Dark Skies by LJ Ross

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

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

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

DCI Ryan has technically not even come back from his honeymoon when a private diving lesson over the weekend unearths a long-mummified corpse of a teenage boy in England’s biggest reservoir. The mummified corpse holds any number of secrets, but forces within DCI Ryan’s team threaten to tear the close-knit group apart and those close to Ryan are an even greater danger than that of a re-awakened murderer.

This book is in the DCI Ryan series, and I would strongly recommend readers have at least some experience with a few of the previous installments. While it’s not necessary to have read every book preceding this, a very large amount of the plot and conflict arise from inter-team changes and clashes, so I feel readers who pick this story up alone won’t have as good an experience without the emotional attachment and investment in the various main characters. That said, the story is absolutely easy to follow along with, the author has done a solid job of explaining everything and the murder mystery plot stands very well on its own. But with a twist in the mystery plot right at the end of the story and tensions in the characters’ relationships still extremely high at the end of the book I definitely feel at least some of the previous stories should be read and a number of readers might feel the somewhat cliffhanger ending – which very clearly leads directly into the next book – doesn’t lend this to be a story to be read purely on its own.

I understand a number of the characters actions and clashes and the reasoning behind it, but I strongly feel readers who prefer a more police procedural style of story – and less character driven drama – might not find this book as enjoyable as previous stories in this series. I struggled in a few places to feel some of the characters acted in an understandable way. While the main antagonist was suitably manipulative and dastardly, I was a little surprised how easily convinced and swayed one of Ryan’s team in particular was. There was a large amount of conflict in this story which I do feel will appeal to some readers, but equally I feel the splintering of the team might also be viewed by a number of readers as a bit over the top in relation to the conflict/drama of the story.

In some respects, the mystery was secondary to everything happening within the police team. I did enjoy how the murder which occurred thirty years in the past re-awakened a number of simmering issues and I thought the plot surrounding how the past and present interwove was very well done. For this particular book, however, I do feel the actual mystery took almost a back seat to all the politics and schisms within the team. I also strongly feel readers should be prepared to want to read the following book virtually immediately after finishing this story as it ends setting up for the next installment very much. I, personally, would have found it painful to wait. Thankfully I had the next book already on hand and would suggest readers who know themselves to be impatient at times shouldn’t crack this one open until they have the following book on hand.

A well written book this was somewhat different to others I’ve read in the series but was nevertheless a good read.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.