Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered, and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby priory.
When former local girl Dr. Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface, making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.
Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set on the spectacular Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, cut off from the English mainland by a tidal causeway.
©2015 L J Ross (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
"Holy Island is a blockbuster." (Daily Express)
The first book I have read by L J Ross, I really enjoyed it and cannot wait to read the Sycamore Gap. THe story line was fantastic had to keep reading to find out the culprits, I recommend it to readers of crime.
Not to my friends, no. It was full of promise and possibilities but the author thoroughly killed the book with excessive melodrama and completely unbelievable 'romance'.
I have not. If I had, I might have been forewarned about this one. But possibly this one isn't one of her best.
I thought the narrator did an excellent job. I liked him and thought he did admirably with the material he had to work with. I would have been rolling on the floor wheezing with laughter at certain points.
Well, it is certainly presented that way, so it seems inevitable. Unfortunately.
I hate to be so negative, but I bought it hoping for a good mystery and instead got a soppy, unbelievable, romance filled with practicing pagans. If that is your cup of tea, you will love this book a lot.
"Really good story. On to the next one.."
A lot of reviewers complained about this being too much of a romance but I beg to differ. There was just enough romance to satisfy anyone looking for a romance/suspense/murder/mystery, like me. And to the one reviewer who said the author was a woman because she started getting into the “sex acts.” The first time they had sex he carried her to the bedroom, kissed her and it faded to black. And the second time they had sex it was fade to black. Not much of a sex act if you ask me.
I liked all the background they gave on the players instead of going from one murder to the next. Ryan was on sabbatical due to the Hacker case he worked and things went very badly. Anna was back on the island she’d left 8 years ago, because of her mother’s fall down stone steps that lead to her death and the leap off the cliff her dad took. Anna was there to join Ryan on the case of ritual killings, and their attraction to one another was immediate. I really enjoyed that part of the book, made them more human and not just robots trying to solve some murders. She was also there to try to figure out where she and her sister went wrong so many years ago.
One reviewer said this was a cliffhanger and THAT IS NOT TRUE. Two crimes were solved, Ryan and Anna got their HEA and that was the end of that story. The epilogue was just to let you know there was a next book that had to do with “the circle” if you wanted to read it.
There was swearing and the F-bomb was used 16 times. LOL, I think 99.9% of the time the F-bomb was said by the hero, Ryan.
As to the narrator: Jonathan Keeble gave all the men great voices, especially Ryan, but the women, especially Anna, sounded toooo much like men. I’m hoping in the next book, Sycamore Gap, he’ll do better. He did read with a lot of emotions, which he did fantastically.
Personally found the "burning looks". Heavy breathing etc a total turn off. Construct seemed clumsy and unbelable. Also hard to have 5 deaths in such a small place with so few residences. Not for me. Narrator did well with different characters.
"Long drawn out story. Okay narration."
Geez this book was long. Seemed to last forever before anything at all was resolved. A lot of words and descriptions filling the pages for sure.
The story line and plot was okay. Not the best, not the worst. I felt like so many things were being randomly thrown in to the story to make up the page count.
Crazy religious ritual psycho killers for sure. There was a little romance in the story between Ryan and Anna, but it seemed forced and not very genuine. There is no descriptive sex just the attraction and them waking up together. So if your'e worried about that don't be.
There is lots of dialogue, so there is that. I like lots of dialogue.
I don't think I will continue on with this series, the epilogue was basically this story just with different characters. The last line says "The cycle began again",
As for the narration, it was okay. I liked his reading voice and the voice for the main character Ryan, but the female voice needs work. It was an okay narration at best.
"A nicely twisted mystery"
DCI Ryan is on a not entirely voluntary three-month sabbatical from the police force, due to the horrific ending of the last serial killer case he investigated. He's spending this sabbatical on Lindisfarne, a.k.a. "Holy Island." Ryan is living very quietly, but the total population of the island is somewhere around 200, so he's gotten to know, at least slightly, a good proportion of that population.
So one morning, when one of the local women, out walking her dog in the early morning, stumbles upon a dead body, with no police force on the island, she goes directly to DCI Ryan.
Ryan acts immediately to protect the crime scene, get the one local doctor to do a preliminary examination of the dead body, and successfully lobbies his boss to get his sabbatical revoked and put him in charge of the case. Because the dead young woman, Lucy Matheson, was killed sometime during the five hours of the night when Lindisfarne was completely cut off from the mainland, the pool of potential suspects is limited to the local residents. That's a mixed blessing, because it means that at least initially, Ryan can't rule out anyone capable of being of use in the investigation. That includes the tiny Coast Guard force that are otherwise the first responders to anything on-island that needs police-like action.
It's worse that Lucy's death looks like a ritual killing.
As Ryan pulls together a team from his off-island colleagues, and starts serious investigation, he discovers a web of secrets, private scandal, pagan religious activity of varying degrees of seriousness, and complicated relationships that will make this about as difficult as it can be.
And then a second body is found, another woman, killed in a similar ritual way..
Ryan is facing another serial killer.
This is a nicely complex tale, with characters who have real depth and substance. And there's a twist at the end, after you are sure you know the whole thing, that really took me by surprise, and sets up some interesting possibilities for future books in the series.
I bought this book.
"GOOD STORY - FABULOUS NARRATOR"
GOOD STORY AND GOOD CHARACTERS
I COULD LISTEN TO JONATHAN KEEBLE READ THE PHONE BOOK!!!
I enjoyed this. I bought it because I come from the area where the book is set. If I did not know Holy Island I would have enjoyed it more. Having been to Lindisfarne many times you do have to suspend disbelief a bit. Not sure people who live there will appreciate the Satanic cult based on their Island. Anyway I liked the Characters and the pace enough to buy the next book "Sycamore Gap" I appreciated having the 1st chapter free as an add on to "Holy Island " and it is on sale! The narrator is good although his Northumberland accent wobbles a bit at times but on the whole v. Good.
Long, rambling and gruesome. Loose story line connecting overly detailed scenes of violence and gore. Yuk!!!!
"Struggled to finish this one"
This could have been so good. An interesting story and setting but dragged on until I thought it would never finish. A couple of hours worth of editing would have been a big help. My main complaint though was that it was too much like a Mills & Boon book. The hero is just far too gorgeous and moody and the heroine too headstrong and wilful. Some cringe worthy writing as they gazed at each other adoringly.
Jonathan Keeble did a wonderful job in the circumstances.
I won't be buying the next in the series.
"As usual gorgeous hero and heroine"
I enjoyed the narrator but guessed who was going to die, who the killer/killers were and got a bit fed up with the Tall Dark Handsome inspector and the beautiful intelligent female counterpart. How refreshing to have an inspector who is average height, balding with a paunch, I know John Rebus! As for the females, why cant they be short, overweight with bad hair, unremarkable eyes and not a brilliant Doctor, or University guru. Perhaps they dont sell books. Will I go for the next book? probably but will wait until their is a sale on.
"Should this be a Mills and Boons??"
No - this is marked as within the Crime Genre - it should have been romance or at least fantasy!
It was utter dribble with no conclusion as to why the villain had stooped to the levels he had. No credible explanation about why others had joined up. Poor Mr Keeble was overly annuciated - every romantic scene was cringe-worthy.
The main characters were too perfect - just boringly predictable too
Only by the author. Awful book
No one - better left unnarrated or written
Frustration - I wasted a credit on this bilge. So annoying.
Never read anything by this author again
This has got to be the most old fashioned sexist nonsense I have had the misfortune to listen to ever. It is all doe eyes and heaving bosoms and ranges from downright cringe-worthy to hilarious at times. I burst out laughing on numerous occasions when it really was not meant to be funny. Mind you, the island seems worth a visit since of the 200 residents if they are not stunningly gorgeous they are evil baddies, we even had a description of the loveliness of the main criminals teeth as he was about to perform a dastardly deed.
Certainly not another in this series, maybe William Brodricks latest as I need some intelligent writing to get over this.
I can't think of one to be honest, at a push the final one as it was comical for all the wrong reasons.
Nothing would escape my scissors.
I have to say that Jonathon Keeble did an excellent job as a narrator, his style seemed to suit the old fashioned dialogue and he has a way of sounding like he is delivering the dialogue rather than just narrating if that makes any sense at all. He also deserves praise for not cracking up laughing every 10 minutes.
"What utter gup"
I wish I'd read the reviews before purchasing this book. As previous reviewers have said this was pure, badly written Milks & Boon. The story was so far fetched as to be farcical. The only plus was the narrator who read well
"Nothing holy on a sacred island"
This is a fast-paced, artfully written crime mystery beautifully suited to audio. DCI Ryan has come to the ancient and mystical island of Lindisfarne, rich in history and wild beauty, on a forced sabbatical following a traumatic and tragic murder case the details of which are slowly revealed during the story. Any hope of a serene restorative holiday is of course shattered when the body of a young woman is found on an ancient altar, clearly the result of some pagan ritual.
The landscape of Lindisfarne is a brilliant backdrop, bleak, wild and beautiful, and the fact that it is regularly cut off from the Northumbrian mainland by treacherous tides adds to the atmosphere of lurking threat and murderous intent hidden within the island. Ryan knows that the killer is close by - and is watching him. Further murders - extremely gruesome seemingly pagan, ritualistic killings - follow. Ryan's time is running out.
He is joined by Dr Anna Taylor to help with the investigation. She has specialist historical knowledge and was brought up on Lindisfarne, and her estranged sister is one of the victims. Anna is drawn to Ryan with his shock of black hair and piercing eyes, and he to her. Gradually they reveal their personal burdens of damage to one another and start to heal. But Ryan knows that Anna is in danger and tries to protect her, but she trusts the people with whom she grew up - with terrifying consequences.
The pace is fast and the author drives her story forward with waves of plot, like the waves surging around the island. Time and again, you as listener think the mystery is solved, but it isn't, and suspense is cranked up yet again with an increasing feel of impending horror. The truth is revealed only in the very last minutes of the story. And then there's the Epilogue which delivers another final, final twist!
The narration is excellent and very much increases the drama and tension of the plot whilst rooting it in the credible everyday by the reality of the characters' voices.
And there's a final, final bonus too: after 'Holy Island' concludes there follows Jonathan Keeble reading the first chapter of L J Ross's next DCI Ryan book. You'll want to listen on!
"The Start of a Fantastic New Detective Series"
This was a rocketing read! Never a dull moment. Characters were well developed and you were drawn in immediately. And Jonathan Keeble as narrator - well what can I say. I could listen to him read the phone book!
I had not heard of the author LJ Ross before. If this was a debut novel I would expect some great reading ahead. I see there is a new release in the series coming 16/01/16. I will definitely download. Don't miss this series. Get in at the beginning!
Well this book was just fabulous!!! I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't want to read it!! It just has it all - drama, suspense, romance!! It is the full package! I absolutely loved it and it really brought my partner and I closer together snuggled up in winter listening to it. We can't wait for the next one to come out!
"Could have been better but not bad for first book"
Unfortunately I found the romantic elements jarring and unnecessary. The narration was superb.
Quite predictable and too cosy for my liking
"Fantastic story and narration!"
Highly recommended- a brilliant story and excellent narration. Kept me gripped right to the end!
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