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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

" Holy Island is a blockbuster." ( Daily Express)

What listeners say about Holy Island

Average Customer Ratings
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Sexist cliched rubbish and utterly predictable

This is the most turgid badly written nonsense, with every possible cliche thrown in. DCI Ryan is thirty something and “tall, dark and handsome”. He has a parody of a relationship with an academic who has twice his brains, but seems to think it acceptable for him to treat her with contempt and condescension. The sex scenes are GROSS - there is even an utterly repellent “take her by force” fantasy. How does this rubbish even get published.

The narrator tried to save it, but nothing could. I’d give it negative stars if possible.

6 people found this helpful

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Save your money

The story is improbable and irritating. So improbable that, at one stage, I thought it might have been a spoof. Sadly, not.
If I could give this no stars, I would have.

5 people found this helpful

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Mills and Boon meets Shetland.

A strange mix of cliche romance and bloody murder, Holy Island can't make up its mind what it wants to be. DCI Ryan is a TDH (tall, dark and handsome) hero that seems to have supernatural powers of detection, as well as seduction. He just has to appear in the room to make it all come together; no matter how obnoxious he gets, he just can't do anything wrong. It's the first in a series, so maybe the character evolves, if you are willing to give him another chance it might get better. I'm not sure I will give him another chance. I don't think I could ever tolerate him. Narrator is excellent and makes it bareable, otherwise I might not have gotten through to the end.

5 people found this helpful

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An 11 hour ramble along a well worn trail.

Nothing new here, an 11 hour ramble along a well worn trail coming to a predictable conclusion. A Midsomer mystery set on an island without Barnaby.

2 people found this helpful

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A bit mills and boonsey

I loved the narrator, he was really in character throughout. The quick love angle that catapulted out of the pages, disturbing and confusing, between Ryan and Anna was implausible, smacking of stereotypical gender imbalances.

The story was cliche, and to my surprise there is another one in the same vein. I’m very surprised that this was written by a woman.

The crime was quite good, some thought had gone into that. I just think that LJ Ross should leave her fantasy’s out of it.

2 people found this helpful

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Poor editing spoilt a good performance

This is the first DCI Ryan book I've heard. While I enjoyed the telling of the story generally, the insistence of the author in giving tidbits of story to the baddies was just irritating.
The main characters are quite well drawn and likeable enough for me to relate to them.
The major problem was the poor editing. There were too many instances of hearing the reader start again on a passage, plus other poor edits. But it was well read, with the different voices being clearly defined.
I don't think I'll be going on to the second book.

1 person found this helpful

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A bit of everything

This book is very entertaining and the narration is excellent. There's a bit of everything: drama, thrill, suspense humour and romance. The romance storyline is probably the weakest part: it's not at all unique and is a bit lame and cheesy (same old, same old), but it serves its purpose of adding another layer to the story and main characters. The best part of this book is the witty dialogue, the humour and the relationships among the characters. Very good listen!

1 person found this helpful

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Not so holy

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Just brilliant!

A great story of mistery, murder, passion and love. Clever writing and a very engaging narration. The story narrates a tormented Detective following the foot steps of a serial killer in an island, while he tries to unravel the town darkest secrets he found himself falling in love. the Story is funny, witty, clever and very captivating. A must read!

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Predictable

This well written book had an unfortunately disappointing storyline. It was predictable all the way through and the representations of the Pagan religion were far from authentic. The main characters were the usual physically perfect people who became predictably romantically entwined. And the end was also predictable. Such a shame as the writing style was eloquent.

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  • Michele B
  • 19-02-2016

Soppy stuff.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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'.

If you’ve listened to books by LJ Ross before, how does this one compare?

I have not. If I had, I might have been forewarned about this one. But possibly this one isn't one of her best.

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Do you think Holy Island needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Well, it is certainly presented that way, so it seems inevitable. Unfortunately.

Any additional comments?

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.

20 people found this helpful

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  • barbara
  • 23-07-2017

barbara cartland revisited, so old and corny

I only finished this book due to some other reviews being so positive, I was hoping that it improved. Such an old fashioned novel you would expect to be serialised in a 1950s womens magazine, tall dark handsome hero who demands his little lady obey him, looking deeply into dark eyes...with a sad past... so cliched! I was hoping for a true detective story with lots of the usual twists, not a badly written romance and whats with making the murders so gruesome - so not necessary, the joy of a police story is in the detective work and the unexpected finale...tension can still be there without the gruesome murders..so dramatic
The narrater, Jonathan Keeble, was the main reason that I chose this book, he is first class.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Wild Horses Flying
  • 17-12-2017

Painfully bad

I thought it was going to be good because of reviews and the narrator has a good voice for a detective procedural. However, the romance is ridiculous - i.e. being jealous when you've known the person for a day; the various love and drama situations are comically or excruciatingly corny and over-done. The main detective has an authoritative attitude take charge way and language that works OK at first but then becomes completely overworked, unrealistic and irritating -- no depth to character. It feels like a third-grader decided to try to write a grown up book. Sorry to be so harsh. I couldn't keep listening.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Trish R.
  • 02-09-2016

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Mihaly Meszaros
  • 26-11-2017

Awful

Could not stand the story or the narrator and the main character is just a total ass

7 people found this helpful

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  • Glenda
  • 13-09-2017

Christian bashing must be popular!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The author was able to understand everyone's beliefs or shortcomings except Christian's. He needs to learn how to write from a more unbiased perspective.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Another mystery

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a pleasant voice

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Holy Island?

Probably when the author made fun of the minister's wife's looks, it had nothing to do with the story line and made the character look petty.

Any additional comments?

There was no build up to the two main character's "feelings" toward each other. You couldn't tell the difference between their supposedly caring for each other or two other strangers hooking up in a bar!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-03-2018

Chick lit.

Soooooo disappointed that I wasted my money on this trite book. Could not get past chapter 3.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • CM
  • 15-02-2016

Enjoyed

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gothic_Potato
  • 30-03-2018

Love DCI Ryan! A great read.

Where does Holy Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top stars.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really didn't have an exact favorite since they worked well together, but DCI Ryan and Anna were consistent and interesting.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. His voice is phenomenal. He is clear and doesn't sound like he is forcing the speech pattern. I believe he is also the actor that plays DCI Ryan on the series. If not, he should.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely, but live dictated otherwise.

Any additional comments?

I loved the twists and turns throughout the book. Sure, there were a few times I was right and a few times I was wrong. The end gave me shivers.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gail J Elverd
  • 24-02-2016

Disappointing

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • D. S. John
  • 13-03-2017

I can't believe this was published

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A complete re-write of the story eliminating all cliches, at least 50% of the adjectives, and the relationship scenes which all seem to have been either the product of the mind of a teenage boy or a projection of the fantasies of a middle aged man.

Would you ever listen to anything by LJ Ross again?

No

Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Keeble’s performances?

Maybe: he was on a hiding to nothing with this one.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Holy Island?

I would not have had anything to do with any of it.

Any additional comments?

Melodramatic, predictable, boring.

I abandoned it when I realised that 1) there would not be one passage which did not include reference to detective's physical assets, that 2) I had tolerated the pitiful writing of the attraction scenes for longer than I should have. Life is too short to waste on this.

How do I get my credit back?

44 people found this helpful

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  • Salter
  • 04-01-2018

LJ Ross delivers the goods...

The first in the Ryan Series, and this story really sets the tone for the later books. A superb blend of intrigue,action and suspense. In this instance, Ryan investigates some ritualistic killings on the island of Lindesfarne.
DCI Ryan is a very likeable lead character, but hes very much backed up with a good range of interesting characters - such as his trusty sidekick Phillips, and the smart, knowledgeable Anna.
I can't recommend this series enough, and Jonathan Keeble's portrayal of the characters is brilliant.

26 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 17-01-2018

misogyny writ large

She's an academic, a specialist in her field, and he (the detective) snorts at her qualifications, is rude to her, shuts her out of the investigation that his superior has assigned her to and she falls for him!!!
This is not what I want to be reading. I want books where men admire women's achievements and where women expect to be treated with respect.
This female character is no role model.

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Colette
  • 06-01-2016

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.

94 people found this helpful

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  • Renka
  • 26-01-2016

Probably the worst book I've ever bought

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator struggled to make anything of this rubbish

Any additional comments?

I can't decide whether this is the product of a malevolent mind, pornography, Mills & Boon or just plain rubbish.

29 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • caroline
  • 30-12-2015

As usual gorgeous hero and heroine

Any additional comments?

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.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars