The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.
Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.
All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …
Hallelujah(!) for great writing. I was a little apprehensive about reading this book because I didn’t enjoy the narrative or plot of the previous book ‘The Lantern Men’. I had a lot of concerns over where the series was heading and whether ongoing connections would become loop like.
I am pleased to share that I enjoyed this book. The characters actually seem to be moving forward and with the ending – it seems like a new chapter may be about to begin. I find this pleasing because I felt that the characters had been coasting in the last couple of books with no real thought as to moving forward.
I also found the plot more thrilling and harder to decipher. I actually had to think of what was happening to work out the names of those involved.
The book features all the characters known and loved in the series as well as a short return of Clough.
There was more focus on the triangle of Nelson, Ruth, & Michelle, which was frankly, very needed. That triangle has largely been ignored and rarely talked about so seeing that be expanded was great.
The only thing that put a spanner in my reading was something I come across A LOT with crime writing and that is:
Setting up the killer with such mystery that when the reveal comes it ends up being a minor character that was hardly mentioned.
This takes so much weight out of the climax and often leaves me disappointed and angry at the lacklustre reveal.
I am however, back on the Ruth Galloway express, and looking forward to more books and plot developments.
I give this book: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟