Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Heavenfield by L J Ross

Heavenfield by L J Ross, August 2016, 264 pages, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 1530652685

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

An isolated church in Northumberland and a man faces up to his death with a gun in his face. Later a group of pilgrims to the church, Heavenfield, are shocked to find a man kneeling over a body. The man is DCI Ryan, currently suspended from duty while investigations are undertaken into an operation that his superior, Detective Superintendent Gregson, thinks put other officers' lives in danger.

Ryan is acquainted with the dead man - Dr Mark Burrows - who was also a surrogate father to Ryan’s girlfriend, Anna. Gregson would be delighted if Ryan were found to be guilty of the murder and tasks Ryan’s friends and colleagues with the task of interviewing him as a suspect. McKenzie and Phillips are uncomfortable with the situation they have been forced into and soon find no cause to suspect Ryan. They increasingly suspect the mysterious group of influential people – The Circle – to be involved. The group has previously been implicated with dubious ritual practices but is very secretive and its membership are not known to those outside the group.

Gregson increasingly comes under suspicion for some of his dubious command decisions and then his wife goes missing.

The wide, beautiful countryside of Northumberland is really well portrayed. The writing capturing the lonely distances between towns and villages and the isolation that can develop in such a situation

This is the third book in the series featuring DCI Ryan and although the story in this book is a continuation of the previous two novels to a degree, it does work as a stand-alone. It requires a very competent writer to balance the narrative needs of a new reader to their work with that of those who have read the previous books and I feel that L J Ross carries it off. A good example of self publishing and it has encouraged me to look out for more of the author's work.

Susan White, July 2018

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