The Blood Pit by Kate Ellis

The Blood Pit by Kate Ellis
Publisher: Piatkus
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

DI Wesley Peterson has never witnessed such a bizarre crime scene. A man has been brutally murdered by two precise wounds to his neck and his body drained of blood.

It seems that the victim was not a popular man in the Devon area and Wesley doesn’t have a shortage of suspects. But then two more victims are found killed in an identical fashion.

As if Wesley didn’t have enough to investigate, Wesley’s friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, begins to receive disturbing anonymous letters about macabre events at a medieval abbey. The gory details bare resemblance to the recent deaths and Neil fears they are being sent by the killer.

Wesley and Neil are forced to face shocking revelations as they come face to face with a murderer scarred by past sins.

DI Wesley Peterson has seen numerous bad murder scenes – but none quite like this. The victim had been almost drained of his blood in a scene that appeared to have rituatlistic aspects to it. As he and his team investigate they have rarely come across a victim so many people describe as “evil” and there is no shortage of people who are not overly sad this event has occurred. Meanwhile Wesley’s good friend, archaeologist Neil Watson has been getting some very disturbing letters, related to a monk on his latest work site, but the references to blood and the ritual aspects to the site concern both Neil and Welsey. Can they work out what’s really going on?

I found this to be one of my favourite books in the series so far. With two or three main plotlines very neatly twisting around each other – clearly linked but not in a direct manner – I found it a delightful puzzle to try and work out exactly who was responsible for what and how it all connected together. I thought the author did a really good job weaving everything together and keeping the pace at a good pace – fast enough to keep the tension going and me as the reader eager to learn more but not so fast I couldn’t catch the plot points linking everything together.

I also thought it was a really refreshing change that much of Neil’s part to the plot was clearly linked to the present day. While there was a solid connection to the past and the history of the site he was currently excavating, it was very clear from the letters it was closely linked to someone right there in the present and clearly focused on Neil. This was a different turn to his usual plotlines and I felt it really added to the tension and interest in the story. I was very happy with this new aspect to his character and his connection to Wesley and the plot.

Finally, a small note for some readers – this book contains the character death of a well-known secondary character. It is not gory or an over-the-top death, but for readers who have read some of the previous books it is a well-known and important secondary character.

Readers who enjoy a mixture of history and archaeology with their police procedural mystery stories should find this a good and interesting read with a solid plotline and a strongly written cast of secondary characters.

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