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A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face covered in scratches.
Whispers of a curse begin to circulate but DI Meg Dalton is sure this is a cold-blooded murder. There’s something that makes it difficult to believe in a straight-forward murder though: chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.
As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…
I love how Watkins has managed to produce a rounded character who battles against a number of issues while managing to be a very competent detective. Meg may be flawed but her flaws make her human, allowing readers empathise with her. Meg’s acerbic wit makes her someone I can really identify with.
Adding an extra dimension to ‘The Devil’s Dice‘, the inclusion of Meg’s family is an interesting study on an ageing population and the guilt some women feel around their obligations in the home. What I really liked about this novel was that it balanced its depiction of police work with personal life.
The dynamic between Meg and her sidekick, Jai, also adds an extra dimension to ‘The Devil’s Dice‘.
‘The Devil’s Dice‘ covers a number of thought-provoking issues with sensitivity and depth. This story is an original one, with beautiful descriptions of scenery of Derbyshire perfectly juxtaposed with the horror of the crime.
An impressive debut. I cannot wait to read the next book in the Meg Dalton series.
One fateful, clear-skied night, three friends embark on a secret trip. Only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.
Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is back following an idyllic honeymoon with the love of his life but returns to danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has evaded justice for decades and will do anything to keep it that way. Meanwhile, back at CID, an old adversary has taken the reins and is determined to destroy Ryan whatever the cost.
As usual, LJ Ross excels in her descriptions of the landscape where the story is set. What I really like about the DCI Ryan series is that LJ Ross sets macabre discoveries and heinous crimes in beautiful locations, ‘Dark Skies‘ is no different in that respect.
Add to that a number of intriguing sub-plots and a recurring cast of compelling characters and it’s no wonder that this series is one of the most successful in recent times.
With ‘Dark Skies‘, however, there’s a new element to the series with malevolent forces within the force bringing extra tension to the narrative.
As with the previous novels in the series, there are some unresolved issues which will undoubtedly keep readers hungry for more.
When an advent calendar is sent to a police station, no one takes any notice until a young DC opens it and discovers a murder behind each day. Instead of munching mince pies and winding down for the Christmas season, DC Greene and DS Carmine and their team find themselves looking for a murderer, who appears to be killing at random. With four more doors left on the calendar, there are four people who could be saved – if the police find the killer in time.
I am a self-confessed Scrooge and therefore a murder mystery set during “the most wonderful time of the year” made a great deal of sense to me. I almost empathised with the criminal! Actually, I did empathise with the killer but not because of their loathing of Christmas but because of their motive. I think Susi Holliday has managed to create a complex character in her murderer which is really refreshing. I often find the ‘bad guy’ a little two dimension in novels so it was great to read about a murderer with some depth.
I felt like Carmine and Greene (she what she did there?) were characters I knew even though this was their first outing. Holliday creates characters that confound the usual stereotypes.
The premise of ‘The Deaths of December’ is really original and I found the way it unfolded an interesting technique.
This is a well written festive tale with plenty of punch and a killer last line.