Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Guest Review: Dark Skies by L J Ross


Beware what lies beneath…


One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

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






Review: This is book seven in the DCI Ryan mysteries series. Ryan heads up a police serious crime team based in Newcastle, and the stories are set in the region. As the series has progressed, readers have become increasingly familiar with Ryan and his colleagues, as well as some of the criminal element they have encountered. However, most of the books can be read as stand-alone stories, this one being no exception.

This story is set primarily in Kielder forest, a large woodland in north eastern England, and in particular around Kielder Water reservoir and a village on its banks. The reservoir was formed by construction of a dam; several buildings were submerged as the water gradually collected. It is from one of these buildings that a body emerges. Ryan and his team are called in to investigate the identity and cause of death of what appears to be a boy who had lain undiscovered under the water for many years, probably since before the area flooded. While looking into this death, another boy is murdered in the village, this time a student from a group on a field trip organised coincidentally by Ryan’s wife, Anna. Could there be a connection between the deaths of the two boys? As the detectives investigate, their work is complicated by the arrival of a new Detective Chief Superintendent who has a history with Ryan and appears intent on disrupting his team’s equilibrium.

As with all the books I have read in this series, I have really enjoyed this mystery, and especially trying to work out who was to blame for the crimes from the clues scattered throughout its pages. Although I have said that each of these books can be read as a stand-alone, part of the pleasure is in following the progress of relationships within Ryan’s team, and within his personal life. So while I would recommend this book for the storyline, interesting characters and descriptions of the Northumbrian landscape, I would equally suggest reading the whole series from the start.


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