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Monday 27 July 2020

‘The Patient Man’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Joffe Books,
18th June 2020.
ISBN 978-178931279-9 (PB)

I am a fan of Joy Ellis’ best-selling Nikki Galena series and I jumped at the chance to read The Patient Man which is the 6th in her Jackman & Evans books. Both series are set in the Lincolnshire Fens and always evoke the remote misty bleak atmosphere that characterise this area of the country.

The fictional small town of Saltern-le-Fen is suddenly faced with an outbreak of amateurish thefts of a half dozen pigs, a horse, industrial diesel oil and worryingly several firearms from a local gun club. One of those guns is used by a professional sniper who goes on a killing spree. But most disturbing for DI Jackman and DS Marie Evans is the reappearance of their arch nemesis serial killer Alistair Ashcroft.

It is not only the police who are kept on their toes. The reader is swept along at a frantic pace. This is a novel I found difficult to put down. I was desperate to turn the page to find out what could possibly go wrong next and discover just how these many threads could all be drawn together.  

It is not just the nail-biting action that reels in the reader. Joy has the skill of ensuring her readers care about the characters. PC Kevin Stoner is the first officer on the scene when the sniper’s first victim is killed, and the reader feels every bit of his anguish as the psychopathic killer seems intent on pushing the young officer to breaking point by ensuring he is present when the next three victims are shot. Even DI Rowan Jackman’s faith in his own ability is put to the test as he is forced to hide his own fears behind a mask of capable efficiency he does not feel. I was equally drawn to Rachel Lorimer and her dedication to her not very bright sons. There were no cardboard, two dimensional characters in the story. For all the fast-octane action, it’s the characters and their reactions to the traumatic situations in which they are placed that drive the reader onwards.

Although it is possible to enjoy this book to the full without reading the earlier books in the series, I defy you not to want to get hold of the earlier books find out more about what happened when Jackman and Evans first encountered the evil Alistair Ashcroft.
Reviewer: Judith Cranswick

Joy Ellis was born in Kent but spent most of her working life in London and Surrey. She 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. She swore that one day she would have a shop of her own. It took until the early Eighties, but she did it. Sadly the recession wiped it out, and she embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Joy now lives in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner, Jacqueline. She had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now as her partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; her choice of genre was suddenly clear. She has set her crime thrillers in the misty fens.   

Judith Cranswick was born and brought up in Norwich. She wrote her first novel (now languishing in the back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were toddlers, but there was little time for writing when she returned to work teaching Geography in a large comprehensive. It was only after leaving her headship that she was able to take up writing again in earnest. Judith teaches Tai Chi, and line dancing, yoga, Pilates and Zumba. Her other hobbies include reading and travelling. She is lucky enough to be a cruise lecturer. You can read some of her adventures – the Ups and Downs of Being a Cruise Lecturer on her September 2014 blog on her home page. Judith’s latest book is the Undercover Geisha to read a review click on the title

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