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The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

Dr Ruth Galloway is back in her cottage in Norfolk and is ready to start work after receiving a promotion. It is not long, however, before paths cross with DCI Nelson when a body is found washed up on the beach by a group of metal detectorists known as the Night Hawks. Thought to be an unfortunate asylum seeker, this theory is soon quashed when he is identified as Jem Taylor, a local man who has recently been released from prison. A second incident is declared when the bodies of a man and woman are found at Black Dog Farm. Initially believed to be a murder-suicide, evidence later puts this in doubt and when the body of a large dog is found buried in the garden, talk begins of the Black Shuck, a legendary dog who is seen as the harbinger of death…

The thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloway series sees Ruth back where she belongs but this time she is now the head of department after the previous incumbent, Phil, has taken retirement. Long time readers of this series will find some of Ruth’s comments about grants and funding amusing as she realises after all her years of berating Phil for similar comments, she is now saying the same things! It is these small things that make me love this series so much, the characters feeling like old friends who I look forward to catching up with every year! New character, David Brown, is an interesting addition to the mix. A new employee at the university, Ruth isn’t sure what to make of him and neither are we as readers. He is definitely someone I would like to see in subsequent books as he definitely has the potential to replace Phil as Ruth’s sparring partner!

As has been the theme throughout the series, we see Ruth’s complicated relationship with DCI Nelson impacting on both her personal and professional life. We have gone way past the ‘will they, won’t they?’ aspect of their lives, but Elly Griffiths still manages to keep us guessing as to what will happen between them. The ending of this book, in particular, has left me wondering what is on the horizon.

The setting of the Ruth Galloway books has always been one of their strengths and the coast and countryside of Norfolk has again provided a superb backdrop to the plot. It was easy to visualise the murder scene at the desolate Black Dog Farm, the eerie atmosphere giving credence to the legend of the Black Shuck. This also gave us the opportunity to enter the world of everyone’s favourite druid, Cathbad, who finds himself involved with the Night Hawks on their excavations.

Elly Griffiths never lets me down and The Night Hawks is another superb book in this series. I hope it won’t be too long before we find out what happens as a result of the final scene!

With thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of this series:

The Crossing Places

The Janus Stone

The House at Sea’s End

A Room Full of Bones

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree

A Dying Fall

The Outcast Dead

The Ghost Fields

The Woman in Blue

The Chalk Pit

The Dark Angel

The Stone Circle

The Lantern Men

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

Feeling troubled by the events in the previous book, Dr. Ruth Galloway is pleased when a face from her past, Dr. Angelo Morelli, contacts her, seeking her assistance on bones that have been discovered in a small Italian village. Accompanied by her friend Shona and their children, they head off to the continent, where they find a village still clinging on to memories of the Second World War and the Resistance. The past and present collide however, when the body of a local is found in the church. What secrets lurk that would make someone kill to protect?

I was very late in discovering the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths but since reading my first one two years ago, I have devoured the books and was eagerly anticipating this one. Taking Ruth out of her comfort zone is a big gamble but is one that’s has definitely paid off and it has enabled us to take a peek into her past whilst also exploring more of her relationship with best friend, Shona. Although Ruth is brought to Italy on the premise of assisting with recently discovered bones, the archaeology takes a bit of a back seat as she realises that there are more pressing matters that threaten their idyllic break. Somebody clearly doesn’t want Ruth there and she begins to fear, rightly so, that her life may be in danger.

I had feared that with the story being set in Italy, we would see less of the other characters we have come to know and love, but this was not to be the case. Running alongside the main plot, is a sub-plot about a released prisoner who bears a grudge against DCI Harry Nelson. Despite having this and huge upheaval in his personal life to contend with, Nelson finds his way out to Italy, accompanied by Cathbad, when news of a disaster reaches him. Throughout the books, we have seen Nelson struggle with his feelings for Ruth and this becomes even more heightened due to everything that is currently going on in his life. He is becoming more and more of a tortured soul and, depending upon the climax of a particular storyline, we could soon see him being tipped firmly over the edge!

The most shocking part of the book is reserved for the final chapters when a major event occurs that will have repercussions for several of the characters. Without going into too much detail, I was genuinely upset by what happened but, at the same time, can’t wait to see what the consequences will be.

If you have never read any of the Ruth Galloway series, please do as I don’t feel you will be disappointed. For anyone who is already a fan, The Dark Angel is a welcome addition to an already brilliant series.

With thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my ARC.


The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

After being summoned by DCI Harry Nelson to look at the body of a World War Two pilot discovered in a buried plane, forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway, soon realises that all is not what it seems. The body is identified as Fred Blackstock, whose plane was reported to have crashed at sea and, to confuse matters even further, there is a bullet hole in his head… When human remains are found at a nearby pig farm and another member of the Blackstock family is attacked, Nelson is tasked with bringing an unknown murderer to justice.

The Ghost Fields is the seventh in the Ruth Galloway series and, like all of her previous books, Elly Griffiths has created another ‘unputdownable’ read. By linking a historical case with the modern crimes, the story moves on at a steady pace and manages to throw in a few red herrings to keep you guessing right until the very end.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the characterisation. Throughout the books, we have seen the characters develop to the point where I almost believe they are real people! Ruth is fast becoming one of my favourite fictional characters and fully deserves to have her story made into a TV series.

My only problem with this book is that, as I read the next book in the series, The Woman in Blue, before the others, I have now reached the end of the Ruth Galloway story! Roll on 23rd February 2017 when The Chalk Pit is published!


Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Ordinarily, Ruth Galloway would be excited to receive a letter from an old university friend detailing news of a fascinating archaeological discovery. Unfortunately, the letter has arrived the day after the writer’s death, killed in a suspicious house fire in the north-west of England. After receiving threatening texts warning to her to stay away from the dig, forensic archaeologist Ruth wrestles with her conscience and finally decides to head up to Ribchester to see exactly what Dan Golding had discovered and why someone is determined to stop her finding out. Ruth’s visit coincides with DCI Harry Nelson’s trip back home to Blackpool so, inevitably, he is drawn into the case. This time, however, the stakes are high and someone very close to Ruth may find themselves in mortal danger…

Dying Fall is the fifth book in the series and we see Ruth and Nelson out of the confines of Norfolk, instead heading to the northern towns of Ribchester, Fleetwood and Blackpool. As someone who knows Blackpool fairly well, I found Nelson’s take on his hometown very realistic but also understood Kate’s excitement at seeing Blackpool Pleasure Beach with its child-friendly Nickleodeon Land! Elly Griffiths’ writing always makes me want to explore new places – in this case, Pendle looks looks like a fascinating place to visit!

This book is not as fast-paced as the previous books but, instead is a slow-burner culminating in a nail-biting climax at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. There are many themes running throughout the story, as the author deals with the likes of racism and the supernatural, and it is interesting to see how the different characters interpret things in their own ways.

It is definitely recommended that you read the other books in the series before this one in order to fully appreciate the plot and character development. Another great read and I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

Room Full of BonesWhen forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway, visits the Smith Museum in King’s Lynn prior to the opening of a coffin purportedly containing the remains of Bishop Augustine, the last thing she expects to find is the lifeless body of the museum’s curator lying beside it. Once again, Ruth is destined to cross paths with Detective Inspector Harry Nelson as he investigates the untimely death. With the police already stretched to their limits investigating a drugs ring, will the case be solved without the loss of any more lives?

A Room Full of Bones, the fourth in the Ruth Galloway series, welcomes back the characters that we have grown to love in the  previous novels. The main difference, however, is that, whereas we have become used to seeing Ruth actively involved in the investigation, here she takes a back seat and the characters of Cathbad, Judy and Clough take centre stage. This has given the author the opportunity to develop their characters and, in some cases, set up storylines for further books.

The setting of the story, around a horses’ yard, was surprising as the previous books have been based around archaeological digs. I also liked the new character of Bob – a perfect foil for Cathbad! I did miss Nelson, however, as (without giving too much away) he was incapacitated throughout a lot of the book. The strained relationship between Ruth and the Inspector is one of the highlights of this series so I anticipate the next stage in the next book.

Another great read from Elly Griffiths and a relief that, for once, Ruth did not have to fight for her life!


The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths

Dr Ruth Galloway is, once again, needed when the bodies of six men are discovered by archaeologists during an investigation into coastal erosion on the Norfolk coast. Tests reveal that the bodies have been there since the Second World War and soon Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson are trying to uncover the truth. There is still someone, however, that wants what happened to stay hidden – someone who is prepared to kill.

In The House at Sea’s End, we find Ruth trying to come to terms with motherhood – something she is not finding easy due to her determination to carry on with her job at the university and her work with the police. Through her astute writing, Elly Griffiths has shown how hard it is for a single mother trying to juggle her home and work life whilst also being convinced that she is, in some ways, failing her young daughter. Ruth’s relationship with Nelson is also becoming blurred and it is surely a matter of time before the identity of Kate’s father becomes common knowledge.

The story of the six bodies is a fascinating one and gives an insight into the world of the Home Guard during World War Two. Let’s just say that it’s a million miles away from Dad’s Army! It was also interesting to find out a bit more about Ruth’s past with the revelation that she spent some time assisting with the war graves of Bosnia. The appearance of an old friend from that time also gives Ruth the opportunity to think about her life and how she should cherish her child.

Another enjoyable book from the series!

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

When the skeleton of a young child is found on the site of a former children’s home in Norwich, forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway is called in to assist. What makes it even more macabre, is that the remains are headless – is this a case of murder or is it a ritual sacrifice? When he discovers that two children went missing from the home, DCI Harry Nelson begins an investigation into a crime that threatens the safety of someone very close to him.

‘The Janus Stone’ is the second of Elly Griffiths’ novels to feature Ruth Galloway and is just as good as the first. In ‘The Crossing Places’, we were introduced to a fiercely independent woman who enjoyed her solitary life in the Saltmarsh. With the discovery of her pregnancy, however, we are seeing a woman coming to terms with something she never thought would happen and a more maternal side of Ruth is emerging. The relationship between Ruth and Nelson is fascinating, as is the character of Michelle, Nelson’s wife. Although she only plays a minor role, her interest in Ruth’s pregnancy is sure to cause problems in later books.

The theme of childhood death runs through ‘The Janus Stone’, and the controversial issue of child abuse in Catholic-run orphanages is also dealt with. Thankfully, the author manages to write about these topics in a sensitive yet informative way. She also shows great subject knowledge when writing about archaeology, explaining it in a way that makes it easy to understand.

I was pleased that the culprit turned out to be someone who was not an obvious choice and that, happily, the character of Cathbad has evolved into someone much more likeable!

The next book in the series awaits!

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

crossing-placesPerfectly happy with her secluded life in the remote Saltmarsh near Norfolk, archaeologist Ruth Galloway’s talents are called upon by Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson when the skeleton of a girl is found on a nearby beach. Aware that the parents of local schoolgirl Lucy Downey have been missing their daughter since she was taken ten years ago, the body turns out to be two thousand years old. When it emerges that Nelson has been receiving letters about the girl containing references to archaeology and ritual, Ruth finds herself involved in a case that leaves her questioning who she can trust.

Ever since reading The Woman in Blue, the latest of the Ruth Galloway novels by Elly Griffiths, I have wanted to catch up on the rest of the series so was pleased to finally find the time to begin my journey! It was with trepidation that I started to read The Crossing Places, as I hoped that reading the series out of sequence would not spoil my enjoyment of what was to come. Thankfully, this did not occur!

In The Crossing Places, we are introduced to Ruth and how she first became involved with the police but we are also introduced to the character of Cathbad. In The Woman in Blue, Cathbad was a character whom I immediately warmed to, despite his quirkiness.Here, however, I found myself disliking what I read about him, so I am looking forward to reading the development of his character in subsequent books.

Elly Griffiths does a good job in mixing fact with fiction and also in creating a ‘whodunnit’ that really does make you doubt the motives of nearly every character! Although my suspicions about the child abductor were confirmed, there were still plenty of other parts of the story that I did not see coming.

This is a great start to the series and I already have the next one lined up to read!

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