REVIEW: The Snowdonia Killings by Simon McCleave

I’ve found a new author. New to me, I mean, not necessarily to you.

Simon McCleave was a scriptwriter on television series like Eastenders, Silent Witness and Murder in Suburbia.

Now he writes novels and this is the first in a series featuring Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter who has relocated to Wales from the Metropolitan Police in London.

Simon McCleave was born in London and now lives with his family in North Wales. Do you see a connection here?

This book was published in 2019 and, as I said, was his first. Since then he has written another 14 DI Hunter novels based in Wales, four about her previous life in the Met and another three novels that don’t include her set on the Isle of Anglesey. Seriously, when does the man sleep?

Anyway, I am glad there are lots more to read because I enjoyed this one.

DI Hunter is knocking on 50, her partner has disappeared from the face of the earth and she is moving to Wales looking for a quieter life. No such luck.

No sooner has she set foot in the squad room when the body of a murdered woman with strange symbols carved into her skin is discovered and Hunter is put in charge of the case in the absence of any other DIs.

What follows is a nice police procedural with some juicy twists and turns set in the beautiful, mystical surroundings of Snowdonia – a place I like very much.

I can’t say I enjoyed the first few pages, I’m not sure I saw the point of them, but it warmed up quite quickly when Hunter got to Wales.

I loved the setting and the twisty, turny plot but I do have to say there were a couple of things I took issue with. DS Nick Evans. He is Hunter’s new sidekick and he doesn’t like the fact she has come in from the Met. He is also a raging alcoholic. Firstly, I think he mellows towards her too quickly and secondly he definitely sobers up too quickly for someone who has been addicted to alcohol that long.

Then there’s a key twist in the story where you learn that a character has changed his name because of his criminal convictions but really early in the story you are told that Evans went to school with him. So why didn’t Evans realise his name had been changed?

Now usually, I would give up once I’d discovered these things but the realisations came when I was about three quarters of the way through and I was thoroughly enjoying the story so I continued.

This book was an Amazon bestseller but it gave the air of being self-published so I checked and it was. I don’t think you get those sort of errors in books that are not self-published.

But it was a good read and I will certainly read more.

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