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: