The Jackal Man by Kate Ellis

The Jackal Man by Kate Ellis
Publisher: Piatkus Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A teenage girl is strangled and left for dead on a lonely country lane in Devon. The police are baffled when she describes her attacker as having the head of a dog, but when the body of a woman is found mutilated and wrapped in a sheet, DI Wesley Peterson suspects the killer may be performing an ancient ritual linked to the jackal-headed Egyptian god, Anubis.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson has been called to Varley Castle to catalogue the collection of an Edwardian amateur Egyptologist. Neil discovers through his research that Wesley’s strange case bears sinister similarities to four murders that took place near Varley Castle in 1903.

As the Jackal Man’s identity remains a frustrating enigma, it seems the killer has yet another victim in his sights. Someone close to Wesley himself . . .

When a local teenage girl is strangled and only a passing car interrupts what might have been an even more serious crime, DI Wesley Peterson and his team are called in to investigate. Unsure whether this links up to a similar – but less sinister attempted assault on another young woman a few weeks earlier, Wesley and his team flounder at first. When the next victim isn’t so lucky they realise their quarry is linking himself to the jackal-headed Egyptian god Anubis. Wesley’s archaeological friend, Dr Neil Watson is helping catalogue the collection of an amateur Egyptologist and Neil points out that these present cases bear a striking similarity to four murders that took place in 1903 and those were directly linked to this collection’s family. Can Neil and Wesley sort out exactly what’s going on before another young woman is murdered?

I have been greatly enjoying this British police procedural series and this book was a lovely addition. While there is plenty going on around these characters and the team members, I feel readers should certainly be able to pick this book up and enjoy it on its own merits. Aside from the fact the characters know each other and work well together, the actual plot and relationships are all very well explained within this book.

I was pleased that there was fairly clearly a strong connection immediately between the cataloguing work Neil was performing at a local castle with an Egyptian collection and Wesley’s offender who wore a cloak and a “dog mask”. I was also very intrigued that Wesely’s old boss from his days at the Met in their Art Fraud section was in town looking for some Egyptian antiquities and someone calling themselves Ra. It was all clearly linked but I enjoyed the twists and slow unveiling of what was really going on. I thought this book had a very good pace and unlike some of the others in this series I enjoyed the fact both plots were clearly woven together and were gathering speed roughly together.

Readers who enjoy some history and archaeology mixed in with their murder mysteries should find this a really enjoyable book. I enjoyed this story, and it was a lovely and comfortable weekend read.

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