- Author: LJ Ross
- Kindle Edition
- Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
He’ll make you his angel, but first you have to die…
After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.
A prologue set in 1990 opens the story. A girl is making a bid for freedom and a better future, through a bathroom window sealed with paint which she had been working to loosen for weeks. She needed to cross the roof to the guttering and climb down a drain pipe, but falls to her death before she can reach the ground. Who is she and what connection could she have with events so many years later?
In the east, morning had broken. Sunshine burned through the mist, casting warm rays over the hills and glades of Northumberland, illuminating the girl’s body where it lay twisted and broken. Her pale arms were outstretched and long strands of red hair fell in a tangle around her head in a bright halo, like an angel.
Twenty six years later, the uneventful weekend Ryan was looking forward to with his fiancée Anna, doesn’t quite materialise as he and DS Frank Phillips are called to a crime scene at the West Coast Cemetery. The body of a red-haired woman has been found by a grave-digger, buried in a plot that was due to be utilised the following day. Her arms and clothing had been staged to look like wings. A handwritten note is found with the body, giving absolution in Latin, suggesting a religiously motivated crime.
Meanwhile DI Denise MacKenzie and DC Jack Lowerson are investigating the possibly natural death of sixty-five year old Barbara Hewitt, found by her cleaning lady. Leaving nothing to chance, and after the pathologist rules strangulation as the cause of death, they delve into the life and strict routine of the seemingly unpopular Ms Hewitt. Is it possible there’s a link between the two cases?
When other bodies are discovered in graveyards, it’s obvious the killer is intent on targeting red-haired women, again with the religious implications which adds to the drama. The victims are all similar in age and colouring to Denise MacKenzie.
I love the atmospheric writing style, the area, the realistic characters, their interactions and camaraderie, and the way their personal lives are interwoven into the narrative. The storylines are well structured, cases and events that occurred previously are touched on, giving the books a great sense of continuity, as does the character development and insight.
An old adversary makes an appearance, leaving a suspenseful cliff hanger ending. I’m not a huge fan of cliff hangers, unless I can read the books one after the other, but…I’m so looking forward to the next instalment!
About the author
Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, LJ Ross moved to London where she graduated from King’s College London with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law. 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 released on 11th September and she is currently working on the third book in the DCI Ryan mystery series.