What was Sera’s Christmas Read? The Holy Island by LJ Ross

As an MR James fan, I usually pick up a good ghost story around Christmas, but this year a Stourport Library patron challenged me to try a murder mystery with an unholy twist. [ Thank you, Mrs Talska]

Holy Island doesn’t waste a second as instantly we are witness to the murder of Louise. But whodunit? Well, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan was on enforced leave; he was taking in the calm and isolation of The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Now he is thrust into action again just a few days before Christmas. DCI Ryan is summoned to the scene as Louise’s body is found in the nearby priory.  Hints of the supernatural, occult and macabre are a good part of this narrative. Northeast cost, a backdrop to this novel, is perfect for the atmosphere as cheese on toast.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives on the island as a police consultant, she has to deal with old memories and is driven to confront her complicated past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight. A twisting tale of pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation, and not surprisingly, a romance develops quickly. The stakes are high when we get to a dramatic ending with a damsel in distress and her hero battling to save her – worthy of a Hollywood film. However, it’s only the beginning.

That’s right, we have 19 more adventures to come!


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is linked to the mainland by a long causeway. The tide sweeps in from the North Sea twice daily and covers the road. Tide times and heights can be accurately predicted from the phases of the Moon. Severe weather can produce offsets, particularly with strong winds from the North and Northeast. The causeway crossing times are forecasted as ‘safe’ crossing times. Nevertheless, travellers should remain vigilant if crossing near the extremities, as you don’t want to go missing too.

More reviews of LJ Ross’s DCI Ryan are on their way…

Published by BlueFalcon1983

YA Writer and illustrator

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