by Joffe Books,
30 November 2020.
ISBN 978-178931625-4 (PB)
only published six weeks ago and already has 1,132 reviews on Amazon with an
average 4.7-star rating, which is a testimony to Joy Ellis’s popularity and the
high standard of her Jackman & Evans police procedural novels.
The story is set in the small town
of Saltern-le-Fen in the Lincolnshire Fens where the local police are faced
with the unexplained disappearance of two young men from separate remote
abandoned buildings. They had gone in under cover of darkness in order to
photograph the properties before they fell into complete ruin. Prompted by the
urge to record the history of abandoned buildings such as disused airfield
towers and factories or those partially destroyed by fire before it was too
late, they are members of a growing number of urban explorers. Enthusiasts of
this little-known hobby include one of the police team and several
ex-colleagues and friends.
DI Jackman is busy passing over a
case he has been working on to another police force where the man he has in
custody is wanted for more serious crimes. This leaves DS Marie Evans to begin
the investigation. One of the men went missing from an abandoned airfield which
lies in an adjoining police district. When Marie attempts to contact her
opposite number dealing with the case, she finds the officer strangely
uncooperative and is told the missing boy is a runaway and there is no need for
further investigation. There also appears to be some mystery attached to the
airfield itself. The team cannot determine if it was a military or civil
airbase as there are no records. When Marie attempts to visit the airfield for
herself, she is refused entry, but is given no explanation as to why it is out
Before long, another urban explorer
disappears and not long after, the bodies of all three are discovered dressed
in sackcloth and ashes and hanging by one ankle, in the bell tower of a ruined
To add to Marie’s concerns, the station’s head of IT Orla Cracken, known as Orac, has also disappeared. Loner and work fanatic, Orac was previously a government undercover field agent. Because of her past, Orac is a marked woman and needs to stay below the radar. Has someone found her? Has she been abducted?
This is a complex story with all the
twists and turns one might expect from a superb storyteller.
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. Apart from writing, Judith’s great
passions are travel and history. Both have influenced her two series of mystery
novels. Tour Manager,
Fiona Mason takes coach parties throughout Europe, and historian Aunt Jessica is
the guest lecturer accompanying tour groups visiting more exotic destinations
aided by her nephew Harry. Her published novels also include several award-winning
standalone psychological thrillers. 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 her teaching career. Now
retired, she is able to indulge her love of writing and has begun a life of
crime! ‘Writers are told to write what they know about, but I can assure you,
I've never committed a murder. I'm an ex-convent school headmistress for
To read a review of Judith’s most recent book Blood Follows Jane Austen, click on the title.