Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beneath The Ashes - Jane Isaac

Sent to me by Legend Press in exchange for an honest review

Book Info: Paperback, Crime Fiction, 288pp

Buy/Read Now (links): Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads

Rating: 4/5

Audience: Readers who enjoy a well written police procedural with some impressive psychological/drama elements.

Summed up in a few words: Developed. Complex. Solid Characters. Dynamic.

First Impressions: Welcome to the final stop on the Beneath the Ashes Blog Tour here at Always Trust In Books. I want to thank you for stopping by and supporting this great book and it's very talented author Jane Isaac. Thank you to Lucy at Legend Press for my copy of this book and for including me on this tour. 

I read this book in two sittings and I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading it. I found that the well written characters, the pacing, the development of the story line and the psychological/drama elements all fitted nicely together to produce an enjoyable and complex second instalment to the DI Will Jackman series.

Author Bio: Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northhamptonshire. Her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, was published in the US in 2012 and nominated as best mystery in the 'eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBooks Awards 2013'

The Truth Will Out , was selected 'Crime Thriller of the Month' by EThriller.com and 'Noveltunity Book Club Winning Selection'

Follow Jane on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor

Book Synopsis: "The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. Non. 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 a killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

My Thoughts: I was massively impressed with Beneath the Ashes because it was a perfect blend of solidarity and emotionally unhinged mayhem. In the book we follow DI Jackman and his investigation into a fire at a local farm which has taken a life. After evaluating the scene, Jackman is certain this is a case of murder/arson. The only lead on the farm is Nancy, who has awoken in a pool of blood and has no memory of the night before and her boyfriend Evan (who was minding the farm) is missing. 

Jackman cannot be certain that the body is Evan's and his pursuit in identifying the body only generates more questions and inquiries. Nancy is unwilling to believe her loving, caring and thoughtful boyfriend would be involved in anything illegal and that anyone would want him dead. The journey that follows is one of uncertainty and emotional instability. 

DI Jackman is a talented detective and is unrelenting in his pursuit of clues, pulling all the threads he can to gather together information that will give a clear picture of events. Nancy is panicking, though she and Evan had only been dating for 3 months, he represented a life that she had craved for her entire existence, she wanted to belong and have a family and he was willing to give it to her and now he is potentially gone forever. Her whole life is in the balance of this investigation and its highs and lows have positive or devastating effects on her. 

There are two elements that I really appreciated about this piece. The first is that Jane Isaac has not set out to break new ground, instead she has put together a solid book with some potent and interesting themes. The other element I enjoyed was that each character in the book has their own life, their own dimensions and that though they are dealing with the events surrounding the case, it isn't the only problem each of them face in the duration of the book.

The format and pacing of the story was perfect, and Jane Isaac mixed it up nicely by adding in so many potential suspects and threats that it was difficult to keep track of everyone's involvement. This is the second piece in the DI Jackman series but it read just as well as a stand alone. Compared to the other crime books I have read this year, Beneath the Ashes ranks pretty high due to the quality of the characters and the unpredictably of the plot. 

My only sizeable complaint about this book was that towards the end JI decided to add some additional plot depth and possible connections to the case that I felt clogged up the flow of the story and disrupted the usual coherent and fluid writing. It was only a slight issue but one worth mentioning as it confused me (not hard though!) and it made the ending feel rushed when she could have introduced the connections across a larger portion of the book. There are some strong themes in this book, from addiction, abuse, illness, mental health problems to violence and beyond so though I recommend this book to everyone, please tread carefully as it can be upsetting.

I have given this 4/5 stars because though there were a few discrepancies, Jane Isaac was consistent and enjoyable. The harsher tones, the conflicts the characters face and the emotional journey that Nancy faces are remarkable and I think readers and especially Drama/Crime lovers will appreciate what Jane Isaac has done with this novel.

Thank you so much for reading this review and supporting the Beneath the Ashes blog tour hosted by Legend Press, Jane Isaac and a whole host of amazing and dedicated bloggers. This is the last stop on the tour so events end here, but if you haven't already, then please check out the other stops on the tour here. There is a whole host of events including reviews, interviews, guest posts and extracts to enjoy! 

It has been a pleasure and I hope to be on another Legend Press Blog Tour soon. I also wish Jane Isaac the best of luck with her third instalment of the DI Jackman series The Lies Within due out in the UK on 2.05.17.

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