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Holy Island by LJ Ross

My review

After reading a lot of emotional tear-jerkers, I wanted to read a good whodunit, which would trigger my inner sleuth, an all round entertaining book where there is murder, suspense, forensics, police work and a bit of romance.. This book does it all.. 

As name suggests, one remote island +  3 murders + multiple suspects = police investigation and forensics. Its CSI all over again.. 

The story goes like this 

In the island of Lindisfarne, Lucy Mathieson gets murdered in a ritualistic manner and DCI Maxwell Ryan is the first to respond. With the permission of his senior Arthur Gregson, he gets his dream team together and boy, are they all fabulous. Sergeant Frank Phillips with his eccentric ties, Denise MacKenzie with her red hair and temper, Faulkner with excellence in forensics, Detective Constable Jack Lowerson with his enthusiasm and Dr. Anna Taylor, a civilian consultant, a specialist on pagan rituals with personal knowledge of the island. I loved the camaderie in the team, the friendly humor between them, and the loyalty that they had for their DCI Ryan. There are hints in the story that they have worked together in the past too and the bond between is highly evident in the entire story. 

There are two more gruesome murders Anna’s sister, Megan and young Rob a coast guard, which starts the race against time, to find the real murderer/s or maybe a copycat… 

I looked at all the characters with suspicion, each seemed to have a hidden motive, I saw crazy in every face. There is the manager of Heritage Centre, Mark Bowers (expert on rituals, he seemed to have loved and lost a girl, love has made people obsessed hasn’t it?), married philanderer coastguard Alex Walker (linked intimately to the victims, sex gone bad?), vicar Mike Ingles (shephard to his Christian flock, rituals going too much against his faith?), his quiet wife Jennifer (its always the quiet who are guilty, haven’t we seen it every movie?), young coast guard volunteer Pete Rigby, who partimes at the bar, (he knew all the three victims, did he pick up too many of their secrets?), his mother Alison Rigby (the merry widow who had gossip on everyone, did she talk to the wrong person?), bar manager Bill Tilson (did he love or hate Megan, was he a father figure or more? ). 

I looked at every nuance and I saw guilt where none probably existed but nobody escaped my notice, each line, each paragraph was read carefully. I followed Ryan with his murder timeline, I took pleasure in his intelligent mind which was like a steel trap. I felt his sorrow and his caring for everyone. I felt his thoroughness in his investigation and his doing everything by the book. I loved MacKenzie and Phillips’ love-hate relationship. I, especially visualized Phillips’ tie description, it added a bit of fun in the prose. 

I took time to read this as I wanted to play detective and Author LJ Ross allowed me to do that. Her story flows well. Few points of discontent for me was I would have liked to know more about Ryan’s background, to have more scenes between the sisters Anna and Megan to get a feel of their complicated relationship. Two children doing through domestic violence should have come closer, but alas, there was a space and awkwardness along with a bit of jealousy. I like a strong female main character so I wanted Anna to have an active role in the investigation, there is just one scene about her explaining paganism and symbols. But these are very tiny points, they don’t detract anything from the story.. I liked playing an amateur detective along with Ryan.. And no, I did not guess the murderer.. And there was a little bit of OMG factor to the ending. All that added to the pleasure of reading this book. So, all in all, a fab fun read, I am going to continue with the rest of DCI Ryan series soon. 

I thank the BookLover CatLady Publicity, Maxine Groves and author LJ Ross for this book and this is my honest and unbiased opinion. 

My rating : 4 stars 

About the Author 

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.
Book Blurb 

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. 

Product Details 

Publication date : 1st January 2015

Language : English 

Available on Amazon 

           A fun whodunit 

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