Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Guest Review: Cragside by L J Ross


Are you afraid of the dark..?


After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears.

When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again...

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






Review: This is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan mysteries by L J Ross. I came upon the series when it was already well established, so I am enjoying reading the books in quick succession. Some of the previous books have relied to some extent on having read others in the series, but, apart from containing recurring characters in DCI Ryan’s team, who readers of previous books in the series will have come to know, this one could definitely be read as a stand-alone.

The action here takes place almost entirely in a grand Northumberland house, Cragside, and in its grounds. While DCI Ryan and his fiancée, Anna, are attending a staff party at the house, there is an unexplained blackout, after which a body is discovered outside in the courtyard. During the investigation of this death, some interesting facts emerge about the victim, leading Ryan and his team to wonder if this was indeed an accident, as originally believed. When another body is found, this time in the grounds of the house, people begin to fear that a serial killer may be at large, and to wonder who will be the next victim. Ryan and his team are faced with a complicated situation that they must unravel before it’s too late. Meanwhile, his currently happy personal life looks as if it may be about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new member of the force.

As DCI Ryan is a member of a squad dealing with serious crime, you can be sure that there will be at least one suspicious death somewhere along the line in these stories. In common with other books in the series, the reader is given a little more information than the investigators, and a few clues to try and work out what is going on. The excitement in this and other books in the series is that while you have faith in Ryan, you are never sure who is safe. Nobody is ever immune from the unwanted attention of the wrongdoer. I’m certain that anyone who enjoys crime drama will like this book. It might appeal especially to people who know the area in which the story is set, although knowledge of that region is of course not necessary for its appreciation.


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