The Official Book Blurb
The hunter becomes the hunted…
When a man is found dead at the remote church of Heavenfield, DCI Ryan is the only other person for miles around. The police have no weapon, no motive and no other suspects.
Already suspended from Northumbria CID, Ryan must fight to clear his name. But soon, more than his career is at stake when prominent members of the mysterious ‘Circle’ begin to die. Somebody wants Ryan’s name to be next on the coroner’s list and to survive he must unmask the devil who walks among them – before it is too late.
Unfortunately for Ryan, the devil looks just like everybody else…
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit from LJ Ross, set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.
If I told you that this was the third book in this series that I have listened in the space of a a week, then you’ll probably be able to guess how much I am loving it. From that very first introduction to DCI Ryan and team up on Holy Island, I have been hooked and each story has been cementing my love more. After two cracking tales in Holy Island and Sycamore Gap, could Heavenfield keep the pace and my attention. Oh by ‘eck yes.
This instalment brings the reader and DCI Ryan full circle, back to the mysterious and dangerous ‘Circle’ who dominated the the story in that very first book. It is set to become Ryan’s most personal case yet as he falls victim to their plotting, while still trying to resolve lingering issues and concerns over his actions in the previous novel. There is no hiding who is part of the ‘Circle’, this is clear from the very first page and we are familiar with the names and faces from the first two books. And yet, as members are slowly but surely dispatch, it is not clear who the killer may be. Many seem to have opportunity and motive, Ryan included, but Ross manages to keep the reader guessing right to the last.
Being honest, and maybe because I was listening rather than reading, I really didn’t see this one coming. There were the odd moments when I thought I knew, when I gave myself a bit of a knowing smile as I drove along (I should explain I was listening to audio, not reading and driving) and then something unexpected would happen and I was smiling that same smile, not for me but for the author. Excellent work. I loved it.
As for the characters, Ryan is as formidable as ever. Serious and focused, his dry humour provides many lighter moments. Frank Phillips persists in wearing his colourful ties much to DI MacKenzie’s dismay. Gregson is still keeping secrets and Lowerson is as keen as mustard, now fully recovered from his ordeal on Holy Island. And the relationship between Ryan and Anna is settled, symbiotic. While he still drives her crazy, they understand each other, which is good because this case is very personal to both of them. It is a partnership that works and works well.
There are moments of real tension, where you know that something is about to happen and you wonder just how Ryan and the team will overcome it. There are also more subtle moments which creep up on you. The narrative moves between Ryan and his team, to members of the ‘Circle’, but does so smoothly. And we revisit some characters who we have met before, adding an interesting dimension to the text.
The story does provide some closure to the story which began on Holy Island, at least it felt like it did. Who knows quite how far the reach of this strange society extends. But I am glad to know that there are two more books in this series waiting on my kindle, books which I know are going to be a pure delight to read.
A brilliantly masked and conspiratorial 5 stars from me.
Heavenfield is available to purchase from the links below. The other 4 books in the series can be purchased from Amazon UK here.
The other books in the DCI Ryan series are