Are you afraid of the dark..?
After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears.
When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again...
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.
The DCI Ryan mystery series by LJ Ross is absolutely one of the best I've ever read. Brilliantly written, I enjoyed and loved each and every one of these books. So when the author offered me an advanced review copy of book 6, 'Cragside', I could hardly refuse!
Once again the author has done an outstanding job and kept me entertained and intrigued from start to finish. For me Louise Ross is the Agatha Christie of the twenty-first century!
Following events taking place in 'High Force', Ryan and Anna are now temporarily living in a holiday cottage within the estate grounds of Cragside, on the outskirts of the Northumberland National Park. Built against a craggy hillside, the aptly named, majestic Cragside residence is famous for being the first house in the world to have been lit by hydroelectricity, back in the 1800s, using water from the lakes on the estate.
One night Ryan and Anna are invited to a Victorian murder mystery themed staff party inside the house. At one point all the lights in the house go out and Victor, the owner's trusted valet goes to find the fuse box somewhere in the house and restore light. But Victor never makes it back to the party. Ryan finds his twisted body crumpled in a courtyard, at the foot of an external staircase. What happened to him? Was it an accident? Or murder?
Since nothing indicates foul play, the death is declared as 'non suspicious', but still Ryan's nose is not convinced. When a second death is reported at Cragside the following day, Ryan and his team find themselves at the start of a complex, frenetic investigation. But with a house full of suspects and a shrewd killer hiding in plain sight, Ryan knows that this will be a tough nut to crack.
From the very beginning I knew that I would have a great time reading 'Cragside'. Thanks to the author's crisp, articulate writing, I was drawn in from page one and through her vivid descriptions, I felt as if I was there at Cragside. Even though I have never heard of, let alone visited, this place, I could clearly imagine it... the impressive huge house with its turrets and towers, almost hidden from view by the many trees surrounding it. The iron bridge spanning the steep gorge which separates the house from the forest. The stream trickling between the rocks as it makes its journey through the valley far down beneath the bridge.
The characters in this book and the whole series are all realistic, and whenever I start reading a new DCI Ryan book, it's as though I'm revisiting old friends I've known for ages. Ryan, Phillips, MacKanzie, Jack and Anna are all very engaging characters and the right mix of ingredients for the perfect team. I love the strong sense of camaraderie and the banter going on between them. But in this book we also see some new additions to the CID team... one is a very intuitive, yet somewhat mysterious character that joins the others in the investigation. I won't say anything about the second addition though as they have just merely been introduced in this book, but I'm sure they will represent nothing but trouble for poor Ryan! Can't wait for the next book to see how that aspect of the story develops.
With ongoing suspense sprinkled with humour and romance, beautiful vivid descriptions, twists and turns, various interesting revelations made during the investigation, numerous suspects, blood-curdling scenes that made me bite my knuckles, and chapters ending in cliffhangers urging me to keep on reading, together with the perfect ending, I couldn't ask for more. This book ticks all my boxes!
Needless to say, 'Cragside' is another fantastic addition to the series, I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.
With huge thanks to the author for an ARC of this book which I voluntarily accepted to read and review.
L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield and Angel are also #1 bestsellers. The fifth book in the series, High Force, was released in ebook and paperback format on 31 January 2017. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store (the audiobook version of High Force will be released in early 2017). Holy Island is also available in German translation.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King's College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.
Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.