleish


One Lost Soul by JM Dalgleish
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The darkest secrets often hide in plain sight…

When a body is found on a lonely cliff top path, the angelic face of a murdered teenager lies facing the rising sun. Strangled by the hands of an unknown killer, it falls to DI Tom Janssen and his fledgling team to find out how she came to be there. Destined for a career in medicine, one to rival that of her parents, Holly Bettany’s future was as bright as it had been privileged. Seemingly, all that could threaten this promising teenager’s life was Holly herself.

In an idyllic coastal setting, Janssen must unpick the layers of deceit within a close-knit community that threaten to reveal scandal at every turn. Holly had a secret… and she knew the secrets of others…

Who was prepared to kill in order to keep them hidden? What happens if another comes to know what she did? One thing is certain… a brutal killer has no boundaries…

After some time – and experience – in the big city, DI Tom Janssen returned home to Norfolk and has mostly settled into a comfortable and happy routine. While the local police station is extremely small – only a few officers – there is very little crime, and Tom feels capable with his novice team in handling it. But when a local teenage girl is mysteriously murdered Tom willingly accepts the temporary help of a nearby DCI and he’s relieved to find they can both work together to solve this case – particularly as it grows more complicated the more they uncover.

This is the first book in a series around the small township of Norfolk and DI Tom Janssen and I was pleased that I enjoyed it. In many respects this feels and read to me like a fairly regular British style of police mystery book but I thought the authors tone and style was good. I also enjoyed the small number of main characters. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t learn a lot about Tom’s back-story, and while I was pleased the book wasn’t filled with flashbacks I admit it would have been nice to learn more about Tom’s past and how he came to be the competent, knowledgeable detective he currently is. I admit though that there’s plenty of time in future books for this to be expanded upon, but after finishing the book I realized there was still a lot of Tom’s character I didn’t know or understand fully.

That said, the mystery aspect to this book was excellent. I found it well plotted and with a number of good twists. A few of them I guessed shortly before they were revealed but some of them took me delightfully by surprise. I again feel this was a good blend of stuff readers should be able to see coming and still with a few interesting twists and surprises to enjoy. I feel the cast of secondary characters was also quite strong and I hope most if not all of them make appearances in coming books. I’ll be particularly interested in both Eric’s progress as an officer and – hopefully with more experience – him gaining more confidence in his police work.

For an interesting and well written British style of police procedural I enjoyed this first story in the “Hidden Norfolk” series. I’m definitely interested in reading the next book and hope to learn more both about the main characters and small town.

Divided House by JM Dalgliesh


Divided House by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The public face. A private reality. Sometimes, the dead have a lot to hide…

DI Nathaniel Caslin’s life is a mess. He works the minimum, abuses substances to survive the day and drinks his nights away. A once-promising career is in freefall.

Investigating the death of an ex-serviceman in police custody, reveals the disappearance of a young family. No-one noticed. No-one seems to care. In the grip of a bitter, Yorkshire winter, a family home reluctantly offers up its grisly secrets. Out on the moors, a murder scene of horrific brutality demands Caslin’s focused attention. In the search for answers, is anyone who they claim to be?

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DI Nathaniel Caslin’s career with the police is going downhill and with his marriage in shambles around him his whole life is seeming to spin ever more out of control. Struggling to keep a handle on everything – and with his heavy drinking and occasional substance abuse getting more out of hand – Nathanial isn’t managing to find a way out of the mess. When what seemed like a straightforward case of suicide leads to a missing family his case quickly becomes far more complicated – and sinister – than anything else he’s experienced.

I was unsure about this book to begin with. Having never heard of the “Dark Yorkshire” genre I was curious to try it out, especially since I’ve been enjoying a number of more noir and gritty style mysteries and police procedurals lately. This book was fantastic on many levels and I had already purchased the second in the series before reaching the half-way point of this story.

I found the plot deliciously complicated and I enjoyed how seamlessly the author entwined the two different cases. It didn’t feel overly convoluted nor too “easy” – even though I could tell early on the two cases would dove-tail it never felt manufactured or illogical. I was super impressed with this. I also was thrilled that while Nathanial certainly drank more than is generally considered healthy and Nathanial’s dabbling with drugs was also alluded to this wasn’t a major focus of the story. I was pleased that when Nathanial really got moving with the case a lot of his more personal issues in this department fell to the wayside as he focused his mind and attention on the police work and finding answers. I was pleased Nathanial wasn’t so far down the drinking/drugs path that he couldn’t function properly at his work and this helped sell me on his character and the story as a whole.

I also was pleased that Nathanial’s family life and the many problems revolving around that – while a subplot and given a fair amount of showing – didn’t over-shadow the mystery plot or case he worked on. I felt the scenes with his ex-wife and kids gave added dimension and life to Nathanial, but I didn’t feel like it was skimmed over nor taking up too much time away from the main mystery plot. I thought the author handled this balance really well.

While called “Dark Yorkshire” this story definitely had a noir type of feel to it. Some of the plot matter was gritty and realistic and I feel readers who prefer lighter mysteries or more “who done it” mysteries might find it a little much for them. That said, I was grateful that the darker aspects weren’t gory nor were they overly descriptive. I didn’t find this a gruesome or heavy thriller/horror style of book or writing and for me that added to my enjoyment of the mystery and story itself. The opening scene (three pages from the perspective of a captive/victim) was definitely the starkest and heaviest aspect for most of the story and I strongly feel readers should give the book at least a few chapters after this opening scene to decide if it’s for them or not. I was very grateful I pushed past that opening scene. While not convoluted with the plot twists there were certainly a few turns in the storyline I didn’t guess ahead of it being unveiled and while not earth-shatteringly new I found the plot and story refreshing, interesting and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Well written, solidly plotted and with a bunch of interesting secondary characters I feel this book should appeal to a wide range of mystery readers. Dark but not heavily so, gritty but not gory or using violence in a titillating manner, this book definitely ticks a number of the boxes of the exact style of stories I enjoy. I’m looking forward to reading the second in the series and am intrigued enough to look at this author’s other series as well.