“People kill each other all over the world.” “Sure, but Lindisfarne — it’s holy.
It’s like killing someone in church.”
“Holy Island” was the winner of a poll I created to let my fellow bloggers and followers vote on which police procedural series I should begin next. Well I have to say that you all have excellent taste in reading! For the third time, you have chosen for me a 5* read!
D.C.I. Ryan is recuperating on Lindisfarne, aka Holy Island. With only two hundred residents, the island is cut off from the mainland of Northumberland twice a day, at high tide. Ryan is on sabbatical after a case that saw his own sister dying in his arms. It is the week leading up to Christmas.
When a local woman, walking her dog, discovers the body of a young woman in the grounds of the ancient Priory, she runs to Ryan for help. There is no police presence on the island and Ryan is the closest thing she can think of.
After convincing D.C.S. Gregson, his superior at the Northumbria Police, that he is fit to be the senior investigating officer on the case, Ryan devotes 100% of his time and expertise to the murder case.
Given the strange markings on the girls body, in addition to where and how she was placed in the priory, his superior, Gregson, suggests that he needs an expert in ancient religions, symbolism, and ritual murder. He sends for Dr. Anna Taylor, a local girl who has been living off the island for some years.
Despite the fact that Ryan is leery at first, he and Anna find themselves both feeling a strong attraction for each other.
Then, when the murder investigation proceeds slowly, there is a second murder on Holy Island. Then a third… All seemingly to be ‘ritual’ murders.
I plan to eagerly follow the D.C.I. Ryan series. The first novel has proven to be a well-balanced blend of police procedural with great characterization and just enough romance to make you even more invested in the plight of the characters.
The protagonist, D.C.I. Ryan was handsome, intelligent, and troubled. What more could you want?
The setting of Lindisfarne Island during the week before Christmas couldn’t be more atmospheric. Plus, it has the added bonus of making the mystery a sort of ‘locked room’ type affair because the island is cut off from the mainland during high tides twice each day. I personally find isolated settings a real draw when it comes to murder mysteries.
The story deals with the murders from the police point of view, while maintaining empathy for those more personally affected. The ancient religions of the area play a part in plot development, as does the small town dynamics. It was a fast-paced read with short chapters and pages that almost turned themselves.
And the epilogue… memorable, astounding, and totally unexpected. Marvelous.
As this series is now comprised of twelve novels, it would seem that I have a lot of enjoyable reading in store. Highly recommended to all readers who enjoy police procedurals, atmospheric settings, and just a sprinkle of romance.
I purchased a Kindle copy of the novel after learning that it was my poll winner.
L.J. Ross (Louise) is an international bestselling author, best known for creating atmospheric mystery and thriller novels, including the DCI Ryan series of Northumbrian murder mysteries which have sold over four million copies worldwide.
Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon UK and Australian charts. Since then, she has released further novels, all of which have been top three global bestsellers and a further nine #1 UK bestsellers. Louise has garnered an army of loyal readers through her storytelling and, thanks to them, several of her books (Cragside, Dark Skies, Seven Bridges, The Hermitage, Longstone, The Infirmary, The Moor and Penshaw) reached the coveted spot whilst only available to pre-order ahead of release.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and then abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write. Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Northumberland. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
In addition to her DCI Ryan series, Louise has created a new series of thriller novels based around the central character of ‘Dr Alexander Gregory’, whose work as a psychological profiler takes him around the world, available at the end of 2019. She is also writing several standalone romantic suspense novels featuring strong female protagonists which will be available in 2020.
Follow L.J. Ross on Twitter