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by Kate Ellis
Piatkus, December 2008
336 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749909358

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Carmel Hennessey begins a new job in Eborby, North Yorkshire, a town where a killer is on the prowl, binding and asphyxiating victims before leaving their bodies in churchyards. Carmel is linked by past events to Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet, who is in charge of the hunt for the killer. When Carmel begins to receive threats, she turns to Joe, but will he able to help her?

Kate Ellis, author of the extremely successful DI Wesley Peterson series, has decided to introduce a new detective and move away from Exeter. Plantagenet is a likeable and interesting character, who will no doubt appeal to readers. The history city of Eborby is York in disguise and readers familiar with that city will soon find its atmosphere seeping from the novel's pages.

Although this is the first novel in the series, the reader enters in media res. We see little detail of Plantagenet's history and I wonder if some of these matters might be tackled in later books, for example the fact that he had trained for the priesthood. That said, Susanna Gregory has followed a similar style with her Thomas Chaloner novels and now, three books later, she prefers to concentrate on presenting Chaloner with new cases rather than delving back into his past.

Ellis mixes modern murder with medieval mystery and the paranormal, although this is not a story where the supernatural plays such a preponderant role that readers of pure mysteries will be discouraged. Carmel feels that there is a ghostly presence in her room and the occult plays a large role in the overall story. The novel moves along at a fast pace and has the atmosphere of a more old-fashioned detective tale, with a lot of emphasis laid on the characters.

Overall, SEEKING THE DEAD is an extremely enjoyable and well-written novel. I found myself hooked very quickly!

Reviewed by Luke Croll, January 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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