Cuthbert’s Way by LJ Ross

Cuthbert’s Way by LJ Ross
Publisher: Dark Skies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern


After the dramatic theft of a priceless artefact from Durham Cathedral, the rest of the world believes that DCI Ryan and his team were able to recover and return St. Cuthbert’s cross to its rightful home. But Ryan knows the cross he recovered was a fake—far from being over, their problems are only just beginning…

Just as Ryan and his team begin to unravel the truth behind the spate of mysterious thefts, something even more priceless is stolen—something that can never be replaced.

As the nationwide manhunt continues without success, Ryan is thrust into despair—until he realises the answer lies not in modern policing but in an age-old secret known only to a chosen few. To recover what’s been lost, he must first crack ‘Cuthbert’s Code’, following the trail of a long-dead saint across the wild, unpredictable hills and valleys of the borderlands.

Can Ryan find what he’s looking for, before it’s too late?

He’s going to need a miracle…

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

It has been a number of months since the brazen bombing and heist of St. Cuthbert’s famous Gold Cross, but even though publicly the trail has gone cold and the investigation shelved, DCI Ryan and his team quietly are still pursuing every available lead. None of the team believes in the pat explanations and they all feel there is more to come. When a monk at a local school is found murdered DCI Ryan knows this could very well be the beginning of the end – but no one knows whether it’s the end of the case, or his blissful life as Ryan knows it.

I was pleased with the beginning of this story because even though the previous book left quite a number of items left unfinished, this story opens with plenty of tie-ins and explanations, so readers who haven’t read the book preceding this can definitely understand exactly what’s been happening and where the team are in this case. My only minor complaint was I felt this managed to bog down a lot of the first quarter or so of the pace in this book and while I was relieved there wasn’t any massive info-dumps or long-winded discussions, I did feel as if the pace of the mystery was slower and there wasn’t much action or forward motion at the start of the book.

The middle and ending however greatly made up for this. Once the bad guys raised their collective heads and the dominoes started to fall there was a far more action-orientated, hasty pace to the story as a whole and the mystery in particular. I feel this should definitely appeal to readers who prefer a more action based and less police procedural style of mystery novel.

While the characters are very well established, I feel readers should be able to pick this book up by itself and still thoroughly enjoy it. With the arrival of DCI Ryan’s infant daughter on the scene his direct family – including his wife, Anna, are shown quite a bit more than they have been in many of the previous books. I quite enjoyed this and felt it added a good perspective to the various aspects to Ryan’s full life and not just as a focused policeman.

I thought this was a well written story with an excellent plot and a good pace. I’m looking forward to the next in this series.

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