Source: Review copy
Publication: 12 Jan 2023 from Raven Street Publishing
Narrator: Jan Cramer
Listening Time: 9 hours 2 minutes
When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing 10 years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.
By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick, Tristan, start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.
Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way, a rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping?
When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family….
Filled with twists and turns, Devil’s Way is the fourth Kate Marshall novel and the most gripping and satisfying yet!
Beware the sea even when you think you know it well. PI Kate Marshall likes to swim in the sea near her caravan park in Thurlow Bay every day. It helps to centre her and clear her mind for the day ahead. But when a riptide catches her unawares, she ends up in hospital, lucky to be alive.
As she waits to be cleared to go home, her neighbour in the ward, Jean, tells her about her missing grandson Charlie who disappeared while the family were camping in the woods in an area known as Devil’s Tor. Charlie was just 3 years old and that was 11 years ago, so the trail is pretty cold by now. Jean’s daughter Becky never got over Charlie’s disappearance and killed herself. The police found nothing helpful and now Jean, based on the little she knows about Kate from their conversations decides to hire her to see if she can find anything that might help them discover what really happened to Charlie.
I do enjoy the Kate Marshall books. Kate’s partnership with her partner, Tristan Harper, is a good one and although they usually get on really well, this time their working relationship is a bit more discordant. Kate’s near brush with death has her in a spiky and more vulnerable position. She is craving a tot of the drink that nearly killed her and that’s making her shorter than usual. Tristan too is feeling unsettled on both the personal and professional front. It makes for an edgier than usual relationship and sometimes these two feel like they are worlds apart.
The plot in this mystery is not especially surprising, but it is well done and leads Kate and Tristan to another gruesome murder, and from there to the woman who sees herself as the doyenne of a writing circle and thence on to a discovery that will start to clarify everything. It’s a nicely put together, layered story and is beautifully read by Jan Cramer who never over-eggs her reading but does inject enough mystery and suspense to make sure you want to keep listening.
The characters are great and Robert Bryndza creates an excellent sense of place. He spins a terrific tale that is dark and so very atmospheric; full of dark woods imbued with legend and overlaid with discordant and sometimes dysfunctional relationships.
Jan Cramer’s narration is well paced and suits the story well.
Verdict: As ever Bryndza writes well and very engagingly. We come to these books for the characters and stay to enjoy the mysteries they solve.
Robert Bryndza is best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies. His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).