I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Holy Island by LJ Ross. This is the first book in the DCI Ryan Mystery series. Although I do have a few of this authors books, this is the first one I have read. I am reading this as part of the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge and it marks the half point for me.
Let me show you what it’s about…
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.
Holy Island of Lindisfarne provides a wonderful setting for this crime and mystery story. It is accessible by a road at low tide, this gives it a secluded and remote feel. It’s where DCI Ryan has retreated and why he is first on scene when a young girls body is reported. She has been found in the midst of the islands ruins. Given the history of the island a consultant is required, this is where Dr Anna Taylor is called in. She knows the island, she used to live there.
This is a book that has atmosphere, it is enhanced by the setting, the ruins and the history of the area. The island has religious roots as well as pagan ones as well and the author has nicely woven in the later.
I found myself quickly warming to the characters as I got to know them and I liked the initial stubbornness shown by Ryan and Anna at the very beginning. Though as they do have to work together, they do warm to each other.
Because Anna used to live on the island, she appears to be the best choice to consult. Coming back brings up old memories and opens the odd wound. Ryan in contrast is more about the crime and personal issues he has not got time for.
This story is one that at times felt like a cosy mystery, almost like a classic “whodunit”but also has a macabre side given the bloody state of the bodies. It has several clever twists and turns that threw a red herring or two along the way. Easy to follow as there are not a huge cast involved, it also kept me guessing until the conclusion.
A good introduction for a new to me series and one that I am looking forward to progressing further with.
It is one I would recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, alike or share is always appreciated xx
Book 10 of 20