Today I’m handing over the blog to Mandie who has a blog blitz review of Death in the Woods by Bernie Steadman (previously released as Death and Deception). First, let’s take a look at what the book is all about.
About the Book
Meet Detective Inspector Dan Hellier, a man who needs to redeem his career and catch a killer.
Soon after DI Hellier returns home to Exeter under a cloud, the body of a talented young singer is found in the woods.
When her death reveals links to the boss of a recording studio, a predatory gang and a school music teacher, Hellier knows he has his work cut out.
Before any more innocent people are put in danger, Hellier will need to untangle the web of lies and work out which of many suspects are guilty of murder. But can he solve the case in time?
Death in the Woods is the first in the West Country Crime Series. We meet DI Dan Hillier as he tries to uncover who killed teenager Carly Braithwaite and dumped her body in the woods behind her school.
What starts out as a simple case of murder soon takes on many twists and turns and the investigations uncover so many different things with key witnesses and suspects seeming to be keeping secrets. Just as Dan thinks he knows who the killer is, evidence leads him down the path of drug smuggling and child prostitution. The question is do they have any relevance to his case and if so what is the connection to Carly? As he digs further into her personal life he finds that maybe she is not the wholesome girl that everyone thinks she is and questions if this could be the motive for her murder? In his quest for answers finds both himself and his DCI in danger and his actions are called into question by his superiors. Dan is determined to solve it and prove that they were right to trust him with this case.
What struck me about this book is that although Dan has made few mistakes in his personal life that resulted in his move back to Exeter from London he did not seem to have a dark past that is impacting on him or his decisions. He tries to learn from his mistakes in the hope that it will make a him a better detective. That being said in his eagerness to prove his worth and show that prior actions were just a blip he does allow himself to be lead into some dodgy investigative work (albeit by his soon to retire DCI). Despite this his team rally round and prove to be vital back up and support when he needs it the most. I also had a bit of a chuckle every time I read about the two detectives called Bill and Ben (affectionately known in the station as The Flower Pot Men).
This book will certainly have the reader hooked throughout as they follow all the leads and if they are like me will be changing their minds on who the culprit is just as much as DI Hillier and his team. Each of the characters in this book had a purpose, providing a vital link in the team and were not just thrown in to pad things out. I will certainly keep a look out for further works by Bernie Steadman as I look forward to seeing what is next for DI Hillier and co.
Thanks to publishers Bloodhound who provided a copy of the book for review. It is available now from the following links:
About the Author
Bernie taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry until a few years ago when she took to writing full-time. She completed her debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays. This was the first in the West Country Mysteries series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. There are now three in the series, Death on Dartmoor and Death on the Coast completing the series.
Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon and her novels are set in and around the ancient Roman city of Exeter, which has seen its fair share of murder and mayhem over the centuries. The books explore the beauty of the area, but demonstrate that even in the most charming of settings, terrible events may occur.
When not glued to the laptop, Bernie is a keen yoga fan and enjoys walking and cycling in the Devon countryside with her husband. They share their home with two large, black cats which came from the animal sanctuary where she is a volunteer and trustee.
Follow the tour: