Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Body On The Shore - Nick Louth

A killer is at work in the supposedly-safe commuter belt.  DCI Gillard needs answers, fast...
Promising architect Peter Young is shot dead at his desk. DCI Craig Gillard is quickly on the scene, looking at what appears to be a brutal and highly professional hit: two bullets, fired with ice-cold calm.
Gillard knows that the most crucial question in solving the crime is one word: Why? Two weeks later, on the Lincolnshire coast, another body is found on a windswept beach. In this case, there is no identity for the young man, just a curious brand burned into his neck….
As the mystery deepens Gillard is plunged into a case without answers, finding himself up against dark forces, people who believe in only two things: blood and a warped code of honour. This time lives are on the line, children's lives - and his own.
Having loved Nick Louth's first DCI Gillard book, The Body In The Marsh, I was very much looking forward to book two in the series. The Body On The Shore arrived a year after Marsh, and it was worth the wait.
Gillard's life has changed and he's now happy and in a relationship with Sam, the PCSO he encountered in book one. His new case could be about to change all that though, as its not just the victims who may lose their lives. An architect has been murdered, and it looks like a professional hit. When they discover that the man was Albanian and came over from Kosovo as a teenager, the team are even more stumped. Gillard also gets a call from someone he's helped in the past, Sophie Lund, seemingly unconnected except for the that the woman's two children are adopted orphans from Albania.

When another body is found shot to death, on the Lincolnshire shore, bearing all the hallmarks of the architect's murder except for one thing - a strange brand burnt into his neck, Gillard and his team are becoming ever more desperate to find answers. What happens next though, nobody could have predicted... Sophie's children are kidnapped and the brand on the body turns out to be the mark of one of the most feared branches of the Albanian Mafia.

The Body On The Shore is definitely darker than anything I've read previously by Nick Louth. This book somehow seemed more real, and much grittier but I suspect that it was all the tiny details that painted a portrait of our killers, the (fictional) Albanian Mafia and their long history of blood feuds, wiping out entire families over the smallest of slights. As with all his books, I was completely engrossed from start to finish and unable to stop reading until I had turned the last page. There's no obvious culprit for the murders that take place, only a slightly uneasy feeling that they might not be who you're expecting it to be, and when the killer is finally revealed? Almost complete disbelief but also somehow not unexpected thanks to the background of the story. It's sad to think that in this day and age it is completely plausible that the killer is who it is and I admire Nick Louth for writing the story this way. It certainly amped up the tension and made for a great read into the wee, small hours!

Other Books In The Series

The Body In The Marsh
The Body In The Mist

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