Book review: Sycamore Gap: A DCI Ryan Mystery (Book 2), by L J Ross

Publication date:  9th September 2015   |   Edition: Kindle (Review Copy)

Sycamore Gap REVIEW

Sycamore Gap by L J Ross CoverHaving read Book One and experiencing the excellent plot on offer I was eager to read this next instalment.

In Holy Island, some disturbing handiwork has already targeted our DCI Ryan’s team and his Girlfriend, Anna. Well, it appears that something sinister is brewing again.

When we were first introduced to DCI Ryan we saw him battle an invisible crime surge, which placed the residents at risk with their ritualistic tendencies. We rejoin him as the next wave hits in Sycamore Gap, a stretch of the ancient Hadrian’s Wall.

Given its protected status no one should disturb its structure for any purpose, and yet a body is discovered hidden amongst the stones by a quiet loner who cares for his mother when he was out walking one day. Are these ancient remains, or something more recent…

Clues lead our DCI and his team to identify the victim and yet the circumstances surrounding her death mimic that of his sister’s a year ago. It’s not possible, as the disturbed killer is behind bars already. To gain any insight into taking the case further, our DCI has to face his past and re-interview the sadistic murderer of his sibling – the killer likes playing little mind games and does his best to poke a stick at our good guy.

From the point of the reader you have an inkling of who may be involved quite early on. Although they remain anonymous to our unsuspecting lead characters, their intentions are clear throughout. While the team tries to make sense of the case they each look over their shoulders, until a nerve-racking game is played out and a wicked agenda is revealed.

You may recall my review of Book One was a little critical about the romantic antics of the two main leads. The verdict on this in Book Two? I found Sycamore Gap to be infinitely better! It concentrates on the crime solving and building solid relationships; any sentimentality has been by-passed and only included where strictly necessary, and it’s not overdone. There are some excellent dialogue exchanges to relay the characters’ emotions and fears – when trained police officers get jumpy you know you’re in trouble!

With nothing to hinder the subtle hints and suspicions, it allows the various tangled threads to be artfully unravelled and create a cracking read.  Brilliantly done. 

Rating: 4.5/5

(I’d like to thank the author once again for providing a digital copy of this book for review.)


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)


The past never stays buried for long…

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan believes he has put his turbulent history behind him. Then, in the early hours of the summer solstice, the skeleton of a young woman is found inside the Roman Wall at Sycamore Gap. She has lain undiscovered for ten years and it is Ryan’s job to piece together her past.

Enquiry lines cross and merge as Ryan is forced to face his own demons and enter into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who seems unstoppable.

Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular scenery of Hadrian’s Wall country in Northumberland.



(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Louise RossBorn in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, LJ Ross moved to London where she graduated from King’s College London with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Law. After working in the City as a regulatory lawyer for a number of years, she realised it was high time for a change. The catalyst was the birth of her son, which forced her to take a break from the legal world and find time for some of the detective stories which had been percolating for a while and finally demanded to be written.

She lives with her husband and young son in the south of England, but will always be a northern girl at heart.

Her first book, “Holy Island”, has consistently been listed as an Amazon bestseller since its release in January 2015 and hit the Amazon UK Kindle #1 position in May 2015. Its sequel, “Sycamore Gap” was released on 11th September 2015. She is currently working on the third book in the DCI Ryan series, which should be available in early 2016.

If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you:


Books by L J Ross



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