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Thursday, 12 January 2012

‘Shadowbreaker’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Robert Hale,
30th September 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-7090-9306-0

DI Nikki Galena has returned to her home in the Fens.  Feeling good she sets off for work to welcome back Sergeant DS Joseph Easter who is today joining her CID team on his first day back after being injured on duty*.  As she walks to her car she is enthusiastically greeted by her closest neighbour Martin Durham whom she has known for nine years.  He tells her he has some interesting news but it can keep until the weekend.

Later, called to the incident of a jumper Nikki is horrified to see the body of her neighbour Martin, who just a few hours previously had greeted her with pleasure.  Now he is dead by his own hand.  He had thrown himself from the top of the church tower.  What could have happened to drive this happy man she saw earlier to suicide in a matter of a few hours.  With friends and family Martin appeared to have no reason to take his own life.

Sergeant DS Joseph Easter is pleased to be back at work, but not so excited at being given the task of reviewing suicides in the area.  But a chance sighting of Billy Sweet, a man from Joseph’s past turns Joseph’s life upside down – what is Billy Sweet doing here? Joseph has reason to fear Billy Sweet and eventually unable to deal with the nightmare, realises that he has to face his past before he loses his mind and maybe his life.  Should he tell Nikki of his past experiences so that she can understand his deep fear of Billy Sweet?

A discovery of a second body, one who bears a resemblance to Billy Sweet, totally unnerves Joseph.  But Nikki is trying to make sense of another bizarre suicide. Are there two killers out there?

I was totally hooked as I struggled to comprehend the mystery of the suicides, and how Joseph would resolve his personal nightmare. A fascinating and complex mystery from a clearly gifted writer.
Lizzie Hayes
* see Mask Wars

Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the prestigious Mayfair florist, Constance Spry Ltd. Having run her own flower shop in Weybridge for many years, Ellis then worked as a bookseller until a trip to the Greek island of Skyros, where she took part in a writer's workshop with Sue Townsend who encouraged her to write her own books. She now lives in Lincolnshire with her partner Jacqueline and their two Springer spaniels, Max and Rowan

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