Angel by L.J. Ross

Angel (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #4)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: DCI Ryan Mysteries #4
Publication Date: 8/26/16
Number of Pages: 231

After their last case, DCI Ryan and his team are the stars of the show around Northumberland. The public is fickle though and when it becomes apparent there is a serial killer among them, they start demanding a quick solution. In this fast-paced, page-turning, can’t-put-it-down book, you’ll chase down the clues and put them together to find an unexpected and twisted villain at work.

In the early morning hours of a foggy, dreary, Good Friday in Newcastle upon Tyne, city gravedigger, Keith Wilson, drove his mini-digger machine into the West Road Cemetery. It might be a Bank Holiday, but death doesn’t wait for holidays. When he gets to the spot assigned for him to dig the grave, it appears to have already have a fresh burial. After checking with his dispatch and finding out he’s definitely at the correct spot, he looks at the grave and sees – OMGoodness, he sees a single dead eye, peering sightlessly at him through the soil.

DCI Ryan is at home with his fiancé Dr. Anna Taylor. The floor is strewn with wedding magazines. He loves her to distraction, but he just wants to get married, he doesn’t care what she chooses. So, when his mobile phone rings, and it flashes Control Room as the caller, he gleefully tells her – WORK!

The victim is a lovely red-haired lady in her early thirties who had been strangled. There is nothing to identify her, but she is posed to look like an Angel with arms overhead and blouse torn and spread to look like wings. Her burial site also included a note saying: Et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. To Ryan’s surprise, DS Phillips recognizes that as being what a priest says when he is absolving the dead of their sins: ‘I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. What sins did the murderer think this lovely young woman had committed?

Ryan’s team also catches another case, and since the two cases aren’t related, he assigns it to DI Denise MacKenzie and DC Jack Lowerson. MacKenzie and Lowerson step into a gruesome scene. The badly decomposed body of a sixty-five-year-old woman, lying on the floor of her home. She’s not a well-liked woman, so nobody notices that she hasn’t been seen for a week. It looks like they have their work cut out for them just to get a timeline for when she was last seen.

Ryan and Phillips feel the urgency to solve the case as the bodies of other red-headed, early-thirties, women are found in graves awaiting burials for other people. Who is killing these ladies? What sins have they committed for which they need absolution? Why are they posed as angels?

It takes all of Ryan’s team to finally identify and apprehend this twisted murderer. I figured out who it was early on, but there are lots of red-herrings and twists-and-turns to throw you off and make you doubt your suppositions.

I listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed the performance of the narrator.  I like his voice, but he does seem to have a narrower range of voices and it is often difficult to tell which character is speaking.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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