The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

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The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The sixth book in the DCI Craig Gillard series would read perfectly well as a standalone. It's an ingenious plot and a good read. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: October 2020
Publisher: Canelo
ISBN: 978-1800321106

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A prison transport left HMP Wakefield, heading for HMP Spring Hill. Steve and Aaron were accompanying Neil Wright who was 67 years old and had served six years for the manslaughter of his wife. Only that wasn't who he was. Sixty-three-years-old Neville Rollaston had served thirty years for the murder of five boys between the ages of ten and seventeen. He was being ghosted out of Wakefield and into a new identity set up in a deal whereby he divulged the whereabouts of the body of one of his victims. The Bogeyman was going to be set free on 2 July 2019. He appeared to be a reformed character but he had a list of people upon whom he wished to exact revenge.

At 2 a.m. on 22 June Michael Jakes was cycling his usual circuit which took in the area around Tagg's Island, Ash Island in the Thames and Hampton Court Road when he heard the splash of something heavy falling into the river. A little later Elvira Hart who lived on a riverboat moored on Ash Island went out for a run and when she returned she found a body in the river near her boat. DCI Craig Gillard had never seen anything like the purple, bloated body, covered in mesh-like indentations. What could have caused such a death?

Neville Rollaston hadn't come from the Crawley area, but he had connections there and there were substantial rumours that this was where he was to be settled. As expected, there's a national outcry about his release - and the fact that he's being provided with a new identity and home at public expense. The police are not responsible for his release but they're getting a lot of flack about it. Gillard doesn't know that Rollaston will be in the area but he has an interest in what happens as he was the officer who arrested Rollaston more than thirty years ago.

It's an ingenious plot: I was certain that I knew how the death had been caused. It was obvious. I was wrong, completely wrong. Most of the clues are pretty clear, but everything neatly ties together and there's a satisfying conclusion. There's a great deal of pleasure in getting there too: the characters come off the page well. I was particularly impressed by DC 'Rainy' Macintosh, who used to be a doctor in Glasgow but joined the police because she wanted more predictable hours. She and her son live in a one-bedroom flat because that's all she can afford. She's a good foil for the other DC on the squad - Carl Hoskins. Most women don't like working with him, but Rainy can match him filthy joke for filthy joke and she keeps him in reasonable order. It's a situation where the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

It was a good read and I finished it more quickly than I intended. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a copy of this one.

This book would read perfectly well as a stand-alone, but if you'd prefer to read the books in order you'll find the chronological list here:

Nick Louth's DCI Craig Gillard Novels in Chronological Order

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