Today I’m joining the blog tour for The Fifth Grave, courtesy of Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity
An atmospheric and tense prologue, events that happened more than twenty five years previously, opened the story.
In the present, DCI Tom Jacob had left behind the horror his life had become in Oxford and returned to his late parents’ house in Wiltshire. He had been judged fit to return to work after an extended period of bereavement leave and was thrust straight into a cold case murder inquiry as SIO. The remains of a body had been discovered buried under, and tangled in the roots of, a beech tree in Grovely Wood. The metal detectorist who found the remains got a little more than he bargained for. The ring he uncovered was still attached to a skeletal finger.
That particular area of the wood was well known for the local legend of the four witches, thought to have been murdered and buried in the coppice generally named Four Sisters, with a beech tree marking each grave. The injuries on the skeleton also suggested murder and an item found with the body related to witchcraft.
He closed his eyes and started to rebuild the moment in his imagination. Night, he thought. Were there just the two of them up here, killer and victim? Or more than two. A shallow grave around a foot deep beneath a beech tree. No, he reconsidered; the tree was an afterthought, or maybe an accident of nature.
When a second body was discovered in the same wood, Jacob had to determine whether the cases were related. Against express orders from his superior, whose doubt about his readiness to return to work seemed suspect, Jacob enlisted the help of criminal psychologist Dr Sophie Anderson who worked with the FBI and had helped to apprehend a serial killer at great personal risk. The investigation is hampered by sensationalism by the press, causing rumours to circulate about satanism and witchcraft in the area. Jacob hoped Sophie could help by profiling the killer.
I enjoyed this well thought through police procedural, by a new to me author. There are several unexpected twists leading to a great ending. The setting is wonderful and characters are well defined, especially Jacob who is very relatable and has a strong sense of purpose. I hope there’ll be more DCI Jacob mysteries.
About the Book
Poised to return to work after a long bereavement leave, Detective Chief Inspector Jacob is called away from the sanctuary of his home to attend the grim discovery of human remains over a quarter of a century old. Found deep in woodland with its own grim history, they give little up, but he is soon confronted with local gossip of hauntings and witches.
The mystery deepens when a second person is murdered in the same woods, and Jacob soon realises he is hunting a killer who will stop at nothing to keep the darkest of secrets buried in the past. Working alongside Dr Sophie Anderson, a criminal psychologist with her own damaged past, they close the net until tragedy strikes again in this gripping romantic suspense thriller.
Set in the wild and beautiful Wiltshire Downs, The Fifth Grave is a fast-paced whodunit with a dash of humour and romance and a killer twist.