The Shrine by LJ Ross

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

A murder for the history books…

After a long and eventful winter, DCI Ryan and his team are looking forward to the joys of spring. But, when one of their colleagues is shot dead on her own doorstep and the brass think it’s an inside job, Ryan finds himself drafted in to investigate.

He’s barely scratched the surface when reports flood in of a terror explosion at Durham Cathedral. Chaos descends on the sleepy, historic city and, when the smoke clears, they find a priceless artefact that once belonged to Saint Cuthbert is missing.

With tensions running at an all-time high, unable to trust the local police, can Ryan and his team bring a killer to justice — and restore Cuthbert’s cross to its natural resting place?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular landscape of County Durham.

Spring has finally arrived in Northumbria but the peace of the warmer days is destroyed when one of DCI Ryan’s colleagues is shot dead on her own doorstep. Mere minutes apart, a terrorist explosion occurs at Durham Cathedral and a priceless artefact is stolen that once belonged to Saint Cuthbert. Far more importantly, one of their own is seriously injured during the attack. Ryan and his team will stop at nothing to uncover what’s really going on.

This is an exciting and well written addition to this long running series. While the plot stands quite well on it’s own there is a lot of background and history between the main characters. I don’t feel each of these stories needs to be read to really enjoy this book – but having some working understanding of the links and history will certainly give the reader a deeper emotional connection with the events that unfold in this book.

Much like some of this author’s previous books this one is clearly linked to the next in the series. While the book has a solid feel of being self-contained there are a number of threads that are left open and considering the next book in the series is called Cuthbert’s Way, I have the strong feeling that the unfinished items will be resolved in the next book. There definitely isn’t a cliffhanger ending but readers who dislike needing to wait for the next installment should definitely purchase this and the next book together, so they won’t have to wait.

I enjoyed the mix of pacing – while some aspects are a slower police procedural style of connecting the dots there are a few good action sequences where the story moves at a much faster pace. I also felt there was quite a bit of character growth for DCI Ryan, both in the relationship with his parents and with him coming to terms with the changes occurring in his private life. Readers who have enjoyed the previous books in this series should definitely feel this is an excellent addition and I feel they should enjoy this book.

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