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  • Caitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Beware The Past by Joy Ellis

Twenty-five years ago, three young boys were brutally murdered in the Lincolnshire fens. The killer was never caught. It is the case which has haunted Detective Chief Inspector Matt Ballard for his entire career. Now, photographs connected to the case are being mailed to his work colleagues, raising Matt's suspicions that the killer may be back. When the body of another young boy is found with the killer’s unique ‘signature’ and one of his junior officers is attacked, Matt starts to believe maybe the past really is coming back to haunt him.

Beware The Past is an absolutely gripping fictional crime thriller with some stunning twists and turns. Enough hints were dropped for the reader to figure out that the women from Matt’s past held the key to the present-day crimes, at least, but I was genuinely stunned when the big reveal came. I read quite a lot of crime thrillers, so red herrings are nothing new to me, but Joy Ellis really had me looking in every direction but the correct one. Police procedural and forensic issues were carefully detailed without devolving into jargon, and the author's descriptive language perfectly captured the bleak desolation of the fenlands.

I found a very few minor errors in the book, mostly things like an extra ‘the’ in a sentence. Overall I would say that the writing was excellent and these few errors can absolutely be overlooked.

There are a few gory descriptions of crime scenes and some unpleasant scenes in the book, but nothing that isn't fairly standard in the genre. I would highly recommend Beware The Past to anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller or police procedural drama. I'm delighted to award it five stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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