REVIEW: Holy Island

I often see novels by LJ Ross and wonder if I should try one. What finally decided was watching a television programme about Northumberland on which she was a guest. Well, that and the fact that I’ve been to Holy Island (otherwise known as Lindisfarne), absolutely loved the island and enjoy reading books set in areas I know.

Luckily one of the LJ Ross books I had picked up was number one in the series. The other one is number 19 so I have a number of others to purchase if I am going to read them in order.

Holy Island, for those who don’t know, is off the coast of Northumberland in north east England. It is joined to the mainland by a causeway that is only accessible for a few hours twice a day when the tide is at it’s lowest. At other times of day or night you’re going to need a boat if you want to get there.

It boasts a small number of inhabitants, the ruins of an ancient priory, a castle on a hill, a quaint village and lots of wildlife. It really is a beautiful place.

Louise Ross is a Northumberland-born author who writes crime novels and boy is she prolific!

Holy Island, her first book was published in 2015 and features the exploits of DCI Ryan. Since 2015, she has penned 19 DCI Ryan books, with a 20th due out this year. In addition she has written four novels where the protagonist is Dr Alexander Gregory, two in a ‘summer suspense’ series and two anthologies.

That is 28 books in eight years! That is really going some.

It’s not as if they are short novellas either. Holy Island runs to a healthy 457 pages, hardly lightweight. And they are very popular; her novels have topped the Amazon best seller list time after time.

Anyway, in this first book we see DCI Ryan returning to head up the murder squad after a major trauma in his life.

A young woman has been murdered on Lindisfarne and her body displayed with symbolism he doesn’t understand in the ruins of the Priory. He is told to join forces with a local woman, Dr Anna Taylor, an expert in symbolism – much against his will.

This is a cross between murder mystery and romance and is reasonably fast paced and I love the descriptions of the island.

The plot stretched me a little, getting to the ‘this is not quite believable’ stage reasonably early. But I didn’t think of abandoning at any point and I refuse to read books that I am not enjoying because life is too short.

Is it the best murder mystery I have ever read? No. Is it the best romance I have ever read? No. But it is fun, and quite a page turner, even if it has been criticised for errors I’ll leave you to discover for yourself.

Would I read more by LJ Ross, yes certainly. But at the moment they are not going to be top of my to be read list.

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