Death on Cromer Beach by Ross Greenwood

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Death on Cromer Beach by Ross Greenwood. Many thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite.

Title: Death on Cromer Beach (DS Ashley Knight #1)

Author: Ross Greenwood

Published on: 26 April 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Police Procedural

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dora is at the beach with her dog when she stumbles across a horrific scene. A barely alive woman is buried in the sand and a bucket is placed over her head. Dora says she will bring someone for help but by the time help arrives, the woman is dead.

DS Ashley Knight of Norfolk MIT is assigned the murder case on Cromer Beach. The victim’s partner was found decapitated in a tent nearby. Ashley is partnered with a fast tracker named Hector Fade. He comes from a rich family and Ashley is annoyed at his overly curious and serious nature.

As the pair start to dig deeper into the murder case, they struggle to understand who would inflict such suffering on their victims and hope the crime is a one off from a deranged and dangerous individual. Days later, another body is found at the beach. Looks like there’s a serial killer on prowl. Unless caught, the body count would continue to rise.

I love police procedurals, especially the ones set in UK. I also love badass detectives – the ones who have non-existent personal lives and highly functional professional lives. DS Ashely is one such detective – she’s had a wild teenage life, struggled with alcohol for a couple of years, lost her partner after an accident (he moved away as their relationship turned ‘zombie’), and recently broke up with her girlfriend.

When she’s partner with a fast tracker, she’s annoyed. Hector is different – he doesn’t entertain crude jokes and has serious approach to life. But, as the story proceeds, the two grow closer – purely platonic and professional, but it was nice to see Ashley move out of her cocoon.

Coming to the murder mystery, first, two ‘hippies’ are found brutally murdered on the beach. As the detectives start investigating, they learn something about the victims – something to do with their past. Then, another body is found on the beach and things take a turn for worse.

I really loved the plot-to-story development. We readers are taken for a roller coaster ride – recollection of a past event that has led to recent killings. The second half of the book is where things get murkier and murkier.

My only niggle with this story was the pacing. As a first in the series, the emphasis is on scene setting, character introduction and series-plot setting. The second half of the book is where we see the case take a turn for worse – and the pacing improves a tad. Also, there’s repetition of the suspects/witnesses’ recollection – which could have been shortened.

Overall, Death on Cromer Beach by Ross Greenwood is an interesting and impressive series debut. I am looking forward to knowing what’s next for Ashley and Hector.

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