Review: Dark Skies by LJ Ross @LJRoss_author

A massive happy publication day to author LJ Ross whose seventh … yes seventh!!! … DCI Ryan book is set free today.

DSThe Official Book Blurb

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now. 

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost. 

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

I was kind of late to this series, happening upon it following a recommendation from my sister. I listened to the audio book of Holy Island in January and have not looked back since. I have my own reasons for having a good old chuckle at the last two books, and those who know me will know what they are, but I can honestly say that this book is a cracker.

How to begin? Well, quite honestly, I just don’t know. I could tell you a bit about the story. A small group of people go scuba diving in Kielder water and one of them unwittingly reveals a secret that the reservoir has been keeping for over thirty years. What follows is essentially the investigation of this long unexplained mystery, an investigation for once not led by DCI Ryan. At least at the start. And there is good reason for that. Reason, you will have to read to uncover.

Unearthing a long unsolved murder is always going to ruffle a few feathers, least of which would be those of the person responsible. But is it conceivable that after all this time the murderer would still be in the area? Who knows. In the world of DCI Ryan and co, thirty minutes can be a very long time and are all to takes for things the seeds of change to take root. Fresh back from honeymoon, things are already starting to feel unsettled for our hero. And this, my dear readers, is part of the reason why this book had me smiling so many times while reading.

If you have read Cragside then you will already know one of the areas of conflict which exists for Ryan. I would say that this is expanded upon within this book without a shadow of a doubt, but as to the full extent of the disruption … well, I’m not sure we’ve seen it all yet. LJ Ross sure knows how to keep her readers on the hook and after that ending, I know I am now absolutely desperate to get my hands on the next book.

The characters? Well, anyone who has read the series will know how brilliantly these folk have been developed. You are invested in every single one of them, and when one is placed in jeopardy, you can really feel the tension building and your nerves start to jangle. This book is no exception. Is the threat as full on as it has been in previous novels? Perhaps not, but it is the underlying threat, the sense of being watched, which prevails here, and it makes the skin crawl. There are many characters who come under suspicion in this book and it is up to you to decide who may be guilty. The danger of some characters may be self evident, however there are others who hide in plain sight.

I love the way in which the author has built the relationship between Ryan and Anna. Behind his quite stoic exterior, there is a truly humble and caring man and it is in the scenes with his new wife that this is most apparent. They are a perfect couple and, while yes – I have to admit it’s sickening really as who wouldn’t want a partner who would be willing to die or kill for you – their’s is an impenetrable bond that enrages some, but has you rooting for them as a team. Ryan also shows the same loyalty to his colleagues, a clear devotion and respect for each and every one of them, but his in ability to express himself and his fears clearly could push one of them right into the lion’s den. It’s delightfully tense.

Above all though, one of the main draws of this series for me is the way in which the author uses setting within the books. Her passion for and love of Northumberland shines through in every book, in the way she regards and portrays the landscape. The serenity and tranquility of the location are at odds with what has happened, but the natural conflict just works perfectly. Although sometimes harsh, sometimes unforgiving, the scenery is recreated on the page in such a beautiful way that you really feel you are there. Feel the wind cooling your skin as you picture the purity of the stars shining in an unpolluted sky. If you don’t want to drive right out to Kielder after reading this, you are either a confirmed townie, a city slicker, or you just have no heart and no imagination.

I may be biased, but I think this is one of my favourites in the series so far. But I have to know – when is book eight due? This is shaping up to be quite a doozy, I can sense it in me bones.

My thanks to the author for providing an advance copy of the book. It was my absolute pleasure to read and review.

Dark Skies is available now from the following retailers. Do yourselves a favour and go buy. If you haven’t read any of the series yet, do yourself a bigger favour and buy them all. You won’t regret it.

Amazon UK | Amazon US

The fine print …

(For the benefit of full disclosure, I won a charity auction earlier this year, enabling me to be a named character in one of the DCI Ryan books. Yes – if you read the book – that is me but no, in case you were wondering, it totally isn’t me. I’m not that kind of boss. Well, admittedly, I can be a bit of a cow at times, but I am in no other way likely to act in the same manner as my namesake and in no way am I now, or have I ever been, elegant … This is a work of fiction after all …)

3 thoughts on “Review: Dark Skies by LJ Ross @LJRoss_author

Comments are closed.