The phrase saves the best till last springs to mind when I start this review. This year I have read some great books; but as its December I can safely say that one of the best has been one of the last of the year.
“Hell Bay” by Kate Rhodes is a cracking read. The story is set on Bryher, one of the smallest of the Scilly Isles, just of the Cornish coast and only accessible by boat.
The stories main protagonist is DI Kitto Benesek, a Met undercover detective from the Murder Investigation Team, he is returning to his home island to get himself together following the death of his partner. The last thing he needs is a murder amongst the closely-knit residents of the island. An island with only 98 residents, nearly all of who he knows.
But that is what he gets when on the night he returns a young girl goes missing. Drafted in by the local Police Kitto heads an investigation into her disappearance.
From the start the reader knows she has been killed but by who. The characters on the island are rich and colourful, and not one of them seems to have a reason to kill her.
There are two added twists to the plot that might relate to the murder. One of the residents is trying to buy out the poorer residents to develop the island, he is making no friends with his strong-arm tactics but would he stretch to murder. Then there is the modern-day smuggling ring that is dropping drugs onto the beaches to be picked up and distributed on the mainland; did she stumble across one of the transactions, or could she be part of the smuggling ring.
The book uses the isolation of the island to build the tension. The characters are typical of a small English town, but are hemmed in buy the Atlantic.
Kitto has been away from the island for a long time only returning for his parent’s funerals. His friends have grown, new relationships have been formed but basically not much has changed.
Kitto is used to the violence of the capital but dealing with it on his own island amongst his friends and family is hard. How can he not have preconceptions.
This book longer than most books being published at the moment but every chapter had me reading the next in quick succession. I can’t say I read it in one sitting, but I read it at every opportunity, and hated having to put it down when work intervened.
Thankfully the last few pages are a preview of the next book in the series so I know there’s another coming. Now I just have to sit and wait.
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Publishing date: 25th January 2017.
Available to pre-order on Amazon