Holy Island

Holy Island

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.When former local girl Dr Anna Ta...

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Title:Holy Island
Author:L.J. Ross
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Holy Island Reviews

  • Maxine (Booklover Catlady)

    I have been talking about the brilliant writers that are coming out of the UK this year. What is even more exciting is the writers that are coming out of the North East of England this year. Local writers. I am so darn proud to see the level of talent from my part of the country.

    Holy Island is an actual place, also known as Lindisfarne, that sits of the coast of beautiful Northumberland in the North East of England. It's an isl

    I have been talking about the brilliant writers that are coming out of the UK this year. What is even more exciting is the writers that are coming out of the North East of England this year. Local writers. I am so darn proud to see the level of talent from my part of the country.

    Holy Island is an actual place, also known as Lindisfarne, that sits of the coast of beautiful Northumberland in the North East of England. It's an island, accessible to the public by car/foot at certain times when the tides are low enough to let you over from the mainland. It is a place steeped in deep history and is a really special place to visit. Atmospheric and a great backdrop for this awesome book.

    Our story is set on Holy Island, but there are unholy things going on, or are they? DCI Ryan has been "resting" on Holy Island after a particularly tragic case that disturbed him on a very personal level. He is dragged back into Detective action when a body is found arranged in the strangest of ways upon a stone way up high in the Priory on the Island. This quiet community of only about 200 people suddenly had a killer in it's midst. What could the old stones tell of this terrible murder?

    The plot is fantastic, L.J. Ross writes so well for a Debut author, no wonder this book went to #1 on the Amazon charts! She weaves in a bit of humour in dialogue here and there that is pulled off so well and I enjoyed the characters she created very much. Every single one of them. The ones I loved to hate even.

    The pace is great, we have the body found right at the start of the book, I love that, when you don't have to wait for the killing to begin. (Weird I know). It keeps rolling out the action and before long the plot is so much deeper and darker.

    Some people still practice the old ways, ancient religions on the island, paganism is not dead here, not by a long shot. This religious element weaved into the story was just brilliant. There is many a chilling moment and I for one, could not put this book down. Does DCI Ryan catch the killer before anyone else dies?

    The sequel to Holy Island is coming along soon and I can't wait to pick up and see what is in store for the lush DCI Ryan and his team. 5 paw prints from Booklover Catlady for this one, don't miss it! I am going to go back to Holy Island soon as it's not far from me and I promise a photo of me with the book in my hand standing right where the killing begins.

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  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess

    What. A. Read.

    It was inevitable that I would pick this book one day. It's exactly my cup of tea. It's set locally, has a sizzling hint of romance, there's some nasty goings-on and it's completely unpredictable... Prefect formula.

    This book definitely made me smile, and it got my heart racing in more ways than one. The chemistry between Ryan and Anna is almost explosive.

    There were so many twists and turns that I just couldn't guess who did it, a

    What. A. Read.

    It was inevitable that I would pick this book one day. It's exactly my cup of tea. It's set locally, has a sizzling hint of romance, there's some nasty goings-on and it's completely unpredictable... Prefect formula.

    This book definitely made me smile, and it got my heart racing in more ways than one. The chemistry between Ryan and Anna is almost explosive.

    There were so many twists and turns that I just couldn't guess who did it, and I got a surprise at the end when it was revealed.

    I think it's safe to say I'm addicted. Gimme more!

    ETA: Three months on and I already want to reread it!

  • Sue

    HOLY ISLAND by L.J. Ross is a debut murder mystery that is set on the U.K.’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the North Sea, an island which really exists.

    Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is staying on Holy Island, taking a leave from his duties as a homicide detective, after the death of his sister. And then a few days before Christmas, his leave is suddenly cancelled when the murder of a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins.

    Former local girl Dr. Anna Taylor arrives back on the island

    HOLY ISLAND by L.J. Ross is a debut murder mystery that is set on the U.K.’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the North Sea, an island which really exists.

    Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is staying on Holy Island, taking a leave from his duties as a homicide detective, after the death of his sister. And then a few days before Christmas, his leave is suddenly cancelled when the murder of a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins.

    Former local girl Dr. Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant. Here she must come to terms with her old memories and confront her difficult past. She and Ryan work together to hunt a killer, while fighting their attraction to one another. When Anna’s sister is murdered, it appears to be a ritual killing.

    The characters of Ryan and Anna each come with their own flaws, but come together and complement each other providing the reader with some humor along the way.

    It is quite apparent the extensive research that went into the preparation of this novel. This was a well-developed book, with characters that come alive as you read each small detail unfolding. The imagery is vivid and enables you to sense the atmosphere of the setting. I was unable to figure out the “Who”, a tribute to the spectacular writing skills of the author.

    I wish to thank the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity for furnishing the digital copy of Holy Island, and look forward to reading the next book in the series; SYCAMORE GAP.

  • Jean

    Holy Island by L.J. Ross is a 3-D delight: devilishly dark and dangerous. Set on the U.K.’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the North Sea, the events that occur in this sparsely populated isle are definitely unholy.

    When the body of 21-year-old Lucy Mathieson is discovered laid out in ritualistic fashion, Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Ryan is suddenly reinstated from his leave-of-absence following the case of a brutal serial murderer in which his own sister was a victim. Now he is about to find

    Holy Island by L.J. Ross is a 3-D delight: devilishly dark and dangerous. Set on the U.K.’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the North Sea, the events that occur in this sparsely populated isle are definitely unholy.

    When the body of 21-year-old Lucy Mathieson is discovered laid out in ritualistic fashion, Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Ryan is suddenly reinstated from his leave-of-absence following the case of a brutal serial murderer in which his own sister was a victim. Now he is about to find out if he is ready to take on a similar challenge. A beautiful young woman has been sadistically slain. Not long after Lucy’s body is found, Ryan’s boss calls in an expert in “pagan” traditions and rites, Dr. Taylor. Expecting a middle-aged man, Ryan complains, but he is in for a pleasant surprise. Dr. Taylor turns out to be a female named Anna, and she happens to be both intelligent and gorgeous. A native of the island, she left to pursue her education and to attempt to leave her ghosts behind her. When she returns, she finds trouble. She also finds DCI Ryan, himself a single man who is easy on the eyes. Their relationship adds romance and humor to an otherwise sinister, foreboding mood that envelops the book. Is it unprofessional? Certainly. Like any relationship, it is not perfect, and I did find it enjoyable, and even believable, to a certain extent.

    There are numerous characters, many of them suspects. Is there anyone who is trustworthy? Ross provides shadowy figures, and I never knew for certain who was speaking, since this was deliberately concealed. Just when I thought I might be onto something, there would be a new wrinkle.

    The pagan theme was often confusing. At some points, the group seemed to be practicing paganism, which is not the same as devil worship. However, the High Priest has definitely changed the game into something much more malevolent. Not only that, but who is in his secret circle? It could be anyone. I was able to suspend belief, somewhat, to accept the motive for the killings; Holy Island has a population of around 200 people in 2011, so it is unfathomable to me that so many of its inhabitants could be involved in a cult and get away with murder. I will say this: I was quite surprised by the twist at the end. Well – partially surprised. I actually suspected one of them.

    All in all, Holy Island kept me entertained. The island setting, with the ancient priory, the contrast of the old Christian legends of St. Cuthbert against the gloom of impending peril and death, and a touch of romance made for a satisfying debut tale, I feel. Ms. Ross already has a second DCI Ryan novel published, and I look forward to digging into that as well.

    I wish to sincerely thank the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity for furnishing the digital copy of Holy Island in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

    4 stars

  • BookwormDH

    I've been eager to read this series for a long time. Eventually, I've made a start with the first encounter with DCI Ryan - Holy Island.

    This is a classicly written piece of crime fiction/mystery. Set in Northumberland, the setting itself gives a perfect backdrop to a fantastic story. The author creates a great atmosphere which drew me in. The book grabbed me from the beginning and had me hooked all the way through.

    Holy Island manages to keep a nice balance between gruesome and cosy crime. It's

    I've been eager to read this series for a long time. Eventually, I've made a start with the first encounter with DCI Ryan - Holy Island.

    This is a classicly written piece of crime fiction/mystery. Set in Northumberland, the setting itself gives a perfect backdrop to a fantastic story. The author creates a great atmosphere which drew me in. The book grabbed me from the beginning and had me hooked all the way through.

    Holy Island manages to keep a nice balance between gruesome and cosy crime. It's very easy to read as the writing is brilliant. The characters are interesting and believable and I'll be looking forward to the next encounter in this promising series.

    Highly recommended.

  • Kenneth

    This book tries to be both a murder Mystery novel and a Mills and Boon bodice ripper and sadly it falls between the two stools. The characters are well used stereotypes. To find The Holy Island that I know and love peopled only by beautiful people came as a surprise to me. I thought i'd stumbled into Brookside takes a holiday. The author tried to write a story using proper police procedures and this causes some problems as it vastly increases the number of characters.This can make things confusi

    This book tries to be both a murder Mystery novel and a Mills and Boon bodice ripper and sadly it falls between the two stools. The characters are well used stereotypes. To find The Holy Island that I know and love peopled only by beautiful people came as a surprise to me. I thought i'd stumbled into Brookside takes a holiday. The author tried to write a story using proper police procedures and this causes some problems as it vastly increases the number of characters.This can make things confusing for the reader. The glaring mistake for me was when the author referred to a detectives "badge Number." This is a US term UK police would refer to a warrant Number, ID number, or even a collar number but detectives don't carry badges and don't have badge numbers. The ending was somewhat predictable where the plot got a little thin you could feel the structure showing through. The end was well written and did provide the required peak of excitement but once more the hackneyed old cliche's were rolled out. We didn't get miss marple bringing everyone together in the library instead we had the boasting perpetrator.

    As a first attempt it's not bad, I've read a lot worse. I hope in the next book the author does away with the "he loved the way her eyes flared out her anger" and settles for a detective novel.

  • Natalie Cavernelis

    Was interested because this book is top of the kindle bestsellers but battled to finish. Thought it was a police procedural but it seems to be a mills and boon with a detective main character. points of view change rather oddly, characters have far too much emotion being conveyed through their eyes and are also constantly thinking about how hot the main detective is, and less about the deaths on their tiny rather scary sounding island.

  • Geraldine

    There's a half decent book struggling to get out of this but it's so riddled with faults, of so many different varieties, and with a story that is just entirely implausible.

    It's so very bad that you feel sort of obliged to say something positive about it. Well, it has a clear beginning, middle and end, and is written in a prose style that is grammatically correct, syntactically reasonable and is easily readable without being over-simplified. And don't take those comments as facetious, because th

    There's a half decent book struggling to get out of this but it's so riddled with faults, of so many different varieties, and with a story that is just entirely implausible.

    It's so very bad that you feel sort of obliged to say something positive about it. Well, it has a clear beginning, middle and end, and is written in a prose style that is grammatically correct, syntactically reasonable and is easily readable without being over-simplified. And don't take those comments as facetious, because they are clear signs that the author is talented and has the potential to write a good book. But this isn't it.

    Numerous examples of stylistic clumsiness. I picked one fraction of a chapter and noted - unnecessary mundane detail; use of cliché; sentences that made no sense "He stalked around Cuthbert's saintly effigy" (later we're told that Cuthbert wasn't made a saint until after he'd died); wordiness- restating something that had also been (actually quite stylishly) explained in the previous sentence; hair described as a 'black waterfall'; someone observing their estranged sister 'dispassionately'; someone entering the pub instantly; overuse of 'supplied' as a synonym for 'said' and repeated use of 'pertaining'. Not to mention the incongruous Americanisms elsewhere - people's weight expressed in pounds, not either stones or kilogrammes; a 'high school graduation' photograph. The explaining that Teesside is a county to the South. (Actually, it isn't; it was a county borough prior to 1974. Police forces lying south of Northumbria are Durham and Cleveland). This passage ended with Ryan utterly refusing to accept that an academic with the title Dr could possibly be an almost 30yo attractive woman. This was greater than just a stylistic irritant but something that made me wonder what century this book was set in.

    It was one of a few things that made me assume it was set in the 90s. Ryan's rented cottage had a fax machines, the crime scene photos were processed by the only photo lab on the island (yeah, you'd definitely send pictures of a bloodied corpse to Snappy Snaps, wouldn't you!). But the victim had an iphone and it later turned out that 15 years had elapsed since 1999.

    The general sense of time was all wrong. Whether it was sunlight streaming into the church soon after 6 am on 22 December or a school party in the Heritage Centre on 23 December, composed of pupils from the island's secondary school. This island has a total resident population of 180. And a village First School of 4 pupils who travel to their mother school on the Mainland when tides permit.

    There's very easy travel for police officers between the island and Morpeth. Google maps puts that as an hour's drive without traffic. Personal experience suggests longer. I'm surprised they didn't use officers from Berwick or Alnwick, although I concede there may be administrative reasons why. Anna appeared from Durham in the blink of an eye, which is quite impressive, bypassing the Newcastle rush hour and the pre-Christmas Metro Centre crowds just like that! In fact, she was called with indecent haste (sort of explained in the epilogue).

    Oh Anna. We get a lot of insight into Anna. Her thoughts, emotions and reactions. Except, we don't. She offers a few bland explanations, which a first year undergraduate or keen amateur historian would know. We know she has had a troubled - violent - childhood but we are left assuming that she is psychologically balanced and totally unaffected. We are given the impression she has a glittering academic career (established in just 8 years since leaving school) but we know absolutely nothing about her everyday life - does she have a flat, a pet, friends, hobbies. Nada.

    I'm not even going to mention the romance aspect. The fact that it was inappropriate and unprofessional doesn't make it impossible, but given the various circumstances, it simply didn't ring true, and happened way too fast, at a time when both of them would be pre-occupied with the murders. The sex scenes seemed out of place, adding nothing to the storyline and being devoid of anything erotic. Some sane reviewers have referred to it negatively as 'Mills and Boon'!

    You have ridiculous scenarios, not least Ryan's boat journey. I just don't have words for how unlikely this is, and how insulting it is to the reader. It is unlikely he could have navigated the journey in calm daylight. And why get a boat from Budle, when Seahouses would be the logical place (fishing vessels, trips to the Farnes...I think there might be cruises to Lindisfarne as well)?

    But all of this would be forgivable if the basic premise of the story held any water at all. It didn't.

    Not only do we do get the frankly preposterous main story, but we then get the Epilogue. My most charitable thought is 'oh, you're over egging this now' but most of my thoughts were about laughing, or calling it hogwash, or something.

    I suppose it could be seen as using the stuff we know about paedophile rings, official inertia and cover up, and corruption in high places, and transplanting that into a different form of abuse, and I can see the potential in that for a more strategic writer than this one. I think in order to sustain the storyline there needs to be a greater insight into the culprits - the main players and the hangers on. Their motivations, their ways of thinking, their values (or lack of), how they interact in everyday life, past experiences (typically childhood trauma), and allow those characters to push the plot. Otherwise, it's a ridiculous plot with cardboard cut out baddies plonked into it.

    It's not the worst book I've read, and perhaps I wouldn't have been so harsh in my criticism if it didn't have so many 5 star reviews on here or on Amazon. If those people had been a bit more honest, I wouldn't have bothered adding this to my TBR, and would have just skimmed past it as yet another self-published vanity work in need of an editor. I don't know the motives for the 5 star brigade. I think it's partly the lure of free copies of future books (by other authors) if they big this one up. Maybe they want to suck up to an author for some sort of reflected glory.

    Look, people are entitled to enjoy any sort of rubbish with no regard to my opinion. In any case tastes vary, and I'm sure there is stuff I enjoy (or have done) that other people could rightly say is rubbish. I could understand a review that said 'I enjoyed it but noticed flaws and it's probably a 3.5 but as it's a debut novel I'll round it up to 4'.

    But when people award 5 stars and glowing superlatives unqualified by any critical thinking, my reaction is to think:

    a) you're conning me into buying this under false pretences (albeit only 99p in the Kindle New Year sale) and

    b) you're exactly the sort of person who votes Tory and then bleats when they take away your tax credits because you're too stupid to realise that an attack on poor people's benefits is aimed exactly at you, being that you're on a form of benefit and thus poor (relatively speaking).

    So to conclude, it's an achievement to assemble a novel that has a beginning, middle and end, and a coherent narrative and dramatic arc. However, when I buy a book, albeit at 99p, I expect something more than that, and I don't think I got my money's worth. I think the writer clearly has a talent that would benefit from nurturing and an editor. If a proper publisher spots this talent, I would probably try reading her again, but that editor has to be able to challenge several ridiculous premises.

  • Jackie

    I very rarely give one star reviews as I try to see the positive in the books I read but really... A 70's era sexist main character, so many unrealistic events, geographical inaccuracies, other general inaccuracies, female characters that came from central casting, character stereotypes (troubled back stories etc), REALLY BAD ROMANTIC SCENES (actually laughed out loud). I realise that being a first novel hopefully in future there will be some improvement in some of the above areas. I think the

    I very rarely give one star reviews as I try to see the positive in the books I read but really... A 70's era sexist main character, so many unrealistic events, geographical inaccuracies, other general inaccuracies, female characters that came from central casting, character stereotypes (troubled back stories etc), REALLY BAD ROMANTIC SCENES (actually laughed out loud). I realise that being a first novel hopefully in future there will be some improvement in some of the above areas. I think the author has to decide -romance or detective , or maybe both but not in the same book.

    I did actually think I was going to enjoy it when I started reading it. Based near where I live, & the first chapters were ok, not brilliant, but enough to keep me reading after the sample. After that it was more of a chore. I think my mouth actually dropped open when the lead charater 'snarled' & then became so sexist & arrogant I did think it was maybe done intentionally as a joke & then as I kept reading I realised the author was serious.

    It has been a grim task ploughing on to the end & I only kept reading because so many of the reviewers had mentioned the epilogue that I wanted to see if it magically sent the book soaring up my ratings . However ... the epilogue while adding slightly to the story read like a bad horror film, after the hero has escaped the house of horror, the camera pans back for the coup de grace.

    Maybe the author is in expectation of this novel being made into a film/series but I wouldn't be watching it if that's the case.

    I cannot believe all the 5 star reviews. That was one of the reasons I read it in the first place. I wish I had read more of the not so positive reviews. Luckily I got it on Kindle Unlimited so I didnt waste any money & I could delete it quickly. It has taken me slightly longer to forget the awful cliched 'romance' but I have managed to stop laughing about it now.

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