“Devil’s Kitchen” by Stephen Puleston

A double murder in the Snowdonia Mountains. A police procedural, prequel novella that introduces a freshly promoted Detective Inspector. A stunning cover.  All of these things attracted me to this book.

Ian Drake has only been a DI for a month.  He is married and the father of two young daughters. His wife, Sian, doesn’t understand the demands of his new position and is jealous of his time spent away from her and their two daughters.

His second in command, DS Caren Waits, couldn’t be more different to Drake, in work ethic, mannerisms, and personal habits.  He is fastidious to the point of OCD, she is rather slovenly.

“The glorious scenery of North Wales couldn’t hide the darker side of humanity”.

Cwm Idwal walk

Near the end of September, two bodies have been found at one end of Cwm Idwal in the Snowdonia mountains. One obviously a murder (kitchen knife protruding from her chest), the other subject to question. The victims are husband and wife, Jack and Denise Trainor. Everyone, including Drake’s boss, think that this case has all the hallmarks of a crime of passion. Husband kills wife, then filled with remorse, jumps to his own death.

Drake suspects this is oversimplifying, and thinks there may be more to this crime than is immediately apparent.

DI Drake is normally my type of copper. He cares about his job, he is a bit quirky, and he is the exact opposite type of personality to his sergeant. However… I didn’t warm to him at all.  I cannot explain it…

I loved the setting, how could you not?  The mystery plot was well executed, but the overall mix left me quite underwhelmed.  I wonder if it was in part to sentences such as these?

“The Trainors seemed well read and educated so it puzzled Drake why anyone would have wanted to kill them.”

Seriously? I don’t see the connection.

Though many factors of this series appeals to me, I have decided that I will very likely not be following it any further.  Others may overlook some of the things that I found jarring, and those people will likely have found a new favorite author. This is just a short read, so give it a try and see for yourself if you feel this is a series worth pursuing.

Stephen Puleston was born in Anglesey, an island off the north Wales coast and after leaving school in Holyhead he went to University in London before training as a solicitor/lawyer. He practised in a small family business doing criminal work in the magistrates and crown courts, divorce and family work.
He still lives on Anglesey, North Wales near the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, Novellas and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “Devil’s Kitchen” by Stephen Puleston

  1. carhicks says:

    Nice review. I have had one of his books on my kindle for a couple of years, although a different series. I might try this one and see what I think. We can’t all love the same books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa! Great review, not the end result I expected.

    Liked by 2 people

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