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Sunday 10 September 2023

‘The River’s Edge’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Joffe Books,
1st July 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-80405957-9 (PB)

The 10th book in the series featuring DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans find them both in new phases in their lives. The death of his partner, Laura, a well-respected psychologist, shocked the entire division and has aged Jackman. Marie meanwhile is tentatively embarking on a new relationship following the painful loss of her husband not long after they were married.

A call from ex-policeman Dougie Marshall alerts Marie to the possibility of a serious crime going on within the film company from whom he had accepted the position of police consultant for a new crime drama being filmed. As the new filming is in Saltern-Le-Fen he felt he should give Marie a heads up as it is on their patch. Although he has been offered the same position as police consultant on this new series, an anonymous midnight call told him that accepting the job would not be a good idea, it was he said, not exactly a subtle threat. Whilst he is certain that something serious is going on, he cannot identify exactly what.  All he says that might be helpful are a couple if names, which he passes to Marie. Jackman contacts ex Policeman Frank Rosen who agrees to apply for  the job of police consultant and report back any strange out of the ordinary occurrences.

While Marie is excited having found the house of her dreams, her joy is curtailed by the news that the naked body of a handsome young man has been found at the river's edge. There is no identification.  He has been strangled; his skin coated in expensive oil.

Within a matter of a few days a second body is discovered in a nearby lake. Again, no identification, and his body is also coated in oil. But he was not strangled, his throat was cut.  

While grappling with these two murders, Jackman is surprised to see psychologist Sam Page walking into CID. He is not bringing good news. Their old enemy Ashcroft has been selected to be moved from HMP Gartree to a new Cat B, high-security prison in Cambridgeshire, where they are implementing a new technique for management of offenders with personality disorder. Jackman is aghast, that kind of place would be a dream for Alistair Ashcroft, he is a master manipulator.

The reader is privy to some of the personnel that Ashcroft has recruited even when he is incarcerated, and his plans are evil in the extreme. A deadly game is in play and Jackman and Evans are high on his list, but the list is long and everyone who he feels has slighted him are to feel the full devastation of his revenge plan. As the death toll rises, Ashcroft continues to orchestrate the deadly game of cat and mouse.

Can Jackman and Evans outwit the dangerous controlling manipulator?

Full of twists and turns, this is a gripping, heart in the mouth, edge of your seat thriller. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

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.

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