Category: Contemporary, Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, Book Review
The circus is in town…
When a ten-year-old girl turns up on DCI Ryan’s doorstep to tell him she’s witnessed a murder, he has no idea he’s about to step into his most spellbinding case yet. The circus has rolled into Newcastle upon Tyne, bringing with it a troupe of daring acrobats, magicians, jugglers—and one of them is a killer.
Thinking he might be able to enjoy a quiet Sunday for once, DCI Ryan was lost in a peaceful moment when the door bell rang. Determined to dispatch whoever it is quickly, he was surprised and a little taken aback to see a young girl on the doorstep asking for his help…to catch a killer.
There was a short, humming silence as Ryan took a closer look at the girl’s face and saw what he’d missed the first time around. Beneath the bravado and oversized hat, there was something else.
There was fear.
O’Neill’s circus had returned to the Town Moor in Newcastle after an eight year absence. A jingle on the local radio station caused a hazy memory to surface for young Samantha O’Neill. Sam’s mother had disappeared when she was two. Ran off with another man and left Sam behind. Everyone said so. But Sam believed she knew different now, thanks to that jingle bringing back horrible memories of the monster she had all but forgotten. She really needed to know what actually happened to her mother and was desperately hoping Ryan would be able to find out.
Easier said than done, with the code of silence and reluctance to engage with the police that was prevalent in the circus community. Sam had broken the unwritten rule and gone to outsiders—and worse still, to the police. She was scared, not knowing who she could trust. No-one out of all the people she’d lived and travelled with, even including her father and uncle.
Initial research shows some relevant results from a cold case. The case is reopened and as a vulnerable minor, Sam is treated as a protected witness. Ryan and Phillips find themselves at the circus trying to navigate through the lies and subterfuge and unravel the eight year old mystery, which initially seems like a physical impossibility.
Meanwhile Jack Lowerson and Melanie Yates are investigating a spate of murders occurring around the city that seem to be gangland related. Jack’s first case as acting SIO and he wants to prove he’s up to the task but forgets a golden rule (So glad we don’t have to wait much longer for the next book.)
All the old favourites are back but the standout character in this episode has to be the delightful Samantha. She quickly endears herself to everyone and her interactions with with Frank and Denise bring out another side to their characters. Can’t wait to see what happens there! I really enjoy the relationships that have built up throughout the series, the closeness, the banter and how they work together. The setting is always a draw and these books have encouraged me to visit many wonderful places. The story moves at a steady pace and there are enough twists and red herrings to keep you guessing.
LJ Ross is the author of the #1 international bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels and her books have sold more than three million copies since 2015. She has released ten full-length novels, seven of which have reached number one in the Amazon UK Kindle best-sellers chart. They are available to purchase in e-book, print and audiobook narration on the Amazon store.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law at King’s College London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years before taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.
Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Northumberland. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.