Beneath the Ashes by Jane Isaac.

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About the Book

The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.
When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.
Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.
Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

My Review

Beneath the Ashes is the second book to feature Will Jackman and his team and is based in Stratford upon Avon. When a young woman, Nancy is found injured in a remote farmhouse and a man is then discovered dead in a barn nearby Will and his team must solve the mystery of who the man is and why he has been murdered. You would expect it to be straight forward but this novel is anything but.
Will is a character that I really like. He wants to solve the case quickly whilst caring for his wife and spending time with his daughter who is visiting with her boyfriend. He is also considering applying for a more senior position in another force but not wanting to be behind a desk and loyalty to his team is causing doubt. There is less focus on his personal life than in the previous novel, his wife’s accident is mentioned but not in great detail. The novel is mainly about the investigation.
Nancy, is struggling to recover from her injuries but also the knowledge that her boyfriend isn’t who she thought he was. She didn’t have a great childhood and dreams of a life where she was married, has a close family and a beautiful home. She was an easy character to like and I wanted her to achieve her dream. There was a lot to the case, it’s hard to review without giving any spoilers but it didn’t go the way I expected at all. It does all work though and was believable.
I have read all the books that Jane Isaac has published and they just get better with each one. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series. With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Before It’s Too Late by Jane Isaac

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I was really pleased to receive an advance copy of Jane Isaac’s new novel from the publisher. I had read her previous two novels, both of which feature the detective Helen Lavery but this new book follows a different detective and takes place in Stratford upon Avon.
Min, a Chinese student is kidnapped and her part of the tale is narrated in the first person. I think that this made her terror much more real when she is describing the situation that she is in. She often thinks about her life with her parents back in China and her boyfriend who she had argued with recently.

I really liked Will Jackman, this new detective. As with the previous novels his personal life features. The situation which his wife is in and how both Will and his daughter have to cope with it. This doesn’t take over the main storyline though, with Will desperately trying to find Min, trying to get help from her family back in China and from the close knit Chinese community in Birmingham.
I hope that Will and his team feature in further novels. I liked the characters and the camaraderie between them.