Today I’m delighted to be sharing with you my review for “Beware The Past”, the latest standalone crime thriller from Joy Ellis.
About the book:
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.
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.
At the beginning of the book, Detective Matt Ballard is sent a photo via one of his team, PC Gemma Goddard. It is the picture of an unsolved murder scene of an 11 year old boy from 25 years earlier, taken prior to the murder. It was a case that Matt was involved with early on in his career, and he is the last man still working for the Police.
Days later, another 11 year old boy goes missing. Then more photos start to arrive, including pictures of Matt’s private life.
Is the killer back? Or is it a copycat? And why do they seem intent on destroying Matt Ballard?
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
What a book!
Where do I start?
Every time I thought things couldn’t get any worse for Matt Ballard, the author threw even more hardships at him. You really felt he was being driven insane by the killer, and I can’t say too much about what happens to him without giving away spoilers.
I couldn’t put the book down. I read it in one very long sitting well past bedtime. I was well and truly gripped – I NEEDED to know what was coming next. Tightly plotted, fast paced and plenty of red herrings – I loved it!
I very much liked the characters, and they all worked well as a team. I would have loved to see them in another investigation – maybe an earlier investigation?
Needless to say, this gets a whopping 5* from me!
Joy Ellis author bio:
“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I 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. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”