Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Bamburgh by LJ Ross, the latest DCI Ryan mystery. I love this series and have become really invested in the characters, so I’m always wondering what new hell the author will put them through this time around. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY…
When a cantankerous old woman dies at her home in the sleepy, picturesque village of Bamburgh, DCI Ryan doesn’t think much of it—except, that is, for the small matter of it having been his wife who happened to find her body. Then another body turns up amongst the sand dunes at the base of the mighty castle fortress, and he decides it can’t be a coincidence…
Meanwhile, after a recent revelation about her sister, DC Melanie Yates’ quest to avenge her death is becoming an obsession—much to the concern of those around her. With a new DCS to contend with and hundreds of cold case files to sift through, the chances of uncovering a dormant killer seem unlikely. But as Melanie delves deeper into the secrets of the past to uncover the truth, she soon realises it lies much closer to home…
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit, set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.
Bamburgh, the latest book in the DCI Ryan series, brings to a close one of the outstanding mysteries from the books predecessor, The Rock – who killed Melanie Yates’ sister. Allowing readers a glimpse at the fateful night on which Gemma disappeared and that changed Mel’s relationship with her parents forever, you feel that all too familiar sense of dread and expectation as the scene unfolds, that certainty that, even before you might realise the relevance of what you are reading, something bad is going to happen. This is a crime novel after all, and what better way to start with the creeping sense of the darkness soon to come? It’s a scene which appears obvious to us as readers, and the fact that the warning signs are all there, but to a teenager pushing their own boundaries some fifteen years ago, the naivety assures a lack of awareness that can only result in tragedy.
There are two threads to this story. The central investigation is into the murder of a local business woman who runs a bed and breakfast in the town of Bamburgh, currently booked out to a group engaged in an archaeological dig. There are several suspects, not least of which is the person who stands to inherit her home, but nothing is ever quite so straightforward in a Ryan investigation and we are led on a merry dance as our intrepid Detectives try to get to the truth. Second to this, but no less important, is Mel’s determination to get to the bottom of what really happened to her sister, in spite of being sidelined from the investigation. It’s not just protocol at play here – there are other forces determined to drive a wedge between the team and the already strained relationship between Mel and Jack is pushed to the limit.
I do love the camaraderie between all the characters in this series, especially Ryan and Frank Phillips. They are on top form this time around and no matter how serious their investigation may get, you can be relied upon them for some light relief. Ryan and co are all on top form too, with spidey senses tingling as a new threat appears on the periphery of the team, someone they can’t immediately trust and rightly so. As readers we know exactly who they are, what they want and what they are willing to do to get it. This time around there is absolutely no doubt about who the bad guy is, at least as far as the investigation into Gemma’s disappearance goes, as they are introduced very early on, with many scenes from their point of view. They’re not quite Hacker bad – I’m not sure that he can be rivalled – but they are a truly vile character who you’ll be glad to see the back of.
The sense of place is as keen as ever and the more I read, plus the more I visit the area in real life, I can easily picture the scene. It’s nice to see Bamburgh and Bamburgh castle take centre stage after a previous series cameo as the castle in particular is such an iconic part of the county that it deserves its own nod. Characters are carefully and convincingly drawn and the pacing of the story is just right. Because of the two different threads the investigations are perhaps not as in depth or drawn out as they may have been in the past, but it works for this book and I think the balance works well.
Another fine addition to the series, with the usual blend of humour, mystery, tension and romance that fans have come to love.
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 7 million copies worldwide.
“Mania” (the fourth book in her Dr Gregory series) was released in March 2022 and “Bamburgh” (the nineteenth book in her DCI Ryan series) is available for ebook pre-order now!
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 twenty two novels, all of which have been top three global bestsellers and most of which have been UK #1 bestsellers. Louise has garnered an army of loyal readers through her storytelling and, thanks to them, most 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.
In addition to her DCI Ryan series, Louise has created a new series of thriller novels based around the central character of ‘Dr Alexander Gregory’, whose work as a psychological profiler takes him around the world. The first three books (Impostor, Hysteria and Bedlam) were #1 bestsellers and the fourth book was released in March 2022 (Mania). They were narrated in audio by the actors Hugh Dancy (Impostor & Hysteria) and Richard Armitage (Bedlam & Mania).