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Title: Beware The Past by Joy Ellis
Publisher: Joffe Books
Published: 17th December 2017
A stunning new standalone crime thriller from #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis.
Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught.
25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder.
More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, and intimate pictures of Matt’s secret relationship.
Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation?
In an absolutely breathtaking conclusion, Matt and his colleagues, race against time to stop a vicious killer who knows no limits.
Rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.
Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Ballard is on the verge of retirement when a letter arrives with evidence linking back to the unsolved murders of three boys, from when he was a PC back in 1991, a case that has always haunted him. Another boy shows up with all hallmarks of the old case, is the killer back after all this time?
Now I have to be admit this is the first book I’ve read by Joy Ellis and I have to say it won’t be the last! This is also a stand-alone which for other people who haven’t read her work is a great place to start.
I often find reading about children who’ve been killed an uncomfortable experience, as a mother something like that happening to my son is one of my worst fears, but I found once I started reading this book that I couldn’t stop.
The killer is one terrible mind-bender. Just when you’re like ‘I don’t think Matt can take any more’ the murder throws something even more terrible at him. Matt is forced to confront his demons and let other people in, and as a career policeman and bit of a loner was really hard for him.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there were some amazing twists in this book that I genuinely gasped out loud at but Joy has written the book so cleverly they didn’t seem forced or out of nowhere.
My only critique would be that I wanted to know a little more about the older murders and maybe even a few flashbacks would have been nice too but I’m just nitpicking.
Author Bio: Joy Ellis
UK #1 Best Seller with THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS and THE FOURTH FRIEND
700,000 books sold and rising!
“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”