Title: The Abberley Beach Murders (Detective Dove Milson #3)
Author: D.E. White
Published on: 7 September 2021
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Detective Dove Milson is called to a gruesome crime-scene: four bodies floating in a flooded escape room. The owners claim they locked up the previous night and there are no signs of break-in. The escape room in which the bodies were found was under the pier and would be flooded knee-deep at high-tide but the owners had taken measures to pump the water out. So what really went wrong on that fateful night?
As Dove and her partner Steve start to investigate, they first learn the victims were members of a kinky dating app. Then, Dove discovers one of the victims was a person-of-interest in a cold case involving a teenage gymnast. Is there a connection between these two cases? Only time will tell…
The Abberley Beach Murders is the third book in D.E. White’s Detective Dove Milson series and can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first two books of this series but I cannot wait to catch up! Absolutely fantastic storytelling! Of course, this series is published by Joffe Books – these guys are the best when it comes to mystery and thriller genre. I have lost count of the number of Joffe Books prints I have read this year! It is always a happy moment when I find a new favorite author. *grins
The story begins with Detective Dove Milson walking back to the car-park from the beach. She loves to surf and spends her free-time surfing. She sees a fight at the car park and calls 999 to report. Since she is a police officer, she decides to break the fight – this can go either ways – the perps will run away or attack her. Unfortunately for Dove, the latter happens. She’s beaten up by the perp and when they hear the sirens, they run away. Dove is not badly hurt but the same cannot be said about the other guy (the victim).
The next morning, she receives a call from the department, asking her to go to a crime scene under the pier. On reaching the place, she learns about the four dead bodies floating in a flooded escape room. The owners of the escape room are in shock. The initial investigation leads the detectives (Dove and Steve) to the victims’ next-of-kin – where they learn not all was well in their personal lives. They later discover that one of the victims was connected to a cold case involving a gymnast.
Mickey Delaney was a budding gymnast and an Olympian-in-the-making when she was brutally attacked, pushed into a quarry and left to die. Ever since the attack, Mickey has been in a coma and might never recover. One of the victims was a person-of-interest but due to lack of evidence, they were let go of. Are the two cases connected?
The story alternates between flashbacks and present. In flashbacks, we have someone (their identity is kept a secret until the latter half of the story) reminiscing their past. The present is mostly the sleuthing part and a bit of Dove’s personal life events. Halfway through the story, we have Dove waking up one morning to find her car keyed in. The previous night, she thought she saw a shadow near the window – is she being paranoid or is someone threatening her?
The mystery is well-maintained until the end; the list of suspects might not be long but there are plenty of red herrings. The ending is mind-blowing and I really did not see it coming. Who would have thought the perp was good at acting – a sheep in wolf’s clothing! I really loved the characterizations – almost all characters have a side story and as the book ends, we learn their side stories are interconnected, one way or the other.
This is the first D.E. White book I have read but it certainly won’t be the last. The author also writes under the pseudonym Daisy White – I cannot wait to catch up on reading all her books. There is no doubt D.E. White is a new favorite author. I am in awe of her storytelling. I was completely hooked on to reading The Abberley Beach Murders and could not put it down until the end. If you are a fan of modern mysteries and love police procedurals set in the UK, you might want to give The Abberley Beach Murders by D.E. White a read.
Many thanks to the lovely Nina Kicul of Joffe Books for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of the book.