Author: LJ Ross
Category: Crime Fiction, Murder, Police Procedural, Book Review
When the gods made man, they made a weapon…
After uncovering a fresh wave of corruption within the ranks of Northumbria CID, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan was looking forward to an uneventful summer. But, when a young woman is shot dead on the remote army ranges of the Northumberland National Park, Ryan is called in to investigate.
The prologue introduces a soldier who has been stationed in Helmand Province and returns home traumatised, unable to hold down a job and is left to fend for himself on the streets. He’s a damaged soul who you can’t help but feel sympathy for, but one who holds onto his moral values, despite the dangers and obstacles he faces.
The Otterburn Ranges are an area of the Northumberland National Park used for army training exercises. It’s during a night time live fire tactical training exercise in a controlled access area that a young unidentified woman is fatally shot. The team’s orders were to neutralise a simulated moving thermal target. No-one else should have been in the area, much less a person who looked like she had been running for her life. DCI Ryan and DS Frank Phillips are called to the scene to begin their own investigation alongside that of the army.
And, in the silent room, left only with her own thoughts for company, her mind began to unravel. Had she killed that woman?
She sank onto the edge of a single camp bed and held her head in her hands, trying to remember every detail of what happened.
Meanwhile Detective Constables Jack Lowerson and Melanie Yates are investigating a spate of race related hate crimes. Arsonists are targeting religious groups and certain individuals, leaving a distinct symbol as their calling card.
The storylines are well executed and meld together perfectly as tension and suspense increase and the body count rises. The element of danger and threat is always there as, in contrast, is the humour, trust and friendship between the main protagonists. The relationships between the characters is one of the best things about this series and LJ Ross really adds more depth to already rounded characters by giving a deeper insight into the personal and emotional aspect of their lives.
The area is brought to life and includes a reference to the Duddo stone circle, a site well worth a visit if you’re into that sort of thing. Social issues have been handled sensitively and with compassion. LJ Ross has achieved her aim of writing a story which encompasses situations, events and essential elements of being human. As she says in the author’s note ‘it’s about relationships between people, and how one small act of kindness can defuse a potentially volatile situation. It’s a very restless world we live in, at the moment, but I wanted to remember all the good that people are trying to do, every day, in their own little ways.’
LJ Ross is an international bestselling author, best known for creating atmospheric mystery and thriller novels, including the DCI Ryan series of Northumbrian murder mysteries which have sold over four million copies worldwide.
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.