This week, in association with Rachels Random Resources, I have voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
DCI Michael Yorke faces his most harrowing case yet.
When 12-year-old Paul disappears from school, Yorke’s only clue is a pool of animal blood. Fearing the worst, he turns toward the most obvious suspect, recently released local murderer, Thomas Ray.
But as the snow in Salisbury worsens, Ray’s mutilated body is discovered, and Yorke is left with no choice but to journey into the sinister heart of a demented family that has plagued the community for generations. Can he save the boy? Or will the evil he discovers changes him forever?
I like a crime procedural, even more so if I can recognise the setting. This one is set around Salisbury, a town I know reasonably well; the thought of the events occurring in familiar surroundings heightens the story for me. I really enjoyed this one.
There’s a long tradition of the ‘bad’ family, most areas have them and in the world of this novel, it’s the Ray’s. They’re pig farmers, amongst other things and as we learn at the start, they have a long history with the police, particularly relevant to what happens next. Our hero DCI Yorke has to balance what happened to a colleague with the events that unfold on a winters morning.
When one of the Ray family, a schoolboy, disappears in shocking and mysterious circumstances, the past resurfaces, with consequences for everyone who was involved then and becomes involved now.
There’s everything here, the family members trying to forget the past, the ones stuck in it, the ones we never knew existed and the ones with a plan to get away from it all.
As we get deeper into the investigation, it becomes clear that there are several stories going on at once. Apart from the abduction itself, there’s revenge and blackmail, a femme fatale, the events of the past which are influencing the actions of the present, in both the good and the bad guys. That all theses threads are expertly woven together, with multile points of view and without geting vconfusing, is the mark of a great story-teller.
As Yorke delves deeper, he begins to question his fellow officer’s motives and actions. Particularly when he finds out that more has been happening in the background than he thought. It all adds to the suspense, wondering where or when the next shock, revelation or discovery will appear.
The story hurtles along, with enough twists to keep you busy. The lives of policemen are shown in glaring realism, the hours, the lies, the suspicions they produce in partners and the fact that there’s no such thing as ‘off duty.’ And it graphically shows that the results of their actions can reverberate across time and come back to bite them.
There’s a bit of fairly graphic description, of violence and sex, but it’s not gratuitous, it’s a necessary part of the story.
Not only that, the author introduces another character, that serves to highlight the action, increase the tension and affect every part of the atmosphere. The weather. It has a wonderful amplifying effect on the suspense.
Overall, this is a very good introduction to a new character. If this is the first part of a series, I for one will be waiting for the next instalment to see where the characters go next. The story has a satisfactory ending but the author has left enough to carry the tale onwards.
Four Stars from me
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Wes Markin is a
hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of
Having released One Last Prayer for the Rays he is now working on the second instalment of DCI Michael Yorke’s wild ride, The Repenting Serpent. He is also the author of Defined, a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.
Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.
I’ll be back with another Indie Showcase on Thursday, have a good week.