This week is BOOKOUTURE WEEK on Chocolate’n’Waffles!
Why focus on one publisher? The main reason is that few Bookouture books have disappointed me and I wanted December to be a good reading month. So I took a bet on them. Okay, a safe bet, but still! Another reason is that Bookouture was the first publisher to trust me when I started blogging, and they have given me great novels, fab friendships, and lots of fun, so I wanted to give back with seven reviews in a row, as a thank you and a ‘let’s have even more fun next year’!
One rule: all books have been read this month! As always, thank you to the fantastic Bookouture team for feeding me via NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.
I am over the moon to talk about Graham Smith’s latest book!
Title: Death in the Lakes
Author: Graham Smith
Date of publication: 2018
Format: e-copy uncorrected proof
Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.
The entire police force is on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.
As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, Beth knows she’s in a race against time.
But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?
Graham Smith is a force to be reckoned with. When I learned he was working on a new series, I was quite excited. I had discovered his writing through the Jake Boulder books and greatly enjoyed them. A new project meant getting to know Graham Smith better.
DC Beth Young is new to the major crime team. Scarred unlike any other police officer, she has this little thing that makes her different. Her mind is wired in a way that explores crimes like puzzles and she sees things even seasoned detectives could miss. Actually, her behavior and train of thoughts could easily be those of a DI! Now, she’s is no super hero and from the start, she gets the treatment newbies have to endure to prove they belong to the top team of the police force. This balance is what makes Beth an easy character to appreciate. She’s not cocky, but she’s not a tiny innocent lamb either.
While being a woman officer is more common now than it was years ago, Beth still has a lot to do to find her place in the team. I liked the fact Graham Smith chose to let us follow a new member instead of throwing us into a world already set with personalities and dynamics fixed and ready to roll. It was refreshing to get to know everyone, from the big boss to her colleagues, through cracks coming from personal lives as well as the case they’re working on and the new eyes of a woman who may be new but is also kind and observant.
I was eager to see what the author would come up with in terms of plot. I have devoured the fast-paced Boulder series and I know he weaves intricate webs but police procedurals are made of a different skin. Graham Smith took up the challenge and this new series has everything I like in my favourite genre! The sometimes gruesome (for my fragile heart) descriptions of the dead bodies had a big impact on me, and the details put into the killer’s rituals had me so repulsively intrigued!!! I just wanted to dissect every piece of information and find my way into the culprit’s mind. Well, Beth had similar goals! The investigation was twice as intense as we both played the game, although Beth is much smarter than I am. There was a rush to find who was behind the murders, but as real life wants it, the case takes time, effort, and lots of paperwork. I loved the awful feeling coming from the urgency to protect civilians and find answers and the realistic pace used by the team to solve this massive bloody puzzle.
Cleverly scattered among the case’s days are chapters from two unnamed men related to the occurring events. They made me uncomfortable, they puzzled me, they left me feeling unsettled. Talk about an evil killer and a race against time. They sent shivers down my spine and made my blood pressure rocket!
As always, characterization is another of Graham Smith’s strong suits. Some moments took me by surprise, but I think they were essential to show Beth’s human side, as well as to remind us that having spent many years in the force doesn’t make you a cold monster, and that the shell police officers often have to use to protect themselves from the horrors they see is not as hard as they seem.
Death in the Lakes is the gripping start of a new series and I am dying to meet DC Beth Young again!
After serving my time as a joiner, I have dug drains, slated roofs and built bridges to put food on the table. Since 2000 I have run a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green. I have a teenage son and when not working, reading or writing, I enjoy socialising with family and friends.