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When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

When a dog walker finds the body of a young boy in a meadow beside the River Mersey, memories are immediately evoked of the Moors Murders. With no DNA or other clues to help find the killer, the police are struggling to make any progress and know that they have a race against time before there is another victim. After recent traumatic events, DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work and is thrown straight into the investigation. When another child is taken, Ridpath must try to put aside his own issues to stop the killer in his tracks.


After the shocking cliffhanger M J Lee left us with at the end of the previous book, When the Past Kills, I had been champing at the bit to read this one to see how the story would play out. Within the first few pages, we find out, and we see Ridpath having to come to terms with the aftermath of what happened. If you are new to this series, I would advise you start back at book one in order to get a full picture of Ridpath’s life up to now. While the cases themselves are standalones, I do feel that you need to read about Ridpath’s past to fully understand his character.

Still seconded to the coroner’s office, Ridpath finds himself tasked to re-investigate another officer’s work in order to prove that the case is watertight. Again, we see him falling foul of his colleagues as they realise what he is doing but this is what I like most about him – he has courage of his convictions and will stop at nothing to find the truth even if it means upsetting his fellow officers on the way.

Any plot involving the murder of a child is always a harrowing one and M J Lee has written this in a sensitive way. We soon become aware that there is something amiss in the household of the dead child but what? Could his father really have killed him? The police seem to think so but Ridpath isn’t so sure. Again, we see his tenacity in trying to prove the man’s innocence, not caring whose back he gets up along the way.

I do feel that this series would be great on television and the showdown towards the end of the book had my heart racing just as if I were watching it rather than reading. In Ridpath, M J Lee has created a great character who becomes more and more likable with every book, exactly the sort of police officer I would want to see investigating crimes in real life. I am already eagerly awsiting book seven!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

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

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

Where the Innocent Die

When the Past Kills

Where the Innocent Die by M J Lee

When the death of a woman in an Immigrant Removal Centre is adjudged to be a case of suicide, it is only when the coroner’s office gets involved that a more thorough investigation begins to take place. Just how could a woman locked in a high-security building get hold of the knife that killed her when she had been searched on arrival? With only five days until the inquest, will DI Ridpath have enough time to find out the truth about what happened to Wendy Tang and will he be able to prevent even more deaths?

In the fourth installment of the DI Ridpath series, the author has painted a bleak picture of life inside the Immigrant Removal Centre. Operated by an outside agency, the establishment is clearly under-resourced and, quite frankly, not the sort of place you would want to spend any time in. Despite this, there are strict regulations in place which should have prevented the death of the woman, something which Ridpath realises quite early on. Although working as the coroner’s officer, his detective skills really came to the fore as he investigated what really happened, reaching the conclusion that this was no suicide. It was good to see Ridpath back working alongside MIT, leaving us wondering if he will return full time or whether he will continue his work alongside the coroner. Personally, I hope it will be the latter as  I enjoy the deviation from the average police procedural.

With only five days to investigate, and with more bodies turning up, Ridpath really had his work cut out to reach a conclusion before the inquest took place.  I find that many courtroom scenes can be quite long-winded, but I really enjoyed the coroner’s inquest, feeling that this provided a natural conclusion to the detective’s investigation. This also provided us with some great action and, although I had worked out who the killer was, there was so much more to this book than just finding out ‘whodunnit’.

Ridpath is a great character and I am thoroughly enjoying this series. After his good news at the end of this book, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

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

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

Where the Silence Calls

 

Where the Silence Calls by M J Lee

When the charred remains of a man are found at his flat, it is initially thought that it is a case of accidental death. As other burnt bodies are found, each with a cryptic message sprayed nearby in orange paint, Coroner’s Officer, DI Ridpath, begins to fear that there is a serial killer on the streets of Manchester. The detective soon finds himself taken back to the city’s dark past and knows he must close the case before more bodies are discovered.

This is the third in the series and after the ending of the previous book, I was eager to discover what had happened to Ridpath. Fans of previous books will already know that the detective has been fighting a battle with a  serious illness and there is always the threat that it will return. I was pleased to read that all seems to be well (despite an incident nearly putting him back in hospital!) and that things are definitely improving in his personal life.

The nature of Ridpath’s job, seconded to the coroner’s office, means that he is often caught in the middle of his two superiors. As a result, his theories are often overlooked and he finds it difficult to convince people that there is a serial killer operating. It was good to see him working more closely with the coroner, who we find has a personal connection to one aspect of the case. We have got to know Ridpath really well over the three books, but it was good to find out a bit more about the coroner and see a more emotional side of her.

There are several emotive subjects dealt with in When the Silence Calls, namely historic child abuse and homelessness, all of which was dealt with sensitively. I was surprised to find that some of the subject matter was, coincidentally, the same as my previous read (The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot), but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the plot in any way.

The mystery is a good one and I was pleased that the killer was revealed as someone in my shortlist of two! If you haven’t read any of the previous books, then this can be read as a standalone, but it is such a good series with a likeable, tenacious protagonist that you will be missing out if you haven’t! Ridpath continues to be one of the detectives that I most enjoy reading about.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

Read my reviews of the other two books in the series:

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Dead Fall

 

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