📚Shadow Over the Fens (DI Nikki Galena Book 2) By Joy Ellis


A gripping crime thriller with a big twist at the end.

Detective Nikki Galena’s friend and neighbour meets a tragic end but there’s more to his death than meets the eye . . .

And someone terrible from DS Joseph Easter’s past is back . . .

A man is found executed on a piece of wasteland in Greenborough town.

The cold-blooded murder triggers terrible memories for DS Joseph Easter. Just when things seemed to be going well for DS Easter, he realises that the nightmare is coming back, threatening his career, his sanity, and maybe his life.

In a breath-taking conclusion even Nikki begins to doubt DS Easter as he faces a race against time to save someone very close to him.

I’m writing this review on my lunch break and I realise that it may sound a little disjointed. I usually wfh on a Thursday but had to be in the office for a meeting and have since been reading some fan fiction. I have tried my best to capture my feelings of this book but if it sounds a little odd, I’ve given reasons.

Shadow Over the Fens is book 2 in the Nikki Galena series by Joy Ellis and at first glance the book took me by surprise. I say this because part of the plot is centered around Detective Joseph Easter and ‘someone from his past’. I found this surprising because typically this sort of plot inclusion would surface around book 3 or 2 and not come up so early in a series. That’s my opinion based off COUNTLESS detective series that I’ve read.

By my own experience, having this unexpectedly thrust upon me did throw the beginning of the reading experience up in the air and did make getting into it a little more difficult to get into. However, it was something I managed to get over fairly quickly and once I got to about chapter 7 or 8, I was fully committed to the story that I was reading.

I just got mauled by office dog Hugo, who decided he needed to lay on top of me!

This plot was very interesting to me for I did have my suspicions and theories and yet, despite the red herrings and what I would consider ‘more obvious’ twists, my final answers weren’t as on the mark as I had expected them to be. It was clever writing really.

The plot has a duel narrative of two different crimes being committed and yet I never felt like I was reading two separate stories, for they blended together nicely and at times even crossed over. It was the element of interest and curiosity that compelled me to read more and more of the book.

Learning about Joseph’s past this early on had both pros and cons for me. On the one hand, I would have liked to have learned more about his current character before being confronted by his secretive past. But on the other hand, now that I know his past, his character seems less clean cut than I viewed him before. Somehow learning about his past has made him seem more mysterious.

I don’t know and I’m not sure my above statement even makes much sense. I worry that there will be a lack of evolution and character development with his past being revealed so early into the series and I also worry about any potential fraternising between Nikki and Joseph – not that there is anything there currently, but it is something to ponder upon.

The killer reveal was artfully done. You know me. You know I enjoy a well thought out killer reveal and that I prefer it when the killer is revealed to be someone we know or have interacted with through our reading. It’s the badly thought out plots, broken connections or unknown character reveals that I dislike and this book definitely belongs in the former group.

Nikki’s team, however, is coming together nicely. With Nikki and Joseph at the helm, the ship steers steadily, if a little chaotically. With Cat and Dan both sides are covered. With Yvonne and Niall – when they can get them – the team is complete. As a team, they’re so different in personality and temperament that if you took them out of the police environment I don’t think they’d work as a team, but in that environment, and playing to their strengths, they fit cohesively.

Shadow Over the Fens became my first read of March 2023. Ironically, even though February is my birthday month, I didn’t read that much – only 3 books! – I was just too busy socially! But now that that has died down, March is looking promising to read. I enjoyed reading this book. I read on Kindle Unlimited and as a Kindle book it wasn’t especially long in terms of pages but it was substantial in terms of context.

If I continue to enjoy the series as I have enjoyed this read and the book before, I can see myself committing to purchasing in paperback also. This ended up being a stellar read for me, despite how thrown I was at the beginning.

I give this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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