Today it’s back over to me to continue the LJ Ross love, with my thoughts on book twelve in the DCI Ryan series, The Moor. Now anyone who know the series knows that this is quite a game changer for some of the characters, in a very fun and positive way. Read on to find out what the book is all about.
About the Book
The circus is in town…
When a ten-year-old girl turns up on DCI Ryan’s doorstep to tell him she’s witnessed a murder, he has no idea he’s about to step into his most spellbinding case yet. The circus has rolled into Newcastle upon Tyne, bringing with it a troupe of daring acrobats, magicians, jugglers—and one of them is a killer.
Ryan and his team must break through their closed ranks to uncover a secret which has lain buried for eight years, before the killer strikes again – this time, to silence the only living witness…
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.
I’ll admit it. I’m a big fan of the DCI Ryan series. Author LJ Ross would have to be going some and suffering the world biggest and longest brain fart when it came to plotting and storytelling to write a book that I didn’t enjoy. Happy to report that The Moor is not that book and, as always, our favourite author is on top form. Not going to lie – it still makes me chuckle to see my namesake mentioned, even if only in passing – but those brief moments aside, this book is no laughing matter. Not at all.
In a slight change of pace to some of the preceding books, DCI Ryan is faced with a rather unusual case. This is a case which find him, the star witness quite literally turning up on his doorstep, unannounced and uninvited. Young Sam O’Neill claims to have witnessed a murder. Only there is one small detail which may make her story a little hard to digest … and it’s not just because she is only ten yers old. Her statement takes Ryan and Phillips on a trip to the circus, a place where they are far from welcome and trust for the police is spread extremely thin. But is Sam telling the truth, and what do her friends and family really have to hide?
Alongside this, Jack Lowerson takes on his first case as Acting SIO, ably assisted by Melanie Yates. A number of puzzling murders are happening across the city, some of them having all the hallmarks of a professional hit. But by whom and what did the victims do to deserve their fate?
The Moor is another absolutely cracking story, blending everything that makes this series so special. From the banter and easy friendship which exists between the central characters, through to the sublime way in which the author brings the area to life, this has all fans will need to keep them turning the pages long after they should have gone to bed. It certainly did me. Once I started, I didn’t want to put it down and if it wasn’t for that pesky thing called work, I’d have likely read it in one sitting.
Now the murders in this book aren’t as grizzly as some have been in the past, not that this is a series known for any gratuitous violence – it’s never been needed. But certainly the murder case which Ryan and Phillips are trying to solve – a rather cold case as it happens – is full of mystery. To start with, no-one is absolutely certain that it is actually a murder case, and once they do get on the trail what they discover only leaves them with more questions. And things happen that baffle even Ryan’s logic, even if he can feel that little itch under his skin that tells him that nothing is as straightforward as it appears.
What really makes this series for me is the characters. Yes we love Ryan and Anne, Frank and Denise, even Jack (bless him) and Melanie, a pair whose frustratingly misread mutual attraction starts to fizz a little more this time around. They are all brilliant characters who keep readers coming back for more, invested in their lives and their successes as much as in the need to know whodunnit and how. But there is someone in this book who steals the show. Not the killer, although god knows there have been some deliciously wicked and undeniably loathesome baddies that we all love to hate. No – this book belongs to Sam. Wise beyond her years she makes an immediate impression. Confident yet vulnerable, mature in her outlook and yet as full of childlike wonder as you could imagine, straight talking and yet inquisitive, you cannot help but smile when she is around, even in her most emotional moments. She brings big disruption to our beloved protagonists lives, but in a good way. She’s a pretty special character.
And I really don’t like kids. Not even fictional ones …
And then those closing chapters … Oh my life. Not quite a cliffhanger ending, but only because the real da-da-daaaa moment actually comes a couple of chapters earlier, with Ryan’s very final comments leaving you with a very ominous feeling about what comes next. It’s going to leave readers desperate for the next book, believe me.
This is classic Detective fiction at its best. Emotional at times, brimming with brilliant characters, richly drawn landscapes and more that its fair share of mystery and suspense, I loved it.
About the Author
LJ Ross is an international bestselling author, best known for creating atmospheric mystery and thriller novels, including the DCI Ryan series of Northumbrian murder mysteries which have sold over four million copies worldwide.
Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon UK and Australian charts. Since then, she has released a further sixteen novels, all of which have been top three global bestsellers and fourteen of which have been UK #1 bestsellers. Louise has garnered an army of loyal readers through her storytelling and, thanks to them, several of her books reached the coveted #1 spot whilst only available to pre-order ahead of release. Her eleventh novel, The Infirmary, is a prequel story and is also available as a major Audible Originals audio-drama starring Tom Bateman, Kevin Whately, Bertie Carvel, Hermione Norris and Alun Armstrong.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and then abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write. Now, she writes full-time and lives with her husband and son in Northumberland, where she enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Louise is a keen philanthropist, and is pleased to have supported numerous non-profit programmes in addition to founding several of her own, including the Lindisfarne Reading Challenge and the Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime Fiction.