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.

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