📖The Island Murders (Dorset Crime Book 3) By Rachel McLean

An isolated community… a web of secrets… a mysterious death.

When a body washes up on the shores of Brownsea Island, DCI Lesley Clarke initially suspects suicide. But as she gets closer to the island’s close-knit community, she starts to suspect foul play.

Why did the victim argue with her closest friend days before her death? What secrets is the victim’s manager keeping? And can Lesley get to the bottom of the mystery before someone else dies?

To cope with the rising responsibility and stress at my place of work, I’m reading more in my lunch breaks and any moment I have away from a screen. So, reading this was a relaxing relief until the tension headache came on.

I got into this book a lot quicker than I did with book 2. After the climax and reveal of book 2, I was more invested in finding out any more developments in this book.

Here the murders, as the title suggests, occur on an Island. It’s not an island I’m familiar with but it was interesting to see how the characters coped with a crime scene that wasn’t easily accessible.

I did still feel like Lesley only has one foot in Dorset in this book. Her life in Birmingham is still something she believes she’ll go back to and that is somewhat present in her interactions with other characters.

The developing plotline we saw with Johnny in book 2 has progressed here and now includes Elsa also. It’s a tangent that I wouldn’t have thought to include in Dorset of all places, but the consequences of this plotline will surely be explosive when they erupt. I think it will put a lot of pressure on Lesley when it all comes to a head.

Sharon, Lesley’s daughter was also involved in this book, though fortunately not involved in the murder. The divorce with her husband and the change of circumstance with Sharon has weighed heavily on both mother and daughter and here we see a catalyst of that when Sharon visits.

I will say that the reveal of this book felt a little weak. I though the killer was a little too predictable and more of an easy answer rather than a complex puzzle. I guessed it at the first murder and ended up being spot on, so I did feel a little disappointed that it was so obvious.

So far in the series, we see Lesley and Dennis teamed up the most but, in this book, it was Lesley and Johnny who were together the most. Having read book 2 I can understand why the characters – and to an extent the author – decided on this switch of characters. It was a different dynamic to see Lesley working with Johnny rather than Dennis, but I welcomed it knowing it was done for the right reasons.

Outside of the main murder plot, I’ve mentioned the plot developing around Johnny and Elsa, there is also the plot around Lesley and Elsa’s relationship and the plot around Lesley staying or leaving Dorset. These different plots actually work quite cohesively. There is overlap at times, but it never feels confusing or out of place. The different plotlines tie in together and somehow offer a deeper insight into the characters.

Personally, I prefer to write in first person, as I find writing in 3rd person leaves me unable to get the right level of character connection. However, a lot of the crime books I read are in 3rd person and I enjoy the wide scope it gives to characters and how as a reader, I can learn about many people at once.

I give this book: ✨✨✨✨✨

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