We couldn’t well have an LJ Ross month without a bit of a nod to her newest of fictional heroes now, could we? Dr Alexander Gregory might be a world apart from DCI Ryan and co, but he made no less of an impact and from the very first book, Impostor, we were hooked. Read on to see what Mandie and I thought and to find out more about the book and LJ Ross’s newest creation.
About the Book
There’s a killer inside all of us…
After an elite criminal profiling unit is shut down amidst a storm of scandal and mismanagement, only one person emerges unscathed. Forensic psychologist Doctor Alexander Gregory has a reputation for being able to step inside the darkest minds to uncover whatever secrets lie hidden there and, soon enough, he finds himself drawn into the murky world of murder investigation.
In the beautiful hills of County Mayo, Ireland, a killer is on the loose. Panic has a stranglehold on its rural community and the Garda are running out of time. Gregory has sworn to follow a quiet life but, when the call comes, can he refuse to help their desperate search for justice?
Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Irish landscape.
So, I tried to keep this review brief as Mandie and I are both reviewing. I listened to the audiobook though (totally different obviously) .
And great it really is too. You get a very different vibe when dipping into this book as Dr Gregory is only really on the periphery of the investigation, called in as a consultant by the Mayor of Ballyfinny, Maggie Byrne, who, coincidentally, is also the mother of the two main police officers in charge of the investigation, Connor and Niall. It is a most upsetting case, a young mother murdered and left in her own child’s bed for her family to find. The Byrne’s are convinced it can only be the work of an outsider, but Gregory is not so sure.
As always, the author has managed to create some very diverse and believable characters. Gregory will not be entirely unknown to fans of DCI Ryan, and in fact, Ryan’s pearls of wisdom are recounted within this story, so if you . are hoping for a crossover/hybrid case again, I don’t think it is outside the realms of probability. The Doctor is a very complex man and as the book progresses we get to know him very well. He is cautious, not solely down to the kinds of cases he has seen and the kinds of people he has come into contact with. He is also quite closed off, far more than even Ryan when we first met him, so I will be intrigued to see where the author takes his character.
While this first book is set in Ireland, the nature of Gregory’s job leaves the series open to explore so many settings that it really does make me quite excited for future books. Once again, although very different to her native and beloved Northumberland, LJ Ross has brought the setting to life, really capturing that small town feel of the Ballyfinny community and the contrast to Gregory’s normal, bustiling and yet isolated central London existence. The town, and its residents, felt real to me and I could feel the atmosphere, and the tension, building the further Gregory looked into the case.
It is not a pacy novel and yet it never once lets your attention slip, so don’t be surprised if you read this in a single sitting. I listened to the audiobook, which took me two evenings, but only because that media is always a slower pace than most people will read for themselves. Hugh Dancy manages to blend the intrigue, and the accents, with a kind of gravitas that sets the story apart from the Ryan series.
There are moments of light and shade, particularly when Gregory gets back home to visit his old friend Bill Douglas, but this did feel a slightly darker kind of book, perhaps more akin to The Infirmary which looked into Ryan’s past much as this book shows us far more of Gregory’s than you may have expected. Now that might have been because I listened rather than read the book as the intonation of a narrator can truly make or break the tale. This worked perfectly, and I really look forward to listening to more audiobooks in the series.
With a powerful opening and a surprising and shocking ending, this book left me smiling. We have another brilliant series on our hands here folks. Definitely recommended.
I first came across LJ Ross when I was looking for books to add to my kindle to read whilst on holiday with friends about 3 years ago and I have been a huge fan ever since, so finding out that she was starting a new series that was a bit of a departure from DCI Ryan and Northumberland had me quite excited and hitting the pre order button as soon as it became available. I can honestly say I am hooked. Once I started the first page, I couldn’t put it down and devoured it in a day.
In Impostor we are introduced to Forensic Psychologist Doctor Alexander Gregory as he is called to assist the County Mayo police by profiling a killer. His day job sees him looking after patients at Southmoor Hospital in London and he is not all that keen on going as he has been made a scape goat in a previous case when things didn’t end quite so well. Once he is there though he can’t help but get involved and is determined to see it through to the end.
Alex Gregory is a bit of a complex character and you just know that he is dealing with things that see him struggle at times. He initially butts heads with the town mayor and the head of the Garda, not surprising as they are mother and son who had very set ideas on how the investigation should be conducted. You really do get the sense of how a small town works with everyone knowing everyone, but as this case proves maybe they don’t know their neighbours as well as they think they do. I really warmed to Alex and some of the other characters in the book. Louise has a way of making them seem real, so you end up getting invested in their lives. The story has a very easy flow to it but there are also some surprises along the way. At one point I was convinced that I knew where it was heading but although there was an element my supposition that proved correct, I can honestly say I didn’t expect what actually happened.
This is just the start to what is going to be another cracking series by Louise. With his base being at a hospital but his expertise in profiling just starting to be in demand he could end up anywhere dealing with anyone, and as a reader I find that quite exciting as it opens up all manner of possibilities and I am so looking forward to the next instalment to see where Alex ends up next.
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.