Review of The Shroud Maker (Wesley Peterson #18) by Kate Ellis

The Shroud Maker (Wesley Peterson, #18)The Shroud Maker by Kate Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As novel #18 in the Wesley Peterson series, readers generally know what they are getting now with a Kate Ellis novel and The Shroud Maker doesn’t disappoint. Ellis easily allows the reader to imagine the hustle and bustle of a busy seaside town.
I always enjoy Ellis’s use of past and present storylines within her novels, mixing archaeological finds, forgotten manuscripts with present day sources to intricately weave the plot. This storyline took the notion one step further with the present timeline focussing on a computer game and how the victim linked with it.
The story itself focusses on two similar young women who have gone missing in the town, one of whom has been found dead. This happens at a time when a yearly historic festival is taking place, meaning a surge of incomers, the majority of whom are in fancy dress. How can the police pull together a suspect list?
The only minor criticism is this storyline has similarities with Ellis’s “The Cadaver Game” with the life imitating video games theme, but this doesn’t take anything away from this really enjoyable read with a lot of twist and a good range of characters/character viewpoints.
With enough clues (and a few surprise twists) dropped along the way to keep the reader guessing, this is another well written who-dunnit.

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Review of The Shadow Collector (Wesley Peterson -17) by Kate Ellis

The Shadow Collector (Wesley Peterson, #17)The Shadow Collector by Kate Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always Kate Ellis manages to weave multiple timeline tales into a single intriguing plot. Ellis brings to life the country lanes, the country farms and pubs of Devon and throws in several murder mysteries into the story to keep the reader guessing at all times.
In this novel the present timeline focusses on a police investigation of a reporter who is brutally stabbed, causing Wesley Peterson and team to investigate. The investigation leads the team to another timeline, 20 years in the past, which involved the murder of two teenage girls (supposedly by a village witch and her mother). This storyline then vaguely ties in with a third timeline which brings in the archaeological side to the novel, this timeline features the story of a suspected witch (named Allison Hadness) who was hanged during the English civil war.
The archaeological timeline I did feel was slightly weak in substance. I think normally Kate Ellis portrays a very strong story as part of her historical timeline. In this case although the witchcraft issue was the conjoined link, the story seemed to include a lot of other more detailed elements such as the sick old man Allison had married and the impending invasion and not so much on the witchcraft theme or even the historic character Allison.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Ellis’s writing style, her dialogue and settings are superb. It is also fantastic to see how the core characters (Wesley, Neil, Gerry etc) are developing throughout the series. Another great read.

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Review of “The Armada Boy” (Wesley Peterson Series book 2) by Kate Ellis

The Armada Boy (Wesley Peterson, #2)The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second novel in the Wesley Peterson series really showcases the authors writing ability. The storyline is intriguing and fast paced particularly in the opening chapters hooking the reader and the level of mystery is maintained throughout.
The story combines multiple storylines and multiple character viewpoints effortlessly. The modern mystery of a pensioner (and was survivor) death provides the whole rural police team the opportunity to investigate their own theories of the murder. This allows Ellis to subtly weave in each characters strengths and weaknesses.
The locations are very descriptive and these play a focal point in the story; small town syndrome mixed with British coastal town and the characters that appear in these areas.
This book is excellent as a standalone, although as part of the series it is excellent to be able to see how the characters are growing and changing. As this novel is based on the second world war, and this year is the 70th Anniversary of the end of the war, this would make a great year to read this novel and relate to the characters brought to life.
Definitely worth five stars.

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Review of “The Merchants House” (Wesley Peterson Series -book 1) by Kate Ellis

The Merchants HouseThe Merchants House by Kate Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the opening novel of the Wesley Peterson series, about a police sergeant and his wife moving from London to the West Country. Wesley’s interest in archaeology brings the story of the merchant house to the reader’s attention quickly while the diary extract of the “merchant” are excellently placed adding to the drama. The modern mystery is handled excellently for a missing child subject, something that should be handled sensitively and the author achieves this while also weaving in the story of Wesley and his wife trying to conceive their first child, bringing a tender touch to the storyline.
The locations are well described and very visual, although perhaps a few too many places covered for the first novel in the series. The sense of everyone having something to hide came across very well in this book, leaving the suspect list wide open.
The fact that this is a series could be picked up while reading this book, but I don’t think it detracted from the story line, just a sense of waiting for the characters to grow a little more on the reader. I would say as a standalone novel this book was very good, but as a series I am hoping for it to be excellent.

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Learning from the best

highlight.Highlight.

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As a writer-in-training one of my current hobbies is absorbing others language and the creative ways they use it, in an attempt to learn the craft from those that have already made it. As a kindle addict this is a bit more difficult than a post-it on a page so I recently began using the highlight tool on kindle (press & hold on the first word until the grey highlight appears and then drag over the sentence/passage you wish to highlight), you can then add a note to help you trace why you highlighted it.

To then retrieve your highlights – log-on to https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights

See an example below from one of my favourite authors, these are two extracts I had highlighted showing descriptive technique.

The Bone Garden: The Wesley Peterson Series: Book 5 by Kate Ellis

You have 2 highlighted passages
You have 2 notes
Last annotated on June 27, 2014

Monday morning brought rain – or drizzle to be more precise. It fell in gossamer sheets over the hilly landscape, turning the greens and golds of the September fields to shades of grey.

Note: Weather description

Heffernan was making a great effort to sound professional, detached – but he wasn’t making a very good job of it. The expression on his face betrayed every emotion, every fear and doubt.

Note: description hidden emotion

Anyway, I thought this might be a useful tool for other aspiring writers’.