Angel by LJ Ross

Angel by LJ Ross
Publisher: Dark Skies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally returning to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.

Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

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

The fourth installment of the DCI Ryan series is an excellent full length novel and I feel it can definitely be read as a standalone mystery. While some insight is given into the mind and reasonings behind the killer right from the first few pages, I was pleased that there was still enough mystery and shadows around the identity of the killer to keep me guessing and invested well into the story. I also really enjoyed trying to figure out before DCI Ryan’s team whether his case dove-tailed with MacKenzie’s case or whether they weren’t linked by anything other than coincidence.

I do admit that I feel a large part of my interest and emotional investment into DCI Ryan’s team was due to having read the previous stories in this series. That said, I believe the easy and enjoyable writing style that LJ Ross has would lend itself to readers getting attached to the characters, especially as they work together through hard cases and difficult situations. The plotline and murder-mystery aspect to this book I feel is definitely self-contained. Aside from a few brief references to the previous cases this book centers around a new killer with new victims and reasonings, which I feel means readers who have not read the first three books of the series should not find themselves lost if they start with this book.

Fans and readers should be aware though that the last chapter or so of this book definitely acts as a “lead in” to the next book. I feel it ends on quite a cliff hanger (which I personally really hate in a series, particularly if I haven’t been forewarned and don’t have the next book on hand to continue reading). A major development occurs (not related to this books murder plot) and a major incident with one of the main characters happens all within the last few pages of the book. While I don’t exactly feel like this detracts from the book, I do hope this isn’t a frequent occurrence in upcoming books in the series.

With a well-drawn cast of main characters who I have really come to enjoy, and a very strong murder mystery plot I feel this book has a good level of tension and conflict. I found the mystery to be strongly written and suspenseful, the potential for danger to one character in particular was realistic without being overwhelming.

Overall, I found this to be a good addition to the series and I absolutely will be reading the next in the series.

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