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


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.


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:


Books by L J Ross



Amy Snow, by Tracy Rees

Publisher: Quercus | Publication date: 9th April 2015 | Edition: Paperback (review copy)

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees

What is the ultimate gift you could you give someone? Hope? Freedom? Or a copy of this book? All of the above?

A delightful and inventive tale of friendship, heartbreak and surviving whatever life may throw at you. It’s written with absolute class and is a glorious example of a shining needle in a very large haystack (otherwise known as ‘a little beauty’).

The Story

In January 1831, a baby came into the lives of the Vennaway family of Hatville Court, but not in the traditional way it would appear.

The new born was not a bundle of joy and happiness, it was lying abandoned on the crisp white snow of the grounds.

Amy had arrived. And so, her journey had begun.

Her tiny, naked form was discovered by the youngest member of the Vennaway household. If it wasn’t for a feisty, impetuous girl by the name of Aurelia, the babe may never have survived – she owes her life to the young heir and will never forget it.

Amy snow

Escaping the grip of Hatfield Court

So, you would think that a decent enough life would be waiting for a baby who had survived the odds, yet Hatfield Court offered nothing but a miserable existence. For all their fancy airs and graces, the cruel and vindictive ways of the Vennaways left a lot to be desired. Aurelia’s mother was so vile they should have renamed the house ‘Hateful’ Court. I truly wanted to slap the scowl right off her face and all her venom with it. Lady Vennaway’s behaviour is explained late in the book, but you’ll have to see if you think this excuses her…I’m afraid that whilst I sympathise, I personally think not.

Only Aurelia truly fought the little girl’s corner; Amy was the sister she never had.

Seventeen years later, Aurelia tragically left the world, leaving Amy behind bleary-eyed and afraid. She was released from her life of servitude, which was a relief to both parties. Having been offered a token sum in the young woman’s will, Amy was sent speedily on her way. Before she left the grounds she was secretly handed a mysterious letter written by the recently deceased.

This was the first ‘clue’ which would lead her on a solitary journey, a concept completely alien to her. Upon her arrival to her previously unknown destination, it’s not too long before another letter comes to light. Before she can move on, Amy finds she must decode the hidden messages from her only friend in the world, who is no longer with her to offer advice.

“Open the door. Unlock the secret.”

A secret and patient chase for the next clue leads an unchaperoned Amy from place to place, putting her in awkward positions, accepting or declining invites to balls and events, and introducing her to a society she never knew existed. All the while, Amy considers if there is any place where she will truly belong.

Faced with suitors she didn’t know she would attract, social soirees where she doesn’t know how to act, and Aurelia’s bizarre and secret pact – will Amy figure out the final destination before she abandons the quest, like her mother abandoned her?

Soon, Amy begins to question Aurelia’s motives – is she making a fool of her from the grave?

Whilst the ending is not totally unexpected, the story itself is a delight to read. It’s one which moves at a gentle trot, not a gallop, allowing you to bathe in the atmosphere the writer has successfully conjured up.

And you know something? It’s makes pleasant change to reach end of a book without any profanity in it.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

(I am grateful to Hannah Robinson of Quercus for agreeing to send this to me for review.)

You can follow the author on Twitter: @AuthorTracyRees | Publisher: @QuercusBooks