Title: The Night Thief by Joy Ellis (DI Jackman and DS Evans #8)
Author: Joy Ellis
Published on: 4 November 2021
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
When everyone is sleeping, he comes to their house.
He takes one thing. A photo of their child.
Detectives Jackman and Evans hunt for the unusual burglar who enters his victims’ house in the middle of the night to steal a photograph. Their usual ‘house-breaker’ Ratty is not the culprit. But why is someone copying Ratty? Do they have a sinister motive behind stealing photographs?
But then, things change. In the house that the unusual burglar broke into, the owner is found dead. Did he murder her? She was an old woman though. What could be the connection?
The Night Thief is the eighth book in DI Jackman and DS Evans police procedural series by Joy Ellis. As this is the first I have read in the series, I would say it can be read as a standalone.
It sounds pretty sinister that a burglar enters the houses of single women (single parents mostly) only to take a photograph of their child (or grandchild, in one case.) One of the woman had taken sleeping pill and saw a handsome man in her dream, kissing her cheek. The next morning, she woke up to realize it was not a ‘dream’ and her house was really broken into the previous night! How creepy is that! The ‘dream’ happened for real!
DI Jackman and DS Evans suspect this is the work of their regular burglar Ratty. Well, I use the term regular because Ratty is known to break into houses in the middle of the night – just for the fun of it. He’s harmless, though. Well, he was until people starting finding photographs of their child stolen. Ratty denies the accusations and has an alibi too for the nights of the crime. But he’s curious to know who is trying to copy him and ruin his name. Curiosity is a very dangerous thing, especially when there is a copy cat on prowl.
Meanwhile, Jackman’s wife Laura has a difficult patient. She’s a psychiatrist. She believes one of her patients is not who they seem to be. This keeps her awake at night and Jackman wants to help. But code and ethics suggests Laura cannot reveal the patient’s name or their troubles to anyone, not even her spouse. Jackman comes up with a solution, though. He takes the help of Sam Page, his and Laura’s friend and a renowned psychologist. The patient seems to be suffering from somnambulism (sleepwalking). He’s currently freaking out as his sleepwalking adventures take him places – literally, as he has started driving his car to places while…um, asleep (?!)
Jackman’s curiosity is piqued when a body is found in one of the houses the unusual burglar recently visited. Initially, it is believed the old woman slipped on the stairs and fell to her death. But on further investigation, it is found that she was murdered. Is the burglar upping his game? If yes, why the sudden change?
I absolutely enjoyed reading The Night Thief by Joy Ellis. Be it the setting or the character development or the suspense – this book kept me hooked until the end. I admit I had some trouble remembering the names of all the coppers involved (I haven’t read the previous books of this series, you see) but this didn’t stop me from liking the story.
The second half is where the things change for good… or, worse. A couple of twists and a possible red herring (involving Laura’s patient) kept me guessing till the end. The tension is at an all time high and the ending was nothing less than a nail-biting adventure.
The storytelling is brilliant and I cannot wait to catch up on rest of the books in this series. If you are looking for a gripping read, you might want to give this book a try. The Night Thief by Joy Ellis is a gripping, engrossing and completely riveting read.
I received an ARC from Joffe Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.