Penshaw (DCI Ryan Mysteries) by LJ Ross ~ When you sell your soul, the devil gives no refunds… #PoliceProcedural @LJRoss_author #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: LJ Ross

Kindle Edition

Category: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Book Review


When an old man is burned alive in a sleepy ex-mining village, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is called in to investigate. He soon discovers that, beneath the facade of a close-knit community, the burn from decades-old betrayal still smoulders. When everyone had a motive, can he unravel the secrets of the past before the killer strikes again?

Opening with a prologue set during the Miner’s strike in 1984, the location is the village of Penshaw, in County Durham. A terrible time for the country which resulted in the closure of mines and collieries, deaths, imprisonment and long held grievances.

The emotions, volatility of the situation, rising tide of feelings and knock on effect is captured perfectly. Thirty five years later Alan Watson, whose life went on a downward spiral after the mine closed, is killed in a house fire, his wife badly injured. 

Following straight on from the previous book, with only a couple of days between the two, Jack Lowerson once again finds himself in a dangerous situation he can’t control, with the preceding events gradually unfolding and the consequences of his actions affecting the team, particularly Ryan.

Frank Phillips and Denise MacKenzie are adjusting to life as adoptive parents. Their interactions, and Sam’s experiences in school, and the unique way she deals with bullies, add humour and light-heartedness to an otherwise darker story.

Ryan has been tasked to lead Operation Watchman, a new initiative targeting organised crime in the region, as well as investigating the fire at Alan Watson’s house with Phillips. To make matters worse, it seems someone is leaking information to the people they’re investigating, and he’s unable to discuss it with anyone, not even Phillips. Ryan is under pressure to expose the corruption before any more damage is done. 

Blackett and Morrison looked at him with twin expressions of pity. 

“You can’t possibly think someone in my team is bent?”

“We don’t know anything for sure, yet, Ryan,” Morrison said quietly, watching the emotions play over his face. 

When Morrison had first learned that ACU would be conducting an undercover investigation into CID, she’d had much the same reaction.

I’m really enjoying following this series, and the development of the characters. LJ Ross has made them multi dimensional, believable and engaging, with distinct personalities and home lives that the reader can relate to. The stories are always set in an atmospheric (and real) location. The banter and strong sense of comradeship is very much in evidence again, which also adds to the realism. 

The plot flows well and is anything but straightforward. The two threads—the death of the former miner and the corruption investigation—twist and turn before merging together with some surprises.  And, as always, the writing, dialogue and police procedural is convincing and compelling. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US 

About the Author

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.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

4 thoughts on “Penshaw (DCI Ryan Mysteries) by LJ Ross ~ When you sell your soul, the devil gives no refunds… #PoliceProcedural @LJRoss_author #TuesdayBookBlog

    1. That’s the trouble with trying to catch up with a long running series, there’s always another book 😁 I’ve just downloaded the next one…I won’t get round to it for a while though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve enjoyed this series as well! I gave up on the later books though, the quality did go down a bit, and I thought there might have been too much repetition (the author used the same tropes over and over again).

    Liked by 1 person

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