Well, in the beginning of all this, I was planning to not read all these back to back, but yeah that’s not happening. Here are the next few mini-reviews…
A Dying Fall (audio)
When a former university friend of Ruth’s is killed in a house fire, she’s surprised to get a letter from Dan sent shortly afterwards. The letter, postmarked before the fire, sounds afraid, and Ruth gets DCI Nelson to check in with Dan’s local constabulary. Neither Ruth nor the police think the fire was an accident.
Once again, this is a book that gets political, dealing with white supremacy groups. It also goes into Arthurian legend and the Raven King, all mixed up with far-right groups, anti-immigration sentiment, antisemitism, and all sorts of other nasty business. The climax is incredibly suspenseful, and for the first time in the series, I had a moment of fear-for-characters so strong that I was holding my breath. I don’t know if I can say that the books are getting better and better, because they’ve been strong from the start, but the more time I spend with these characters, the more I connect. I think I’m going to be heartbroken when I get to the end of the series.
The Outcast Dead (audio)
Dr. Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what may be a famous historical female killer, Mother Hook, and is swept up in a TV production that wants to do a profile on the Victorian-era murderess. Meanwhile, children begin to go missing in Norfolk.
Oh I loved this one! Each volume continues to vary the stories. After two highly politically-charged novels, this one focuses more on historical facts and modern-day psychology. There are some really tense scenes and end up leading to some great developments in the characters, and more intrigue is introduced in the present day to stir things up. It was awesome. One note, though: For this book and the previous, Clare Corbett reads the audio. Previous volumes, when I’ve managed to get them on audio, were read by Jane McDowell (as well as future volumes, from what I can see). Of the two, I prefer McDowell. Some of Corbett’s accents and voices are a bit over-the-top for me.
The Ghost Fields
During the course of construction, an old WWII plane is found, the dead pilot still inside. Only this pilot is miraculously preserved given the soil content all around him and his plane, and records show that the actual pilot of the craft ejected before the crash. The body has clearly been dead for decades, but who is he, where has he been kept, and why has his body been moved into this macabre setting?
I’ll admit – for the first time, I had difficulty getting into a book in this series. Personally, I think it was the history involved. I’m not a huge fan of war history, and I don’t like books that center on either of the world wars. So much of the book focused on the history of the found “pilot” and around Norfolk’s involvement during WWII that I found my eyes glazing over quite a bit. It wasn’t until midway through the book, when enough intrigue in the present-day story overshadowed the past, that I began to enjoy the read. In the end, I liked it and felt the book was well-written and all, but just not a personal favorite due to content. Also, I was sad that this book, as well as the next volume, simply aren’t available in audio format. Boo!
The Woman in Blue
Female priests, a religious pilgrimage, a cult that worships the image of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding, threatening letters, and a series of murders…can it get spookier than that?
This volume of the series was phenomenal! Religion and politics play into this series quite a bit, and this one dove into a few really dark sides of Christian splinter groups. It also showed the more human face of the clergy, which I really liked. There’s also a lot of major tension going on in the lives of Harry Nelson and Ruth Galloway, the former discovering an unpleasant secret and the latter torn between several loyalties. Very well put together. Also: fun fact – since I began blogging, I’ve read The Woman in White, The Woman in Black, and now The Woman in Blue, ha!