Sycamore Gap ~ DCI Ryan #2 @LJRoss_author #BookReview #FridayReads

  • 26310229Author: L J Ross
  • Published: November 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • four-half-stars

The past never stays buried for long… 

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan believes he has put his turbulent history behind him. Then, in the early hours of the summer solstice, the skeleton of a young woman is found inside the Roman Wall at Sycamore Gap. She has lain undiscovered for ten years and it is Ryan’s job to piece together her past. 

Following on from Holy Island, the first in the DCI Ryan mysteries, Sycamore Gap opens with the discovery, by a hiker, of a skeleton hidden in a remote part Hadrian’s Wall. Amy Llewelyn has been missing for ten years. The case falls to Ryan and his Detective Sergeant, Frank Phillips, to investigate. When another body is found at Sycamore Gap it’s clear things are not as straightforward as they appear.

Ryan believes the crimes on Holy Island six months previously have been solved and the Circle disbanded, but it seems there may be parallels connected to his present case. Some of the story threads from the previous book are developed and as the investigation progresses Ryan finds he has to revisit the events on Holy Island. The complex murder case forces turbulent emotions Ryan thought under control, to the surface and compels him to face his personal demons, including a horrific tragedy which never ceases to haunt him.

“He’ll rot in prison. That has to be enough.”

Phillips nodded. Doctor Keir Edwards, the man known in the media as The Hacker of the North or Doctor Death, depending on the tabloid, would spent the rest of his life in HMP Frankland, the maximum security prison for Category A criminals in the nearby city of Durham. Last summer, after a killing spree during which five young, attractive women had been found dismembered in their own homes, he had taken his final victim: Natalie Finley-Ryan. He had stalked her, tortured her and finally killed her to punish the detective who had the temerity to try to stop him.

tree along hadrian's wallOnce again the location, the imagery and atmosphere, is beautifully described. I do love the cover images for these books. The characters are well defined and continue to evolve. There’s a much deeper insight into Ryan and what drives him, the horror in his past and the effects it has on him. 

A well crafted story, dark and tense, with realistic and engaging protagonists. The antagonists are also believable, demonstrating how corruption reaches the highest levels. The ongoing romance between Ryan and Anna, and Philips and MacKenzie, is a very small part of the book and, although they are in settled relationships, the focus is mainly on solving the murders. The depravity is far reaching and although the murderer is apprehended, background threads to the story are ongoing. It adds so much to a series when it flows from one book to the next, the storyline and characters woven together and ongoing.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About L.J. Ross

ljrossBorn in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, LJ Ross graduated from King’s College London with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law and continued her studies in Paris and Florence. After working in the City as a regulatory lawyer for a number of years, she realised it was high time for a change. The catalyst was the birth of her son, which forced her to take a break from the legal world and find time for some of the detective stories which had been percolating for a while and finally demanded to be written. 

She lives with her husband and young son in the south of England, but will always be a northern girl at heart.

Her first book, “Holy Island”, has consistently been listed as an Amazon bestseller since its release in January 2015 and hit the Amazon UK Kindle #1 position in May 2015. Its sequel, “Sycamore Gap” was also a top ten bestseller and the third in the series, ‘Heavenfield’ was released on 8th March. 

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