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Beware the Past

BEWARE THE PAST by JOY ELLIS Joffe Books Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 19 Dec 2017


Joy Ellis has a talent for writing gritty police procedurals that make you feel strongly about the central characters. You empathize with their hopes and their fears. As DCI Matt Ballard approaches retirement he is haunted by one case that of three boys who were brutally murdered in the remote Gibbet Fen. The killings stopped when the suspect was killed in a hit and run, but Ballard was never absolutely certain that the suspect was guilty. Now, just as he is looking forward the nightmare begins again. It looks like a copycat but how can they be sure, especially since there are signsthat were never released to the public. What Ballard doesn't realize is that there’s more to this nightmare than the return of a sadistic murderer. Someone is targeting Ballard personally and is preparing to destroy him and everyone he cares about in a twisted game of vengeance.

Joy Ellis builds suspense by alternating the narrative between Ballard and his team and their opponent. It makes for a lot of dramatic tension. There is implied brutality but it isn't graphically described. Still I would be reluctant to let a teen read it without supervision. Beware the Past has a number of twists that took me by surprise. I was quite impressed by Ellis’s plotting.

If you like British police procedurals, Joy Ellis can be relied on to provide a thrilling read with plenty of twists and tangles that are both surprising and believable.

5 / 5

I received a copy of Beware the Past from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



A stunning new standalone crime thriller from #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis. Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught. 25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder. More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, and intimate pictures of Matt’s secret relationship. Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation? In an absolutely breathtaking conclusion, Matt and his colleagues, race against time to stop a vicious killer who knows no limits. The setting Rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.

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