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Thursday 16 March 2023

‘The Raven’s Mark’ by Christie J. Newport

Published by Joffe Books,
30 November 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-8040-5539-7 (PB)

Detective Chief Inspector Bethany Fellows was determined to become a detective after at four years old, she witnessed the murder of her mother. She is now faced with the most difficult case of her career so far.

A fifteen-year-old girl, Rose Danes, is found murdered at the home of a man with learning difficulties. A group of teenagers always hang out round his house as he is an easy target, and he even welcomes them there – he thinks they are his friends, but they just use him.

Rose’s neck is split open, and she has been branded with the image of a raven on her shoulder. Bethany, along with her boss, Detective Superintendent Dillon, is immediately convinced it is the work of the person labelled the Brander who struck some six years ago. The victim then was Celine Wilson, fourteen years old. She survived but is badly scarred in mind and body and is in a care home.

Bethany was in charge two years ago, called to try and solve the crime as a cold case and she still beats herself up about getting nowhere. This makes her all the more determined to get to the truth this time. The only real clue they unearth this time is that the perpetrator’s name is Simon.

On talking to the bereaved family, Bethany learns that they suspect Rose’s friend Jenny has something to do with it. Rose’s mother says she always smelled of weed and alcohol and her brother and his mates are nasty individuals. Then Jenny is kidnapped.

Every way Bethany turns in the investigation she is met with abuse, everyone seems to be hiding something. Then she receives a disturbing phone call, threatening the lives of everyone close to her. She has to follow his rules: “Simon Says” and must tell no one of his call and threats. Poor Bethany is now pulled in so many different directions, she is in danger of self-destructing.

Can she solve the case of the Brander without endangering the lives of everyone she loves and why does he target her specifically? She certainly is not the only detective on the case.

A really fast paced murder investigation which cleverly leads the reader up one false path after another resulting in a surprising revelation. Really thoroughly recommended.

Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Christie J. Newport was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1981. She now lives in Northumberland with her wife and their Labrador. In 2004, Christie graduated from Edge Hill University with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism. She is now agented by Northbank Talent Management and works closely with Hannah Weatherill. The Raven’s Mark is her first book in the DCI Beth Fellows crime thriller series.  

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

1 comment:

  1. Christie J. Newport23 April 2023 at 08:58

    Hello Tricia, I just wanted to leave a note to say thank you for such a lovely, thoughtful and thorough review of The Raven's Mark. It is very much appreciated and I'm extremely happy you enjoyed meeting Beth and her team. Thank you for taking the time to write this review - the gratitude of authors to reviewers cannot be underestimated, particularly debuts. It can have a massive impact on our careers and I really wanted to acknowledge that :-)