When a young woman is found naked on an ancient stone circle, DI Kelly Porter is not sure what, if any, crime has been committed. Before she can speak to her, however, the unnamed girl disappears from the local hospital, leaving no trace behind. Soon, when a woman is found murdered after a frenzied attack, the police realise that there are some people in the Lake District who believe in ancient ways and rites – is this connected to the woman’s death? Meanwhile, a face from Kelly’s past has returned to haunt her, a person who almost destroyed her family. Will they finish the job this time or will Kelly come out on top once again?

The sixth book in this series sees Kelly dealing with the aftermath of her mother’s death and the changing relationship she has with other family members. As always, the scenes she shares with Ted are always a joy to read and it was good to see him creating a close bond with Josie, the daughter of Kelly’s partner, Johnny. The characterisation is one of the things I enjoy most about these books, and over the series, I have found myself becoming attached to many of the main players!

The plot is an interesting one, dealing with pagan worship. Common misconceptions are dealt with throughout the plot, with those participating keen to tell people that it is not about devil worship but about the appreciation of nature. Of course, there is someone from within their ranks who has different ideas, and it is this person who Kelly and her team have set their sights on. The murders are particularly gruesome and we also have some references to animal deaths which some people may not enjoy. These are not descriptive, however.

The mystery surrounding the missing girl was another fascinating part of the story and one that definitely had me on edge. There is no doubt that the girl, who the police are struggling to identify, has a traumatic past and so it was particularly unsettling when she developed an interest in another of the characters. I definitely feared for the safety of Josie, a character who I was pleased to see come more to the fore in this book.

Blood Rites is another great read in the Kelly Porter series, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Read my reviews for the rest of the series:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

Bold Lies