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.
'Holy Island', the first DCI Ryan novel by L J Ross, is a brilliant murder mystery that kept me pinned to my kindle from the first to the very last page.
This is a very 'atmospheric book', the author makes you feel you're actually there. I was spellbound by the setting of the story - the small tidal island of Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), off the northeast coast of England. This is a land that becomes isolated from the mainland twice daily by the rising tide, only for the causeway to rise back up from beneath the sea as if by magic when the tide retreats. I had never heard of this place and was so intrigued that I had to go and search on Wikipedia and see for myself the photos of the island and of the ruined priory and the fort mentioned in the book. Thanks to the author's vivid descriptions, everything was exactly as I had imagined.
"There are people that you see...then the people you don't."
A few days before Christmas, a local girl, Lucy Mathieson, is found dead on an altar in the ruined priory. DCI Ryan, currently residing on the island, is alerted and immediately sets off to investigate. The girl's position suggests this was a ritual killing. With a small close-knit (and close-minded) community on the island, Ryan knows that the killer is close by, watching him. He is later joined in the investigation by Anna Taylor, a historian who specialises on ancient rituals. Who killed Lucy? Why was she taken to the priory? How come no-one on the small island has seen or heard anything? The mystery surrounding the girl's death deepens with every page turned.
When more victims pile up within a short period, Ryan and his colleagues find themselves on a desperate race against time...and the tide to try and bring this brutal killer to justice. But in a place where normal rules don't apply, this won't be easy.
This story is very intriguing with many twists, turns, red herrings and many possible suspects. All characters are well drawn out and believable and the author makes the reader suspicious of practically every one of them. DCI Ryan is a brilliant, likeable and very handsome police officer who's recovering from a terrifying ordeal.
The climax of the story is very fast-paced and had me bite my nails and on the edge of my seat. The epilogue was certainly not the one I was expecting. I thought that the author would tie everything up with a nice, big bow in a 'they lived happily ever after' way...How wrong I was! The epilogue answers ALL pending questions but it holds many surprises too that left me open-mouthed.
This is a very good and well-written thriller. I really enjoyed reading it and would highly recommend it. A big well done to the author. Now I am really looking forward to reading 'Sycamore Gap', the second DCI Ryan novel.
With thanks to the author for sending me a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
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. She is currently working on the next book in the DCI Ryan series, "Sycamore Gap", which is due to be released in the summer of 2015. If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you: https://www.facebook.com/LJRossAuthor https://twitter.com/ljross_author www.lovesuspense.com firstname.lastname@example.org