Search

Go Buy The Book

Tag

DCI Craig Gillard

The Body Beneath the Willows by Nick Louth

The body of a man is found near to an Anglo-Saxon burial site but his dental fillings show that this is not an ancient burial. DCI Craig Gillard is tasked with solving the case but identification of the body is proving difficult. Everything seems to point towards it belonging to Ozzy Blanchard, a man who disappeared some months ago and was working for the same company that have now uncovered the body. When it is revealed that metal lodged in the neck is part of an Anglo-Saxon dagger, Gillard is perplexed. Just who is the body beneath the willows?

This is the ninth book in the series but can be read as a standalone if you have not read any of the previous books. There are some references to events in previous books but nothing that would spoil your enjoyment should you go back and read the rest.

This is, at times, quite a complex plot with a lot happening as, in addition to the murder, there are sub-plots involving some of the characters that we meet along the way. Thanks to the skilled writing of the author, however, the story is easy to follow and keeps you engaged throughout. There are a few surprises that long-time readers of the series will enjoy and some hints as to potential events in future books.

This is the first book I have read that mentions the Covid pandemic and I liked the way that Nick Louth handled this, referring to it but not making it a major part of the story. This definitely gave an added sense of realism to the book and I will be interested to read if other authors manage to do this as well in their books.

With thanks to Canelo Crime and Net Galley for my ARC.

The Body on the Moor by Nick Louth

Junior barrister Julia McGann finds herself representing Terrence Bonner, a drug gang enforcer. What could potentially be a case to put her firmly on the map soon turns into a nightmare when her house is broken into and a young homeless girl turns up on her doorstep with an interesting tale to tell. Some time later, DCI Craig Gillard is investigating the brutal murder of a local headteacher. With little to act upon, there is one curious piece of evidence – a pair of gloves that appear to have been used in both the murder and the break in at Julia’s house.

The Body on the Moor is the eighth book in the Craig Gillard series and what a cracker it is! This is a bit different from the others in that Craig takes more of a back seat than he has in the previous books, much of this one focusing on barrister, Julia. I really liked this move as it was something I was not expecting and definitely kept me on my toes throughout!

It is not a spoiler to say that, due to the gloves connection, we know that the two storylines must converge at some point and I found myself trying to work out how. I hoped that this would not be some coincidental event like can often happen in crime fiction but I knew that this would not be the case with Nick Louth’s writing. What we find is a well-constructed plot which drip feeds you information so that you slowly see the big picture. There were several ‘Aha!’ moments where I began to realise where the plot was going.

Just when I thought I couldn’t like this book any more, we are hit with an ending that truly made me gasp. This twist was not something I expected and was a very fitting way to end the book. Again, Nick Louth has whetted my appetite for the next book in the series!

With thanks to Canelo Crime and Net Galley for my copy.

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

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island

The Bodies at Westgrave Hall


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

Local residents are not happy when Russian oligarch, Alexander Volkov, buys the historic Westgrave Hall, but are intrigued enough to visit when he throws a party for 1000 guests. While giving a private tour of the library, however, Volkov is shot dead, along with two other men. Knowing that he doesn’t have long before the local police are ousted by the security services, DCI Craig Gillard, is struggling to find evidence to show what actually happened. CCTV shows no one entering or leaving the library, everyone appears to have an alibi and the murder weapon is nowhere in sight. Is this a professional hit or the result of a love triangle? With the security services breathing down his neck, Gillard finds himself involved in his most prolific case to date.


I love a good ‘locked room’ mystery and in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, Nick Louth has brought this genre bang up to date with a crime that is definitely of its time while still keeping you perplexed as to how the murders could have happened. In recent times, we have seen poisoning cases involving the likes of the Skripals and Alexei Navalny becoming worldwide news so the deaths of Russian oligarchs, albeit by a different method, is very topical. We are left, initially, to wonder whether politics are at play in the deaths or whether it is simply a case of old enemies finally calling time on their differences. I had my theories throughout, but found myself blindsided at the end, angry with myself for disregarding a piece of information that I had originally felt would prove to be important!


The plot is a complex one, showing how difficult it is for the police to mount an operation when there are other agencies involved, in this case the security services. The sheer size of the house also made it difficult for the police, meaning that they had to prioritise evidence, potentially missing clues which may prove to be useful. Although it was complex, I found the plot easy to follow, and felt it definitely had a ‘real time’ feel to it, as we saw the investigation unfold over the Christmas period.


As well as the characters we have got to know in previous books, Nick Louth has created a superb supporting cast in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, some definitely more likeable than others. My favourite character had to be the man with a name that was so unpronounceable, he was known as Wolf. I once knew someone who learned English from watching episodes of Scooby Doo so I found Wolf’s Only Fools and Horses take on the English language hysterical. “Lovely bubbly!” as Wolf (not Del Boy) would say!

I’ve loved all of the Craig Gillard series, but I think I can safely say that this is one of my favourites to date. An engaging plot, superb characterisation and a mystery that keeps you guessing right until the end… hopefully it won’t be too long before we see what happens next to the Chief Inspector.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

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

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island


The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

In a quiet part of the Thames, a loud splash signals something untoward – an asphyxiated body found naked on an island, covered in strange markings. Without an identity, DCI Craig Gillard is struggling to move forward with the case, especially as potential witnesses all seem to have something to hide. Meanwhile, a notorious child killer is about to be released from prison, determined to settle scores with those who put him inside thirty years previously. One of those people? A young trainee by the name of Craig Gillard…

The Craig Gillard series has become one of my favourites and Nick Louth has written another fantastic book with an engaging plot and a plethora of fascinating characters. We actually don’t see as much of Gillard in this book as we have done in previous installments, the plot focusing on other characters, allowing the story to progress at a fast pace. There were, however, references to events in the previous book, but nothing to spoil later reading if you haven’t read it yet.

I think it is safe to say that this book didn’t go where I was expecting it to! After reading the blurb and the opening chapters, I had a clear idea in my mind as to where this plot was going to take me, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I won’t give anything away but a huge well done to Nick Louth for writing a book with an unexpected plot containing more twists and turns that you could shake a stick at! It’s not often that I am totally blindsided by a book, but this was definitely the case with The Body on the Island!

One of the main mysteries running throughout the book is the police’s inability to discover exactly how the man found on the island was killed. Again, I won’t give any spoilers but when all is revealed at the end, I was genuinely open-mouthed! This is definitely not a mode of murder I have read about before and probably won’t again!

If you haven’t yet read any of this series, I can’t recommend it highly enough and if you are already a fan, you’re going to love this one!

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

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

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body in the Marsh by Nick Louth

DCI Craig Gillard finds himself emotionally involved in a case when a girlfriend from his youth is reported missing. Her husband is seemingly unperturbed, but the case takes a sudden turn when he, too, slips off the radar. A guilty conscience or something more sinister? Running alongside the investigation is another case: a new look into the death of someone known as ‘Girl F’. Just why has no progress been made?

I’m not usually a fan of reading a book series out of order, but that is what has happened with Nick Louth’s Craig Gillard series. Having already read the rest of the series, I thought I had better go back to where it all started! I found that it took me back even further than I was expecting with an insight into Craig’s early life thanks to the investigation into Liz Knight, a woman who also happened to be an ex-girlfriend. I admired Craig’s ability to work through this case, despite his connection to Liz, his dedication to the job in hand being something that is carried through the rest of the series. 

The case is a particularly twisted one, often more twisted than you could ever imagine. I did have my suspicions as to how the plot would play out which proved to be correct, but such is the quality of the author’s storytelling that my enjoyment was not spoiled one bit. In a story which takes in several European countries, we see the determination of Craig and his team to solve the case, discovering links to other crimes in the process. 

Often in police procedurals, the second plot is not as interesting, but this is definitely not the case here. The story of ‘Girl F’ is a heart-wrenching one, and one that made me very angry. We discover that despite giving evidence of her abuse and a description of someone who was involved, no one was ever brought to justice, even after the girl chose to take her own life. There has apparently been some sort of conspiracy of silence, but why? Exactly who is pulling the strings? In a story full of anger, I did find myself laughing when a suspect in the case is delivered to the police – never underestimate a woman!

If you haven’t read any of this series, and you are a plan of police procedurals with great characters and gripping plots, I can thoroughly recommend the Craig Gillard series. Take a look at my reviews of the other books:

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body Under the Bridge by Nick Louth

When a musician disappears on a train heading into London, DCI Craig Gillard wonders why he is involved in a missing persons case. All is revealed when he discovers that the woman’s father is the German Minister of Justice and that this threatens to be a very high profile case. All is not what it seems, however, and soon Craig finds himself battling with a particularly sadistic killer – one who has his eyes set on the detective himself. This case has suddenly got very personal…

This, the fifth in the series, sees the detective taking on one of his most complex cases so far. I was drawn in from the start and loved how when I thought I knew in which direction the plot was going, Nick Louth completely changed tack, yet always managing to make the story flow coherently. Initially, what looks like a missing person case, very much in the vein of Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, soon becomes a much bigger case involving subterfuge and murder and a killer with a grudge he believes he has to settle.

There are numerous shocking moments in The Body Under The Bridge, many of which I did not see coming at all. It soon became apparent that there was a shadowy character lurking in the background and that they had taken on many guises, but who was this person? I loved how Nick Louth built up this character’s involvement, without us ever knowing who they were, leaving me shocked when all was revealed. It was scary to see how many people fell under this character’s spell and there were several moments where I feared (quite rightly!) for the people they interacted with.

In amongst these shocks, there was one moment where my opinions of a character from previous books changed completely. If you have read the previous books in the series, you will be familiar with Craig’s auntie Trish, a fascinating if rather unhinged character. No spoilers, but her actions in this book genuinely surprised me and I’m looking forward to seeing how Craig reacts to these events in the next book.

This is a great series and if you’ve never read them, now may be a good time to start as the first book, The Body in the Marsh, is (at the time of writing) available for free on Kindle. You can get it here.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

 

The Body in the Snow by Nick Louth

When a trainee CSI goes out for a run one early, snowy morning, the last thing she expects is to be is a witness to a barbaric crime: the body of a woman is found, bludgeoned to death by a passing cyclist. The victim, Tanvi Roy, is something of a celebrity and, thanks to her food empire, is one of Britain’s richest women. Due to the complexities of her work and family life, DCI Craig Gillard must delve deep into her past to find a motive and, hopefully, the killer.

The Body in the Snow is the fourth book in the DCI Craig Gillard series and although there are a few references to the previous book, this would only really be noticeable to anyone who has read it so this can definitely be read as a standalone.

Again, Nick Louth has constructed a complex plot, this time revolving around a wealthy Hindu family and the conflicts between the traditional way of doing things and the desire of the younger generation to move with the times. In a book with so many characters, it would be easy to get lost, but each one is so well-written that this is never the case. The abundance of characters helped to create a proper ‘whodunit’, each person seemingly having their own motive for wanting Mrs Roy dead.

The Body in the Snow is definitely a police procedural in that, as well as the main focus of the plot being on the investigation, we also get to read about the forensics involved in the case. I enjoyed reading about how, at the start of the story, Kirsty Mockett, the trainee CSI, fought to preserve evidence using less than orthodox techniques.

As someone who has read the previous book in this series, I was unnerved by the mentions of a particular character and look forward to seeing if this person plays a role in what looks like an excellent fifth installment, my appetite being whetted by the inclusion of an extract at the end of this book.

If you haven’t read any of this series, I can highly recommend them. Take a look at my reviews of other Nick Louth books:

The Body in the Mist

The Body on the Shore

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, The Body on the Shore, so I am pleased to be able to share an extract from the latest DCI Craig Gillard book, The Body in the Mist. This is another fantastic book and my review can be read here.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face. Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business. Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined. The past has never been deadlier.

 

 

After being woken at seven by Napoleon scratching at the door, Gillard and Sam were lured downstairs by the smell of bacon. Trish watched them each consume a full cooked breakfast, but ate nothing herself.

‘I’ve got a small errand to run, then I’ll go and make friends with the local constabulary to find out what they know about the hit-and-run,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m sure I’ll be about as welcome as an outbreak of the plague, so don’t expect too much.’

‘I’m sure you’ll be able to straighten it out, dear.’

Gillard had to wait 45 minutes at reception at Barnstaple police station for Detective Inspector Jan Talantire. He had already looked her up on the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary website, so recognized her immediately as she walked in. If he had not done so, he would have pigeonholed her as a mid-ranking business executive in her late thirties: expensively coiffed, in a smartly cut white blouse, black trouser suit and houndstooth jacket. He knew from what Sam had told him how much those highlight hairdos cost. Talantire was on the phone, but had instantly eyed Gillard and turned her back to shield her confidentiality. After keeping Gillard waiting another five frustrating minutes, she hung up, turned and offered a brief but firm handshake. ‘Thanks for the email, Craig, if I may call you that. There were some good questions. But come on, you’re experienced, you know the score. Given your links to the Antrobus family, I can’t share any of our thinking about this case so long as there is the slightest uncertainty about who drove that vehicle.’

‘I understand perfectly,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m not here to make life difficult, but if I can help in any way, I’m available. You’ve got my contact details.’

She smiled. A keen intelligence shone in her brown eyes ‘We could always do with more hands on deck, just not from you, or on this particular case.’ She paused, and he felt her scrutinizing him. ‘I looked you up. Quite an impressive track record. Solved the Martin Knight murder case. Must have been tricky, given your connection to Mrs Knight.’

‘It was.’ Gillard immediately realized what a sharp brain this woman had. Picking the only other case in which he had a conflict of interest, asking around enough to discover something not mentioned in any of the official reports.

At that moment a young uniformed constable emerged from the door and called out to her. ‘Forensics called, ma’am.’ He waved a piece of paper. ‘We’ve got a match for the fingerprints on the can. Bit of a likely boy—’

‘Willow, zip it,’ Talantire said, flicking her fingers away from her to indicate the young constable should return through the door he’d so foolishly entered by. She excused herself to Gillard, then followed the PC, closing the door behind them.

* * *

Talantire was furious. She snatched the piece of paper from Willow’s hand and quickly scanned it. These were the results she’d been awaiting. Half a dozen different sets of prints from inside the vehicle, one matching the owner, one matching a known local bad boy. She looked up at the PC, then pointed a thumb over her shoulder, through the now closed door. ‘Do you know who that is?’

‘Yes, he introduced himself earlier, a Detective Chief Inspector…’ The constable screwed his face up trying to remember the name.

Talantire helped him out. ‘Craig Gillard, from Surrey.’

‘That’s the one. I saw him up at the crime scene this morning. He was quite helpful.’

‘The crime scene! Clifford,’ she said, gripping the constable by the shoulders, ‘that detective is the nephew of Barbara Antrobus.’

‘Is he? Is that why he’s come all the way down here?’

Talantire nodded, waiting while the cogs in Willow’s brain slowly turned. She found herself fervently wishing that Avon Police up in Bristol would hurry up and allocate the promised two detective constables to help her while DS Charmaine Stafford was on maternity leave. ‘Did he cross the crime tape? If he did, I’ll bloody nail him.’

‘No, we chatted outside the cordon.’

‘You chatted, did you? So what did he want to know?’

‘Just about where the body was, what condition he was in. He asked whether we had done fingerprints on the car, tyre analysis, and established whether the locks had been forced.’

‘I hope you didn’t answer any of those questions.’

The constable looked sheepish. ‘I didn’t see any reason not to. He showed me his card, mentioned your name, so I thought he was part of the investigation.’

Stupid boy. ‘Willow, from now on, do not tell him anything. On principle, okay? If it turns out that Barbara Antrobus was the hit-and-run driver, you might well have compromised any chance we have of getting a clean case to the Crown Prosecution Service.’

‘But we got all the fingerprint results through. And the fingerprints from the can in the car, they match Micky Tuffin. That’s what I was telling you—’

‘And broadcasting to everyone sitting in reception,’ she said.

‘He’s a bad ’un, Micky Tuffin,’ Willow said. ‘Regular car thief. Right from school.’

‘Your school?’

‘My year, my class. I know all about him. I had the desk in front.’

She rolled her eyes. ‘For God’s sake.’ She leaned back against the door, momentarily closing her eyes. ‘Okay, thanks for letting me know. Was he a friend?’

‘You’re kidding,’ Willow said, grinning. ‘I hated him. We had a punch-up during year nine.’

‘All right, to be squeaky clean, I’m still going to have to keep you away from that side of the investigation. Christ, another conflict of interest. Confine yourself to dealing with the leads that come in on the victim. Keep off the driver side of the investigation.’

Angry now, Talantire dismissed the young constable, turned on her heel and went out to confront Gillard.

He was nowhere to be seen.

The Body in the Mist was published by Canelo on 20th May.

With thanks to Nick Louth & Canelo and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

The body of a man is found on a quiet Exmoor Lane, seemingly the victim of a hit and run. With no clues to his identity and a severely damaged face, the police are finding it impossible to identify the deceased. Meanwhile, DCI Craig Gillard is called away to Devon on family business and finds himself embroiled in the case when the car involved in the hit and run is traced back to his aunt. As he digs deeper, Craig starts to uncover long-hidden family secrets which will have serious repercussions for his whole family…

There are dysfunctional families and then there is Craig Gillard’s family! Summoned to help his aunt when she is linked to the hit and run, he soon finds that there is much more to her story than meets the eye. I admired Craig’s integrity when he found himself in an extremely difficult position, even if the local police force were not initially enamoured with his desire to help. Craig’s family are not likeable at all and it was satisfying to see the stance he took when trying to uncover the truth.

It is hard not to feel sympathy for Craig as, slowly, more and more secrets are revealed about his family, none of them positive. It is a wonder he is as normal as he is as we discover the crimes and misdemeanors that have been taking place in his family for decades. One of these crimes, a cold case which Craig decides to investigate, was my favourite part of the plot and I was very pleased with its outcome. I felt really sorry for Craig’s wife who supports him throughout the book, not knowing what secrets he, himself, is hiding.

Sometimes you read a book and start to visualise what it would look like on TV and this was definitely the case for me with The Body in the Mist. This book really does have everything – a modern-day police investigation, a cold case, heinous family secrets and a criminal trial – and I could quite easily see this as a mini-series. I, for one, would be gripped!

Although this is the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone so it is not essential to have read the previous two. I have read the previous book, The Body on the Shore, and whilst I really enjoyed that one, The Body in the Mist really is something special. Just when I thought the book had reached its conclusion, the twist at the end truly made me gasp – it will be interesting to see what happens in book 4 as a result of this revelation!

If you haven’t read any of this series yet, you won’t go far wrong by starting with The Body in the Mist. One of my favourite reads of the year so far.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC. If my review has made you curious, stay tuned to my blog as on May 27th, as part of the blog, tour, I have a great extract to share with you.

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑