The Body on the Island. Nick Louth

This is a great story but fans of DCI Craig Gillard are going to be a bit disappointed to find he takes a back seat through this book.

The story revolves around a strange series of events, including murders, and what every police officer dreads, a series of coincidences.

The child murder Neil Wright has been given a new identity and is about to be released from prison after 30 years.

A man is found dead, floating in the Thames, with strange markings all over his body, his manner of death indicates he’s been subject to immense pressure.

Just before his body is found a splash is heard by residents on a small island on the river. At the same time a Chef, his girlfriend, and a friend are seen in a car on a bridge close to where the splash takes place.

Meanwhile several groups are plotting instant revenge on The Bogeyman, the tabloids name for Wright, and are intent on killing him

But there are others with links to him, others who will hinder the investigation just by being in the wrong place at the right time.

I enjoyed this book. Louth has a habit of making me think, or reach for google to do a bit of research.

In this case the first stop was google maps to search for the location of the murders, I had no idea these communities existed.

A Sven diagram of a plot where every part of the story has its own circle, the bits where the circles overlap are intriguing and show the problems faced by the police when circumstances combine to put a lot of miscreants, in the same place at the same time. Not all of them are deep into illegal activities, but are never going to tell the truth. Not all of them are connected with the worst of the crimes, but get implicated by their actions.

Untangling all of this is down to the police, in this case Gillard’s team , and it makes a fantastic story.

Pages: 280. Published by: Camelot Publishing date: 22nd October 2020

TROUBLED BLOOD Robert Galbraith

I have enjoyed every book in this series so far, and I’ve looked at a lot of very positive reviews for True Blood, so maybe it’s just me, but I found this book overly long and confusing

The main plot of the book is the historical disappearance of a GP.

40 years ago an ex-Playboy Bunny girl, who became a GP went missing at the height of the crimes committed by a serial killer. When he was finally arrested he refused to say if he had killed the doctor, and although there was evidence of his other killings, there was no evidence he killed Dr Bamborough.

Strike and Robin are retained by the Doctors daughter, who was one when her mother went missing, and given a year to find out what happened to her.

The initial investigating officer, Bill Talbot, had suffered a breakdown after 6 months of the investigation and had resorted to looking to the spiritual world, using tarot cards and astrology to help him solve the crime, whilst getting fixated on one suspect.

The second investigating officer hadn’t faired much better.

Strike and a Robin manage to get their hands on notes from both officers as well as the crime file and start their investigation

What follows is a investigation which is confused by the different ramblings, and notes of Talbot. I will say at this point I was reading this book on a Kindle and the replicated pages and drawings of Bill Talbots note books were illegible on that format, so it may have added to my confusion.

Several side plots of other investigations carried out by Strike, Robin, and their associates add a bit of humour and provided a relief from the brain ache of the main story.

What kept me reading this book was the story of Strike, who is in the middle of two emotional episodes in his life; and Robin, who is herself going through a stressful time, her divorce from a husband she found cheating with a friend.

Both of them are beginning to understand the dynamics between the two of them are shifting, and they separately struggle with the feelings they have for each other. Without the other knowing they both worry about the effect it would have if either came out about how they feel.

It is a good story, but for me it gets lost in the astrology, I can’t see that it brings anything to what would be a good story without it.

At 994 pages this is a long book. I read it in two parts, punctuating the middle by reading another book, before going back to read the second half of the story. If I hadn’t done that I may have struggled, and maybe would even have given in. If I had I would have missed out. It’s worth persevering with

Having said all that. Will I be waiting with baited breath for the next instalment. Yes, I will

Pages, 994. Publisher, Sphere. Available now