Thursday, 7 June 2018

Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes

Hell Bay
By Kate Rhodes
Published by Simon & Schuster (Ebook and Hardback - out now; Paperback - 12 July 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher



Publisher's description
DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm. 

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time. 


My verdict
Hell Bay was a first class read for me - no review notes written, as yet again I just didn't have the time. I was so engrossed in the plot and immersed in the claustrophobic Shetlands setting. So really I should just say 'I loved this book, go buy it' and leave it there!

This is the story of DI Ben Kitto, who has returned to his childhood home of Bryher, a tiny Scilly island, after some tragic events back in London. While he's there, the body of a teenage girl is discovered on the beach. The stormy weather has meant that no one has been able to reach the island for days, and no one has been able to leave. So the killer is still there and possibly one of the locals - but they're all very reluctant to talk.

I love Kate Rhodes' poetic writing (she's an award-winning poet as well as a crime fiction author). It's written to be read out loud, with its gentle rhythm and pace, as she highlights the beauty and dangers of this remote island setting. I was totally absorbed within the pages, thanks to the stunning prose, intriguing characters, atmospheric descriptions and gripping fast-paced plot.

This is a 'locked room' scenario, with a smallish cast of characters and a close-knit community - many have a possible motive and something to hide. This makes it much harder for Ben Kitto to search for the truth, having to investigate people he's known his whole life and being unable to scratch any of them off his suspect list. While most of the chapters are from Ben's point of view, there are also some chapters focusing on a woman called Rose who is searching for her son Sam.

Hell Bay is filled with tension and surprises, as Ben Kitto untangles a complex web of secrets and lies. The book definitely kept me guessing until the end. And I was very excited to discover that there's another Ben Kitto novel on its way (published in 2019) - can't wait!

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