A Rose Petal Summer by Katie Fforde

A Rose Petal Summer

I have been a huge fan of Katie Fforde’s books ever since my mother-in-law gave me a copy of Living Dangerously in 1995.

Over the years I have liked some better than others, but a lot of that’s down to personal taste; there are some that I have reread many times over.

I really enjoyed A Rose Petal Summer, especially that it was mainly set in Scotland. There are a lot of familiar themes here, a lot of echoes from her other novels, and the various seemingly unconnected plot strands are woven seamlessly into a believable story. It kept me reading far into the night.

Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Buried on the Fens

Buried on the Fens is the seventh in the Fens series by Joy Ellis featuring DI Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter. I have to admit to being biased as I have been a fan right from the start.  Although the novels can be read in isolation, they make more sense if read in order.

This is a complex story that eventually links two recent murders with a skeleton unofficially buried in a churchyard many years before.

Nikki’s team have to break through a wall of silence to reach the truth.  My only criticism is the very large number of characters, which I found quite confusing at times, otherwise I would have given it five stars.

Joy paints a vivid picture of the Fens and the difficulties involved in policing such a vast landscape. Her main characters are realistically written with their troubled pasts, but they work well together as a team and support each other. I look forward to reading the next story very soon.

Many thanks to Joffe Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Deadly Lies by Chris Collett

Deadly Lies

This is a revised edition of a novel previously published in 2004 as A Worm in the Bud (I prefer the new title). It is the first in a series about DI Tom Mariner, set in Birmingham and the surrounding countryside.

Mariner is investigating the apparent suicide of a journalist, Eddie Barham, who is the main carer of his severely autistic younger brother, Jamie.   

Of course it is not suicide and Mariner has a very complex case on his hands that leads him up many false trails before the reason for Eddie’s murder becomes clear.

There is a lot of information about autism (perhaps too much?) to enable the reader to make sense of what is going on.

With Eddie gone, Jamie is looked after by his sister, Anna, which turns her well-ordered life upside down. At the beginning of the book Anna is not very likeable. It is only as she re-connects with Jamie that she realises she has her priorities all wrong. Mariner feels drawn to her and I have a feeling she will appear in other books in this series.

Mariner is well written with just enough backstory to make him believable. I look forward to reading where his next adventure takes him.

Thanks to Joffe books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Dead Lock by Damien Boyd

Dead Lock

I have read all of the Nick Dixon novels, and Dead Lock (number 8) is one of the best. It could be read on its own but you would gain so much more by starting at the beginning of the series.

The Somerset setting is a big part of the appeal.  At the beginning Dixon is on holiday in the Lakes, but when he is called back the whole investigation seems to step up a gear, racing towards a dramatic finale.

There are red herrings galore, but when they finally work out the reason for the kidnappings it all gets very complicated, and time is running out. 

Although Dead Lock was published in 2018, I have only just read it and so have the next one, Beyond the Point, to look forward to later this month.

Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis

Fire on the Fens

Fire on the Fens is the ninth outing for DI Nikki Galena and her team in a tightly plotted, complex story that stretches them all to the limit.

They are working on two seemingly unrelated cases and getting nowhere, but the killer is escalating and they still have no idea who is responsible.

It is fine as a stand-alone story but you will benefit from starting at the beginning of the series; the gradual accumulation of backstory will make it a much more meaningful experience.

As usual, Joy Ellis has used such atmospheric descriptions you can almost feel the isolation of the fens. Thank you to Joffe Books for the free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.