On the Bookshelf...

The Graveyard Killings

Wes Markin

A decades old case.... When the body of a young girl is found exhumed from her grave, DCI Emma Gardner knows there’s more to this grisly find than just misadventure. Penny Maiden was killed in a hit and run accident forty years ago, and her killer was never found…Could someone be trying to right an old wrong? A DI on the rails... Determined to bring a dangerous gang of drug dealers to justice, DI Paul Riddick is trying hard to play by the rules. After his previous reckless actions, he knows this is his last chance to stay in the job he loves. But when his private life takes an unexpected turn, Riddick begins to lose control again. Emma needs Paul to help her with her case, especially when more bodies are found in the same graveyard. But hurt badly by Riddick once before, Emma's not sure she can trust him again. But as Paul’s behaviour begins to spiral even more, Emma worries she may have left it far too late to save her old friend Riddick from his own destruction...

The Graveyard Killings is the first book by Wes Markin that I've read. Set against a backdrop of Yorkshire, I thought it might just be the sort of book I like to read. I wasn't disappointed with my choice. It's the first of the Yorkshire Murders series that I've read, so my first encounter with Emma Gardner and her erstwhile sidekick Paul Riddick.

The book opens with a flashback to the 1980's and a girl mown down in a hit and run incident. It then moves to the last year when the girl's body is disturbed in a graveyard and another body found. Roll forward a year and in the same graveyard two teenagers are found with their faces stove in. Paul Riddick is trying to put an end to a drugs gang and his friend Arthur is found with the gang's name carved in his back. A breathtaking start to any novel.

I admit that not knowing the team caused me some problems at the start of the book, but I soon managed to pick up the characters. After that the novel moved quickly and without missing a beat to its thrilling conclusion. I loved the two main protagonists. Both different from each other but both with a passion to solve crimes. Paul Riddick's character was particularly interesting. A flawed copper who cared so much for people. His alcoholism a constant sword in his side, yet his heart in the right place.

It takes the whole book for all the links to be made and the ending surprised me when it came. Along the way as is normal in this type of book, there's lots of blind alleys and twists that make the reader want to carry on. All in all, a solid addition to my shelf and another series to look out for.

Thanks to Netgallery and Boldwood Books for the eArc copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Review by
AJ Steel
February 20, 2024

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