Book Review: Heavenfield, by L J Ross (Book 3 of the DCI Ryan Series)

Publication date: 8th March 2016 (Kindle)

Heavenfield My Review

Heavenfield by L J Ross (Kindle Cover)This third book in the DCI Ryan series sees our long suffering Detective trying to weed out root of evil that is growing deep within our society, only this time the tables are turning.

Following the last run in with the wrong ‘uns in Black Cloaks and their clandestine gatherings, his relationship with Archeologist / Historian Anna grounds him during his suspension from the force while he’s sitting at home twiddling his thumbs.

That is until he receives a mysterious phone call requesting his presence at Heavenfield, a little church which is on a pilgrim’s trail for the Saint called Oswald. In typical Ryan fashion, intrigue all peaked, he trundles along to the remote location alone, aaaand all hell breaks loose. He now finds himself on the wrong side of the law, having been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. There’s just his word for the version of events, his and several witnesses who saw him looming over the body, of course.

Ever gleeful at the thorn-in-their-side’s downfall, the new appointed master to ‘The Circle’ is hatching plans like there’s no tomorrow, like all good egotistic maniacs should really. Ryan is well aware he has a target on his back after evading their previous planned attempts at revenge. To clear his name, he must discover their identity and flush The Master and their cronies out. That’s easier said than done.

His colleagues are forever ‘team Ryan’ and do not waiver. As their mounting suspicions extend to their own police force, higher authorities, and beyond, they adopt a ‘trust no one’ motto, so they can secretly clear Ryan’s name and catch the culprits in the process. Alas, not all is well on the domestic front following the discovery of a copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which has strong ties to the Circle. This evidence, and more, confounds Anna and she has a hard time forgiving Ryan for keeping her at a distance, given the identity of the owner.

While team Ryan investigates, suspected members of The Circle themselves are experiencing a series of unfortunate events, including a prominent, cowardly man in a position of trust. His selfish snivelling really is quite something. Looking after number one is his priority as he fears for his safety and may need to call on the poor folks he’s tried to throw to the wolves in the past.

The forerunning suspects are cast aside as the story progresses, in fact, you’ll need the Hubble telescope to guess who’s behind the plotting on this occasion, it’s quite the conundrum to solve. Although I didn’t guess correctly, when all was revealed I must admit that a similar portrayal in a well known TV mystery series did strike a chord with me. Despite this, it’s incredibly well played and absolutely worthy of a read. However, I would suggest you start right at the beginning to get yourself up to speed with reasons why ritually-inclined oddballs have it in for our loveable grump of a detective chap. Otherwise I think you’d struggle to make sense of everything if you jump in at this point.

If you haven’t experienced this series yet, it’s certainly worth giving it a try.

Rating: 4/5

(I must thank the author for kindly providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book for review. Thank you for getting in touch once again, it’s very much appreciated.)

Heavenfield Book Summary

FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF HOLY ISLAND AND SYCAMORE GAP

The hunter becomes the hunted…

When a man is found dead at the remote church of Heavenfield, DCI Ryan is the only other person for miles around. The police have no weapon, no motive and no other suspects.

Already suspended from Northumbria CID, Ryan must fight to clear his name. But soon, more than his career is at stake when prominent members of the mysterious ‘Circle’ begin to die. Somebody wants Ryan’s name to be next on the coroner’s list and to survive he must unmask the devil who walks among them – before it is too late.

Unfortunately for Ryan, the devil looks just like everybody else…

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit from LJ Ross, set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

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Heavenfield Author Profile

L J Roos PolaroidBorn 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.

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

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE

Books by L J Ross

 

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.)

Sycamore Gap BOOK SUMMARY

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

THE EXPLOSIVE SEQUEL TO THE UK #1 BESTSELLER HOLY ISLAND

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.

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Sycamore Gap AUTHOR LINKS

(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:

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE

Books by L J Ross

 

Book Review: Holy Island – A DCI Ryan Mystery (Book 1), by L J Ross

Publication date: 1st January 2015   |   Edition: Kindle (Review copy courtesy of the author)

Holy Island My Review

Holy Island by L J RossA wicked crime will always crave a special location to give it the darkest edge, and a location that is steeped with deep religious significance can only succeed in heaping more mystery on the occasion. In this story, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne ironically proves to be the perfect place for pure evil to thrive.

Following an earlier case that has affected him personally, a moody, troubled detective chooses to stay on the Island to recover. DCI Ryan had no idea he would soon be on hand to investigate the murder of a member of this quiet community. It was a lucky break for the islanders to have his expertise on tap.

T’was the season to be jolly, yet everyone is now looking over their shoulders wondering who could have committed such a heinous crime. Their concerns are amplified, as the tide cuts them off from the mainland at regular intervals and it’s likely that the suspect is still walking among them.

Following the manner in which a young girl met her death, and given the symbolism of Lindisfarne’s historical and religious background, the suggestion of Paganism raises its head. As an invisible menace plagues the daily routines of the islanders, the finger of suspicion is being pointed in all kinds of directions.

The author has certainly worked the setting to its full advantage, being cunning enough to conceal the perpetrator’s identity until the very last. Although, we do get to ‘hear’ from the anonymous menace periodically as they offer their smug thoughts in what is a brilliant, disapproving tone, particularly when considering the manipulation of lesser mortals. I tried to keep an eye on the close-knit community throughout the investigation, but they were all looking pretty shady and I just couldn’t pin the right suspect down!

The crime/mystery side of this book worked exceedingly well. I couldn’t fault it. Alas, things changed for me when Ryan’s supposed love interest was introduced when a consultant and ex-resident of the island is hired to assist with the case, bringing more baggage with her than you’d find in airport. Given their bullish behaviour toward each other I was initially intrigued how life would pan out for them. That was until any relationship they might be heading for started to overshadow the reality of the investigation. I decided to side-step any hint of cheesy sentimentality that was developing to prevent it getting in the way of an otherwise gripping storyline.

Yes, yes, you may think my heart is colder than the brickwork of Lindisfarne Priory. But this, coupled with a touch of ‘cliché cop’ speak in places, is why I’ve agonised for a few days over the rating I would give. (Between a 3.5 to 4).

All-in-all this is a VERY worthy start to a new crime series. For anyone who does like a romantic side to their fiction it’ll kill two birds with one stone, by merging the two results in a sort of ‘cri-rom-combo’, or a ‘crombo’ perhaps? I’d certainly be curious to read the next in the line-up, Sycamore Gap, to discover what is in store for DCI Ryan and co., especially after being left with that rather intriguing ending!

Rating: 4/5

(I must thank the author for kindly providing a free digital copy of this book for review. Thank you for getting in touch via the blog, it’s very much appreciated.)

Holy Island Book Summary

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory. When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation. Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set on the spectacular Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, cut off from the English mainland by a tidal causeway.

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Holy Island Author Links

Louise Ross

Born 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:

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE

Books by L J Ross